Daily Om ~ Cosmic Support

universeNothing happens in our lives and in the world without purpose. The path that speeds us toward our dreams can be a challenging and complex one, so it’s easy to get bogged down in confusion and insecurities. We often hesitate at the start of that path, questioning our purpose or our capabilities. Yet we should be moving forward joyously, eager to discover what destiny has in store for us. The universe has plans for us that eclipse anything we have dreamed of thus far. Though we must work diligently to fulfill our potential and to accomplish our individual missions, the universe is aware of both the quests we chose before birth and the goals we have formulated in adulthood. If we accept that it is watching over us and believe that it will facilitate our eventual success, the universe will provide us with the assistance and opportunities that enable us to make significant progress on our journeys of ambition.

Nothing happens without a purpose. Whether we attract success or repel it depends on our willingness to stay open to a wide range of possibilities and to embrace concepts like synchronicity. The universe is always ready to care for our needs, but we must not write off its loving attention as mere circumstance or chance. Likewise, we must endeavor to ensure that our egos do not become a barrier that prevents us from recognizing that even perceived mistakes and strife can be profound lessons that smooth the progress of personal evolution. When we understand that we only need to enthusiastically try our best to realize our objectives, the universe will take care of the details, propelling us forward in its unstoppable current. We may not always immediately understand the significance of certain experiences, but our trust will help us choose wisely at each crossroads.

The universe wants to see you accomplish your goals. No matter how long you’ve dallied or hesitated, it will always be there to put its plan for you in motion at the first sign of your faith. You can make the most of this aid by acquiescing to it rather than fighting it—nurture your dreams but do not attempt to micromanage every detail along the way. The universe will provide you with guidance and, if you heed that guidance, you will find your formerly stressful quest for success will become a journey of great joy.

Source: Daily Om

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G is for Growing

rose60-pinkorangeThis is my second post for The Pagan Blog Project ‘G’ week but also a journal post too. I think it’s high time I just meandered my thoughts down on paper…well on the screen. It’s a funny old world isn’t it, you have ideas and dreams and suddenly, if you’re working in line with them to cause their fruition, then something blossoms. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how we grow spiritually, and I guess I should really say evolve but it’s growing too. You’ll all know by now that my speciality is herbalism – I love plants in all their wonderful glory; from the tiny daisy to the fantastic tropical trees. I never thought I’d be a herbalist though. Over the years I’ve nurtured a great interest in plants and this interest kind of grew without me even really doing anything about it but I guess it is my deep love of nature. Then my wanting to help others in some way. How could I do this? I had a deep urge to be a healer but of what kind? I am a master in Celtic Reiki and also a crystal healer but plants urged me on from tiny seedling thoughts of being a plant healer to actually doing something about it via certification.

Of course it is my belief that plants offer us insights that require no paper certificates but in this world I’m afraid some kind of professional standing is valued. But I’m really a down to earth woman of wort cunning even though I’ve done professional courses (and am still doing this actually as I’m taking a Masters in Phytotherapy). However, it’s really nothing extraordinary – anyone can do this…all you have to do is spend time with plants and trees and truly get to know them and they will impart their wisdom and knowledge to you. Of course getting to know other like-minded herbalists is important too.

Anyway, I digress because this post is really about how we evolve on our spiritual path if we are open-hearted and open-minded enough. When I look back at who I was at the very beginning of my pagan path I was really an entirely different person to who I am today. I had fixed ideas about who I should be; what kind of pagan I was or wanted to be, called myself a Wiccan and followed quite a strict Wiccan protocol. But over the years this has changed quite dramatically – yes I am an initiated Priestess in a Wiccan Coven and I don’t regret this decision and being part of this group is very important to me. But my path has diverged into many different branches since then. I feel I’ve truly become a tree!

I guess my spirituality is very eclectic with old ways witchcraft roots, shamanism, Daoism as well as Wicca. Some would call this a mish-mash and probably berate me but I just think this is what my Spirit wants – this is the human experience my Spirit incarnated to have. After all, when I pass over all this will be gone…only Spirit remains and the material will not matter. So I’m passed worrying about whether or not I have a particular religion or set of protocols to follow. I just do what Spirit and the Universe encourage me to do.

How do I know? Well, actually I think synchronicity plays a huge part in knowing if I’m on the right track or not. The more open I am the more meaningful synchronicity happens. Then there are those things that happen to warm me off a course of action. Of course, being human I don’t always see, or even if I do see I don’t always pay attention, or choose to ignore and then I pay the consequences. But even these are lessons to learn. Each choice we make is an opportunity for our Spirits to learn. Even choice and actions that don’t work out the way we want are important for our growth. When we think of ourselves within the tree metaphor we can see how many branches and twigs there are on a tree and each one of these can be choices and actions, some working out and producing new growth and some not. But it’s all ok because they’re all part of the overall beauty of the tree, which is each one of us as individuals.

Daily Om ~ Embracing Unpredictability

alightningstormWhen the unexpected happens, you always have your inner core strength which cannot be taken from you. In life, we are always setting goals for ourselves and working to make them happen. This gives us focus and ensures that we use our time and energy efficiently and effectively. It also provides us with a sense of purpose and direction. We know where we are going and what we want to do. But quite often, due to forces outside our control, things do not go as we had planned—the flat tire on the way to the wedding, the unforeseen flu virus—and we have to adjust to a postponement or create a whole new set of circumstances. Even positive turns of fortune — an unexpected influx of cash or falling in love — require us to be flexible and to reconsider our plans and priorities, sometimes in the blink of an eye. This is what happens when life throws you a curve ball.

The ability to accept what is happening and let go of your original expectations is key when dealing with these unexpected turns of fate. We have a tendency to get stuck in our heads, clinging to an idea of how we think life should go, and we can have a hard time accepting anything that doesn’t comply with that idea. The fact is that life is unpredictable. The trip you thought was for business — and when the deal fell through, you got depressed — actually landed you at the airport two days earlier than planned so you could meet the love of your life. Your car breaks down, and you are late for an appointment. While it’s true that you never arrive at that important meeting, you end up spending a few relaxing hours with people you would never have met otherwise.

In order to keep us awake to opportunity and to teach us equanimity, the universe throws us the occasional curve ball. Remember that curve balls are not only life’s way of keeping us awake, which is a gift in and of itself; they are also often life’s way of bringing us wonderful surprises. Next time a curve ball comes your way, take a deep breath, say thank you, and open your mind to a new opportunity.

Daily Card: Island of the Mill

Today’s card is Island of the Mill. Here we see people bearing sacks on their backs as they approach the mill. Oh boy, another moment of synchronicity. Talk about humping a heavy sack around! Here’s the background:

The Otherworldly mill is where the spectres of our greed are fed to us. What we desire binds us with unbreakable links so we are enslaved to it.

The Meaning

Niggardliness, possessiveness, scandalmongering, anger, jealousy, selfishness, co-dependency, grudges and feuds.

The Challenge

What are you holding on to that is unnecessary in your life? Let the gift of generosity come into your heart. Let other people live without your control. Lift burdens from others backs.

This is a timely reminder about control, or rather how it becomes a huge burden. We all like to control don’t we? ‘I don’t have a need to control!’ I hear you say. Yes you do, we all do! It’s part of human nature to want to control, part of the workings of the ego. We want to control others, ourselves, our lives…and so forth and etc. Even if we think we aren’t trying to control we are doing it unconsciously. controlling ourselves or others soothes our own inner sense of fear, of the unknown, of righteousness. It might work for a time but in the end it usually becomes too much.

And what a heavy burden it is, rather like those people in the picture humping their heavy sacks to the mill. So how do we get rid of those heavy sacks; the need to control, especially outcomes. Well, Buddhists advocate the idea of non-attachment. We only try to control what we are attached to (or as the book says ‘desire’). We invest emotional energy to things. By practising what the Buddhists call non-attachment we can free ourselves from the curse of the need to control. When I manage to do this I find my life going far more smoothly and feel a lot more together and calmer inside. It’s not about ‘not caring’ or having no compassion but rather just letting go, and not operating from ego.

Of course one has to be honest with oneself and it’s not easy to admit that we are operating from ego and attaching ourselves to something or someone. It makes you squirm actually but in order to free oneself from attachment you have to be really honest with yourself and do some hard self-reflection. But it’s ok and there’s no blame attached in realising that is, in fact, where we’re coming from. It’s all part of a human’s spiritual evolution. Next step is being mindful, living in each moment and being aware of each moment. We cannot live in the past because it’s gone, and we cannot live in the future because it has not manifested yet. The only place we can truly live is in the present…in the NOW.

Second thing is to give it up…give up the attachment you have…I do this by imagining myself on a high mountain top surrounded by alpine flowers. It is cool and the wind blows around me fresh and clean. The sun shines from a cloudless azure blue sky. I encapsulate whatever I’m attached to, whatever my ego control is, in a glistening iridescent bubble and allow it to float away. The Spirits of Air catch it and take it high up into the sky, up towards the sun. you could try this and see if it works for you. Of course I’ve had to practise this and have to continue to do so. holding on to things seems a natural thing for humans to do so it does take practise and maintenance but gradually it becomes easier.

So next time you feel as though you are carrying a huge burden on your back try climbing the mountain and giving that burden up to the heavens, and see what happens. Oh yes, and don’t forget to be mindful!

 

Daily Card: Island of Black and White

Today’s card is The Island of Black and White – a landscape divided by a fence with sheep on either side, the shepherd heaves one across. On one side of the fence the sheep are white but as soon as they are heaved across the fence they turn black. Here’s what the book says about this card:

In the Otherworld everyday reality is reflected by its opposite as though in a mirror. Where black becomes white and white becomes black, it is difficult to know just where we are. The only person who can regulater this change is the shepherd who knows the reality and powers of both worlds.

The Meaning

Reversal of good fortune to bad luck or bad luck to good fortune, a shock, startling change. A chance to appreciate the mutability and natural rhythm of life. Challenges to deeply held beliefs.

The Challenge

Are you clear about what you intend and the changes they will bring about? Only by appreciating your current position can you judge. Look at the opposite side of the agreement.

I think for me today this card comes as a bit of synchronicity – I just love it when that happens! We do tend to see things as black and white don’t we, I mean it’s rather human nature to do so – we see things in polarities, either one thing or the other. The truth is nothing is either one thing or another, in fact all things are what they are depending on one’s perspective. For me a situation can be black but for another it could be white but each person’s view is not the only view of reality. We could say some thing is wrong, or right depending on our deeply held beliefs and our experiences but for another person it could be the complete opposite. So who is wrong and who is right? Neither and both at the same time. What a paradox! But life is chock full of paradoxes isn’t it.

I’ve heard it said that life is not black nor white but varying shades of grey. At first I kind of dismissed this as being rather ‘sitting on the fence’ kind of thing but in fact it has more truth to it than you can imagine. Of course grey sounds bland and boring doesn’t it and who wants a bland and boring life. That’s one of the reasons, I think, that we as humans polarize things; black or white, good or bad – it’s far more dramatic and interesting isn’t it. However, polarizing life leads to all kinds of difficulties and stress. Nowadays I tend to look at it as Yin and Yang – there is lightness within the dark and darkness within the light and the two in union fit together perfectly into a whole. This is what the yin yang symbol actually means – no one nor the other but a union of both – life is what it is… all and nothing…nothing and all…not right nor wrong but both at the same time yet neither. It’s kind of hard to get your head round isn’t it.

So let’s give a little example from my own experience. I have mentioned a few times on this blog that I suffer from mental health difficulties, I am diagnosed as bipolar and have a severe borderline personality disorder. In the past I used to self harm by cutting myself. Not nice you might think, and some might even feel angry and say that was wrong. At the time it was a useful coping mechanism for the intense pain and rage I was feeling inside. It was the only way I knew of to show people how much pain I was in. It had a purpose! I couldn’t talk about those feelings you see because I didn’t even understand what those feelings were. It’s only in hindsight that I now realise that the feelings were pain, rage and abandonment. But at the time I had no idea. I know I hurt a lot of people by my doing it. They didn’t understand and were scared for me and also angry with me. Did I care about this, was I aware of how my actions were impacting on others at the time? No! I was too wrapped up in my own pain and anger and couldn’t see the wood for the trees.

Was my self harming wrong? Was it black? No, I don’t think so. I agree that it wasn’t a very constructive way of dealing with my problems and moreover it was very dangerous. It hurt a lot of people especially my mother and my daughter. But neither was it ‘white’…it was neither, it was what it was at the time. From my perspective (at the time) I guess I’d call it white, but from those who loved me and were trying to help me it was definitely black. Here you see the polarities. Were they helpful? No not really but both sides were on different sides of the fence so to speak. So polarity has to do with perception also doesn’t it? How we see things and view things is about our own perception, which is always coloured by our own life experiences. But neither is wrong nor right, it just is what it is.

Does that phrase ‘it is what it is’ sound like grey to you? Does it sound like sitting on the fence or is it rather coming from a place of integration. Because life is about integrating the opposites isn’t it.

 

Daily Card: Island of Many Birds

Today’s card is The Island of Many Birds, the second island that Maelduin visited on his immram. It’s the second island we will visit too. Have you ever seen a bird colony, perhaps a sea-bird colony along cliffs by the sea? If you have (even if only on TV) they are an amazing sight. Yes, extremely noisy but those birds actually can pin point their nests to within a couple of inches amongst the thousands of nesting birds. That’s absolutely amazing. And incoming birds can find their mates, with whom they often pair for life. Watching sea birds in these colonies is an exciting and breath-taking sight for sure. If you cannot see this for real then watch David Attenborough’s A Life of Birds documentary series – it’s awesome! Anyway, here’s what Caitlin says about this card:

The abundant birds of this island are like the many possibilities that surround us in life. In the middle of such abundance it is easy to become confused.

The Challenge

Start to appreciate the riches and resources that lie about you in your life. If you cannot decide on a course of action unaided, then let the Universe decide.

I don’t buy this ‘I don’t have a choice’ attitude. We ALWAYS have some kind of choice, and even doing nothing is, in fact, a choice. It is true that life can feel very confusing at times and quite often we don’t know the right choice to make, or we might have a number of choices that we could make but are unsure which one is the best one. I can fully attest to the feelings of unsettlement  and confusion that brings up in a person. Sometimes, we might want to take the easiest option, or the one that feels the most familiar to us. However, it isn’t always the best choice.  The truth is if we really learn to appreciate all the resources that are available to us it often makes decision making a little easier. So often we don’t realise just how much help and support is out there for us. We feel very alone in our choice making and this needn’t be the case. Of course there are some decisions that are ours alone to make but we can still find support in order to help us make the best one we can make.

Of course quite often we have ‘knee jerk’ reactions that will influence our decisions. These come from years of doing something a certain way and it’s not always easy to change the way we react or the choices that come from them. But if we look at the track record of these knee-jerk influenced decisions we can ask ourselves ‘were these the best decisions I could make?’ Of course some knee jerk reactions are good and help us get out of danger but also they can come from anger, disappointment etc. I know when I’ve been hasty in making a decision or choice based on a knee-jerk reaction I’ve regretted it and sometimes made the situation worse, and quite often for myself. That’s why we have intuition, that gut feeling inside, but the only way to allow intuition to work properly is to listen to it and feel it. It doesn’t work with hastiness. We have to sit with our feelings for a while and do some reflecting…not an easy thing to do at first but, with practise and trusting ourselves, it becomes easier.

If at the end of all this reflection and sitting with our feelings we still don’t know what to do then why not allow the Universe to make the choice for you. The Universe has a grand way of steering you in the right direction if only we allow it to. It only has our highest good at heart and doesn’t have the human ego to contend with, that ego that often makes us charge in to a decision based on the old knee-jerk reaction. Very often the Universe will use synchronicity to help us in making a choice. Synchronicity, simply put, is the occurence of seemingly unrelated experiences and events that when put together form meaning and cohesion. We need to be alert to them because the Universe will use all kinds of means to show them to us and they can come from quite unexpected sources. So be observant!

When you are bombarded by choices and decisions…when you find yourself in the proverbial ‘Island of Birds’ remember that you always have a choice, brainstorm your support systems and allow the Universe to work for your higher good.

Daily Om ~ Noticing Synchronicity

Things happen in our lives for a reason, even if that reason is not clear to you right away. When events appear to fit together perfectly in our lives it may seem at first that they are random occurrences, things that are the result of coincidence. These synchronous happenings, though, are much more than that, for, if we look at them more closely they can show us that the universe is listening to us and gently communicating with us. Learning to pay attention to and link the things that occur on a daily basis can be a way for us to become more attuned to the fact that most everything happens in our lives for a reason – even when that reason is not clear right away.

When we realize that things often go more smoothly than we can ever imagine, it allows us to take the time to reflect on the patterns in our lives. Even events that might not at first seem to be related to each other are indicators that the universe is working with, not against, us. This idea of synchronicity, then, means that we have to trust there is more to our lives than what we experience on a physical level. We need to be willing to look more closely at the bigger picture, accepting and having confidence in the fact that there is more to our experiences than immediately meets the eye. Being open to synchronicity also means that we have to understand that our lives are filled with both positive and negative events. Once we can recognize that one event is neither more desirable nor better than the other – they all have an overall purpose in our lives — then we are truly ready to listen to the messages the universe gives us.

While we may not be able to see everything in our lives as being synchronous, we can certainly use hindsight to be more aware of how the universe guides us. This sense of wonder at the mysteries of the universe and the interconnectedness present in our lives will help us see our overall ways of being and will in turn make it easier to work more consciously towards our spiritual evolution.