Offering Our Gifts

Greek_EasterIt’s easy to get caught up in our personal lives and forget that we have an obligation to be responsible members of our communities. For some of us, expressing this responsibility is so interwoven into our personal lives that it is simply a natural extension of who we are. Others may need to take a moment to consider how to be more responsible for the communities in which we live. For those of us who live in large cities, we can start with our neighborhoods. Anything we do on a small level will automatically ripple out into the larger system.

Communities thrive on the talents of their members, so one approach to community responsibility is to consider what you have to offer and find ways to bring that into your community. If you have a special gift when it comes to bringing people together, you might agree to throw a party or event once a year that includes the whole community. Even a small open house in an apartment building can accomplish a lot in terms of making people feel more connected and comfortable with each other. If you have a talent for organic gardening, you might offer to help people in your neighborhood plan their own organic gardens. You might be the go to person for neighbors who need someone to water their plants or care for their pets when they’re away. You might take an abandoned space in your community and galvanize others to help you transform it into a community garden or a playground for children. In an area where there are many homeless people, starting a soup kitchen or organizing a holiday meal makes a big difference not only to those in need but to those who want to help.

All holiday parades, picnics, and ceremonies started somewhere, with someone who wanted to give back to the community in which they lived. It’s not too late to propose and execute a new tradition in your own community, whether it’s a block party or an annual picnic. Your particular vision, gifts, and strengths are part of what makes your community unique, so as you recognize them in yourself, feel free to offer them to those who live in your vicinity. Whether your offerings are visionary or practical, they are the very essence of community.

DailyOM

Ready for Change

There comes a point in most of our lives when we feel ready to experience a change we’ve had trouble carrying out. Maybe we’ve been stuck in a home, a relationship, job, or a town that hasn’t felt right for a long time, but we’ve been unable to shift our circumstances in the direction we want to go. At times like this, it can help to declare to the universe that we are ready for a change. Think of it as informing a helpful friend that you need her assistance to move to the next level in your life. If the time is right, the universe will respond with opportunities and offers designed to help you create the change you wish to see.

You can begin the process of making your declaration by getting clear within yourself about what exactly you want to change. Whenever we ask anyone for help, they can assist us that much better if we are specific. The universe also appreciates our clarity and has an easier time answering a direct communication than a vague yearning. When you are clear on what you want, write your declaration on a piece of paper and place it on your altar, if you have one. If you don’t, you can also place it under your pillow or in a box on your nightstand. Set aside a period of time every day to be silent with your wishes for change, repeating your declaration like a mantra. This lets the universe know that you are ready to change and will be receptive to its efforts.

Feel free to continue to refine and redefine your declaration, and remember to be open to the many different ways in which the change you seek might come to be. Remember also to be active in your own efforts, taking opportunities that come your way, watching for signs, and always taking responsibility for your intentions. If things don’t happen quickly, try not to be discouraged; it might take time to free up energy that has been blocked and possibly serving a purpose beyond what we can understand. If you continue your conversation with the universe, declaring yourself clearly and openly, you cannot help but experience the magic of changing and being changed.

DailyOM

Kindness

Kindness is an ideal that is easily accessible to all of us. We all know that a small kindness can make our journeys lighter and more enjoyable. Even bringing an instance of kindness to mind can put a smile on your face days or weeks later or perhaps even inspire you to share kindness with another. Though it may seem simple to the point of insignificance, many cultures throughout the world and history have recognized kindness as a powerful virtue. It may be the simplest way to experience and share all the grandest ideals of humanity. We can make the choice to act from the best place within ourselves at any time, while simultaneously recognizing the highest potential in another with the smallest of acts, nourishing the seed of hope in each soul we encounter.

In a way, kindness acts as the oil that makes the engine of our world move more smoothly and with less friction. We can still get where we are going but the ride is more pleasant, and those around us can share in the ideal world that we help to create. We are all fortunate that kindness is limitless in its supply and available to everyone. When we act in ways that confirm our ideals, we make the ideal our reality. Then, instead of affirming the experience of struggle and competition, we can shift our experience to the reality of ease and pleasurable camaraderie with the fellow citizens of the world.

Whether giving way to someone in traffic or letting someone go ahead of us in line, donating money or sharing our homes in a crisis, we actively create a universe of kindness and giving with every choice we make. The smallest gesture can bring a smile to light the shadow of an unpleasant situation or remove tension from a difficult task, but its effects can echo and extend far beyond the moment. We can be sure that we will receive a kindness in return, but giving is its own reward. Kindness expands the light within us and reaches out to touch the light in others as well, giving us all a glimpse of the glow that has the power to enlighten our world.

DailyOM

Culling Out the Weeds

The power of the mind is a curious thing, because it is so powerful yet so difficult to control sometimes. We find ourselves thinking a certain way, knowing that this thought may be creating trouble for us yet we find it difficult to stop. For example, many people have the experience of getting sick at the same time every year or every time they go on a plane. They may even be aware that their beliefs impact their experiences, so continue to think they will get sick and then they do.

Sometimes we need to get sick in order to process something or move something through our bodies. But often we get sick, or feel exhausted, because we don’t make the effort to galvanize the power of our minds in the service of our physical health, which is one of its most important functions. We really can use it to communicate to our bodies, yet we often regard the two as separate entities that have little to do with one another.

Knowing this, we have the power to create physical health and mental health, simply by paying attention to the tapes running in our minds. Once we hear ourselves, we have the option to let that tape keep running or to make a new recording. We harness the power of the mind in our defense when we choose supportive, healing words that foster good health and high spirits. All we need to do is remember to tend the field of our mind with the attentive and loving hand of a master gardener tending her flower beds, culling out the weeds so that the blossoms may come to fruition.

DailyOM

Now Is the Time

Having a vision for our future that differs from our current circumstances can be inspiring and exciting, but it can also keep us from fully committing to our present placement. We may become aware that this is happening when we notice our thoughts about the future distracting us from our participation in the moment. We may find upon searching our hearts that we are waiting for some future time or situation in order to self-actualize. This would be like a flower planted in North Dakota putting off blooming because it would prefer to do so in Illinois.

There are no guarantees in this life, so when we hold back we do so at the risk of never fully blossoming. This present moment always offers us the ground in which we can take root and open our hearts now. What this means is that we live fully, wherever we are, not hesitating because conditions are not perfect, or we might end up moving, or we haven’t found our life partner. This can be scary, because we might feel that we are giving up our cherished dreams if we do not agree to wait for them. But this notion that we have to hold back our life force now in order to find happiness later doesn’t really make sense. What might really be happening is that we are afraid to embrace this moment, and ourselves, just exactly as we are right now. This constitutes a tendency to hold back from fully loving ourselves, as we are, where we are.

We have a habit of presenting life with a set of conditions—ifs and whens that must be fulfilled before we will say yes to the gift of our lives. Now is the time for each of us to bloom where we are planted, overriding our tendency to hold back. Now is the time to say yes, to be brave and commit fully to ourselves, because until we do no one else will. Now is the time to be vulnerable, unfolding delicately yet fully into the space in which we find ourselves.

DailyOM


Month at a Glance

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