Choosing Stillness Over Action

I have been thinking a lot lately about how to manage my desire, and feeling like I need, to act in the face of adversity versus just being. Sometimes I call this surrendering. Sometimes I call it just accepting the “as is.” Regardless, though, of what I name it, the ability to be still in the midst of chaos comes from embodying the essence of the “I am.”

To be able to rest in the “I am” is to identify with Divine oneness, God, Source, light that lives in all of us. From here, we can choose to take action, which is sometimes warranted, or we can remain still and silent.

The latter choice is the one I’m pondering now. The desire to react and even respond in the face of an attack or criticism or unkind deed by another is so strong. We want to retaliate, to speak up, to be right. But here’s the thing; just because we’re right, or feel we are, doesn’t necessarily mean we should take any action at all. And this is the tough part, because we live in a world in which we are defined by our doing, not by are being.

In light of this desire to further understand stillness in the presence of chaos, this passage shown here from the Tao resonates deeply with me.

“Because [the Master] doesn’t display himself, people can see his light.” The one who remains still is enlightened. Even in the midst of others’ loud or aggressive egos, the Master rises above the din, not because he is louder, but because he is quiet.

“Because he has nothing to prove, people can trust his words.” Again, when he acts or speaks out of his essence rather than ego, he is trustworthy, because he accepts the “as is;” others’ approval of is inconsequential.

“Because he doesn’t know who he is, people recognize themselves in him.” In other words, because he is not fixed to any dogma, belief, or institution, others can easily identify with him and thus feel an intimate connection, a oneness with him.

These passages are elegant and deeply inspiring. As I continue to evolve into my own wholeness, as my triggers lessen, as my desire to be right and to react diminishes, the Tao comforts and inspires me. This is the way.

 

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On the Eve of a New Year, Go Within First

Some time ago, I stopped being surprised when events, people, opportunities, and messages just showed up in my life exactly when and how I needed them. Cultivating and appreciating synchronicity is a way of life. I ask questions of the Universe and God and Source, and answers simply show up. I’m no longer astonished; my heart is filled with gratitude and joy.

This morning, New Year’s Eve day, I awoke to a quiet house with the sun shining on the gorgeous snow-covered trees and ground. The world was light-filled and sparkling. But my heart was heavy.

Why? As is my routine now, I immediately go inwards. I feel into my body where the tension lies, from where the sadness is emanating. I was telling myself, It’s a beautiful day. I have so much to be thankful for. What’s my problem?

And then I touched on what I believe is the essence of my challenge today. Perhaps it will resonate with you.

On the eve of a new year, I’m feeling, well, behind and lacking in achievement. I’m looking at my life and thinking, “I haven’t accomplished this,” “I am no longer young and filled with youthful potential and possibility.” Is this what mid-life crisis is about?

And then two things happened that inspired me—forced me, really—to sit my rear in the chair and write. First, I wrote a list for my fiancé entitled “I will.” This is a list of thoughts and promises I am writing to him for the New Year, not only to share my thought of commitment and love with him, but also to clarify in my own mind what and how I intend to be in the world in 2018 and going forward in my life.

This was the last sentiment on my list: “I will honor you by respecting myself and maintaining my own spiritual and creative fullness and self-worth so that I can freely, and with overflowing joy, give myself to you.” When I wrote this, I could feel my attitude begin to shift. I stopped looking outward to, what I perceive to be, my lack of accomplishments, age, etc., and I started focusing on my own spiritual and energetic fullness and health. This was the spark that resonated in my soul with inspiration and excitement.

Okay, I might feel lacking in certain ways, but I am committed to being full—so full that my enthusiasm, gratitude, energy, and inspiration will spill over with abundant benevolence to others. And the fact that I KNOW that I need to honor myself first in order to love, respect, and honor others, is perhaps the greatest accomplishment and gift I can give myself and the people around me.

The second thing that happened within 10 minutes of my curating my list, was that I found this quotation by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj in a document I created months ago while studying at The Chopra Center: “All you need is to stop searching outside what can be found only within. Set your vision right before you operate….Clarify your mind, purify your heart, sanctify your life—this is the quickest way to a change in your world.”

Seriously? Can synchronicity be any more astonishing? Yes, this is the key. All of my teachers and mentors, from Dr. Shefali to Deepak Chopra to Rob Bell to JJ Virgin to Glennon Doyle to Elizabeth DiAlto to Suzi Lula, to Kim d’Eramo, etc., etc., have discussed this as the essence of health and well-being. Go within FIRST. Simply refuse to look outward at the world for answers, for we will not find them there. The answers are within. They are ALWAYS within. Our bodies and spirits are incredibly wise and will lead us to clarity, equanimity, and Grace.

So now I will begin my day in earnest and with a new vision. With an understanding of non-duality, I can accept my fears and sadness and pangs of insecurity at the same time I experience gratitude and beauty and hopefulness. This, to me, is living with depth and breadth and an open, whole heart.

My intention is that 2018 will be a year full of looking inward, asking more questions, and becoming more self-aware so that I may manifest my best self, my best life, and become the fullest expression of my divinely-inspired soul.

 

Become the Hero of Your Own Journey

Cast your intention into the womb of creation.

-Deepak Chopra

All the answers you need are within you; they have been all this time.

Ours is the Hero’s Journey. Painful life events have shown up because we have much to learn. Once we realize this, that life happens for us, rather than to us, we loosen our grip on control, expectations, and defending ourselves. 

If we follow the path of the hero, we will expand and learn and gain a clarity of purpose. 

We will come to know ourselves and ultimately become the masters of our own lives.

We will rise victorious, honoring ourselves as the heroes of our own life stories.

Roasted Almond Butter

I love honey-roasted peanut butter. For a while, I was buying a half pint of the freshly-ground stuff weekly at Whole Foods and treating myself to a couple of spoonfuls a day. My children love it, too, either plain or with slices of banana or apple.

As I researched and practiced elimination diets, however, I decided to find an alternative to my beloved peanuty treat. I already knew that digesting peanuts was more challenging for my system than I wanted to admit. And since peanuts can be inflammatory and irritating, I decided to find an alternative.

As a result, I developed this super-easy recipe for almond butter. To satisfy my hankering for a little sweetness, I’ve added just a bit of stevia, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. If you prefer not to do so, the butter is just as delicious with the addition of pink salt alone.

This almond butter keeps well at room temperature for up to 1 week. Enjoy it in its own, mixed into smoothies, with fruit, or occasionally on gluten-free bread. 

Let me know what you think!

8 ounces raw natural almonds

1 tablespoon organic coconut oil 

2 teaspoons stevia (optional)

2 teaspoons organic maple syrup (optional)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch pink Himalayan sea salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spread the almonds on a rimmed parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast until golden brown and fragrant, about 7 minutes.

Transfer the warm nuts to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Begin processing and add the coconut oil, stevia, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl. Continue to process until the butter is smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer the almond butter to a glass jar and cover tightly. The butter will keep fresh at room temperature for 1 week.