Life

Decisions: How do you know if you’re right or wrong?

Goodbye Playhouse!

Do you trust in your own decision-making abilities?  How do you know if you’ve made the choice that will lead to the highest potential outcome?  How can you maintain trust when people and situations reveal themselves to be different than you initially believed?

This coming week my grant-based job of four years is coming to an end and life is thrusting me into change and uncertainty.  In work, as well as in relationships, my mind’s favorite candy is questioning my ability to make decisions that are in my best interest.  The voice in my head could live an entire life surviving purely on self-doubt.

When I have difficulty trusting in people or situations I remind myself that I don’t have to trust in any thing, I only have trust in the universe, God, life itself.  Yet, sometimes the voice in my head has enough momentum that even this perspective fails to interrupt its destructive thought pattern. This is why I am so grateful for the insight in the following video.  It reminds me of what it feels like when my decisions are being guided by the clear perspective of present moment awareness, rather than the clever arguments of the mind.  Being able to discern between the two is the difference between peace and suffering.

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consciousness

Thinking vs. Doing: What are you responsible for?

ACIM

We all have a perfect view for the bizarre parade of our own thoughts.  As this both random and repetitive display barrels ever on, we are constantly presented with a choice.  We can sit back in the lounge chair of our consciousness and witness this interesting spectacle as it passes, or we can pick out whatever catches the eye and hold onto it, even follow it off in its own direction.  Whether or not your thoughts are pleasing and true depends on which particular section of the parade is passing you by, but no matter what kind of thoughts you have, you can always decide which ones to believe.

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Inspiration

Harry Potter, Puppies, and the Origin of Joy

LeakyCon!Growing up during the “Harry Potter Era” taught me innumerable lessons, one of which is that I love Harry Potter.  I can’t count how many times I’ve read J.K. Rowling‘s gift to this world, but each time I do I am no less entertained than the time before.  Every time I go through the series it feels new.

New things, feelings, experiences, and insights provide an unparalleled joy.  Why is that?  Is it possible to feel that same sense of joy more often?

The joy that comes from the new is actually the joy that arises from the now.  Usually we do not truly experience the present moment, because our thoughts and perceptions are clouded by a heavy veil of past.  It is so natural to view everything through the eyes of the past that it can be impossible to notice we aren’t seeing the reality of the eternally new present.

New things unveil the joy of the present because we have no past experiences through which to filter them.  The beginning of cultivating that experience in everyday life is to acknowledge you are viewing the present through the lens of the past, and do no see the actuality of what is.  This opens the door for the infinitely new now.

On that note, get a boost in present moment awareness with these adorable puppies experiencing the newness of life.  Dogs are great teachers of presence because they are always fully experiencing each moment.

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Life

When The Honeymoon Is Over

Find Your Peace - NCI’ve never been on a honeymoon before.  But if the disillusionment after it’s over feels anything like the 26th of December, then I’m not sure I’d want one.  Even though I get better and better at letting go of Christmas as each year passes, when December gives way to the endlessly bleak Chicago winter I go into spiritual hibernation. During winter the only solace is the steady passage of days, and I still find myself asking, “Will this never end?”  This year I’m actually not sure if it will.

Spiritual hibernation is the setting aside of inner growth and evolving perspective.  When you spiritually hibernate you are in survival mode, and naturally you do what you can to survive.  Rather, you do what you think you need to do to keep going.

A commonly experienced aspect of spiritual hibernation, is that it occurs during a time when spiritual growth is most necessary, helpful, and potentially transformative. If you notice yourself spiritually hibernating, that is a pretty good sign the situation you are experiencing can quickly accelerate your inner transformation, first through acceptance.

Despite my earlier pronouncement of winter despair, summer is on its way.  Each year when it is almost June, even if it still snows occasionally, I not only anticipate the new season but I find myself growing happier.  Happier isn’t entirely accurate; I begin to feel lighter, have more energy, open up to new ways of trusting the universe and moving in it with ease.

During this phase I feel as if my joy has deepened, and am grateful to have passed through another winter to this new point.  Not moving through the after-honeymoon phase leaves the true fulfillment undiscovered.  The universe kindly uses honeymoon phases in many aspects of life to invite us into experiences that contain endless depth and opportunities for our highest potentials to manifest. The “trick” is to let the in-between period of transition change you.

Recently my answer to the question, “What makes a person irresistible?” was featured on irrestistablegirl.com. The question has since stayed in my thoughts and the following SoulPancake video leapt out at me today. In this Science of Love segment the connection between human beings who have experienced the birth and death of a honeymoon phase in their relationships help shed light on what happens next, and how to make it work:

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Peace

How To Deal With Other People

HopeWhat can you accept in other human beings?  If we look within, most of us will find that there is a certain level of “otherness” we are able to accept, beyond which tolerance dissolves.

This is more obviously the case when we examine our feelings towards people who are dangerous, break laws, or don’t adhere to societal norms of behavior.  On a more subtle level, I see it on the CTA during Chicago’s morning commute, when two people have a loud conversation instead of scrolling through their iPhones.   In that moment a humorously clear gulf is created between the quiet majority, and the atypical loud morning conversationalists.

What creates this separation between people?  It is born of thoughts and opinions in the mind that are completely bought into.  Luckily this can be overcome more easily than it would appear, even in the face of humanity’s long history of alienating others who seem too different to allow.

When you are able to observe these thoughts as they happen, you haven’t immediately identified with them and taken them as truth.  When you see thoughts of separation in the mind, that witnessing provides the choice between alienation and inclusion.  It provides the opportunity to not accept judgment of others as absolute truth.  Before peace becomes more noticeable on a societal level, this small decision will be building its firm foundation.

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Life

Mother: Role or Real?

Sally and KatieWe all play roles. Sometimes we are a doctor or patient, a waiter or customer, a spouse or coworker. All of these functions turn into roles when your sense of self gets wrapped up in what you do.

All role-playing is transcended when we are present, responding to the needs of the moment we experience instead of acting out our mind’s idea of what our role entails. The same can be said for mothers. Being a mother can turn into a role when it is a mental concept. But one of the amazing things I’ve observed from mothers is the complete transcendence of roles.

I’ve observed my mother and grandmother, my aunts and friends who are mothers, being constantly present, responding purely to what is required in each moment. They go beyond the role of mother, and reveal where that role originated. They are creators, sustainers, love bearers, teachers, healers, unifiers, transformers. They are alchemists transforming love into life. Mothers bear the burdens of nations and create vital changes in the world that are necessary but often not invited. They act from love even when repaid in hatred or apathy. Thank you mothers for transcending roles, and birthing a better world generation after generation.

My own mother not only gave me the gift of life, but also taught me how to live. She provided a space to grow as a human being, free from judgment, in the all-encompassing embrace of unconditional love. It is with the love I have learned, and continue to learn, from my mother that I offer this gift of relaxation. Take a moment and be refreshed with Let Yourself Learn’s deep relaxation, based on Shavasana from Integral Hatha Yoga and the wisdom teachings of Swami Satchidananda.

Click here for a free download of the audio version of Shavasana with Katie Spero.

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consciousness

How To Know If You’re Being Present

RumiOn my walk home from work tonight I looked up at the moon and thought, “I don’t have to accept everything about my life. I only have to accept what I am experiencing at this very moment.” I then suddenly tripped over an uneven crack in the sidewalk and just barely caught myself from falling. This startlingly answered my initial train of thought: thinking about being present is not the same as being present.

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