A Sure Way to Grow

31 03 2008

“Our trials, our sorrows, and our grieves develop us.” –Orison Sweet Marden

I remember a time when I wanted to be older, I envisioned it to be my ticket to freedom in order to do what I wanted to do, finally! How ironic, as time went by I realized that freedom is not to be able to do what I want to do but what I ought to do. Sometimes we ignore what we need to do in order to fulfill our earthly mission but we are soon reminded in the most uncomfortable ways; trials, sorrows, grief, sickness, etc. Unless we are shaken we would never stop to look deep within in order to find answers to our challenges. Most of us like to enjoy life without having to deal with pain and sorrow but it is in that pain and sorrow that our true self is revealed maybe for the first time even to us. In most cases is not a pretty picture, it is our being torned by past experiences, wounded, weak, sensitive to the most minimal criticism from those around us. It is not who we want to be or who we are at the moment but somehow others can’t forget our past.

As we enter dark moments in our life we are forced to be guided by others things other than our regular vision. Our emotions, our instincts, our faith and our soul needs to come into play in order to find a way out of our immediate misery. Accustomed to live on the flesh disregarding the soul will make this experience difficult. Trying to get away from the dark quick will also produce painful sensations since our whole being is calling us to experience and change at a certain level before we step away from it transformed. Like I mentioned before changes are not easy to make specially when we are uncertained of the outcome, that’s where faith comes in. Trusting that our trial has a reason for being and a purpose for our life and well being.

Truth has a way to make itself known. Inner peace is only achieved through a balance within, it is the satisfaction to know that our intention and our purpose is fully aligned to our individual persona. We can’t live our life under someone’s goals, values and intentions. Personal growth is an individual process calling us to put everything and everyone aside in order to be true to our self and our destiny. Failing to become individuals we slowly extinguished the very light we are called to let shine for the world to see. If we cover it, nobody will know it existed. One of the most painful experiences is to know that we are unknown to those around us, they are quick to see our faults and not our virtues. Another painful experience is to have hidden our individuality so well from those around us -in order not to disturb their life- than when it finally emerges it is rejected and their love and support is withdrawn from us.

I wonder what life would be if we decide to stay forever in our dark night just to keep the peace of those around us while the war continues inside of us. I don’t believe is possible to deny what it clamors for; transformation. To negate to go beyond what we know for sure is only denying the great possibilities God has in store for us.





Powerful Emotions

29 03 2008

How many times in your life how you felt powerless over an emotion? Emotions stir us in many different directions, there are positive as well as negative emotions. The ones I want to explore here are the ones that keep us from moving forward, the ones that paralizes and make us hurt inside.

Fear is the most common emotion, creates a disturbance in the balance of our life, it causes pain and sometimes powerlesness. When we are faced with the unknown the most logical reaction is fear, stepping out in faith trusting our instincts is not easy to do. Sometimes our actions are linked to people around us and the fact that there is a possibility that we might make the wrong decision paralizes us. At times we will have someone waiting for us to make a decision on what our next step will be putting even more pressure on us. I personally don’t like to make sudden decisions because I know by experience that they are not the best ones to make since by not having enough time to think things through a wrong decision is very easy to make. Then I will have to live with the consequences for many years to come. I guess the best thing to do is look at the present circumstance under a truthful light with the help of a friend or therapist and see if there is a possibility to make it better. But it all ultimately depends on the willingness of our heart to get involved in the process which can be lengthy and painful.

There is no easy way to embark into the unknown and yet we sometimes are forced to do it. It is like wanting to learn to swim, we are scared to death to sink but if we don’t let go of the ledge and start our struggle we will never learn how to do it. After much trial and error and only when we relax as we go into the water is when we manage to stay afloat and then we can begin to enjoy the freedom to go into much deeper waters without the fear of drowning in the process. I guess it is the same in life, the more we fight a situation to be different the worst it is to keep it under our control. If you get too tense while in the water you’ll sink like a rock to the bottom. In order to enjoy the waves you first need to dive in and one by one face the waves that come your way until you find the one with the right rythm to carry you for a short while. Nothing is perfect and learning to wait for the right time is crucial for many of our life’s decisions.

Fear springs from the notion that what we want or need to do at any given moment might not be understood or accepted by those who are important in our life. At the same time it might be something that its crucial for our mental and emotional well being. Ignoring the fact that some things need to change in our life will not make our life better, only easier for those around us because we won’t inconvenience their comfort. In time that comfort will not exist because we are part of the equation and when we are not satisfied with our life neither will they.

So how do we get rid of fears? By facing them at the right moment. By trusting that our innate instincts are calling us to move on to a different level and to hope that we ultimately cross over to the unknown dressed with power and self respect for who we are as individuals fulfilling our personal calling in life.





Die Living, Not Dead

26 03 2008

“And death is possibly the most important thing. We are all walking towards death, but we never know when death will touch us and it is our duty, therefore, to look around us, to be grateful for each minute. But we should also be grateful to death, because it makes us think about the importance of each decision we take, or fail to take; it makes us stop doing anything that keeps us stuck in the category of the “living dead” and, instead, urges us to risk everything, to bet everything on those things we always dreamed of doing, because, whether we like it or not, the angel of death is waiting for us.”– Paulo Coelho

What is life supposed to be? Mere existence or a sum of experiences fully lived? I wonder as we somehow get from living each and every moment to navigating on autopilot through life. When did all of this happen and why? Life is not static, it evolves and changes and sometimes those changes are not welcomed or accepted. Familiarity and comfort is regarded with stability but there comes a time when we may not feel that way anymore. I guess our outlook changes the moment we face death. Dying is such a final state even to those of us who believe in resurrection that it makes us dig deep within ourself. In order to rise to eternal life we must experience death, the same goes when we are to experience a necessary transformation in our life, something has to die inside of us in order to be re-born. We know a transformation is necessary because there is a nagging sense of pain and sorrow within we can’t shake off from our soul. The more we resist it the more it hurts.

These periods of our life have been called many things but my favorite so far is Dark Nights of the Soul, Thomas Moore wrote a book with that title and as I read it I identify to all that I’m feeling at this moment. I don’t agree with everything he writes but the core of the matter is there and I can relate. I was studying St. John of the Cross writings months before I came to this stage in my life and in a way I see it as the prelude to a great transformation of mind and spirit in order to connect fully to what God had in mind for my life.

This is a short passage from Dark Nights of the Soul:

Your dark night is preparing you to be yourself. It is reenacting your birth as a person. It is offering you an alternative to absorption in your manipulative culture.

Your dark night is forcing you to consider alternatives. It is taking you out of the active life of submission to alien goals and purposes. It is offering you your own approach to life. You can sit with it and consider who you are and who you want to be. you can be fortified by it to stand strong in your very existence. You can be born again, not into and ideology that needs your surrender, but into yourself, your uniqueness, your God-given reality, the life destined for you.

The question now is if we are going to let our life to evolve and be transformed or if we are going to continue to hide behind our fears and begin to die inside? It takes courage to move on to an unknown path but it is ultimately a matter of life or death of our own spirit.





Music & Sight

24 03 2008

For longer than I can remember I’ve been wanting to visit Greece, specially Santorini. I don’t know what this place has but everytime I look at pictures I’m transported to a place of tranquility within.

The last few days have been difficult and tense. Music always have a positive effect on me, too bad I tend to forget and keep going with the day to day responsabilities and don’t make time to listen regularly. Yanni’s music tunes vibrates inside in such a way that the mental tension just melts away. It’s amazing. Music with lyrics don’t make the same impact. So yesterday I sat on the floor in front of my stereo, my eyes closed and listened to this whole concert on high volume. I let every note resonate inside me and that helped me tremendously.

What helps you keep balanced and relaxed?





I Kissed the Crown of Thorns

22 03 2008

Christ

And then came the Veneration of the Cross on Good Friday, they brought over the big crucifix with Christ on it and the altar servers held it for the faithful to come forward. As I walked up I was thinking which part I would kiss and I remembered many years before in Puerto Rico looking for a statue of Christ wearing his crown of thorns. I wanted a really nice one but didn’t have much money so after walking all over Old San Juan from store to store I found one I could afford; one skilfully carved on wood.

I walked up and put my lips on the crown of thorns, so fitting to the way I’ve been feeling. Those thorns not only cut his forehead but went through his skull and touched his brain, how painful that must have been. And here I am and the whole congregation and I’m sure that a lot of us sitll contribute to that pain today. Many of us are going through some kind of physical, emotional or spiritual pain. I walked back to my pew and when kneeled I felt my heavy heart just to remember that He loves me no matter what and will continue to do so.

Tomorrow will be a happy day, we will remember the Resurrection and be reminded that right after a very painful moment there is always hope. In order to appreciate joy we must first experience sorrow.

Happy Easter my dear friends, may you feel JOY in your heart.





You can’t give what you don’t have!

19 03 2008

“If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you won’t be very good at loving any one else.” This is how an article on BAW begins and it is so true.

In life and in love we many times think that our life is difficult because we can’t get what we need when in reality it is us who need to give ourselves what we need first and then give that to someone else. Unless we are able to give and take, our life slowly becomes one of the most difficult things to manage as the times goes by.

Our bad and good experiences opens or closes our heart to others depending on our reaction. We need to understand that most of the time when we have a bad experience it is not because we haven’t give it our all, it is because the other person perhaps didn’t know how to accept what was given to them. On the other hand sometimes we can’t give our all because the other person is not completely opened to our sensitivities, they love us but at the same time they keep reminding us of how short we come to meet “their standards.” And yet there are other times in which we are so amazed at what is offered to us that we feel unworthy and run away from it.

We are who we are, not what we have done, nobody is perfect and is best to keep on looking for ways to live better today than we have in the past. As we look to develop new relationships and renew old ones we should be clear about who we are and show them. They should accept us for who we are. At this point in my life nothing less will do.

If you want to read a step by step of what you should do to insure you love yourself first, go here. It’s not as hard as it seems, it just requires time and attention to whom deserves it the most, YOU.





Brida

15 03 2008

I was reading Paulo Coelho’s Blog and found out about his new book, Brida. The theme was interesting and in tune to what many women go through at different stages in their life. It has to do with finding out who she (Brida) is among other things, something I am questioning in my own life and I’m sure many other women are as well.

Here is the sypnosis from Amazon:

The spellbinding new novel from one of the world’s best-loved authors, Paulo Coelho, recounting the story of Brida, and her pursuit of wisdom. This is the story of Brida, a young Irish girl, and her quest for knowledge. She has long been interested in various aspects of magic, but is searching for something more. Her search leads her to people of great wisdom, who begin to teach her about the world. Her teachers sense that Brida has a gift, but cannot tell what that is. Meanwhile, Brida pursues her course ever deeper into the mysteries of life, seeking to answer questions about who she is. She meets a wise man who dwells in a forest, and teaches her about overcoming her fears and trusting in the goodness of the world, and a woman who teaches her how to dance to the music of the world, and how to pray to the moon. She seeks her destiny, as she struggles to find a balance between her relationships and her desire to become a witch. This enthralling novel incorporates themes fans of Paulo will love. It is a tale of love, passion, mystery and spirituality.

I went ahead and pre-order the Spanish version due in April, I can’t wait. I just finished reading The Zahir and I really enjoyed it. It is about love and obsession. Right now I’m reading Veronika Decides to Die. Paulo always write about what is so common to all of us as human beings, there is a new important universal theme in each one of his books. He says he writes to understand himself but in the process he reveals human nature to the core and the great need to keep it linked to the spiritual. I always find nuggets of wisdom sprinkled in all of his books and some of them are deeper than others.

If you get a chance go ahead and check his books, I am sure you won’t be disappointed.

Thank you Paulo for writing the way you do.