Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Being a Festival of Lights



Festival of Lightsby John August Swanson


The prophet said, 
“There are some who see me
by the same Light in which I am seeing them.
Our natures are one.
Without reference to any strands of lineage,
 without reference to texts or traditions,
we drink the life-water together.”
~ The Essential Rumi


Recently, I was remembering a significant time of my life just before my 30th birthday.  I was at my first retreat … we were assembled all together in the great hall … the speaker was David Spangler from Findhorn, Scotland.  He played a song in which he had written the words.  It was called, “A Festival of Lights.”  David brought us all into a significant context saying that each of us are the carriers of God’s Light and together we are a festival of lights.  As we sang along with the music it felt like the whole room was filled with a beautiful glow of Love and harmony for all.  We were actually being a festival of lights.

During this Christmas Season, I wanted to send to you the picture above and this song in order to bring alive this experience, here and now, in us and in our world.

Click here to listen to this piece of music:  

Here are the words to this song:

This is the Festival, the Festival of Light,
Sing for the candles burning brightly through the night.

Sing for the light of God that guides our destiny,
Sing for the light of Love that builds community.

Sing for the wise ones, men and women who
Light up our way with visions that are true.

Sing for our children, who are candles of the dawn,
Giving us the promise that our light will carry on.

This is the festival, the festival of light,
Sing for the Love that shall make this world ignite.
A flame with a beauty that awaits in every heart,
Sing for the Will that can make that fire start.

Follow the light that leads within us to the birth
Of love and harmony and peace for all upon the earth.

We are the Festival, we are the Light
We are the candles burning brightly in the night.


In and as this Festival of Lights we ask  

May there be activated a Presence of Love and harmony 
in all people and in all situations 
everywhere upon this earth. 

May we together 
create a world of peace 
honoring all people as one community, 
held in the embrace of God’s Loving Presence. 


Have a very special Christmas and New Year’s celebration!

Many Blessings dear One,
Elizabeth



Monday, December 10, 2018

The Reason for the Season


 

We are now in the midst of Advent.  It is a time to connect
with this holy season to prepare us for the birth of Christ
within us.

Through Contemplative Prayer and Meditation we can
directly experience what happened 2000 years ago, here and now, within us.
I have created a guided meditation for Advent season 
"Awaiting the Birth" ...



Also, if you are choosing to light the candles of Advent each evening, here is something my husband and I use as we light the candles:


Let us prepare our Hearts 
to be the dwelling place 
of the Most High.
Come into our hearts, Lord Jesus.


May this holy season awaken in all of our Hearts the real reason for the season. 

Blessings dear One,
Elizabeth


Saturday, November 17, 2018

A Golden Thread







“I give you the end of a golden thread,
Only wind it into a ball,
     It will lead you in at Heaven's gate
     Built in Jerusalem's wall.”
~ William Blake



What is this “golden thread” that William Blake is speaking about?  Here is a good explanation of it here …

There is a thread you follow. It goes among
Things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.

While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
~ William Stafford 


My first experience of this “thread” was through the breath.  Watching the breath entering into the body … and out of the body.  Gently turning attention from thoughts and experience … into the flow of the breath.  Thoughts calm … experience unwinds and releases.  Abiding in this comfort … this calm … this peace.  

Some call this place of comfort Holy Spirit, the Heart of God, Christ’s Presence, True Self, Breath of Heaven.   I invite you to take time to sit in contemplative prayer and meditation … feeling and following this golden thread of Presence … drawing us into Heaven’s Gatebuilt in Jerusalem's wall.


A Guided Meditation:  
"Holy Spirit: Breath of Heaven"







Blessings dear One,
Elizabeth

Monday, November 5, 2018

Just Rest Here




“Just sit there right now.
Don’t do a thing.  
Just rest.
For your
separation from God
is the hardest work in the world.”

~ Hafiz


Have you ever had a time in your life when you have been “ambushed” by feelings — your experience takes you away for a time and there is no control with what you are feeling — it’s got you?  This kind of an experience can be either negative or positive.

Just recently there was a negative memory in my life that came up and ambushed me.  Initially, it was quite scary.  There was nothing I could do to calm the experience down or avoid it.  

In my spiritual practice, I know to be still and fully accept whatever is coming up as it is.  That doesn’t mean I wasn’t seeing and experiencing all the dynamics of what was coming up, but at the same time, I sensed a Loving Presence tenderly and deeply embracing me.  I had a choice in that moment … to get caught up in the current of the emotions … or lean into this Loving Embrace.   

I am sure we all have had these times to work through.  Either positive or negative, our spiritual work is in surrendering it all into the Stillness of God’s Love.  Then, we can move on from this wise and Loving Presence.


Here is a guided meditation I created for this message:
“Just Rest Here”    Click here:
http://www.meditations-for-everyone.info/blog-meditations


All is well from here.

Blessings dear One,
Elizabeth

Monday, October 29, 2018

Knowing the Bottom


















Many of us are not aware of the sacred space within us,
the place where we can reflect and contemplate,
the space from which wonderment can flow
as we look at the mountains, the sky, the flowers, 
the fruits and all that is beautiful in our universe,
the space where we can contemplate works of art.

This place, which is the deepest in us all,
is the place of our very personhood,
the place where we receive the light of life 
and the murmurings of the Spirit of God.

It is the place in which we make life choices
and from which flows our love for others.
~ Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche


This past week, my husband Steve, and I went to stay in a little cottage by the sea in New Harbor, Maine which is owned by a dear friend.  When you sit in the main room, there is a big bay window to look out over the ocean, and the ocean is right outside of the window.  We took quality time in front of the window reading, relaxing and talking and also watching the lobster/fishing boats do their thing.  

The sea was calm up until the last day when a “Nor'easter” came in with full force.  Our host, Merle, was visiting us that day and joined us in watching the storm gradually build to an intensity.  Merle has been a fisherman for many years and started talking about knowing the bottom of the ocean in a 150 mile radius over the area we were viewing.  “What was knowing the bottom? I asked.  He then went on to explain how after so many years of charting the bottom for the different depths and places where the fish and lobster hang out, he can now see the bottom when he looks out over the ocean.  So, his perspective of the storm was from the depths of the sea and he calmly saw the high swells as a natural part of the ocean’s character.  Where I was being rocked by the intensity and wondering if the water might come up under the cottage. 



This conversation has been working on me.  And, I continued to be with this and something came to me ...  

As we continue to contemplate or surrender attention to God's Loving Presence alive within us, we become very familiar with our base or “bottom” and we would then view our personal or worldly life situations or “swells in the ocean” from this calm depth.

As I work with folks in coaching meditation and contemplative prayer, I am constantly reassuring them.  Most of us were not trained to bring our attention into a Living and Loving Presence within us.   And, it does take practice to bring attention back into this place until it becomes quite natural.  Much like our friend Merle took the time to “practice seeing the bottom” until it became a natural knowing for him.


This place, which is the deepest in us all,
is the place of our very personhood,
the place where we receive the light of life 
and the murmurings of the Spirit of God.
It is the place in which we make life choices
and from which flows our love for others.


Jean Vanier shares with us so clearly a place deepest in us all and from which we make life choices and from which flows our love for others.

This week, as we are all aware, there is quite a storm happening and it is requiring us all to move into this deep place within us in order to make choices and take actions that will be significant for our country and the entire world.  And, most importantly, our present actions and decisions are setting the stage for our children and grand children.

Take time to watch this youtube.  
It is sung by our little ones …  Be sure to have a tissue ...

In the beginning of my practice, I had the benefit of being with my teacher as he guided us in meditation.  And, with this experience, I found it to be very easy to access this peace we are speaking about here.  That is why I continue to provide guided meditations for you, it does make it easier and eventually you catch on quite easily. 

So, I have included a meditation here for you to use as a way to walk step by step into this deep peace and Loving Presence.   From HERE, we can share our deepest love and compassion from the depths of our True Self … being an instrument of His Grace-filled Presence.

"Being the One Radiant Heart"



A human being is a part of the whole, 
called by us “Universe,”  a part limited in time and space. 
[One] experiences [oneself] … as something separated 
from the rest … a kind of optical delusion 
of [one’s] consciousness. . . . 
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison 
by widening our circle of compassion 
to embrace all living creatures 
and the whole of nature in its beauty. —Albert Einstein 


We are waking up from this "optical delusion" and "widening our circle of compassion to embrace all ..."

Blessings dear One,
Elizabeth


"More Love Please" from a wall at the border of Mexico.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

How Big is Love?







Only if one knows the truth of Love, 
which is the real nature of  [True] Self, 
will the strong entangled knot of life be untied. 
Only if one attains the height of Love 
will liberation be attained.  

Such is the heart of all religions. 
The experience of [True] Self is only Love, 
which is seeing only Love, hearing only Love, 
feeling only Love, tasting only Love and smelling only Love, 
which is bliss. 
~ Ramana Maharshi



I am coming to realize that there is quite a difference between being in Love and being Love.  This distinct difference begins to show up in our relating with one another in all levels of relationships. 

In Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem, she has stated
something very profound with regard to the truth about being Love 

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height  
my soul can reach, 
when reeling out of sight 
for the ends of Being and ideal Grace.” 


I want to tell you a story.  It was years ago, right after my father passed, and our immediate family was together in his home consoling each other.  My niece, who was only six at the time, opened up to me and shared how sad she was in having lost her Grandpa.  This is how I was led to be with her:

I asked her, “Sweetie, how big are you?”  

She pointed to her body and said, “As big as this.”  

I said, “You’re bigger than that.  Close your eyes and see.”  

She did and quickly opened them saying with surprise, “Oh, I’m as big as this room!”    I responded,  “You’re bigger than that.”  

Again, she closed her eyes to see.  After a moment she opened them and said excitedly,  “I’m as big as the whole universe!!”  

Yes, sweetheart, this is how big God’s Love is in you ... as big as the whole universe.  Now, let’s look from here at your ‘sad’.”  

She closed her eyes and then opened them with,  “It just went pop!!”  

The whole day she was going around to everyone in the family and comforting them from this place of pure Love, sharing from a genuine feeling of it’s all ok.



When we are open and  receiving Love this big, is there anything that can snag us or upset us?

So, back to … what is the difference between being in Love and being Love?

As we are loving someone, is our Love big enough to support them doing whatever life is calling them to do or be?  Is our love big enough to accept the loss of a loved one and be able to comfort those around us?  Is our Love big enough to be open to the infinite possibilities that are available in every moment of now?  Is our Love big enough to follow our calling even though we have little or no experience or familiarity with where we are being called to serve?  

If we are simply, being God’s Presence as Love, as my niece discovered, this realization opens up a whole new vista of being with each other.  We are feeding each other’s rivers.  A clarity and creative flow is present with what is happening in the moment and we are inspired to follow what's best for our self and for our loved ones.  Once we realize and open to receive the bigness of God's Loving Presence, within us and around us, we find ourselves naturally being Love.



Loving you, simply as you are,
Elizabeth

A guided meditation is available on my website.
Click here:
"A Loving Relationship with Your True Self"




Thursday, October 18, 2018

Receiving Inward Sight




“In God we live, and move, and have our being.  How can there be anything at all to fret about when not just parts of your life, but every aspect of your life is infused with the Divine Presence?

Nothing you do happens outside of God.  How could it, when every breath you take, every movement you make, takes place ‘in’ God?

When this realization takes hold of you, not just on an intellectual level but deep in your being, it frees you from all anxiety about yourself and your life.  It erases all guilt – all sense of somehow being unacceptable.  It’s the end of having to hide or be embarrassed about any part of your life.  You can relax and simply be, knowing that you are part of the infinite Presence we call God.

‘Enlightenment’ means ‘to receive insight,’ that is, inward sight.  You finally see something that’s always been true of you.” 
~ David Robert Ord from “Your Forgotten Self”



Have you ever experienced for yourself, something wanting to create itself through you, but you had no idea how it could happen?  If you had the courage to venture forth into this unknown, you would have probably found out the same thing I did. 

In the beginning, there is a vastness that seems too big to encompass and bring about what wants to create itself.  At any time along the way, we might just abort the project and distract ourselves with something more tangible and enjoyable.  This feeling of vastness requires us to just move into the fray, into the unfamiliar, not knowing where it will take us. 

Along the way, as we move forward, we find ourselves clearing the space of what isn’t wanted or needed.  Something in us just knows and we find ourselves in a process of elimination.  Then, interestingly, there is a space that is clear now that begins to draw to it what fits perfectly there.  And, then we find ourselves placing it all together quite naturally, without any effort at all.  This completion gives us the energy to move onto the next area that requires our attention. 

I'm sure you know what I mean.

Step by step, we move forward and this “something bigger than ourselves” continues to show us the way.  There are many names given to this natural knowing ... God, True Self, Christ.  As we surrender into being lived and moved by this Loving Presence, we experience the perfection that comes with what naturally emerges. 

In this process, I feel like a midwife  or doula assisting a mother giving birth.  When I functioned as a doula years ago, I discovered something very interesting.   When it was time for the baby to be delivered the process is completely natural and there is no need for the mother to strain and “push.”  The body has certain muscles that start contracting and very naturally pushes the baby through the birth canal and out with very little pain for the mother or baby.  And, the mother goes with the current of this natural process.  The woman that I was with in the birth of her child had this experience.  It is actually the enforced pushing that creates the pain for both mother and baby.  Some call this "pushing the river." Isn’t that remarkable how the mystery of nature works?  There is a Divine Intelligence that has it all covered and kindly takes care of the smallest detail.  

What wants to happen through us?  What is God nudging us to do.  Is there something wanting to give birth and emerge from the depths of our Being?  What is being asked of us to assist in the bigger picture?  Are we ready to fully receive what is destined to express through us?  


I am clearing a space
here, where the trees stand back
I am making a circle so open
the moon will fall in love
and stroke these grasses with her silver
I am setting stones in the four directions
stones that have called my name 
from mountaintops and riverbeds,
canyons and mesas
Here I will stand with my hands empty
Mind empty under the moon
And if something takes my life, if a sudden wind
sweeps through me, changing everything
I will not resist
I am ready for whatever comes
But I think it will be 
something small
padding out from the shadows
on delicate paws, or a word
spoken so softly I hear it inside
There is a way to live that makes
the angels cry out in rapture.
There is a way to live that makes
each cell a star
Come stand with me here, it is
cold I know, and silent,
nothing is happening
The next breath, and the next, 
is the new life.
~ Morgan Farley


I am ready … Your will be done … on earth as it is in heaven.










Many Blessings,
Elizabeth