Tag Archives: Life

Day 26 ~ May Is For Metta 2016: Take Your Metta To Work Day

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It’s Take Your Metta To Work Day!

An Exploration in Bringing Loving-kindness Practice

to the World of Work

 

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” 

– Mahatma Gandhi

 

Our intention for today will be to bring our Metta practice more fully into our daily lives. Today, is Take Your Metta To Work Day.   Although the main focus will be to bring Metta into our work life, it can really be explored anywhere  – at work, at school, or in the community – wherever you spend your time.  Feel free to adapt the practice so it works for you.

The relationship between our personal lives and our work lives has often been one of disconnection or separation.  When we go to work, we put on our work persona.  When we come home, we take it off.  Although things are shifting, the process is still slow.  Even when organizations and individuals desire to be more open, authentic and heart-centered, the transition is difficult as there is really no pattern to follow.

Metta practice offers a way for an individual to stay connected with their heart center and bring more of their authenticity to all of their experiences, including work.  The goal is to allow one’s whole, integrated self to emerge and shine through.  For organizations, Metta mediation offers an opportunity to cultivate a culture of open-heartedness, mindfulness and acceptance.  Recent research has also shown that meditation practice supports greater clarity, clearer focus, improved wellness, reduced stress, increased productivity and enhanced creativity in the workplace.

Basically, bringing Metta meditation practice to work is a win-win situation.  So, whether you are an individual wanting to bring your personal practice more fully into your daily life or an organization wanting create change, bringing Metta practice to work offers a powerful tool for transformation.

For anyone who is joining in at this time, it may be helpful to read the earlier posts on Exploring Metta and Days 1 – 3 to gain an understanding of the foundational practices.  As we Take Our Metta To Work, I encourage you to continue a sitting practice if you have been cultivating one.  However, you can also do the practice at work or on your way to work.  This is an opportunity to bring Metta more fully into daily life and carry our practice to work.  Feel free to “just play” and explore what is best for you today.

It is good to begin the day with Metta practice for yourself but you can also do it as you arrive at work as a way to engage your whole self and move into your work from a heart centered place.  This can be both exciting and scary, so as always remember to be gentle and loving with your self.  The greatest gift of bringing Metta to work is continuing to carry your personal practice of Loving-kindness with you wherever you go and allowing your true self to come through in a space where you may have a tendency to constrict your own essence.

Also, you might like to check out this previous post on 7 Motivations To Take Your Metta To Work: Transforming Our World & Our Work With Loving-kindness Meditation.

Daily Practice:

Do your foundational practices.  Find a comfortable position. Imagine yourself in the center of a circle of loving beings or enveloped in the feeling of loving-kindness.  Connect with your own heart center and begin your practice by offering the Metta phrases for yourself:

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free of suffering.
  • May I have ease of well-being.

Even if you did your practice at home, take a few moments as you arrive at work to center yourself in the heart and repeat a round of two or phrases for yourself.  As you go about your day, do this a few times.  Any time that you experience stress or difficult emotions during your day, explore using your foundational practices – imagine your circle of loving beings surrounding you,  connect with your heart center or repeat some phrases for yourself for a few moments.  You will be amazed to see how a moment or two of Metta can change your day.

Sometimes people like to do this periodically throughout the day, in a proactive way.  One of my clients sets an alarm on his cell phone every hour that reminds him to take a moment to cultivate Metta for himself.  This helps him to stay connected to the heart as well as remain centered and grounded.  He finds that this supports his ability to be more focused, balanced and productive throughout the day.

One of the overall intentions of May is for Metta is to support transformation in our world and organizations are an important part of it.  So, I invite you to include a few moments of today’s practice for your organization.  You can choose the whole organization or if it feels to large, you can work with your department or team.

Remember you can adapt this practice to work, school or community depending on how you spend your day.  The idea is to bring our loving-kindness and compassion to a larger community that we are a part of and that we share a common experience with.  This helps to foster a more compassionate connection within our organizations and communities.  It can also support the alignment of organizational energy and mission.

Check that you are centered in the energy of loving-kindness.  If you need to practice a bit more for yourself, do so.  Then, when you are ready, begin to offer Metta for your whole organization, remembering that an organization is made up of individuals and is also its own energetic entity.  You are offering Metta to everyone and everything that makes up your organization, school, or community.  Say to yourself, “Just as I wish to be happy and peaceful, so do all beings within my organization.”  Begin to offer the phrases remembering that you, too, are a part of this organization:

  • May we be happy.
  • May we be peaceful.
  • May we be free of suffering.
  • May we have ease of well-being.

As always, if your mind wanders, just notice and return to the phrases.  Sometimes, working with a larger group is difficult or you may have mixed feelings about some of the people you work with or the organization itself.  Just notice.  This is something to explore.  A part of our practice is noticing where we experience openness and spaciousness and where we experience resistance or constriction.  This is a way of getting to know ourselves more deeply and recognizing how we respond to our experiences in the world.

If you continue to struggle or difficult emotions arise, return your practice to your self until your feel more settled.  When you feel ready, once again offer the phrases for your organization.  If working with your whole organization is too much, or difficult to hold your attention on, then you can switch to a smaller group within the organization.

When you feel ready to move on, enter into your heart center once again.  Connect with the loving-kindness within your self.  Envision yourself in your circle of loving beings.  Do this in whatever way feels good to you. Take a few moments to reflect on your practice.

Other opportunities for practice today including offering Metta for someone  you work with who you find difficult or challenging or for a coworker who you consider a friend.  Perhaps there is even someone you notice at work who fits into the category of Neutral Being, but for some reason you feel to offer loving-kindness to them today.  If you can, try to offer Metta for all of the categories as you go about your day.  This does not need to be in any order but just as you remember or notice an opportunity for practice.

At the end of your day, dedicate the merit of today’s daily practice for all beings.   Consider all of the beings you have practiced for today and offer the merit of your practice for their benefit and also, for all organizations to be more heart centered.  Remember that as you offer up the merit of your practice, you are not giving it away or losing it but you are actually generating more merit through the act of giving.

Daily Journal Reflection:

Take some time to reflect and journal about any experiences, feelings or awareness that arose during your practice or throughout the day today.   

  • How did it feel to explore bringing Metta to work?
  • How did it feel to do Metta for your organization?
  • Did you have difficult feelings or emotions arise during your practice?
  • If so, spend some time writing about them.
  • Did you take some time to return to your heart center and offer Metta to yourself throughout the day?
  • If yes, how did it feel to do so?  If not, why?
  • Were you too busy?
  • Were you able to explore the various categories while at work?
  • How does it feel to consider being more loving and compassionate to yourself and others at work?

May you have a peaceful and joyful day.

Tashi Deleh! (I honor the greatness within you!)

Beth

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Join HOA’s 7-Day Writing To Heal Challenge! Cultivating Self-Compassion ~ Day 1

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7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge

Cultivating Self-Compassion

Day 1

Member-JournalingAs I have been diving into the preparation for the next session of Writing To Heal ~ Transforming Our Grief, Loss & Change 30-Day Online Writing Program, I felt called to share an introduction of writing to heal here on The Heart of Awakening Blog.  Writing has been a part of my personal healing journey since I was a teenager.  If I didn’t have the sacred space of my journal, what seemed at times to be my only true friend, I am not sure that I would have survived some of the life challenges I faced.

I’ve continued to write in the form of journaling, poetry, personal essay, and articles related to holistic healing and spirituality.  Some of my writing is more public but it is a practice that continues to be at the heart of my own healing journey. And, it is one I love to share with others in a variety of ways as a tool for transformation and healing.  I invite to join us here on The Heart of Awakening Blog for 7-Days of Writing To Heal.  Each day, I’ll be sharing some thoughts, reflections and a writing prompt or two for you to explore.  You may wish to go day by day or just come back to them whenever you feel drawn to.  It’s your journey!

We live in exciting times when science can help us to understand tools which have been long practiced. Recent scientific evidence has discovered that the act of writing actually accesses your left brain, which is the analytical and rational part.  When you begin writing, your left brain becomes more strongly engaged which then frees your right brain to create, intuit and feel more deeply.  So, in a sense, writing takes you out of your head and into your heart; that’s a big theme here on HOA! This shift allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you. And is one reason why writing can be such a powerful tool for healing!

Writing and journaling can help you to:

  • Clarify your thoughts and feelings.
  • Know yourself better.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Be healthier.
  • Solve problems more effectively.
  • Resolve disagreements with others
  • Practice good self-care
  • Access your creativity
  • Release and Express Held Memories & Emotions
  • Set Intentions

You may be saying to yourself, “But, I’m not a writer, so how can writing or journaling work for me?”  There are many ways to explore journaling and many types of practices.  Writing offers an opportunity to explore who you are, what are your likes and dislikes, and your strengths and weaknesses.  It is a vehicle to find your voice and explore ways you can flow more easily with life.

Over the next 7 days, I’ll be sharing a variety of ways you can begin to use writing and journaling as a tool for healing.  Feel free to share in the comments your thoughts, feelings and reflections as well any other ways you might work with writing as a tool for healing.  I have chosen a theme for these 7 days that has been coming up strongly in my own personal work as well as my work with clients most recently – Cultivating Self-Compassion! Sometimes it may feel like we’ve done so much of that work and then suddenly it’s clear there is more to do. There are always deeper layers to explore!  As we discuss during annual May Is For Metta practice, it is in cultivating self-compassion that we create a foundation for offering it to others and the world.  And, so we our journey begins…


 

Day 1

You might like to take some time today to decide where you will write both physically in terms of your location, e.g. your desk, out on the deck, on a cozy chair in your living room, etc. And, also, in terms of your writing space such as in a notebook, journal or on your computer.  You may just like to play around with a few options during these 7 days to see what feels best for you.  Also, do you want to write first thing in the morning, before bedtime at night or at another point in the day.  I encourage you to be open, creative and explore.  

Each day I will be sharing a few prompts for you to use to spur your exploration in writing to heal.  This will include a variety of types of prompts so you can continue to create your own writing to heal process going forward.  Our theme for this week is on Cultivating Self-Compassion.  Here are some prompts to explore today…

Quotes ~ If you’ve followed HOA for any bit of time, you know that I absolutely love quotes! They inspire me in so many ways but I have found them to be particularly helpful when I want to begin writing on a certain theme or just need a thought to get my words flowing.  I have shared two quotes and prompts below on our theme of Cultivating Self-Compassion.  Feel free to use the prompts or just write stream of consciousness on what arises as you consider the quotes…

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
― Gautama Buddha

When you read the Buddha’s words, what thoughts and feelings arise?  Do you feel you are deserving of your own love and compassion?  What have you been taught about loving yourself?  Are there any negative messages you have received about cultivating self-compassion like it’s selfish or wrong?  Are you willing to begin to cultivate self-compassion in a bigger way? If not, what’s stopping you?

“Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” Pema Chodron

Make a list of all the parts of yourself that you are aware of need more self-compassion. Perhaps there are some wounded parts, your inner children or maybe some parts you just don’t like to see.  Begin to write stream of consciousness or create a list of any parts of yourself that you think might need a big dose of love and compassion.  Be willing to list any feelings, patterns and beliefs that you might like to keep hidden, even from yourself.  This is a way to bring light to the shadow parts of ourselves.  Be gently and loving with yourself as you explore…

Feel free to share your thoughts and reflections in the comments below.

See you tomorrow!

Love & light,

Beth Shekinah

Day 11 ~ May Is For Metta 2015: Offering Loving-kindness To A Beloved

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“The light of loving-kindness can be compared to that of the stars, the sun, or the moon.  It shines on all loving beings everywhere, encompassing them all without exception or bias.”

– Excerpt from Living With Your Heart Wide Open by Steve Flowers & Bob Stahl

As our journey with May Is For Metta continues today, just take a few moments to honor yourself for the efforts you are making to be more conscious and awake.  Know that you are strengthening the energies of loving-kindness and compassion in your self, others and the world with each moment you dedicate to practice, whether in formal practice or by bringing Metta into your daily life.  This is a transformational process of integrating the energy of the heart into our lives, our relationships and our world.  Imagine if each person would take this time as we are, what our world might be like.

Today, we will explore the category of Beloved a bit more deeply.  We touched on it yesterday with our Mother’s Day Metta practice.   A Beloved is simply a family member or close friend.  Beloveds are those we have built close relationship with; those whom we trust and feel positive towards.  Take a moment to select a few friends or family members;  feel into whom  you feel most called to do the practice for today.  Call up the image of each one, feel into your heart and say a round of phrases.  Which one feels most resonant right now?  This practice is helping you to choose but also helping you to experience more of what is in your heart and how to make choices that are in alignment with your heart.  Learning to let your heart be your guide is a part of moving into a new way of being.

Daily Practice: 

Do your foundational practices.  We begin as always by cultivating loving-kindness and compassion for ourselves as this is the foundation for offering it to others.  Get comfortable and settle into your breath.  Spend a few moments centering on your heart. Imagine yourself sitting in a circle surrounded by loving beings.  Say a few rounds of phrases for your self or spend longer as you feel to.

  • May I be safe.
  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free from suffering.

When you feel centered in the energy of loving-kindness bring an image of the Beloved you have chosen clearly into your mind.  Let yourself feel what it feels like to be in the presence of that being.  Allow yourself to enjoy being with that person.  Begin by saying to yourself, “Just as I wish to be happy and free from suffering, may you be happy and free from suffering.”  Then begin repeating the phrases for your Beloved:

  • May he/she be safe.
  • May he/she be happy.
  • May he/she be peaceful.
  • May he/she be free from suffering.

Find the language for the phrases that works best for you.  You may wish to refer to this other being as YOU, talking to them directly, you may wish to use their NAME or you may wish to use the THIRD person, He or She.  Explore this a bit and see what works for you.

Often, offering Metta for the Beloved may feel easy for you.  Usually, we are deepening the already good feelings we have for this person.  However, sometimes difficult feelings may arise.  You may feel anxiety or worry for your Beloved friend or family member.  You may remember something upsetting that happened in relating with them and feel angry, annoyed or frustrated.  You may feel envious of some experience your Beloved is having, a happier relationship, a better job or a more carefree life.  Just know that these are natural feelings to have as a human being.

If you do have difficult emotions arising, just notice and gently return to the Metta phrases for your Beloved.  Know it is the nature of the mind to take us to these places in ourselves; it is the practice of meditation to return to the present moment and to the place we choose to place our attention.  Even when it’s challenging, this is the place of freedom, when we are in the moment and all of those thoughts, feelings and memories do not define us.  Use the phrases to bring yourself back to the moment and to offering loving-kindness to your Beloved one.

If at any point, difficult emotions continue to dominate your attention, return to repeating the phrases for yourself as this is an important part of practicing loving-kindness – we work with all of who we are, the parts we like and the parts we don’t like.  We are bringing to light those shadow parts that cause us so much pain and suffering.  In response, we are not rejecting ourselves or judging ourselves, but we are accepting and loving ourselves unconditionally.  This is one of the great gifts of Metta and one of the most powerful gifts we can offer to ourselves and to others.

Practice as long as you feel to or have committed to for today.  Take a few moments at the end to dedicate the merit of your practice for all beings. You can do this in any way that feels appropriate to you and we will explore this more later on in our practice.  Here is a simple way to dedicate the merit of your practice for all beings:

  • May all beings have happiness and it’s cause.
  • May all beings be free of suffering, joyous content and at ease.
  • May all beings be balanced in equanimity towards one and all.
  • May the merit of my practice be for my own benefit and for that of all sentient beings.

Daily Journal Reflections:

Take some time to reflect and journal about any experiences, feelings or awareness that arose during your practice or throughout the day today.  How did it feel to practice Metta for a Beloved?   Was it different from practicing for a Benefactor/Mentor?  How is your practice going?  Are you able to continue making some time everyday to sit or practice in some way?  If not, what is stopping you?  What is your commitment to yourself right now in terms of making time to bring more loving-kindness into your life?

Remember, practicing can be any way that works for you?  Five minutes will do if that’s all you have.  But keep in mind that research has shown that 15 minutes a day of Loving-kindness practice can create a positive shift in our overall attitude toward life.

May you experience a blessed and joyful day.

Namaste.

Beth

Love Yourself, Live Your Life Summer Breakthrough Program

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“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” ~ Lucille Ball

Labyrinth

One of my favorite sayings is “we teach what we need to learn”.  If you haven’t figured it out by now, this is where many of my posts and offerings stem from.  As someone who has been on a spiritual path for quite sometime, I have found there are certain essentials that we work on throughout our lifetime ~ this is part of the being a spiritual being having a human experience. 

Whenever we are creating change or working on healing, we hope that we will get this part and move onto the next piece.  On some level this happens, but more often than not, we find that we cycle back to old patterns, feelings or beliefs and need to work through them in a deeper way.  This doesn’t mean we have failed – actually we are progressing on what we might call the “spiral of healing”.  Cycling back is part of the path to our evolution.

Life is about transformation, growth, self-discovery and finding new possibilities.  The journey of life is a sacred path and it is natural to seek teachers and teachings to help us find our way.  But, as Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj shares so beautifully, “The only true guru (teacher) is the path itself.”  And, this journey is a continuous one.  We might consider it like the labyrinth.  We enter in not knowing the path to center but we find the opening, follow along and eventually we end up in center.  We pause, reflect, set some intention and then begin to move out into the world once again – simply following the open path.

In a sense there is a bit of a puzzle to solve, but rather than just look at the labyrinth and try to sort it out mentally, we take one step and then we take one more.  We surrender to the path that is before us and in trusting each step is where it needs to be that we discover the divine presence is guiding us in each moment.  In life, when we feel we have a setback or have “spiralled down” rather than up, we tend to see this as a failure or as a wrong step.  The truth is the path is full of ups and downs on the spiral life; we are in a constant state of expansion and contraction.

Sometimes we may feel we have lost our path or have gone astray, but even when this is what we are feeling, we are where we need to be.  There is beauty and wisdom to be found in every experience.  And, as the shamanic path teaches so beautifully – it is the darkness and the shadows that we find the light within ourselves.  Still, we can find ourselves in  times of doubt or confusion that leave us feeling stuck or out of alignment with our deeper purpose in life.  What is it that can bring us back, not to a different place, but to willingness, acceptance and understanding? 

I have found the answer to be one of the essential teachings that I devote myself to both personally and professionally ~ the journey of the heart and the cultivation of greater love and compassion for self.  As we explored during May Is For Metta, loving ourselves is seen in the Buddhist tradition and others as the foundation we need to foster love and compassion in our lives, relationships and the world.  I also see it as one of the most potent keys to change and healing.

I have been devoting a lot of my time this summer to writing the final chapters for the May Is For Metta book.  Immersing myself in the energy of loving-kindness and compassion has opened the door for a new program I have been developing to emerge sooner than planned.     I am excited to share information with you on the Love Yourself, Live Your Life Summer Breakthrough Program. This is an introductory series that will be offered through 5 weekly tele-classes, a Facebook group, guided practices and optional individual sessions.

I am happy to share a Free Gift with you; it will give you a glimpse into what the Love Yourself, Live Your Life Program will be like.  This previous teleclass on “Loving Ourselves: A Key To Change & Healing” is a great way to explore loving yourself on a deeper level.

I hope you’ll take some time to explore and join me for this new program designed to support you in embracing and loving all of who you are so that you can live the life of your dreams!

Here are the details of the program for you to explore:

Love Yourself, Live Your Life
Summer Breakthrough Program With Beth Terrence
5 Session Teleclass Series
Discover The Healer Within
 
Do you want to live more from the heart? 
 
Is it a struggle to be gentle and loving with yourself?
 
Are you ready to step into your soul purpose from a space of the heart?
 
Does your inner critic keep you stuck? 
 
Do you want to have a deeper sense of connection with yourself, others and the world? 

 

In this 5 Session Teleclass, you will: 
 
  • Learn to connect with your heart on a deeper level and live more from the heart space.   
  • Cultivate love and compassion for yourself using a variety of transformational tools including meditation, shamanic journey work, affirmations, self-reflection and creative exercises.  
  • Uncover limiting beliefs and obstacles that prevent you from embodying greater love and compassion for your self and others and also, keep you from moving forward in your life.  
  • Learn to access your essential self and embody your soul purpose from the space of the heart
  • Begin to facilitate your own process of transformation and healing and create a foundation to continue that process in your life.
 Dates: Tuesday, July 22nd – August 19th  
 Time: 7:00 – 8:00 EST 
 Where: Wherever You Are – Call in by phone or listen online
 Audio replays will be available after the weekly call

 

 Basic Package $97, includes  
 – 5 weekly teleclass sessions 
 – an mp3 audio of calls 
 – weekly transformational resource handouts
 – private Facebook discussion group, plus 
 – 2 special audio bonuses 
 
 Register by July 14th for Special Pricing on Basic Package ~ $77
 
 Premium Package $247, includes
 –  Basic Package plus  
 –  One 1 1/2 hour Individual Session with Beth Terrence  
 in person in Annapolis, MD or By PHONE/SKYPE (Reg. $150)
 
Register by July 14th for Special Pricing On Premium Package ~ $227
   
Are you ready to embrace the truth of who you are –  
a being full of loving-kindness and compassion?

How much longer do you want to continue struggling?

Do you want the heart to be a guiding force in your life? 
 
The journey begins with you!
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Spring Cleaning Inside And Out, Part I

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As each season arrives, we move through a period of change and transition.  This can be seen in the natural world around us but is also something that is going on within our own selves.  By taking some time to harmonize with the energy of the season, we gain an opportunity to look at the patterns in our lives with a new perspective.  Spring, with its energy of new beginnings, can be powerful time to recreate ourselves in a more balanced and conscious way.

As Spring begins to set in the days begin to get longer, giving us more light.  We can begin to observe new growth in the natural world ~ shoots break through the previously frozen ground and buds pop up on plants and trees, all in preparation for the big Spring Bloom.  Spring is the truly the season of new growth and transformation.  With this, we may feel our energy is expanding, flowing and blossoming with new ideas. It is a perfect time to cultivate our own new beginnings and fresh perspectives so that more of our deeper essence can emerge.

According to Chinese Medicine, Spring is the season of the Wood Element.  The organs most active are Liver and Gall Bladder.  The color is Green.  This makes Spring an ideal time for cleansing and rejuvenation for our overall health and well-being.  We may tend to focus on the physical when we thing of cleansing but really there is an opportunity to do our Spring Cleaning on all levels ~ body, mind, emotion and spirit.  Here is a brief overview:

Wood element imbalances may be experienced in a variety of ways.  Let’s take a look at them from a holistic perspective:

Physical:                                                                  

  • Spinal Problems
  • Poor Flexibility
  • Headaches
  • Poor Resistance to Illness
  • Allergic Sensitivities
  • Skin Problems
  • Irritated, watery eyes
  • Muscle Fatigue and weakness

Mental:

  • Poor Judgement
  • Disorganization
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Control issues
  • Difficulty relaxing
  • Lack of clarity
  • Unable to focus

Emotional:

  • Anger
  • Shouting
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • “Stuffing” feelings
  • Control issues
  • Feeling of overwhelm
  • Sense of separateness

Spiritual:

  • Lack of enthusiasm for life
  • Disconnected from Nature
  • Lack of spiritual connection
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Missing a sense of soul purpose

A Balanced Wood Element would experience more of the following:

  • Sense of Connectedness to Nature
  • Clarity
  • Organization
  • Energized
  • Ability & Capacity for Control
  • Spiritual Connection
  • Enthusiasm
  • Healthy Expression of Emotions, especially Anger,
  • Mentally Relaxed
  • Creative

Spring is a great time to look at your life and make a new self-care plan.  Take some time this Spring to look at how you care for yourself, consider where you may be out of balance and where you need to give greater attention to support your overall health and well-being.  Consider what you may need to let go of and what you might like to create in your life – this is what Spring Cleaning Inside and Out is all about!  Here are some questions and ideas to explore:

Physical: Are you physically healthy and active? Do you feel comfortable in you body?   Do you have health issues that limit your life? Are you eating a diet that supports you where you are and where you want to be? Is your environment open and clear or is it full of clutter?  Begin to develop a program to keep you body fit and healthy.  Take a walk for 15 to 20 minutes daily.  Try a yoga or tai chi class.  Eat a balanced diet.  Listen to the messages that your body is sending to you.  Go for a massage.  Drink plenty of water.  Fast or cleanse to detoxify and rejuvenate your body.  Clear you space.  See appropriate health care practitioners or get supports as needed.

Mental: Can you think and express yourself clearly? Are you intellectually satisfied? Does your belief system support you?   What are the beliefs you are holding on to which are limited or no longer serve you? Do you believe in yourself? Are you able to focus? Can you relax your mind?  Pay attention to your thoughts.  Look for recurring patterns to see which support your well-being and which may limit your satisfaction and fulfillment in life.  Be open to creating new ideas and beliefs that will support your growth.  Journaling is a great way to explore our beliefs and begin to explore and release thoughts, which may no longer serve us.  Give yourself recognition for your own intelligence, talents and abilities.  Celebrate yourself!

Emotional: Are you in touch with your emotions? Are you able to express your feelings appropriately? Do you allow your self to experience a full range of feelings – anger and sorrow, love and happiness, etc? Are you able to develop close and intimate relationships?   Allow yourself the time and space to connect with your feelings.   Learn to receive and acknowledge other people’s feelings, as you would want to be received.  Develop relationships that allow you to express emotions honestly and freely.  Seek a counselor or support group if you need support.  Be open to your feelings and the guidance they provide for you.

Spiritual: Do you feel connected with your own inner voice? Do you spend quiet time just “being”? Are you able to feel a sense of oneness? Do you feel a connection to Spiritual Source? God? Spiritual Community? Nature? Do you know what Spirituality means for you?  Find a spiritual practice that suits you.  Attend a spiritual service or community.  Connect with nature.  Create time and space to meditate.  Find a creative activity that allows you to express yourself more freely.  Awaken your inner self.

I hope you enjoy this exploration!  Stay tuned for Part II – I’ll be sharing some Spring tips on nutrition, cleansing and holistic tools to support balance and ease of well-being.

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Do you feel out of balance in your life?

Do you keep repeating the same patterns over and over again?

Are you struggling with a chronic issue or condition that you have been unable to change?

Do you dream of experiencing more peace, joy & ease of wellbeing?

I’d like to invite you to take a step forward in your journey of transformation & healing…

 Spring Into A “Whole” New You!

Integrative Transformational Healing Sessions with Beth Terrence bring together a combination of approaches and modalities that support transformation and wholeness. Sessions are collaborative with practitioner and client working together to explore and uncover areas and issues of focus that will support growth and well-being. Focused attention is given to releasing of patterns, feelings and beliefs which are out of alignment as well as visioning for a new way of being. 


Zero Balancing
Meditation & Mindfulness
  Holistic Self-Care  
Energy/Body Therapy
  PEER™ Process  
Bodybreath Healing
  Lifestyle Restructuring  
Ceremony & Ritual

Sessions are available in person in Annapolis, MD or by Phone/Skype.

An Integrative Transformational Healing Approach utilizing a combination of holistic tools and resources can be beneficial in supporting the following areas: 

Life Transitions 
Anxiety 
Depression 
Loss & Grief 
Lifestyle Restructuring 
Emotional & Energetic Sensitivity 
Trauma & Abuse Issues 
Addiction & Recovery  
Relationships 
Self-Care 
Spirituality 
Personal Growth 
Fibromyalgia 
Chronic Pain & Related Conditions
What clients say about sessions with Beth:

“Beth Terrence is mindful, gentle and authentic. She brings great integrity to her work, having “walked through the fire” in her own life. Beth is more than a healer. She stands with you in the situation, a powerful witness to transformation. Exquisitely perceptive and intuitive, Beth embraces you with understanding and compassion. As my inner child heals, I begin to see my life change. Beth’s words are eloquent, wise and true. I have received unexpected healing just from listening to her interviews.” ~ M.J., New Britain, CT  

“Beth Terrence is an amazing guiding light with the unforced wisdom that comes through years of seeking truth in its many forms. The Bach Remedies are one of her many tools for opening you up to healing and growing into a more complete, peaceful, healthy being. Its amazing how her “prescription” for improved well being fostered a shift in perceptions and behaviors leading to greater daily satisfaction and joy.” 
~ C.B., Annapolis, MD

Spring Is Here! 

Inviting you to emerge into a new way of being.

Are You Ready?

Visit www.bethterrence.com to schedule a session today!

 

 

 


 

 

Poem Of The Week: Be Still By Beth Terrence

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Be Still

By Beth Terrence

Be still as a tree
 whose leaves rustle in the breeze
 standing firm in the ground
 reaching to heaven above
 rooted in both worlds
 connected
 strong 
 unshakable

 

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Beth Terrence is a Shaman, Holistic Health & Wellness Expert, Speaker and Writer.  Writing and reading poetry is a practice that feeds her soul.

She writes regularly on this blog, The Heart Of Awakening: Searching For A New Paradigm, which offers online transformational and holistic resources, including a “Poem Of The Week” Post.   Her story, “Lost & Found: The Birth Of A Shaman”, is part of the collaborative Heal My Voice book, Inspired Voices: True Stories Of Visionary Women.  The poem, Be Still, is published in the Spiritual Writers Network Anthology, Reflections Of The Soul.  Both are available on Amazon.

Currently, Beth is developing and facilitating a pilot program with Heal My Voice and Chrysalis House, a long-term residential addictions treatment program for women and their children in Maryland.  The intention of this program is to support women in healing and recovery through writing and sharing their stories in weekly writing circles and monthly creativity workshops.  

Learn more about Beth at www.bethterrence.com.

Free Teleseminar ~ “A Holistic Approach To Life & Self-Care”

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Discover The Healer Within

I’d like to invite you to join me for my upcoming Free Teleseminar this Thursday, January 30th at 12 PM ET.  This month’s topic is “A Holistic Approach To Life & Self-Care“.

Adopting a holistic approach to life and self-care offers a framework for optimal health, wellness, and personal growth.  Join us as we explore what a holistic approach to life and self-care is; and how you can begin to incorporate this approach into your experience of daily life.  This is an opportunity to start fresh with a personal plan for wellness and self-care.

In the exploration, you will learn:

* What a holistic approach means
* The benefits of adopting a holistic approach to life and self-care
* Ways to support the four basic levels – body, mind, emotion & spirit
* A simple self-care plan to incorporate into your daily life
* How to develop a holistic resource toolbox to support your well-being

I will also share about my journey in healing through Fibromyalgia and how adopting a holistic approach to life and self-care was the key to my recovery and achieving optimal well-being.

Location: Where Ever You Are! Listen By Phone or Online

Cost: Free. Registration will offer access to the live event and audio replay.

Register Now!

A Note From Facilitator, Beth Terrence:

I have been working in the field of Holistic Health & Wellness for over 17 years.  I came to this field from my own journey of healing through Fibromyalgia and Trauma.  It is my passion to help others to heal and support them in living a heart-centered, balanced and joyful life through discovering the healer within.

I started meditating and practicing yoga when I was 14 years old and this has been a foundation of my life ever since.  I believe that we all need tools to support our well-being – body, mind, emotion and spirit.  It is my hope that through sharing my own journey as well as my understanding, developed through both education and experience, that I can assist others in finding the holistic tools and resources that can support them in achieving wholeness and optimal living.

I hope you’ll join me to explore “A Holistic Approach To Life & Self-Care” this Thursday, January 30th at 12 PM ET or via the audio replay.

Register Now!

If you’d like additional information on Individual Sessions in person in Annapolis, MD or by Phone/Skype, Classes/Workshops, Teleseminars, Speaking & or to schedule a complimentary consultation, visit www.bethterrence.com.

Poem Of The Week: Everything Is Waiting For You By David Whyte

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A Path Awaits

It’s been awhile since I have posted a Poem Of The Week.  Time seems to have slipped away between the end of last year and the beginning of the new, but here we are!  It feels like a perfect time to share this poem by one of my favorite poets, David Whyte.

You may wonder why I share poetry on The Heart Of Awakening Blog.  I have found that both reading and writing poetry is a great way to connect with the energy of spirit and to find inspiration for creativity and for life itself.  My hope is to share poems that will light you up and invite you to explore yourself and the world more deeply.  Enjoy!

Everything is Waiting for You

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

  — David Whyte
from Everything is Waiting for You
©2003 Many Rivers Press

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Inspired Voices Book Cover

Read Beth’s story, Lost & Found: The Birth Of A Shaman, in Inspired Voices: True Stories Of Visionary Women available on Amazon.com.

Reflections Of The Soul Cover

Also, read Beth’s poem, Be Still, in Reflections Of The Soul, A Spiritual Writers Anthology also available on Amazon.com.

A Day In My Life: Beginnings & Endings

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Butterfly Beauty

“The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our separate ways, I to die, and you to live. Which of these two is better only God knows.” ~ Socrates

Today, I was prompted to write about the most important day of my life.  It was suggested that maybe that day was one when you got married, graduated or gave birth to a child.  I spent a few moments brainstorming and came up with a list of about 5 important days.  For some reason when I envision this type of piece, I think that it will be one that is joyful and important because of the excitement and inspiration of that day.

I am not sure if this day qualifies but as I looked at the possibilities, something about this day wanted to be shared.  It was definitely, if not the most important day of my life, the most cathartic one.  I find myself wanting to refer to it as the day as the Trifecta.  In horse racing, a trifecta is a bet in which the bettor must predict which horses will finish first, second, and third in exact order.  Although not much of a gambler myself, for some reason when I was younger, I had a knack for picking the trifecta.  A couple of times I won some good money for my friends.  This is just a bit of an aside to the story, but in fact three big things happened on this one day of my life.

So my day began by preparing to go to a court meeting to finalize my divorce.  It was not actually at the court but at a lawyer’s office.  My relationship of 15 years was over and now all that was seemed left was to meet and sign some papers.  I had met my ex-husband when I was 22 in my last year of college.  It has been an idyllic relationship in many ways and a chaotic one in many others.  The divorce was somewhat obscured by other losses that had happened around that time ~ the death of my mother, as well as the tragic deaths of not one but two of my ex-husband’s cousins, who had been like brothers.

I was less emotional at the meeting than I imagined I would be.  I sat across the table from the man I had spent most of my adult life with.  A friend sat next to me as witness and another of “our’ friends sat next to him.  He was essentially engaged by this time, although not officially until a couple of months later, and although painful, I guess this made it easier to move on in some ways.  He cried a bit and basically said he couldn’t believe I wasn’t showing more emotion.  That was his way, to be all out there with his emotions; maybe not so much now, but at least then, I tended to keep my emotions on the inside or for more private moments.

Afterwards, everyone wanted to go get breakfast at a nearby diner.  It was me, my freshly declared ex-husband, and our two friends.  I didn’t really want to go, but also didn’t want to seem like I wanted to get out of there for some reason.  Not really sure why now as I look back.  Even without showing a lot of emotion, I was feeling a lot inside.  This was the ending of life as I had known it and it turned out taking this time may have caused me a loss in another kind of way.  I did my best to make it through the breakfast and part way through, my phone rang.  I had been awaiting a call about a friend who was in the hospital, but this was not that call.  This was one of my closest friends calling to say she had given birth during the night.

She was at a hospital a couple of blocks away and this gave me a good reason to say goodbye to my past life.  Within about 20 minutes, I was at the hospital visiting my friend and holding a newborn baby in my arms.  An ending had flowed into a beginning.  Not having any children of my own, I hadn’t been so comfortable around little ones but my friend insisted I hold her new addition.  I felt more comfortable than I imagined and it was such a joy to welcome this new life into the world.

I stayed and visited for a bit until it was time to let mother and baby rest.  I had one more stop to make that day.  It happened to be another hospital in another state, not too far away.

The weekend before had been the weekend of Passover; I had gone to back to New York to visit my family.  On the train on the way home, I had gotten a call that my dear friend and mentor for energy healing was in the hospital.  At first it wasn’t clear what was going on, but it seemed he had an aneurism and was in a coma like state.

I had seen him just the week before.  We met to do what we would usually do, check in, discuss our work, and explore what energetic shifts we and others we encountered were experiencing.  It was all big picture kind of stuff.  I never felt so understood and in conscious awareness as when I was with this mentor.  He had gifted me with the support to come to know my own gifts as a healer and how to truly be a spiritual being having a human experience.

During my divorce, I had taken on a full-time job to transition and figure out my next steps.  Due to my schedule and the upcoming divorce, I was able to get to the hospital to see him right away.  That Friday afternoon was the first chance I got to drive around DC to Virginia.  I had been told by my close friends that he wouldn’t know I was there.  Maybe this was part of my delay, too.

On that last day that I saw him, we had our usual fun.  Yes, fun.  He helped me to see the lightness of life even when I was feeling so hurt and so heavy.  We did some very deep intensive healing work as I trained in a process he had developed and yet, there was always a joy in it.  On that day, he was really excited as his son had just gotten accepted to college.  He had finished a project he was working on and had “cracked” a case with a challenging client.  He told me that he felt complete, like he had done all he came here to do.  He said he didn’t know what his next steps would be but that he was content and grateful for this beautiful journey of life.

I was still in the midst of my life crumbling and yet, having this amazing friend and teacher, helped me to see and know that joy and peace were possible.  From him, I had also learned that all of what I experienced in feeling and seeing energy was “normal”.  In my marriage, there was not space for me to talk about energy or spirit; that was taboo.  And, so I had hidden much of myself and my experience for many years.  It was in connecting with this teacher that my life truly changed, and so I guess not surprising that my marriage had ended around that time, too.

It took me quite awhile to make it around the DC beltway into Virginia that afternoon.  It was just past 4 pm as I arrived in the parking lot of the hospital.  Just as I pulled in my phone rang.  It was a friend calling to tell me that Bill had passed away about an hour before, while I was stuck in traffic.  Again, she stressed that it may have been best, for although his body remained, he had seemed gone right away.  Still, here I was at the hospital, coming to say what I imagined would be my farewell, at least in the physical, but I was too late.

I was supposed to be meeting another friend in the lobby who wanted to go see Bill, too.  So, I went in and he was there waiting.  I had to now tell him the news I had received on the phone.  I didn’t realize until I did that he had no idea how serious things were.  He had just heard Bill was in the hospital and so planned to come visit.  He was in shock as was I.  We sat and cried in the hospital lobby.  There was nowhere to go and no one to say goodbye to.

There’s a bit more to that day, but it feels like this is enough to share.  After that day, I felt like my whole life had washed away.  Like there was nothing left of the me I knew before.  I felt like I had beared so much and could bear no more.  Bill had helped me through a major transitional time in my life.  Some of that was outer changes like loss of loved ones, my marriage ending, moving, changing my work, etc.  Most of it was, inner changes such as coming to know and understand my path as a healer, learning my own inner guidance system and how to trust my experience.

I truly believed I would not have made it through this time without his support.  And, with him suddenly gone, I didn’t feel like I had the foundation I needed to go on.  I wandered in this lost state for several weeks, even months.  The pain was so great that I am not sure how I functioned, but somehow I did.  I had already experienced loss in many ways, but there was a potency to this day and to having the experience of divorce, birth and death happen in such a proximal way that I will never forget.

Life is journey that includes many beginnings and endings, many gains and many losses, many births and many deaths.  As humans, it’s so natural to want to hold on to how things are but that is not the nature of existence.  I think the beauty of having all of that experience in one day showed me how important it is to just be with life, to flow and to trust that wherever we are is where we need to be.

Perhaps there is a day in your life that feels most important or impactful.  I hope you’ll take some time whether in writing or in life to share or reflect on that day, on what you felt and what you learned.

Namaste.

Gratitude: A Path To The Heart And Happiness, Too!

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Heart Of Hope

The mission of The Heart Of Awakening Blog is to support:
  • Living from the Heart
  • Embodying Awareness, Authenticity and Purpose
  • Integrating a Holistic Approach to Being
  • Embracing the Interconnectedness of All Things
  • Honoring and Respecting the Sacredness of Life

One of the best practices for opening the heart and keeping it open is the practice of Gratitude.  It is important to stress the word “practice” as it is one thing to experience a feeling of gratitude and another to actively work with it.  Over the month of December, we will be exploring a variety of ways to practice Gratitude in daily life.

When we speak about practice, whether it be exercise, meditation or gratitude practice, we know there can be many obstacles to developing a new practice or sustaining an ongoing one.  You may even ask “why should I practice gratitude?”  Aren’t there other ways I can be more open-hearted?  I would answer “yes and no”.  Yes, there are many ways to open the heart but gratitude is one of the most powerful ways.  Also, without an experience of gratitude it is difficult to maintain an open heart.

Spiritual traditions have honored the practice of gratitude for thousand of years and now science is getting on board as well.  There are a number of ongoing research projects on gratitude.  One is led by Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and author of the book Thanks: How The New Science Of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.  Here is an overview of Dr. Emmons research on how Gratitude affects both psychological and physical well-being (Source: http://gratitudepower.net/science.htm):

  • In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
  • A related benefit was observed in the realm of personal goal attainment:  Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.
  • A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison (ways in which participants thought they were better off than others).  There was no difference in levels of unpleasant emotions reported in the three groups.
  • Participants in the daily gratitude condition were more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or having offered emotional support to another, relative to the hassles or social comparison condition.
  • In a sample of adults with neuromuscular disease, a 21-day gratitude intervention resulted in greater amounts of high energy positive moods, a greater sense of feeling connected to others, more optimistic ratings of one’s life, and better sleep duration and sleep quality, relative to a control group.

So, as you can see there are many potential benefits from the practice of Gratitude.  Wouldn’t you like to have more energy? Sleep better? Be more optimistic? Feel more connected to others? Have less stress?  Live a happier life?

Making A Gratitude List:  Take a few moments after reading this post to make a Gratitude list just for today.  It can be as short or long as you’d like.  You may want to put it in your journal or create a special Gratitude notebook.  You may just want to write it on a slip of paper and when you are done recycle it.  It’s not necessarily something you need to keep, but it’s what feels right to you.  For some people it helps to have a list to look back on when they are having a bad day or just want to review what they have been grateful for.  Keep it simple and make it work for you.  Taking just a few moments everyday to practice Gratitude can make a big difference in how you experience life.

Are you ready to cultivate an attitude of Gratitude to see what’s possible?

Here is my Gratitude list for today as an example.  Feel free to share yours in the comments below if you feel to as well as any reflections or comments on the practice of Gratitude.

Today, I am grateful for:

  1. Being Alive
  2. Visiting with family and friends over the holiday
  3. Doing work I love to do
  4. Books
  5. The sense of fun my cats bring to my life
  6. My loving relationship
  7. Going for a walk today
  8. Feeling my feelings even when they are intense
  9. The joy of writing
  10. Having a warm home and a bed to sleep in
  11. The sound of the wind chimes ringing outside my window

30 Gratitude Quotes To Inspire You!

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Thanksgiving may be over but cultivating an attitude of gratitude is something we can do everyday.  I have decided to invite Gratitude in as a theme on The Heart Of Awakening for the month of December.  One of the things I have learned recently in my explorations on the Path of Peace is that in order to truly achieve peace, we need to bring it beyond the feeling or mental state into an action state.  I feel the same way about Gratitude and will be sharing various explorations to support developing an active practice of gratitude.

Sometimes this simply begins with being inspired by others words and ideas, so here are 30 Gratitude Quotes for you to explore.  Also, please feel free to share your favorite Gratitude quotes in the comments below.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thornton Wilder

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer

“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.”
 – William James

He is a wise an who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

               “True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.”  – Oprah Winfrey

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle

“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” – Meister Eckhart  

“Forget yesterday – it has already forgotten you. Don’t sweat tomorrow – you haven’t even met. Instead, open your eyes and your heart to a truly precious gift – today.”   -Steve Maraboli  

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” – Maya Angelou

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” – Cicero  

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say thank you.”
– William Arthur Ward

“Be happy with who you are and what you do, and you can do anything you want.”
– Steve Maraboli

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.”
– Anthony Robbins

“The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.” – Henry Ward Beecher

“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“An attitude of gratitude brings great things.” – Yogi Bhajan

“Love of God is pure when joy and suffering inspire an equal degree of gratitude.” – Simone Weil

If we want to keep the blessings of life coming to us, we must learn to be grateful for whatever is given.”
– Harold Klemp

“Gratitude and love are always multiplied when you give freely. It is an infinite source of contentment and prosperous energy.” – Jim Fargiano

Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” – Henri Frederic Amiel

“The more grateful we are, the more we practice this in our everyday lives, the more connected we become to the universe around us.” – Stephen Richards

“Be grateful for whatever it is that opens you up.” – Allan G. Hunter

“It doesn’t matter if the glass is half empty or half full. Be thankful that you have a glass and grateful that there’s something in it.” – Unknown

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
 – Oprah Winfrey

“To express gratitude is to put into words a beautiful sense of wholeness. Recognizing the people, the experiences, and the extraordinary gifts of life which feed our souls.” – Anna

“Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.”
– Kahlil Gibran

“Gratitude is a form of worship in its own right, as it implies the acceptance of a power greater than yourself.” – Stephen Richards

Happy Thanksgiving And Poems Of The Week, Too!

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As the holiday season begins, it is such a wonderful time of year to focus on gratitude and begin to count all of the blessings in our lives.   Everyday is a good day to practice “Thanksgiving”, so wherever you are in the world, may you have a joyful day sharing with family and friends and celebrating the beauty of life.  I especially want to express my gratitude to all who share the journey with me here and participate in The Heart Of Awakening Community.

I shared some poems as part of a holiday message I sent out today and felt to share those poems here, too.  It’s been a few weeks without a “Poem Of The Week” post so this should catch us up a bit.   If you haven’t noticed by now, I am a great lover of poetry and quotes.  I tend to bring quotes and poetry into many of my experiences.  Whether gathering with friends and family, leading a group or just looking for ideas for my writing or my life, I find the words of others to open a gateway to inspiration and exploration.

Here are a few poems which speak to the spirit of Thanksgiving for you to explore!

Love & light,

Beth

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Charles Reznikoff’s short poem, “Te Deum”, takes its name from an early Christian hymn of praise:

Not because of victories
I sing,
having none,
but for the common sunshine,
the breeze,
the largess of the spring.

Not for victory
but for the day’s work done
as well as I was able;
not for a seat upon the dais
but at the common table.

 The Thanksgivings” is a poem translated by Harriet Maxwell Converse in 1908 from a traditional Iroquois song:

We who are here present thank the Great Spirit that we are here to praise Him. 
We thank Him that He has created men and women, and ordered that these beings shall always be living to multiply the earth. 
We thank Him for making the earth and giving these beings its products to live on. 
We thank Him for the water that comes out of the earth and runs for our lands. 
We thank Him for all the animals on the earth. 
We thank Him for certain timbers that grow and have fluids coming from them for us all. 
We thank Him for the branches of the trees that grow shadows for our shelter. 
We thank Him for the beings that come from the west, the thunder and lightning that water the earth. 
We thank Him for the light which we call our oldest brother, the sun that works for our good. 
We thank Him for all the fruits that grow on the trees and vines. 
We thank Him for his goodness in making the forests, and thank all its trees. 
We thank Him for the darkness that gives us rest, and for the kind Being of the darkness that gives us light, the moon.
We thank Him for the bright spots in the skies that give us signs, the stars. 
We give Him thanks for our supporters, who had charge of our harvests. 
We give thanks that the voice of the Great Spirit can still be heard through the words of Ga-ne-o-di-o. 
We thank the Great Spirit that we have the privilege of this pleasant occasion. 
We give thanks for the persons who can sing the Great Spirit’s music, and hope they will be privileged to continue in his faith. 
We thank the Great Spirit for all the persons who perform the ceremonies on this occasion.

And, finally, “Rumi’s Poem Of Thanksgiving”:

Thanksgiving is sweeter than bounty itself.
One who cherishes gratitude does not cling to the gift!
Thanksgiving is the true meat of God’s bounty;
the bounty is its shell,
For thanksgiving carries you to the hearth of the Beloved.
Abundance alone brings heedlessness, thanksgiving gives
birth to alertness.

The bounty of thanksgiving will satisfy and elevate you,
and you will bestow a hundred bounties in return.
Eat your fill of God’s delicacies,
and you will be freed from hunger and begging.

Poem Of The Week: Halloween Night By Beth Terrence

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Happy Halloween

Halloween Night

by Beth Terrence

 

Winds blow wildly on this fall night

Leaves glisten in supernatural light

Spirits soar and witches fly

In the eerie Halloween night sky

 

Darkness foretells autumn’s end

Inviting its chilly winter friend

Ancient stones call it New Year’s Day

From times of living a pagan’s way

 

Fairies and goblins fill the air

Frightening children with a scare

The dead come home to see their kin

Sit by the fire and warm their skin

 

We mask ourselves in costumes all night

To hide our souls and dwell in the light

Bonfires glow and show us the key

Divining our fortune and destiny

 

Trick or treat

Candies and sweets

Jack-o-lantern blues

We parade and dance and party until

The saints come marching through

Voices Of Peace: Peace Pilgrim

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Peace Pilgrim

“We who work for peace must not falter.  We must continue to pray for peace and to act for peace in whatever way we can, we must continue to speak for peace and to live the way of peace; to inspire others, we must continue to think of peace and to know that peace is possible.” ~ Peace Pilgrim

I remember the first time I heard about Peace Pilgrim.  I was at meditation gathering in NYC and the leader read a bit from the book Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words.  I had heard about many saints, mystics and sages who carried the message of peace, but most of them lived in other parts of the world or in other times.  As I learned more about the life of Peace Pilgrim, it was hard to image a woman who had so much strength, courage and faith to make the journey of “25,000 miles on foot for peace” right here in the United States.  And, as it turned out not only did she achieve that goal, but she surpassed it, becoming a guiding light for peace in our world whose message continues to inspire people today.

Peace Pilgrim was born Mildred Lisette Norman in Egg Harbor City, NJ on July 18, 1908.  She was the first woman to walk the entire length of the Appalachian Trail in one season in 1952 and this led into her journey of walking for peace.  She began her walk for peace in Pasadena, California on January 1st, 1953, intending to cross the country for peace one time and when she died in 1981, she had walked across America seven times, possibly even more.  She had stopped counting when she achieved her goal of 25,000 miles for peace in 1964.

As Mildred set off from the Rose Bowl Parade in 1953, she left behind her name and all of her belongings, taking on the title of Peace Pilgrim.  It was there that she began her journey of walking for peace with just a blue tunic labeled “Peace Pilgrim” on the front and “25,000 miles for peace” on the back.  She carried a few belongings in her pockets but had no money and no organizational support.  She was a woman on her own choosing to walk for peace.  As she began her pilgrimage, she vowed to “remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until given shelter and fasting until given food.”

Peace Pilgrim’s journey spanned close to three decades; she continued to walk until her passing in 1981.  She walked for peace through the period of the Korean and Vietnam Wars and beyond.  During that time, Peace Pilgrim was a frequent speaker at churches, universities, and on radio and television.  She was a true messenger of peace!

Today, the Friends Of Peace Pilgrim continue to carry her message and share her legacy of peace with the world.  Reading her book, Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words, is like being on a pilgrimage with her.  And, her final talk given on the day before her death has become a spiritual guidebook for cultivating peace, Steps Toward Inner Peace.

Here are some of the words of Peace Pilgrim offered:

“You have much more power when you are working for the right thing than when you are working against the wrong thing.  And, of course, if the right thing is established wrong things will fade away of their own accord.  Grass-roots peace work is vitally important.  All who work for peace belong to a special peace fellowship — whether we work together or apart.”

“In order for the world to become peaceful, people must become more peaceful.  Among mature people war would not be a problem — it would be impossible.  In their immaturity people want, at the same time, peace and the things which make war.  However, people can mature just as children grow up.  Yes, our institutions and our leaders reflect our immaturity, but as we mature we will elect better leaders and set up better institutions.  It always comes back to the thing so many of us wish to avoid: working to improve ourselves.”

“The world may look at you and believe that you are facing great problems, but always there are the inner resources to easily overcome the problems. Nothing seems difficult. There is a calmness and a serenity and unhurriedness—no more striving or straining about anything. That’s a very important thing I’ve learned.  If your life is in harmony with your part in the Life Pattern, and if you are obedient to the laws which govern this universe, then life is full and life is good but life is nevermore overcrowded.  If it is overcrowded, then you are doing more than is right for you to do—more than is your job to do in the total scheme of things.”

“We can all spend our lives going about doing good. Every time you meet a person, think of some encouraging thing to say – a kind word, a helpful suggestion, an expression of admiration. Every time you come into a situation, think of some good thing to bring – a thoughtful gift, a considerate attitude, a helping hand.”

“In this world you are given as you give
. 
And you are forgiven as you forgive –
While you go your way

Through each lovely day

You create your future as you live.”

Of all the messages that Peace Pilgrim shared, the message of her life and her commitment to peace is the one that speaks to me the most.  She showed us in her words and her actions that peace is a choice that we can all make and as she shared so beautifully,

“One little person giving all her time to peace, can make news.  Many people giving some of their time, can make history.” 

What can you do today to choose peace?  How can you create more peace in your own life? In your relationships? In the world?

In the spirit of Peace Pilgrim, I have begun walking daily with the intention of cultivating peace.  For now it is just in my neighborhood, but imagine if each person would just walk a few steps for peace each day, how that might change our world.  I hope you will join me in taking a step toward peace today.

Poem Of The Week: Some Days By Beth Terrence

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Salmon

I was feeling to include some original poems in the Poem Of The Week post and had one in mind for this week but as I sat down, I saw Lessons From Salmon in the Top Posts.  It is consistently one of the most visited posts on The Heart Of  Awakening Blog and it features a poem I wrote many years ago that was the inspiration for the post.  Here’s the poem:

Some days
I flow with the river
Surging
Like a rainbow trout
Others days I thrash and flail
Like a salmon
Desperately trying to get back upstream
Not even knowing what I struggle for

I learned a lot about life and struggle since I wrote that poem close to 20 years ago.  You can read more about those explorations as well as some of the messages Salmon can bring as an Animal Totem in Lessons From Salmon: A New View On Struggle.  There is also a followup poem I wrote at the end of that post.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections and any insights on struggle you may wish to share.  Have a beautiful day.

 

Change Your Life Message #1

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Back Camera

“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~ Viktor Frankl

Original Artwork by Beth Terrence

Poem Of The Week: The Journey By Mary Oliver

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Poetry has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a child I wrote short poems and that evolved as I grew into a teen and adult. I always loved to read poetry, too. Some of my favorite poets include Wordsworth, Dickinson, Cummings, Naruda, Rumi, Stafford and the list goes on and on. That is part of the inspiration for sharing a poem each week.

As a writer, I find reading poetry to be such a powerful inspiration. And, as a seeker and healer, I find the words expressed in poetry often open a doorway to deeper feelings and insights that may be difficult to access on our own. “The Journey” by Mary Oliver is one of my all time favorite poems and one I tend to bring into many of my classes and workshops as it really speaks so beautifully of the journey of life, of stepping out of old paradigms and of moving more fully onto the path of authenticity and self-empowerment. I hope you’ll take some time to explore it in the moment or as a prompt for writing and for life over the coming week.

The Journey

by Mary Oliver

ForestLight

One day you finally knew


what you had to do, and began,


though the voices around you


kept shouting 
their bad advice–


though the whole house
 began to tremble


and you felt the old tug
 at your ankles.


“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.


But you didn’t stop.


You knew what you had to do,


though the wind pried
 with its stiff fingers 
at the very foundations,


though their melancholy
 was terrible.


It was already late
 enough,

and a wild night,


and the road full of fallen
 branches and stones.


But little by little,
 as you left their voices behind,


the stars began to burn
 through the sheets of clouds,


and there was a new voice


which you slowly
 recognized as your own,


that kept you company
 as you strode deeper and deeper
 into the world,


determined to do
 the only thing you could do–


determined to save
 the only life you could save.