Aging Gracefully.

Aging Gracefully.

As we cultivate our life, our beauty becomes as much about what we are creating and doing as it is about our appearance.

We tend to associate youth with beauty, but the truth is that beauty transcends every age. Just as a deciduous tree is stunning in all its stages–from its full leafy green in the summer to its naked skeleton during winter and everything in between–human beings are beautiful throughout their life spans.

The early years of our lives tend to be about learning and experiencing as much as we possibly can. We move through the world like sponges, absorbing the ideas of other people and the world. Like a tree in spring, we are waking up to the world. In this youthful phase of life, our physical strength, youth, and beauty help open doors and attract attention.

Gradually, we begin to use the information we have gathered to form ideas and opinions of our own. As we cultivate our philosophy about life, our beauty becomes as much about what we are saying, doing, and creating as it is about our appearance. Like a tree in summer, we become full, expressive, beautiful, and productive.

When the time comes for us to let go of the creations of our middle lives, we are like a tree in autumn dropping leaves, as we release our past attachments and preparing for a new phase of growth. The children move on, and careers shift or end. The lines on our faces, the stretch marks, and the grey hairs are beautiful testaments to the fullness of our experience.

In the winter of our lives, we become stripped down to our essence like a tree. We may become more radiant than ever at this stage, because our inner light shines brighter through our eyes as time passes.

Beauty at this age comes from the very core of our being–our essence.

This essence is a reminder that there is nothing to fear in growing older and that there is a kind of beauty that comes only after one has spent many years on earth.

by Madysin Taylor

Living like Water

Living like Water

Water is a great teacher that shows us how to move through the world with grace, ease, determination, and humility.

The journey of water as it flows upon the earth can be a mirror of our own paths through life.

Water begins its residence on earth as it falls from the sky or melts from ice and streams down a mountain into a tributary or stream. In the same way, we come into the world and begin our lives on earth.

Like a river that flows within the confines of its banks, we are born with certain defining characteristics that govern our identity. We are born in a specific time and place, within a specific family, and with certain gifts and challenges. Within these parameters, we move through life, encountering many twists, turns, and obstacles along the way just as a river flows.

Water is a great teacher that shows us how to move through the world with grace, ease, determination, and humility. When a river breaks at a waterfall, it gains energy and moves on, as we encounter our own waterfalls, we may fall hard but we always keep moving on. Water can inspire us to not become rigid with fear or cling to what’s familiar.

Water is brave and does not waste time clinging to its past, but flows onward without looking back. At the same time, when there is a hole to be filled, water does not run away from it in fear of the dark; instead, water humbly and bravely fills the empty space. In the same way, we can face the dark moments of our life rather than run away from them.

Eventually, a river will empty into the sea. Water does not hold back from joining with a larger body, nor does it fear a loss of identity or control. It gracefully and humbly tumbles into the vastness by contributing its energy and merging without resistance. Each time we move beyond our individual egos to become part of something bigger, we can try our best to follow the lead of the river.

The Flow of the Universe

The Flow of the Universe

The flow of the universe moves through everything.

It is in the rocks that form, get pounded into dust, and are blown away. It is in the blossoming of a flower born from a seed planted in the spring. The growth cycle that every human being goes through is part of this natural flow, which is also the current that takes us down life’s paths.

When we move with it rather than resisting it, we are riding on the universal wave that allows us to flow with life.

Many people live struggling against this current. They try to use force or resistance to will their lives into happening in the way they think it should. Others move with it like a sailor using the wind, trusting that the universe is taking them exactly where they need to be at all times.

This flow is accessible to everyone because it travels through and around us. We are always riding it–it is just a matter of whether we are willing to go with it or we resist it.
Choosing to go with the flow is often a matter of relinquishing the notion that we need to be in control at all times.

The flow is always transporting you where you need to go. It is merely a question of deciding whether you plan on accepting the ride or having it take you there with your feet dragging. Learning to step into it can help you feel a connection to a force that is greater than you and is always there to support you.

The decision to go with the flow takes courage because you are surrendering the belief that you need to do everything by yourself.

Riding the flow of the universe can be effortless, exhilarating, and unlike anything you ever expected.
When you are receptive to being in it, you open yourself to possibilities that exist beyond the grasp of your control.

As a child, you were naturally swept by the flow. Tears of sadness falling down your face could just as quickly turn to tears of laughter. The mere tiniest wave carrying you forward off the shores of the ocean could transport you into peals of delight.

Our souls feel good when we go with the flow of the universe. All we have to do is make the choice to ride its currents.

Letting Life Unfold.

Letting Life Unfold.

Present time can be hard, but life unfolds as it will and the universe will wait as we make our way into the unknown.

Our lives are guided by natural rhythms that are particular to each of us and cannot be altered by force of will alone. Life itself is a journey made up of processes and events that manifest before us only to be swept away when time marches on.

Whether we envision ourselves creating a career, building a family, or developing the self, we instinctively know when the time has come for us to realize our dreams because all that is involved comes together harmoniously. When the time is right, the passage of destiny cannot be blocked. Yet as desperate as we are to touch these beautiful futures we have imagined, we cannot grow if we are not fully present in the evolutionary experience.

The present can be challenging, uncomfortable, and tedious, but life unfolds as it will, and the universe will wait patiently as we make our way into the unknown.

The fate that awaits us is not dependent on our pace, which was preordained before we ever appeared in human guise. Therefore there is no reason to rush through life to reach those pinnacles of development associated with the paths we have chosen.

Enjoying and fully experiencing the journey of life is as important as achieving goals and reaching milestones. There are lessons we can learn during those moments that seem immaterial or insignificant that we cannot learn at any other time.

Appreciating these takes patience, however, because human beings tend to focus on the fulfillment of expectations rather than the simple joys of being.

Like many people, you have no doubt longed for a device that would give you the power to fast forward through certain periods of your existence. Yet haste is by its very nature vastly more stressful than serene fortitude. When you feel yourself growing impatient because the pace of your development is deceptively slow, remember that everything that will occur in your life will occur in its own time. Quelling your urge to rush will enable you to witness yourself learning, changing, and becoming stronger.

There is so much to see and do in between the events and processes that we deem definitive. If you are patient enough to take pleasure in your existence’s unfolding, the journey from one pinnacle to the next will seem to take no time at all.

By Madisyn Taylor

Completeness.

Completeness.

When we affirm that we are fulfilled rather than deficient, we are asserting that contentment is a natural way of being.

The creative power of the universe is infinite.

A single molecule’s destiny is as important as the consequences of the largest supernova. Human potential is subject to this power, but because we are sentient beings, each of us is permitted to choose whether we will struggle against it or work in tandem with it. When we give voice to our desires through focused meditation or solicit the help of spirit guides, we draw upon the universe’s creative power to achieve certain ends. However, because our words are not all the universe hears, the response we receive may surprise us. The discourse we establish through our appeals is a blend of speech, thought, intention, and subconscious reflection. When we ask the universe for something, the unspoken message is that what we want does not exist, and the universe accepts this as truth. Conversely, we manifest completeness through affirmations in which we declare our desires as if we have already obtained them.

When we affirm that we are fulfilled instead of articulating deficiencies, we are asserting that contentment is a natural and necessary element of human existence. Our essence is an expression of fulfillment–the universe wants to satisfy our needs and desires. When we describe our realities in positive terms, we are not denying the challenges inherent in existence. We choose not to focus on lack or dissatisfaction because we understand that the energy of our thoughts will determine the response we receive to our entreaties. Ask yourself how you would feel if your wishes were granted, and then allow yourself to internalize that emotional state. Try to create a picture of satisfaction so vivid that its reality is unquestionable and tell the universe that your vision is fact. At the close of your appeal, express your gratitude, as it is your acknowledgment of the truth of your fulfillment that will set the creative power of the universe into motion.

Working in perfect unison with the creative power of the universe will empower you to manifest spiritual realities in your material existence. As you affirm the beauty, peace, and goodness that already exist within your life, your capacity to sense and understand their influence will become increasingly sophisticated. To meet your needs and achieve your desires, you need then only banish all thoughts of emptiness so that the energy of completeness can attract fullness into your being.

By Madisyn Taylor.
Experiences we don't understand.

Experiences we don't understand.

All of the events in our lives lead to other events, they are all connected.

Sometimes we have an experience that we don’t understand, but if we look deeply, or wait long enough, a reason for that experience will usually reveal itself. All the events in our lives lead to other events, and all that we have manifested in this present moment is the result of past events and experiences. We cannot easily tease apart the many threads that have been woven together to create our current reality. Experiences that don’t make sense, as well as any that we regret, are just as responsible for the good things in our lives as the experiences we do understand or label as “good.”

This is especially important to remember at times when we feel directionless or unsure of what to do. It is often at times like these that we take a job or move to a place without really knowing if it’s the right thing to do. We may ultimately end up leaving the job or the place, but often during that time we will have met someone who becomes an important friend, or we may have an experience that changes us in a profound way. When all the pieces of our life don’t quite make sense, we can remember that there may be some hidden gem of a reason that we are where we are having the experiences we are having.

It’s fun to look back on past experiences with an eye to uncovering those gems–the dreadful temporary job in a bland office building that introduced you to the love of your life; the roommate you couldn’t tolerate who gave you a book that changed your life; the time spent living in a city you didn’t like that led you into a deeper relationship with yourself. Remembering these past experiences can restore our faith in the present.

Life is full of buried treasures.
Chances are, you’re sitting on some right now.

by Madisyn Taylor.
When is enough?

When is enough?

Where do you derive your sense of enough?

Is it from feeling full after a delicious meal or from reaching a certain distance during an afternoon run? Perhaps you measure enough by how many tasks you accomplish at the office, how many likes your new post gets, or how many smiles you give and receive over the course of a day.

Enough is defined as “as much as is necessary; in the amount or to the degree needed.”

But for many, enough falls short. To put it simply, enough is not enough. What’s necessary or needed is ignored in favor of what will bring us fleeting highs, external validation, or temporary admiration.

As we continually push the bounds of enough, we might lose sight of what matters: the roof over our head, the shoes on our feet, the car, bus, or bicycle we rely on for transportation, the long-term relationships we cherish, the clean bill of health we easily take for granted, the water in our faucets, the food on our table.

Instead, we focus on how we’ll achieve our next milestone, mistakenly believing that each new accomplishment will solidify our standing, or better yet, improve it. We seek bigger spaces to fill with bigger and better things, hoping that more square footage will lead to lasting contentment. We chase novelty in fleeting trends and passing crazes, forgetting that these too are designed to leave us in a constant state of yearning.

When enough is no longer enough, we’re destined for disappointment.

Hedonic adaptation refers to our tendency to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major recent positive or negative events or life changes. When we graduate college, get a promotion, or buy a new television, our expectations and desires rise accordingly. In other words, we’re no longer satisfied with the way things were because we grow accustomed to the way things are now, and the degree of freedom, choice, and privilege they afford.

Rather than seeking long-term happiness, fulfillment, success, and recognition through short-term pleasures, we can reimagine our understanding of enough.

We can stop confusing essentials with excess and start celebrating being able to meet our basic needs. We can ask ourselves:

  • What do I need to do to keep my body healthy?
  • What do I need to eat to ensure I don’t go hungry?
  • Where do I need to cut back so I can pay my bills/ reduce my debt/ save for something enjoyable?
  • What relationships are most important to me and how can I help them flourish?
  • Where in my home do I feel most joyful/ energized/ relaxed/ inspired? How can I tap into this feeling with what I already have?
  • How does my present job enable me to find a greater sense of meaning or purpose?
  • Which of my belongings/ hobbies/ relationships detracts from my recognizing that what I have is enough?

Most importantly, we can acknowledge that our deepest source of enough must come from within ourselves. Before we can expect any person, place, or possession to contribute meaningfully to our lives, we must know and believe that we alone will always be enough; that nothing external will make us whole or our lives complete; that our value is not determined by what we do or what we own; that seeking to feel like we’re enough through any other means will not replace our need to be enough for ourselves.

Knowing that you are enough is not an invitation to stop growing or striving, but an opening to honor these qualities within yourself. It allows you to find enrichment in the midst of difficulty and encourages you to make the most of what you’re given.

When we are enough for ourselves, we gravitate toward creating lives that prioritize our values over our possessions; that foster healthy, supportive relationships; that enable us to recognize what we have control over and what we don’t; that continually allow us to connect with and share our strengths; and that provide a model for others to do the same.

Today, instead of seeking more, I invite you to seek enough. When you fill your plate, let one helping be enough. When you spend time with loved ones, let their mere presence be enough. When you exercise, let your efforts be enough. When you work, let what you get finished be enough. When you check social media, let one time be enough. When you walk in the door, let your surroundings be enough. When you go to bed, remember that you alone are enough.

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About the Author

Emily Rose Barr, of A Soul Awake, is a lighthearted creative who pauses to take note… of laughter, color, conversation, open doors, and finer details.

thread

thread

noun

a fine cord of flax, cotton, or other fibrous material spun out to considerable length, especially when composed of two or more filaments twisted together.

  1. twisted filaments or fibers of any kind used for sewing.
  2. one of the lengths of yarn forming the warp or weft of a woven fabric.

verb 

  1. to thread one’s way, as through a passage or between obstacles
  2. to move in a threadlike course; wind or twine.

Is it that something is missing or that something is not flowing properly?

I’ve lately realized that more that looking for something I lack, the journey is to open the channels to allow energy to flow in and out, up and down, connecting different layers within myself and around me.

It surprised me to learn that physiologically it’s not that “we breathe”, it’s rather that we just produce a change in pressure in our body that permits the Universe to “breathe us”. Revealing, right?

Instead of muscling through, just produce a small change in the pressure and let the thing, whatever it is, to manifest.

I heard, deeply in my heart, one of my yoga teachers saying that to be able to relax and surrender, our body needs to feel supported.

The guiding principles that apply to the body also apply to the mind.

The body follows the mind, the mind follows the breath, another yoga teacher says.

S/he who masters the breath, masters the world, yoga tradition teaches.

I add that also what happens in the body happens in the mind… and in the organization.

So, s/he who masters the breath, masters her/his organizational journey.

The breath is probably the only thing we can control. The respiratory system is the only in the human body that is autonomous AND conscious. So hardly the one thing we can really influence is our breathing pattern and how much and how long to focus our attention (ergo our mind) on our breath.

I remember a colleague in my former job telling that she loved to scuba dive because she knew she needed to pace and relax her breathing to count with enough oxygen in her tank. Besides, she could clearly listen to herself breathing, and the sound soothed her. Beautifully said!

My two cents today: when things start to spin crazy and I close my grip -in my throat, between my shoulder blades, in my belly- trying to control the uncontrollable-  I just turn to my breath and smooth its rough edges. And stay there for a few minutes.

Breathing in, I am Here. Breathing out, I am Now.