Learning to Fly

Live life to its fullest

Choosing peace June 4, 2009

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 1:43 pm
Tags: , , , ,

There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.
~Mahatma Gandhi

I don’t have a lot of public speaking experience, but I have had the pleasure of giving a handful of talks over the years. One of my earliest was on “choosing peace,” a concept that continues to come up for me from time to time, and always resonates. What I am remembering this week is that peace is the bottom, underlying truth of just about everything. When we desire something, often what we are truly desiring is to have more peace in our experience. When I desire a greater experience of prosperity in my life, is it really just that I desire more money? That desire might be specific — say, to be debt-free — but what does having more money ultimately give me? A sense of peace surrounding my finances: no need to worry, the knowledge that I can cope with whatever comes my way, the freedom to make choices from a place of trust instead of that place of “have to.” When I desire more time, am I really looking for more hours in the day? I’m looking to feel productive, to not be rushed, to know that it is all getting done with plenty of time to spare — I’m looking to feel at peace.

I think most of us are comfortable with the idea that the manifestation of our desires brings peace, but I think the truth is that being at peace is what brings about the manifestation of our desires. Peace is a choice that can be made regardless of the circumstances. Once you accept what is, accept whatever is up for you in this moment for exactly what it is, without judgment, and especially without condemnation, you can find peace with it. You don’t have to be debt-free to feel at peace with your finances. You don’t have to have plenty of time to complete your project in order to feel at peace with whatever the outcome is. You choose the peace first, which lays the foundation for your desires to be made manifest.

This week, this concept is cropping up everywhere. Most prominently, it is playing out at my office. There is a lot of change taking place, some ostensibly for the better, some ostensibly for the worse. Some of my co-workers have chosen to focus on the negative, and it is making them miserable. While I can see their perspective, I also know that I have been down that path before — I know where it leads, and I know that I don’t want to go there. Instead, I am choosing peace — choosing to find the good where I can, and where that method hasn’t been working for me, to find peace with what is. The difference in our experience of what is happening is striking — I am getting my work done, enjoying my work relationships, spending the bulk of my day smiling and laughing, and able to support others who are in need.

Thich Nhat Hanh says at the beginning of Being Peace, “If we are not happy, if we are not peaceful, we cannot share peace and happiness with others, even those we love, those who live under the same roof. If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.” This the choice that I am making this week — choosing peace, enabling myself and those around me to experience that peace regardless of apparent circumstances. What choices are you making today? How can you make a different choice to create a different outcome in your life? Give it a whirl, see what happens. I can almost guarantee you’ll be happy you did. Namaste.

Photo: “Peace,” originally uploaded by momo

Advertisements
 

Turning your energy around April 17, 2009

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 1:17 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Do not struggle. Go with the flow of things, and you will find yourself at one with the mysterious unity of the Universe.
~Chuang Tzu

This week has been a great opportunity for me to practice turning energy around. Last week was a rough one — my so-called morning sickness reemerged leaving me severely nauseated and exhausted. Things at work have been intense — two new additions to my team is a wonderful thing, but those first few weeks of training while still juggling meetings and the rest of my workload can be a bit challenging. Emotions at the office have been high as part of our ongoing growing pains, affecting my ability to stay centered in the midst of the chaos. And time, both on the work front and on the preparing for baby front, has appeared to be slipping through my fingers, leaving my energy focused on the future and on what isn’t getting done instead of in the present moment.

When I got up Monday morning, I realized that I was the source of much of this anxiety. I had let myself stray off the path to peace. Instead of going with the flow, I was living in resistance, which was, quite literally, making me crazy. I realized I had a choice about this week went, and set my intention to turn my energy around. I even went so far as to write it down: “My intention for the week: turn the energy around — return to a feeling of flow. It’s all good, it’s all getting done.” It may be a small thing, but setting that intention in such a tangible way had immediate effects. Instead of feeling rushed that morning, I took my time, spending even more time on my morning practice than I usually do. At the office, I made a conscious choice to stay as centered as possible, taking small breaks throughout my day to close my eyes and breathe deeply, feeling my connection to Source. And I started delegating tasks, small and large, work and personal, in some ways remembering to ask for help, and in others, remembering that I don’t have to be the one performing the task to ensure it gets done.

This week has still had its rocky points — the challenges that made last week rough did not evaporate overnight. But my anxiety over them has dissipated, and as I’ve stayed much more rooted in the present moment this week, I’ve been able to deal with things as they come up in such a way that enabled me to release and let go, surrendering to the flow and allowing life to unfold. I have three more additions to my team beginning on Monday, and I still have meetings to attend and work to do, but I am remembering to set my intentions, remembering my connection to Source, and most of all, remembering to stay present in the midst of the seeming chaos. It seems like a better choice to me. Namaste.

Photo: “go with the flow…,” originally uploaded by muha…

 

Unwritten June 24, 2008

Filed under: music — jennsheridan @ 9:29 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I’ve been hearing this catchy pop song on the radio for a couple of years now, but didn’t notice the lyrics until a few weeks ago. When I did, I knew I’d found another winner. Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” is the kind of song I can easily overlook. I mean, I’ll find myself bopping along in the car when I hear it, but it’s of a style that doesn’t usually go with a lot of depth. It’s good to be wrong every now and again — helps to keep me open!

This song is a great way to look at life, and to me, really, the only way to truly live life successfully. It’s all about recognizing that you’re in the driver’s seat. No one can live your life for you, and honestly, you wouldn’t want them to — no one would be able to do it better than you can. And never forget that every day is a new day — if you don’t like where yesterday led you then choose something different today. So get out there, live a little, stretch yourself. Release those inhibitions, feel the rain on your skin . . .

Artist: Natasha Bedingfield
Song: Unwritten
Albums: Unwritten; The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Website: http://www.natashabedingfield.com/
More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natasha_Bedingfield
Video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=4lFXy5bIiSA

I am unwritten,
Can’t read my mind
I’m undefined
I’m just beginning
The pen’s in my hand
Ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words
That you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten, yeah

Oh, oh

I break tradition
Sometimes my tries
Are outside the lines, oh yeah yeah
We’ve been conditioned
To not make mistakes
But I can’t live that way oh, oh

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words
That you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open

Feel the rain on your skin
No on else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
the rest still unwritten

(Gospel)
Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words
That you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten

 

The power of perspective June 10, 2008

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 3:20 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Byron Katie’s “The Work” brings inquiry to your thoughts and enables you to free yourself of the stress and frustration and depression they bring. Eckhart Tolle calls our attention to the three levels of every situation: what is happening, your reaction to what is happening, and your awareness of both of these levels. Abraham talks about bringing awareness to your thoughts when you’re not feeling great and choosing a thought that feels better. Lately, for me, I’ve been practicing my awareness by asking whether it’s the situation itself or my thoughts about the situation that are making me feel the way I do.

It’s such a simple way of looking at things, a small adjustment, really, in the larger mix of how we view the world, yet it holds such power. It is playing a huge role in how I am approaching my work this week. This time last week I had a single freelancing project I was working on, with the remainder of my time being invested into my own personal growth and various aspects of my Avon Walk training. By Thursday, I was working on a book project, had a fast-approaching deadline on a relatively large freelance project, and I was talking with the folks at the Hoffman Institute about working for them part-time. This weekend I walked over 30 miles and by the time Monday rolled around, I was exhausted and wondering how on earth I was going to fit all of these moving parts into a cohesive life.

This one awareness practice turned my energy around. I quickly realized that it wasn’t the situation that was causing me stress, it was the way I was thinking about the situation. I’ve known for months now that I have more than enough time to get everything done yet I still feel time pressure. That isn’t reality, that’s just my perception of reality. So I called myself on my thoughts, noticed they were just thoughts, and stopped accepting those thoughts as the truth. And then I got to work. At the end of the day, I was able to get everything done I needed to, and then some, with time to spare. My stress was gone, replaced with a sense of peace and trust in the process, which felt MUCH better than the alternative!

So today, as I prepare to go work in an office for two days, I have a choice about how I look at this work. I can either see it as taking away from my precious time for myself, taking away from my time to get other work done, taking away from my time to train and all of the wonderful chores that go along with training, or I can realize that these thoughts cause stress, a stress that isn’t necessary or useful in any way. Instead, I am choosing to see this work as an opportunity for me to get out into the world and interact with people, using what I’ve learned over the past few months and applying it to a more traditional style of work. With this perspective, I am looking forward to my day today, looking forward spending time with people engaged in a different sort of activity.

This is the power of a single practice. What thoughts are causing you stress today? Can you see a way to look at the situation from a different perspective, one that doesn’t cause you stress? Have some fun playing with this concept today and see what you learn about yourself and how your thoughts affect your day. Namaste.

Photo: “Peaceful,” originally uploaded by Tony Lam

Enjoying Learning to Fly? Stumble It to share with others looking for inspiration!

 

A New Earth — Breaking Free April 9, 2008

Filed under: a new earth — jennsheridan @ 7:51 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Jenn’s thoughts and learnings from the sixth week of A New Earth: The Oprah Web Event.

“The next step in human evolution is not inevitable, but for the first time in the history of our planet, it can be a conscious choice.”
~Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

It was another great week with Oprah, Eckhart Tolle, and A New Earth. I’m loving the ongoing awakening that is happening within me and in the world around me. Can you feel it? It’s almost tangible. And it’s completely infected my language these days–I find myself speaking about ego and awareness and staying present even to people who don’t necessarily know what it is I’m talking about. I figure if they don’t understand what I’m saying they can always ask me, right?

The Monster Within, Take Two
Last week I talked about my big Aha! surrounding the pain-body in me and in those around me. What was so wonderful about this week was recognizing how simple it is to disconnect from your pain-body. Naturally, many people want to know how they can be free of the pain-body and how long it will take to attain that freedom. Eckhart spoke about how it is really a matter of disidentifying with the pain-body through your awareness of its presence within you. All it takes is this moment, the only moment there is, to see that the pain-body has been triggered and to become aware of it. It’s such a beautiful culmination of everything we’ve been talking about here. Being present, being aware of this moment, enables you to recognize your identification with the pain-body in that moment and be free. That doesn’t mean it won’t come back again, but what it means is that the more aware you are, the more present you are, the less power the pain-body can ever have over you, because it requires unconsciousness to continue its reign of terror in your mind and body.

True Love
I loved listening to Eckhart talk about love this week. It totally reminded me of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves.” Love is not about wanting or needing, it isn’t about what you get from another person, it isn’t about romance, and it certainly isn’t about wanting another person to change in any way. Eckhart spoke about true love as being the recognition of the essence of the other person, of the divinity within each and every human being. It is truly Namaste, defined by Namaste.org as, “The Light of God in Me recognizes and honors The Light of God in You and in that recognition is our Oneness.” When we are with someone that we love exactly as they are, requiring nothing from them, just allowing them to be, then we are experiencing true love.

Traffic as an Opportunity
At the end of this week’s webinar, Oprah and Eckhart were talking about how many people get frustrated in traffic and how they just don’t understand how people can experience road rage. I’ve spent more time in the car with people intolerant of traffic to be able to claim a lack of understanding–it is easy to see the unconsciousness slip over them. Eckhart talks about it being a matter of taking the traffic personally, which totally resonated with me. Everyone else who is on the road is just as absorbed in their own world as you are, so of course having them move into your lane in front of you isn’t personal–how could it be? They barely even notice there’s another human being in that car, and they definitely don’t know it’s you. The only thing that is happening here is that you are reacting to a situation that is completely out of your control. Getting upset, feeling stressed out about it does not change the situation in the slightest–it just makes it even more intolerable for you. Eckhart spoke about this as being a wonderful opportunity to practice your awareness, and in that case, the more traffic the better. If your car isn’t moving at all, you can even close your eyes for a brief breathing meditation or practice feeling the aliveness within your body. Whether you tend to find traffic frustrating or not, take the opportunity this week to use traffic to your advantage–I bet it will transform your time in the car, and ultimately will leave you feeling more centered, more connected, more awake, and more aware. Namaste.

Photo: “Love is being stupid together,” originally uploaded by Nattu

Enjoying Learning to Fly? Stumble It to share with others looking for inspiration!

 

A New Earth — Ego: The Current State of Humanity March 11, 2008

Filed under: a new earth — jennsheridan @ 8:37 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Jenn’s thoughts and learnings from the second week of A New Earth: The Oprah Web Event.

Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.
~Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

I have been absolutely loving Eckhart Tolle’s presence in the weekly A New Earth webinar. He is so gentle, aware, on message even when Oprah is dancing about. I’m finding him absolutely inspirational. This chapter is a really great introduction to the concept of disconnecting from ego, and is definitely the reminder I need right now. Thank you life for providing it for my evolution!

Eckhart’s short definition of ego is that it is a false sense of self based on mental concepts, i.e. thoughts. The truth of Who You Really Are is the formless awareness that is at the back of all of your thoughts. When you think about “who I am” the ego is the “I” that thinks of itself as “me and my story,” but the true “I” is the awareness, the observer.

I had quite a few Aha! moments surrounding this idea while watching him speak. What I was most struck by was about the strength of the ego. We tend to think of someone with a strong ego as someone with an overinflated sense of self, someone who thinks very highly of herself. So typically it would be someone who is very caught up in being beautiful, smart, sexy, popular, successful, wealthy, etc. The thing is that ego strength isn’t about the qualities that the individual is identifying with, it’s about how much she is identifying with them. So someone who thinks of herself as being miserable, unhappy, sick, broke, traumatized, etc. can have an equally strong ego (or more so) if that is how she is choosing to define herself. Do you know anyone who has told you their same story many times, all about how they were abused or mistreated, how hard life is, how much they’ve always had the short end of the stick? That person’s ego is strong because their identification with their story is so strong.

But your story is just your story. It is not Who You Really Are. Your ego is incredibly invested in you staying stuck in your story, keeping you in the smallness that that story creates. It cannot survive without its identification. In fact, often when you start to sluff off the ego what happens is that you identify with being special or enlightened or whatnot. This is just another place for the ego to grab onto and is a slippery slope for anyone seeking to uncover the truth of who they are.

Take a minute to think about all of the ways you define yourself. I am spiritual, a woman, a Scorpio, a Californian, a wife, a daughter, a perfectionist, a vegetarian, a renter, a former Project Manager, a former Practitioner, between jobs. But do any of these so-called definitions really get at the core of who I am? No. They have more to do with the choices I have made so far in life and with the roles I play. There is nothing wrong with making choices, having thoughts, fulfilling roles, having opinions–it’s when we identify with them, define ourselves by them that we lose sight of the big picture of life. What do you do when something happens in your life that forces those definitions to shift, if you were to get laid off from your job, or your house were in the path of a natural disaster? Does that affect Who You Really Are? Again, no. Your selfness is still there at the core of your being. Nothing can take that away from you.

The more you can become aware of the ways you are identifying with your thoughts, your things, your roles, your beliefs, the more you can create a space around yourself, some literal breathing room. Because nothing helps you to see the real you, the observer, faster than just taking a deep breath, paying attention, pulling yourself into the present moment, becoming aware of the aliveness inside of you, your breath, your essence, your being. This is Who You Really Are. You are changeless, you are vibrant, you are beautiful and wonderful and magnificent. Bring your attention back here whenever you can, and you will not only find peace, but you will begin to embody that peace inside and out. Namaste.

Photo: “CHERRY BLOSSOMS,” originally uploaded by Jun

Enjoying Learning to Fly? Stumble It to share with others looking for inspiration!

 

Shift happens March 10, 2008

Filed under: guest blogger — jennsheridan @ 5:55 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Today I would like to share with you what I hope is the first of many guest posts. As you travel the spiritual path, you come across many wonderful spirits, teachers, and friends. Rev. Melanie Colpaart is just one of these people. I feel blessed to have her in my life and hope you enjoy her warm wisdom.

Got something to pass through? Is it appearing a bit perilous and are you feeling a bit timid about the outcome? Choose a new idea about what it is you are “up against” in order to get to the other side. Is it possible to see an island paradise rather than a mountain perilous? And is there a boulder to push single-handedly up the mountain perilous? Why not sail through challenges rather than attempting to attack them with frustration. Ahh, sure, easy to say, not so easy to do, right?

Here’s the trick (the jester said with a smile), ask yourself just what you are focusing on, truly focusing on. Is the focus on the obstacle to achieving a desired result, or is it on the desired result? Are you focusing on what is in your head, or what is in your heart? What you tend to focus on, IS what appears on your horizon, it is always for you to choose. Even in the midst of a disturbing event or challenge, how you choose to look at the situation is absolutely how the situation will show up and unfold. The trick is to absolutely keep your heart and mind in paradise to the extent you can muster, whenever possible. Complaining, griping, grousing does no good at all, it only allows the appearance of the bad to remain.

Sound a bit daunting, frustrating, unnerving? It might in the beginning, however with practice, changing how you approach situations will change the challenges that show up in your life experience, and this IS the truth. You have heard this before, haven’t you? Every leader, teacher, spiritual mystic and avatar has said this same thing: “how, or what you believe in is how or what your life will be” (or something like that). They have said this for a very good reason–it is the way it is. It is up to you to make the difference in your own life, and by so doing, make a difference in the collective consciousness of our planet.

So, stop playing the victim or martyr and reclaim your power to sail through this paradise. Your island of peace and serenity is here for you as you journey AND it is here for you when you reach the other side of the pass you are moving through. Your paradise, or your peril is waiting for you to choose. So get to focusing on what you truly desire and it can and will appear for you now.

Rev. Melanie Colpaart is an Ordained Minister of Religious Science residing in beautiful Austin, Texas. She is a wife, stepmom, cat lover, traveler, hiker, sometimes golfer and friend to the wonderful Jenn, and so it is. 🙂

Photo: This beautiful photo is one of Rev. Melanie’s of a pass into a reef area at Rangiroa Tuamotus, in the Society Islands.

Enjoying Learning to Fly? Stumble It to share with others looking for inspiration!