Friday, October 12, 2018

Finders Keepers

She was looking for something suspicious and she found it. It ruined her day. This finding did not change her circumstances, it just made her miserable. She found something to be miserable about and she kept that feeling throughout the day. It made her irritable and bad-tempered. Her focus was now on difficulty, failure and hopelessness. She couldn't do anything productive.

We don't deny that there is betrayal, lying, injustice, inequity, unfairness, cruelty, criminal transgressions, abuse, and evil. Yet, there are also good deeds, integrity, fair play, virtue, dispassion, decency, forgiveness, and goodness. What we look for we find. What we find we keep. What we keep we use to affect our thoughts, our feelings and our actions. What we find shapes our attitude and our outlook on life. What we find helps us or hurts us.

Today is a good day to look for something good and let it infuse everything we say, think and do. We cannot right wrongs with disheartened anger. But we can do a world of good by bringing good out, making it a standard. Let's look for kindness, generosity, collaboration, grace, service, good will, courtesy, hospitality, compassion, understanding, and love. Let's allow these qualities to inspire us and to permeate our choices, our conversations, our behavior, and our deeds. Let the good we find be contagious. What we find, we keep. What will you find today?

Image found at eyesofodysseus.blogspot.com.
© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 5, 2018

The story

He's opened a box, deconstructed and flattened it to write on the inside of it. He holds his makeshift sign to tell passersby that he's HIV. The story on the box says Hello, I'm John, (I'm not using his real name to protect his identity) I'm HIV. He goes into details about his circumstances–homelessness, poverty, illness, hunger, addiction. He asks for help. He's John HIV.

John is many things, but he's not HIV. He has it. He's not it. He's been made to believe that he is a disease. He lives true to his belief that he is HIV and an addict rather than believing that he has HIV and an addiction. This belief keeps him hopeless, helpless, dependent, sick, and in the dark.

A few years ago a man told me that I was not a writer. He suggested that I say that I wrote rather than say that I was a writer. My ego was hurt. His intentions were unkind and small-minded, but he was right, even if for the wrong reasons. Yet, at that moment, I didn't understand the wisdom in releasing my self-concept from my external condition. Once I realized that who I am is not what I do or what I have, I found a thought that I could go to to ground myself, recalibrate, put things in perspective and discern. As Abraxhamanu would say, It's a cliché because it's true. We are not our circumstances.

Who we are is easily forgotten when we are reminded and remind ourselves of the choices we've made, what we have accomplished or not, the mistakes we've made, our perceived limitations, our shortfalls, what we own or what we have not attained, what we have been convinced of, our past conditioning, and how we compare to others and their standards. What if today we reminded ourselves of our true nature? Today is a good day to remind ourselves that we are, by design, everything that is good, peace, beings that can flow in the confidence of the gracious expression of the Universe. If we take time to be still and breathe, we find calm, rest, consolation, relief, joy, equanimity and ease. We find a sense of order. We tap into the deeper knowing of our purpose, that of spirits living a human condition. What we do or don't, what we have or don't, helps others create a story about us, but it is not our truth. Today, we remind ourselves of that.

Image found at artpal.com.
© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Love songs

We're close. So when their song randomly came on the radio, I started to cry. Her divorce touches me deeply. And I realized that I'm mourning it, too. So I cried in the car that ugly cry that makes other drivers wonder about me. Then, commercials interrupted my sobbing and my sad flow. I dried my tears and kept driving suddenly noticing how beautiful the day's sunshine illumined everything and made me smile. But then, Phil Collins' Against All Odds came on and on came the water works again. So emotional.

By the time I arrived at my office, Sting's Fall Out was on the radio and I was ready to rock the day. The only sad thing remaining were my puffy eyes. What a moody drive. 

This drive reminds me of the fickle nature of feelings. I'm reminded how our thoughts influence our feelings as do what we listen to and focus on. Interruptions are necessary to calibrate our emotional state and our perspective. They help us not fall into loops of thought through which we make conclusions about life and our experience. We need to remember the passing nature of feelings so as to not affect our decisions with our mood of the moment. 

Today is a good day to find or create a pattern interrupt. Let's not allow emotions and feelings guide our decisions and outlook on life. Whether good or bad, feelings come and go and are easily affected by our environment and what we put our attention to. Let's notice something other than what is keeping us in our mood, especially when it doesn't make us feel good. Let's remember that, like love songs, feelings are not our reality, they can be changed, and they pass.

Image found at redbubble.com.
© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Breakthrough

The first time she sat across from me she was distraught, overwhelmed, and despaired. It has been almost two years now since I started working with her. I had not seen her this healthy, this light, this hopeful in all this time. She broke through.

What she did was both remarkable and nothing at all. She stopped striving. For a woman who has employment, educational and economic disadvantages, this meant shifting her focus. She started by giving thanks for little things. Then she started making different choices, starting with what she chose to think. When she was tired, she thought of the wonderful reasons why she was tired. When her paycheck ran out, she became glad that she was able to pay her bills and buy food. When office politics turned into drama, she reminded herself of the temporary nature of her job and its role as a stepping stone to her goal of entrepreneurship. Nothing around her changed. She did. Her change is extraordinary. She is happy and is achieving her goals, all the while feeling good.

Today is a good day to break through ourselves. We can do this by acting in harmony with and not against ourselves, ignoring the histrionics, paying attention to our deepest desires and not the obstacles, focusing away from grievances and into gratitude. Breakthroughs happen when we break through this idea that we have built of ourselves out of other people’s ideas and expectations, when we make decisions bravely, honestly, and hopefully. We break through when we break away from the old thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that have kept us stuck, bored, helpless, hopeless, down, dull, and mediocre. We can break through by being mindful and taking life with conscious awareness and responsibility. Breaking through is a shift that takes us from conflict and turmoil to joy and peace, and can make us feel good, happy, and fulfilled.

'Mandala Peacock - Bird of Hope' - Art Print found at spectronium.com.
© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Fall

Fall. Not literally. But do take a moment to fall into that feeling, into that which you're avoiding to feel. Take a moment to see it, look at it, acknowledge it, greet it. Feel it. Fall into it. Breathe.

Take a moment to breathe slowly, deeply. Fall into what worries you, what is making you sad, what is making you anxious, what is exciting you, what you don't understand, what scares you. Fall slowly knowing that you're safe. Breathe very slowly into it. Exhale very, very slowly.

Breathe slowly into the feeling. Sit with it. Exhale. Breathe in and make no judgment. It is what it is. Exhale. You're safe.

Fallen into the feeling, breathe in and realize that it has not overcome you. You're holding it. Breathe out slowly. Realize that it is just a feeling.

Breathe in and breathe out as you normally would for a few moments, fallen, holding that feeling.

Now take a slow breath in. As you slowly exhale, let the feeling fall away from you. Feel yourself come back up, lighter. Take a couple more deep breaths in and out. As leaves of fall, what doesn't serve you falls away.

I hope this meditation serves you.

Image found at society6.com.
© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 31, 2018

(Not so) Smart TV

It's only three years old. Our very sleek and very hi-tech Smart TV is suddenly not cooperating with me. I go through the self-help prompts and, though it says that it has reconnected to the WiFi network, I still can't get any programming. It keeps connecting to the errors. It hasn't learned anything. My tv is not so smart.

It turns out that it's reconnection to the network was superficial. It kept going back to glitches. In order to connect and come back to working properly, I had to disconnect it from everything and power it down. I had to unplug it completely. It needed to forget everything that was bothering it, that was making it malfunction. It needed to release and be released form the bad stuff it had attached to. In my frustration with the tv, I realized I was connected to the wrong feelings. I felt I was the one attached to the wrong thoughts, the wrong emotions, anticipation, expectations, difficulty, stumbling blocks, unwillingness. I needed not to reconnect, but to disconnect.

Today is a good day to stop connecting to failure, to defects, to faults, to what doesn't work. It's a good day to disconnect from what is not serving us, from what makes us act up and act out, from what makes us break down. Disconnecting will clear us to connect to what inspires us, to strength, to joy, to creativity, to glorious imagination, to fun, to flow. Let's be smart and connect to a deeper intelligence,  appreciation, bravery, dignity, serenity, beauty, laughter, kindness, to love.

Image found at VideoHive.net
© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Golden Rule 2.0

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. This has been our teaching. In religious traditions and in social conventional wisdom, this teaching has been regarded as The Golden Rule. It is the rule considered to assuage all situations. When I do to another what I would like that other person to do to me, I, theoretically, am doing two things, telling them how I like to be treated and respecting the dignity of the other. However, following The Golden Rule doesn't always bring about what we expect.

The Golden Rule is more about the person that is doing than the others. It is well intentioned, for the most part. Yet, the doing may not be what the other person likes. I, for instance, appreciate long periods of solitude, so I like to be left alone, especially in the mornings. If left alone, other people may feel ignored and disregarded. I like to be taught kindly, lovingly. Other people prefer a tough calling out. It's the way they learn. I like a steady, quiet flow when I work. Other people prefer excitement and lots of activity. I like to fast through noon each day. Other people prefer to eat a hearty breakfast early in the day. Some people like to know the details, while others like the bottom line. To apply The Golden Rule in each situation would possibly strain it.

The Golden Rule 2.0 would actually say to do to others as they would like be done to them. This is even more difficult than the original rule for it implies paying attention, being aware, being mindful, and compromise. It implies understanding, communication, and courage. It implies generosity of spirit. The Golden Rule 2.0 implies heightened consciousness.

Today is a good day to do to others as they would have us do to them. Let's pay attention. Let's listen. Let's do accordingly. By modeling the Golden Rule 2.0 we extend an unspoken invitation for others to treat us the way we would like to be treated. By applying The Golden Rule 2.0 we inspire others to do the same.
Image found at redbubble.com.
© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Choosing another thought

I was preparing a workshop for overwhelmed women when I myself became overwhelmed after a disheartening episode. Overwhelm took over to the point of losing my breath and becoming physically agitated. I lost my appetite, my ability to think clearly, and my ability to focus. It affected my creativity, productivity and service. It was just too much.

Just when we think we're done with certain situations, attitudes, or people, life has a way of presenting those very issues back to us. And so it was for me. There I was with so many things to do, but, instead of doing what I needed to do, I kept ruminating on the incident, on what was bothering me. In my mind, everything became wrong–my plans, my life, my choices, my dreams, me. I was coloring everything with what I was feeling at the moment and what I was feeling came from what I was thinking. What was I thinking? I needed to choose another thought.

Choosing another thought, one that raises us, that moves us forward, that directs our being away form inner and outer conflict, gives us power. When we do so, we're no longer victims to wrong-mindedness, rampant emotions, and impulsive and hurtful behavior. Today is a good day to choose another thought. When overwhelm or distress takes over, let's choose to think something different. We can choose This too shall pass, I only have to get through today, I'm capable of being calm, I choose peace, This is only one moment out of my life, or It is what it is. Thoughts like these release our resistance to higher ground and disengage us from wrong perceptions. These thoughts allow a cool down in order for us to center ourselves and gather new thoughts. Our new chosen other thoughts can also be images that remind us of kindness, love, generosity, joy, and compassion. In doing so we can generate those feelings as well.

I chose another thought today. I chose this image of my son who warmly smiled at me at my worst and hugged me. This image, this thought, allowed me to let go of what I cannot control, to remember what matters, to remember love, to reach for gratitude and to breathe slowly and deeply enough to come back to center, to come back to me, to come back to love.

Image found at amazon.com.
© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 10, 2018

The light is out

I keep a tall white candle lit on one of my altars all the time. When it is almost out, I light another one, as a symbol of and a calling for continued light. I keep a candle lit all the time, well, almost. Sometimes, I let it go out, I don't light a new one. I let it go dark. I spend a while without the light. I let my soul experience the darkness.

This happens during moments of turmoil and difficulty. It is not coincidental. I used to fight it and take it personal. Now, I embrace it. I take these light-out moments to go deep. I don't particularly contemplate or reflect during these periods. I don't make any conclusions. I go deep and listen and observe. I surrender and just watch.  The more I practice it, the more I attune.

Though it is not wise to spend too much time in the dark, this is a healthy practice that can help us become wiser and more aware. And, of course, more thankful for the light, for the blessings, for the joy. Dark nights, when reverenced, can become a source of spiritual bounty and deeper understanding, and bring us to communion with our souls.

If this is where you are, today is a good day to rest into the darkness. Let's be still, not resist, observe, listen. Surrender. We will know when to come back to light. While in the dark, we will sharpen our skills of observation, attune our heart's ear, hone our perception with higher understanding, and harmonize with our soul. This surrendering is a prayer not unlike the prayer said in the light. It is an act of faith and the dawn of emotional healing.
Image found at fineartamerica.com.
© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 27, 2018

The feed

First five posts in Facebook. That's it. That's all I'll read in a day. It's a self-imposed personal rule, a commitment I made to myself, otherwise I'll fall into the vortex. Have you ever gone into Facebook just for a few minutes and then realized an hour had passed? That's what I mean.

This five-post rule helps me stay productive, otherwise I'll go off-track. One reason is time. Time flies between posts and clicks. The other reason is the content. The feed can be randomly optimistic and positive or negative and pessimistic and it can change my mood.

What do we feed ourselves in terms of what we read and connect to? What do we feed each other in terms of what we post or share? What about the conversations we have? What we feed ourselves supports or enables our patterns of thought. And our patterns of thought feed our emotions, form our feelings, and affect our behavior. It also affect the energy with which we show up and do things.

Today is a good day to watch what we feed ourselves and what we feed each other. This applies to so much more than social media. Music, art, literature, tv, film, physical activity, conversations. Let's be aware of what we connect to, what we partake of, what we participate in, what we contribute to, what we share in, the thoughts we indulge in. Do we want to lift up or bring down? Build or destroy? Contribute or hold back? Encourage or frustrate? Feel pleasant or nasty? Grow or contract? How will we nourish ourselves today? It's all about the feed.

Image found at flickr.com.
© Millicent Maldonado and www.soulcerer.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.