Moving Mondays: The Power of Love

Moving Art by Louie Schwartzberg


How often do you say “I love you”? Do you say it to your friends and family as you hang up the phone or you before you go to sleep at night? Sometimes we say these words so often that they become mechanical. We forget the meaning behind them.

Love has the power to transform. It has the power to change lives. Children who know they are loved are more likely to be healthy and successful as they grow up than children who do not. But that power doesn’t end during childhood. Love is the motivation for so many of our stories, songs, and works of art. The metaphors are endless. Why do we say that love gives us new eyes? It’s because love has the power to change an ordinary life into an amazing one. Our daily life may remain the same, but our perspective is altered. Whether we’ve met a…

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“Love sometimes wants to do us a great favor: hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.” – Hafiz

Could it be, Life has SHAKEN you to AWAKEN you? 

Here’s another radical idea: What if that moment your world as you knew it was crumbling down and flipping over, was a divine moment of Grace? 

If this idea isn’t sitting well with you, WAIT, check this out before you go:

“While on an expedition to Antarctica last month, photographer Alex Cornell witnessed a massive iceberg flip, revealing a strangely translucent blue underside that’s completely free of snow and debris. According to Science World, almost 90% of any given iceberg is below the surface, making iceberg flips extremely rare.

Much larger iceberg flips are even capable of causing tsunamis that can overtake nearby ships.” – thisiscolossal.com

flip-1

Stunning Iceberg Flip captured by Alex Cornell: http://www.alexcornell.com/#/antarctica/

 

flip-2

Stunning Iceberg Flip captured by Alex Cornell: http://www.alexcornell.com/#/antarctica/

 

On YouTube, in a video entitled ‘Iceberg flipping over…’ the person who posted it described the phenomenon like this: “… the huge berg lost a part of itself (look at the right side sinking) and then flipped over with a huge roar.

In the process of melting this happens all the time, but it is seldom that it is captured on video WHEN it happens…”

As I read all these and marvelled at these stunning shots, I was graced with a moment of clarity, which led to an inner hush of silence and gratitude…

…For the ‘Divine Meltdown’ that led to the Flipping Over of my world.

It was a scary and painful episode of my life where every false external securities, addictions and attachments I had clung on to and mistaken as my Identity, Worth and Purpose, melted away in a blink of an eye.

It was terrifying while it was happening.

But all along, it was Grace at work, a blessing in disguise. It marked the moment of my Awakening. For that to happen, my old world-view was turned Upside Down, Inside Out.

More than that, it was an answer to my prayer. All year long, no kidding, I’d been praying, “Upgrade me! Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically-TOTALLY!” Of course when I prayed that dangerous prayer, I had no idea I was inviting into my life, an extreme internal makeover.

What I had in mind, and what the DIVINE had in store for me, were worlds apart. I got more than what I could ever ask, hope or imagine for myself.

But again, it was NOT EASY when things went down the way it did. I had not anticipated that a total Upgrade would mean Growth, and lots of Growing Pains. And just like an iceberg in the process of melting, it looked as if I was losing a part of myself and sinking under. When the flipping over happened, I was flipping out, BIG TIME. There was a huge roar of fear. I protested and resisted the massive change that was about to happen.

And no matter what I did, there was no turning back. The flip was still happening, ready or not.

As I went under, I thought I was dying.

As it turns out, it was a rebirth.

ALL that had been hidden from the surface of my consciousness all these years, began to reveal itself, and is still revealing itself. What seemed like a ‘Rude Awakening’ is, and continues to be, a Grace-Filled Awakening.

“Almost 90% of any given iceberg is below the surface, making iceberg flips extremely rare.”

Are 90% of us still below the surface, still not Awakened? Are we choosing comfort, over the pain of growing? Security, over the risk of change? Are we resisting a massive ‘flip over’? And flipping out when it happens?

During a conversation with a friend the other day, he shared that he’ll rather have a smooth, monotonous existence where life may be boring but at least he’d never have to grow. He prefers it to the jarring pain of growth.

I know I can’t live like that. If you’re not growing, you’re ‘dying’. For me, that’s an even greater pain. I hope to keep growing till the day I die. And in this light, for every Flipping Over that has happened, is happening and will continue to happen, I say, bring it on. It’s always scary and painful and frustrating at first. But again and again and again, I am rediscovering that ‘what lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.’ — Ralph Waldo Emerson.

It takes the flipping over to reveal what’s buried, and hidden within.

It’s not easy. And nobody likes painful experiences. But we can all give an empowering meaning to whatever we experience in life and be so much better off for it. Perhaps today is another opportunity to relook into a painful / challenging moment in your life, and be reminded of this truth:

“Love sometimes wants to do us a great favor: hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.” — Hafiz

 

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Hold On to Now

We’re all holding on to something, whether we’re conscious of it or not. In this post, I’m focussing on our tendency to cling on to Pain from the Past, verses Grace in the Present moment.

Last Sunday, my girls and I were talking about Relationships (remember, ‘relationship’ is not just about BGR or romance, it encompasses ALL of life and everyone that’s a part of your life) and the human nature of holding on to pain. Something I’ve been relearning and reminding myself lately is this:

Today

is my First

and Last day

with you (anyone who’s a part of my day and life).

 

Today

will never happen again.

 

11.1.15 (the day we were having our

heartfelt talk) will never happen again.

 

If Today is my First and Last day with you, a loved one, a friend,

do I want to leave you in Pain or in Love?

 

“It’s true… but it’s not easy,” A says.

It’s not easy, it’s true. Especially when you’ve been hurt.

It’s easier to hold on to hurt, hurt them back,

10 times more! An eye for an eye!

 

That’s human nature.

 

When you’re angry,

being in the Here and Now

is not easy.

 

You want to go back to the past,

remind them of every mistake they’ve made

and if possible, cut them off from your future.

 

But if you train yourself to remember,

Today is the First day and the Last day

with a Loved one, you’d want to leave

them in Love… not Pain.

 

Yesterday,

that opportunity came up for me

to put this lesson into practice.

 

It was a whole day of struggling to hold the tensions

between the Past and the Present.

 

“Another way in which we can transform our darkness and “easter” the new life of the new self is by holding the painful tensions within us – the tugs between what the ego wants and that to which the True Self calls us.

We’re filled with an array of opposing tensions. John of the Cross wrote that in the dark night “the soul becomes a battlefield in which… two contraries combat one another.”

We’re pulled between the opposites: good and evil, hope and despair, love and hate, forgiveness and revenge, venturing forth and staying put, the urge to wholeness and the pull to fragmentation, acceptance and rejection, commitment and freedom, community and solitude, intimacy and autonomy, psyche and soma, doing and being, consciousness and unconsciousness, the masculine and the feminine. The list goes on and on…

…The first step toward growth is to enter these tensions, embracing and exploring the pain and ambiguity within rather than running from them, concealing them, or anesthetizing them.

…This interior integration and healing of the soul is our aim. But it can’t happen if we avoid the pain and tensions within us. Once, when my counselor and I were discussing Joseph Campbell’s captivating dictum ‘Follow your bliss,” he commented, “It may be just as important to follow your agony.” Perhaps we can’t find our real bliss until we begin to contront our agony.

The poet Gibran wrote something similar: “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. The self-same well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears… The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

When we enter the darkness, we accept that there will be trials. In the clash of opposites, the pain and conflict pull the strands of our lives back and forth in a miserable tug of war.

…Holding such tensions meant asking myself in countless circumstances, Am I being true in this moment…? Am I responding out of fear?” – Sue Monk Kidd, ‘When the Heart Waits.’

Fear gave me all the reasons to withhold Love.

Love embraced all of my heart, releasing Love.

 

I listened to both, and noticed how both felt like.

If I put Fear aside, I knew my heart had forgiven.

 

Then I reminded myself,

14.01.15 will never happen again.

 

No matter the painful outcome in the past,

Today will be my First and Last chance

to wish a loved one Happiness in life.

 

So I did. “Happy Birthday…”

And it left us both in Smiles.

 

There’s Grace in each Present moment.

Be present in the Present. Be here, Now.

 

It’s not easy. But the hope is in the trying.

DSC01168edit

Spotted this squirrel in Chiangmai, all stretched out, “holding on.” 28.12.14.

 

Love,
Mish

The Love Culture
www.facebook.com/theloveculture
www.theloveculture.wordpress.com

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

“A single word can be a powerful thing. It can be the ripple in the pond that changes everything.” – Ali Edwards. What WORD are you Inviting into 2015?

In 2014, I picked a Word, not knowing that it would IMPACT my life in such a deep, profound and life-changing way.

This is why I invited you to think about Your Word: What is YOUR WORD for 2015? 10 Days to Reflect, Realign, Rephrase, REWORD.

Today, we are 10 days into the the New Year 2015. If you have not thought of a word, you can start Now.

Listen in, and let that word show up for you.

This could possibly be one of the most important thing YOU can do for YOU, in 2015.

This is not just any other year. 2015 will not happen again. How would you like to show up for this year? How would you like this year to show up for you? What would you like to invite more of into your life this New Year?

Listen in for that Big Word (Vision Word). And then the supporting actionable words (Mission Words) will start showing up for you. 

I only realised the far reaching effect of the Word as I stood at the last week of December 2014 and traced my way back to January. That’s when I saw how everything unfolded the way it did, and contributed to the experience of a WHOLEHEARTED year. That was my word last year.

I did not anticipate that being WHOLE meant facing and admitting my dark side. I found myself in a lot of situations where I was continually given the opportunity to meet with what Jung would refer to as my “Unconscious Shadow”. Needless to say, it has not been easy. There were many painful situations and outcomes that I had to deal with and come to terms with.

I had so many inner dragons I needed to face, and eventually befriended. Through it all, the effect has been WHOLESOME and I am grateful.

This year, when the word GRACE caught my attention and got me so curious, I knew it was My Word for 2015. But I was a little scared. GRACE seems like a nothing word. It seems so vague (because my understanding of it is still a little vague). Even so, I went with it. And I am discovering what a HUGE word it really is. I am seeing and learning that all these meaningful words like Patience, Wholeness, Wholeheartedness, Kindness, Compassion and Love, are all parked under it. By allowing myself to learn, and grow into Grace, I will allow myself to grow into these other words.

How about you? What would you like to learn, discover and experience more of in 2015? What do you want to GROW in you? My friends have been sharing their words with me. For one, it’s Conscious. For another, it’s BOLD. And yours is?

I love a link my friend Suzanne shared with me. It’s the One Little Word project by Ali Edwards. She sums up the power of the word really well, and I love how she gives you an idea of what to do with your word:

“A single word can be a powerful thing. It can be the ripple in the pond that changes everything. It can be sharp and biting or rich and soft and slow.

In 2006 I began a tradition of choosing one word for myself each January – a word to focus on, meditate on, and reflect upon as I go about my daily life.

My words have included play, peace, vitality, nurture, story, light, up, open and thrive. These words have each become a part of my life in one way or another.

They’ve been imbedded into who I am and into who I’m becoming. They’ve been what I’ve needed most (and didn’t know I needed).

They’ve helped me to breathe deeper, to see clearer, to navigate challenges, and to grow.

So what do you do with this one little word?

You live with it.

You invite it into your life.

You let it speak to you.

You might even follow where it leads.” – Ali Edwards 

All the best with finding Your Word, and I hope you’ll have an enriching journey of LIVING, Learning and GROWING with that word in 2015.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

In the wake of Violence, Anger, Death, Blood and Rage, how does GRACE fit in the picture? Does Grace even matter?!

I am wrestling with this question all day today.

In the wake of Violence, Anger, Death, Blood and Rage, how does GRACE fit in the picture? Does it even matter? How? Why?

Suddenly talking or thinking about Grace, Compassion, Kindness and Love in the midst of senseless violence and tragedies seems like a big fat joke. It’s like preaching that unicorns are real and that we’re living in a world of butterflies, bunnies and rainbows. Let’s talk JUSTICE!

I felt JUSTIFIED in feeling what I felt, liking what I liked on FB, thinking what I thought in private, and saying what I said in public. For me. the reactions of fear, anger and furious demonstrations against this act of violence is the Normal and Healthy thing to do! GRACE is irrelevant!

But to my growing annoyance, a still, calm, voice from within keeps stirring and nudging me on, to go deeper still, and find a place for Grace.

I had to wrestle back. But does GRACE even have a place in reality?!

YES.

Where? How?

YOU.

I was silenced for a while… as I am gradually reminded of my recent experience at a Silent Retreat in Chiang Mai. Free from the usual distractions and addictions-day after day, night after night-I was Awakening to my unconscious roots of Bitterness, Anger and Rage.

Our inner struggles were gently revealed, through meditation, Scriptures, prayers, journalling, dreams and personal Spiritual Direction sessions.

What I found most healing through these times of Awakening was the gentle experience of Grace. The feeling and knowing that my Darkness does not put out or put off the Light. But that Grace embraces ALL I AM.

In these times of Awareness, I was constantly reminded of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, and how he was redeemed by Grace. There was so much Anger, Bitterness and Hate in him, and he is justified in feeling so. But he was given a way out of his pit of despair. He found a whole new life story.

“For I had come to hate this world
This world that always hated me

Take an eye for an eye!
Turn your heart into stone!
This is all I have lived for!
This is all I have known!
One word from him and I’d be back
Beneath the lash, upon the rack
Instead he offers me my freedom,

…Another story must begin!” Valjean’s Soliloquy, Les Miserables.

I am reminded that the ones who would understand the Value of Grace in the midst of Violence, Anger, Death, Blood and Rage are the ones who have taken a long, hard look in the mirror and recognised the Violent, in themselves. The Killer, in themselves. The Rage and Anger, in themselves.

It is those who have seen and recognise that their true source of Pain, is the Pain within.

It is through the Awareness of our deepest darkness, that we understand how Grace–the unmerited Kindness, Compassion, Patience and Love extended to us while we’re stuck in this place–can redeem us again.

It is through the Awareness that we too have been a Source of Pain and cause others Pain, that we see where Grace has shown up for us and helped us to see, acknowledge, heal and grow through the pain.

“But the question is, how can people be with their pain?

Only if they sense some compassion from somebody. As another teacher says, only when Compassion is present will people allow themselves to see the truth,” Dr. Gabor Maté.  

It’s when Grace is present in spite of ourselves, that we will find the courage to see the truth of ourselves, and seek the help we need to heal, and grow for the better. There is a place for Grace in this world.

It is the path to Freedom.

And it begins with YOU.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

BEGIN AGAIN…

We are SEVEN Days into the New Year 2015. A friend of mine shared that it feels as if there isn’t any difference, just another day as life continues. For some of us, we may feel this to be true, too. But for those of us who’s been dealt with difficult circumstances and painful losses at the start of the year, we may wish this is true.

But for ALL of us, here’s what is true, as well: Whatever we may be going through, there is New Grace for each New Day.

The question is, what is Grace? That’s my question coming into this New Year. I’ve decided to make it a personal journey of discovering for myself what GRACE means in each and every day, in all that happens, in everything that is unfolding, and in all that I do—in the heart of Life. So far, I am learning that Grace is a huge part of being Whole and Wholeheartedness.

“To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.” – Brennan Manning.

Whatever life stories you may have been living, experiencing and carrying forth from the past into the present, may Grace awaken you to a New Wholesome Story—your WHOLE-STORY—not just the light side or the dark, but the gentle and gradual integration and acceptance of both. It is a process. It is a daily thing. It is to be lived.

And one way to experience Grace, is to simply Begin Again. Being present in the Present.

I leave you with a beautiful and timely reminder I received on the 1st day of 2015: “Don’t let Tomorrow, rob you of Today. Don’t let what you want to do in the New Year, rob you of Today. Don’t let a poor ending to 2014 or years past, rob you of the Blessing. Begin Again,” Rinda – www.listeninginn.org Wishing you New Grace for the New Year 2015 and So Much Love, Mish — The Love Culture www.facebook.com/theloveculture www.theloveculture.wordpress.com

**** “Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Awaken to Grace…

To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.” – Brennan Manning

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture