Growing Through an Experience

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                         Growing through an experience . . .there is always an option.

While writing my book, I would often say to myself, “Barbara, read your book!”

Now you would think that someone who has published a book about finding inner peace would be able to address each situation, no matter how hectic, and remain calm and collected.  However, that is not the case.  I know what I am supposed to do to be peaceful, but actually doing it is a whole other thing.

No matter how much I/we meditate, think quiet thoughts and breathe deeply, life has a way of catching us at our weaker moments and takes us to places we would rather not go.

Recently, I had one of those unsettling sleepless nights.   My “monkey mind” would not be quiet.  No  matter how much I tried to focus on my breath or repeat my quieting mantra, it would not stop jumping from one thought to another. I knew the best I could do was simply allow it to be and watch the thoughts come and go. By the time my alarm went off for an early morning meeting, I felt exhausted and was not in the best of moods.

To make matters worse, I was running late–something I hate to do—plus the blouse I planned on wearing had a loose button; the gas gauge was almost on empty because I forgot to get gas the day before; and the final straw, was a driver who cut in front of me to exit the expressway and almost hit my car. I was furious!

At that moment, something I wrote about in my book jumped out at me.  Getting angry with this driver would only upset me more.  I could choose to concentrate on my driving, send positive thoughts to this person, let go of my anger, and be more at peace.  I had an option.

In that moment, I chose to do what I knew would help me regain a peaceful  stance.

It has been said that you can go through an experience or you can grow through an experience.  The option is yours. That day I grew through an experience: I not only remembered, but I actually practiced, what I had written in my book. It made all the difference for creating a calm and attentive attitude during the rest of the day.

As my journey continues, I know there will be bumps of various depths along the way, so I hold a valuable little mantra in my mind:   “Barbara, read your book!”

Peace & Blessings

 

Where are we?

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Have you ever wondered, “Where in the world we are?”  Or maybe a more relevant question is, “Where in this galaxy are we, knowing there are billions of galaxies that exist?”

Now there are probably not too many folks thinking about these kinds of questions in the midst of many more practical ones to ponder.  However, when I reflected on all the billions and billions of snowflakes just the other day, and knowing there are no two snowflakes exactly alike, I began thinking about the billions and billions of galaxies and where my little self is located in them.

Well, if you have ever looked at the Milky Way on a very clear night (although we cannot actually see the entire Milky Way with the naked eye . . . it is far too massive) or viewed the incredible photos taken by  the Hubble telescope, you may be a bit surprised to know that our marvelous planet, Earth, is at the far reaches toward an end spiral of the Milky Way. Astronomers estimate the stars in our Milky Way galaxy number about 400 billion, give or take a few. 🙂

I think about how seemingly insignificant our planet’s place is in our galaxy, not to mention the entire cosmos, and yet how life-giving our Earth is to each of us. Because of this “insignificant” beautiful blue planet we call Earth, we are able to breathe, and live, and love.  Physicists tell us that if our planet was trillionths of a degree off its gravitational pull, it would not exist as a living planet; it would not be able to sustain life as we know it.

So I ask myself:

Do we see ourselves as the center of our universe or as insignificant? Do we wonder if we are making a difference in the world?  Do we even know and appreciate our own gifts?

May I invite you, in the midst of your busy day,  to reflect and rejoice in the fact that you are unique; who you are and what you do make a significant difference in our world; you are impacting the lives of others in ways you may not realize.

We are not the center of the universe but we are each a seed of incomprehensible mystery and our contribution, no matter how small or how big, can help in transforming our world into a place that can continue to be life-giving to ourselves and others.

 

The Beauty of Snowflakes

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Very early this morning, I awoke to a beautiful snow-covered wonderland.  It was so quiet, so serene, so awe inspiring.

Now many would probably not agree with this idyllic description.  Their first thoughts might be, “Oh no!  I will have to clear the driveway to get the car out of the garage.” Or if their car was not sheltered by a carport or garage, they may think, “Oh great!  Now I have to scrape the windows and dig my car out from the snowbank. I’ll never get to work on time.”

Fortunately, I did not have to do either of these things this morning.  I did not have to leave the house unless I chose to do so, and that was a good thing.  I had the luxury of sitting with a cup of coffee and marveling at the beauty of a winter wonderland.

I started thinking  that there are no 2 snowflakes exactly alike, at least that is what I was always told.  But I wondered, “How could this be?  Seems rather impossible since there are billions and billions –a term Carl Sagan always used to describe the number of  galaxies in our universe– of snowflakes in our world.”

So I decided to search for an answer — where else but on the internet.  Much to my surprise the answer was there in a blink of an eye and it confirmed my belief:  yes, there are no two snowflakes alike.

Dr. Ken Libbrecht, Professor of Physics at Caltech and Chairman of the Physics Department was my source.  Pictures (and movies) of growing snow crystals can be found on his Snow Crystals page along with detailed information on how they form and where they originate.  A very worthwhile site to visit.

Those who need to hassle with all the complications snow can create, may still not be enamored with or appreciate the beauty and sheer awesomeness of this wonder of creation. There may be some who do not believe that there are no 2 snowflakes the same but since this is my story,  I am sticking to it!  🙂

A snowflake is simply unbelievably breathtaking.

 

 

 

Picture Workshop

Introduction to book

When I began writing Coming Home to Self, I thought my intent was to:

  • express my passion for recognizing the sacred in ordinary events;
  • my preoccupation and fascination with seeing jigsaw puzzles as a metaphor for life;
  • and my propensity for noticing paradox.

What I discovered, however, is that it is also about my own life experiences, my own story. It is about what I have learned, what I am still learning, and why I am so eager to continue learning and experiencing.

Life is a learning process. It is unfortunate that it takes so long for some of us to really appreciate this ongoing process, a process that is not just learning facts and theories. It is a process of becoming aware that, in the words of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

We have the opportunity, on this life journey, for expanding our capacity for happiness, joy, compassion, equanimity, loving-kindness, and inner peace. My hope is that in reading about my continuing journey, you may become more keenly aware of your own journey and be inspired to continue emerging into the sacred mystery that you are—a spiritual being on a human journey, a seed of incomprehensible mystery.

 

 

A New Year’s Greeting

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A New Year is an opportunity to be renewed and refreshed. My new book, Coming Home to Self, A Journey into Inner Peace, is my way of wishing that Coveryou, my readers, will find some of the small “mustard seeds” planted in the book will multiply for you.

The seed may be recognizing the beauty and value of the present moment; it may be coming to honor that who you are and what you do make a significant difference in the world; it may be that acts of compassion and loving-kindness to yourself and others will spread just like mustard seeds. Whatever it may be, I hope it comes to fruition as new life for you.

Blessings to you and yours.