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Emily (pianist) and Charlene


Last Friday night, between my second and third flights, during twelve hours of traveling from California to Florida, I stopped to sing in the main concourse at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, NC.

 

I almost passed by. The moving sidewalk had carried me through the main concourse, passed someone playing a piano, and brought me to the entrance of the terminal for my gate. There, something nudged at my heart and urged me to go back to the piano area instead of going forward, directly to the gate.   Continue reading

DO YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE TALENT?

Talent Tree

Many of us hold a limited and limiting definition of talent, believing talent to mean special skill in art, athletics and academics. This narrow understanding can restrict learning ability, performance, and happiness in all aspects of life.

 

During 1999-2000, I visited classrooms in a variety of school settings throughout America, where I read my book, The Twelve Gifts of Birth. I then engaged the children in discussion about their inner resources of strength, compassion, beauty, and other human capacities, including the gift of talent.

 

Everywhere I went, I asked children to tell me about their gift of talent. In every classroom, hands shot up, and I got answers like, “I can draw.  I can sing. I’m good at baseball. I’m good at swimming. I’m good at math. I’m good at spelling.”

 

In nearly every classroom, there were a few students who hesitated to name a talent or did not did claim one at all.

 

Next, I asked, “What do you love to do? What makes you happy?”

 

Then, every child showed eagerness and enthusiasm. And, I heard answers like, “I’m good at taking care of my baby brother; I can make people laugh; I’m good at putting puzzles together; I like to look at the stars; I know sign language; I love my dog; I can twirl my tongue; I can put my legs behind my head!”

 

These answers demonstrate that, by approaching talent in a broader way and asking about likes and abilities, children readily begin to see the notion of talent in a broader way and they see themselves as “talented,” which usually leads to an increased sense of value, self-worth, and potential for learning.

 

Whenever I lead this expanded activity, I observe what appears to be heightened happiness and a greater sense of respect for self and others.

 

So, I’m suggesting three ideas to help expand the limited, common view of talent that is prevalent in our culture:

 

1.  Let’s start using a new word: Talentry.  The word talent is well established as primarily related to the 3 A’s… academics, athletics, and the arts. It is probably easier to use a new word than to try to expand the meaning of an existing one. Talentry could be that word, meaning “the mix of abilities and interests that exist in any and every human’s makeup.”

 

2. I invite you to make a Talent Tree. Start with a blank “Talent Tree” for yourself and one for each person doing this activity, if you are doing this with others. You can draw your own trees with a simple trunk and straight lines for branches. Use the one provided here as an example. The idea is to fill in the branches, one-by-one, with aspects of a person’s own, unique talentry. Brainstorm. What comes easy? What brings joy? What do you love to do? What do you care about? These are the clues for aspects of one’s talentry. Note everything that comes up. Have fun with this. The purpose is to expand appreciation of all our traits, not judge anything as “unimportant.” Nothing is too small in this quest. The sample “Talent Tree” in process here is meant to be a guide.

 

3. Fill in as many branches as you can. Then, be on the look-out.  Make it a game. Continue to add all those seemingly small qualities and interests to your Talent Tree.

 

I believe that when we all get this expanded view of talent … when we see that every person has and IS a unique expression of talentry … we will all begin to experience more reverence and joy in our hearts as well as greater success in the world.

 

CULTIVATING JOY: HERE’S ONE WAY

White Ducks Behind FL HouseEven during sad times, joy is always present in us. No matter what is happening in our lives, we can tap into joy and be nourished by it.

One way to access joy is to watch for little, inner uplifts each day. Even teeny tiny stirrings in the heart are a sign of the presence of joy. Paying attention and noticing subtle uplifts can lead to gratitude which opens the flow of joy from a trickle to a stream.

Notice at least one (seemingly) small uplift today. You may even find yourself filled with delight! Six white ducks showing up among the mallards did that for me.

Wishing you a day of sweet surprises and discoveries. May you en-JOY them!

 

HOLDING THE LIGHT – A FORM OF PRAYER

Burning Candle
“I’ll be holding the light for you.”

Have you ever said this to someone in a challenging situation? Has anyone said this to you?

This idea and intention to “hold the light” seems to be growing as a common expression. I hear it as another way of saying, “I care” and “I’ll pray for you” when we feel empathy for the hurt a loved one is experiencing.

But what does it mean?

And exactly how do we “hold the light” for someone?

I was asking these questions when a clear image suddenly came into my mind.

I saw myself in a small, simple, windowless room. I was standing at the head of bed, holding a candle. In the bed was a friend who was experiencing deep emotional pain. At the foot of the bed was another woman, standing by.

And I got it.

Yes, my friend was in pain… laboring with pain. And it was because she was about to give birth to something new and wondrous in her life! The woman at the foot of the bed was an angel present to facilitate with the birthing.

My role was simply to stand at the head of the bed and… well, just hold the light, without fretting, worrying, or getting in the way. I watched as a golden glow filled the room and bathed each of us in the energy of love.

I now use this image whenever I am privileged to hear the courageous sharing from a family member or friend who confides a challenge regarding their health, or finances, work, or in a relationship, whatever…. I trust that in every challenge there is something ready to be born, something new, something wondrous… something to welcome into the world.

With deep respect for our friends and their birthings, we can stand by them in this way, holding the light.

Does this resonate with you? Do you have another visual image that represents “holding the light?” If so, please share it. Visualizations can help make our intentions more real, anchor them, and add energy to our caring intentions.

SEDONA’S COFFEE POT ROCK…AND FAITH


 

When I wake in Sedona and look out from my bed, I can readily see the formation known as Coffee Pot Rock.”

 

Like many of Sedona’s Red Rocks, this one is named for what it resembles.

Can you see what looks like an old-style, percolating coffee pot at the far-right end of the elevated range? (You may need to use your gift of Imagination.)

 

Recently, when I woke, Coffee Pot Rock was not there!

 

At least it appeared to “not be there” because a heavy fog rested right on the tree tops and covered the entire rock range. (Notice the seeming “absence” of the Red Rocks in the second photo.)

 

In a few hours, the vapor lifted, and I could once again plainly see the Red Rocks.

 

Meanwhile, while the rocks remained hidden from view, I was reminded of how our inner gifts can seem to be absent.

 

In fact, it was a morning when I felt empty of Joy.

 

I saw this illusion of the rocks missing, along with knowing that the giant formations were indeed present, as a symbol of Faith, which led to feeling of gratitude and on to a stirring of Joy.

 

Anytime we experience the “absence” of Joy or Love or Faith… any of our inner resources… we can remember that that experience is an illusion… like the missing rocks.

 

Just like the Red Rocks existing, as they have, for millions of years,

the gifts of Life exist in us, always.

 

Consider letting this be a symbol of Faith for you, too.



LET THE LIGHT WITHIN YOU SHINE



 

“People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

 

 

 

 

I am always on the lookout for expressions of The Twelve Gifts.

 

Yesterday, at The Farmers’ Market in Winter Garden, Florida, I found several. I’d like to share three with you.  One is this delightful bottle lamp that features the word “Joy.” I see this lamp as an expression of Beauty and Talent too.  Another is the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross quote that accompanies this whimsical creation. The third is the woman who makes these unique lamps. Her name is Kathleen Bee. I saw pretty much all the gifts in her in the course of a conversation. If you wish, you can see more of her work by visiting: www.souljourneydesigns.com.

 


Consider trying this yourself…

 

Today, be on the lookout for examples of Strength, Beauty, Courage, Compassion, Hope, Joy, Talent, Imagination, Reverence, Wisdom, Love, and Faith. Like a child on a treasure hunt, look up, down, and all around. Look within too. And listen, with your heart as well as your ears. With the intention to find examples, you are likely to notice several. Perhaps many! Be ready to notice not only The Twelve Gift words in such places as quotes, advertising, conversations, and music… watch for demonstrations of these gifts in action. For even more fun, deliberately put one or more of these gifts in action. Let your inner Beauty sparkle… no matter what. Let the light within YOU shine!

 


A MESSAGE SENT TODAY VIA THE “INNERNET”

A MESSAGE SENT TODAY VIA THE “INNERNET”

During the past week, I came across several references to the “Innernet.”
This clever and evocative name is already being used by individuals and businesses in a host of ways. A quick Google search offers over 650,000 results.

But imagine an Innernet… the Innernet… as real and relevant as the Internet, perhaps even more so, because absolutely everyone on the planet is on it. Imagine a wondrous energy web in which we are all connected, sending and receiving messages 24/7.

I wondered: How we might use this Innernet to spread hope on the planet? That question triggered a memory that I’d like to share with you now.

It was a typical summer day in Sedona, Arizona. The cloudless blue sky provided a perfect back drop for the area’s amazing rock formations. While waiting for the stop light to change from red to green at the intersection of 179 and 89A–where there is now a roundabout –I watched a young woman clothed in a long-white robe cross the street in front of my car. Only when she reached the other side and stepped on to the sidewalk did I notice her feet. They were bare! The air temperature outside my car was nearly 100. Imagine the heat of the black asphalt!

When the signal changed, I u-turned and pulled into a strip mall driveway so that I could encounter the young woman. I rolled down my window and offered her money for shoes. “I cannot accept money,” she said.

I offered her my sandals.

“Thank you. But, I cannot accept shoes either. Being shoeless is voluntary for me. It’s a kind of prayer,” she said. The young woman went on to explain that being shoeless was part of loving service she was doing for humankind. Beaming with joy, she offered to chant a blessing for me, which I accepted.

On that day, in that way, she sent a Therevada Buddhist Blessing out on the Innernet.
Today, in this way, I am sending a similar one from The Twelve Gifts for Healing:

May you allow fear to soften and melt away.

May you release all regrets and resentments.

May you see the world with wonder.

And may you imagine only good things.

May hope rise within you.

May peace wash over you.

May you hear the voice of wisdom.

Listening, may you act with trust.

May your heart open.

May joy emerge.

May love flow through you.

May you heal and help others.

What if, just once each day, we each simply whisper “Hope”
and we send that out on the Innernet?