Tag Archive | imagination

SEEING PROBLEMS AS OPPORTUNITIES

    
 
“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” 
              ~ Duke Ellington
 

 

 

Hmm. I think we all believe, to some extent at least, that we can look at “problems” differently. We can find blessings in every challenge. 

If/when we do ever truly see them as valuable opportunities, the outcomes will be different. We will be different. Stronger. Healthier. Freer. Better in so many ways.

But because we are so accustomed to seeing problems as…well…PROBLEMS, we do not yet embrace them as opportunities. We often fear them, deny them, resist them, complain about them, blame others for them, or beat ourselves up over them. We may try to avoid facing them.

Today, let’s take another shot at grasping the powerful truth that our problems are chances for us to get it better, to overcome limitations, to clear away stumbling blocks, to remove blind spots and to remove hurts and hates from our hearts.

There are many possible tools and practices that can help us “see differently.”

Consider this:

Select one of your worries, one of the things you have labeled as a “problem.” Write a brief description of it, fold the paper, and place it in a spot you designate as sacred, or special to you in some way. Intend, as best you can, to release the worry.  Even if it feels “impossible,” do it anyway. Do it with faith, even if that faith is smaller than a mustard seed. Ask for help, guidance and grace to recognize opportunities and solutions that lead to something greater. Then use your gift of imagination. “See” the person, the issue, the financial challenge, the threat of loss, the illness – whomever and whatever – in a different light. Remember a time or vision one in which all is well. Open your heart further to love and compassion by bringing to mind someone or something you love dearly, something that makes you smile. Baby animals do this for many people. Go about your day, gently.

 


Also, let this drawing be a reminder that truly can see things differently. Are you familiar with it? You should be able to see both a young woman and a very old one. While neither is the “correct” or “better” way of seeing, seeing problems as opportunities is the better way for our health, happiness, and success overall.

May every problem in our personal lives, in our country and in our world lead us toward greater love, hope, beauty, and joy. Toward greater courage and compassion too. And peace.

With faith always,

Charlene

APPRECIATING ALL THE FLAVORS OF LIFE

Slice of lemon pie

 

 

“If life were predictable, it would…be without flavor.”                               
                                          ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

 

Yesterday I was looking for a quote about flavor because I wanted to share something about it today.

For many years, during my morning “start the day ritual,” I have read a certain affirmation which begins “With wonder and joy I am dancing with Spirit and tasting the sweetness of life…”
Yesterday I got the message in my mind and heart that life has many more flavors that sweetness and it would help if I would accept, respect, and appreciate them all.

What do I mean by this?
During a healing stay at the Chopra Center in 2000 when I faced cancer, I learned about the Ayurvedic approach to eating and healing.

According to Ayurvedic teaching, it is healthy and wise – and tasty too – to include in every meal the flavors of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent.

There is certainly something good about this mix of flavors in cooking and eating, yes?

So perhaps we can shift from judging certain “flavors” of life as unpleasant or even bad and welcome – and even savor – them all in our daily experience.

Hmm. To what gift does this reflection most relate? Imagination? Let’s imagine life as a wondrous feast today and appreciate that we have been invited.

Love and blessings for your day!

“REPURPOSING” INGREDIENTS: A LIFE LESSON FROM CHOPPED CONTENDERS

If you’ve ever watched an episode of Chopped, you have seen at least one demonstration of an ingredient  being “repurposed” in cooking. Repurposing is similar to the concept of taking a lemon and making  lemonade, and yet it’s more than that. When an item is repurposed in food preparation, it’s used in a whole  new way. For example, taco shells in the dessert mystery basket could be spun into crumbs and used as a  cookie, candy, or cake component.

 

I find this show to be inspirational as well as entertaining. What will the contestants prepare using their mystery ingredients? How might they combine salmon and root beer barrels into an appetizer?

As I watch the food transformations, I feel guided to apply the “repurposing” principle to life.

 

Everyday, we are handed a basket of unknowns. Nearly everyday, that basket contains challenges. The assignment for each of us is to accept everything that is in each day’s basket and use it as best we can.

 

We might first moan and groan, as some of the contestants do, when we face something difficult to incorporate. Then we get to work, as they do, using imagination, wisdom, and other resources.

 

On that show, the contestants have access to a pantry full of staples. To me, that pantry symbolizes our inner storehouse. We all have essential resources available to us. Among them are courage, wisdom, compassion, and love. Using these resources, we can repurpose everything. (In fact, many of the champion chefs have said that love is one of their most valuable ingredients.)

 

We’re not all great chefs. But we all have the ability to take the challenges we’re handed and turn them into savory and sweet life experiences.

 

Here’s a simple example. If we’re stuck in traffic, we can transform the seemingly “wasted minutes” into time to strengthen our muscles by doing isometric exercises.  Or, we can practice deep breathing. Or visualize our dreams. Or sing. Or just be present.

 

What about tougher challenges? You might ask. How do we repurpose an argument, an accident, an illness, a layoff? I don’t pretend to have solutions to all of life’s challenges. Ultimately, we each need to find our own ways to deal with them.

 

But, I’m convinced that we can “repurpose” anything when we use imagination, courage, and love. Chopped Grand Champion, Madison Cowan, sure shows the way, with examples like his Waffle Cone Remoulade and, more powerfully, his life. Did you know that, for a time, he was homeless?

 

USE VISUALIZATION TO FEEL PEACEFUL AND SAFE: SURROUND YOURSELF WITH A TWELVE GIFTS’ BUBBLE

Glenda Bubble

By Charlene Costanzo

Can you recall the first time you saw THE WIZARD OF OZ? What in that film made the biggest impression on you? For me, it was the arrival of the Good Witch of the North, gliding in to Munchkin land in a lustrous bubble.

That image popped into my mind this morning, as I was wondering: How can protect myself from negativity? How do I do that without isolating myself? How can I be fully in the world, contributing in positive ways, and not be pulled down by the fear, the anger, and the hurt I often see and feel?

I wanted to maintain the peace I was feeling after prayer and meditation.

Suddenly, there it was, in my mind’s eye, that large, luminous bubble floating toward Dorothy in the film and toward me as the viewer.

And I “got it.”

As I child I wanted to be in that bubble. I realized that…  I COULD!

In my imagination, I created a sense of being in a bubble that is filled with all the highest energies of life. I am imagining that bubble around me now. Its shimmering film allows all the lovely energies within to pass outward. Like a sweet flower, the bubble I am in is frangrancing the world with love. Yet, that film is tight enough to prevent heavy energies from entering into the bubble.

 

Imagination is powerful. We all have this gift. And we use it every day.

Consider using yours to create such a bubble through visualization. It’s easy, fun, and feels great!

Sit in a comfortable place. I like to sit on my bed, propped up with my back against pillows and my legs stretched out in front of me.

Close you eyes, or keep them open, as you prefer.

Place your dominant hand over your heart and your other hand over your belly.

Breathe in deeply. Exhale slowly.

Next time, on the in-breath, imagine that you are drawing toward you, the powers of strength, beauty, courage, compassion, hope, joy, reverence, wisdom, love, and faith.

They are now surrounding you, sparkling with light and all the colors of the rainbow.

Imagine an iridescent film forming in a circle, a ball, all around you.

You are in the bubble.

Now, glide through your day, in a wondrous way.

“Use your imagination not to scare yourself to death, but to inspire yourself to life.” – Adele Brookman