The 6th of January marks the time in many Christian sects when the 3 Sages, or Magi, see the sign of the birth of God in flesh. They saw a symbolic star, gathered their gifts, and began a long journey to see, experience, and know this miracle. This is called the Epiphany because this is when men, albeit just 3 wise men, saw clearly that it was possible to know the Immaculate Lord in the flesh, physical world. If we are not devoutly religious, Catholic, or interested in Christianity, why would this story be significant?
*a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way.
The Pope gave a homily (a religious sermon / teaching) on the subject, using the story to point out how we can in the modern day achieve union with the Lord. Union with the Lord, or bringing God more into our lives, simply means that we are connecting more consciously with the Essence of our Being - the hidden power that gives rise to existence itself. Like many religious figureheads, saints, sages and mystics throughout the ages, the Pope encouraged us to find happiness, peace, by looking beyond the material. He relates material success to glimmering, bright stars that, unfortunately and repeatedly, do not maintain their luster or flame. We "Ooo" and "Ahh" yet quickly forget. Instead, we should look to that which gently whispers to us steadfastly. Naturally he uses Biblical references and Catholic symbolism.
Looking beyond biblical verses and religious symbols: What is it that stays with us consistently through life? Well, this is a question that I cannot answer for you. I can say, though, that this question is actually the star which the 3 Wise Men saw - they saw the potential to connect with the essence of their being-ness.
epiphany of the Elders.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to volunteer with a hospice organization. I learned through my interactions with their clients that, as life nears its end, we are in a very juxtaposed position. Able to feel the closeness of death, yet obviously alive, clients related their lives to me through stories. None of the stories involved financial or material success, but rather revolved around family, friends, shared moments of joy, sorrow, or regret.
It's sad to think that as our lives near the end we might reflect on what our lives were all about, as if the end was the only place to pause. If we don't spend our lives chasing quick glory and pleasures perhaps this pause at the end will be more of a peaceful moment, rather than an anxious waiting.
This is the epiphany of the elders, and directly related to the Christian epiphany: when we seek the wholesome essence of life, we are more at peace. When we come to know permanently our essence, our peace remains eternal. Time, people, moments, objects - all come and go. Sometimes staying with us for a while, other times a brief moment. Are we to grasp and hold when our elders tell us that all eventual slips beyond our grasp?
seek and see the Essence in All.
When we make the goal of our life to be the direct realization, understanding, or knowing of what our True Essence is, a self-revelatory journey unfolds -a journey that exposes the intimate connection we have with all things. Now, it is essential that we bring along on this journey the purity of our intention, a willingness to transform, and a deep level of humility for the unknown. If we remain true to the course, we ultimately arrive at the goal - direct experience of the Divine Essence within our own lives.
So, beyond the religious talk, we can take a story about a special star, 3 wise men, and God as a baby, and extract a valuable lesson that even our own elders tell us from their experience: to really know the real value of life, we must find the essence of life and connect with it.
using Nature to our Advantage.
So it's now 2018 and we're already 4 days in and thinking "shit, did I already lose track of my resolution(s)?" And let's be honest - Jan 1st didn't really count; either you did really good because of that honest push into the new year, or you were soft on yourself because of whatever was done the day/night before.
Looking ahead - it seems like a long sprint to the finish line. December 31st, 2018 is only 361 days away!
look to the Sun, the Moon and the Stars for guidance.
Fortunately, we can use the natural systems of life to support our endeavors. Generally speaking, in the northern and southern hemispheres, there are 4 seasons. Because of the Earth's tilt, we get to experience a range of daylight length and temperatures. This fixed procession of life through the annual cycle of the sun and earth orbit is what many organisms and biological processes use already to achieve their goals. We can do the same thing.
I've mentioned this before in another article - SMART goal setting helps us ensure success. We make sure our goal is:
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
We can take the measurement components and use the lunar calendar to set up around 13 mini milestones to help us gauge progress. The new moon is traditionally the time to start new projects. So, at each New Moon, you will want to start moving into the next step on your journey to success.
Also, getting ourselves accustomed to the lunar calendar, as well as the solar procession, will help us feel grounded in life, connected to nature, and ultimately stable in a world of change.
Lunar stepping stones.
Our moon has a 28 +/- day cycle of illumination. So, we have around that many days to do what we need to achieve a mini milestone. With 13 lunar cycles in a year, we have 13 opportunities to slowly realize our 2018 goals / resolution.
We just experienced a wonderful Full Moon on Monday, Jan. 1st.
Our next New Moon occurs on Tuesday, January 16th. We have 12 days to prepare to put into action steps that will achieve our first mini goal. We want to have our mini goal done by the Full Moon - next New Moon. (Jan. 31st - Feb 15th).
When to Start:
Milestone #1 - Tuesday, Jan 16th.
Milestone #2 - Feb. 15th.
Milestone #3 - Mar. 17th
(Spring Equinox - 1/2 way to goal)
Milestone #4 - April 15th
Milestone #5 - May 15th
Milestone #6 - June 13th
(Summer Solstice - achieving goal)
Milestone #7 - July 12th
Milestone #8 - Aug. 11th
Milestone #9 - Sept. 9th
(Fall Equinox - reaping benefits)
Milestone #10 - Oct. 8th
Milestone #11 - Nov. 7th
Milestone #12 - Dec. 7th
(Winter Solstice - decompressing, making way for new goal)
Would love to hear some how this idea relates to you - please leave your comments! If you want to integrate this into your 2018, let's make it work. I can help you plan, organize and coach you to success.
In life, there are times when things are fine, average - we go through the days without any hiccups or incidents, or big surprises or wild adventures. Each day has it's own rhythm and flow, smoothly transitioning through our regular schedules, meeting the small challenges without any hesitation or issue, simply to move along to the next part of the day. Breakfast is made, work is done, we eat dinner and are simply done, ready for bed and the next day that comes.
Then there are those days when we are met with large, or subtle, surprises that seem to brighten our day - we win a scratch-off lottery ticket, or find $20 on the ground. Maybe a friend or family member calls to tell us about a recent marriage proposal or future baby on the way. We feel lighter, chipper, and the everything throughout the day has a brighter hue to its edges. The birds sing songs, the sun shines bright and the world is seemingly will never lose its joy.
But, then, the clouds roll in. The sky becomes dark and grey, the world feels cold and lonely, everything has been cast over by a sense of gloom and melancholy. Someone shared bad news with us, or we fear losing our jobs or a loved one. Maybe we feel lost and hopeless, as if our homes were to be swept out from underneath us. The radiant joy of yesterday has been shattered by today's miseries.
It doesn't have to be this way. We don't have to be subject to the gut wrenching roller coaster ride of life. Constant, radiant peace and happiness can be ours - it's our birthright - and is accessible at anytime, regardless the type of day we may seemingly be having. Just like the Earth is constantly in the path of the warming, life-supporting light of the Sun, we are always embraced by the radiant purity of our essence of Being - which is supreme peace and happiness.
From the perspective of someone on Earth - the sunny days turn into dark nights, seasons come and go, and the weather patterns shift between calm and pleasant, to chaotic and stormy. Similarly, from the perspective of the person, we have good days, bad days, or just plain ol' days. Friends and lovers light us and lift us into a lofty, happy place. They can also smash us, put us down, or trample our hearts into the ground.
Clear away the clouds of the delusional life by establishing yourself in direct connection with the true essence of your Being. We foolishly allow ourselves to be swayed by the changing winds of life, being thrown here and there. Sometimes the winds are gentle and easy, other times violent and damaging. Why allow yourself to be swayed either way, to possibly become damaged or broken during a heavy storm? You can anchor and root yourself into the deepest bedrock of life by re-establishing a direct connection to your true spiritual essence. No more will the winds sway you, no more will the clouds block the warmth and joyous light of life. It may seem and feel that way through the external body and eyes - but your inner feeling and vision will always see and know the bright joyous essence of Truth.
Practice clearing away the clouds by establishing yourself into a regular meditation practice that is appropriate for you. Use your intellect and discernment to remove erroneous ideas about who and what you are. Don't allow the ebb and flow of the tides of life to erode your emotional and spiritual stability.
Affirm with conviction:
"The radiant purity of my true essence of being constantly illumens my mind and consciousness, heals my body, and continuously provides a steady flow of fortunate events to which I am receptive."
Finding success shouldn't be something hard, nor should success be limited to those "lucky" types of people. Rather, success should, and can be, a regular occurrence for all of us.
However, more often than naught, our seeming lack of success boils down to how we perceive the world around us. If we could only just make that subtle shift perhaps we would then begin to see how successful our lives really have been, are, and can be.
Actually, making that shift doesn't need to be hard - all we have to do is begin to search for the true essence of our being. What I mean by that is: searching to know who we really are. Rather than identifying with self-imposed limiting characteristics and descriptions, we should seek our true Self - that which does not change.
As you make this shift into understanding your personal truth, you will naturally come into more success. How quick you progress depends on how dedicated and pointed your focus is.
Now, rather than leave you simply with the task of Self-inquiry, let me also point out that there will be setbacks, detours, delays etc. We will encounter various obstacles on our journey to success and those are:
Lack of progress
and, Distracted Attention.
Doubt: Remember why you chose your goal in the first place. Look to others who have overcome difficulty. Have faith for your inner strength.
Negligence: Learn how to do tasks properly. Read other resources, as for help from people with knowledge. Put into place correct actions and behaviors.
Confusion: Learn from others who have had success. Read from reliable sources while trying to learn how they came to their conclusions.
Failure to make Progress: Write a schedule or plan of action that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and can be set to a timeline. Addictions / Attachments: Surround yourself with people who don't support bad habits or addictions. Change your environment to reflect more ideal circumstances.
Misperceptions: Practice discernment by questioning and seeking to know, rather than blindly accepting.
Distractions: Remain focused, yet be relaxed when attention waivers. It's ok to rest and relax. Take a moment to recoup and then double-up efforts to achieve your goal!
enjoy this free download.
Please enjoy this free download - a handout prepared for a 2017 wellness retreat at the Elohee Retreat Center in north Georgia in collaboration with Heart Center Therapy.
what tone do you resonate?
A good friend of mine is a CPA and has been consulting with businesses for a number of years. He and I actually worked together briefly. Our work was to cultivate deeper conscious awareness of business organization. While working together (and since I've know him) we have always talked about the tone that the top players of businesses have and how that tone will resonate throughout their business venture - this could be any type of business, small or large.
We came to the conclusion that, consciously or not, the tone which business leaders set (Investors, C-Suite teams, or Boards of Directors) would be the tone that vibrated throughout the rest of the business. If you are an avid reader of business literature - or have a fascination for leadership - you will know that people who hold top or key roles tend to send out a silent radiance of influence. Take Virgin for example. Richard Branson is known worldwide for the success of his Virgin companies. On a personal level, Mr. Branson has truly embraced the "do what you love" principle. If you have peer into his organization, no matter which offshoot company, you will find an inner corporate culture of "we want you to love working here".
what are you expressing?
Life is all about expression. We are driven to express - heck, we are all born for the innate expression of two people who came together to express great passion! Many of us know that deep drive for procreation and the power that can have on us.
Unfortunately, though, our parents and society tend to pressure us to express ourselves as they would like, rather than how we may want to. This could be going to a private school, or playing certain sports like our parents, or having high-school and college teachers urge us to take up careers similar to theirs. Along the way, we end up losing our own rhythm and drive - succumbing to external pressures. These external pressures can have negative impacts.
In subtle ways, we learn to take shortcuts, be lazy, or become passive to the life around us. Stuck in the drudgery of life and trying to meet the demands of others. We should learn to overcome these bad influences, revisit what makes us happy, and start living the resonance of our souls.
simple practice. Write.
Start by simply setting aside some time to write. Get a piece of paper and write about what you did as a kid. What did you like to do? What types of toys did you play with and what were the imaginations around those play times? Try to also highlight instances when you felt discouraged to do those things.
Try to go through, if you can, your whole life until right now. Look through your list/ writings and take note. What are you pushing aside that you would like to do more of? What are some of the reasons why? Make a list of those. Typically, time and money are big issues for people.
It's ok if you need to put the writing down for while. It's also ok if you have a hard time. The whole idea is to just start writing. Soon, you will feel the desire to begin expressing yourself more naturally, the way you want to. You will want to live your life in small, subtle differences, or make bigger changes.
Writing gives us access to a deeper level of ourselves. We become more aware of potential blocks that are inhibiting growth - heck, we may even get stuck after a few words. And you know what? That is 100% ok.
finding our tone.
After a while, let what you wrote settle in. Think about it. You will slowly be able to sense what you need, what you want. Slowly let your soul's tone grow.
Now, as that tone grows, you may notice old tendencies that are holding you back. Slowly work to break those. They aren't serving you, so why should you hold on to them? In yoga, we talk about "letting go" - I typically talk about this in savasana, corpse pose. Let go of tension, let go of bad habits. Let go of dysfunctional relationships. At some point, we will die and nature will require that we let go. Don't be found dead, grasping a bottle of poison - because that is essentially what we do. We hold on to things that are slowly poisoning us. Toxic thoughts, old emotions, relationships, work arrangements. Let it all go and allow your soul to sing.