Happiness in the Here and Now.

One of the topics discussed in Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Peace is Every Breath is “Contemplating Aimlessness”.  He says,

Contemplating aimlessness helps us stop feeling compelled to go around seeking after this and that, exhausting ourselves mentally and physically.

Aimlessness means not chasing after anything, not setting any more objects in front of ourselves to run after.

Happiness is available right in this present moment.  We already are what we want to become.

It’s like a wave who goes looking to get in touch with the vastness of water.  When she realizes water already is her own true nature, her very substance, she no longer needs to go looking elsewhere for it.

Everywhere you turn, life is full of wonders.  The Kingdom of God, the Pure Land of the Buddha, is already right here, within and all around us; and the same is true of happiness.

Contemplating aimlessness helps us be able to stop our rushing around and experience a sense of contentment and joy.

I’m lingering on these words as they bring me peace:  Happiness is available right in this present moment. We already are what we want to become.

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Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair by Anne Lamott

I just finished reading Stitches. A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair. In short, this book explores the meaning of life, the meaning of suffering and in essence, what the purpose of life is.  Lamott talks about how she quit her last “real” job, as a writer at a magazine, when she was 21. She says, that was the moment when she lost her place of prestige, but also, when she started to be found, to discover who she was born to be, and to begin to learn how to do all the things she had been taught not to do.

Although Lamott writes about heartache and the tragedy in life, her message is infused with her wonderful sense of humor and inspiring message of survival with the help of others.

She says, “This is who I want to be in the world. This is who I think we are supposed to be, people who help call forth human beings from deep inside hopelessness.”

Another quote is about finding meaning through books, nature or art:

All of life, for me, begins with books and art…When you love something like reading – or drawing or music or nature – it surrounds you with a sense of connection to something great.  If you are lucky enough to know this, then your search for meaning involves whatever that Something is. It’s an alchemical blend of affinity and focus that takes us to a place within that feels as close as we ever get to “home”. It’s like pulling into our own train station after a long trip – joy, relief, a pleasant exhaustion.

If a writer or artist creates from a place of truth and spirit and generosity, then I may be able to enter and ride this person’s train back to my own station. It’s the same with beautiful music and art…. Beauty is meaning.

I’ve enjoyed reading this book and will be exploring more of Ms. Lamott’s works very shortly!

Tell Your Truth (and a tool to help you with that).

I’ve been reading a book called The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte.  It’s about figuring out what your core desired feelings are.  That is, the feelings that you most want to feel in your life. Such as a sense of freedom, joy, tranquility, abundance, security, etc.  The reason for doing so is that it helps to know how you want to feel when setting goals or making choices.  It’s like having a compass by which you can gauge whether you are going in the right direction.  For example, one of my core desired feelings is freedom. Having realized that, I can now assess any new opportunities as to how or if they will provide me with a sense of freedom in my life.

The idea is that instead of just setting goals, you can ask yourself whether the goals you are contemplating are going to make you feel the way you want to feel in your life when you accomplish them. Sometimes we pursue a goal and then, when we get there, it leaves us feeling hollow, not filled up like we hoped it would. That’s because the goal didn’t align with what we were really wanting. I’m totally not doing Danielle’s book proper justice, so you’ve got to read this book yourself!

When I asked myself what is meaningful to me, I came up with being inspired and inspiring others. Another principle that is important to me is telling the truth.  Truth is such a fundamental principle to me and is an important theme in my life as I learn to tell my personal truth (which is sometimes suppressed because I don’t want to ruffle any feathers or when I don’t want to shine a spotlight on myself).

When I let my truth come out, it feels so good, like my chest is clear and I can breathe deeply with ease. Following my truth and telling my truth is like keeping my eyes firmly affixed on my own North Star and trusting that it will ultimately take me home.

The Desire Map is definitely a great tool for discovering one’s truth!

Healing Cancer – Two Sources of Inspiration and Guidance

Over the last couple of years, I’ve watched two people I know through work come face to face with cancer.  The courage and determination each of these people have shown during this very difficult life challenge has left me in awe.  I decided to read a couple of books about healing cancer so I could understand a little better.  One such book I am writing about here today in the hope that it might be helpful to you or someone you know who is living with cancer right now.  Maybe down the road, when you hear of another person who is newly diagnosed, you’ll remember this book and pass it on to them.  I am writing about it here because it is a book about HOPE and DARING TO LIVE, despite however dire things might appear.

The book is called Radical Remission.Surviving Cancer Against All Odds by Kelly A. Turner, PhD.

Dr. Turner talks about the Nine Key Factors That Can Make a Real Difference.  They are:

1) Radically Changing Your Diet;

2) Taking Control of Your Health;

3) Following Your Intuition;

4) Using Herbs and Supplements;

5) Releasing Suppressed Emotions;

6) Increasing Positive Emotions;

7) Embracing Social Supports;

8) Deepening Your Spiritual Connection; and

9) Having Strong Reasons for Living.

On the face of it, these nine factors seem like “no brainers”; they all make sense.  What makes this book extraordinary is that it is about people who have taken a “radical” approach towards treatment.  Some of them had surgery, then chemo and/or radiation and had the cancer recur, others had surgery and then opted not to have radiation or chemotherapy, and others, had cancer that was inoperable or just too advanced.  The common denominator with all of the people profiled in this book is that they took control of their lives and decided to pursue what was available through integrated medicine. And as a result….healing occurred.  Some might say miracles occurred.  Dr. Turner came to see that each of these people focused on those nine key areas on their journey towards restoring their health.

The other equally powerful and extraordinary fount of inspiration and guidance on how to heal cancer is Kris Carr.  See her website, and in particular, her bio here.  Kris was diagnosed with an incurable Stage 4 cancer in 2003.  On her website and through her books, she shows you what she did to heal herself and thrive.

I feel a duty to share this information with you here today and hope that it will be helpful.