Just For Today, Choose Kindness

“Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.”

“When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”

~ Both quotes from The Dalai Lama

I have a little challenge for you today. It’s a kind of soul medicine, and although it can be a little difficult if you’re out of practice, the more you move into the energy of this challenge the more you will find that it was always your soul’s default position. Think of this challenge as a way to restore your factory settings!

Ready?

Just for today, choose kindness.

Choose to smile from your heart.

Hold back any harsh thoughts, words or criticisms, and find a way to be gentle in your dealings with self and others.

Let kindness be both your journey and your destination.

Just for today, choose kindness.

Let kindness colour the way you see the world.

Put away judgement, and seek out things that can swell your heart with gratitude.

Look for the good in people, the beauty in your surroundings, the blessings at your feet.

Appreciate the simple things, and if you can, share those simple things with others.

A caring word, a gentle touch, a nod of support – none of these things will cost you a penny, but to someone they might be priceless gifts.

When we choose kindness, we ease the way for ourselves and others.  We become an agent for flow and abundance.  Our attitude affirms the goodness and connection inherent in this experience we call life.

We may become an Earthly Angel for someone for whom the Universe intends support or encouragement. God and good can only work THROUGH us. Why not be an agent for that good? Why not be choose to be part of a deliberate energy of love and positivity?

Whatever we choose to think and believe, whatever actions we offer up to the world, our energies come back to us, multiplied.

Trust that the kindness we offer today will find its way back to us when we most need it.

Through the act of living from our hearts, we are transformed, becoming magnetic to even more good-will and positive energy.

Just for today, choose kindness.

Let the energy of love transform your life.  Let the energy of love transform our world.

Just for today, choose kindness.

Today, in someone’s darkness, you can be the Light. ♥

Sending all my love to you, Nicole xoxo

How to do Tonglen Meditation – a Beginner’s Guide

Heart Chakra image from Juicy*S

Heart Chakra image from Juicy*S

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” 
~ Charles Dickens

At times it is easy to feel small and insignificant – unable to help when all we feel in our hearts is an urge to try. When those we know are suffering, or when there is a catastrophe in another part of the world we might wonder what can be done.

There is something we can do. Meditate!

I first started practicing this meditation as a small girl – maybe three or four years of age.  No one taught me.  I just seemed to know what to do.  My baby sister was fidgeting and restless one night, tossing and turning in the bed beside mine as her teeth came through. I breathed in her fever and distress with every in-breath, and with every out-breath I imagined my breath covering her like a soft blanket, helping her to settle and be calm again.

My ‘magical breathing’ (as I thought of it) worked, and I’ve been doing it ever since, as part of my daily meditation practice.

Child meditating - image from www.vk.com

Child meditating – image from www.vk.com

It was not until I reached my thirties that I found out Tibetan Buddhists have a name for this type of meditation – they call it Tonglen. Tonglen is Tibetan for ‘giving and receiving’ and it is a beautiful and simple practice than anyone can do, with no experience.  What matters is your intent.

Sit or lie quietly, and close your eyes. I like to sit with my spine straight, and my hands together in my lap, thumb tips pressed lightly together. (Use the image of the Dalai Lama at the bottom of this page as a guide.)  If I’m lying in bed, I lie on my back with my hands crossed together over my heart. Try to sit if you can, but for those of you unwell or unable to do so, a prone meditation practice will still work.

Start by imagining someone that you want to help. It might be a friend with depression.  You breathe in the heaviness of their energy and suffering and breathe out joy and peace, or whatever other energy you feel would bring them comfort.

All you ever have to do is ‘breathe in’ the condition, emotion or suffering of another, making room for healing and comfort within them.  Then ‘breathe out’ positive energy, love and light to fill the space you have created.

The suffering of others is also our own suffering, so this meditation can help us as we endeavour to help others.  If you are in pain, breathe in your own pain and also the pain of everyone who is suffering from your affliction.  Breathe out relief to everyone, in whatever form feels most right to you.

Do not worry that the things you breathe in will become a part of you, further weighing you down. As you breathe in suffering it is transmuted back into light, and it dissipates harmlessly.

Sometimes you may not even have a word for what you are breathing it – it will simply be a feeling, a weightiness, a blackness or even a void.  Breathe out hope, lightness, joy and well-being.  Breathe out ease.

At times when we don’t know what else to do, this suffices. As you bring peace to others, you bring it also to yourself.  It is a very soothing and calming practice.  You don’t need to belong to any particular religion, or follow any particular spiritual philosophy.  This simple practice merely acknowledges that we are all human, all connected, and all the same – no matter who we are, or where we come from.

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama says of Tonglen:

“Whether this meditation really helps others or not, it gives me peace of mind. Then I can be more effective, and the benefit is immense.”

Image of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in meditation from www.wisdombooks.com

Image of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in meditation from www.wisdombooks.com

Day 24 – Gratitude Challenge

Buzz Aldrin in the Lunar Module during the Apollo 11 lunar landing, man’s first moon walk, July 20, 1969. Image from NASA.

All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible.
~ T.E. Lawrence

Throughout history, there have been souls who have dared to dream big, and who have acted with great courage to follow their dreams, even when the outcome was not assured, even when they themselves feared failure but still were compelled to try.

When men and women have acted this way, on faith and passion alone, driven by a commitment to that dream, they have often changed history.

Once upon a time, it was considered clinically and physically impossible for humans to run a mile in under four minutes.  Roger Bannister broke through that barrier on May 6, 1954 with a run time of 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. Within weeks others had broken the four-minute-mile too. All it had taken was one man who believed it was possible…

Roger Bannister Image from tumblr.com

Oscar Pistorius was born without fibulas, and had both legs amputated between the knees and ankles at eleven months of age.  A few days ago he made history as the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes at the London Olympics, reaching the Quarter Finals in the 400m.

Oscar Pistorius. Image from guardian.co.uk

Whenever someone has gone before us, their actions create space for us to join them at that leading edge of life.

An important question to ask yourself right now is Who is already doing what I want to be doing with my life?

Isaac Newton, one of the greatest scientists, inventors and mathematicians in history, stated that ‘if he could see further, it was because he stood on the shoulders of giants’.  What he meant by that was that he built his success on the efforts and ideas of those who had preceded him.

Look inside your heart. What is that dream of yours? A soul mate? Financial security? Your own business? A career vastly different to what you’re doing now? Success as a healer, artist, musician, writer?

Having gratitude for those who have already done or who are doing the thing you would like to do brings you into stronger alignment with that energy, making you magnetic to opportunities, ideas, resources and teachers.

Here are a few of the people I am grateful for:

JK Rowling – Image from digitopoly.org

The gorgeous Dr Kim Wilkins

Louise Hay – Image from nolimitsforme.com

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. Image from asianews.it

Rollo the Viking  – Image from larsbrownworth.com

When we focus on appreciation and gratitude, we move ourselves out of resistance and back into flow. And in flow, all things are possible…

So let’s start with our daily practice:

Counting Our Blessings and Using our Gratitude Rock

If you need a detailed reminder of our daily process, you can review it here in Day 1 of the Gratitude Challenge.

  1. List five Blessings in your journal, explaining why you are grateful for each one.
  2. Count your Blessings off on your fingers, summoning positive emotion and saying Thank You from your heart for each one.
  3. Find a picture of someone you admire, who already has the energy of something in their lives that you would like for yourself.  If you can’t find their picture, write their name on a piece of paper. Now write on that image or piece of paper Thank You, insert their name here, for your success with list that thing. I’m so happy and excited for you.  I believe that you are paving the way for me too. With your great example I am moving closer and closer to my own dreams every day. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.
  4. Tonight before you go to sleep, hold your Gratitude Rock and affirm I am richly Blessed. I have an Abundance of Good in my life. Visualise one thing you have been grateful for today. Swell that positive energy up in your heart like a beautiful golden light, and give a heart-felt Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to the Universe, then imagine a tiny shower of golden light travelling from your heart into your Gratitude Rock.
  5. Still holding your Gratitude Rock, bless your fellow travellers on this Gratitude Journey by sending them golden light, and saying Thank you.  I Bless You.  I intend for you Love, Miracles and Abundance. Know that as you are saying this for them, they are also saying this for you. Feel that connection and gratitude and know that there is real love and support for you here. Place your rock back beside your bed, and go to sleep, cocooned in this good energy.

If all you do today is these five steps, know that is enough.

Want to join me for today’s Gratitude Challenge?  If so, here it is:

Thank You for being You, because that makes it easier for Me to be Me!

Think of something you would like to have in your life – big or small – all that matters is that you have a genuine desire for this thing.

Now think of someone who provides a great example of already having that energy in their lives.  For example, if you want to be an athlete, choose an athlete (from now or any time in history) who displays the talents and success you admire and would like to experience.

Children meeting a sporting hero. Image from suite101.com

Take a moment and really focus on their life, and on the qualities and experiences you would like to see more of in your own daily world. Build an energy of appreciation and gratitude for their choices and their success. When you’re ready say Thank You for showing me my dream is possible! I value you, and I appreciate you.  Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

Then spend a pleasant few minutes daydreaming, and imagining that you already have this thing in your life.  What are you doing?  How do you feel? How does your life look?

Savour this energy as though your dream has been achieved. Feel it in your heart, your mind, your body.  Let yourself overflow with positive energy and gratitude.  Know that as you are thinking about this thing, you are becoming more and more aligned with it.  When you’re ready, say Thank You, Universe, for this gift of _____________.  I am so very grateful for ______________. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.  Swell that energy up in your heart, and mean the words with every fibre of your BEing.

Your positive thoughts and energy are creating huge change in your life. Trust! Believe!

All is well. ♥ xx

Image from deepestwisdom.blogspot.com

Today, choose Kindness…

“Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.”

“When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”

~ Both quotes from The Dalai Lama

Just for today, choose kindness.

Choose to smile from your heart.

Hold back any harsh thoughts, words or criticisms, and find a way to be gentle in your dealings with self and others.

Let kindness be both your journey and your destination.

Image from whatwillmatter.com

Just for today, choose kindness.

Let kindness colour the way you see the world.

Put away judgement, and seek out things that can swell your heart with gratitude.

Look for the good in people, the beauty in your surroundings, the blessings at your feet.

Appreciate the simple things, and if you can, share those simple things with others.

Tea for Two by Rosemary Valadon www.rosemaryvaladon.com

A caring word, a gentle touch, a nod of support – none of these things will cost you a penny, but to someone they might be priceless gifts.

When we choose kindness, we ease the way for ourselves and others.  We become an agent for flow and abundance.  Our attitude affirms the goodness and connection inherent in this experience we call life.

We may become an Earthly Angel for someone for whom the Universe intends support or encouragement. God and good can only work THROUGH us. Why not be an agent for that good? Why not be choose to be part of a deliberate energy of love and positivity?

Whatever we choose to think and believe, whatever actions we offer up to the world, our energies come back to us, multiplied.

The kindness we offer today will find its way back to us when we most need it.

Image from dailyvibrations.blogspot.com

And through the act of living from our hearts, we are transformed, becoming magnetic to even more good-will and positive energy.

Just for today, choose kindness.

Let the energy of love transform your life.  Let the energy of love transform our world.

Just for today, choose kindness.

Today, in someone’s darkness, you can be the Light. ♥

Your Life is YOURS to Live!

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”  ― Oscar Wilde

Life is a precious gift, and one that can be all too brief. Before you came to this life, you had a deliberate intent to be here.  You chose your parents.  You packed your bag.  You came forth into this world with a plan, or at the very least a sense of adventure and possibility, and a rough checklist of things you thought sounded interesting.

So here you are. This is it – your moment!

How’s that working out for you?

Life really IS for living.  Not for existing. Not for pleasing others. Not for mere surviving.

It doesn’t have to be about riches, winning, and being super-productive. Life is not measured only in achievements or possessions.

Life is about experiences, relationships, following your heart, finding pleasure in the small moments, being satisfied with who you are, where you are, and who you’re with. Or being excited about where life is taking you, and allowing your life to be a glorious work in progress.

I had a client come to me recently where I got a very strong glimpse of a past life – the one immediately before this one.  This man had been a soldier in World War One.  Before that he’d been a teacher.  He hadn’t wanted to go to war, but he went ‘to do the right thing’.  He left his new wife behind to fight in the trenches and absolute misery and hell of the Western Front and then Passchendaele. He survived, only to come home and find his wife and mother dead. He later died from influenza; cold, lonely and miserable.

The Second Battle of Passchendaele – Image from jamesmay.blogspot.com

Why was that relevant to his next lifetime? All he’d thought about, during the war, and in between lives, was about what he wanted for this next life. He wanted a simple life. No great responsibilities; a gentle life of suburban ordinariness with his wife and family.  The chance to grow old. To live in a warm climate, in a dry house, with plenty to eat, and enough to do to keep him busy. That was his dream, and now he’s living it.  He’ll never be famous.  He’ll never be rich.  But already he knows contentment. And contentment for him is enough.

Of course that’s not everyone’s path.  Some people have a flame blazing brightly within them. They have a driving passion to be or do something.

We all walk different paths and have different dreams. All we ever need to do is what’s right for us. We each come to this life for the experience – to learn and grow by making our own choices. And ultimately each of us seeks happiness, fulfillment, love. That is going to look different for every single person because we come from diversity and we exist in diversity.

Are you following your dreams?

Did you put them aside to live someone else’s dream for you? Do you say to yourself, ‘one day I’ll get to it…’  Did you sacrifice your dreams to let someone else achieve theirs? Or are you doing something you don’t want to do because you’re told that ‘this’ is what’s expected of you.  Are you down the bottom of the pile, letting other people stand on top of you to reach theirs through your unrewarded efforts?

Or did you just give up?

You are not here in your skin to live this precious life for others, or to let them live through you. And you’re not here to fix things, or make things right for ‘them’. This is not a duty call.  This is not a dress rehearsal.  This is your one shot to make this life work for YOU.

Life too short to waste it on doing things you don’t want to do, being places you don’t want to be, or being in relationships with people who don’t love you or make you happy.

If you want to explore this further you might find these posts useful:

What makes you come alive?

Using your Internal Compass to navigate life

The Green-Eyed Envy Monster

Telling yourself a better story

Listen with your eyes

Invisible Acts of Love and the Importance of Uplifting Others…

Image by Michael Leunig

‘Tis the everyday things that really count,

And the everyday people we know;

And everyday kindnesses go very far,

Toward making a heaven below.

Life can be a difficult ride, and each of us at times will know pain, trouble, loneliness and struggle.  That’s why it is so important for us to practice love and kindness.

But when we are going through our own difficulties, when we are tired or feeling taken for granted, we might wonder what’s the point? What’s the point of being kind? What’s the point of continuing to be caring, helpful, polite?

Have you noticed that emotional states are contagious? Hang around an angry person long enough and some of that will rub off on you.  The same goes for depression. Uncaring acts beget more. Selfishness breeds isolation, disrespect, contempt and ugliness.

Just as negative emotions have a negative impact, choosing to stay focused on love, gratitude, positive values and caring will have a positive impact in our lives.

Our emotional state and our thoughts travel out from us like ripples on a pond. They radiate energy that affects everything and everyone around us. Eventually some of that energy will be reflected back to us, perhaps weaker, perhaps greatly magnified…

Image from optimestric.blogspot.com

What sort of world do you choose for yourself?

Loving others, living from your heart, choosing kindness, and performing acts of service and devotion that may well go unacknowledged or unappreciated are paths that can truly lead us to a better future, influencing and supporting the positive unfolding of history in ways we may not ever know or understand in our lifetime.

No matter what your emotional starting ground, when you uplift others, you also uplift yourself. When you share your heart, it doesn’t decrease your love – it expands your love, and your capacity to give and receive love.

Image from creativeeating.wordpress.com

Our Universe is built upon unseen acts of courage, goodness, faith, optimism, service and great love.

Whether you subscribe to a particular religion or not, whether you believe in God, karma, Universal Law or death and taxes – know that by your own actions, your choices, your values, sacrifices and personal character you contribute to the future unfolding of our planet.

Invisible acts of love, and uplifting others might not provide us with an immediate reward – but through these acts we are gifted something far more precious – they give us the power to positively shape destiny, and to better shape ourselves in the process.

When in doubt about how to act, be guided by the wisdom of the Dalai Lama:

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
Dalai Lama