Categories
life lessons heart and soul

5 expansive thoughts to lift your life.

A wrote a micro poem last year. It’s called ‘the memoir of stars.’ It goes like this.

‘Tell the story that makes you glow, freedom is in the mind you know.’ 

I scribbled it down after reflecting on a time that I had lost my glow. You know what I mean when I say ‘glow”? It’s hard to explain, but I guess you could say that it is a radiance that comes as a result of being free. 

Although there were certain pain points in my life at the time, the loss of glow wasn’t because of my circumstances. Jadedness dawns in the mind. My lack of enthusiasm began with constrained thinking. Thoughts like, ‘Things will never change.’ ‘I am inadequate.’ ‘Life is not fair’.

Things became, well, a bit tedious. Hoping for more seemed selfish, yet what I had was clearly  being unutilized. What I needed was a new way of perceiving what is possible. Instead of entertaining doldrums, I needed to tell myself a different narrative; to enter the world through a different door. 

Expansive thinking moves us beyond ourselves and allows us to enter the realm of possibility. It is a marriage between the real and imagined. There are a fistful of thoughts that bring what’s possibly good, true and beautiful to the forefront. Meditating on them increases joy and wonderment. Believing these thoughts will cultivate a new sense of freedom in your life.

Expansive Thoughts to life your life.

1. I don’t always get what I want, but I have what I need. 

This thought helps me to pull my focus from what I do not have. When lack is loud. When shortcomings shout. When loss is illuminated from every angle of the mind, this thought provides space to breathe by moving the focus from what is perceived to be missing, to what is presently good. When I think, ‘I don’t have a million dollars’, concentrating on need says, ‘Oh, but look, I have shoes.’ Opportunity to grow and gain the things I want will come when I make the best of what I have.

2. The world is beautiful.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the noise, to be entangled by bad news, the horror of tragedy and the faff of gossip. Yes, the world needs our love, our fight and our focus.  However, believing that the world is beautiful helps to hold off fear and to appreciate being here. Instead of saying to yourself, ‘it’s dog eat dog’ or ‘nothing ever goes my way’, look at the brilliance that is your life, the miracle of your existence and allow the creativity of the natural world to inspire. 

3. Every end is a beginning.

Straight up, this thought doesn’t make moving on easy. It stings if said too soon; it is an agony if contemplated before the grieving process is fully engaged. But after years, or when the clouds have cleared, these are the words that put to rest real disappointment and regret. This thought allows imagination to take flight, and prompts us to remember that there is a story after the story; a party after the show. And after every ending, there is something new.

4. I am not my feelings.

On days when I feel overcome with emotion. When I am overwhelmed with feeling underwhelmed. When I sense inner tension, feel trapped or slightly terrified, it’s helpful to  know that my emotions do not prove who I am. They are neither good nor bad and only exist to be felt and processed. They are separate from spirit (the real me). This thought cuts me free from beliefs such as, ‘to feel good, is to be  good’. Or ‘to feel beautiful, is to be beautiful. Or ‘to feel worthy, is to be worthy’. 

5. I am guided by love.

Easily mistaken from being a little woo woo, there is no doubt, this thought has been the most freeing of all. Believing I am loved, that I can align with love and that loving others is really the reason I am here has certainly liberated me. Love is life-affirming. To give and receive it is a source of satisfaction. When my glow starts to fade, love turns up all the lights. Sure, hard things, bad things, sad things are possible, but love always always always leads me on. 

(‘The memoir of stars’ is from ‘A Strong and Fragile Thing‘, musings in reflection of the wisdom and wonder found in the natural world. Available from Amazon and bookstores world wide.)

Categories
Poetry

5 poems to lift your spirit.

When it comes to poetry Mary knows best.

‘Poetry is a life cherishing force. For poems are not words after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pocket of the hungry.’ –Mary Oliver.

On many occasions, poetry has caught me off guard.  It starts with  casual scrolling or flipping through a book until my eyes take a punt on a group of words. I should know better by now, poetry is living and one can not simply read it. Poetry wants to look you in the eye while it scoops you out with a spoon. It is both prophetic and nostalgic, painful and comforting, unexpected and timely. Poetry is a marksman, and when the right poem hits the right heart, something is activated. 

Today I want to serve up 5 poems that could possibly do this within you, activate something. Whether it be bread, a blanket or breath you need, lean in, read slowly and receive.

Firstly, for the unconfident, the doubting, the unsure. ‘Variation on a theme by Rilke’ by Denise Levertov.

‘A certain day became a presence to me; there it was, confronting me–a sky, air, light: a being. And before it started to descend from the height of noon, it leaned over and struck my shoulder as if with the flat of a sword, granting me honor and a task. The day’s blow rang out, metallic–or it was I, a bell awakened, and what I heard was my whole self saying and singing what it knew: I can.’ –

For those struggling with times of uncertainty. ‘The way it is’, by William Stafford.

‘There’s a thread you follow. It goes among things that change. But it doesn’t change. People wonder about what you are pursuing. You have to explain about the thread. But it is hard for others to see. While you hold it you can’t get lost. Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die; and you suffer and get old. Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding. You don’t ever let go of the thread.’

For the rejected, disappointed, discouraged. ‘Unwelcome’, by Lauren Lott.

‘Lonely heart unforgotten, take peace and wrap it blanket tight, or use it to cover your ears, so you can not hear those tall stories that tower, and tell you you’ve been left behind. You have not been cast aside, but repositioned, picked out for something rare and meaningful.’

For those seeking permission or creative courage. ‘Breaking Surface’, by Mark Nepo.

‘Let no one keep you from your journey, no rabbi or priest, no mother who wants you to dig for treasures she misplaced, no father who won’t let one life be enough, no lover who measures their worth by what you might give up, no voice that tells you in the night it can’t be done. Let nothing dissuade you from seeing what you see or feeling the winds that make you want to dance alone or go where no one has yet to go. You are the only explorer. Your heart, the unreadable compass. Your soul, the shore of a promise too great to be ignored.’

For those needing hope, healing or forgiveness. ‘Last night as I was sleeping’, by Robert Bly.

‘Last night as I was sleeping, I dreamt – marvelous error!- that a spring was breaking out in my heart. I said: Along which secret aqueduct, Oh water, are you coming to me, water of a new life that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping, I dreamt -marvelous error!- that I had a beehive here inside my heart. And the golden bees were making white combs and sweet honey from my old failures.’