Inspirational/Motivational Blog by Lady Victoria Eclectic Pagan
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Animals As Teachers Since prehistoric times, animals have acted as companions to humans on their journey toward enlightenment. Animals as disparate in character as house pets, birds, sea creatures, and insects have been our mentors, teachers, and guides. There is much we can learn from animals, as they offer us the unique opportunity to transcend the human perspective. Unlike human teachers, animals can only impart their wisdom by example, and we learn from them by observation. An animal teacher can be a beloved pet or an animal in the wild. You may even find yourself noticing the animals in your backyard. Even robins and bumblebees have lessons to share with you. Animals teach us in a variety of ways about behavior, habit, and instinct. House pets embody an unconditional love that remains unchanged in the face of our shape, size, age, race, or gender. They care little for the differences between us and them and simply enjoy loving and being loved. Our pets encourage us to let our guards down, have fun, and take advantage of every opportunity to enjoy life. You can also learn lessons from the animals you encounter in the wild if you take the time to observe their habits. Cold-blooded animals show us adaptability and sensitivity to one’s environment. Mammals serve as examples of nurturing and playfulness. Animals that live in oceans, lakes, and rivers demonstrate the value of movement and grace. It is even possible to learn from insects that live in highly structured communities that everyone plays a vital role. Animals teach us about life, death, survival, sacrifice, and responsibility. If you find yourself drawn to a particular animal, ask yourself which of its traits you find most intriguing and think about how you might mimic those traits. Think of what you might learn from observing the little bird on your windowsill or the mosquito buzzing around a picnic table. Animals express themselves with abandon, freedom, and integrity. It’s natural to be drawn to the wisdom offered by our animal teachers, and in doing so, discover what is natural and true within you.
We Are All Mirrors for Each Other When we look at other people, we see many of their qualities in innumerable and seemingly random combinations. However, the qualities that we see in the people around us are directly related to the traits that exist in us. "Like attracts like" is one of the spiritual laws of the universe. We attract individuals into our lives that mirror who we are. Those you feel drawn to reflect your inner self back at you, and you act as a mirror for them. Simply put, when you look at others, you will likely see what exists in you. When you see beauty, divinity, sweetness, or light in the soul of another, you are seeing the goodness that resides in your soul. When you see traits in others that evoke feelings of anger, annoyance, or hatred, you may be seeing reflected back at you those parts of yourself that you have disowned or do not like. Because we are all mirrors for each other, looking at the people in your life can tell you a lot about yourself. Who you are can be laid bare to you through what you see in others. It is easy to see the traits you do not like in others. It is much more difficult to realize that you possess those same traits. Often, the habits, attitudes, and behaviors of others are closely linked to our unconscious and unresolved issues. When you come into contact with someone you admire, search your soul for similarly admirable traits. Likewise, when you meet someone exhibiting traits that you dislike, accept that you are looking at your reflection. Looking at yourself through your perception of others can be a humbling and eye-opening experience. You can also cultivate in you the traits and behaviors that you do like. Be loving and respectful to all people, and you will attract individuals that will love and respect you back. Nurture compassion and empathy and let the goodness you see in others be your mirror.
Quality Vs. Quantity We live in an age of quantity. The media shapes us with the notion that larger, faster, and more are often synonymous with better. We are told that we need to find more time, more possessions, and more love to be truly happy. A smaller quantity of anything that is high in quality will almost always be more satisfying. A single piece of our favorite chocolate or a thin spread of freshly made preserves can satisfy us more than a full bucket of a product that we aren’t very fond of. Similarly, one fulfilling experience can eclipse many empty moments strung together. It is not the quantity of time that matters, but the quality that you experience during each moment. Every minute is an opportunity to love yourself and others, develop confidence and self-respect, and exhibit courage. Ultimately, quality can make life sweeter. When you focus on quality, all your life experiences can be meaningful. A modest portion of good, healthy food can nourish and satisfy you on multiple levels and, when organically grown, nourish the earth as well. Likewise, a few hours of deep, restful slumber will leave you feeling more refreshed than a night’s worth of frequently interrupted sleep. A few minutes spent with a loved one catching up on the important details about family, work, or community can carry more meaning than two hours spent watching television together. Often, in the pursuit of quantity we cheat ourselves of quality. Then again, quantity also plays a significant role in our lives. Certain elements, such as hugs, kisses, abundance, and love, are best had in copious amounts that are high in quality. But faced with the choice between a single, heartfelt grin and a lifetime of empty smiles, most would, no doubt, choose the former. Ultimately, it is not how much you live or have or do but what you make of each moment that counts.
Soul Seeing When we want to see deeply into the heart and mind of another person, soul seeing, also called soul gazing, allows us to see their soul. The soul is the purest expression of an individual and is not bound by physical forms or fleeting emotions. Through a simple art that involves looking deeply into a partner’s eyes, soul seeing can show you a person’s inner beauty that you might otherwise miss. It is possible for someone who appears cold to have a warm, giving, nurturing soul or someone of average appearance to have a beautiful soul. Soul seeing is a way of looking past shapes, sizes, attitudes, and behavior to see the real individual that lies beneath the surface. It allows you to see the true essence of another person, the radiance of their being, and their spirit within. Soul seeing is accomplished by sitting face to face with another person. It is helpful to first state your intention before you begin. As you stare softly into each other’s eyes without stopping to look away, each of your souls is revealed to the other. Try not to look for anything in particular or seek traits you’re hoping to find. Simply let the other person’s soul reveal itself to you. After twenty minutes have passed, stay where you are and share a period of silent reflection with your partner for two minutes. You may have suddenly seen your partner’s inner nature as clearly as a bright day, or you may need to meditate on your experience before you feel comfortable with your impressions. Either way, soul seeing can be a wonderfully intimate and shared experience. So little of who each of us is can be captured by our appearance or personality. The thoughts, fears, desires, and longings that are part of what makes us whole are not always written across our faces. Often, the most surprising thing you may learn while soul seeing is that while you and the other person may appear on the surface to be quite different, you actually share many of the same inner qualities. And then there is the unique beauty that resides within that is longing to be revealed to another who is willing to see. Soul seeing can help you experience the people in your life as they truly are, beyond any mental barriers or physical limitations.
Why We Are Not Shown the Big Picture Sometimes, we may find ourselves wishing we knew what our lives are going to look like or what gifts and challenges are going to be presented to us in the coming months or years. We may want to know if the relationship we’re in now will go the distance or if our goals will be realized. Perhaps we feel like we need help making a decision and we want to know which choice will work out best. We may consult psychics, tarot cards, our dreams, and many other sources in the hopes of finding out what the future holds. Usually, at most, we may catch glimpses. And even though we think we would like to know the whole story in all its details, the truth is that we would probably be overwhelmed and exhausted if we knew everything that is going to happen to us. Just think of your life as you’ve lived it up to this point. If you are like most of us, you have probably done more and faced more than you could have ever imagined. If someone had told you as a child of all the jobs and relationships you would experience, along with each one’s inherent ups and downs, you would have become overwhelmed. With your head full of information about the future, you would have had a very hard time experiencing your life in the present moment, which is where everything actually happens. In many ways, not knowing what the future has in store brings out in us the qualities we need to grow. For example, it would have been difficult to commit yourself to certain people or projects if you knew they wouldn’t ultimately work out. Yet, it was through your commitment to see them through that you experienced the lessons you needed to grow. Looking back on your life, you would likely be hard pressed to say that anything in your past should not have happened. In fact, your most challenging experiences with their inevitable lessons may have ultimately brought you the greatest rewards. Not knowing the future keeps us just where we need to be—fully committed and in the present moment.
Everything is Relative Every day we hear stories of personal suffering and loss that far exceed our own. When we compare our situations to those of people living in war-torn countries or those who have lost their homes and livelihoods to natural disasters, it is tempting to minimize our own experiences of suffering. We may feel that we don’t have a right to be upset about the breakup of a relationship, for example, because at least we have food to eat and a roof over our heads. While awareness of the pain of others in the world can be a valuable way to keep our own struggles in perspective, it is not a legitimate reason to disregard our own pain. Disparaging your feelings as being less important than other people's emotions leads to denial and repression. Over time, an unwillingness to experience your own feelings leads to numbness. It is as if our internal systems become clogged with our unexpressed emotions. This in no way helps other people who are suffering in the world. In fact, it may do just the opposite because when we devalue our own sorrow, we become impervious to the sorrow in others. Fully experiencing our own hurt is the gateway to compassion toward other human beings. Feelings of loss, abandonment, loneliness, and fear are universal, and, in that sense, all feelings are created equal. Regardless of what leads us to feel the way we do, our comprehension of what it means to be human is deepened by our own experiences. Our personal lives provide us with the material we need to become fully conscious. If we reject our emotions because we think our experiences are not dramatic or important enough, we are missing out on our own humanity. We honor and value the human condition when we fully inhabit our bodies so we can experience and feel life fully. Accepting our emotions and allowing ourselves to feel them connects us to all human beings. Then, when we hear the stories of other people’s suffering, our hearts can resonate with understanding and compassion—for all of us.
Editing Your Life Our lives can be compared to an ongoing movie script over which we have complete creative control. Within us lies the power to examine what works or isn’t working in our lives and make “edits” to our life’s script, accordingly. Choosing to actively edit your life can be incredibly empowering. As you evolve, you have the choice to accept the script you’ve written thus far or edit it so you can create a life that fulfills you. You can cut out from your life’s script what is no longer working for you. Acknowledging that you are responsible for the experience you create gives you the ability to create the life you’ve always longed for. Granted, editing your real life isn’t always as easy as erasing a line of text. If you’ve carried emotional baggage or held on to an unhealthy relationship for a long time, these may be difficult to edit out. But when you do cut out what isn’t working from your life, you’ll feel lighter and more alive. Editing out activities that you find stressful, disassociating yourself from people that drain your energy, and letting go of your emotional baggage are all beneficial cuts you can make. In the empty spaces that are left behind, you can add in anything you like. Just as you have the power to edit out negative situations or beliefs that you no longer wish to have as part of your life, you can now include the kinds of positive experiences, people, and beliefs that you would like to fill your life with. The manifestation of these thoughts and images as realities in your life will inevitably follow. As you make changes to your life, you can also add in the bits where you choose mo! re intimate, healthier relationships, seek out adventure over tedium, and are no longer negatively impacted by old experiences. To begin editing your life, simply think about your positive and negative experiences. When you determine what parts of your life are no longer serving you, make the commitment to remove them – though, it is important to remember that there is no proper timing or way to do this, and patience and compassion for yourself are always important during this process. Then, ask yourself what has brought you profound bliss and consider how you can make those experiences and beliefs part of your life now. With a little editing, you’ll be able to clear out what is no longer serving you and make room in your life for more happiness, love, and wisdom.
Life’s Natural Rhythm Nature’s natural rhythms orchestrate when day turns to night, when flowers must bloom, and provides the cue for when it is time for red and brown leaves to fall from trees. As human beings, our own inner rhythm is attuned to this universal sense of timing. Guided by the rising and setting of the sun, changes in temperature, and our own internal rhythm, we know when it is time to sleep, eat, or be active. While our minds and spirits are free to focus on other pursuits, our breath and our heartbeat are always there to remind us of life’s pulsing rhythm that moves within and around us. Moving to this rhythm, we know when it is time to stop working and when to rest. Pushing our bodies to work beyond their natural rhythm diminishes our ability to renew and recharge. A feeling much like jet lag lets us know when we’ve overridden our own natural rhythm. When we feel the frantic calls of all we want to accomplish impelling us to move faster than is natural for us, we may want to breathe deeply instead and look at nature moving to its own organic timing: birds flying south, leaves shedding, or snow falling. A walk in nature can also let us re-attune is to her organic rhythm, while allowing us to move back in time with our own. When we move to our natural rhythm, we can achieve all we need to do with less effort. We may even notice that our soul moves to its own internal, natural rhythm – especially when it comes to our personal evolution. Comparing ourselves to others is unnecessary. Our best guide is to move to our own internal timing, while keeping time with the rhythm of nature.
Remembering Childhood Joys As adults, we often get so caught up in "grown up" business that we can forget how to have pure fun. This isn’t the kind of fun that comes from doing a specific kind of activity or being in a specific mood for fun. Rather, this is the fun born from the state of pure being. You see this kind of fun in small children who are so busy being fully present to their lives and in their own bodies that the glow of fun radiates from them just because they are alive: the delight that flashes across the eyes of a child who discovers that water flows with the turn of the tap knob or the squeal of pleasure from a young baby whose tongue is being tickled by cold ice cream; then there’s the full, infectious laughter of a child watching the same hat trick for the fiftieth time. Back when we were children, this experience of pure delight didn’t have to come from a heightened, heady event in order for us to feel like our day had been made; and it can be that way for us again - if we are willing to remember and reconnect with that part of ourselves that knows how to be in the flow of fun. You can begin this process by reminiscing on what was fun for you as a child. Think about what caused you to giggle in delight or wriggle in pleasure or burst into endless laughter that you couldn’t sit up straight no matter how much you wanted to. Try to spend a few moments with each memory, and really feel what it was like to be in those experiences – allowing that feeling of pure fun to wash over you. It lives, in you – that feeling. It can’t be bottled, manufactured, or sold. You just have to call it back up in order to experience it again. Pure fun happens when we are fully engaged with ourselves and our world in each moment. It is the spontaneous delight that bubbles out of us when we let go long enough to bring it through; it is the experience of natural, organic pleasure that springs up from our bellies, through our souls, up through our faces, and down to our toes. We’ve naturally known how to have pure fun since we were babies and the flicker of lights caused us to jump to attention from the sheer enjoyment of being able to see. Approach your life today with the knowledge that pure fun isn’t something that is given or done to you; rather, it is something that you allow yourself to experience.
Evenings From the beginning of time, a richly colored twinge of dusk touching the eastern horizon, the lengthening of shadows, and the appearance of the evening’s first star have let us know that it was time to rest, relax, and retire from the pressures of the day. For human beings and other living things that tend to be most active in daylight, evenings can be less hectic and more relaxing, as we prepare for sleep and spend quality time with our loved ones. But evenings are about much more than dinner and the feel of a cool, soft pillow. Evenings are a wonderful time to catalog the events of the day without distraction, to revel in gentle solitude or silence, to end the day in serenity, and to commune with your inner self. There are many ways to turn the evening into a nurturing and soul enriching experience. A simple stroll through the realms of dusk and darkness can show you two different worlds: one winding down and one just coming to life. In the evening, the sounds we humans make begin to diminish, and the sounds of earth’s more nocturnal creatures and nature itself become more apparent. As night slowly falls, scents change, and the smell of the soil and greenery become magnified. Sky gazing in the evenings can be a meditative activity – one that reminds us that we are only one part of an infinitely complex and vast universe. Each night, the different phases of the moon show us the passage of time and the waxing and waning of life, as its glowing visage – whether in the shape of a circle, crescent, or a smile –bathes the world in an ethereal, wistful glow. As crickets chirp and night birds cry out, evening rituals and routines can make your day feel complete, help you unwind from the day’s busyness, and pave the way for rejuvenating sleep. Rituals and routines help you say goodnight to the present day, so you can look forward to the next one. While the sun sets, try doing a series of stretches, lighting some candles, or watching the daylight fade. The soothing, natural beauty of each evening can be your backdrop, as you meditate, quiet your soul, and relax into the peace and stillness that can be found at day’s end.
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