New Year’s Intentions and Being Kind :-) Encore for 2017!

“So much has been happening lately. This blog post truly resonates with me as much now as a year ago – ohmygosh, even more so!  I offer it again to you, and hope reading this can help soothe your nerves and calm your busy mind as well.” ~ Jacqueline

I am definitely DONE with “New Year’s Resolutions”, and grappling with halfhearted attempts at changing myself for the better. Is anyone else tired of resolutions (however sincerely made) that fizzle out? Do you start out chugging along with high hopes of major personal transformation and by February, you’re losing steam and don’t feel worthy of being anyone’s Valentine? I’ve a very sneaky suspicion I’m not the only one who feels that way.

I’ve discovered that having high expectations just sets yourself up for disappointment. Why? Because they are so often a mixture of what other people expect of you, and unrealistic demands on yourself. These resolutions can be trite: “I’ve got to lose weight this year!” or grandiose, such as “This is the year I make my first million $$” which is not likely to happen, unless you’re already a successful investor. Both statements are so rigid and absolute as not to allow intuitive flow. It’s good to set goals and have a detailed plan to achieve them, but give yourself a little wiggle room so you can celebrate the incremental progress you make along the way. Think “baby steps” and notice whenever you are inching toward your goal, like inches off your waistline even though the scales don’t show any different.

Sometimes just getting back to basics will relieve the pressure of “accomplishment”. Be kind to yourself despite disappointment, say “Hi!” to your neighbors instead of ignoring them. Sure it has nothing to do with losing weight or making money, but you’re planting seeds and cultivating NEW habits. You’ll start feeling better about yourself. Really! I know it sounds simplistic, but it’s true.

When you make an effort to be thoughtful, considerate and kind toward others, your focus is off yourself, therefore no pressure. 🙂 Then progress toward your goals becomes more effortless, since you’re not thinking of it and “Voila!” things seem to naturally fall into place. Serendipity is the reward for intentional kindness.

I haven’t stated here my own personal intentions. No matter, I simply wanted to share some insights with my readers, and especially what I learned from Jack Canfield. He said, “Have high intentions, and low attachment.” Intention is not the same as expectation. With intention, you have no expectation of any particular outcome (non-attachment) but instead rely upon faith that you’ve chosen the right path… The learning and personal growth is after all in the journey, not the destination.

Someday I will be somebody’s mentor as Jack is for me, and my salient advice will be what I’ve said all along: “Do your best and leave the rest up to God.”

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New Year’s Intentions and Being Kind :-) Encore for 2017!

“So much has been happening lately. This blog post truly resonates with me as much now as a year ago – ohmygosh, even more so!  I offer it again to you, and hope reading this can help soothe your nerves and calm your busy mind as well.” ~ Jacqueline

I am definitely DONE with “New Year’s Resolutions”, and grappling with halfhearted attempts at changing myself for the better. Is anyone else tired of resolutions (however sincerely made) that fizzle out? Do you start out chugging along with high hopes of major personal transformation and by February, you’re losing steam and don’t feel worthy of being anyone’s Valentine? I’ve a very sneaky suspicion I’m not the only one who feels that way.

I’ve discovered that having high expectations just sets yourself up for disappointment. Why? Because they are so often a mixture of what other people expect of you, and unrealistic demands on yourself. These resolutions can be trite: “I’ve got to lose weight this year!” or grandiose, such as “This is the year I make my first million $$” which is not likely to happen, unless you’re already a successful investor. Both statements are so rigid and absolute as not to allow intuitive flow. It’s good to set goals and have a detailed plan to achieve them, but give yourself a little wiggle room so you can celebrate the incremental progress you make along the way. Think “baby steps” and notice whenever you are inching toward your goal, like inches off your waistline even though the scales don’t show any different.

Sometimes just getting back to basics will relieve the pressure of “accomplishment”. Be kind to yourself despite disappointment, say “Hi!” to your neighbors instead of ignoring them. Sure it has nothing to do with losing weight or making money, but you’re planting seeds and cultivating NEW habits. You’ll start feeling better about yourself. Really! I know it sounds simplistic, but it’s true.

When you make an effort to be thoughtful, considerate and kind toward others, your focus is off yourself, therefore no pressure. 🙂 Then progress toward your goals becomes more effortless, since you’re not thinking of it and “Voila!” things seem to naturally fall into place. Serendipity is the reward for intentional kindness.

I haven’t stated here my own personal intentions. No matter, I simply wanted to share some insights with my readers, and especially what I learned from Jack Canfield. He said, “Have high intentions, and low attachment.” Intention is not the same as expectation. With intention, you have no expectation of any particular outcome (non-attachment) but instead rely upon faith that you’ve chosen the right path… The learning and personal growth is after all in the journey, not the destination.

Someday I will be somebody’s mentor as Jack is for me, and my salient advice will be what I’ve said all along: “Do your best and leave the rest up to God.”

Francis Friday: Welcoming the Pope!

Pope Francis is visiting the United States for the first time! I could hardly believe my ears when I tuned in to the 5:00 news (which I seldom watch, as most news is negative) on Tuesday, to discover that His Holiness had just stepped off the plane a few hours before in Washington, D.C. What an auspicious occasion for President Obama, Michelle Obama and their daughters to meet and greet the Pope! One cardinal on the plane joked about trading his “zucchetto” with the Pope’s, and I had no idea what he meant. So I looked up that word on Wikipedia, and found out it’s the skull cap worn by high officials in the Roman Catholic Church. Apparently, Pope Francis had a difficult time keeping his zucchetto on, as it was very windy and it kept blowing off. 🙂 Cardinals wear a scarlet red zucchetto, and the white is exclusively reserved for the Bishop of Rome (other name for Pope).

From Wikipedia: The zucchetto originated as the Greek pilos and is related to the beret (which itself was originally a large zucchetto). It was adopted circa the Early Middle Ages, if not earlier, to keep clerics’ heads warm. Its name derives from its resemblance to half a pumpkin. Its appearance is almost identical to the Jewish kippah (yarmulke), though its significance is quite different.[4][5]

I think it’s great that Pope Francis is referred to as “The People’s Pope”, and reminds me of Princess Diana (Queen of People’s Hearts). His approval rating in our country is close to 90% and he’s venturing into areas of discussion and debate that most Popes have never considered before. Pope Francis is humble, modest, charming, merciful and accessible, which the public loves! Although I’m not a Roman Catholic, I am certainly grateful for what Pope Francis represents, which is the Unconditional Love of Christ, mercy, forgiveness and charity. His generosity is clearly evident in his behavior toward the “common people”.

Pope Francis even embraced a handicapped man who had a disfigured face. This picture brings tears to my eyes, as an example of genuine compassion. Reminds me of Princess Diana and her volunteer work with lepers in the hospital:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/07/world/europe/pope-francis-embrace/

Our Pope is living up to the legacy of St. Francis of Assisi, as he’s stated that He’s very proud to be named after this compassionate saint, who loved ALL of God’s creatures, and was a champion of the poor and destitute. The Pope is building bridges and healing wounds on a grand scale, such as the work he’s been doing in Cuba.

I’m very encouraged by Pope Francis’s “Encyclical Letter”. What a tremendous Wake Up Call about despoiling the environment and exploitation/abuse of wildlife, careless disregard of the sacredness of biodiversity. Hunting God’s creatures to extinction is an abomination and a SIN against Nature, when we should consider them our Spiritual Brothers and Sisters. That belief comes across very strongly in Pope Francis’s Chapter IV and pays tribute to St. Francis with Verse 87 which is the Canticle of the Sun, St. Francis’s heartwarming hymn to God’s Creations.

http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

And here’s Pope Francis’s stance on Animal Protection:

http://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2015/06/pope-encyclical-embraces-animal-protection.html

Even the Pope’s dietary regimen is influenced by his respect for animals, and his repulsion for  industrialized factory farming, which is the prime contributor of Greenhouse Gases – the cause of global warming. He is essentially a Vegetarian, and eats mostly organically grown produce, following a simple Jesuit tradition.

Here’s the latest itinerary for the Pontiff’s travels:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/09/22/pope-visit-washington-new-york-philadelphia-united-states/72073294/

I only wish that Pope Francis would come to the west coast, specifically the San Francisco Bay Area. After all, like the Pope himself, the city was named after Saint Francis of Assisi!

What are your views on the Pope’s historic visit?  I would love to hear your thoughts. 🙂

Thankful Thursday: What Inconvenience Are You Grateful For?

The Idea: Living in times where instant gratification is fast becoming the norm, we run the risk of losing out on the gems of insight and experience that lie beneath the surface of seeming inconveniences. Today, take time to reflect on (and perhaps write about) something in your life that on the surface may seem like a tiresome chore or an unwelcome event, but that has yielded unanticipated richness. Things like long lines, broken dishwashers, traffic jams and no phone service can lead you into unexpected adventures, if you only take the time to rightly consider them. For inspiration here is a lovely passage by Margaret Wheatley that invites us to play along with The Element of Surprise in life, that often comes disguised as inconvenience.

Let us know what you think, and your own story would be most welcomed. 🙂

 

Thankful Thursday: Create Your Oola Life with Gratitude

Inspiring quotes and stories that never cease to amaze me, in their blissful simplicity:

“Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have.” – @OolaLife http://twitter.com/OolaLife/status/435811950442713088/photo/1pic.twitter.com/HU4BHbvjEb

Always give without remembering,

and always

receive without forgetting.

–  Brian Tracy

We are always looking for good stories to keep us inspired. Like this entangled whale who knew about giving gratitude and thanks to her rescuers.

A female humpback whale had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth.

This is her story of giving gratitude.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Faralon Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so badly off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her… a very dangerous proposition.

One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.

They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles.  She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, nudged them, and pushed gently, thanking them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.

The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

May you be so fortunate …

To be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you.

And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude!

Related: A Story About Living as Told by a Six Year Old Boy About His Dog

Do you have an inspiring story or favorite quote about gratitude you would like to share? If so, please comment below with your own personal story or another you’ve heard, that you especially love to tell 🙂 Thank you!

Serene Sunday: Poems and Quotes on Serenity

This time of year for me is an eclectic mix of quiet time and busy fervor, and sometimes I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. I love Christmas, but I very much resent the commercialism. So naturally I retreat to the comfort of poetry, which is my salvation. 🙂 That includes some worthy quotes that you could think of as “Twitter poetry”.  Sure, why not?

So here’s a little selection that will soothe frazzled nerves and calm the soul:

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Swami Satchidananda

“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing, yet means everything.” (136-137)
― Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras
William Wordsworth

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.”
― William Wordsworth

Kathleen Raine
(b. 1908 d. 2003)

NOCTURNE

Night comes, an angel stands
Measuring out the time of stars,
Still are the winds, and still the hours.
It would be peace to lie
Still in the still hours at the angel’s feet,
Upon a star hung in a starry sky,
But hearts another measure beat.
Each body, wingless as it lies,
Sends out its butterfly of night
With delicate wings, and jewelled eyes.
And some upon day’s shores are cast,
And some in darkness lost
In waves beyond the world, where float
Somewhere the islands of the blest.

“Nocturne” from Stone and Flower (1943)

***************************************************

THE TREE OF HEAVEN

The peace of flowers. Heaven like a tree grows
In silence; has no voice
Till they come and perch in the branches, images of words
From two worlds, birds and angels,
Inhabitants of mute leaves, lovers of the plant’s rapt blindness.

Heaven, simple like a seed, from its minute beginning
Rooted in flesh and blood, instinct with death and pain
Grows complex, manifold; grows great with living,
With green and blossom and bough, sky-covering
With world, where nothing was, until heaven’s spring.
Pattern of tree and man, unfold within me—
Branch where the veins run, quicken at the heart,
Be felt in every nerve, and fruitful at the breast,
Vine, pattern of Christ, interior quiet,
Quicken this barrenness, flower in my desert!

from Living in Time (1946)

Thích Nhất Hạnh

“Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Blessings of Peace & Joy this Christmas Season!

Blogging 101: Community Inspiration and Sharing, Part I

Sometimes the newest blogger will offer the freshest ideas and most intriguing challenges. I’ve found that with Shauna at http://urbanfreespiriting.wordpress.com/ when I read her first blog post: “Why Here, Why Now?”. She says it’s a work-in-progress, which pretty much applies to all of us bloggers! So here’s my comment:

“You are off to a great start! Your first post is short & sweet, just perfect for a new blogger. I also love applying timeless wisdom to modern lifestyles, and just attended a workshop entitled “Tools for the Urban Mystic” which resonates with your theme 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing more of your posts, and you’re welcomed to view mine: https://ramblinproseblog.wordpress.com/
My latest post for Blogging 101 may help you, as you develop your writing style.”

I think that asking a direct question is one of the best kinds of titles your blog post can have. People sit up and take notice, right away thinking of how they would answer the question themselves, or curious to read the blogger’s own philosophy on the matter. Being a sensitive, mystical or spiritual person caught up in the day-to-day mundane routines of urban life is a modern day challenge that makes us ponder why we are here, and what kind of difference we can make, individually and collectively. I have heard this world referred to in many ways (some nice, some nasty) but seldom do I see our world described as “stylish”. I see no reason why it can’t be so, and simply envisioning a world of culture and refinement can actually help manifest such a desireable scenario. As a Law of Attraction Coach, I would go on further to say the more we visualize an ideal world, capable of sustaining a higher consciousness and heightened awareness, the greater our capacity for inspiration and sharing. It seems worth the effort, and the rewards are there for everyone to share!

In Part II, I will expand the concept of being a “pebble in the pond” and reveal how even small acts of kindness (coming from inspiration) can create huge shifts in consciousness for people everywhere.