Thank You

First, let me take a moment to thank all of my subscribers. It is my deep honor and my greatest joy to share Undivided Wisdom with all of you. You are the breath in my lungs and the beating of my heart. May this wisdom shared bring you closer to your True Self and engage your living experience of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty. ~Jewel

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Ode to Winter Solstice

Today I offer you this contemplation: that darkness equals depth, that light equals manifestation, and that to touch our depths gives us the opportunity for conscious, creative self manifestation.

We live in the earth and its glad cycles. Let us embrace the inward time that winter represents to all of nature and thus to ourselves as well.

Today we reach our deepest hour. The opportunity for looking inward is at its peak. In this time, consciously or not, we are touching our deepest intentions and our purest potential. The creative universe in which we live, move and have our being receives these, our desires, and thus the seed is planted, here, in the depths of ourselves.

As the light returns, these seeds, nurtured in our creative depths, will emerge to be seen as the outward manifestation of our lives.

Be still in the depth of yourself. Breathe through the thoughts and feelings that you might find there, without judgment allow them their release. Herein lies a gift, from yourself, to yourself.

We are deep, vast oceans. Soon, our inner contemplations will emerge to walk the continents of our outer selves.

Peace, Be Still.

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Love Thyself

True love begins with the self. When we are intolerant of our own shortcomings, how can we be tolerant of others?

Perhaps the wonderful and familiar suggestion to “love your neighbor as yourself” is not so much a rule as it is what we do.

Only to the capacity that we have love and compassion for ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses, our talents and our shortcomings, our favorite parts of ourselves and our least favorite, can we have love and compassion for those same things in others.

We are all part of what I call the “human predicament”, and our understanding of our own predicament, our own vulnerabilities and secret wounds, allows us to understand that all human beings exist in the human predicament with us.

Ways to nurture self love, understanding and acceptance are numerous. Here are few key concepts:

• Allow yourself to fully feel. Life is full of happenings, ones that feel good and others that don’t. If we suppress our feeling capacity, we suppress not only our capacity to feel sadness, for example, but also joy. Give yourself permission, and alone time when you need it, to feel your life and find the gifts in your experiences.

• Meditation practice can help us get us in touch with our own inner nature, and deepen our relationship with ourselves.

• Write your story. Write down the events of your life, whether they feel positive or negative. Write what comes to mind as shaping who you are. Then, contemplate the gifts in your experience, the strengths and vulnerabilities, the values and passions that your experiences have created in you.

• Practice acceptance of your story. Smile at your vulnerabilities, and practice expressing love within yourself to the parts of yourself that you normally do not care for. This is your human predicament, the existence in you of strengths, weaknesses, and a whole array of opposites; honesty and dishonesty, sweetness and anger, and so on. Also, contemplate that all human beings have a story…

• Work on your strengths rather than your weaknesses. We all have shortcomings that we can become preoccupied with “fixing”, but isn’t our energy better used in developing our strengths than fixing our imperfections? We are imperfect beings with infinite potential in our strengths and virtues.

• Lastly, practice kindness with yourself. We are all our own worst critic. Give that inner critic a name—it could be any thing, like “Clyde” or even “critic”, just choose the first word that comes to mind—and when he or she begins to list in your head say, “oh, hello critic,” and notice that the act of observing rather than believing the inner critic diminishes its effect on your state of mind.

With these practices, we can develop love and understanding for ourselves that becomes love and understanding in the world.

May the wonder that you are shine brightly through your strengths and talents, may compassion bloom in your weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and may love for others grow in your self-understanding.

 

 

 

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Words and Feelings

She said, with tears welling, “I hate him. I know that is terrible…” I tried to comfort her by saying, “Words are just words, and it’s OK to feel the way you feel”… What did I mean by that simple statement? What greater wisdom lives within it?

We sometimes disallow our feelings (and/or give ourselves a hard time for feeling them) because we don’t like the words in our thoughts that go along with them. But truly, it is OK to feel the way we feel, and thoughts are just thoughts (they come and they go) and words are just words (they are oft times very poor containers for what is real, like feelings.)

My guess is that held within her difficult to accept word “hate”, there are lots of other words available; disappointment, taken advantage of, sadness, grief, regret, self doubt, wishes that things were otherwise, concern, helplessness, anger, confusion…See? All these are just more words that try to describe our feelings.

We’ve been well taught that we should not feel certain ways, but that admonition doesn’t work, because we DO feel certain ways, and these words seem to describe those feelings. But what about some more words available, like saving grace, self preservation, redirection, self reliance, taking our power back, determined, just, self responsible, strong, committed to right…These words could describe some of the feelings too, and they are not taboo! So, once again, it is OK to feel the way we feel.

We need to pass through our feelings, not pass by our feelings, in order to grow in life, through experience, toward a greater understanding of self and others. I’ll tell you a secret: feelings felt, both difficult and pleasant ones, bring gifts that lead to the fruits of the spirit…compassion, for instance.

So, our feelings guide us. When we ignore them, we might seem to falter on our path, and they might sometimes get very dramatic to get us right again. So, consider feelings a kind of radar. When we are open and paying close attention, we can trust them. They tell us things about ourselves that we need to know in order to steer toward our greatest well-being and our greatest contribution.

Sometimes they point to making adjustments on the outside, sometimes they point toward adjustments that need to be made on the inside, and often both. And, when we make friends with our feelings, soon we grow into awareness of how to respond to life, rather than react to life.

But that is another discourse, and just looking at words and feelings has made this post enough to ponder for now!

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My Heroes are Dancers

My heroes are dancers. They dance joy, they dance adversity and sorrow, and then dance joy again. On the stage of Life, they dance in marvelous synchronicity with the music being played. Their stories unfold into beautiful choreography, intentional, responsive, supremely aware of the grace in form.

Look closely, see the subtle movements of fingers and eyes as they, using every muscle with absolute intention, move themselves superbly through space and time. See the secret, profound attention to effort creating the appearance of effortlessness, silent until you hear the breath required to sustain it. See the moments of brief yet revitalizing motionlessness, the leaps of faith, and the sweep of their limbs toward the limitless.

They sometimes dance an interlude alone, but more often they dance in groups; communities of dancers in interplay, harmony, unison. One dancer cannot alone tell true the stories of this interconnected life. She cannot know the bliss of being lifted into the sky without another there to lift her, nor can he create the stunning shapes and powerful displays of the many all by himself.

Today, I join in the dance, breathing from my belly, moving with the score, awake, aware, alive!

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6 Billion Worlds

The other day I came to the realization that if there are 6 billion people on the planet, there are 6 billion worlds here. And that’s not counting the worlds that are snail worlds, and eagle worlds, and amoeba worlds and beetle worlds and bear worlds and salmon worlds and……..

What does your world look like?

 

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Finding Compassion through Connections

Compassion is connection, and vise versa. The words, though representing very different ideas, are interchangeable in their realization. If I feel connected to you, I find it easy to feel compassionate to your story. Fostering compassion builds a sense of connection. Fostering connection builds a sense of compassion.

One way to feel connected is to acknowledge likenesses, such as our humanity; the common attributes of people the world over.

A more challenging way, perhaps, to foster connection and therefore compassion, is to develop a neutral curiosity of differences as a way of knowing, a practice which allows you to discover those marvelous aspects of humanity that had you not explored, would have remained entirely invisible to you.

 

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Autumn

 

As above, so below; as within, so without… The seasons mirror our selves, infinite cycles of outward expression and inward contemplation.

Autumn is upon us. The seeds the earth has sown have come to harvest, and new seeds are sent upon the winds to find a resting place. Nurtured in the dark earth, these new seeds will one day find expression as the inevitable cycles continue.

We too reflect the cycles of the earth. We too nurture seeds of intent within ourselves and bring them to fruition in their time. Let us take a moment to acknowledge these cycles; it is meaningful to understand the rhythm of the earth and her seasons, the rhythm of ourselves and our seasons.

As summer ends, perhaps we feel ourselves calming down. Once again we come to the hearth, both outwardly and inwardly, to warm ourselves and move into quiet contemplation. The days grow shorter and the enfolding darkness becomes our new teacher. This is not the darkness of “good and evil”, but rather the enveloping darkness of the nourishing earth, the meaningful darkness within the cave of the bear, where he waits in his deep and sound meditation, calm, silent, nurtured from within.

Upon the winds of our own evolution we effortlessly send the seeds of our next intentions, those new ideas and internalized expectations seeded from our experiences of summer blossoming and expression. We nourish those seeds within our inner awareness. We send them out as prayer. We warm our hearts by the fire, celebrate holidays with friends and family, drink warm tea and chocolate. We too wait, nurturing ourselves with quiet contemplation, collecting the energy we will need for our manifestations as they present themselves in their time.

Let us welcome wholeheartedly this time of inward turning, bask in thankfulness, and smile.

 

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The Heart of Courage

I found the Heart of Courage in myself and this is what it said:

“I am the Heart of Courage. I will go into the world and I will love it fiercely.”

 ”I am the Heart of Courage. I greet everything I meet with Love; person, place, or thing, thought, action, emotion, inside of me or outside of me.”

Everytime I remember those statements, I breathe again. Let me tell you how to find the Heart of Courage:

First, you must nurture the love you have for yourself. The love you have for yourself becomes your love for the world, because you are the world. Be kind to yourself. You are a treasure and a gift. Yep.

The love and understanding and care and compassion you have for yourself becomes the love and understanding and care and compassion you have for the world. We are special, and so is everyone else. Look closely and you will see.

And, by our example, we will teach others the same self love that enables them to truly love in the world too. Now’s a good time to practice.

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Interconnectedness

Interconnectedness is what is true beneath the sensation of separateness. It is the deeper truth, despite appearances.

Imagine that everything you need to know today, to be today, exists within you.

Today, imagine that you are not alone. In interconnectedness, the whole of humanity is ourselves. You are not alone.

Interconnectedness is family, think of everyone as a distant relative, a long lost connection. Think of everyone as having another piece of your story. That each person you may meet or ponder, shows you a little bit more about who you are. Who WE are.

Interconnectedness is knowing that what we do to others we do to ourselves.

Interconnectedness involves not only human beings, but the entire world of nature as well. What we do to nature we do to ourselves.

The mind may automatically go to the negative things we do,  but today, contemplate this: when we nurture others, we nurture ourselves. When we care for nature, we care for ourselves. Contemplate this. When we love others, we love ourselves. When we are open and curious (rather than conflicted) about other ways of thinking, we expand ourselves.

Again, in the contemplation of interconnectedness, we want to put our attention on the myriad gifts, the greatness of humanity, nature, and the universe. In giving these things our attention, we energize and enliven them. So you see how where we put our attention is important.

In coming to a sense of interconnectedness, suspend judgment, criticism and analysis. Simply notice. The gifts of interconnectedness lie not in finding fault, but in finding the strengths that you can see in others and call out of, or to, yourself.

In interconnectedness, the entire universe is what you see outside of yourself, but it is also within you, and can be known there.

 

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What are You Attending to Today?

Where we put our attention is important. What we put our attention on is energized and enlivened. The qualities of ourselves that we put our attention on are energized and enlivened in our world. The qualities of others that we put our attention on are energized and enlivened in the world that we share with them.

What qualities of yourself, other, and the world are you paying the most attention to? Know that where your attention goes, energy flows. Your attention is like an open circuit to a light bulb. Where your attention goes, those lights come on.

It is equally important that we don’t hide things in the dark. We simply acknowledge them and turn our attention elsewhere. In some circumstances, the elsewhere that we want to turn our attention to is the solution, rather than fussing, fighting, and focusing on the problem.

Today, be mindful of where your attention goes. Seek out those things that you would like to see flourish, and put your attention there.

 

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