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Dec. 11th, 2008

Beliefs: AM: Shadows Wolf

shadows_wolf06

Today's Daily Om

December 9, 2008
Let It Flow
Tears

How wonderful it feels to give in and let tears flow when we are overwhelmed with emotions, whether we are happy or sad. Tears come from the soul, from our well of feelings rising from deep down. When we give in to the prickling behind our eyes and the lump in our throat to let teardrops fall from our eyes, we allow our feelings to surface so they can be set free.

Proud parents shed tears of pride in a child’s accomplishments, a baby’s first step, birthdays, and graduations. Long lost friends fall into each other’s arms, tears rolling down their cheeks when they reunite after years of separation. Tears may flow from us when we are witness to a commitment being made at a wedding or even while we are watching a love story. Tears of relief may spring forth from our eyes when we hear that a loved one has survived an ordeal, and tears may fall when we bow our head in sorrow over a loss or death. Tears born from heartache can flow like they’ll never cease, whether our tears are for a love that is over, a friendship lost, or an opportunity missed. We shed tears because of disappointment in ourselves, tragedy in the world, pain, and illness. Tears of anger can burn with emotion as they fall down our faces. Tears offer us a physical release of our feelings.

Shedding tears can sometimes make us feel better, although it can feel like the tears will never end once the floodgates are open. There is no shame in letting tears flow freely and frequently. Tears are as natural to us as is breathing. There is beauty in allowing yourself to be vulnerable enough to shed tears. Open up, release your tears, and let your feelings flow.
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May. 26th, 2008

Beliefs: AM: Shadows Wolf

shadows_wolf06

Today's Daily Om

May 26, 2008
Untended Pain
Pushing Buttons

We’ve all had our buttons pushed to the point where we feel we can’t take it any more, and chances are, we’ve all pushed somebody else’s buttons, with or without knowing it. The button pusher may not be conscious of what they’re doing, but in the end the buttons belong to us, and we are the ones who must deal with what comes up. The more we take responsibility for our own feelings and reactions, the less tender these buttons will be.

We’ve all had the experience of having someone snap at us, seemingly out of nowhere. This happens when we unconsciously push a button in someone else we didn’t even know was there. This can happen with a complete stranger and sometimes with a person we’ve known and been close to for years. We ourselves may have a relationship with someone whose buttons we secretly like to push. Buttons are just soft spots that have been touched one too many times, and they symbolize some pain that needs to be acknowledged and healed. This may be a wound from childhood, or some recent trauma, that we haven’t adequately tended. Whatever the case, when our buttons get pushed, the person who most needs our attention and caring is us, and blaming the button pusher only distracts us from finding a true resolution to our suffering.

At the same time, if someone continually opens our wounds so that they never have time to heal, we are well within our rights to set a boundary with that person. Compulsive button pushers, who seem to find pleasure or satisfaction in hurting us, are not welcome in our personal space. In the end, knowing where our buttons are enables us to do the work necessary to heal. Freedom comes when we deal with the pain behind the button, thus disconnecting our automatic reaction to being pushed.
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May. 23rd, 2008

Beliefs: AM: Shadows Wolf

shadows_wolf06

Today's Daily Om

May 23, 2008
Acceptance As Giving
Allowing Ourselves To Receive

Giving and receiving are part of the same cycle, and we each give and receive in our own ways. But we can lose our balance when we try to be too controlling on either side of the cycle. On the receiving end, we may feel that we don’t deserve the effort made if what we gave was easy for us to give. But perhaps there is a different lesson there for us. We may be receiving not only gratitude, but a chance to see the world through the eyes of another. We may be learning that just because we gave easily, it doesn’t diminish its value. Or perhaps the universe is giving us an example to hold close to our hearts, to encourage us on some future day when our own generous act of giving is not met with a visible act of receiving. When we can allow ourselves to receive as well as give, we do our part to keep the channels of abundance open for ourselves and others.

Sometimes we may find ourselves struggling to respond to others’ gifts in the same ways—like responding to an expensive present with something equally expensive, or feeling like we have to throw a dinner party for someone who has thrown one for us. But when these are done out of a sense of obligation, their energy changes from something that shares to something that drains. If this sounds familiar, we can decide next time to allow ourselves to receive with arms, minds and hearts open and simply say thank you.

Accepting a person’s gift is a gift in itself. Sincere appreciation for their acknowledgement and their effort joins our energy with theirs in the cycle of giving and receiving, and nurtures all involved. If ever we find we are still having difficulty, we can decide to allow ourselves to be conduits for gratitude and accept on behalf of a loving, giving universe.
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May. 22nd, 2008

Beliefs: AM: Shadows Wolf

shadows_wolf06

Today's Daily Om

May 22, 2008
Dodging And Deflecting
Let It Roll Off Our Back

One of the most difficult challenges in life is learning not to take things to heart and hold on to it. Especially when we’re younger, or if we’re very sensitive, we take so much of what comes our way to heart. This can be overwhelming and unproductive if it throws us off balance on a regular basis. When we are feeling criticized or attacked from all directions, it becomes very difficult for us to recover ourselves so that we can continue to speak and act our truth. This is when we would do well to remember the old saying about letting certain things roll off us, like water off a duck’s back.

Most of the time, the attacks and criticisms of others have much more to do with them and how they are feeling than with us. If we get caught up in trying to adjust ourselves to other people’s negative energy, we lose touch with our core. In fact, in a positive light, these slings and arrows offer us the opportunity to strengthen our core sense of self, and to learn to dodge and deflect other people’s misdirected negativity. The more we do this, the more we are able to discern what belongs to us and what belongs to other people. With practice, we become masters of our energetic integrity, refusing to serve as targets for the disowned anger and frustration of the people around us.

Eventually, we will be able to hear the feedback that others have to offer, taking in anything that might actually be constructive, and releasing that which has nothing to do with us. First, though, we tend ourselves compassionately by recognizing when we can’t take something in from the outside without hurting ourselves. This is when we make like a duck, shaking it off and letting it roll off our back as we continue our way in the world.
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May. 21st, 2008

Beliefs: AM: Shadows Wolf

shadows_wolf06

Today's Daily Om

May 21, 2008
Making The Decision
Saying Yes To The Universe

The hardest thing about saying yes to the universe is that it means accepting everything life puts in front of us. Most of us have a habit of going through our days saying no to the things we don’t like and yes to the things we do, and yet, everything we encounter is our life. We may be afraid that if we say yes to the things we don’t like, we will be stuck with them forever, but really, it is only through acknowledging the existence of what’s not working for us that we can begin the process of change. So saying yes doesn’t mean indiscriminately accepting things that don’t work for us. It means conversing with the universe, and starting the conversation with a very powerful word—yes.

When we say yes to the universe, we enter into a state of trust that whatever our situation is, we can work with it. We express confidence in ourselves, and the universe, and we also express a willingness to learn from whatever comes our way, rather than running and hiding when we don’t like what we see. The question we might ask ourselves is what it will take for us to get to the point of saying yes. For some of us, it takes coming up against something we can’t ignore, escape, or deny, and so we are left no choice but to say yes. For others, it just seems a natural progression of events that leads us to making the decision to say yes to life.

The first step to saying yes is realizing that in the end it is so much easier than the alternative. Once we understand this, we can begin examining the moments when we resist what is happening, and experiment with occasionally saying yes instead. It might be scary at first, and even painful at times, but if we continue to say yes to every moment through the process, we will discover the joy of being in a positive conversation with a force much bigger than ourselves.
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May. 20th, 2008

Beliefs: AM: Shadows Wolf

shadows_wolf06

Today's Daily Om

May 20, 2008
Temporarily Out Of Balance
Going Through A Phase

We are all almost always in the process of learning something new, developing an underused ability or talent, or toning down an overused one. Some of us are involved in learning how to speak up for ourselves, while others are learning how to be more considerate. In the process of becoming, we are always developing and fine tuning one or the other of our many qualities, and it is a natural part of this process that things tend to get out of balance. This may be upsetting to us, or the people around us, but we can trust that it’s a normal part of the work of self-development.

For example, we may go through a phase of needing to learn how to say no, as part of learning to set boundaries and take care of ourselves. During this time, we might say no to just about everything, as a way of practicing and exploring this ability. Like a child who learns a new word, we want to try out this new avenue of expression and empowerment as much as we can because it is new and exciting for us and we want to explore it fully. In this way, we are mastering a new skill, and eventually, as we integrate it into our overall identity, it will resume its position as one part of our balanced life.

In this process, we are overcompensating for a quality that was suppressed in our life, and the swinging of the pendulum from under-use to overuse serves to bring that quality into balance. Understanding what’s happening is a useful tool that helps us to be patient with the process. In the end, the pendulum settles comfortably in the center, restoring balance inside and out.
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May. 15th, 2008

Beliefs: AM: Shadows Wolf

shadows_wolf06

Today's Daily Om

May 15, 2008
When Pain Comes Our Way
Honoring All Experiences

Honoring the experiences we have in our lives is an invaluable way to communicate with life, our greatest teacher. We do this when we take time at night to say what we are thankful for about our day and also when we write in a journal. Both of these acts involve consciously acknowledging the events of our lives so that they deepen our relationship to our experiences. This is important because it brings us into closer connection with life, and with the moment. Only when we acknowledge what’s happening to us can we truly benefit from life’s teachings.

It is especially important when pain comes our way to honor the experience, because our natural tendency is to push it away and move past it as quickly as possible. We tend to want to brush it under the rug. Yet, if we don’t, it reveals itself to be a great friend and teacher. As counterintuitive as it seems, we can honor pain by thanking it and by welcoming it into the space of our lives. We all know that often the more we resist something, the longer it persists. When we honor our pain, we do just the opposite of resisting it, and as a result, we create a world in which we can own the fullness of what life has to offer.

We can honor a painful experience by marking it in some way, bringing ourselves into a more conscious relationship with it. We might mark it by creating a work of art, performing a ritual, or undertaking some other significant act. Sometimes all we need to do is light a candle in honor of what we’ve gone through and what we’ve learned. No matter how small the gesture, it will be big enough to mark the ways in which our pain has transformed us, and to remind us to recognize and value all that comes our way in this life.
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May. 14th, 2008

Beliefs: AM: Shadows Wolf

shadows_wolf06

Today's Daily Om

May 14, 2008
Guilty Pleasures
Feeling Guilty about Being Happy

Happiness is an experience we all long for and deserve in our lives. We may wish for the happiness that comes with a much-needed vacation or an exciting new love affair, yet when the actual experience of happiness emerges, we may be too overcome with guilt to enjoy it. If guilt is interfering with your ability to feel joy, you may find relief in looking at the beliefs you hold about yourself and what it means for you to be happy.

Guilt about feeling happy can arise for different reasons. Deep down you may believe that you don’t deserve to be happy because you hurt someone in the past, had more than others growing up, or maybe you received a mean comment from someone you admired. Perhaps it once seemed that painful experiences always followed happy ones; now whenever you begin to feel happy, you find yourself waiting for the other shoe to drop. Happiness may even just feel uncomfortable because you’ve gotten so used to feeling down. The truth is that when you feel too guilty to let yourself enjoy positive emotions, you are denying a part of yourself that has a right to exist. By limiting your life experience to just the negative feelings, you are cutting yourself off from the fullness of life ¬¬– which includes all of the positive emotions as well. Fortunately, you can begin to shift the way you respond to happiness even in this moment.

From now on, when happiness begins to blossom in your heart, try to accept it, relish in it, ask it to stay. It’s okay to feel happy even if you believe you don’t deserve it. Feeling good is an expression of your wholeness and your connection with life. The next time happiness appears for you, try not to feel guilty about it. Instead, welcome your happiness in like a long-awaited friend.
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May. 13th, 2008

Beliefs: AM: Shadows Wolf

shadows_wolf06

Today's Daily Om

May 13, 2008
Feeling Our Life
Finding Our Life’s Work

Sometimes it takes us the better part of a lifetime to discover our life’s work, even though we may have been doing it our whole lives without necessarily realizing it. Our life’s work is not always what we do to make money, although we often think it should be, and sometimes this way of thinking prevents us from seeing clearly what it is. It may be the work of having children, caring for them, and running a household. The way we know our life’s work is by how we feel when we are doing it.

When we are doing our life’s work, we feel an uncanny sense of ease and alignment. This doesn’t mean that the work is always easy, and it doesn’t mean that it’s the only work we have to do; it just means that there is a conviction deep inside us that tells us we are in tune with our innermost self. When we are engaged in our life’s work, our bodies feel more alive, because our energy is devoted to a cause that, in turn, feeds us. We may be tired after engaging in our life’s work, but we are almost never depleted. We feel grounded in the world, knowing that we belong here and have something important to offer.

When we are deeply unhappy, depressed, or subject to one illness after another, this may be due to a sense of disconnection from our life’s work. At times like these, finding the work we are meant to do is an essential act of healing. Most of us remember a time when we felt fully engaged in some act of work, service or creativity, and it is here that we may rediscover the work we are meant to do now. On the other hand, it may be time to explore what inspires us through volunteering, taking a class, going back to school, or just doing whatever it is we long to try. We all have callings, and when we find them, we owe it to ourselves to nurture and protect them, because while they may or may not be our livelihood, they are the keys to our wellbeing.
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May. 12th, 2008

Beliefs: AM: Shadows Wolf

shadows_wolf06

Today's Daily Om

May 12, 2008
In The World And In Ourselves
Feeling Fed Up With Humanity

From time to time, we may all feel fed up with humanity, whether it's from learning about what's going on around the world, or what’s going on next door. There are always situations that leave us feeling as if people are simply not capable of behaving in a way that is coming from a place of awareness. Often it seems as if people are actually geared to handle things in the worst possible way, repeatedly. At the same time, none of us wants to linger in a judgmental mood about our own species. As a result, we might tend to repress the feelings coming up as we take in the news from the world and the neighborhood.

It is natural to feel let down and disappointed when we see our fellow humans behaving in ways that are greedy, selfish, violent, or uncaring, but there are also ways to process that disappointment without sinking into despondency. As with any emotional response, we honor our feelings by feeling them fully, without judging or acting on them. Once we've done that—and we may need to do it every day, as part of our daily self-care—we can begin to consider ways that we might help the situation in which humanity finds itself.

As always, we start with ourselves, utilizing our awareness of the failings of others to renew our own commitment to be more conscious human beings. We are all capable of the best and the worst that humanity has to offer, and remembering this keeps us in check, as well as allowing us to find compassion for others. We may find ourselves feeling compelled to serve people who are suffering injustices at the hands of other people, or we may begin to speak out when we see something that we don’t think is right. Whatever the case, the only thing we can do is pledge to serve the best, rather than the worst, of what humanity has to offer, both in the world, and in ourselves.
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