#224 Despicable Woman

Remember, you radiate love from, not to.

Do you remember that old New Age practice of surrounding other people in White Light? It said: Do you know someone who needs healing? Are you having a conflict with someone? Simply imagine them surrounded in White Light. It is easily done.

At the risk of going on a bit, let me tell you a true story.

I know a woman who many years ago did something toward my step-kids that I considered despicable. To this day, should I happen to see her in the neighborhood, I bristle. (It’s interesting to note that bristles have two ends — while they poke outward, they also poke inward. So if I bristle at someone, I also bristle at myself. Say that the inward bristle poke feels like a mosquito bite; imagine what I must do to endure the feeling of a hundred mosquito bites. Imagine how much I must close down.)

But back to Despicable Woman. It would be fairly easy for me to imagine her surrounded in While Light. (God knows she needs it!) (Just kidding.) (Kind of.)

The greater challenge is for me to love her. And remember, love is unconditional. (Ooh, I can barely continue. I am stymied!)

Do you see it? Surrounding her with White Light is about my perception that she needs healing, but loving her unconditionally is about my healing, my development.

How do I love someone who did something despicable?

Good question. To be continued.

#223 Other Manifestations

Other manifestations of love, from readers: courage, optimism, awe, and remember that love is without conditions — no ifs, ands, or buts.

The reason I began listing manifestations of love is because it was easier than describing the physical, felt experience of love. And that’s what you radiate — the felt experience. You can’t radiate a thought. You can’t radiate an idea. You radiate what you are feeling. You radiate what you are experiencing within.

But knowing the manifestations of love can be useful as we attempt to radiate love. “Love” is a rather non-specific word. “Appreciation,” however, or “generosity,” for example, are more specific, and I can perhaps more easily find my way to feeling one of the manifestations of love.

I’ll check my list of manifestations. Can I experience all of them in one day?

#222 Manifestations of Love

Love is such an imprecise word.

I was wondering if I could parse it out a bit, perhaps identify various aspects of love. Once I began listing them, I realized they are not so much aspects as they are manifestations of love.

Compassion, empathy, appreciation, wonder, gratitude, generosity, kindness, forgiveness, open-heartedness.

But it seemed to me there was something missing. Then last night I watched the movie Harold and Maude, and I knew what was missing from my list — joy!

What else is missing? What are your manifestations of love?

#221 Fail, Fail, Fail

I haven’t written for a while because I didn’t know what to write. What could I say? That I fail more than I succeed at radiating love? That’s the truth. I return, again and again and again, to the practice of radiating love. But I don’t seem to be able to stay there for very long.

Then, just the other day, I found myself radiating love spontaneously, naturally, automatically!

And that is the purpose of practice. Teachers see it — a student struggles and struggles to learn a new skill, and fails and fails. Then, in the blink of an eye, they’ve got it! Click!

It’s a good feeling.

Abundance and Gratitude

Note: This isn’t an actual Tenacity Notes, but I put it here so I could link to it on Facebook. Read it. You’ll understand. This is an excerpt from a Breath and Water Club newsletter, July 2005.

I was teaching about gratitude at a recent class. I suggested that we all practice filling ourselves with the energy of gratitude. And remember, this is 360º of gratitude — gratitude that includes the self, gratitude that flows out from the self to encompass all of life. Gratitude about yourself and your life right now.

A student said she didn’t know what the energy of gratitude should feel like. I said, pretend. Make it up. Experiment. It’s all practice. You can prime the pump, so to speak, by thinking of something outside yourself that you’re grateful for. Let yourself feel that gratitude, then transfer that feeling to yourself. Have gratitude for who you and where you’re at in your life. So we all practiced “running the energy” of gratitude. It felt great.

Then Anita asked a question. Is there a cause and effect relationship between gratitude and abundance? If I feel gratitude will I then have abundance?

Remember, this is a true story

I took a breath, ready to respond to her question. I didn’t know what I was going to say. Probably something along the lines of “I don’t know about that, but I do know that gratitude allows us to become aware of the abundance we already have in our lives.” But clearly, whatever I was going to say wasn’t good enough, because exactly as I finished inhaling and opened my mouth to speak, the doorbell rang. Now remember, this is 8:45 on a dark, windy, cold December night in Minneapolis. Who could it possibly be?

At the door stood my next-door neighbor (and former student) with large, round, tin box. She’d stayed home from work that day and baked Christmas cookies. She thought I’d like some. Once she realized she’d interrupted a class, she thrust the tin into my hands and dashed off, calling happy holidays over her shoulder. I took the box into the living room and opened it to find a beautiful array of cookies. Look, I said, my neighbor brought us cookies. One of my students exclaimed, “It’s because we were running gratitude!”

Abundance is attracted to gratitude

Yes, it’s true. We were working with gratitude, feeling it in our bodies, feeling it towards ourselves, feeling it for life itself, and abundance came knocking on the door! Wow. I guess Anita’s question got answered! We looked around at each other with our mouths hanging open, delighted with the teaching we’d just been given and amazed at the way it’d been delivered. As an added bonus, the cookies were delicious! We ate cookies while we talked about the fact that an embodied teaching had knocked on the door.

It is not unusual for me to receive inspiration while I’m teaching. It’s true that I know a lot, but it’s also true that I sometimes find myself saying something in class that I didn’t know I knew, and I readily acknowledge that as inspiration. But never before have I had a teaching actually show up knocking on the front door! That’s for sure a teaching to pay attention to. Abundance comes to gratitude’s door.

Gratitude is a beacon for abundance. 360º of gratitude puts you in the position to experience and appreciate the abundance you already have in your everyday life. And 360º of gratitude opens the door to new and unexpected abundance. Thanks to Anita for asking the right question.

May the living spirit of gratitude imbue your life this coming year.

#220 Breath and Water Excerpt

Last week I mentioned the Breath and Water Club newsletter. Some of you don’t go back that far, and you wondered what it was. (I started it in 2004, and it ran for 6 years before it morphed into Tenacity Notes.)

I’ve moved the back issues of the Breath and Water newsletter from my Web site to a blog site. You can find them at breathandwater.com. While doing so, I came across this issue about water, and I liked being reminded of these things. (#38, July 2007) Maybe you’ll like it too. Here’s part of it:

I received emails about “Water Facts” from a few people. I’ll share it with you, but first let’s remember what we’ve learned from each other about the effects of drinking water.

* joints are less stiff

* thinking is clearer, you’re smarter

* never knew you were thirsty until you started drinking water

* constipation is gone

* complexion is clear

* calf muscles are free from cramping

When you add breathing, you find that:

* people you work with are less irritating

* your spouse is suddenly kinder

* life is not so hard as you’d thought it was

* you feel more rested all day

* you stop prevaricating about momentous life decisions – you get pregnant, go to graduate school, begin a new mid-life career

* you’re not so stressed out

* and interestingly, the people around you are not so stressed out

Here’s the Water Facts people have sent me. I have no idea where these statistics came from or if they’re accurate. But they are certainly not incompatible with what we already know from our own practice.

* 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.

* Even mild dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism by 3%.

* One glass of water shut down nighttime hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study.

* Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.

* Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.

* A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.

* Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.

* In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is mistaken for hunger.

That’s the end of the excerpt. The Breath and Water Club newsletters were much longer than Tenacity Notes, and came monthly rather than weekly. I invite you to check them out — again or for the first time. Maybe you’ll find something you really like. Or maybe you’ll find something you want to take issue with. In either case, let me know.

#219 It’s not a solution, it’s a path.

I got pretty crabby last week. I didn’t like being 66 years old. I didn’t like that I’ve gained weight. I didn’t like not knowing what the rest of my life would look like. I didn’t like not having enough money. I didn’t like much of anything.

So I reminded myself to radiate love. Oh sure, I replied to myself, like that’s going to solve anything!

I was stubbornly determined to remain crabby about my life, and so a rather heated internal argument ensued. Finally I said, wait just a minute. Radiating love isn’t a solution, it’s a path. It’s a path that requires practice, curiosity, and faith. So just get over yourself and return to the path that you know is yours.

I did return to my practice of radiating love, and I feel better. In fact, I suspect that my discontent was a result of having forgotten to practice for several days.

Remember the Breath and Water Club, and some of the tricks we used to remind ourselves to drink 8 glasses of water a day? Put 8 rubber bands around your glass, and take one off every time you drink it. Set the timer on your watch (now I suppose it would be the timer on your phone). Put notes on your computer, mirror, refrigerator, steering wheel.

It’s time for me to use some of those reminders for radiating love. And for drinking water. Because I also suspect that my discontent was a result of being a bit dehydrated. Actually, forgetting to practice radiating love was probably also a result of being a bit dehydrated.

Drink 8 glasses of water a day, and radiate love along with it. That’s the plan.

Now where did I put all those rubber bands?