Do You Trust your Own Instincts? Are You a Sheep?

“The day was dawning, and the shepherd urged his sheep in the direction of the sun. They never have to make any decisions, he thought. Maybe that’s why they always stay close to me… They trust me, and they’ve forgotten how to rely on their own instincts, because I lead them to nourishment.”The Alchemist by Paulo Colho.

Are you being a sheep? Or perhaps a better questions is where in your life are you being a sheep? Every day there are decisions being made that will affect us and we have very little control over them. Somewhere right now a bailout package is being hammered out and this will affect our lives is some way. Things of this nature happen every day. Does that make you a sheep? Maybe and maybe not. That is our choice how you wish to see that. “I can’t effect something like that anyway.” Susan B Anthony thought differently. So did Mahatma Gaudi. “That is the compromise I make to live in this country”. Also perfectly acceptable. Whatever you tell yourself, just do not dismiss that you are being led in certain directions everyday. Be aware and choose where you want to go, or rather where you want to be led.

Lets bring it closer to home. Is there a relationship in your life where you’ve stop making decisions, stopped voicing opinions, stopped looking at the choices for what ever reasons. Maybe you felt like you are not be heard. Maybe you felt like the other person could do a better job. Maybe you just didn’t want to be bothered because it was a crappy job anyways so let them do it. How does that bind you to the other person? Being bound is not good or bad, it’s just that – a connection that ties you to another. If you are being hurt by that relationship or not getting out of it what is best for you then maybe it’s time to look at where you have stopped making choices. If the relationship brings you joy and growth and this is just what you do to fit together, great. Again, be aware of where you are choosing and where you are being led.

If you have allowed someone else to decide for a long time, then how are you at making those decisions? Do you trust yourself? Can you make a “big” decision when you need too? How dull have your instincts for what if good and right for you become” Think about the lines from The Alchemist for a minute and see if you can find any places in your life where you have become a sheep – a place where you just follow where you are led. Then ask yourself if that is what you want? Is this what you choose to continue? There is no right or wrong answer. There may be place where you choose to be led and that is OK. All I’m asking is that you become aware of that place and choose it consciously.

In love and Light


Are You Hiding Your Light?

“Like everybody learns,” he said. “In school.” by Paulo Coelho in The Alchemist

The shepherd boy said this to a girl he was speaking to, who was surprised to find that a shepherd could read. He did it to turn attention away from something different about himself and avoid bringing up something from his past that the girl might find disappointing about him. The boy had been in a seminary at one point, which is where he learned to read, but choose instead to become a shepherd

What I find most interesting about this scene is that the boy does not want to admit that he was going to be a priest. So he just throws himself into the pot with everyone else – “like everybody learns”. Maybe he thought the girl would be disappointed because he was on the path to be SOMEBODY and threw it all away to become a shepherd. Maybe he said that because he didn’t think she would understand or maybe because he wanted to appear normal to her. Whatever the reason, instead of admitting who and what he was, he threw the cloak of normality and ordinary over his shoulders so he could fit in. Thinking back on my life I wonder how many times have I done the same, retreated into what is expected so as not to stand out. There is safety in being in the crowd, security in not appearing different. After all, if we are different we may be, or have been, ridiculed, ostracized and hurt physically and emotionally. So we’ve thought – why change it, right?

The boy left the seminary because the distant fields and roads were calling to him. He did that to follow his dreams. He did it to follow his heart. So by not sharing that piece of who he was with this girl, he is denying a part of his heart to this girl and to the world. He is hiding his light so as to not shine too brightly in her eyes. By not shining brightly for her, he is also not shining brightly for himself. The more each of us dims out light, the darker and darker the world becomes. Most great things that happen in this world are not happening or do not happen when someone is being ordinary. It is when we choose to live within our own light and shine as brightly for ourselves, that things happen, mountains move, seas part and worlds are built.

In love and light


What Did You Wake Up Knowing This Morning?

and creates confusion in those who think they know.

Verse 3 from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

Dr Dyer has a great line – “What did you wake up knowing this morning?” Knowing things is considered to be a great benefit in our society. People who acquire the vast knowing of things are deemed smart and well educated. They are offered accolades and certificates of achievement. Children are praised and judged on their ability to know things. Adults are encouraged to continue to amass the knowing of things to improve their positions and careers. Yet, all this knowing of things does not really equate to wisdom, only information.

If you know something, then there is no room for the unknown. There is no room for something outside of the knowing to be noticed and embraced. Being in the knowing is essentially putting blinders on and only seeing certain things. It cuts off possibilities and strangles choices. What would happen if you let go of all the things you know about the world. Look at everything with new eyes. Pretend you have never met your co-worker before. Walk onto the job like you’ve never been there before. Ask your lover all the same questions you asked when you started dating, you know “What’s your favorite color?” and “What are your favorite movies?” and “What do you like to eat?”. Let go of the knowing of the answers and take it all in as if fresh and new.

Our brains like to associate everything we know with something from the past. Try walking through a mall and don’t let your mind tell you that this person looks like so and so or the person reminds me of my brother. It is not easy. We like to associate the new with the old and because of that we like to hold onto the knowing. We like it to all be familiar and comfortable. When we are confronted by something completely new, we struggle to define it in the terms of our past knowing, instead of accepting it as it is. As a practice, whenever you find yourself defining something from your past knowing, stop and look again. Let go of the knowing and look at this thing as if you’ve never seen it before. Who knows, you really might not have seen anything like it before! A brand new world, every day!


In love and light


How Are You at Adaptability?

” … that it is he who had become accustomed to their schedule.” by Paulo Coelho in The Alchemist

In this line Santiago, the shepherd boy, is thinking about how he and his sheep get up at the same time. His first thought is that the sheep have gotten used to his time schedule. Then he thinks it might be the other way around. One thing I’d like to point out is that this is the only time in the whole book that we see the boy’s name – Santiago. From here on out he is referred to as the boy, the shepherd, etc. Just something to ponder.

This line got me to thinking about how we adapt to certain schedules. When I was a kid, summer time meant that I could stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning and then sleep until noon the next day. I can’t do that now, not even on days that I don’t have to get up for work. My whole life has adapted to my work schedule. New parents quickly adapt to the baby’s schedule then spend many hours getting the child to adapt to the parents’ schedule. Kids adapt to their school schedule, adults adapt to their work schedule. It’s what we do to function in our society.

So think about your life for a moment and see if there is an area in it where you have adapted your behaviors, your schedule, or your thinking to help fit in. You did this to make it easier. Maybe you did this so you wouldn’t stick out, be noticed, or considered odd. Then ask whether you really wanted to adapt or if you did it without thinking.

I believe human beings are a very, very adaptable species. It helps us survive all sorts of disasters, harsh conditions and deplorable circumstances. It is an amazing ability, one we often use without thought or notice. How would your life change if you started being deliberate in your adaptability? How would your life be different if you adapted quickly and easily to the changes that happened around you? While other business, corporations and agencies are staggering under the weight of all the recent changes, what would happen if you quickly adapted to the opportunities that are now opening up?

Change and adapt, change and adapt, change and adapt. It is a powerful pattern that can bring you tremendous advantage. Be deliberate in your adaptability.


In love and light


How do You Define Beauty?

When people see some things as beautiful

then other things become ugly

Verse 2 from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

This line, to me, is again asking us to look at how and why we define things. In this world we tend to see things in opposites: good or bad, long or short, right or wrong, black or white. It then becomes an either/or world. If one thing is not that, then it is the other.Yet there are endless choices and variations between the opposite ends of the spectrum. My husband and I have an old argument. If you have to define the color teal as blue or green, which is it? I am an artist and my answer is always the same: it is neither (or it’s both) – it’s teal. He then tells me that I didn’t answer the question. His statement is absolutely correct and, to me, the question itself is wrong. It is not either/or.

By defining something as one thing, our tendency is then to to look for it’s opposite. If I am right in an argument, then the opposing view must be wrong. If change is a good thing, then its opposite, stability, must be wrong. Things are neatly categorized and summarized so they are easily recognized and understood by our brains. The Tao defies the nature of definition.

The Tao gives rise to the world of opposites and yet it is, itself, both and neither. It is both good and evil, black and white, right and wrong and the millions of places in between. Everything that happens and everything that is, is born of the Tao. All definitions come from it, and yet it is not any of those. In the end everything returns to it, again undefined and unnamed.

Become aware of how you define things. Then notice when you do define those things, how does that definition then define those things around it. A metaphor for this is when you place a paint chip of color on a wall of a certain color. That chip will look different when placed on a wall of another color. The color around it affects how you see that paint chip. (OK. Here’s a great website that has a perfect example of this.) So when you look at how you define yourself, see where that definition has created limitations or opposites in the world around you. Do not just accept the definition of beautiful and ugly, look past them, redefine them, move through them and see how they are both connected and a part of the Tao.


In love and light


Do You See the Reflection of Your Beauty?

” … I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected.” by Paulo Coelho in The Alchemist

The book The Alchemist opens with the story of Narcissus, who drowns from contemplating his own beauty in a lake. The line quoted above is spoken by the lake when it was pointed out, by a nymph, to the lake that the lake was the only one who was able to constantly see Narcissus’ beauty.

What the lake saw everyday as Narcissus gazed into it depths was its own beauty reflected back to itself. It didn’t see Narcissus. When Narcissus looked into the lake, all he saw was his own beauty which he was completely captivated by. The lake did not even notice that. It didn’t even know that Narcissus was beautiful because all the lake saw was itself and its own beauty shining in someone else’s eyes. When it saw itself in Narcissus’ eyes, it knew that it was beautiful.

Many times we cannot see our own gifts, our own beauty, until it is pointed out to us by another. What a precious gift that is. When another person gives that gift to you, when they reflect back to you, by their words or their actions, the beautiful person you are, do you accept it? Are you grateful for that gift? Do you brush it off and push it away because it makes you uncomfortable and uneasy? Accept the gift when it is given. Accept it and say “Thank you”. Let the world reflect back to you your greatness and allow yourself to develop that light and beauty. As you step into the beauty and light, more and more will of this beauty and light will be reflected back to you.

As your gift has the ability to help you grow, you reflecting back to another their beauty and their light will give them the opportunity to grow also. In your words and your actions, reflect back to your fellow human beings their own beauty. Reflect back to them their light. Give them that gift. Remind them to accept and grow in it. Each person made brighter by that gift of reflection will cause the world to become a little brighter. Consider this a daily action that will contribute to a better, brighter world.

In love and light


What’s in a name? Nothing at all.

The name that can be named
is not the external Name.

Verse 1 from the Tao Te Ching by Lao TzuTao Te Ching

What is in a name –  a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet, and yet, it is still a rose. When I say the word – rose – a particular shape comes to your mind. Maybe that shape has a color and a smell, maybe even a texture if you have a good imagination. If I were to say to you “The flower smelled sweet” then different people would have different images, colors and smells. Those images would still all be defined by the term flower. Now if I only said “There is a scent.”, then there would be an even greater variety of images and scents or, perhaps, there would be less. Perhaps some people would have to wait for more information, more details, before their imagination kicks in.

The point is that as soon as you give a name to something, it is defined and then it has limits. Even God is given limits by the name of Her. He/She is now not me, outside, separate, something else, a presence, an essence, all encompassing, all knowing, all around, within everything and everyone, everywhere at all time and yet still limited by

“The name that can be named…” We cannot conceive within our selves, within our minds, what something is without a name. Yet that very naming of the Tao or the Unified Consciousness, or God, or Spirit means that you can not fully understand it. Makes your brain hurt, huh? To be guided to understand the Tao, to fully become one with it, you must follow the heart. I can give you many names for all that it is: love, balance, harmony, letting go, connection, rest, and it is still none of these. Words do not encompass its vastness and its microcosm. Yet, words, ideas and concepts are the signposts that are used to find “The Way.” So if you find within yourself one day a feeling, a connection, or an understanding that you cannot name, then welcome them for they are the stepping stones on the path. Do not try to name them or understand them, or define them. Just accept them and be with them – fully embracing them without the desire to define… and therein lies the Tao.

In love and light