Reframing Regrets

by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat – 

Most of us regret that we have regrets. We know they make us our own worst enemies. We obsess about past events in our lives and wonder whether or not we made the right decisions or acted in the best ways. We blame ourselves for mucking things up and not listening to our better self, intuition, or conscience. In hard times, when things aren’t going well, it’s very tempting to try to figure out what we might have done differently.

Regret is ready, willing and able to have us second-guess our choices. Listen to the resulting self-talk: “Why didn’t I consult someone and get their counsel before I made that decision?” “Why didn’t I look at the big picture before turning down that trip?” “Why did I rush into that commitment before the relationship had gelled?” “If only . . .” “What if . . .”
Often the result of this mastication of the past is a drain of energy and a waste of time. Most spiritual teachers would admonish us to stay in the moment and realize there’s no way to re-make the past. What’s gone is gone. Let it be, and let it go.
But recently we were gratified to learn another perspective where regret no longer has a bad reputation. In a scientific study, men and women voted this emotion as the most beneficial of 12 negative emotions since it fostered self-inspection and personal growth. 

Here are a few tips on how to proceed with regret reframed as a positive tool.
1. Most spiritual teachers advise us not to get stuck in the past by focusing on our bad decisions. Instead follow the Tibetan Buddhist way of turning things around. Here the key is looking for what you can learn from a past pain or setback in your life. You can then turn your regrets into catalysts for change.
2. If we are consumed by regrets we overlook all the good that has come from our decisions and actions. So when you find yourself having regrets, bring to mind times when you did the right thing and came out happy and fulfilled. Investigate how these positive memories are different from the memories that are filled with regret. Adjust your attitudes so that you are acting in ways consistent with your positive memories.
3. In Judaism there is a rich and deep tradition of blessing all things. You might take this practice to heart and give thanks for all the choices and decisions you have made. By doing so, you can move beyond the self-blame and depression that comes from being stuck in regrets.
4. An attitude of gratitude is always helpful and salutary when dealing with emotions like regret. Regret helps us clarify what is and is not important to us. Be thankful for the spiritual direction this emotion provides. Being thankful for all of the things that have happened to us is the spiritual path in many religions. Don’t exclude anything!
5. Follow this advice from Henry David Thoreau: “Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret is to live afresh.” 
Move forward in the grand adventure of life and don’t be afraid of taking risks. Take as your mantra for the week: “To regret is to live afresh.”
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Moving Beyond Struggle


by Marlene Buffa – 

Struggling. Our culture believes that emerging victorious from a struggle is commendable. The outcome seems irrelevant, yet many times focus is bestowed on the process, rather than the result. We look at adversity and challenge ourselves to overcome it. We look at adversity and generate respect and honor to those who rise above it, in spite of all odds. 

Struggle seems to have no limitations: if someone reaches a goal through struggle, we rally around him or her as a hero, a triumphant example of perseverance and persistence. When someone is enveloped by struggle and adversity consumes him, we see struggle as the victor and we rally around him or her as a victim. In either case, “struggle,” not the individual, remains the radius around which we measure our personal growth.

Yet as we further examine the outcroppings of “success,” we find the result of success lies in personal fortitude. What is fortitude but a different face of faith? True success and strength lie not in the constant struggle with life, but in the power of knowing that life supports us and the humility to accept the lessons put in our path. 

When I’m faced with a challenge, I take a deep breath and ask myself, “Do I trust God?” Yes. “Do I trust Life?” Yes. God didn’t put me on earth to get beat up by life. I trust that God intends the best for me and the lessons along the way are just means to an end. Sure, I encounter hazards, heartbreaks, even hiccups along the way, but overall, I see these as challenges and choose not to “struggle” my way through them. 

By surrendering the struggle, the worry, the tension, the anxiety and turning the situation over to God for my greater good, my faith rewarded me. I found it a LOT harder to hold faith rather than concentrate on struggle. It’s mental work. It’s work on a soul-level – perhaps the most difficult work we perform. When everything I hold dear screams inside of me, “wait – think of what you must endure to achieve this,” I turn to the most difficult teacher of all, the power of my faith.

I bought a Christmas ornament last year. Just one. A red sequined “ruby” slipper like Dorothy’s in the Wizard of Oz. This dazzling ornament, alone on my tree, sparkles in the light, reminding me I hold the power all along. 
Like Dorothy’s, my slipper represents my ability to use my talents, my mind, my creativity and most of all, my faith to get me through. It’s symbolic of faith and most people carry their own symbols with them all along and don’t know how to use it. 

True strength of your character comes not from struggling. Struggling indicates you do not deserve the good things life offers you. You feel you must do penance in advance for good to come into your life. If good things in your life constitute your desired results either through struggle or faith, then dare yourself to deserve the good without pre-payment!

Faith and trust. Two very difficult concepts for our guarded personas to accept. If you trust God and Life enough to provide for your needs, then struggle is unnecessary. Move beyond struggle. Give it up. Release “struggle’s” hold on you. It doesn’t serve you. Grow into your faith and the fruits of your desires blossom forth. After all, you deserve it! 

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Listen to the Stories You Tell Yourself

One of our most impressive powers as human beings is our power of language. 

We use language as we speak externally to others and as we speak internally to ourselves. Part and parcel of that power are the stories we tell. Story telling is an essential and awesome aspect of our human experience. It is one of the ways we communicate how we make sense of the world — our interpretation of reality. As far as we know, it is a particularly human way of communication.

When we learn from stories and are expanded in our discovery of what it means to be a true human being, we benefit immeasurably. 

If our stories serve to limit us or demean others, we — and others — suffer unnecessarily. In the willingness to simply stop telling the story that is causing suffering, there can be immediate opening and recognition of the truth of who one is. Stopping the telling and retelling of a story is different from making that story better. When we stop the story, if only for a moment of inquiry, we give up hope that the story itself will deliver what we long for.

The appearance of a story (physical story, mental story, emotional story or circumstantial story) needn’t be an obstacle to recognizing the peace that underlies all stories. 

Quite often the most obscuring and entangling stories are the ones we do not even realize we are telling. Certain themes become so habitual that we don’t consider them stories. We consider them simply reality.

People who live their lives unaware that they are telling themselves a story consider their thoughts to be descriptions of reality. 

If someone else has a conflicting description, that person is considered just to be wrong. It is a leap into maturity to realize that our descriptions of reality are our versions of reality. Certainly there is nothing wrong about a version of reality, but the recognition that it is a version, rather than reality itself, is humbling to our version of ourselves!

This form of immaturity is seen in many ways in the community of humanity. Finally the immaturity of excluding others’ versions of reality results in war. To the degree that we believe what we are telling ourselves to be correct, we are willing to die for it and send our children to die for it. We do this because we are certain of its rightness. And clearly this belief has its place in human evolution. There are values that need to be asserted and protected. Sadly, the balance of assertion and protection with tolerance and inclusion can easily go askew.
It seems possible that we are now at a stage in human development where we can actually tell the truth about our tendency to lose balance. We can individually and collectively take responsibility for both recognizing when balance has been lost and promoting its restoration.
The initial loss of balance is not the problem. The problem is in not seeing the loss, with the particular version of reality being rigidly and righteously defended.
We are human beings, and we have inherited many stories from our ancestors — genetic, archetypical stories, national and religious stories. They are part of our experience in a particular body. These stories are not inherently right or wrong. They are a unique and integral part of the mandala of our collective story.
If we aren’t aware that these stories are being told — both internally and externally — if we do not even know that they are stories, then we are unwittingly at their mercy and we miss an opportunity to mature.
I am inviting you to stop where you are in this moment of your life and turn your attention toward what you are telling yourself. Rather than assuming that what you are saying is correct; rather than turning your attention toward getting whatever the thought or story is directing you to achieve; or avoiding what you are being cautioned to avoid; or fighting what you are being incited to fight; you can turn your attention to what particular story is being told. You can discover what you are saying to yourself and others. You can overhear your thoughts and stories.
At any point, in any situation, in any story in your life, you have the capacity and the choice to actually discover what is underneath the language of thought. 

What is unaffected, unmoved, unbound by the telling of any story? This inquiry has to do with your daily life. Each life experience is unique, and yet it comes from universal life, the universal core that is the same in all lives, all species, all moments, regardless of a particular version.

Through this inquiry you can discover the treasure of your being.
Adapted from a talk given by Gangaji at Kripalu Center, Stockbridge, MA, September 2011. Gangaji will present her new book, Hidden Treasure: Uncovering the Truth in Your Life Story, at a weekend retreat in the San Francisco Bay Area

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Bridge to Peace for Others

bridge photo: Bridge bridge.jpg

The realms of all possibilities are within what Lynne McTaggart calls “the field.” When we are in the lower vibration of fear, worry, anxiety, horror, terror, sadness, depression, grief, anger, resentment, hate, impatience, etc., we attract and radiate it in the field for ourself and others. We are then the bridge to the lower vibrations.

In the same respect, as a bridge to extreme high vibrations of kindness, love, excitement, respect, openness, fairness, uprighteousness, courage, gentleness, our actions lead us to fixing, helping, controlling others and environment, fanaticism, judgment, criticism, comparison, inequality, etc.

We swing from one to the other depending on our reaction to the situation determining the degree of our pain or pleasure. 

In pain we like to dramatize the negative. In the extremes of pleasure, we like to dramatize the magic, good fortune, luck.

We can rest assured we will have an equal down for every up and up for every down – just like the pendulum going back and forth until it comes to the centre of its path where peace, love, joy, abundance, contentment and wellness reside.

When we become the observer of the pendulum of our life, we can see where we go too far up or down and choose to come into stillness within our heart where creativity, unconditional love, peace, compassion, detachment, appreciation/gratitude and wellness reside.

For example, if self-hatred is showing up in others around us as self-mutilation, self-deprivation, over indulgence, addictions, then we can know by our reaction and feeling in our body whether we have an emotional charge – the same thing within us – thus, an opportunity to neutralize our emotional charge.

In neutralizing the emotional charge within us, we heal our self and radiate peace to the field. 

From the place of patient peaceful loving neutrality, we become “the bridge” for others, in their own time, to choose life-giving ways. As “the bridge,” appreciate the flow of small miracles, in alignment with the divine within, ever increasing.

Liberate and Release


Understanding Memories:

by Jean Adrienne –

Looking back over the recent weekend holiday, I allowed myself the opportunity to understand more about memories and remembering people and situations from the past. Some of these remembrances are happy and sweet, some not so much. But all of them we’ve stored inside like photos in an album.

How do you feel when you pull out old photographs? Nostalgia, joy, pain…? When you are done, do you close the album and put it away, along with whatever emotions came up as you looked at them—for another day, another look?

Each time we review the past and feel the feelings we had them without letting them go, we create a block within our energetic self. It really doesn’t matter if the memory was a pleasant one or one that hurt us deeply—either way, a judgment was made. These stored memories with judgments attached to them are the foundation of karmic blocks. They are wounds to our souls as well as to our physical beings.

It’s time to let go. Liberate yourself from the past and live fully in the present. All those old judgments and wounds no longer serve you. They are baggage, weighing you down and slowing your progress on your path. As you liberate and release, you become free. Color your present with joy, bliss and love!

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Developing Discernment

by Mashubi Rochell –

Learning to See Truth in Today’s Complex World:

A new time is upon us as the many challenges of today’s world escalate and cry out for healing. What is needed now is concerted action on the part of each individual, to join together with others to create positive change in the world. This is not always as easy as it sounds, for the problems we face individually and collectively are multi-layered, and the process of attempting to create positive change activates many forces that oppose change.

Another challenge faced by anyone who wished to help create positive change in the world, is that of developing discernment and the ability to see underneath the surface of things to understand what is really going on. This ability to discern truth will become even more important in the years ahead.

In today’s world, there is much at stake and all of us have a part to play in helping to create the kind of world that we wish to leave to our children and grandchildren. How then do we navigate the enormous complexities of today’s world, and make the kinds of decisions and choices that will have a positive outcome?

The following are some ways that you can begin to hone your innate sense of truth and to develop discernment in relation to the information you receive.

1. Truth has a vibration, a quality of energy that can be felt. We are born with the ability to sense this, and many of us had to “learn” to ignore our truth sense in order to survive in the world. Truth can be felt in the body, the mind and the heart. You can begin to develop discernment by having the intention to do so. Your intention will activate a learning process that will create a healing process that restores your natural inner sense of truth.

2. Remember that all information has a bias. In today’s world, the mainstream media sources of information all have vested financial interests and biases that they transmit through their broadcasts. You need to develop the ability to question what you are hearing or seeing, to do your own research, and then asking your “inner truth meter” whether the information feels credible to you.

3. When you need to make important decisions about people, you need to have your own experience of that individual. It is not enough to listen to experts commenting on that person, you need to see and hear them yourself, or read what they have written in their own words. Pay attention not just to the words, but to what is said underneath the words, through the body language and energy of the person.

4. Learn to pay attention to your body’s subtle physical and emotional signals, which often have information that your conscious mind may have learned to ignore. This is useful in all situations, and especially in relation to listening to other people speak. Your innate inner truth sense is always operating, even when you may have learned to not listen to it. For example, you notice that whenever you hear a particular person speak, you find yourself feeling tense and getting a little spaced out, and you “tune out” their words. Another person that you see appears seems likeable enough, but your “gut feelings” put up a red flag, and just don’t trust them. Another person speaks and you find yourself feeling empowered and uplifted, and want to hear more of what they say. These body signals can provide important information to you that is beyond what your conscious mind is aware of.

5. Become aware of your own emotional baggage that you carry, that may influence your choices. For example, if you grew up with an abusive father and developed a problem with authority figures, become aware of the emotional dynamics that are operating in your life as a result of this. How does your past affect the choices you make in your life today? How do these influence your perceptions of people? Do these choices empower you today? You have the ability to see clearly, beyond your personal emotional pain of the past.

As each of us creates the intention to see clearly and to make choices based on our own inner sense of truth, we can expand the network of love, light and truth in the world and help to create a more positive future for all of humanity.

Have You Lost Your Passion?

by Jim Self –

Over the last few months, many men and women have expressed to me a loss of passion; a deep tiredness and desire to “Let my life be over.” These people are all very involved in their spiritual practice and their commitment to fulfill their purpose, yet they were ready to simply stop. What is going on? These are strong, certain people, using their tools, actively and successfully contributing to humanity in unique ways and involved in daily personal-development work.

Many of the mentors, leaders and teachers (“Spiritual Warriors” or “LightWorkers” some call themselves) are tiring of their work. The creative juice and passion that once raced through their veins and kept them moving is no longer there. Their work is wearing them down and many are ready to quit. Something is out of alignment here. If we are truly doing our work, happily on our path, we would be filled with energy, passion, light and enthusiasm. Right?

What is your job anyway? 
As this Great Shift into higher awareness occurs, you must distinguish between what is your job and what isn’t. By diving head-first into this 3D game you have volunteered to contribute a very unique, specialized piece of the puzzle. The puzzle is called Adding to All-That-Is. Please notice the difference between “one piece of the puzzle” vs taking on the entire puzzle. The latter is a huge job; the former a bit more do-able. The heart surgen has a very specialized talent and doesn’t even consider opening a general practice. A successful plumber recognizes her art and doesn’t also try to become an electrician.

Unlike the specialized surgeon, however, many of us have been taking it ALL on. Whatever and whomever crosses our path, we engage with it – in the spirit of contribution and helping others. Your enthusiasm, your passion and drive to contribute have opened a door through which all people in need are passing and standing before you to be healed and helped. Perhaps your job entails just one area of focus, not everything you are asked to do. Perhaps also – you can say “no thank you” now and again. All of these broken, lost and wanting spirits are not a match to you. Every person and every issue isn’t your job to help. It isn’t possible to do It-All and remain happy and healthy and connected to Creator. None of us can do It-All and stay aligned with who we truly are. You came into 3D to contribute within only a very specific bandwidth. Within that bandwidth lies your purpose, your passion and your well being. Identifying and serving within that bandwidth is your job. That is your only job. 

Your bandwidth is one radio station playing clearly the music you love. Not all of the stations. Sure – two dozen stations broadcast to your home, but there is only one that is in true alignment with who you are. Maybe two. The jazz station and NPR. Not the Latino station or country or the hits from the 70’s, Not Frank Sinatra or Christian broadcasting. Just jazz and NPR. The rest is noise. Perhaps you enjoyed those stations at one point, but now it is noisy. And that noise is wearing many people down because they are trying to tune into all the stations, all the time, all at once.

When you identify and focus only upon what pleases YOU, you will be happy and available to contribute your very best to the people and tasks within your bandwidth – allowing all the others to tune into a radio station that better matches their energy.

A Tool to Discern Your Bandwidth: Imagine a gauge (0-100) and ask yourself these questions as new and current projects and people step into your life. If the number that pops up isn’t higher than 90, consider stepping away from it and therefore allowing more of what IS in alignment to enter your life. Just let the number pop up – no analyzing allowed.

1. How much fun is this project/person?
2. How good does this make me feeeeel in my body?
3. How aligned is this to my personal bandwidth, really? 

As you play with this tool, know that even if the person or project scores high today – that doesn’t mean you must keep it in your life forever. These are most important times of Shift and transition. What is true today may not be true tomorrow. Allow yourself and your passion to evolve. You are big, not small. You are significant, not insignificant. You have a very important piece to play as the healer, teacher, leader you came here to be. BE who you came here to be.

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