Sunday, February 27, 2011

Just Be

"While Eeyore frets,
and Piglet hesitates,
and Rabbit calculates,
and Owl pontificates,
Pooh just is."
(From The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff)

When I read this paragraph, I couldn't help but feel identified with many of those roles. There are times in life when I hesitated, others when I was calculating and strategizing, others when I was fretting. In my world, I always equated being with doing. The more I did, the more I felt I was and there was an underlying feeling that it was never enough. I kept filling my schedule with activities and things to do since in my mind that meant I was amazing. Last year, I started realizing that I wanted to be more like Pooh, just be. I did not want to equate doing with being but start separating the two and knowing that even if I did not do anything, I could just be and that was ok.

The more I read about Tao, the more I realize that this philosophy really talks to me. "Through working in harmony with life's circumstances, Taoist understanding changes what others may perceive as negative into something positive. From the Taoist point of view, sourness and bitterness come from the interfering and unappreciative mind. Life itself, when understood and utilized for what it is, is sweet." (Benjamin Hoff - The Tao of Pooh). Many times we see challenges in a negative light but Tao says that challenges are only opportunities to grow and evolve, to become stronger. If we look at situations with a simple mind and not over analyze them, we can see that each situation, whether positive or challenging, presents a seed of opportunity. Can we take that opportunity and grow in our path? Can we see it as a chance to become more the person we are meant to be instead of what society or the complex mind would let us believe? Part of the teachings of the Tao is to have a simple mind. Our minds usually play tricks on us and they make things seem worse than they really are. We always tend to imagine the worst scenario without realizing that we can make a decision, grow and then become better. Sometimes we need to let go of the mind and just experience, just be. Sit in the present moment and go with the ebb and flow of life. If we learn to trust that every experience is part of our journey and that we are able to stand anything that is put in our path since it is meant to guide us to where we need to go, we can live our lives from a different perspective and not lose our happiness. Happiness is not based on what we have or don't have, it is based on simplicity and just being. Don't let the monkey mind rule your life and rob you of your happiness, choose to let your heart guide you and just be.

Blessings )0(

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Prolonging the Agony

When do you say bye? When do you put an end to a situation? How do you decide? Sometimes we hope the universe will make a choice for us because we are to afraid too make a decision. It scares us so much to know how much we can lose but we don't see how much we can gain. Every time a door closes, another one opens and we always need to make space for the new. Sometimes, we think that things will get better or we want to delay the end. Change is always feared. Who knows what will come? It is better bad known that the unknown, who knows what else can happen. Are we ready to settle for a mediocre life just because we are too afraid to make a move.

Today I was reading about the Tao and the following phrase came up ‎"Even if the time and the place are right, we can still miss our chance if we do not notice the moment, if we act inadequately, or if we hamper ourselves with doubts and second thoughts. When life presents an opportunity, we must be ready to seize it without hesitation or inhibition. Position is useless without awareness." (365 Tao). How many opportunities have you seen passed because of hesitation? Do you live from your mind or your heart? Sometimes, everything is ready for us, to have the happy life we deserve but because of other situations, we hesitate and our opportunities passed us by.

Are you delaying a decision and in doing so missing the opportunity to have the life you want to have? In what areas of your life are you prolonging the agony? Delaying the inevitable? Buying time and missing opportunities? Life presents opportunities to us and it is in us to choose what we want, to follow our heart, and to live fully. Last weekend, I almost died at the beach and looking back, I can say I have lived passionately and fully, I have followed my heart every time and not hesitated when the opportunities presented themselves so I would not regret anything. If you were to face the same situation, would you be able to say the same?

Don't delay the end, don't extend your agony, make a decision to live your life fully from the heart today.

Blessings )0(

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Chinese Journey

Every year has a topic. Last year, the topic was health - how to become healthier and whole. I lost weight, ran my first 5K, and dedicated a big portion of my time to work out and become fit. This year, the topic has shifted from health to... YES! You guessed it! Chinese! In January, I decided I wanted to study Mandarin, and since I made that decision, many other things have popped up in my life guiding me in the right direction. It was funny to see how much opposition I faced from others when I made my decision. For example, I went to Barnes and Noble to buy some study cards and the lady at the register looked at me and asked "are you going to China soon?" and I responded "no, just studying Mandarin for fun." She looked at me shocked and said "I would be studying Spanish if I were you" so I responded "I have the Spanish covered, now it is Mandarin time." Some of my friends looked at me surprised and questioned why would I study Mandarin instead of other languages and the truth is, I just like it. I find that language fascinating and filled with meaning. It is amazing to see that Chinese is an ancient language that comes from the times when the Chinese people wrote in turtle shells and use sticks and it is still in use today. I also find it interesting that a symbol can convey meaning and that people in China look at the symbols and understand. When I see that, I can't help but think in other ways that symbols convey meaning such as Tarot or Runes. I've always been fascinated by symbolism so it makes sense I would like a language like Mandarin.

As I study Mandarin, I am also learning about the Chinese culture and traditions. It was interesting to find out that Chinese people use a lunar calendar instead of a solar one and as a Priestess I find that fascinating. I also noticed their traditions are filled with magic such as during the New Year, they eat fish because the word of fish also means good fortune and by eating the fish, they believe they will bring about good fortune for the next year. It seems as the Chinese people have traditions that really tune with me.

I have also started learning about the Tao and Confucian wisdom and came about with these phrases that really hit home with me:

"One who knows does not speak; one who speaks does not know." (Laozi)

"Knowing it is not as good as loving it; loving it is not as good as delighting in it." (Analects)

"Knowledge is to know when you know it and when you don't know it." (Analects)

It is interesting to see how many of the concepts in magic tune with this knowledge since one of the withcraft concepts say "To Know, To Dare, To Will, To Keep Silent" It is important to be humble and know that we are always learning and if we stopped learning and believe we know everything, we just know nothing or we are dead.

Chinese is a very complex language but in that complexity I find beauty, and in that beauty I find another path to Goddess, to serve Her, to commune with her. I know I could have studied Italian or French but I decided to study Chinese because complex does not scare me, roadblocks do not make me afraid, and easy does not do it for me. When people look at me with doubt or think I am strange because I am studying Mandarin, I would say that I have searched in my heart and my fire is burning bright with this language. Sometimes we face opposition and those are the times you need to be honest with yourself and keep truth to your heart.

Blessings )0(