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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cornerstones in the Parfait/Pyramid of Life: Mindfulness

Greetings my gentle readers to this week's installment of the "Be Yourself, Often" blog. This is a chance for all of us to sit down and mindfully and with gratitude (yes gratitude, even if the week sucked) on the week that has past us, never to return. Where we can capture in reflection even if we didnt get it and the signposts the first time around, the moments that were indeed, "The Days of our Lives".

We started to discuss last week the concept of a Parfait driven life. Not the sort where you fill up with yogurt and fruit and whipped cream and all that good stuff (although you sure can make one if you want and then come back and read this with a good cup of strong coffee). I wanted to look at each of these 5 components and ingredients of a parfait driven life. Mindfulness, Reflection, Gratitude, Prayer/Spirituality and Altruistic giving. Along the way, we will share exercises and break bread and have a wonderful collaborative and giving/ sharing experience! Feel free to email me at rev.joel@live.ca if there are any particular stories or perspectives YOU would like to share over the next 5 entries!

Mindfulness is the one that I placed at the corner stone of the equation. In fact, all 5 are cornerstones creating what I conceptualize to be a pyramid. Ther 4 bases of this pyramid will be the Mindfulness, Reflection, Gratitude and Altruistic giving with the pinnacle representing  Prayer/Spirituality.

"Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally." Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Mindfulness in large being is a state of mind and conscious. That the patient becomes aware of the rationale for the actions that they are performing. An example would be in substance abuse for a patient in recovery. When the feel the urge to use or misuse their substance of choice, they are encouraged to be aware of the thoughts and dynamics behind the craving. Also, to "play the tape" through and ascertain what would happen if indeed they were to use again. This could be applied to eating, anxieties or PTSD flare-ups. It is also the act of being focused in the present, versus living in the past or anticipating events in the future.

                                                                                       

Why is mindfulness so important and what does it mean though, in the context of life and ourselves? Can we take the concepts of dreaming a dream and manifest those dreams into reality. I know that a couple weeks ago that I compared Harry Chapin's line from Sequel that goes "Its better some times, when we don't get to touch our dreams". What denotes that dream and how can we make that dream reality? As an educator, to see a dream become reality is to set a clear goal, hope or aspiration and then to make the conscious steps to make it happen. That is as such lies the challenge as people in Western society I find expect things better, faster and yesterday. 30 minutes or free. Take a pill to cure your ailments. I know I have touched on the culture of entitlement many times and I assure you that is not the way to live the dreams. Not the way to dream a dream. Living the dream is something you have to make a stand in and believe in. Whether right or wrong, it is your belief system, and really who is the judge that your belief system is wrong? To expect things to be handed to you in a flash or the past to go away in a heartbeat is irrational. If you can't stand up for what you believe in, how do you expect to achieve it? Entitlement breeds resentments. Guaranteed. Hurts yourself and others and the great wheel of samsara and karma enter into a vicious circle.

  Want to dream the dream? Mindfulness. The power to live in the moment and appreciate every step along the way. Its about the wins and the losses in equal measure. I have written before that courage is using your weaknesses and challenges to help others and still believe in that definition. Thats what Harry Chapin I feel wrote about, that maybe the dream isn't worth it if we can't appreciate the blessings that we have in the moment and practice mindfulness. Because the dream without belief, work and appreciating the journey is emptier. Its the expression that goes "rushing though each thing to get to the next". Never any satisfaction. Each milestone pro or con isn't appreciated as such.

  So to live the dream and dream the dream, set a destination, get a good compass and appreciate the moments of the journey, being prepared to alter the destination as the signposts of the day dictate and tell you. That all ties into our past few weeks aviations discussions through the months of March and early April. To dream a dream is to express, live and feel and embrace our individuality, and THAT is to be mindfulful of what and who we are and what we do and say and express and convery. How do YOU let the light shine? Mindfulness is appreciating the statement that says "Everything happens for a reason", coupled with "Each snowflake falls in a perfect place" couple with "A good explanation doesnt explain everything".

  Mindfulness is looking with acceptance and awareness of the incredible beauty about you and how it so perfectly interfaces outside the the ego-centric goal driven lives that we have, especially in Western culture. Mindfulness is then being at one with that moment vs the chaotic canstant abstrasion that we exist upon and within in every moment and being at ease with that moment and its relevant beauty and context. To be in context means to be at ease, because the opposite is to exist out of context which permeates through the body like a cancer and sadly makes and causes us dis-ease and that results in disease. And even more sadly, it is contagious if you are not mindful of the feelings and emotions.

  Let us look at events, moments, people, animals, plants and minerals with love and be at ease with them... open your eyes, remove the scales from them and approach the cosmos with the open arms and eagerness of a child. For only then can you be yourself, often.

 

--- Rev. Dr Joel Lamoure   April 2012 

 

11:33 am edt 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The layered parfait of life

Greetings my gentle readers to another week and another weekend with the "Be Yourself, Often" blog. A time when we can sit back with a common thought and thread and love and appreciate the miracles of the moments that surround us. A time to rejoice on the small moments and the interface that we share with all other living creatures on this big rolling blue marble that we call Earth.

I would like to thankl everyone who has read and shared this blog and subsequently tuned into my radio show,  "Prescribing Spiritual HOPE" found on blog talk radio as well. Each week we will look at this blog and discuss it further and how it relates to the fact that we are really simply spiritual entities who are having a human existence. Our live show is aired every Tuesday at 9pm Eastern EDT and given audience numbers, have added a repeat/re-airing of the show every Saturday night at 8pm EDT. That there are so many wonderful opportunities that exist around the corner. Spiritual HOPE takes into the context that we in order to prevent the dis-ease and diseases that permeate through our lives that our tactical approach to healing and staying well (and avoiding those darn negative karmic souvenir keychains!) must be multimodal in approach. Past radio shows may be found here. We should look at approaching our lives through a Holistic approach and that we need to have an idea what our end Outcomes are. Where are we going and what are the tools and plans and strategies that we will pursue to help make those dreams come to life? Our life is also a very Personal experience and so the P in HOPE looks at that personal journey that we all have and more importantly how it links and interfaces with everything else. And that we know we have a choice under the free will covenant which is the E, or Empowerment. We can make choices and take responsibility as we move ahead and ensure that we have the opportunity to advance our objectives.

Where does this all go? I believe it enhances the mindfulness and richness and appreciations of the moments. There are so many challenges along the course and discourse of each and every day. Are we indeed hard wired to be miserable despite all of the incredible offerings around us? Or perhaps are we reading the signposts along the avenue of life incorrectly? Do we as individuals get so wrapped up in goals for stuff and filling our places with stuff and buying stuff and working to make money to get more stuff that we are indeed, stuffed?

I find that an interesting concept as there is a wonderful thought that goes along the lines if we are so full of ourselves, there cannot be room for anything else. That is the ego-dragon that exists within all of us I believe and it is hungry, wants more stuff and is growing. The 3 headed dragon so to speak. And that simply shearing a head off of the dragon is not going to do much in the long term for healing. In fact, the head comes back and he is one peeved off, bitter camper. Burn baby. Someone call in St. Michael the Archangel... stat!

Certainly is it hard to remove the ego from oneself and I am not saying to do that. Shylock and the Merchant of Venice and the "pound of flesh" comes to mind. And to do that without spilling a drop of blood... aint gunna happen.

So how can we move ahead and spiritually as we indeed truly are advance without being full of ourselves? If indeed we do have that overbearing, overarching desire to fill ourselves... perhaps we can look externally.  We I feel can have our cake and eat it to if we look at it with eyes of appreciation and goodwill, relishing the cake one mindful bite at a time. Same way one cannot fill a vase with sand and then expect to put in stones and golf balls, we ARE able to put in the golf balls first, then the pebbles and then the sand. Make a layered parfait out of our lives that is a mosaic of many facets and skills and gifts.

For we do have those gifts and in order to maximize their strength (use it or lose it baby!) we need to practice and continually build that muscle of spirituality. Mindfulness, reflection, gratitude, prayer and giving with altruism I feel are the 5 fingers and thumb that fit this glove that we are. They will produce an end outcome that has been driven by holistic approaches. To be mindful is key that we are one with the moment and not racing off in true illegal street racing form to get to the next stoplight. It is the wide eyed wonderment of the child and looking at things without judgement as if they were new each and every time.

Over the next 5 weeks, I will look at each of these 5 components of a parfait driven life. Mindfulness, Reflection, Gratitude, Prayer and Altruistic giving. Along the way, we will share exercises and break bread and have a wonderful collaborative and giving/ sharing experience! Feel free to email me at rev.joel@live.ca if there are any particular stories or perspectives YOU would like to share over the next 5 months.

Together, we can let us, let me let you be yourself, often.

 

--- Rev. Dr Joel Lamoure    April 2012 

 

11:58 am edt 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The karmic souvenir keychain

Greetings my gentle readers to this weeks installment of the "Be Yourself, Often" blog. A time when we can all curl up against the harsh winds of the moments and deluge and storms and look at the week gone past. A week of mindful meditation and appreciation of the small intricate pieces of life... and with any luck to see how they all fit together.

This week is the third and last section where we will look at avionic safety and how it relates to us. Given that we are exactly in the period of Easter and a time of death and miracles and rebirth, this seemed to fit in perfectly. This week landing the plane at our destination is where we are headed.

The most impressing plane landing was "The Miracle of the Hudson" with Capt. Sullenberg and how he had mentally conceptualized every challenge that may befall him through the course of provision of his duties. What was the worst case scenario? He had mentally planned out and rewired neuronal pathways so that what might happen could be dealt with in a small checklist. Not panic or unknowing... but a solid decision. Those are the emergency landings and mental checklists that we have spoken of for the past 2 weeks.

Now, I understand that for a variety of reasons that all interlock here together that the plane safely lands on the tarmac at the destination planned. What do we do then? Is it what we expected and are we happy? This new world is there for us to learn from. Yet, I see sadly that people have a set of demands and expectations that will render this new opportunity to be shallow. They are and become bitter and angry and unwilling or inflexible to learn or go "in country" so to speak. The dont need to even worry about getting their baggage, as they have all this extra unrecognized non-declared baggage like a monkey on their back and in their brain.

Why is that my gentle readers? Those are the sins of expectation and pride. I can absolutely guarantee that what you expect and plan for will not happen exactly as you planned in this new life and opportunity! Here so there is the free will covenant and choice.... you can do a Donald Duck and jump around squawking or thing that maybe, just maybe there is a power greater than us that restores us to sanity. Yes, I said restore us to sanity. That quiet voice in the wind that if we mindfully meditate at our destination we can often see exactly the doors that are meant for us to see. Even worse, the baggage laded squawkers scare the peace and serenity. Then their trip bites and they get nothing besides a keychain souvenir they can add to their psychic packsack and it is in the shape of a brick (and weighs the same)... ouch.

Such a rich opportunity is afforded to us at our destination... in fact far far greater than any of us can even begin to conceptualize. But it depends on the flight and the attitude we have that drives our altitude and range. 

So if its not exactly what you plan it to be or conceptualized, feel free to squawk and jump and burn energy and buy that extra karmic keychain. I'll be in the cabana and when you are ready...feel free to join so you can be yourself, often.

 

--- Rev. Dr. Joel Lamoure     April 2012 

9:56 am edt 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Nav Path of Life

Greetings my gentle readers to this weeks "Be Yourself, Often" blog. Ahhh that time that we can wonder where our path is and look at the often small changes and deviations from the week before. To sit back in a degree of quiet contemplation and see where out flight is taking us. Has it been a week of balance, smooth sailing and learnings, or one of crisis, psychotic pilots and emergencies?

We learned and discussed last week, which was captured in Tuesdays radio show "Prescribing Spiritual HOPE" from the 27th of March that even before the flight and path evolves, that it is a good thing to address the instruments that we will use when flying. To look at the Pilot Operating Handbook and also to write out systems checklists and contingency plans in advance of the flight. I dont know about any of you, but my ability to do clear and rational thought processes is hampered in a crisis, much list write out a clear plan when in panic mode. So there is references already there for you.

So as we look to preventing pilot and person and equipment failure... we may already know where we wish to go on this journey. That is out Internal Navigation System (INS) and hereafter known and discussed as our Nav system. These are the brains of the plane as they will help guide us to the destination that WE select. This is the first issue and opportunity in spirituality and conceptualization. That being that we have a chance and a choice, plus a conscious opportunity to enter into our mental Nav system where we want to go. What is the end destination that we hope to achieve? There are 2 planes of sight (2 and 3 dimensional) on the visible earth... that is Life and Death. Life is programmed in and Death is a long way on the horizon.  However, depending on the flight, that final destination may only become a way point, whether it be called after-life, Heaven,  reincarnation, samsara, Elysium Fields, Valhalla, Olam Haba or She'ol to name a few. Across mankind and thousands of years there has been that opportunity of discussion.

But for the here and now flight path that we program into the Nav system? Do you want an intercontinental flight and deadhead across the Atlantic or Pacific or even across the great countries of Europe or North or South America?  Most people do seem to want that. Circumnavigate the globe with just a few stops to prevent a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and get it done as soon as possible! The only time otherwise that touch downs happen are in times of emergency (which hopefully you have with due diligence prepared that contingency plan!) Now if we were to look at a life like that, there are a few milestones (births, deaths, jobs) and many turbulent situations and full crisis that occur (financial, health, situational) along the Nav Path of the Life. Any of these will force the plane to land and refocus. The rest of the time though, the headphones are one, watching a movie and lulled to pacification by the good and wonderful food and diversions for which you are being fed. The worst part is because the Nav path is locked in so far in advance, there are so few course corrections, and most only happen in these emergency situations.

Here is a different concept my gentle readers... and that is to consider small steps along the path, charting our way across new adventures and stopping at several places of call and explore and feel and live the culture of the moment and embrace the people there. Not to see them as different, but to assimilate through osmosis some of the learnings and teachings and mayhaps impact some of your own along the way? That we can learn in a gradual way, not unlike placing small stones across the river that allow us to traverse safely and through an embraced and shared learnings. Sure, seems like more work and may very well be. I cant say that I circumnavigated the globe x amount of times by doing it this way, but the life that I can live is potentially richer. That there is less chance of a catastrophic crash and along the way be able on these short Nav trips to learn and see more. Certainly it isnt as fast or fly as high, but I believe and observe that it allows one to actually fly higher and more intensely with the gifts and bounty of life there to be explored. And you know what? Its just fast enough.

Help me help you place the stones to traverse the waterways with the internal gifts and nav systems that we have and have been given. Theres also a sense of wonderment and potential joy to it for along the way you can be yourself, often.

 

  --- Rev. Dr. Joel Lamoure    April 2012 

 

9:59 am edt 


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