Monthly Archives: May 2013

The 52: How Kindness Sends Out Waves of Love

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butterflyblueskyThe 14th Dalai Lama spokes these words:

When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for,

but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.

How simple and easy is this? When The 52 was launched, twenty-two weeks ago, my promise to you was to give varied, yet simple lessons and practices you could follow any day.  The overall goal is to move into a place where we feel lighter and happier, more present and calm.  To soar, like our recurring photo, the blue butterfly, towards the light of inner peace.

Some of our weekly lessons may resonate more fully for you than others.  We humans are so diverse — for one person, calming the body and breath has an immediate result.  For another, repeating an affirmation like “I love myself completely NOW.” will be most effective.  This one, on loving kindness, will guarantee results.  I have already, in the previous lesson this week, offered suggestions you might engage.  Have you tried any or all of them? If you did, you had to feel significant benefit.

This is the best part.  Whether you have made loving kindness a practice or not will never alter the innate core of your being — that you are already a being embraced in the truth of Divine Love.  You may not be aware of it, you may doubt it and scoff at this notion, or you may occasionally feel it, but it does not matter. It is who you are.

So I send this reminder to you.  Be kind and loving to yourself.  Let it spread around you.  It is a gift to yourself and to the world.  What are you waiting for?

I am sending loving kindness to you right now.

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more teachings, go to http://www.deannemincer.com

The 52: Lesson Twenty Two — Through Kindness You Are Lighter and Happier

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butterflyblueskySilent film star Charlie Chaplin was, in his era, a huge presence.  Funny, controversial, outspoken, and a film genius, he made waves wherever he went.  And he said this:

We think too much and feel too little.  More than machinery, we need humanity.

More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.

He had seen nothing in terms of machinery and technology as we do today.  Imagine what he would say today.

LESSON TWENTY TWO

LOVING KINDNESS

Now, perhaps more than at any time in the past, we MUST behave with kindness and gentleness. And this again brings us to using everything we have, all our senses, our minds, our bodies, our thoughts, and especially our loving hearts to acting with kindness under ALL circumstances, most importantly with ourselves.  Kindness grows from within.  It reaches out to others and reflects back on us.  It soothes us to know that we can extend love, forgiveness and kindness inwardly, not relying on others to do it for us.  Kindness can become a habit; a natural way to respond in any event or situation.  It surrounds us with a presence that merges us with the Divine Presence, that knows only Love and Grace.

Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness.  Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.

This is a quote from Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic strip. I think it is very appropriate to consider.  As many have written words about the simplicity of creating “small” acts of kindness, few speak of the ripples.  Of course, even the tiniest act brings benefit to the receiver and the giver, yet it goes beyond.  It moves into the consciousness of all of us, even as we may not have full awareness of this.  Each act, in a profound way, changes the world and the hearts and minds of all of us.

If you think about it, extending loving kindness is so easy. Think about these questions:

  • How hard is it to give a smile to someone you encounter during your day? It might be someone you pass on the street or even your own spouse or children.
  • Is it really so hard to open a door for another person or to motion a car driver waiting to enter a lane to go before you?
  • Is there someone you might call or email, just to say a few kind words?
  • How about greeting those you see on a routine basis, like the checkout person at the store or the doorman in your apartment building or the neighbor walking the dog?
  • If there is someone you know whose life has reached a place where they have few friends — perhaps because they are old, without family, and most of their friends have passed on or someone who has made decisions that led to addiction or have, without any act on their own, been “downsized” in their job — maybe you could reach out to them, with kindness and non-judgment.
  • Or, if all of this seems like too much, do you have a spare moment to send some thoughts of loving kindness to others?  Thoughts!  Just think love and send it forth.  Many of us believe that there is great power in such a small act.
  • Now do the same for yourself — in forgiveness, kindness, love.  Let the healing commence!

I am very enthusiastic about this kind of simple practice.  In fact, I so believe in it, that I promise you that you will feel lighter and happier as soon as you begin.  Give it a try.

I hope it becomes a habit!  Watch yourself soar like the blue butterfly, right into the Light of Love!

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more writings, go to http://www.deannemincer.com.

The 52: The Sense of Touch — Even From Far Away

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butterflyblueskyHave you noticed how you are influenced by the sense of touch?  Were you surprised at both the subtle and more intense responses that are evoked?  If you followed the suggestions in our earlier lesson this week, you reached a new awareness.

I am  keenly aware of the bonding created by touch and sound and sight in my interaction with one of my cats.  Dilly, our handsome tuxedo cat, is now quite elderly and ailing with many illnesses.  Despite his frailty, I know that he responds in a positive way when he sees me, hears my voice, and when I touch him.  In his condition now, this is the most important connection I can offer.  We are both nourished by these acts of love.

It seems that we have reached a time when physical proximity with those we love and care about is often impossible.  At one time, most families and friends remained in the same communities for their whole lives.  Now family members and friends live in other cities, states and even in different countries.  How do we “touch” each other?  One of my friends uses the term “touching in” when she communicates by email.  Under certain circumstances, it may be the best we can do to touch each other.  While it is probably better to speak on the phone or “Skype” one another with visual contact, this is not always possible.

You can still “touch” each other through words and thoughts of kindness, support, concern, and love.  It is better to do this than nothing at all.  Here are some ideas:

  • Send a card or letter to someone you love.  It is almost a novelty now to use “snail mail.”  One of my friends writes long letters on a regular basis.  She is an artist, so she includes drawings and other expressions of her artful way of “touching” others.  We are made happy whenever we see that something has arrived from Linda.
  • Communicate by email or by other means.  Forward a funny photo or an meaningful quote that will bring positive energy to others.
  • For someone you want to “touch” when you are not present, ask someone to be your messenger, maybe a spouse or a caregiver.  Some years ago, when my elderly mother was living with us, we went on a trip that would take us away for some time.  A person who helped us as a caregiver for my mother stayed with her the entire time.  Before we left, I purchased  special cards, each with a handwritten note, to be given to Mom each day.  My husband had a long-standing joke he and my mother shared.  Each day he would secretly give her a piece of saltwater taffy, something she enjoyed.  I say “secretly” because the idea was that I did not know about this; I had a kind of reputation for serving “healthy foods.”  So, while we were gone, our caregiver gave mother a piece of taffy from Richie, her secret taffy agent, everyday.  At least this was a special way of “touching” Mom with a special remembrance to cheer her. Oh, and a hug was to accompany all of this.

Be creative.  And, by the way, don’t forget yourself.  Book a message if you can.  Reach out and touch others whenever possible.  Touching goes two ways. Or maybe even more ways — how about a group hug?

With love and namaste, Deanne

Fro more writings, go to http://www.deannemincer.com.

The 52: Lesson Twenty One — Some Touching Thoughts

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butterflyblueskyWhat does the word, touch, mean to you?

You might say, “Oh, I was so touched by your gift.”  Or “I used to watch the TV show, “Touched by An Angel.”  You could go to a practitioner for a kind of body work called Healing Touch. Or you may make a conscious effort to get in touch withsomeone who is sick and ailing or saddened with grief.  You might pet your cat or dog because that contact, that touch, is soothing and beneficial to both human and animal.

The sense of touch is one of the five senses that includes sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. In earlier lessons we explored the senses of sight and sound.  Now we give particular attention to touch and what it means to us in the world and in the spiritual sense.  In yoga, we study one of the eight limbs of classic yoga called pratyahara, the control of the senses. We learn new ways to be conscious of how the senses impact our lives, how to use them to enhance our everyday life, and, ultimately, if we wish, we learn to detach from them as much as possible.

LESSON TWENTY ONE

THE SENSE OF TOUCH

The skin is the largest sensory organ of the body.  It is our outer “coating” and provides us with valuable information.  It protects us by sensing pain so we don’t burn ourselves on a hot stove.  It registers the comfort of warmth when the sun soothes our bodies on a cool day.  It tells us that we need to put on a coat when we walk outside and feel a chill as a cold wind strikes our bodies.  It acts as a source of pleasure when we are touched by certain people in certain ways.

Research has shown that people need to be touched in order to thrive and be happy.  Years ago a study revealed that children in an orphanage did not thrive and grow if they were not held and touched.  Indeed, some even withered from the lack of touch.  Perhaps, even as we age, we are prone to a kind of emotional “withering” if we aren’t touched in some way by those around us.  Notice that we may shake hands on meeting someone new or hug and give a kiss on the cheek or an “air” kiss.  A high-five is a form of touch as is a pat on the back or an athlete awarding another team member with a body bump.

But what does all of this have to do with a spiritual life and becoming lighter and happier?  We can learn to use the sense of touch to improve and enhance our lives.  Here are some ideas:

  • Think about the clothes you wear and how the fabrics feel against your skin.  Do you wear wool sweaters even if they make you itchy? Do you choose stiff fabrics or structured clothing that is not comfortable to wear?  Do you wear skin tight jeans, even if your body is “stuffed” into them, just because they make a fashion statement?  Think about what you put on your body.  It is your decision. Why not be as comfortable as possible.  Why not?
  • Do you take into account the temperature around you so that you do your best to feel comfortable wherever you are?  So you prepare and dress in such a way, taking into account the weather, the temperatures and your activities?
  • Aside from comfort, what feels really good next to your skin?  A fluffy, soft, fleecy thing?  A cashmere sweater? A cozy bath robe?  A silky shirt?  Soft cotton shorts and tops?  Whenever you can, indulge this sense of touch.
  • Do you regularly reach out and actually touch those people you love. Do they touch you?  It is not too late to start if you feel you are lacking in this area.
  • Could you make it a habit to extend your love to others by touching them in meaningful ways, holding a hand or touching an arm, hugging and embracing?  I often think of people who may rarely be touched, such as the elderly or infirm or those with disabilities.  It takes so little effort to reach out in kindness.
  • Become a connoisseur of what pleases your sense of touch, not to be attached to it but to bring pleasure.

I will be very touched if you take this lesson to heart.  See how much lighter and happier you will feel with observing yourself and the sense of touch.  The more conscious you become about the senses, the more your world will change.

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more, go to http://www.deannemincer.com

The 52: Are You Lighter and Happier Remembering to Love?

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butterflyblueskyHas the “river of love” been washing over you all this week?  If you feel that it has, it just means that you actually have become conscious of it.  Love was always there, residing within you and flowing all around you.  Isn’t it odd, and even sad, that we don’t notice it a lot of the time?

We have this challenge, you see.  Instead of relying on the wisdom we have right there inside of us, the kind of wisdom that knows for sure, that we are eternal, divine and loving at the core of our being, we turn outside ourselves and take for truth the misinformation that comes in from the world.  We actually believe that we are small, unworthy, and filled with many negative attributes we learn from some of those around us and from our past histories.  Then we replay them ad nauseam.  This is not an over statement.  We actually can make ourselves sick and miserable by believing all those messages. We are traumatized by them, even though we have a choice in the matter.

Flat out, DON’T BELIEVE THOSE FALSE NOTIONS!  You are the essence of love.  But don’t take my word for it.  Why should you?  Far greater minds than mine have said the same thing.  Over and over again.  Look at all the great spiritual writings. There it is.  And yet, we choose to be unhappy.  We place our trust in ego messages that we think justify our already paltry view of ourselves.  I have spent a lot of time believing those old songs.

So go back and look at the lesson earlier this week.  Let the love flow over you and around you.  Just for a few seconds, if that is all you can muster. Feel loved and cared for. There!  Doesn’t that feel better?  Even if a few seconds.  And YOU did it!  It does not have to come from another person. You can experience it for yourself.

Now, if you want to go back to doubting and feeling bad again, that is the freedom you have.

BUT YOU CAN CHOOSE LOVE, EVERY SECOND OF YOUR LIFE!  ( I hope I am not being TOO pushy.)

Believe in love.  Why wouldn’t you?  Give me one good reason not to.

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more thoughts, go to http://www.deannemincer.com

The 52: Lesson Twenty — Love is Like a River

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butterflyblueskyLove is like a river.  Continuously flowing and leading into the welcoming ocean of love.  This metaphor is often used, in lyrics, in poetry and in spiritual writings to describe the never-ending, always flowing, and continuous love that is there to embrace each and everyone of us.

Many rivers flow into the same ocean, just as many souls (seemingly separate) reach the ocean, only to see that they are all the same, glistening brightly together.  They are the embodiment of love — from start to finish and then into eternity.

YOU flow on that river of life.  YOU reach the ocean. YOU do not need to wait to reach the ocean to know this Truth.  You can be conscious, awake and in full realization that you are now just as you always have been.  YOU are LOVE.

LESSON TWENTY

LOVE IS LIKE A RIVER

There is a gospel group we have come to enjoy over the years. My husband and I have listened to so many of their songs, we can repeat the lyrics from memory.   The music of the Gaither Vocal Band is exuberant, uplifting, and healing.  When the music starts, in seconds our toes are tapping, our hands are clapping , and our spirit is soaring, even at times when we are confronting issues like grief, loss or sadness.

Love is like a river, running and a rolling

Rolling from the lazy stream, drumming through the mountains,

Moving through the valley. over everything in between,

Rushing and a flooding, til all of a sudden it’s washing all over me.

Love is like a river, running and a rolling,

Rolling to the deep blue sea.

With due respect to the GaitherVocal Band, I hope I have gotten these lyrics right.  But, nonetheless, they express the mighty force of love, ever flowing.  If it hasn’t already, it will be washing all over you sooner or later.  Be ready to joyfully bathe in the experience.  You will be carried on the current, buoyed by the ecstatic nature of endless and unconditional love.  The best part of all is this:  When it finally hits you that you have always been both the recipient as well as the source of this love, your heart will sing!

Unfortunately, many of us spend more time listing the reasons we are not loveable, not worthy, not good enough.  Instead, do this:

  • Right now, make a little list, in your mind or on paper, of some of the loving qualities you have.  They can be big or small.  Maybe you showed kindness and love to someone lately, or opened the door for someone to pass through, or volunteered your time for a cause, or simply smiled at someone who looked like they needed it.
  • Think of specific times in your life when you have felt love in your heart – for another person, an animal, a plant in your garden, a small child you pass on the street.
  • Think of how you felt when love was extended to you
  • See yourself as a fountain of love that can flow from you, then send it forth.  In your mind, see that love entering into another human heart.

You see, YOU yourself are the river of love, if you put your attention on it.  BE that river and let it flow.  Imagine how many hearts will be opening when they see that love coming.  Don’t hold back.  It is an endless stream.  Let it wash over everything in its path.

My heart is sending love to you right now.  Are you getting it?

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more, go to http://www.deannemincer.com

The 52: How About Embracing Non-Violence?

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butterflyblueskyMahatma Gandhi is one of the persons most associated with practicing  nonviolence.  Against enormous odds, he led his Indian nation towards self determination.  He wrote:

We may never be strong enough to be entirely nonviolent in thought, word, and deed.

                                     But we must keep nonviolence as our goal and make strong progress towards it.

Yes, the Yoga Sutras ask us to follow the course of nonviolence in thought, word, and deed.  It is a tall order and one we must observe vigilantly.  Before my morning meditations, I made a habit of “running through” all of the ethical practices recommended in yoga.  Ahimsa was my first stop.  It was a big stop for me; too often I found myself noticing my lack of success.  It has taken years to be softer and kinder in my behavior, towards others and myself, to feel that I have made some progress.  But, in a flash of hurt or anger or seeing injustice, I can dive back into this most clever trick of the ego.  Luckily being nonviolent means showing forgiveness as well.

Several readers of my last post on this subject have wondered at the idea that the world could be changed by nonviolence and if this is just a vacuous thought — one impossible to imagine.  I am surely not original in this hope, but I am also objective.  There is a certain innocence — maybe even a childlike dream — in wishing for this.  Many spiritual beliefs speak of that child’s hopeful mind and what it conjures.  Of course, the child is still innocent, then something changes .  The duality of Self and ego emerges, “maturity” begins, and we “give up childish things.”  More is the pity in this.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi

It is, after all, our projection of the world that we experience.  It is the dream of maya, illusion.  We can dream nonviolence and see what happens.

It’s up to you!

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more, go to http://www.deannemincer.com