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Let’s talk about richness

There’s so much to be savored in the richness

In this new moon’s edition of Soul Notes, let’s talk about richness.  I’m not talking about financial riches. I’m not talking about material wealth.

I’m talking about a richness of life and living.  I’m talking about a depth of flavors and sensory pleasures, not unlike a savory pot of wildly aromatic boeuf bourguignon simmering on the stove on a cool autumn evening. Or, the richness of sipping ever so slowly from a cup of hot cocoa.

No, this hasn’t turned into a culinary blog.  Don’t worry –This is still Soul Notes. : )

For purposes of this article, though, again, I’m referring to a richness of being.  Living a rich life is akin to an acquired taste — something that you build up to, and appreciate, like dry red wine and strong black coffee.

Is there ‘such a thing’ as ‘too much of a good thing’?

“Oh, but, there’s always the risk of there being TOO much richness,” you may be exclaiming.  Maybe that’s true when it comes to food and beverages.  It’s not so true, though, when it comes to living a full and enriching life. A well-lived life means having a depth of experiences. It’s not best lived at the surface level.  A shallowly lived life is as bland as a soup without salt or pepper.

For your consideration:

I invite you to set aside a few moments to get quiet and listen for insights on where you’d like to bring in more richness, more fullness of flavor, into your life.

Take a stand. Claim it.

Finish this sentence for yourself:  “I’m choosing to call in more richness in my….”

Then, consider:

What would enhance your day-to-day experiences in that area?  What would it mean to you if you were to add more layers of depth to those experiences?  What one inspired action can you take, starting today, to bring more richness into that area of your life?

For me, I’m welcoming in more richness in my relationships, both in business and personally.  The one action I’m taking in that direction is by publicly proclaiming it here on this blog, with you!

Okay, your turn

What area of your life, would you say, holds the most richness for you right now?  In what ways has that served you, and those with whom you have been interacting?  How would you define a richly lived life?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2018 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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Protection from untoward forces affords access to the deeper wisdom: aad guray nameh

The power of sound and word

Mantra is a form of sound current meditation, and as such serves to clear the mind, and balance the brain hemispheres.  For millennia, yogis have chanted mantras for a variety of purposes.  All of them provide an effective way of controlling and directing the mind’s thoughts and a beneficial set of focus points.

One of the most powerful mantras in kundalini yoga (and one that is often chanted right after an initial tuning in with a chanting of ong namo), is the aad guray nameh mantra.

The mantra of protection

Aad guray nameh (I bow to the primal wisdom) is known as the “mantra of protection.”

By chanting this mantra, you bring about a field of white light of protection surrounding you. It also stimulates your mind and sharpens your alertness to avoid crashes, collisions, and other physical mishaps.  It has been said that by chanting this mantra three times before embarking on a mode of transportation, it brings nine seconds of time, and nine feet of protection around you and your vehicle.

Gurmukhi:

Aad Guray Nameh
Jugaad Guray Nameh
Sat Guray Nameh
Siri Gurdayvay Nameh

Translation:

I bow to the primal wisdom

I bow to the wisdom that has existed throughout the ages.
I bow to the true wisdom.
I bow to the great, divine wisdom

What do we mean by protection?  It’s energetic in nature, and can have direct positive effects in the material world.  Some think of a protective field as a “shield.”  I like to think of it more as a screen rather than a shield.  While a full-on shield tends to be hard and impenetrable, a screen has permeability.  By design, a screen lets in some things, while keeping out other things.  Envision a screen on a door or a window, or a screened-in porch. These house screens allow in light, while at the same time keep the bugs out. They are a filter.

By design, we too, have the ability to invoke a screen that protects us from what may harm us, while allowing in what helps us.  We may exercise our right to choose at any time.  We may open the door, or close the door, as well as put up or remove a screen, at any time.  Mantra simply helps us get centered and into a place of focus and access to our deeper wisdom and to a place of precise decision-making.

Affords access to the deeper wisdom

In the specific case of aad guray nameh, we are ensuring the screen of white light is in place. Once protected, we are able to feel into and hear the deeper messages we are meant to hear.

May we each draw from the divine wisdom held deeply within each of us, so that we may bring our best selves and our greatest gifts out into the world, from a place of higher consciousness and with humility and grace.  And, may it be in service to our planet and to all of humanity.  The times such as these require it.  The time is now.

For your consideration:

Before engaging in any meditation (and again, mantra itself is a form of meditation) – decide for yourself:  what type of ‘screen’ am I invoking and putting on the door to my heart, mind and soul?  Is it one of protection?  If so, then honor and appreciate that, and act upon it accordingly. It’s a matter of intention, and awareness.

And, as we turn the corner and head toward the September equinox in the next two weeks, it’s an ideal time to “check your screens.”  Just as you would with home maintenance and repairs – take a look at your energetic screens and see which if any need adjusting.  Equinox is the time, twice each year, when the hours of light and dark are nearly equal, and it’s a time of balance.

As you take a look at your life and your current state of affairs, ask yourself:  What’s in balance?  What’s out of balance?  Are your protective screens strong and steadfast?  Or, are they flimsy and weak, tattered, or threadbare?  What’s getting into your energetic field that you’d rather keep out?  Conversely, what’s currently missing from your energetic field that you’d consciously like to invite in?

For me, I’m inviting in more love and support, while screening out distractions and feelings of heaviness and doubt.

Okay, your turn

What in your life right now is calling for your attention and intention?  What is it that would most benefit from a white light of protection?

I invite you to SHARE your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2018 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

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The power of remaining calm

Calm among the chaos

As details continue to surface surrounding the rescue of the 12 young soccer players and their coach from miles deep within a set of interlocking waterways flowing between the jagged rocks of sea caves, we are learning that among other amazing aspects of this story, meditation likely played a key role in their more-than-a-fortnight’s survival under what were extremely perilous and life-threatening conditions.

This group having found themselves trapped miles away from their original entrance into the caves, it would be more than a week before anyone would locate them and provide food.  And it would be another several days before the first of three sets of rescues could be made, eventually bringing all the boys and their coach to safety — out from the deep darkness and into the light above.

The cave divers and the meditating monk

The flood waters and threat of the impending monsoon season had kept them held captive as a group, huddled atop a small ledge above the water line, with little air and little food or other basic life-sustaining necessities.  What they did have, was their Buddhist monk-trained coach who, it has been reported, led them through an ongoing practice of meditation. Meditation helped to calm their nervous systems and likely served to focus them on the possibilities of sustaining life rather than on the dread of extreme suffering or even possible death.  It allowed them to reserve and extend their precious, seemingly limited resources.

They had each other.  They had meditation.  And they had an unending access to a depth of another kind – that of spiritual sustenance.

None of this is to say, of course, that without the unparalleled coordination and carefully orchestrated efforts of the expert cave divers and other rescue volunteers and medical personnel, this group would have made it out safely.  All the individuals involved with their rescue (including one former Thai navy Seal who lost his life) are due a profound debt of gratitude, respect, and honor.  It’s beautiful to see all this humanity working together.  It is also, however, to acknowledge that more than physics, technology, and biology were at work here.  As the monk’s training and meditation exemplify, it was heart, mind and soul over matter. And it all mattered.

Hearing their story reminded me of the quotation from Viktor Frankl in his book Man’s Search for Meaning. In describing the importance of maintaining a strong inner strength while being held captive in the concentration camps during World War II, he said that in spite of the severe, primitive conditions, those who survived the best were the ones who “were able to retreat from their terrible surroundings to a life of inner riches and spiritual freedom.” (Page 36, emphasis added).

Thankful for inner calm

One time while swimming in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California as a teenager, I found myself facing a near-death experience.  Thankfully, the experience was quick and I emerged without any dire consequences. But, after swimming out in the ocean away from the beach, I was suddenly wrapped up in a set of cross-currents, and was being pummeled around under water pretty forcefully.  I recall thinking that eventually I was going to run out of air, and saying to myself:  “If it’s my time to die, this may be it.”

I thank in part my ability to remain calm and clear-headed.  Instinctively, I (or my body, rather?) knew to preserve my breath and my strength while submerged in open water. I was fairly confident in that moment, that I could probably make it back to shore, if I could only determine which way was “up.” I released any resistance to the oncoming series of waves, and surrendered as eventually a big curling wave scooped me up and carried me up to the surface. If I had allowed myself to panic, at best I risked flailing around wasting precious breath; and at worst, I risked swimming in the completely wrong direction, going deeper and away from the surface rather than popping back up to the top and catching a fresh breath of air.

My experience, although potentially dangerous, was nonetheless brief. The extended period of time that the young soccer players and their coach faced deep within that set of sea caves, however, and their ability to remain that calm for that long, is nothing less than awe inspiring.  It will be so illuminating to learn more about them as they fully recover in the days and weeks to come.

For your consideration:

If and when our conditions are suddenly such that we are stripped down to the barest of elements and a matter of basic survival, priorities become abundantly apparent.  Choices to be made are brought into sharp focus.  In those moments, it helps, I would say, to have a deeply contemplative practice already in place.

Okay, your turn:

When have you found yourself in a turbulent situation, and one where maintaining a sense of calm ended up serving you well?  Has there been any other time you didn’t remain calm and wish that you had?

I invite you to SHARE your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2018 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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The wisdom of the sages

There’s sage and then there’s sage !

Sage, as we know, is a type of herb. The sage plant has been used by a number of cultures for thousands of years.  It has been used in Chinese medicine.  It has been used by Native Americans in various ceremonies and for medicinal purposes. Some have even suggested that it leads to immortality!

In China, sage tea has been called the “thinker’s tea.” Along with its anti-inflammatory properties, it has been known to help improve memory and overall brain function.  Perhaps that is why the word “sage” also is used to describe a person who is wise.  It can also be used as an adjective (as in “sage advice”).

The title of this article is a deliberate play on words.  Sages and ages. They both connote a harkening back to ancient times as well as serve as a current example of ancient traditions put to good use in the so-called modern age.  Has there been a resurgence, or have these practices been put to good use all along?  Are we perhaps simply more aware of them now, due to the internet, globalization, and social media?

Sage has even become a somewhat trendy baby name, at least in the United States.  I wonder if it’s part of the ‘Apple’ craze?  (Referring to the celebrity’s baby’s name, not the computer company.)

We all remember being asked the question when we were young: What do you want to be when you grow up?  Me:  a philosopher.  I didn’t hear anyone around me saying that they wanted to be that.  It wasn’t exactly listed anywhere as a possible career track.  That didn’t matter to me.  If it was needed, and served a purpose, why couldn’t it be an occupation?

I wasn’t even exactly sure what all a job as a philosopher would entail. I knew in my heart, though, that it was a role that would be important and one that would be of service to others.  In my imagination, philosophers were the wisest people in their communities.  And, as such, they had a responsibility to answer seekers’ questions and provide helpful suggestions, recommendations, and solutions.

Sometimes we picture “wise ones” sitting on a mountain top, or living in caves in the Himalayas.  In my mind’s eye, I pictured them more along the lines of a wise man or wise woman in Ancient Greece sitting quietly in a town square, as the local villagers would stop by whenever they were seeking an answer to an inquiry or when wrestling with a concern that was weighing heavily on their soul, or when struggling with a conflict they couldn’t quite resolve.

I pictured philosophers dispensing wisdom not unlike a modern day pharmacist dispensing medicine.  And, I did truly envision “philosopher” as an actual vocation, and a paid position, for sure.  I even had a specific annual salary in mind.  I thought that a philosopher should make $300,000 a year.  Here was my reasoning:  At the time, the President of the United States’ annual salary was set at $200,000. Knowing that, accordingly, I figured that philosophers should be paid at least 50% more than the President, as they would be at least that much more wise and valuable to the country and citizenry!  Apparently, I really had put a lot of thought into this (grin).

While Philosopher or Sage may not be a job title, certainly there are modern day professions where others seek their guidance and advice.   Lawyers fall into that category (hence, the term “counselor at law”).  As with some other professions, within law, there are rules of professional responsibility.  It is part of the licensing process, and continuing legal education requirements as well.  And, as covered in this week’s Six-Minute Saturdays episode, many lawyers including myself were drawn to the law as a career because of a deep desire to be of service.

Admittedly, not all legal advice is the sagest or the wisest. I would suggest, though, that the profession is at least designed to serve that purpose, and with that intention.  And, ultimately, the client retains control over whether to heed that advice, ignore it, or even to seek additional opinions.

For your consideration:

So, with that in mind then, allow me to pose this question: Upon whom, ultimately, do we need to rely, for the sagest advice of all?

Are we not, each of us, deep down, our own best philosopher?  We simply need to access that inner wise sage.  That’s why meditation is important.  That’s why getting quiet and still is wise. By listening to our own inner guidance and messages, we each hold the power and divinity to reach the most appropriate conclusions and answers for ourselves.  And, that is valuable beyond compare.

Okay, your turn:

What’s been the sagest advice that you’ve ever received?  What’s the sagest advice that you’ve ever given? What’s the best advice that your inner-sage has revealed to you?  What made it so?  Did you act on it?

I invite you to SHARE your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2018 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Reclaiming our Six Minutes: Infusing Time with Moments of Joy and Sessions of Solace

Six-Minute Increments: Redefined

Recently, I was doing a little spring cleaning and decided to dive into a filing cabinet that I hadn’t opened in years. One of the first several file folders I pulled out contained a copy of one of my daily time sheets from my first year as an associate at a 100-person law firm in Los Angeles. Also in that file folder was a print-out of the year-end time tally sheet from my full first year at that firm. In defense practice (aka, “big law”), as is typical, my time was measured in terms of one-tenths of an hour — you know, those seemingly endless strings of six-minute increments. There they were – every billable and non-billable time segment all tracked and tallied.

In big law, no matter how many hours one puts in during a given day or evening (and there are often many), it is back to tabula rasa the next morning. Without or even sometimes with a strong center, that tends to do a number on your psyche and your overall sense of well-being. It can take a noticeable toll on your physical health as well.

Reclaiming Our Time

So, what to do about it? While I realize it’s naïve to think that billable hours will suddenly disappear altogether as a common metric, it is definitely within each attorney’s control to “reclaim their time” (to borrow a now-gone-viral phrase used by Rep. Waters during a congressional hearing last year) in ways that are more sustaining and rejuvenating, and from a place of strength and empowerment.
Now I can hear you asking: “But if I’m already packing in so many hours on cases, building a book of business, and attending continuing legal education seminars, how could I possibly squeeze in any other time for myself or any other more life-sustaining activities?” To that, I say, consider this: a lot can be experienced in six minutes or less. Ask any downhill skier or 1,500 meter runner (or person looking to catch the last remaining flight)!

You’re already capably putting in time well spent on behalf of the best interests of your firm and your clients, so why not do so for yourself? Without getting into the metaphysics of how to bend time (although that is definitely a fun topic to discuss with a friend or colleague over a glass of your favorite beverage) – let’s explore creative ways to “take back time,” and make it yours, at least once in a while.

Alternative Ways to Use Time

You can weave a number of short activities into your work day, throughout the week, or on the weekends. Here is a list to keep handy, of some examples to try, that are easy to do up to six minutes at a time:

  • Deep breathing in and out, slowly and deliberately
  • Looking out a window and focusing on an object in the distance such as a tree or the horizon
  • Standing quietly in a comfortable yet grounding and centering yoga position (such as mountain pose or archer pose)
  • Tapping your feet or dancing to an upbeat song (such as “One Love” or “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley, or “Say Hey” by Michael Franti & Spearhead – heck these songs are only 3-minutes each, so in six minutes you can listen to any of them twice!)

These won’t transform your world or your law practice in an instant.  They will, however, likely shake you loose from any overthinking, fuzzy thinking, frazzled nerves, or just plain fatigue and burn-out…if even but for a little while.

What’s to be gained

The benefits to be gleaned from these brief and empowering uses of time are many, and include:

  • Giving your mind a rest
  • Giving your body an opportunity to move and change positions
  • Allowing your breath to slow down and become more even, and less erratic
  • Granting yourself the gift of returning to your law practice more refreshed and less strained
  • Seeing your case strategies from a fresh angle or perspective
  • Gaining clarity around a perceived roadblock in a particular case or cases
  • Ultimately effectuating more creative, surprising strategies and potential outcomes for your clients

A Respite from the Frenzy: Six-Minute Saturdays

To help get you started, I’m creating a series of short videos that I’m calling “Six-Minute Saturdays” (SMS).  Feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel to be among the first to receive notifications of these videos as they are released on…yes, you guessed it: Saturdays.  You can view them of course whenever it’s convenient for you.  (I figure this way, you’ll be encouraged to devote at least one six-minute time segment a week completely,100%, to you!) The kick-off video for SMS is available for viewing now: To watch it, go here.

For your consideration:

What will you do for six minutes that are “all your own,” devoted solely (and soulfully) to your own well-being, starting today?  Pick one from the list above, or come up with one of your own, and let me know how it goes!  As the saying goes, there’s no time like the present.

Okay, your turn:

When you find yourself feeling stressed and unable to focus, what do you tend to do?  What’s your default ‘coping’ mechanism?  Does that help…in the short run or the long run? If that hasn’t been working well for you, what would you like to choose to do, instead, if even for a brief six minutes?

I invite you to SHARE your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2018 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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There are messages in the water

What about the water?

Varying to some degree only by age and gender, our human bodies are approximately 70 percent water. Water is the primary building block of human cells. And, water covers nearly 71 percent of the Earth’s surface.  It’s vitally important to our existence, as individuals and as a species. And yet, or perhaps precisely because of its prevalence in our world, we tend to take it for granted.  You’d think it would be difficult for us to ignore, but somehow we do?

What if we pay more close attention to the water?  What can we learn from the water?  And, what can the water learn from us?  What impact, if any, do we have on each other?  Is it unidirectional or bidirectional?   In this edition of Soul Notes, let’s dig a little deeper, and dive beneath the surface, if you will!

The truth is in the water

“There are messages in the water.”

During a quiet, self-reflective meditation session not too long ago, I distinctly heard these words:  “There are messages in the water.”  I didn’t know what that meant.  What I did know, however, is that I would be looking to the water, in all its many forms, for clues.

And, as I sat down to outline this blog post, I was reminded of the set of water crystal experiments conducted by Dr. Masaru Emoto.  I decided to look up his written works, and smiled as I discovered that one of his volumes is entitled, “The Hidden Messages in Water.”  Not one to overlook a good cosmic coincidence, I quickly ordered a copy of the book and devoured it before sitting back down to finish writing this article.  The book is replete with high-speed photographic images of frozen water crystals, observed and amplified under a variety of conditions.

The Emoto experiments

By putting bottles of water on a table, and then freezing them while exposing them to a number of pre-set conditions, and then taking high-speed photographs of the resulting crystal formations, Dr. Emoto was able to test for certain variables such as: exposure to chlorine in the water (common in some communities’ tap water); exposure to music, including Beethoven and Mozart’s symphonies; and exposure to written words such as “Thank you” compared to “Fool”.   Each resulted in specific shapes and formations, some beautifully complete, and others blurred, ill-shapened, or even completely fragmented.

From these experiments, Dr. Emoto concluded that our thoughts can influence water and that words have spirit. Water definitely responds!  We can impact the very structure of water – to our betterment and to our detriment.  That goes for each of us, and for the planet as a whole.

So, what does that mean, if and when we hear the universe whispering to us that “there are messages in the water?” What if the opposite is also true?  Can the water influence our thoughts?  Can the water affect our mind, body, and soul?  What about its potential to impact our joie de vivre, our very experience of life?  Or, how about its effect on our next course of action?  Maybe it’s not only what we say, but what we hear? I would suggest that both propositions are possible.  It’s a magical, mystical dance in which we, with consciousness, shall benefit from being willing participants.

(For a refresher on the importance of listening, click here for the previous edition of Soul Notes, entitled, Trust what you hear when you listen. In the Jap Ji, the 8th stanza translates in part as: “All my pain departs listening to my heart.”  Your heart in the physical sense also benefits from water, as it is a major component of what flows through the blood in your veins and arteries.  Blood is 92 percent water by weight.  Water is our life blood.)

“I have no doubt that water crystals will become a common focal point for people all over the world who are trying to make sense of chaos.” 

— Dr. Masaru Emoto

The truth is in the water.  It is such a fundamental element of our existence, how can there not be wisdom in it? I say we pay attention to it.  Why?  Because as Dr. Emoto posits:  It, like many aspects of the natural world, is a way for us to make sense of the chaos in our human existence.

The self-organizing nature of nature

In its natural form, water when frozen forms into hexagonal (six-sided) shaped ice crystals.  The details within the outlying formation do vary (you may have heard the expression “no two snowflakes are exactly alike”) – but what remains constant in nature is the self-organizing pattern of six-sided frozen water crystals.  There’s lots to explore with regard to sacred geometry (beyond the scope of this blog post), many aspects of which have been observed and studied over the past many centuries. It’s not merely a coincidence that many parts of nature, left to their own (divine?) devices, fall into recurring patterns.   It’s the intervention of humankind that threatens to, and often does, however, disturb these naturally occurring patterns – as the Emoto experiments demonstrate.

So, the invitation is to observe the water, and to listen for its messages, as well as reflect on ways we can enhance the experience of those around us – by the ways we interact with one another.  As everyone is comprised mostly of water, think of the impact we have on each other, physically and spiritually?

What have I heard?  I’m still listening.  And, listening.  I listen in my morning and evening practices.  I listen in the ocean.  I listen in the shower.  I listen in the bath.  I listen in the rain.  I listen in the garden. One thing I heard clearly was this:  “Make water the next topic to be explored in Soul Notes.”  And, so it is.  Welcome to the conversation!

For your consideration:

We tend to bless our food.  How about we remember to bless our water, too?  We each have that choice, and we have good reasons for making that choice.

Okay, your turn:

What lessons are there for you in the water?  Is it time to start paying attention?  Is it time to start paying more attention?  To what end?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2017 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Trust what you hear when you listen

“Trust what you hear when you listen.”

— This is a line repeated in the Japji (Song of the Soul), as translated from the original Sanskrit.

What does it mean to truly listen? And, to trust what you hear? In this new moon’s edition of Soul Notes, we dig into this spiritual concept and practice.

Truly Listening

Truly listening — to the sounds of your soul, and to the souls of others – is what allows trust to develop.  It cuts through the egoic, often times camouflaged or staged fronts that come from the mind.  It’s a matter instead of tuning into the heart.

“Trust what you hear when you listen.” – Japji

Trusting what you hear when you listen means listening for and trusting your intuition:  Your inner truth will sound beautiful, satisfying, and fulfilling – you know, “the nodding your head, ‘uh-huh’ ” kind of truth.  It will ring true – it will be harmonic and resonant.  With practice, you’ll notice and KNOW the difference.

When you’re truly listening, your truth will be recognizable by its purity. It will sound and feel loving and expansive.  In contrast, your inner untruth will sound false, faulty, and anything but resonant.  You’ll feel yourself contracting or worse yet fleeing from your peaceful, respite place.  It will seem as if someone suddenly changed the serenity channel to something that grates on your nerves, throws you off-balance, and disrupts your inner harmony.  That, dear one, is the critical mind calling – don’t pick up that call!  Let it go to your spiritual trash bin to be discarded and composted away.  There’s no space for it in your inner sacred harmonic energy field.  Say to it, “No Thank You — There’s no room for you at THIS inn”!

Or, it may not sound critical per se – yet, it may nonetheless still sound or feel “off,” meaning that it’s not the sound of your own voice calling, but that of someone else.  What you’re hearing may be their truth, but not what’s true for YOU.  This takes discernment.  With practice also comes discernment.

As with most things worth your devotion and attention, trusting what you hear when you listen takes consistent, ongoing practice.  Fine tuning your listening skills and hearing what your intuition has to say — to reveal, and to divulge to you from your innermost being – that wisest part of you —  gets stronger and stronger over time and with frequent repetition.  Accordingly, leaving it alone too long between sessions, without engagement, results in it becoming out of tune just like a piano, guitar or violin. So, keep at it!  It’s worth it.

The benefits and ways to get started:

To be able to trust fully in what you hear when you listen, it helps to get quiet, still, and free from distractions if at all possible.  Dedicating even a few minutes a day to this practice will engender worthy results.  Bring your full presence to the moment at hand.  Engage your mind, body (your heart) and soul.  Tune into the silence, and be open to hear what comes through the quiet solitude.  Treat this as your own soul session, your own meditation, just for you! Listen for the voice of the DIVINE WITHIN yourself!

Allow words, images, symbols, or even just a ‘hunch’ or a ‘gut feeling’ to come through.  Some messages will gain further meaning afterwards, maybe even hours or days later.  What’s important is setting the scene so that you truly hear the messages.  You can decipher them over time.  There’s no rush, only devotion, dedication, to spirit, and the messages and meanings that are intended for you.

Feel free to journal what comes through – or draw, or compose a poem or sing a song…whatever feels best for you to express what you heard.

Listening this way is what truly allows divine messages to come through.  Deep understanding results.  Then, you can take action from THAT place, and not from a place of disruptive self-flagellation, and nasty untruths.  Inspired action feels enlivening, and uplifting, and not disheartening.  Heart engaged?  Check!  All soul systems go!  Use THAT as your energetic and spiritual launching pad.  That is: Divine Lift-Off.

Your soul and the divine are available to you “24-7” – you just need to connect via the proverbial wi-fi.  It’s one of the special, beautiful technologies uniquely available to us as human, spiritual beings.  It’s already encoded within you.  Embrace it.  Enjoy it.  Welcome it in all its glory.

Given any situation you may be contemplating, or for which you seek clarity: Surrender yourself to the experience.  And, be prepared to and do, take inspired action based on your new, finely tuned, receptivity. As from a stone skipping across a pond, circles of understanding will continue to ripple outward from within.

For your consideration:

I leave with you these words, from the Japji:

 “Trust what you hear

When you listen,

And bring all your loved ones

Along.

Trust what you hear

When you listen,

You will swim across

All difficulties

And your very presence

Will carry others

Across as well.”

Okay, your turn:

In what ways have you been tuning in and listening for your own truth?  What do you notice when you get still, quiet, and really listen?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Seed from the seat of creation!

As we welcome in the increasing light at this time of year, and upon embarking on the lunar new year — on this February new moon, I invite you to consider: What seeds are you planting? — in your life, in your life’s work, in your relationships, in your surroundings?

With this edition of Soul Notes, we take a sojourn to the lessons of nature. Many cultures historically have lived in step with the natural seasons, and have survived by way of carefully planting, nurturing and cultivating the sustenance provided by mother earth. Let’s take a closer look at how this applies to our day to day world right now:

The seed (and seat!) of Creation

It all sprouts from a seed that’s planted: In nature’s acts of creation, as in ours. Everything stems from that! (There’s no coincidence here, that flowers have stems.)

To germinate, all seeds need oxygen, moisture, and a certain temperature. Until these conditions are met, the seed remains stagnant, dormant, lifeless. With the right conditions, the plant inside a seed starts to grow. As it gets bigger, it pushes open and through the seed coat. (Envision a chick hatching from an egg.) Leaves start to appear and push out from the soil.

Seeding puts into motion a series of events, consequences and possibilities. You are in charge of what you seed in your own life – through your own mind, body and soul.

So, the question to consider is this: Metaphorically, what are you seeding these days? Correspondingly, how much care are and will you be taking with what you are planting?

Reaping What You Sow: The importance of Nourishing, Nurturing and Cultivating

Mind, Body and Soul

It matters what we “feed” our plants. And, of course, it matters what we feed ourselves, our mind, body and soul.

This week I’m completing a 40-day practice of chanting each morning the 38-stanza poem or prayer known as Jap Ji. Jap (“repeat”) Ji (“soul”) dates back to the 1500s, and has been nicknamed the Song of the Soul. Reciting the Jap Ji (or Japji) is believed to awaken one’s soul to its destiny.

As a seed grows in soil, sprouting from the inside through and out its original coating, so too does our consciousness and our soul. One of the many lessons to be gleaned from Japji is this: With each challenge in life, our evolving up and through it, and out the other side, brings with it a new level of challenge AND possibility. With each challenge comes the opportunity to grow our trust, faith, and ability to learn from a new level of wisdom and understanding. As we expand, it is the “pressing against” the new coating, the new shell, which fosters yet again even further growth.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” — Anaïs Nin

For the seedling, the energy required to “bust through” the original coating is much greater than at later stages. The initial growth spurts are fast and furious! Ever wonder why puppies are perpetually nodding off in their dinner bowls? As with seedlings, it takes a LOT of energy for puppies to grow so much and so fast! The energy expelled and the corresponding growth is so concentrated. So, too, as it is with our personal development and spiritual growth.

Among spiritual circles, you may be hearing the good news that across the globe we’re experiencing a rise in consciousness. Despite (or because of?) the ever-intensifying use of technology, instances of widespread violence, ongoing struggles and strife, and an overall prevalence of crises worldwide, there is at the same time an emerging collective devoted to the return to simpler times, and to a more centered, grounded way of living.

Is it any coincidence that among the vast morass of options for “fast meals,” “rapid weight loss,” and “crash diets,” we’re also seeing an increasing number of crate-to-plate restaurants popping up around town? Folks are looking to eat locally grown food again, and steering clear of processed substances, shipped in from faraway food factories.

And, for many, we’re taking time to make our own meals, or at least to settle in and enjoy our meals at a more leisurely pace, whether at home or while dining out. I’ve always admired the Italian way of embracing la dolce vita (the sweet life) that includes among other things, the slow deliberate enjoyment of a meal. In Italy, it is generally considered a disservice at a restaurant for the wait staff to rush you. Once seated for dinner, for example, you are granted the table for the duration of the evening. You’re not likely to find Italians looking up from their plates, impatiently pleading for someone to “bring the check.”

It is the care and attentiveness which brings an almost lyrical movement to living our lives. It cultivates the soil so to speak for our dreams and desires to take root, and for our creations to come into fruition. Matching the pace of nature, rather than overriding it, is SO rich. Nature has so much to teach us!

Without planting and nurturing our own ideas, dreams and desires, we run the risk of them laying dormant. They neither come into fruition nor flourish. In short, nothing gets created. The world then misses out on each of our own uniquely beautiful contributions to the world’s landscape.

So, I leave you with this:

Plant those seeds

Provide them due care

Sow and sow

Grow and grow

Again

and

Again

 

Embrace the challenges:

Create

Contribute

Rise

and

Shine!

 

Okay, your turn:

What are you seeding in your life this year?   What is calling within you to foster, nurture, grow?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Envisioning your desires fulfilled!

Are you ready for the new year?  Are you ready to envision your best year yet?  Let’s adventure together into the world of deeply seeing what your soul has in store for you!  On this edition of Soul Notes, we explore the concept and practical ways of visioning your desires into reality.

Why Vision(ing)?

Visioning helps you access information you may never be able to elicit through a quick ego-centered, mind-centered “checklist.” Visioning involves seeing by connecting to the unseen world. It is a beautiful, spiritual, nonphysical way of seeing – allowing you to gain insights, wisdom and guidance in a way that nourishes your soul. Visioning facilitates decision-making as to which direction to take next in your life, or with regard to a particular challenge, question, or inquiry. It helps propel you forward from a place that feels grounded, inspirational, and authentically YOU! Visioning ensures that your next steps come from a place of alignment, not misalignment. (For a refresher on alignment, and why it’s important in your day-to-day life, go here.)

What Happens if You Don’t?

When you don’t take the time to dedicate yourself to envision what’s best and next for you in your life, you run the risk of:

  • Suffering from the tendency to react compulsively or unconsciously.
  • Agonizing about making your next move (or making no move at all), from a place of fear or anxiety.
  • Engaging in seductively destructive behaviors.
  • Hiding under the illusory cloak of safety while life passes you by, and your dreams stay truly dormant and put “on hold.”
  • Proceeding through your next venture, juncture, year, or life chapter without even noticing if it’s right for you.
  • Failing to identify even what, if any, of the available choices, are even what you TRULY want, seek, or desire!

You can dive in and write a list of resolutions or mark out an instant action plan all you want. You can draw up blueprints for your year, and your life – but be careful what you’re drawing up.

During a drafting class when I was in junior high school, as part of a class assignment, I put together a blueprint for a house. Without taking a step back to envision what the house would really be like, I jumped in with my T-square and starting drawing. By doing so, I ended up putting a fireplace in one location on one floor, and another fireplace on an entirely different location on the second floor. Well, unless I was going to build two chimneys for this house, that could pose a problem! How was the smoke going to make it from one fireplace to the other and out the rooftop, if the flue(s) didn’t connect? If I had allowed myself the time and space to envision what actually LIVING in that house would be like, then likely I would have discovered the chimney dilemma. (My dad, by the way, was an architect and a builder, and right away noticed the flaw in my plans, when I showed them to him back then. He found it to be rather amusing!)

I remember around that same time period my dad was sent by his company to Japan to help build pre-fabricated housing. Before my father arrived on site, unbeknownst to him, the concrete foundation had been set using the metric measuring system. Here’s the catch: the pre-fabricated walls that were being shipped over to Japan from the United States had been cut in lengths that were measured using the British imperial units (inches/feet) system. As you can imagine, that pretty much defeats the purpose of pre-fabricated housing, if the pre-fabricated pieces don’t fit!

So, where do the pieces fit in your life? Where do the pieces not fit in your life? Do your chimneys, the hearth of your home, line up? The very foundation and starting place proves critical! So much of your soul shining success (or lack thereof) stems from envisioning, creating and drawing from the appropriate foundation.

In other words, resist the impulse to “jump in” and create from a place of “got to get it done.” That forceful energy threatens to bring with it a bulldozing effect that obliterates everything (including all the good stuff) in its path. That take-action energy has its useful purpose – but it’s best invoked further down the line, and in a more strategic, focused way.

Otherwise, the whole house (of cards) collapses. You feel overwhelmed. You feel pressured. You feel “forced.” You feel UNinspired. You risk facing unintended, adverse results.

It’s not about checking off a to-do list. It’s about allowing your dreams and desires to take front and center stage, and enjoying the journey as you experience them unfolding.

Is this year ahead, 2016, a time for you to move forward in envisioning and creating your best life? Are you going to allow yourself to spring forth into your fullest potential? Or, is it a time that by choice or by default (which really is a choice, by the way) – your new year ahead, like most New Year’s resolutions, sputters out and comes to a crawl or even a stagnating halt altogether?

Which is it? Claim it now, and if you’re open to learning more about how to get cracking, read on!

DARE TO DESIRE!

“I’d LOVE to, but I could NEVER…!”

First off, let go of any preconceived notions of what is or isn’t possible for you. Loosen up the reins! As you would when riding a horse, release your grip some, and allow for a good gallop!

A number of years ago, I had moved from an apartment in Los Angeles that was several miles inland, to a place within a few blocks of the Pacific Ocean. I moved to a building right up the hill from the beach front where they used to film the television show “Bay Watch.” [Okay, maybe that’s not the most spiritual reference I’ll ever make on this blog, but you get the idea! If this makes you feel better (it did me), it was also right next to a self-realization center. On September 11, 2001 (now known as 9-11), I went there to meditate — and I felt blessed to have the luxury of walking around their gorgeous, serene grounds, on such a tragic and deeply somber day.]

My commute to downtown Los Angeles back then meant driving along several miles of ocean front along Pacific Coast Highway. I could smell the salt in the air, and feel the sea breezes. From as young as I can remember, I had always enjoyed the beach and the ocean.  And yet, when I first moved in, and sat out on my balcony overlooking our shared swimming pool, I thought to myself – “Why did it take me so long to move here, this close to the beach?” I grew up in Southern California, and yet I always seemed to think that I needed to live somewhere inland, and then drive to the ocean. Somehow, I had convinced myself that only really wealthy people lived by the beach. I also realized in that moment, that truth be told, I somehow had been accepting the sad “fact” that I didn’t deserve to live in a really cool apartment in a tony section of Los Angeles. I didn’t think it was possible for me. And there I was — not only was it possible, it was happening, as I sat there on my balcony. For months, it still felt a bit surreal living there, and I found myself “growing into” an expanded self-realization of my own, I suppose you could say.

I would some years later again move on, and purchase a home (also something that for a long time I didn’t believe was possible for me in my lifetime) in another part of town. That apartment by the sea, however, will always hold a special place in my heart and soul.

So, the lesson here is this: If I hadn’t let go of the notion that “I’d love to, but I could never…,I would have stayed cooped up in a stifling apartment miles from where I yearned and dreamed to be.

Envision what you truly desire, and follow those clues. There’s often something truly heart telling in there. That’s where inspired actions stem from, originate from.

Visioning also involves listening

Visioning is not limited to one or any of the physical senses. It involves all the senses, along with every bit of your inner knowing.

Visioning involves deep soulful listening. Through meditation and other guided internal processes, you can tap into your essence and true desires. Your guides are there for you, whispering to you their soulful wisdom. Are you quiet enough to hear them?

Commit to yourself and to the true desires in this coming year that you will uncover through this higher vision for your life, and enjoy the journey!

Where to start?

You may not know exactly, right in this very moment, if what you truly desire to create will actually end up coming into fruition — because you haven’t created it yet! You have had other experiences, however, where you do know how wonderful they made you feel. Accordingly, I would encourage you to use what I would call the “Yes, more of that, please!” test. What is your heart drawing you toward? What are you excited about welcoming into your life?

Listen to your own (intuitive) guides, and allow yourself to get quiet to hear what they have to say. They are always available to you. They are your very own!

Reinforcement

You can choose to bring forth what you desire, and consistently tap into and recreate those good emotions. Conversely, you can focus on and reinforce what it is that you don’t enjoy feeling.  The “Yes, more of that please!” barometer is always available to you, at the ready. Simply remember to invoke it. Consistently. And often.

Dare to dream.

Dare to desire.

Dare to vision.

Dare to make it all come true.

 

For your consideration:

What would listening to your yearnings and desires, and envisioning them into reality, mean to you? How has or would your life be changed upon doing this type of practice? If you haven’t done this type of visioning so far, how about giving it a try? What if anything is stopping you?

Okay, your turn:

When is the last time you set aside the time and space to determine what you truly desire? What is something you would like to see yourself bringing forward into your life this year? I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

 © 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

 

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To be aligned is divine!

In this edition of Soul Notes, we visit the topic of what it means to be divinely aligned. What is alignment, how you can tell, and what are some ways to get and stay in alignment – with your authentic self and with your soul’s true desires?

What is Alignment?

For our purposes here, alignment may best be described as arrangement in appropriate, relative positions. It may be alignment in the physical sense – such as getting a chiropractic adjustment to your spine. It may also be alignment in the metaphysical sense – such as an aligning of your chakras, or energy centers. It may be a combination – such as aligning your mind, body and soul.

Let’s take, for example, an automobile traveling down the road. When in alignment, barring any intervening forces, it moves forward (or backward!) in a perfectly straight line. The vehicle moves efficiently, with minimized wear and tear on the car’s suspension, brakes and tires. Alignment makes for an even distribution of force. A driver may compensate for poor alignment through (over-)steering the car, but that exerts more wear and tear on the driver and the vehicle. (I know, I know, we’re talking physics here on the blog! It’s okay to include science in the discussion, once in a while, right?)

Similarly, reflect for a moment on those times when your spine feels out of whack. You may then seek relief by going and getting a chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractors are trained in the aligning (or realigning) of the vertebrae in your back and neck, and may make adjustments to other joints as well.   Chiropractic adjustments are designed to help restore the body to its natural alignment and to allow the body to maximize its own natural healing ability.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

~ Mahatma Ghandi

Okay, great – now what about spiritual alignment? For your consideration, I pose this question: Is spiritual alignment really that much different from physical alignment?

As with a harmonic symphony, your soul when fully aligned makes for beautiful music in your life; it lays the foundation for deeply gratifying and fulfilling experiences.

How do you know when you’re in alignment? How can you tell?: THE SIGNS  

Just as with visits to the chiropractor, throughout your transformational journey your body gives clues as to when your soul is out of alignment, too. It comes down to paying attention, and to being a “Sherlock Holmes” in your own life!

Here’s the #1 best way to tell when you’re in (or out) of alignment with your authentic self: 

#1: The gut check

If you’re like me, I bet you can easily recall those times when you’ve noticed a queasy feeling in your stomach — when you just know that something isn’t right for you. Or, maybe it’s been a frenetic rush you feel coursing through your blood stream, or when your head suddenly starts hurting for no apparent reason? Or, maybe you feel weak in the knees; or, you feel your hands clenching, or your “heart sinking” in your chest?

Absent any actual threats to your physical well-being, these instances tend to be your body’s way of letting you know something is out-of-alignment with who you are, and what’s authentic for you.   Someone else may feel just fine in that given situation; for you, however, it’s just not ‘right.’

#2: The “What lights you up?” check

A kissin’ corollary to the gut check would be what I call the “What Lights You Up?” check.   When time simply flies by, and little if anything distracts you, and you feel that your whole body has been lit up from the inside out — You know that feeling? That’s a pretty darn good sign that you’re in alignment with your true, authentic self.

Following the clues:

Think of it as a Mapquest® or a global positioning system (GPS). Often, there are different ways to get to the same destination. One route may be the fastest. Other routes may be more scenic. Road hazards may come up along the way. If and when that happens, do you stop your trip altogether? Do you stop the car in the middle of the road, and abandon the journey? Nope, to get to your destination, you pay attention to what’s happening in front, back, and around you – and make adjustments along the way. The journey is fluid, not static.

The Mapquest® or GPS is simply the tool or resource you use to help you navigate. Have you ever received a “recalculating route” message coming from your GPS? I have, plenty of times! If and when I veer off course, it ever so politely alerts me to get back on track. I can ignore the message.   If however, I desire to get to my intended destination, I better take heed!

Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

So, I encourage you to do the same with your own life. By now, if you’ve listened to any of my interviews or watched my earlier video series, you know that it is the intuition which I feel serves as our own internal GPS. Use it, and use it often! Turn it on! Fire it up! And, trust it. Proceed in accordance with the messages and signals it sends you.

Why is alignment so important?

It’s important, and dare I say vital to be in alignment with your authentic self, because it makes for more productive and enriching life results, and makes this thing called the “human experience” better for you and those around you. It enhances the experiences of those whom you’re destined to serve, and in furtherance of your great work in the world. The world needs you! – The authentic you!

In contrast, as set forth above, the cost of not being in alignment is: undue stress, feelings of frustration and disappointment, and often sadness. It also takes its toll on your mind, body and spirit, all in disservice to your overall well-being.

So, with that, I leave you with the following tips to help you get and stay in alignment:

  1. Meditate/Get Still/Quiet (for 11 minutes)

Set aside 11 minutes that you will commit to being free from distractions, and pose this question to yourself — allowing your intuition and divine guidance to provide any and all information you need to receive:

“With regard to this particular (issue/situation), what is most in alignment for me at this time?”

  1. Write, Draw or Doodle in Your Journal

Next, write, draw or doodle in your journal about the answer(s) you received to your question.   What words, phrases, or pictures represent what has come up for you?

If you’d like to receive additional information or clarification on the question you’ve posed with regard to a particular issue or situation, feel free to ask again!   It may take doing this more than once or twice to get the full “download.”

  1. Keep a Log: “Gut” Checks & “What Lights You Up” Checks

Start keeping a log of those instances throughout the day or week, when you notice or feel in your gut that something is off track. Additionally, keep a record of those instances when you feel most excited, fulfilled, lit up, and on fire!

Do this daily for one week, and set aside another 11 minutes at the end of the seven days to review your log.  What patterns, if any, do you notice? Is there anything that really jumps out at you? Any surprises?

  1. Seek out kindred spirits with whom you can share your spiritual journey and soulful quests.

“Birds of a feather flock together.” – Proverb

As in nature, we as humans benefit from traveling together with others on a similar path, quest or journey.   It helps tremendously to gather together with other souls who are spiritual seekers and those, like you, who are yearning to live full out and in complete alignment with their authentic selves.

  1. Enlist a trusted mentor, guide, or advocate devoted to your success.

Having an advocate on your side who believes in you, supports you and holds you accountable, makes for accelerated alignment and long-lasting success.

For your consideration:

For you, what does it mean to be fully aligned?

Okay, your turn:

In what area of your life do you feel most in alignment? Which area or situation in your life feels the most off track or out-of-alignment for you right now?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2015 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.