The Alchemy of Gratitude

This year, my theme for the year is TRUST. I am practicing to trust myself more deeply, as well as to trust the universe itself. Life is continuously giving me opportunities ūüôā

In my quest for self-trust, I have discovered the importance of self-love. Trusting myself is loving myself. Furthermore, it is very hard to climb out of the dark hole of self-doubt if I do not love myself enough to have the power to say, “Enough with this!”

It’s a choice. I can choose to love myself, I can choose to trust myself, and I can choose to be grateful for all of it. The choice is always there waiting for me, but if I don’t have enough of a sense of self-trust, self-love or gratitude, if I don’t have a feeling for what it means to do that, then it is hard to choose it.

It’s my job to cultivate those feelings. I have to find them within me and wake them up and nurture them so that they grow. These days, I am carefully grooming the garden of self-trust, self-love & gratitude in my heart.

Today I remembered Ilchi Lee’s message from the Calligraphic Meditation book. “The Alchemy of Gratitude.” It in, he is speaking of exactly this – the cultivation of gratitude.

After reading it, I felt that I couldn’t have said it better than him, so I have decided to share it here today.

When you read it, I encourage you to not only consider the alchemy of gratitude, but to consider the alchemy of self-trust and self-love as well. The seeds of all of these lie within our souls. We can awaken them anytime, when choose to be diligent in our efforts. I hope that this message will touch your heart and open your mind to infinite possibilities.

The Alchemy of Gratitude

Gratitude is a technique of the mind that anyone can learn and develop. When your experience and understanding of gratitude deepen, you’ll know that it simply means being grateful for everything, in any circumstance whatsoever. Every moment of life will be filled with gratitude, and you needn’t try hard to find it.

At first, gratitude must be looked at to be seen, must be sought to be found. Find something to be thankful for, even though you feel it’s insignificant. We all have something to be thankful for.

If you really think you have nothing to be grateful for, then be thankful you were born a human being. Be grateful that you are still breathing and that your heart still beats. And be thankful that the sun rose today, that a new season has come, and the trees are green again.

If you have true gratitude for even one thing, at some moment thankfulness will rush over you like a wave.

When thankfulness matures, then appreciation – temporary, conditional, and calculating – gives way to unconditional, sustained gratitude.

Such gratitude takes away from our lives’ complaints and dissatisfaction, anxieties and worries, and brings in their place infinite positivity and peace.

Train yourself to be thankful, whatever your circumstances. Let gratitude fill your whole mind so that thankfulness overflows into your whole life.

If your heart is filled with gratitude, you can’t live halfheartedly. You can’t use tricks or do cowardly things for your benefit alone.

When you are grateful, you show full devotion in whatever you do and do your best no matter whom you meet.

A holy mind comes out of a grateful heart. Gratitude is an alchemy of the soul everyone should practice.

~ Ilchi Lee~

I am enough

I just returned from another beautiful retreat in Sedona, Mago Garden.

It was special for me in so many ways.  I was there with several of my closest students. The weather was HOT and I was enjoying the searing heat soaking into my bones (something that rarely happens here in Seattle).  With the hot days days came warm windy starlit nights that evoked a sense of sacredness and a feeling of reverence in and of themselves.  And perhaps most importantly, we had the opportunity to train with a very special Master, Ilchi Human Dae Sunsa Nim, who led us all to a profound meeting with our souls.

My meeting with my soul this time was grand and unforgettable.  I came to feel myself, complete and whole and full, in and of myself.   I recognized that so often I turn my awareness away from my wholeness, looking outside at others, sending subliminal messages to myself that I am not enough.  This behavior causes holes inside of me, where energy leaks, and the soul weakens.  The message this time was loud and clear and shook inside of me like thunder.  I Am Enough.  I AM ENOUGH.  I AM E-NOUGH.  It kept repeating inside of me over and over, as if it was speaking to all of my life, every single tiny moment when I failed to believe it.  It felt like the message within me was re-setting my information bank, re-wiring my brain circuit to establish a new belief in my psyche, one that would take strong roots and become unshakeable.

Of course, with every awakening comes a test ūüôā ¬†So, the day after this deeply profound and touching experience, I met with a situation where my emotions completely took over me and I ended up having a small altercation with a person who is very dear to me. ¬†I won’t go into the details, and the two of us cleared it up rather quickly, but the whole thing saddened me. ¬†For hours I kept chewing on it, trying to feel into it and understand what happened. ¬† What was ¬†the lesson here? ¬†And why was it so unsettling to me?

Finally, later that evening on an airplane to L.A., the realization came to me. ¬† I take things too personally. ¬†I do that when I am not staying present with my enough-ness, and instead looking outward, creating holes within myself. ¬†Those holes weaken me and cause me to feel pain and emotion where it was not necessary at all. ¬†Because the fact is, I am whole and full and there is no need to take the actions of others so personally. ¬†When I do so, I am denying my own complete perfection. ¬†And when I was able to come back to myself and say, in the words of Don Miguel Ruiz’s second agreement, “Don’t take anything personally,” I could feel the fullness, warmth and light of my soul filling me once more.

I took this precious awakening with me when I went to L.A. to visit Kate for a day.  I could observe how quickly and easily I instinctually take things personally, and I kept trying to step away from that thought pattern and re-establish my wholeness again and again.  There were times on that visit that I also failed to do so.  I am aware now that it is something that will take a huge amount of effort and practice on my part and I am fully ready and excited for the road ahead!  I feel the refreshing breeze of freedom touching my heart from the prison that I have lived in my whole life Рthe prison of taking things personally and diminishing my own value.  This beginning fills me with light and hope!

All souls are on their own journeys.  There is no need to take things so personally.  Our jobs are to find the lessons and change ourselves anew.  Through this, we grow.  It is truly a beautiful thing.  From this place, forgiveness, acceptance and love arise Рfor both ourselves, and others.   This is the meaning of healing myself, healing my family, and healing my world.

 

My Love

earth hands

When you look at the above picture, what do you feel?  When you gaze at this beautiful blue jewel, can you feel her in your heart?

What I feel is: Love. ¬†It’s amazing how much love I feel.

Our souls are connected to the soul of Mother Earth. ¬†So, perhaps it is my own soul’s love that I am also feeling that fills me. ¬†I also feel inspired to be my greatest self, to love more, and to help her. ¬†Ilchi Lee often says, “We came to the Earth because the 21st-century Earth desperately needed us.”

I got such a big compliment on Friday. ¬†My uncle called me in the morning – we do not speak all that frequently. ¬†Perhaps he calls me once or twice a year. ¬†He said, “I saw on Facebook that today is Earth Day. ¬†And, well, that just makes me think of you. ¬†So I wanted to call you to say ‘Happy Earth Day.'”

To know that when my uncle thinks of the Earth, he thinks of me, and when he thinks of me, he thinks of the Earth, made me feel that I am doing my job well ūüôā

In order to share in this great love with our Mother Earth, I feel it is critical for us to love ourselves more and more truly. ¬†If I cannot allow love for my own self into my heart, if I am always insulting and accusing myself, then there is no way that I can really commune with the majesty of Life that breathes¬†within every fiber of this planet. ¬†So, in celebration of Earth Day, let’s celebrate ourselves. Let’s love ourselves just a little bit more. ¬†Let’s look into our own eyes in the mirror and say, “I love you so much.” ¬†Why not? ¬†The Earth, our Mother, our Home, needs us to have such courage.

On that note, I will conclude this post with a passage from the Living Tao book that I find to be incredibly beautiful and healing.  I hope you do too.  Thank you to all of you who are reading this and sharing this Earth with me at this time.  My fellow earth citizens, I love you.

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“No matter how hard you try, you can never fill your empty heart solely with the energy received through external recognition or success, for these are but temporary comforts. They are not eternal. You can discover within yourself a wellspring of eternal energy. That energy will start to spring forth when you acknowledge and love yourself. The joy you feel from acknowledging yourself is so great that it cannot be compared with the joy you feel from getting recognition from others. This is a matter of being recognized by your conscience and the heaven within you.

You don’t acknowledge and love yourself just by thinking about it. You must encounter the life energy within you. Slowly place your hands on your chest, one over the other. Now say this to yourself: ‘ Yes, I have myself. I have myself, who always watches over me, the one who is always on my side no matter what may come. It’s my soul and my true self. It is my eternally unchanging life.’ ¬†If you speak to yourself with sincerity, you’ll be able to feel the energy of the soul inside of you, the energy of life, reviving.

Those who know the true self within them are never lonely, no matter what may come. Their hearts are filled to overflowing with energy from the feeling of oneness with themselves, as if they possess the whole world. The tree of life, your soul, will grow strong, bloom with beautiful flowers, and bear good fruit to the extent it gets your interest, love, and recognition.”

~ Ilchi Lee