Love.

Love.

Imagine if you could magically step out of time and look back over your own lifetime. Which memories would rise, like rainbow-skinned soap bubbles, and float into your heart’s view?

Certainly the most poignant memories we have revolve around love. Feeling love, finding love, expressing love, losing love. When we are most in touch with life, the things we love, and those we love come sharply into view. And if you have had experiences that bring life and death into clear view, you too must feel that all that really matters the most, undoubtedly, is Love.

So what then, is love?

According to Merriam-Webster, to love is to hold dear, to cherish, to feel affection for, and to take pleasure in. For each of us, love holds its own meaning. So much has been said about love! Love is all. Love unites us. Love Heals. Love is all there is. Love is a many splendored thing. Indeed, love is probably the most mysterious, all pervasive, and multi-faceted treasure of our existence. What is love to you?

Love is the whole thing. We are only the pieces. -Rumi

When I was younger, before my first child was born, I thought I knew all about love. I loved deeply, and consider myself quite loving. If you would’ve asked me then, I would’ve told you that I knew all about love. When my first daughter was born, it had been a very difficult birth. But eventually, this swaddling baby was put into my arms. As I drew her close, and turned my head to first look up on her face, my entire universe literally exploded. A greater, more expansive love than I had ever imagined possible came over me, permanently changing the experience of life as I knew it. The love I’d known before was like a tiny egg whose shell had just cracked open into the light of a million suns, shining in the unending vastness of the Universe.

man facinggolden sun with arms open wide

Another time, when both my daughters were in their twenties, I was attending an Irish music event in Santa Fe with my two bandmates. We were seated in the highest balcony, looking down over the hall, enjoying the music. A slow feeling of pressure started to build up in my chest as I watched. At first I tried to ignore it, but it persisted. My breathing became rapid, and the squeezing feeling got worse. I began to panic as my heart started pounding. A shooting pain went down my arm, and I thought, “Oh my God, is this it? Am I having a heart attack?”

Fear escalated intensely, and just as it reached its peak, time stopped. I rose above myself, and could see myself sitting there, and hear the music in the distant background. I was keenly aware. Then tears began to flow down my face. I saw the faces of my beloved daughters, and then, one by one, faces of those I’d loved in my life appeared briefly. All I could think was, “Wait! Have I accomplished what I needed to? I haven’t got it right yet! Would my life matter? Did my girls know how much I loved them?”

Still immobile, in an altered state, I heard a benevolent voice. It assured me that not only my daughters, but everyone I’d loved, would absolutely know that I loved them. Somehow an inner knowing began to bubble up, replacing my fear. I knew with certainty that I definitely had loved. In fact, I had loved wholeheartedly, with a ferocity of conviction.

In that moment, I was assured that my life had been complete, because I had truly loved.

The doctors later said my symptoms were a complication of too much thyroid medication and exhaustion, not a heart attack. But in truth, my heart had been opened to a deeper appreciation and compassion for my own self.

These are but two beautiful bubbles of memories that rise when I look back over my life to think about what’s been most important. By the grace of God-Universe, I have been shown again and again that love itself is beyond my limited definition. It continues to expand in ever greater magnificence beyond the scope of words. It is there to hold me and reassure me in the most fearful of times. Love gives complete meaning to my life. I am finally learning to turn that love inside myself, and accept it. For 40 years I heard the wisdom from my Teacher that God lives within. That God manifests as myself. “Go inside and love yourself,” she said.

On this day honoring St. Valentine, I send this question out into the Universe as an act of…. love. So, I ask you again, whatever day this is for you:

What sweet memories of love arise when you look back at your own life from the place of deep stillness and compassion? Which lessons from love will you cherish and share?

I invite you to reflect on the gifts of love as you know it. Perhaps you will feel moved to write your experiences, as I’ve shared here? Or to sing, or dance, or laugh, or play. Perhaps you will offer your work with a lighter heart when you remember how much Love, loves you.

Wherever you are, whenever this is, I wish you Love.

All Blessings & Love,

Jeannie Arunimā

P.S. If you or someone you love wishes to develop more self-compassion and more self-love, please feel free to talk to me about strategies and practices that I’ve found really helpful! Schedule a FREE Welcome Call with me any time. You are a magnificent, unique manifestation of Love! Unveil this Truth, my friend!

Hopelessness & Recognition

Hopelessness & Recognition

                                                 Hopelessness is an alert beacon and a natural human response.

 

Recognition Brings us Power to Heal

 

Have you been faced with persistent pain, symptoms, or illness? Or perhaps a situation that’s really gotten you down? Has your sense hopefulness or happiness been compromised by a persistent difficulty that’s not resolving as you wish? Hopelessness is an alert beacon, and a natural human response.

 

At this critical time on our planet, everyone’s lives have come under a dark cloud of persistent stress. With the threat of a deadly virus, the absurd political situation in the U.S., and the extreme economic repercussions felt by so many, the resulting mental and emotional effects are similar to those who suffer from long term pain or illness.

 

In both cases, regardless of the cause or severity, chronic stressors can easily result in a deep sense of hopelessness and loss, bringing about a spiral of emotions, diminished energy, loss of sleep, and even physical symptoms.

 

Hopelessness can lead to loss of joy, deep depression, and cause us to even question if being on Earth is what we want to do. This reaction is a completely normal human response. However, when there is an ongoing persistence of hopelessness, this is truly a call to action. What can we do about it? Start at the beginning.

 

Recognize it.

 

The first step in finding a solution is seeing the problem. Simple as it sounds, it’s actually not always apparent to those suffering from stress-inducing situations exactly what is going on inside. Life may appear “normal,” and seem like everything is basically “fine.”

 

I recently experienced this anew. When the pandemic first began, I buckled down like everyone else, invigorated my spiritual practices, and kept abreast of the breaking news. After a few weeks of repeating horror stories, I distanced myself from social media in order to create a bubble for my mind to find some peace. Instead I turned to reading titles and captions, to get the gist, before delving into journalistic sensationalism and public fear mongering, both which exacerbated an already critical situation, and played havoc with my nervous system. This worked really well, and I was able to find a balance between current events and being able to live daily life in order to try and make a difference.

 

Recently, I visited my daughter who is very active in social justice and the current political climate. She views engagement with current news feeds as a civic responsibility, and as a measure of safety in being aware of what’s happening. While I applaud her stance, it brought me back into the daily details of the crisis, upfront and personal. Over the visit, we spoke about much of the absurdities and suffering due to current world events, and how hard it was for humanity.

 

Without my realizing it, delving back into the disturbing details brought about an insidious inner anxiety, fear, and unrest , similar to that which occurred at the beginning of the pandemic. But I didn’t recognize it at first. I pushed it away. It seemed that my life was the new “normal” and I was certainly “fine.” I had work, loved ones, health, food. All was “well” and I was grateful.

 

Never-the-less, there was a growing sense of unrest within. Over the week, I began to doubt myself. I felt myself losing courage. Eventually, hopelessness arose. At first, I ignored it. When it persisted, I rationalized it away, explaining to myself why I shouldn’t feel it. Finally, I fought with it, arguing that I knew better than to feel this way. But it still didn’t go away. (I knew better tactics for handling emotions, but apparently had forgotten.)

 

After a solid week of trying to ignore and push away the hopelessness, like an unnoticed water leak flooding the basement, it seeped into my entire being.

 

Fortunately, I have a dear friend who knows me so well, that even when I won’t admit something to myself, she is able to draw it to the surface where we can look at it together, in the light of loving awareness. Empowered to express the recent feeling of hopelessness and self-doubt, I was able to recognize it for what it was. I was overwhelmed by unrecognized stressors. She quoted a member of her church who coined it beautifully, “I feel like I’m living in the most beautiful nightmare.” Everything appears fine on the outside, but there remains the nightmarish reality of the global pandemic, threatening everyone.

 

I realized my feelings were a valid reaction to the pandemic and political-social devastation going on in our world. It was a perfectly normal human response.

 

By pushing the feelings away, I had not given myself the opportunity to really validate and understand where they were coming from. I thought it was about me. My exposure to the detailed news, and discussions with my daughter, had elicited a normal human response. But I didn’t recognize it for what it was, so I was unable to resolve it. Having this important conversation with my dear friend helped me to put hopelessness into a larger perspective. I was able to accept the emotion, integrate it into my being, and stop blaming myself for feeling some way I didn’t think I was supposed to.

 

Recognizing the problem was the first step to the solution. In this case, my emotions reset just with the simple recognition and sharing, and the hopelessness dissolved. At other times, deeper work may well be needed, along with outside support.

 

In chronic disease and persistent stress, it is only natural for our human selves to experience mental and emotional distress. But when that distress turns to hopelessness and persists, it is time to reach in and reach out to fully recognize what it happening.

 

Hopelessness is an alert beacon, a warning sign, and natural human response. It offers us a chance to turn around and take stock of what’s happening, inside and out. When we fully face these kinds of warning beacons, and allow ourselves to enlist help of others, we can move forward into a greater sense of peaceful acceptance even amidst the suffering in our world.

 

Recognition. To “re-cognize,” “re-think,” or “put into a new order.” It is the act of turning within to deeply consider and realize what is actually happening, and that has been known before; a kind of waking up.

 

Recognition brings us power to heal. Identifying the problem is the first step to solving it.

 

May we each experience the powerful grace of recognition to guide us through unexpected storms.

 

All Blessings & Love,

 

Jeannie Arunimā ♡

 

IMPORTANT Note: if you or a loved one is experiencing a continuing sense of despair, hopelessness, sadness, or depression, please talk to a trusted loved one, seek professional help, and don’t let it continue to fester. You can overcome it, but it’s so much easier to do when shared. Contact me for a free consultation to help make a plan for healing.

Gratitude Renews Life Energy

Gratitude Renews Life Energy

Gratitude. What’s in your cup?

If you are like me, the first drink of the morning is a sacred event! As I swim to the surface of wakefulness in the quiet morning light, the routine of preparing my drink grounds me. Boil the water, grind the beans, rinse the pot. I could do this with my eyes closed. It’s such a familiar comfort. I smile at the thought, “If only my meditation practice [enter your own words] was so unfailingly stable!”

While the water heats, my eyes are drawn to a picture of the Hindu Goddess Annapurna, which I placed above my stove years ago, as a reminder to honor the gift of nourishment. I pause to recall the bountiful blessings of Mother Earth in providing sustenance for all her creatures.

The gift of gratitude arises inside. In this quiet, brief moment, I am drawn naturally to offer my prayers and good wishes for all beings to have their share of sweetness, as do I, in the blessing of a nourishing, morning drink.

Research shows us that gratitude practice has remarkable effects on our brain and body! Gratitude reduces fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Gratitude promotes restful sleep, positive mindset, mood, and emotions. And, gratitude even increases motivation! (See references and resources for further reading below.)

Gratitude connects me to appreciation for my daily life, my loved ones, and my entire world. When I pause to consciously offer thoughts and feelings of gratitude, reverence ensues. I am reset, renewed, and ready to meet life whole heartedly.

Gratitude practice, acknowledging and verbalizing what we appreciate in life, activates physiological and psychological benefits which will help us create a more joyful and positive experience of life!

Interested in learning more about manifesting gratitude as a way to empower your own healing, transformation, and personal growth? Contact me for a free, 20 minute phone consultation and let’s be thankful together! 

All Blessings & Love, 

Jeannie Arunimā 

REFERENCES & RESOURCES

https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

https://achnews.org/2019/12/16/study-gratitude-literally-rewires-your-brain/

https://www.mindful.org/what-the-brain-reveals-about-gratitude/

https://www.mindful.org/a-simple-mindful-gratitude-exercise/