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Enlightenment as a Verb: The Process of Becoming Lighter

Posted on:  Jun 5, 2016 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Path Basics

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I know enlightenment as a verb is grammatically incorrect. Enlightenment is a noun that, in a spiritual context, indicates an egoless, awakened end state. It is an ideal attained by the very few, the masters, mystics and gurus in our midst. Therein lies its problem.

Enlightenment as a noun is beyond the reach of most of us who travel a sincere path of spiritual healing and evolution. If we think we have reached a state of enlightenment, the very act of naming and claiming it indicates the presence of ego, and ego is the antithesis of enlightenment. If we want to reach this state but can’t get there, we are probably short changing our spiritual accomplishments.

Either way enlightenment can inflate or deflate your spiritual process.

Though this may sound like blasphemy, I think enlightenment is a red herring that can distract us from the very important business of healing our own soul. Each of us comes into this life with soul work to do. For the vast majority, this work is to heal and to grow. For the very, very few, it is to achieve the rarified state of enlightenment. All of this spiritual work is essential to the greater healing of our humanity, and the only piece we can claim is our own.

This brings us back to enlightenment as a verb. My suggestion is that you think of enlightenment, or its verb form of enlighten, as the process of becoming lighter.

Imagine your soul being buried under the accumulated debris of your old stories and habituations of beliefs, thoughts and life choices. What your soul fervently desires is a free-flowing alignment between your deep inner self and your outer life. But this is only possible if you lighten your soul’s load by cleaning out and healing the debris that weighs you down.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful: Reinventing Your Worldly Toolkit

Posted on:  May 15, 2016 @ 21:01 Posted in:  Podcasts, Power/Leadership

The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful: Reinventing Your Worldly Toolkit

Posted on:  May 15, 2016 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Power/Leadership

Listen to the podcast

Everything we are, everything we’ve experienced, learned, and suffered can be used in service of the healing and transformation of ourselves and our world. What matters is not so much who we are, or what has happened to us, but what we do with what we’ve been given. We can choose to make beauty with the good and the bad of our life.

Whether we are conscious of it or not, we have been socialized to see the world through the black and white lens of good and bad. Good things come about through the best sides of our humanity and personal nature; bad things through our worst instincts and the shadowy, nasty places in our collective humanity.

We apply this dichotomous lens not only to the world around us, but also to our personal history and characteristics. There are parts of ourselves that we embrace as good and positive, and other parts that we reject as bad and negative.

As we embark on a journey of healing and transformation, we may think that positive change will only come about if we can somehow get rid of or transcend the bad parts of ourselves. This is a destructive premise that is more likely to block, rather than enhance, our personal work.

Instead I offer a different perspective: within each of us is the power to do beautiful things with what life has given us. From both the good and the bad, we can create beauty and positive change.

Our life story brings us the things we need to heal, grow and change, and whatever we have gathered in our worldly toolkit in the form of knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal characteristics can be used to bring about positive, beautiful change in ourselves and our greater environment. It all comes down to personal choice: what we do with what we’ve been given.

A Personal Story: A Witch with an MBA

This insight came to me in the midst of a crisis on my island home. A small corporation had bought a huge tract of land in the southern portion of our island and began to clearcut the forests, leaving a swath of devastation in its wake that threatened the environmental and economic fabric of our community.
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The Imperative of Choice: Choosing Between the Beauty and Beast of Humanity

Posted on:  Mar 27, 2016 @ 19:31 Posted in:  Podcasts

Pathwork: Simple Acts of Goodness

Posted on:  Dec 25, 2015 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Path Basics, Pathwork

When my son was a wee baby, we were having dinner at a favorite local restaurant. A stranger introduced himself and spoke lovely words about our beloved child. Then he got up and left. When we went to pay the bill, he had covered it, leaving a message about what a pleasure it had been to meet such a beautiful child. My heart ached with the sweetness of this simple, loving gesture. Several months later, when we returned to this restaurant, I told a new waitress the story. She knew all about it. This one act of goodness had become a part of the storytelling of this place.

We hunger for goodness in our world. Pope Francis feeds the homeless. One of my good friends gave a young mother, with a babe and child in tow, a twenty dollar gift certificate for groceries when she saw the meager purchases in the woman’s basket. Recently a stranger gave me his seat on a crowded bus when I was clearly not well. These acts, small and large, make my heart ache. In part from sweet joy, and in part because I know how desperate our world is for acts of simple goodness.

The holiday season is a time of goodwill. This week do one simple act of goodness for another human being. It can be for someone you know in need, or a spontaneously act for a complete stranger. Goodness can be a smile, a word of acknowledgement, a gift, a dinner, a helping hand, or any kind act that fits the individual and the moment.

Pay attention to how this goodness exchange feels in your own heart and in the reaction of the other person. Drink in this goodness, for whether you are giving or receiving, the cup of kindness and goodwill feeds us all.

Related Post: Meet Me in the Good