Grow Your Soul

We all experienced discouragement, and some of us even despair, in this peculiar year called 2020. This year was not “normal”, but in fact these feelings are always part of life. Perhaps it was heightened because we were feeling it collectively and globally. Every person we encountered became a potential mirror for our inner landscape.

We may not all recognize it yet, but the silver lining is that 2020 was a year of extreme soul growth. Our souls use obstacles and disappointments to learn and grow. When I look back at the most difficult challenges over my lifetime, I would not want to do them over. But when I evaluate the growth in myself, it has been tremendous. I am grateful for those soul lessons. I am stronger because of them.

When we are struggling in darkness, it can be difficult to see light. Other people can extend a loving hand, either with a different perspective, or, hands-on assistance. But in the end, we must own our inner journey. It is ours. It is we who develop the fortitude and mindset to deal with whatever life throws at us.

During one particularly tough time in my life, focusing on gratitude helped tremendously. That’s right! Really seeing and acknowledging all of the blessings, big and small, that surrounded me. I built on that. It created a positive mindset, in which I could then conceive of hope and possibilities and solutions.

Light begets light, and that which we focus on expands.

This Psychology Today article outlines small, simple actions that can bring us closer to happiness: 10 Simple Ways to Find Happiness

Inspirational Quotes:

“If seeds despaired in their darkest hours, they would never rise to enjoy their brightest days.” ~ Matshona Dhliwayo

“Challenges are part of life. Overcoming them makes you a stronger person.”  ~ Lailah Gifty Akita

“A quick way to overcome your despair… is to go out and help someone else overcome theirs!” ~ Timothy Pina

“Be thankful for everything that happens in your life; it’s all an experience.” ~  Roy T. Bennett 

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Photos courtesy sasint, Pixabay

Grow Your Soul © Susan L Hart 2020

2021: Face It Head On

2020 has been a year of unimaginable change. Overnight our global reality was turned on its ear. Think of it, no one on this planet has been untouched by the changes this year. And as we all know, much of it has not been pretty.

Facing a new year is daunting when we feel SO let down by the year 2020.  How many will ring in 2021 with joyous expectation, with a feeling that they are empowered to take on fresh challenges and build something new? The narrative in the news is constantly one of illness, fear, and disempowerment. We are being told we are weak. No, we are not! We are only we weak if we believe it to be so.

2020 presented us with scenarios that greatly challenge our mental comfort level. Question is, in 2021 will we rise to the occasion and proactively deal with the challenges that have been thrust upon us? Or, will we complacently sit back and wait for change to “happen to us”?

There is a New Year’s cartoon circulating right now. Picture a crowd of people in a hallway, peering nervously around the corner and down the next hall at a door signed 2021. The door is slightly ajar, and the leader is prodding the door open with a long pole to see what’s behind it before anyone proceeds.

No, no, no! Have we allowed 2020 to crush our spirits so badly that we hang back in fear? There is nothing behind that mysterious door that can defeat us, unless we let it be so. Let us walk through the door courageously, confidently, resolutely. With this attitude, we can create the change we want in the world and live our lives accordingly. Let us make a pledge to ourselves for 2021, to live life consciously, creatively, and intentionally towards that goal.

For more on confronting change, here’s an inspiring article from Lifehack about why it’s actually good for us:
How the chaos in your life builds character

Inspirational Quotes:

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” ~ Helen Keller

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.” ~ Paulo Coelho

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

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Photo courtesy Suliman Sallehi, Pexels

2021: Face it Head On © Susan L Hart 2020

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Golden Moments

“Time is the school in which we learn, Time is the fire in which we burn.” are the profound last lines of the poem, Calmly We Walk through This April’s Day, by Delmore Schwartz. It’s a beautiful philosophical contemplation of the passage of time, with a particularly great wrap-up last stanza.

The seconds, minutes, hours tick away relentlessly. Our lives are busy, and inundated with many distractions and responsibilities. Lately I’m looking at my age and thinking, “Wow! It’s going faster than I ever imagined at age 18.”

Realistically, we don’t have time to sit around and endlessly ponder about the value of time and our lives. But, it’s useful to carve out a little time (from time to time) for such introspection. Because your life IS precious, and the clock IS ticking. Ask yourself in this moment, are you spending it the way you would really like to?

The new year 2021 will soon be upon us. In retrospect, too many precious moments fell through the cracks in the turmoil of 2020, never to be lived. It is a good time now to think about how we will spend 2021. Because indeed, these are our lives, and it is OUR time.

It is crucially important (now more than ever) to have vision and intention for our lives. Otherwise, we will just end up with someone else’s idea of how life should be.

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Golden Moments © Susan L Hart 2020

Peace on Earth

As 2020 draws to a close, perhaps Peace is the thing for which we most pray right now. 2020 has been a year of turmoil, confusion, and fear. It’s not just that the world is a mess. Our inner peace has been turned on its ear by a virus called COVID-19.

As Siddhārtha Gautama said, “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” Yes, peace begins with each of us. If we do not somehow find our own inner peace in this turbulence, then we are contributing to the collective angst.

We are the power that will create change. There is no one coming to save us; we must save ourselves. That is the whole point to this extreme growth period in which humanity finds itself.

Rather than praying for “deliverance”, ask for strength, knowledge, wisdom, courage, and most of all a way to find your own inner peace to deal with the outer chaos. Then you will walk in the world feeling balanced and with intention to be a spark of light that helps to create change and peace for humanity.

Align peacefully with your own wisdom and light, and trust that you will know the right things to do.

For those readers who celebrate it tomorrow, wishing for you a Christmas Day of great joy, abundance, love, and sharing with your family and friends. May we all partake of these gifts in the coming days ahead.

Inspirational Quotes:

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.” ~ Rumi

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

“The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” ~ Albert Einstein

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” ~ Mother Teresa

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there would be peace.” ~ John Lennon

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Photo courtesy Maria Orlova, Pexels

Peace on Earth © Susan L Hart 2020

Joy! (and more)

Christmas close approaches, and with it a myriad of memories, feelings, and images. 2020 has magnified the importance of the people in our lives, and also our connection to our greater humanity. I started thinking yesterday of words that are most evocative of Christmas for me. The word that tops my list is: JOY

There is definitely a heightened feeling of love and goodwill around me at this time of year. This feeling gives me great joy as people take a little rest from the regular routines, worries, and burdens of every day life. I love to see joy expressed on the faces of people around me.

I think of joy is a life keyword, an evaluator of the world around me. I’m feeling that if our world was better balanced and society fairer, we’d be seeing a lot more joy on an every day basis. This is something for all of us to contemplate for the new year 2021 just ahead. How will we claim and live our joy? And not just our joy, but all of the positive aspects of life that we deserve. These are, after all, our lives. They are precious and they come around only once.

I realize that many people reading this do not celebrate Christmas. But in your own culture, you have celebrations that are sacred, important, beautiful. My partner and I lived in Thailand for some years, and I loved getting to know and taking part in the important traditions there. Loy Krathong (Festival of Light) was my favorite.

So, take a moment to think of your own culture’s sacred traditions and celebrations. What one word is evocative of how you feel as you share those celebrations with family and friends? If you would like to share in the comments, I would love to hear from you.

I send you best wishes for all the joy and blessing your hearts can hold (and more) in 2021.

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Joy! (and more) © Susan L Hart 2020