Where Do You Want to Live?

Some people live in the same place most of their lives; others move frequently over the years. Wherever you choose to go, your soul remains with you, as does your identity. The soul travels lightly, no passport, no possessions. The identity or ego, however, usually has a lot of “baggage” to declare. That baggage can take the form of either physical objects or nonphysical opinions and beliefs. Both can weigh you down, but the latter actually constricts your future experience. What you plan on, what you think should happen, places a limit on possibilities. It also limits whom you allow into your experience. The soul, without the opinions of the ego, would live life open-endedly, open-heartedly, inclusive of many kinds of experiences and people. An expansive circle instead of a small box.

This circle of soul energy is a place, or rather an empty space, where there are no limits to what is possible and no barriers between people. There is unity within your heart and unity among all those in the ever-expanding circle. Another word for it is oneness, the oneness of the spirit within which we all are sourced or born, and to which we return at the end of our lives. The question becomes why not live there now?

A few blocks from where I live is a street called “Unity.” I often pass the street sign and think: That’s where I want to live all the time—in unity of the heart. I feel humanity is gradually moving in that direction. We just have to make the clear decision to deeply desire the free life of our soul instead of the weighed-down life of our identity and the identities of others. Identity is the basis of separation. At the soul level, we are one.

In the framework of opinion/belief, if someone doesn’t agree, it’s a threat to the identity’s existence. Soul doesn’t care. Soul is eternal. Ego wants to believe it is permanent but it is not. At the end of our lives we see this and awaken to the wisdom of impermanence. Why not open to this awareness now and live life in greater unity with everyone and everything? The universe is not made up of single-lane, disconnected highways that lead nowhere. We may each be on different paths, but our lives are divinely intertwined, and we are all moving, imperceptibly, to the same final destination: beingness or oneness in Spirit, or Source. In fact, we are already one now, if we see with the eyes of the soul. From this perspective, life becomes a playground of possibility and connection with others, instead of a solitary burden and place of division.

Unity is a moment-to-moment choice. Your mind, in coherence with your heart, can consciously choose unity instead of separation. Your identity can take a backseat to your soul and not allow beliefs to prevent friendship and community. Hold your opinions lightly or drop them by the roadside. It’s a long life journey—don’t let extra baggage hold you back and keep you from the possibility of a shared future centered in love. Where do you want to live, in Mary Oliver’s words, “your one wild and precious life”?

Dawn, Dusk, and Midday

Vacillations in how we feel are part of life, particularly now as the planet lives through a pandemic. We have unexpectedly come face to face with potential illness and mortality, as well as the relative shortness of one lifetime. It can shake our emotional foundations. Yet, wherever we are on the timeline of life, most of us gradually reach some kind of resolution. We come to terms with life and death. The wisdom of the ages reaches into our souls and awakens awareness. We realize time is an illusion and if we don’t fully immerse ourselves in “now,” we miss both the mundane and spiritual impacts of life. This is the soul’s journey, right now being played out on a world canvas, as we pass from dawn to dusk and finally see the full illumination of midday (or the “present moment”).

We may not entirely recognize what is happening yet, but the trajectory of the years ahead is the soul’s emergence in the world as full awareness. Within the mystery that is earthly life, each human being comes to that moment of awakening to, acceptance of, and engagement with life “as is.” This particular time in history is showcasing the personal journey on a global scale. In a pandemic, no one escapes or gets out untransformed; same with human life. It may seem dire and perhaps depressing on one level, but from the soul’s viewpoint, there is no real difference between life and death. It is all universal consciousness experiencing itself, beyond time and space. It may take a lifetime to realize this, but it arises within us eventually.

As someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, I have felt a multitude of reactions, from initial panic to inner peace. Peace being the most prevalent and sustaining. Primarily because it arises from my soul. The identity can get caught up in future fears or “what ifs.” The soul is embodied spirit vision; it knows that at the center of all life is a loving peace that transmutes all transitory fear. On the cancer path, through the ups and downs of treatment, I have at times felt weighed down or lost. Yet when another day dawns, my spirits rise again; I am re-centered in the peace at my core, the sun lighting up my solar plexus.

Nature has proven to be my greatest ally as I navigate life day to day. Nature is all-inclusive: dawn, dusk, and midday. When we embrace Nature in its entirety, we recognize that all three experiences are really one, and we are One with Nature. In every moment, beginnings and endings exist—a full spectrum of possibility. A perfect design is unfolding, of which we are part. As I open my eyes each morning, I can see this clearly; my sustaining inner peace makes this possible.

So I learn as I go, as I live the diverse experiences of my life. We all learn this way. And we all end up in the same place, because we all came from the same place: infinite consciousness or beingness. Whatever name you give it, it guides us every step of the way in our lives. It is who we are, and our life experiences teach us this. At the end of each day/night, we feel the full circle within us, the golden light of peace that is always bringing us Home.

Inside the Rainbow—Book Excerpt*

There are at least 7.8 billion ways of seeing a rainbow, each one perfect and true. A scientist sees refraction of light. A poet sees transcendent beauty. A child sees magic. A spiritual seeker sees the gateway to heaven. Someone who has suffered great loss—a loved one, a home, a job—may see a sign of hope in the midst of their pain. What if our individual experiences of the world, of Nature, are how we discover meaning in life, how we connect with our souls and find God, or Spirit? What if spiritual connection is not about struggling to understand mysteries but instead just opening our eyes to the extraordinary beauty before us? Step inside the rainbow itself, and a world of vibrant color and divine light opens up all around you.

In the film The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy imagines a distant place beyond the rainbow where dreams come true. When she actually travels there, she discovers that her dreams have already come true within the home of her own heart. This home that lives in each of us is our soul’s connection to all of life. When we come to know Nature as a reflection of that connection, we understand that Spirit is embodied in everything we see. Inside the rainbow is your soul’s home.

It is not really necessary to travel to Oz or across vast continents to ancient holy shrines to live your dreams or find God. Every time you walk out your door you have that opportunity. Nature herself is a sacred temple that encompasses the entire world. In every tree, flower, butterfly, or rainbow is Spirit’s essence, the source of all life everywhere. The experience of God can be as simple or as complicated as you make it. It can have many layers or just one. It can be ecstatically joyful or quietly peaceful. It can be all of these simultaneously. Because God is everything. There is nothing that we perceive or experience that is not God, including ourselves.

God lives within our souls, so all that we see outside us reflects this inner core of peaceful, loving awareness that encompasses the universe. It’s impossible to describe Spirit in one definition, or in language at all. The greatest sages have said that the truest experience of God is in silence. Words limit the magnificent splendor that is divine consciousness.

All my life, even as a small child, I found that Spirit lived in the stillness of the natural world. I didn’t have words for it then because I wasn’t raised in any religion, but my heart always recognized the beauty and wonder I saw all around me in the birds and trees and flowers. It was an experience I have carried with me and deepened throughout my life. And it is available to every single person on this planet.

You don’t need to attend a religious service or spiritual program to know your soul and God. You just have to open your mind and your heart to the possibility that God and Nature are the same thing. If you do, I promise you, the entire world will begin to shine with a light that defies description. And you will understand at the deepest level the sacredness of the natural world.

The miracles and wonders in Nature awaken our own sense of the miraculous and wondrous, which is the Spirit inside us. The God within you and the God in Nature have been with you all your life, just waiting for you to see them as part of the oneness that includes all of us on this planet.
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*My new book, Inside the Rainbow: Soul Connection in Nature, can be purchased online in print or digital form at Amazon: https://amzn.to/3vvBuLo.
Book Launch/Reading on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLV7VxUU47k.

The World Is a Garden

For many years I had a garden filled with a variety of flowers in our yard in Massachusetts. After we moved to Florida, I created a smaller “garden” of potted flowers on our lanai. Now, back home in the Boston area, the backyard we share with our downstairs neighbors really has no room for a garden like my previous one. Instead, I have begun taking long walks through the neighborhoods of our town to delight in other people’s gardens. I have found this to be an unexpected gift of my return to New England. I loved having my own garden, but now I am enjoying the entire town’s gardens, as well as those at nearby Mt. Auburn Cemetery. Suddenly, the whole world has become a garden—or I am realizing it always was.

What a beautiful truth that is. The Earth that is our home is a Garden of Eden available to all, if we could remember to see it that way. Mother Nature has no borders or boundaries, no “mine” and “yours.” Humans build fences, claim ownership, but trees, plants, and flowers have unlimited connections beneath the fenced land which we can’t even see. The strength of their living energy has a power beyond wire fences and concrete walls.  Vines can topple fences, and trees can break through sidewalks. Ultimately, life cannot be contained; it flowers everywhere.

In the 1960s we called this “flower power,” and it defined a generation’s consciousness and vision of the future. But you don’t have to call yourself a flower child to see the unity of life displayed in the gardens of the world (as well as the wilderness). Humans often think they are separate from Nature; yet all it takes is a shift in awareness to see the oneness from which we have all emerged and that links us together. And this is exactly what I experienced as I walked daily from winter to spring to summer to autumn. Every day was a blessing and a revelation. Each neighbor’s unique garden with its seasonal changes was a cause for celebration.

Beginning in March and April, I watched flower bulbs push up through the frozen ground and trees begin to bud. Crocuses, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths. Redbud, crabapple, dogwood. Forsythia and lilac bushes. What glorious colors everywhere! New growth each day. The tiny yellow-green leaves of the maple and oak trees silhouetted against the clear-blue spring sky took my breath away. In May, June, and July, the colors grew even more vivid. Rainbow reds and purples and yellows. Magentas and pinks. Azalea, rhododendron, hydrangea, rose of Sharon, columbine. Every yard I passed seemed to have different variations. I have never seen so many kinds and colors of irises and lilies as I have this past year on my walks through town.

I didn’t have to “own” these flowers to love them or to appreciate my neighbors’ creativity and imagination in the plantings. It was like looking at living versions of Monet’s paintings of the gardens at Giverny. The colors and life flowed together from yard to yard. Everything seemed to breathe and grow as one. And as I passed by, I too was a part of that living painting that Nature imagines into being each year when the seasons change. In September, the colors were still vibrant in the zinnias, black-eyed susans, marigolds, ageratum, and asters. The tree leaves turned in October to brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows, and soon the bare branches were once again silhouetted against the sky. As winter arrives with its white snows, red holly berries, and deep green pine trees, the seasonal cycles continue.

This is what I discovered in not having my own backyard garden: Everywhere I looked was Nature’s beauty, none of it “mine” but all of it a shared blessing. I was at times moved to tears by the simplest, most delicate flower or the splendor of a tree covered with blossoms, radiant in the sun. The Earth gives us these gifts every day. Open your heart and receive them. Even that small flower blooming in a crack in the sidewalk on a city street is a miraculous part of a greater whole that includes you and me.

The Secret of Life

Every time you inhale and exhale, you are breathing the spirit of life, which is God. That’s the secret: The breath is God. In many languages, the word for spirit is the same as for breath. We hold this wisdom within the depths of our souls because it is what we are made of. Yes, we are human, but our humanity is composed of divine spirit. Your physical form is a sacred temple within which God experiences life on Earth. When you breathe, God is breathing. When you look through your eyes, God is seeing. When you look in another’s eyes, you are both gazing into pools of divinity. The only problem is that we have forgotten. We think that breathing is merely a physical phenomenon that arrives and departs with birth and death.

The breath is so much more. It is eternal, infinite. It is everything in all of creation condensed into something that seems very simple: air moving in and out of your lungs. But it is divine spirit that is the source of that rhythmic motion. Spirit that has no beginning or end. When you take your first breath, spirit enters your body as your unique essence, a piece of God. When you take your last breath, your essence, or soul, returns to the wholeness of God. In continuous motion, spirit flows from formless to form and back again. The entire universe moves in this manner—an infinite number of forms arising, flowering, and then falling back into formlessness. Your soul is part of this dance within divinity. Your soul, in human form, breathes spirit into the world.

What animates spirit in the first place? What is the primal cause behind every effect? Love. The infinite love of a creator for its creation. God is the eternal parent loving you, child of the universe, with the breath of life. It is love in its purest form. Divine love animates your life on Earth. With every breath, you are a conduit for that love. You touch everything around you with the divine love that pours from you just by breathing. When you become fully aware of this, you step into your greatest potential as a human/divine being on this Earth. You realize your oneness with God.

How do you become fully aware? Through a gradual deepening of conscious connection to the breath as living spirit. So many meditation practices focus on the breath because they are teaching oneness with God, with all of life. If you want to know firsthand the secret of life, look to your breath. Every time you inhale and exhale, you are one with God. In truth, there is never a moment when you are not one with God. The key is to remember it. To remember where we all came from (infinite consciousness) and how we are always connected to that greater loving Presence. The breath holds the key to everything. When you remember, your very being expands into harmonic resonance, and you are able to love limitlessly. This is what you were born for, to transmit oneness, love, peace, and unity through every conscious breath.