The Purpose of Awakening: Learning To Love

The Purpose of Awakening: Learning To Love

We are gifted with life in the physical body and world to learn how to truly love. Our conscious participation in this process as awakened souls allows us to fulfil our highest purpose. And from the conflict all around, it’s clear that we’re not doing very well with mastering this lesson!

Life is very simple, really, but because most of us live from the mind and not the heart, we’ve developed the false belief that life is complicated and our ultimate purpose too complex or hard to find.

There is a better way.

It is time to remember why we came here in the first place. We did not come to earthly life to divide and conquer, but to find our way back to Oneness through love. All the great wisdom traditions tell us we are born from love, though we tend to forget that and operate on autopilot much of the time.

Learning to truly love requires us to develop gratitude and forgiveness. We cannot truly love with judgment and hatred in our hearts; and we cannot enjoy the beauty of life when we are driven by insatiable greed.

Ram Dass said, “If I’m an ego, I am judging everything as it relates to my own survival… souls love. That’s what souls do. Egos don’t, but souls do.”

From the soul perspective, a life well lived is not measured by the amount of power, money or status an individual can amass at any cost – a well-lived life is measured by how well the soul learned to embrace gratitude and forgiveness as expressions of Divine love.

We are intrinsic parts of nature and inexorably interconnected with all other people. Anything detrimental we do to the planet or to others, we ultimately inflict on ourselves. And so, the true wakeup call sounding for all of us is to see just how far we have drifted from the moorings of love so that we can course-correct.

Only when we acknowledge our part in the game of separation, judgment and fear, can we begin to heal the wounds of separation consciousness. There is no transformative benefit in reacting to the voices clamoring for separation, division and conflict, because whatever we react to, we entangle with energetically.

Instead, this is the time all awakened souls are asked to first go within and realign with Higher consciousness. From that alignment with the Source of love, unity and truth, our presence becomes transformative as we interact with fellow souls. We heal when we align with our Source – that truth, love and unity is what sets us free.

Our realignment with Source enables us to approach life from a place of Divine love rather than from survival anxiety. It also enables us to live with greater interdependence. As we increase our awareness of existing within an intelligent and benevolent universe, we experience greater intimacy and connection with all forms of life, including ourselves.

Will this guarantee a life of safety and comfort?

No – that is not why we came here. We embarked on this life for our personal soul growth, not to isolate ourselves from the lessons of this earthly school and our fellow soul companions.

It is true that life can be full of suffering. We all get physically sick and our bodies sometimes ache.

Just as in school, we may not enjoy all the lessons that come our way. There are abundant opportunities to feel let down by others or frustrated with ourselves. And the world at large—now there’s a circus! We are confronted with all sorts of painful, alarming situations—abuse, starvation, poverty, war, lack, uncertainty, corporate depravity. On any given day we might get into an accident or learn that someone we love has died.

Over eons of time, we’ve developed many coping strategies to survive, and not all of them are helpful. Coping strategies allow us to roll out of bed each morning and face the world. And while some of them are useful, we may overuse or over-identify with these survival strategies. When we do so, we become cut off from love, separated from trusting life and our Source.

Separation consciousness is rooted in the belief that the external world is separate. The ego believes that it resides “in here” and everything else is “out there.” By locking in this duality-based viewpoint, we cannot see our role in co- creating all our experiences. We become limited, fear-based and paranoid.

This duality-based view of life is an obstacle to the emergence of our Divine nature. To heal that, we need to return to love. A Course in Miracles states, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

Science tells us that we reside in a unified field of energy called the universe. Every major religion, spiritual path, and wisdom tradition has some version of Oneness at its core.

From an energy perspective, we are all interconnected like billions of mirrors endlessly reflecting and stimulating one another’s growth. The world is an enormous reflection of our psyche. Our job is to attend to the source of the projections, not the mirrors. We are to heal the roots of separation, not to slap labels on others that keep us separate.

Anais Nin said, “We see things not as they are. We see things as we are.” When we stand in judgment over something, it can be very enlightening to ask ourselves what it is we do not wish to see in ourselves, for it is that inner blindness that makes us project our self-judgment out into the world instead.

Spiritual awakening frees us from the blindness of unconscious living. It allows us to transcend ego as our primary identity. Awakening empowers us to bridge the separation we formed with life beyond ourselves. This ongoing process calls us to heal and reunite the wounds of separation consciousness, both in ourselves and with others. And we do that profound work with the tools of forgiveness, gratitude and love.

Persian mystical poet Rumi wrote, “Everyone sees the unseen in proportion to the clarity of their heart.” Clarity is what remains within when we replace our ego distortions with growing awareness. This shift in consciousness enables us to recognize the spiritual lessons presented in our experiences.

To the awakened soul, everything is a benevolent lesson—despite the ego’s endless stories that tell us otherwise. Stress, frustration or “negative” emotion is just an indication of something that needs attention, an invitation to expand our true awareness and heal the underlying separation.

We expand our conscious awareness through the practice of forgiveness – it asks us to surrender our attachment to the ego’s need to be right, to feel validated or empowered.

The ego wants to win, whereas the soul wants to grow.

When we let go of our attachment to the ego’s power addiction, we forgive. And when we forgive, we discover gratitude for what is. We’re able to see the beauty of what is, instead of blindly striving for what is not.

Situations the ego may construe as failure or loss may now be seen as opportunities to learn rich and necessary spiritual lessons. Even trying situations contain buried gifts. The imperfections of the world are perfect for our purpose of learning how to love in a healing way.

Instead of asking “Why this? Why me? Why now?” which implies that we do not trust the implicate order of life, we can start to ask instead, “How is this helpful on my journey? What can I learn from it? How do I need to change to return to my inherent state of peace?”

In true awakening, the presence of spiritual love within calls on us to have compassion for the struggles of others and to forgive them for their limitations. When we do that, we start to heal the wounds of separation. We don’t love the other because they are black, or white, Muslim or Jew, rich or poor – we love them because they are part of our family of humankind.

All our fellow humans deserve our love, forgiveness, respect and support because that is how we heal separation consciousness – not by sticking labels on them and then arguing about the meaning of the labels. And certainly not by destroying the fragile physical vessel of the soul.

Humans evolve when they can see and grasp a better way; a better vision of themselves and of the world. One of the greatest gifts we can offer others, is to recognize their true potential as souls and to mirror that for them so they can evolve toward that potential.

We heal anger with love, hateful acts with forgiveness, and disrespect with respect.

This is the real work of awakening. It is the work of healing the wounds inflicted by egos operating on greed and inequality.

If you are reading this, you are one of the awakened souls on the planet who are being called to be part of this monumental task. The time is now. Together, we can do this!

About the Author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

How You Can Thrive In The Emerging New Paradigm

How You Can Thrive In The Emerging New Paradigm

Change is everywhere, sweeping through our lives and leaving no-one untouched. It is driving us inward to identify and process our individual sense of loss and grief, asking us to let go of our attachment to what was before. This process is two-fold: the dissolution of an old paradigm, and the emergence of a new paradigm, in which you can thrive when you understand how to navigate.

After the storm has swept through, there will be a time for rebuilding. New life will emerge again, and we can find renewed hope by preparing ourselves for life after this.

But right now, during this time of loss and death, the failures of the old paradigm are laid bare for all to see. No matter how painful, we first need to acknowledge these shortcomings if we wish to build a better future and not repeat the mistakes of the past.

This period of global death and rebirth offers seed forms of new ways of living to participate more effectively in creating a society that benefits all. We are shifting from a linear, three-dimensional paradigm to a non-linear, multidimensional paradigm.

By understanding the navigational limitations of the old paradigm, we can embrace the possibilities of a new, higher level of consciousness to steer us forward. I’d like to offer you a navigational perspective for the emerging multidimensional paradigm, as well as a functional roadmap for leveling up perceptions to support our unfolding potential in this new paradigm.

The navigational system of the old paradigm

The navigational system of the duality-based paradigm consisted of a three-step process, which can be recognized in every major event of recent decades:

1. Problem

Problems are typically labeled as such not at the grassroots level, but by leadership, the media or both. It may be a false flag or it may have merit. Either way, attention is then focused on managing such problems superficially, often at the cost of ignoring deeper, systemic issues. This process of labeling certain issues as problems while ignoring others was ego-driven, short-sighted and often exploited for personal gain.

2. Reaction

Once a ‘problem’ is labeled by ego, it triggers an egoic response in others at the same level of consciousness, because it resonates at that level throughout the collective. Ego responses commonly evoke fear, anger, blame, shame and greed. These emotions trigger the ego’s survival response in humans, narrowing their focus to black/white dualistic thinking and blocking creativity. Often, ego-based leadership continues to fuel the flames with ’evidence’ of just how bad the problem is, thereby heightening public reactivity.

3. Solution

Once people are whipped into a frenzy of fear and reactivity, blinded to alternatives by their basic survival instincts, a ‘solution’ is offered – yet the offered ‘solution’ is merely a smoke screen for more nefarious agendas of power and control. And so, a superficial solution is sold by manipulative egos to fear-based egos without truly addressing core issues. Such solutions are always bound to fail, because they go no further than the ego’s survival instinct and perpetuate the reactive cycle of problem – reaction -solution.

There is a gift embedded in this crisis: We have the opportunity to step out of ashes of this limited paradigm by embracing higher perspectives to create more equitable processes for our world.

The navigational system of the new paradigm

The emerging new paradigm operates at multidimensional levels of consciousness, not just at the egoic level of survival. It fosters a growing consensus that to effectively address issues, we need to do so from a higher level of consciousness than where the problem originated. Einstein told us this more than a century ago!

Operating from higher levels of awareness expands awareness of multiple options and supports more empowered decision-making. To transcend the old paradigm of problem – reaction – solution, I would like to offer you three concepts for effective navigation in a new paradigm: Awareness, Neutralization and Discernment.

These three concepts form the acronym AND: together, they symbolize an inclusive, multi-dimensional perspective in addressing issues. We do not live in a simplistic, dualistic world of this or that; we live in a multidimensional Universe where this and that, and a multitude of other possibilities, coexist. To navigate effectively in this emerging paradigm, it is imperative for us to start working with these higher navigational skills:

1. Awareness

We cannot heal, fix or change that which we are not aware of. Ignoring problems does not make them go away. Who decides what the important issues are? What lies beneath the symptoms masquerading as problems in our society? If we are to make meaningful change, we need to think for ourselves, educate ourselves and learn to decide for ourselves. We are all responsible for life on this planet and our individual choices matter. To create true meaning and purpose in life, we need to use our Divinely given free will to learn, analyze and choose for ourselves!

2. Neutralization

When we become aware of an issue that causes dissonance or imbalance, it is not helpful to judge or blame others for the situation. Doing that, makes us a part of the problem! Feeling off-balance is a symptom of old, dense emotions in us that need to be processed. As long as we look outside ourselves for a scapegoat, we cannot evolve in consciousness. The planet needs us to evolve or else we will all become extinct. It is time to own the shadow in us because the teaching will continue until the lesson is learnt. We need to neutralize all dense emotion, no matter who caused it, so we can transform that energy into higher levels of consciousness. By neutralizing the dense emotion inside us, we are letting go of the ego’s grip on us while creating space for higher frequencies of forgiveness, love and faith. Neutralization of the old energies frees us to find a better way.

3. Discernment

Finding optimal solutions are easier when there are no discrepancies in our value systems and we are no longer manipulated by the ego in ourselves or others. In order to find the way forward, we need to take a higher perspective on issues and evaluate options from multiple levels. Once we can see multiple options, we can discern the most optimal. We need to navigate from our inner discernment instead of being manipulated from outside. Solutions that look great at first, may be exposed as flawed once we evaluate them from multiple levels in terms of both content and context. Discernment always guides us to optimal decisions, and it is a skill we can all learn.

Upgrading our systems of perception

To effectively navigate in the emergent multidimensional paradigm, we also need to upgrade our systems of perception. The old paradigm of duality-consciousness thrived on ego-based positions – we defined who we were by opposing what we were not. We let the ego control the agenda through our thoughts, feelings and emotions. These forms of awareness, while useful, are subject to the whims of ego and become limited in a multidimensional world. If we wish to rebuild a better society, we need to upgrade these basic areas of perception to operate from higher level of understanding, love and perfection:

1. From Thinking to Understanding

Knowledge for its own sake is a self-limiting ego activity. Knowledge which embraces both content and the appropriate context for its application, on the other hand, fosters wisdom and offers understanding. We need to learn, apply and become the change we wish to see. We need to allow our learning to transform us first, so our presence comes from a place of knowledge and integrity. This gives us a solid basis for empowered decision-making.

2. From Feelings to Love

In the old paradigm, it was easy to nurse feelings of woundedness and having been wronged. In the long term, wallowing in such feelings keeps us stuck in the ego’s victim-consciousness and its endless need for validation or revenge. It is time to free ourselves from these emotions by doing the work of inner healing: forgiving the perpetrators by understanding that wounded people cannot help but wound others, and by recognizing the shadow in us that is capable of the same. When we heal and release these primal emotions, we find that our natural resting place in consciousness becomes more loving: not the schmaltzy Hollywood type of temporal and conditional love, but an abiding, unconditional love for all forms of life. This higher expression of love goes hand in hand with compassion and wisdom. Our task is to become less affected by fleeting feelings and emotions, and to ground our actions in the unconditional love of the Creator. From there, we are able to co-create optimal solutions instead of placating our egos by seeking scapegoats to blame.

3. From Positionality to Perfection

In an ego-driven mindset, everything is viewed from the perception of how it could serve the ego’s needs and further its own self-interest at the expense of another. The ego thrives on taking a position on everything. To feel justified or important, it needs to label things as good or bad, right or wrong. In so doing, it keeps the focus on problems or wrongs instead of working toward solutions. Expanding awareness of All That Is, on the other hand, allows dualistic viewpoints to drop away until we can behold the magnificence of Consciousness unfolding and enfolding in Divine perfection. As the limiting positionalities of duality-consciousness drop away, we step into the beauty and perfection of All That Is. The Master plan of creation is always a plan of perfection because it emanates from a perfect Creator.

This is the optimal position from where we can create a healthier, beneficial society. We can become active co-creators in the emergent multidimensional paradigm by upgrading our systems of perception and functioning. By evolving as individuals, we will thrive at higher levels than before as a collective also.

The world we’ve dreamed of is waiting to be born – and we are the ones who will define the parameters by our individual levels of evolution. We create from the level of consciousness we embody. Let’s become fearless in our personal evolution, knowing that transformation within us also ripples out to benefit the collective. Let’s heal and transform at every level of our being to co-create and thrive in the emerging new paradigm around us!

About the author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit http://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Your Life Is Your Message

Your Life Is Your Message

Gandhi, that great peacemaker and inspirational leader, applied a simple motto to his life. It read, “My life is my message.”

Gandhi understood that we communicate with everyone we encounter each day; our lives are the books read by others, and our message is shared through our attitudes, values, beliefs, thoughts, words and actions – everything that drives us daily.

The message of your life consists of three very important components. Through it:

  • You guide yourself to what is possible;
  • You guide others about what is most important to you and what they can expect of you; and
  • You affect and influence the larger environment around you.

What does your life message say? Your message will always communicate what is most important to you. For your life to have positive impact, it is essential to cultivate awareness of the issues that occupy your time and attention.

You shape your life through the power of your attention before you even make a choice. Whatever you pay attention to, think about, dwell on, talk, worry or obsess about, will increase and multiply until it affects who you become.

  • If you constantly think about what frightens you, you will become more fearful.
  • If you constantly think about how unfair life is, you will see more reasons to support this view.
  • If you believe you are worthless, your choices and behaviors will reflect that belief.
  • If you feel entitled to be angry, you will find more and more to be angry about.

Likewise, when you pay close attention to what is positive, hopeful, supportive, uplifting and encouraging, your life and sense of self will inevitably reflect that.

You have the power to choose what you cultivate in the inner garden of your mind!

Whatever your circumstances, you can direct your attention to what will most positively affect your attitudes and actions. Your personal attitudes and values can lift your spirits or dash them far more effectively than anything outside yourself can!

The power of consciously focusing your attention also sets the stage for personal empowerment in your life. To the same extent that you harness your focus to practice self-awareness and self-knowledge, personal happiness and inner harmony become available within. Self-knowledge helps guide optimal choices, so the more self-knowledge you develop, the more self-empowered you ultimately become.

True self-knowledge allows for an honest assessment of strengths and weaknesses – not to judge or avoid the weaker aspects, but to allow for their healing and integration. This process is at the core of all personal growth. It ultimately empowers you to call on inner strengths and capabilities to meet life’s challenges, instead of making excuses for your woundedness or fear. Each time you strengthen or heal an area of woundedness, you become more integrated and more resilient to make empowering choices.

Over time, self-knowledge fosters trust in yourself and in the choices you make. There is no short-cut to true self-knowledge; it is developed in the thick of living where it grows from keen awareness and attention to the unfolding process of your life.

Your life is your most powerful message to others, and self-knowledge allows you to fine-tune that message. By observing your life and actions, you can cultivate the attitude and skills necessary to fulfill your life purpose in the most optimal way.

Here are a few pointers to get you started on honing your unique message:

Observe your impact on other people. Put yourself in their shoes. See yourself from their perspective. Listen to yourself. Get to know your emotional terrain and how it affects everyone around you. When you don’t like what you see, change it!

Listen carefully to your own stories. Your stories shape your character, temperament and sense of what is possible, so know what your stories are. How do you habitually describe the impact of life events on you? What themes do you emphasize? Which stories do you keep harking back to? When you see the impact of the stories you tell, you can change your habitual stories for more optimal outcomes.

Know your strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps even more important than your strengths, is the awareness of what challenges you. Both strengths and obstacles have lots to teach you. True authenticity is found by being aware of your weaknesses and working to improve them, yet choosing to reach for your highest potential.

Find out what matters to you. What do you talk about most persistently? Where are you focusing your time, money and attention? If it does not bring you the outcomes you desire, perhaps it is time to shift your focus.

Notice what makes you happy. What makes you feel genuinely excited and alive? What inspires and moves you? What fascinates you? Focus on these things, and they will surely expand to enrich your life.

Notice what dampens your enthusiasm. What are the thoughts that drive your fearful thinking? When you become aware of the thoughts that trigger your emotions and spin you into fear, anxiety or depression, you can exchange them for positive ones. Emotions  are driven by thoughts, not the other way around.

Notice how much you learn from your mistakes. There is no failure in life; there is only learning. Cultivating this attitude will save you from repeating self-destructive behaviors. Adopting an open mind leads to learning and growth; it also allows you to let go of habitual defensiveness and fear because you increasingly act from self-awareness instead of ignorance.

Learn from other people. It has been said that smart people learn from their experiences; brilliant people learn from the experiences of others. When you appreciate the experiences of others, you do not need to repeat them for your own learning; instead, you can avoid pitfalls and focus on optimal actions.

Get to know your inner world. You are the only companion you have for life. By getting to understand your own dreams, hopes and wishes, you’re able to support yourself in the best possible way to reach those goals while maintaining a sense of inner harmony.

Stay curious. Children are wonderful teachers because their minds are not cluttered with value judgments of good and bad. The more curiosity you cultivate about life, the more you will move out of judgment and into the field of possibilities from where miracles happen.

Your life is indeed your unique message and contribution to the world. Self-knowledge is the key to unlock that message so you can communicate most effectively with yourself, others and the world around you.

About the author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit http://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Living As a Mystic in The Mainstream of Life

Living As a Mystic in The Mainstream of Life

At times, it can feel as if the demands of physical life keep us so busy struggling to survive that there is no time for the mystic pursuits of spirituality. And yet, there is a way to live as a mystic in the mainstream of life, dancing gracefully between these seemingly opposite worlds.

We are not just physical bodies rushing through life; we are timeless spiritual beings experiencing life in the physical realm. And to thrive, we need to learn how to operate in both worlds: the world of the unseen Presence and the world of manifest physicality. We need to learn how to coexist in the realm of the timeless Now as well as the realm of linear time. Together, these realms offer us boundless gifts and opportunities for personal growth.

Shamans refer to this interface between realms as walking between the worlds: learning to live in both the realms of the timeless invisible and the manifest world. Walking between the world implies action, for it is not an abstract intellectual process. We come to understand life by experimenting and experiencing, not just by passive intellectual pursuit.

How do we become better at this process of living as mystics in the mainstream of life? Here are three guidelines to consider:

  1. Review and integrate the learning from your experiences so far.

Making peace with the past is important because it can empower and orient us in the present. A periodic review of our path offers the chance to release what is no longer appropriate in order to make space for the values and actions that can empower our future.

This process requires us to be ruthlessly honest and vigilant with ourselves. Where have we excelled? Where can we improve?

One of the subtle pitfalls on the spiritual journey that requires vigilance to purge from our lives is entitlement. You know, that sense of false righteousness that demands that Spirit bestows on us the things we desire, because we think we deserve them. We don’t even need to be followers of the prosperity gospel to fall for this trap, because it appeals to the ego in all of us.

Entitlement is an egoic illusion! Life gives us what we need, not necessarily what we want.

Spirit knows exactly what we need for our learning and growth. Entitlement, on the other hand, operates from the false premise that we know better than Spirit what we need and that we cannot trust in the loving care of a benevolent Creator. It is driven by fear and arrogance instead of trust and faith.

Because entitlement is driven by ego, it insatiable and cannot lead to long-term happiness. The key to happiness is not entitlement, but gratitude.

We are not our neighbors; therefore, the things they need for their growth are not the same as what we need. To fully trust, we need to let go of what we want, and to instead learn to embrace what we are given with gratitude.

2. Clarify and prioritize what is most important to your life right now.

Your unique life, in this very moment, is all you have. What is it you desire to accomplish with this precious gift? What is the legacy you wish to leave behind after you have passed from here?

So often, I hear people saying that they want to have more joy and happiness in their lives. They think that once they have more joy, they will be more grateful.

In reality, it works the other way around. The root of joy is gratitude: It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful!

We have thousands of opportunities every day to be grateful: enjoying good weather, having a good night’s rest, being able to walk and talk and express ourselves, having a functional body, having enough food to eat… night and day, life rains down gifts on us without us even asking. Had we been more fully aware of this, we’d be overwhelmed by gratitude!

Instead, we often shuffle through life in a daze until we are jerked back to reality by the loss of things we’d taken for granted. A power failure can make us aware of what a gift electricity is; a sprained ankle lets us appreciate the freedom of walking; an illness renews our appreciation for health; a sleepless night brings appreciation for the gift of sleep.

Instead of noticing the gifts of life only when suddenly deprived of them, we can bring awareness to these things and cultivate an attitude of gratitude instead.

3. Identify what is yearning to emerge in your life and take appropriate action.

When we fully live from the present moment, where we are aware of our place in both the seen and unseen realms, miracles can start to happen.

The soul’s yearning for more can be heard whenever we turn inward to listen.

We can let this yearning find expression in our lives by looking for what is meaningful, what we need to actualize our potential.

We can support the unfoldment of our potential by leaning into life and becoming an active participant in the process.

Along the way, we can cultivate an attitude of gratitude to keep our hearts open and to avoid the pernicious trap of entitlement.

We can remember that we are on this journey to experiment, experience and become – not to win or lose!

And we can muster the courage to follow our passion, knowing that through the failures, setbacks and challenges of the journey, we are evolving into our full potential.

About the Author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit http://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Honoring The Grace Of Small Things

Honoring The Grace Of Small Things

Sometimes life calls us to become still, to be quiet, and to pay attention to the Divine nature of everything around us. In that stillness, we come to acknowledge the beauty of song and the openness of the bruised, the magic of the insignificant and the terror of the unknown.

And from there, we bring the message back to others to, in turn, shake themselves awake and start looking at life again as if for the very first time.

It does not matter what brought you here, or which path stripped away your protective layers to leave you trembling before the awe of life. You are here now, and so I wish to share with you a vision of things that touch our hearts. I want to gift you a glimpse of the intricate and miraculous web of life and see the recognition light up your eyes, even as these things stir the deep memory of endless possibilities to love despite the vastness of an incomprehensible universe.

Today, I awoke to the symphony of birds whose names I’ll never know and marveled at the incredible complexity of their harmonies as they exuberantly welcomed the arrival of a bright new day. It spoke to me of joy.

In the street, parents walked their children to school, small hands swallowed up by theirs, smiling as they inclined their heads to hear stories bubbling from those rosy lips and downy cheeks, excited at the possibilities of a new day, and it spoke to me of hope.

I remembered the way a sloth wove slowly through the branches of a tree hanging upside down so her baby could cling to her belly without fear of falling, and I felt love.

At the base of the stairs, the fern finally succeeded in breaking thru the stony cracks to unfurl its tiny fronds to the warm sun, and it speaks of courage.

The way young people lean eagerly, expectantly into their future even when they don’t know what it holds, and it speaks of confidence.

And the way the old dog stretches out to let the morning sun warm its stiff joints and surrenders to each present moment.

And the way the car hesitates for a moment before the gear engages, reminding me of my own doubts.

And the way the grackles peck at the green oranges in the trees, carefully grooming themselves with the oils and then announcing their gleaming handiwork with loud caws before flying off to what they do next. And I am reminded that self-nurture precedes all service.

And the way a sentence can leap right off the page to pierce your heart with its honesty and truth, so you need to stop for a minute to experience the awe and beauty of it.

And the way you sometimes glimpse someone in a vulnerable moment and see right inside them to the soul that’s there, and your heart wells with compassion and love for its innocence.

Yes, I know that there is a lot of pain and suffering in our world. Good things end and bad things linger on, we fail and struggle and get hurt, hammered by loss and accident and tragedy until, some day, we slip away into the darkness beyond it all.

But I also know that we carry awesome potential and our experiences can make us kinder and more loving if we let them. I know we have a choice in how we respond to life: either dismissing dissonance as nonsense and huddling behind walls, or embracing the things that touch us even when we do not understand their full meaning.

Life speaks to us in a myriad of ways that cannot be measured or understood unless we listen carefully, and then are able to accept the messages of love, courage and hope. I know that life can be a beautiful dialogue with our souls, and for that I am deeply grateful.

About the Author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit http://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

How To Live A Life Without Regrets

How To Live A Life Without Regrets

While most of us aspire to live a life we won’t regret, many do express regrets at the end of life. If we could address the things we may regret now, we can focus on living the remainder of our lives with greater satisfaction.

I believe that regrets really stem from a lack of courage. We tend to regret the thing we did or did not do, because we lacked the courage to do it. We may have been too afraid of consequences, or the unknown, or what others may think. And so we settled for less, compromising our potential to live small lives of quiet desperation, as Henry Thoreau said, dying with our song still unsung within.

Regret-free living takes courage: it is as simple and as difficult as that.

Our lives are shaped by either courage or by fear. When we live a live true to ourselves, there will be others who judge us; voices that criticize us for stepping out of the box or label us as crazy. Fear of this dissonance often holds us back. To live fully and without regrets, we need the courage to follow our hearts, even when others may not understand our choices.

In fact, it is none of their business! Each one of us is fully responsible for our own lives and choices. When we choose to go beyond the comfort zone of the collective in order to grow and realize our full potential, that is a courageous decision that deserves support, not criticism!

It is this courageous process of stretching that develops elastic in our souls so we can extend further, believe more, and accomplish better outcomes. Courage to commit to our unfolding path is essential for a satisfying life. And nobody knows better than you what that means!

We need courage to break with norms, to expand beyond the confines of our tribe, and to let go of external expectations and pressures. Courage empowers us to fully live from our hearts, and to stay in touch with our true compass and purpose.

People at the end of life can teach us valuable lessons about living from their perspective at the end of the road. Bronnie Ware, an Australian caregiver who worked in hospice care, identified five core regrets among dying patients which can teach us a lot about living well.

  1. Not staying true to self

Look at a person disempowered and miserable about their life circumstances, and you will most likely find someone who never had the courage to break away from dysfunctional family dynamics. And if we lack the courage to make that primary break away from dysfunctional caregivers, we will end up staying put in jobs we dislike, putting up with abuse and lack of respect in relationships; we will ultimately abandon the opportunity to fulfill the purpose of our lives. To break free from any dysfunction, the discomfort of doing what is needed to be true to oneself must always outweigh the illusionary comfort of avoiding risk.

2. I wish I had not worked so much

People who work all the time develop no identity outside of work. Workaholics have no time to develop in other areas of their lives and when their work drops away, they have nothing else left. Developing healthy interests outside of work allows us to refresh ourselves; it also brings renewed energy to our work lives. Finding that space outside of work is an essential, enriching aspect of life often seen only seen in hindsight.

Deriving status and identity from our work can trap us into a role defined by society rather than by our individual truth. My mother was convinced that I should become an actuary – can you imagine how miserable I would have been in a profession that would have locked me into my left brain?? Another trap is buying into the scarcity thinking of the ego and never feeling as if we have enough money to follow our dreams or step away from a job we despise. Do you have the courage to let go of what does not bring you joy, so you can move toward what does?

3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings

Many dying people long to express their feelings to loved ones, yet never had the courage to do so. Fear held them back. They were crippled by fear of rejection, fear of being misunderstood, or fear of being vulnerable…. The list goes on. We need courage to speak our truth – and when we do, we free ourselves to live from our core truth, regardless of how others may react. Having the courage to be honest with oneself, is vastly more important that how others receive it because it gives expression to our vital life force. Suppressing our truth ultimately suppresses our life force.

Expressing our truth in a compassionate and kind way, creates space for healing and compassion. We don’t have to make another wrong just for us to be heard. We simply need to express our truth – not for justification or to attack others, but for our own healing. Everyone is at a different place on their journey; at times, it may be helpful to write out feelings to another because it allows us to distill our truth while giving others the opportunity to revisit our expression when they are ready.

Expressing ourselves also requires us to become good listeners, because communication is a two-way street. Our honesty and vulnerability can allow others to feel safe enough to express their feelings. Being present with others in a kind, non-judgmental way allows them to share without fear. Can we listen deeply to the people in our lives? Can we find the courage to say the things that need to be said?

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with friends more

At the end of life, memories of happy times and friendships enrich one’s life. And yet, most people’s lives start narrowing down after kids leave home. The comfort of confining themselves to the same routines, friends and circles can lead to stagnation. Stepping out of earlier roles such as parenting can be a stepping-stone toward broadening relationships and connections, rather than narrowing them. If we expand our friendship circles throughout life, we can offer enrichment to one another even as old friends and relatives drop away.

Sometimes, the desire to maintain a safe personal comfort zone prevents people from getting involved in the messy business of true connectivity. I have seen people withdraw from opportunities to help because seeing another in a difficult situation, made them feel too uncomfortable with their own tenuous sense of stability. Life is messy and true connectivity requires the willingness to get one’s hands dirty! True joy is found in real life connections; not on social media or from the comfort of our easy chairs. When we have the courage to connect with people face to face, we ultimately experience enrichment and joy.

5. I wish I had let myself be happier

This regret stems from not understanding that happiness is a choice. We often look for happiness outside ourselves with self-imposed conditions: if I lose 10 pounds I will be happier; if I could just find the right partner, or make enough money, I’ll be happy. The truth is that happiness is a choice. It is an empowering internal decision that we can make regardless of where we’re at in life!

When we choose to honor the truth of our Being, we will find happiness.

We are in this life for a limited time only. This life is going to end, and it is the only life we will ever get to live as these unique beings that we are. This life is precious and sacred: how can we then live to make it really count?

Our greatest joy, highest power and ultimate fulfillment lies in facing the fears that hold us back. We can muster our courage and live from the truth in our hearts. Imagine how much we lose out on while operating from fear and other people’s rules!

To live a courageous life, we’ve got to stretch in ways that may be uncomfortable. Perhaps you’ve heard this from a fitness trainer or yoga teacher, because it’s true in all areas of life: we need to stretch to grow, improve and get strong. And growing in courage means taking risks in the very areas where we feel afraid.

Everyone already has times in life when they’ve been courageous. You may have displayed great courage in a relationship or a job. Perhaps you didn’t recognize it as courage at the time; you were merely doing what had to be done. Yet in every situation where your acted courageously, you valued the discomfort of change more than staying in the comfort of the status quo. You might have been terrified, but you did it!

You can take courageous action again. One you know what motivates you, you can do it again. Let your core values motivate your courageous actions. Practice letting your courage ripple out into more and more areas of your life, and you will live a life without regrets.

About the Author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit http://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.