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 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.

Ten Truths To Empower You Right Now

Ten Truths To Empower You Right Now

Living your best life is all about making the most with what you have right now. Clearing the cobwebs from old, limiting thinking can be a great way for you to shine. Here are ten truths to challenge limiting beliefs and empower you so you can make the most of your life now:

1.Nobody knows why anybody does anything – and it doesn’t matter.

You don’t have to figure out why your neighbor ignores you or what happened to someone as a child to make her so mean. We humans are products of both our nature and our nurture – most of the time, we do things simply because we can. Trying to figure out why keeps us stuck in the past, so stop the over-analysis. Let it go, be here now and don’t take things personally!

2. Nobody owes you a thing.

Life is a precious gift, not an entitlement. You could never repay the time, love and support it took to get where you are today: loved ones, teachers and peers believed in you, challenged you and pushed you to become who you are. So, the real question is not what you can get from life, but what you are giving back in return.

3. You’ll be balanced when you’re dead…

Not a moment sooner! We chase balance like the Holy Grail, but it is the very cyclical nature of change that adds momentum to life. If you’re passionate about something, you may well want more of it in your life, so go for it. Your kids won’t turn into losers if you miss a few softball practices, so ease up on yourself. Learn to surf the waves of change with inner equilibrium instead.

4. Multi-tasking is an oxymoron.

Don’t be intimidated by people who do five things at once. Studies show that we don’t actually do more than one thing at a time – we simply switch our attention rapidly between projects, and we compromise on the quality of our output. Would you feel comfortable with a surgeon who juggles performing your surgery while texting and making phone calls? Choose to be masterfully present with one thing at a time instead of trying to be a jack of all trades, and you will ultimately be more effective.

5. You don’t deserve anything you have.

If in doubt, go back to #2. Entitlement is really unattractive. No matter how hard you’ve worked or planned, it is delusional to think that you are in complete control of the outcomes. God, circumstance, the actions of others, and timing all play big parts in your success, so skip the entitlement and practice gratitude for what life brings.

6. You’re ordinary. 

Relax, it’s a compliment! Ordinary people are reliable, industrious and consistent. Superstars often lose their inner freedom to the demands of fame, especially when their egos take over. Who would you rather call at 2 AM when your car breaks down – Tony Robbins or your brother-in-law?

7. You’re not a victim; you’re a volunteer.

The old saying that nobody can take advantage of you without your permission is true. We teach people how to treat us. If you don’t want something to happen anymore, don’t set it up in the first place. You change your life by changing yourself first.

8. You’re right. Life isn’t fair.

Life is more random that we could have ever imagined! It is also interesting and instructive when you keep an open mind, for it is from the seemingly random dynamics of change, that miracles emerge and possibilities show up.

9. There is no perfect time.

There is no place where time stands still and standards are lowered to keep you in your comfort zone. At any point in time there are only three things present: you, and life, and this very moment. What you make of this present moment, is up to you. What are you doing with your life right now?

10. Gratitude is next to Godliness.

Cleanliness is way down the list!  I have yet to encounter someone at the end of life regretting the dust on their furniture or the stains on their windows… but many regret the opportunities for gratitude they passed up. Eckhart Tolle puts it this way: “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Look for things you can be grateful for and you will be amazed at how many more blessings show up.

About The Author:

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://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.

Growing Gratitude: A Valuable Life Skill

Growing Gratitude: A Valuable Life Skill

What would life look like if we experienced more gratitude? Imagine your satisfaction when someone expresses gratitude for your efforts; or your contentment  when feeling happy about life, right in this moment. We can all have more of that because growing gratitude is a valuable life skill we can learn!

The simple attitude of gratitude is one of the most powerful creative energies we can work with. It transforms our consciousness because energy flows to whatever we focus on, and makes it grow.

Gratitude also increases happiness. When we express genuine appreciation for the goodness we already enjoy each day, we cultivate happiness in our lives.

Perhaps you have not yet lost the twenty pounds you want to, but you have learned to make better food choices. Or you have not yet found the love of your life, but you have been blessed with loving relatives and friends.

It’s a simple yet powerful principle: You can develop more of what you desire in life by noticing what you DO have already and growing an attitude of gratitude for that. You have the power to create more of what you love by expressing genuine appreciation for the good things you already have.

Expressing gratitude is a learned skill. It is done not in a superficial or schmaltzy way, but through genuinely heartfelt, eyeball-to-eyeball or heart-to-heart connection. It involves appreciation delivered with real meaning rather than some perfunctory mumblings or syrupy platitudes.

Just think of all the meaningful things that you have already enjoyed today: the smell of coffee that got you going, a warm shower, soft towels, a selection of clean clothes in your closet, sunshine warming your face, tantalizing aromas all around, the ability to walk and talk… there’s so much to be grateful for!

Once the habit of growing and showing attitude takes hold, you’ll start noticing more and more of life’s blessings around you. Gratitude expands our hearts to notice more of what we already have appreciation for.

Imagine how relationships would be enhanced if you used the same approach to express appreciation for the people in your life!

Take a few moments to consider the relationships you’re grateful for. Reflect on the qualities you appreciate in each of your relatives and friends: the smile on a child’s face, the hug of a loved one, the spontaneous playfulness of a friend… and even their individual ways of craziness! We can find something to be grateful for in every person or situation.

I had an eccentric great-aunt who had the knack for making keen observations about others at the most inappropriate times. I used to blush in embarrassment at her unflinching directness, yet when she was no longer able to attend family gatherings, her special brand of candor was sorely missed. Only then did I realize how her unique brand of eccentricity enriched our lives.

Perhaps there are a few people with varying degrees of eccentricity populating your life as well. They also have a role to fulfill — even if it is to stretch your tolerance level, teach patience or give you an opportunity to forgive! And yes, they offer you an opportunity to grow more gratitude.

Expressing gratitude is a priceless gift we can offer ourselves and others. Now is a perfect time to express your gratitude to people who have touched your life. Let them know what you love about them and how it makes you feel. You’ll add meaning to their lives while strengthening your relationships.

Growing gratitude is indeed a valuable life skill we can learn to enhance our quality of life.

About The Author:

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://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 Navigate Life’s Crossroads Without Fear

In today’s world, change confronts us with major, life-defining crossroads more frequently than ever. For one person it may mean leaving a job that no longer works. For others, that life-defining moment is on a personal level: finding the courage to break free from addiction, leave a relationship or reclaim their health.

Facing life-defining crossroads as the captain of your own life can feel scary or intimating, but it need to be so. Crossroads represent more than disruption of the status quo: they are opportunities for our choices to determine long-term outcomes. The way we navigate them are critical: we can choose a path from a place of fear and survival, or we can choose from a place of faith and trust.

Whenever you encounter crossroads in your life, something deeper in you is being called forth and, once you answer that call, you know that life will never be the same. You can step to become a co-creator with the Divine, choosing a path that ultimately enriches your life.

When you first encounter a life-defining crossroads, you may be unsure about how to proceed. Inspired guidance has not yet come forth and you may feel as if you are lost between the past and the future. This stage offers you the opportunity to embrace the unknown rather than feeling afraid or stuck. How can you do this without going into fear?

It is helpful to remember that the experience of nothingness – the void of the unknown – is really the experience of pure potential. The place of non-material nothingness embodies pure, undifferentiated potential for a new reality to emerge in response to your intention, focus and faith. Instead of emptiness, this space contains the fullness of all possibilities. It offers you the opportunity create a new level of being for your soul to experience.

Facing the unfamiliar and unknown is actually a gift: it offers you a profound opportunity for conscious creation! Recognize that you are not at the whim of outside circumstances and random events here. This is an opportunity for you to attract optimal outcomes by using the timeless tools of co-creation: intention, alignment, trust and gratitude.

You can consciously guide and create events through your focused intention, which forms the core of any creative process. When you set your intention clearly and specifically, you signal to the energies out there to create a reality that resonates with what you hold in mind.

Next, you need to take responsibility for your feelings so that you are in emotional alignment with your intention, banishing any sense of fear, worry or doubt. Wherever your focus goes, energy flows. It is therefore essential to recognize any thoughts, feelings and emotions of fear, and to release these with compassion so your mind can be at peace – the true resting place of faith.

Finally, you have to let go of trying to control outcomes. Instead, present your desire or need to the Divine and then detach from it. Simply let go of all attachments and aversions related to the situation: both your attachment to the desired outcome and your fears of the alternative. Trust the Life Force to respond to your situation at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way.

Then, allow gratitude to fill your being: give thanks for Divine guidance, provision and support to flow into you with each breath you take. Let the Divine Presence which sustains your very being, surround and fill you with a deep sense of gratitude. This attitude of gratitude expands your perspective to recognize guidance, synchronicities and confirmation on your journey.

When you operate from this place of gratitude and trust, you will take inspired action rather than pushing to make things happen from a place of fear or control. You are indeed part of a dynamic feedback loop with Divinity; a co-creative relationship where you are holding space for answers to emerge through your intention, alignment, trust and gratitude.

Once you grasp the enormous potential inherent in this process, you will approach life’s crossroads as an opportunity to create optimal outcomes from the raw materials of faith. Co-creating with Divine inspiration, your mind can begin to grasp what it means to have all of time and space at your disposal.

Here are a few principles to keep in mind as you learn to become fearless in the field of all possibilities:

  1. Remain detached from both expectations and fears. Recognize that attachment breeds expectation and fear. Instead, focus on the Eternal Source of your supply and keep your focus on that Divine Source rather than on circumstances.
  2. Keep your perspective on the present moment. When we focus on the future, we feed fear and anxiety; when we focus on the past, we feed guilt, blame and regret. In the present moment, there is always enough grace to meet your need, no matter how overwhelming the circumstances. By staying focused on the present, you stay open to all the possibilities.
  3. Adapt quickly to mistakes. Rather than turning a setback into some judgment about yourself, the situation or somebody else, simply acknowledge your feelings of disappointment and take note of what you have learned from it. Then renew the process of detachment, surrender and trust so you can return to your ultimate resting place of peace.
  4. Be alert to tiny signals – major turning points of life often arrive as small signals at first. Learn to see and interpret the metaphors through which life speaks to you.
  5. Cultivate a healthy, balanced connection between your soul and body. You will be most effective at decision-making when you remain aware of your spiritual core guiding you through the physical challenges of life, rather than trying to disassociate from either aspect.
  6. Stay flexible in your understanding and embrace ambiguity. Transformation is sometimes a messy process. Flexibility makes it easier to release unrealistic expectations when they prove untenable.
  7. Be patient. You are a spiritual being that exists in eternity; don’t let human expectations and timelines rob you of peace. Surrender every fear, doubt, anxiety or worry as it surfaces, so you can hold a space of clear intention and trust the perfect unfolding of Divine order.
  8. Take excellent care of yourself. Nurture yourself with healthy food, exercise and rest so you can have the physical resilience and stamina to realize optimal outcomes.
  9. Allow your core values to guide your decisions. When your choices, actions and behaviors are aligned with your values, you won’t need to second-guess yourself.
  10. Honor healthy boundaries. Learn that “no” can be a complete sentence. It’s a healthy and necessary way to address external demands at a time when you need time and space to figure out major life decisions.
  11. Be discerning about the company you keep. During times of change, it is important to receive validation from people whose view of reality matches your own. Such encouragement supports your process of learning to trust your own inner guidance, whereas negative people deplete your energy.
  12. Take time for meditation or contemplation. This practice will help you stay centered and at peace. It is also a powerful way to re-connect to Divine inspiration and fuel for your soul.

Together, these principles can help you fearlessly face the unknown and embrace new possibilities. The cross-roads of your life can become a life-changing opportunity!

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.

Individuation: Its Cost and Benefits

Human beings are strange and miraculous creatures.  From our first moment in life we hurtle toward uniqueness and individuation. We seek it out individuation at all cost, yet this sense of individuation comes at a price: for every door we step through, any number of others are closed.  We become who we are at the expense of who we are not.

Recognizing there is a cost to every path we choose and coming to terms with that, is not easy. Before we reach acceptance, we often resent the circumstances of our lives; we resist the limitations on our path and focus on what is lacking. We define ourselves by what we are not, and this leads to envy, resentment, anger and bitterness.

Once we accept the process and price of individuation, we can turn toward gratitude instead. We give thanks for the miracle of life and all it has brought us. We are humbled by blessings and double our efforts to build upon it, using our lives as vehicles to enrich the tapestry of humanity.

We learn to accept our brilliance with humility and to forgive our shortcomings with grace. We learn to respect our dreams, acknowledge our fears and measure ourselves against a simple standard: how we conduct ourselves to leave a living legacy for generations that will follow. Instead of envying what others have, we celebrate in them the gifts and blessings not present in ourselves, because we know their unique gifts are not threats to be envied, but gifts that offer wholeness and diversity to our world.

At times, we may look back and think our lives have turned out to be less than we dreamed of. We may even stumble or fall along life’s path. This is not a crime. The crime is in refusing to get up and continue, or failing to embrace others who have fallen in their own way.

We will probably never be as good or worthy as we wish to be. Yet if we can forgive ourselves for our failures, we find grace to forgive others theirs. Ultimately, it sets us free to make the most with what we have.

When I think of the life I have been blessed with, I am humbled beyond words. I could never have imagined this life at the start. Its unique unfolding is a miracle, a treasure of unexpected grace. Though I am not what I once thought I should be, I am more than I might have hoped for. The landscape of my life fills me with immense gratitude.

Today, I know that I will never be a wealthy philanthropist who can eradicate poverty and disease on a national scale, or a mother surrounded by extended family, or even a mystic leading a life of pure spiritual consciousness unencumbered by the cares of the world.

But I do know that I am blessed. I am privileged to touch and transform many lives one by one; my path allows me to offer nurturing and love to all my relations, human or otherwise; and I get to walk between the worlds of spirit and earth, nature and society, where I can help restore health, harmony and hope.

I am honored to play a part in healing the world we live in by making the most of the gifts and opportunities I do have. It is my way of giving thanks for the miracle of life.

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.

Manufacturing Happiness

One of the most common yearnings expressed by individuals in the West, is the desire for happiness. The founding fathers of the United States declared that the American people have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And pursue it we have!

Hollywood advocates that that we will find happiness when we are rich enough, find true love, or encounter some magical event. We are conditioned to look for happiness somewhere else: in the future, in someone else, or in some outside situation.

Question is: how well has it served us?

When we look at the sky-rocketing levels of addiction, breakup, depression and unhappiness that run rampant in this society despite it being one of the most affluent in the world, it is clear that chasing after happiness outside ourselves, does not work.

You see, happiness is not out there; it is an inside job. And that means that you and I have the power to be happy right now, right where we are. If we are unhappy, perhaps it is time to take a look at the nature of happiness so we can stop dreaming about it and take practical steps to become happier. Yes, happiness is not something we stumble upon; it is something we create, something we become.

Researchers have found that we do not need to always get what we want in order to be happy. We can be just as happy if we don’t get what we want, as we’d be if we do actually get what we want.

In fact, we can manufacture our own happiness – and if we desire happiness, it is essential that we learn how to do this.

Researchers distinguish between two kinds of happiness: natural and synthetic happiness. Researcher Dan Gilbert defines them this way: “Natural happiness is what we get when we get what we wanted, and synthetic happiness is what we make when we don’t get what we wanted.” 

Natural or spontaneous happiness is what we experience when things are going our way and fortune smiles on us. This is the kind we are most familiar with, but it is also fleeting, unreliable and intermittent.

Synthesized or manufactured happiness is the kind of happiness we create when we change the way we look at things; the happiness we synthesize when we learn to make lemonade from the lemons in our lives, and it is every bit as real as spontaneous happiness.

In fact, when we fixate on finding spontaneous happiness, we miss the opportunity to manufacture happiness with what is already in our lives, and we become miserable!

A good example would be looking at how the two types of happiness interact in relationship. In dating, we look to find what we want; in marriage, we need to find a way to like what we’ve gotten!

New relationships are marked by spontaneous happiness; whereas the challenge of marriage is to learn how to synthesize happiness with the person and situation we have chosen. Chasing after the next fleeting experience of spontaneous happiness won’t last; it is the process of manufacturing happiness within the constraints of our situation that brings lasting fulfillment and joy. Ironically, this process of synthesizing happiness works best when we are totally stuck or trapped!

Synthetic happiness acts like our psychological immune system. It works to keep us happy. In his book, Stumbling upon Happiness, author Dan Gilbert describes it as a system of cognitive processes, largely non-conscious, that help us change our views of situations so we can feel better about the situations we find ourselves in.

Author Wayne Dyer put it another way when he said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at, change.”

Our brains are notoriously bad at predicting our happiness. Experiments have repeatedly shown that we overestimate both anticipated pleasure and pain. Our prefrontal cortex simulates that getting something we want, is more important than it really is – it exaggerates the impact of events on our happiness, whether positive or negative.

For example, we overestimate that winning the lottery will increase our happiness or that losing the use of financial security or becoming a paraplegic will completely ruin us. In reality, individuals test at similar levels of happiness one year after winning lottery or becoming a paraplegic. In other words, both our desires and worries are overblown.

We can manufacture our own happiness from within – right now, with where we are and what we have. When we learn to synthesize happiness from within, the very events and outcomes we dread, can turn into new opportunities for happiness.

Studies further indicate that freedom and choice can negatively impact our happiness. When we have choices, we worry about opportunities lost. Think about that the next time you are in the grocery aisle trying to select a product!

Freedom is the enemy of synthetic happiness. While freedom can bring about spontaneous happiness when it offers what we want, it robs us of the opportunity to synthesize happiness. You see, we only learn to like what we have when we have no choice! It is when we are feeling stuck that we have the opportunity to create happiness from within by learning to appreciate what we do have.

Most of us tend to have a basic level of happiness that we revert to. Not everybody ascribes to the “bullying cheerfulness” of false happiness, as physician Andrew Weil describes the prevalent cult of happiness in America.

In his book, Spontaneous Happiness, Weil says that there is an inverse relationship between affluence and contentment: The more we have, the less contented we seem to be. In America, the cultural expectation that we’re to be happy all the time and our children should be happy all the time is toxic, and it gets in the way of true emotional well-being.

Mahatma Ghandi perhaps put it best when he said: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

Genuine happiness comes from within, and is synthesized by a lifestyle that integrates personal values, gratitude, laughter and forgiveness. In the long run, these qualities allow us to synthesize happiness as an enduring form of contentment and serenity, independent of external circumstance.

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.

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