Wishing you a happy and most prosperous New Year 2018
From all of us at ICL/CO
Charlotte, Ashlie, Keri, & Melissa
Wishing you a happy and most prosperous New Year 2018
From all of us at ICL/CO
Charlotte, Ashlie, Keri, & Melissa
Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
Fisherman in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would not look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.
What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.
Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.
Life’s gifts exist in every day. This season, celebrate the Light-Power within you. Cherish it, listen to it, and allow it to guide you. Be a Light for others in need. Be kind, compassionate, and harmonious, for these may be the only gifts desired by some. Allow yourself time to be still, to keep quiet. You will be amazed by the personal treasures this gentle spiritual practice can bring.
On behalf of the ICL/CO team, we thank you for your support throughout the years. Happy Holidays and much prosperity in the coming New Year. May you find your way home…back to yourself, right where you belong.
Live with love, Live in Peace!
Even though I realize that this longing won’t be possible once again this year, I have wanted to be in Bora Bora on Thanksgiving ever since my first visit so many years ago. However, family and friends continue to inspire me to be still and to pause.
In Tennessee, remnants of Halloween and the autumn season are gradually being replaced by holiday greenery galore. In Colorado, snow capped mountains to the west of Denver reminds us of more changing of the seasons to come. To be an element of both regions, though different, allows me the opportunity to know such gracious people who come from all walks of life.
Many are unable to be with family during this time of the year. Even so, gratitude of the season remains. It is said that friends come as they go… Nonetheless, for some, during this month of gratitude and at other times of the year, friends are family. And, a special meal with family’s various symbols is a wonderful way to reflect during the holiday season.
When we are managing shopping, making homemade gifts, and attending many gatherings, it is very easy to lay focus on these effects, instead of what the season truly embodies. Living a life of gratitude offers us special moments to appreciate what is. It is being thankful for the farmer who grew the vegetables for our meals, to recognizing and thanking the grocery clerk who assisted us with our purchase. And, if you are like me, and grew your own vegetables over the summer months, take time to thank the soil that welcomed those very seeds.
The journey home for the holidays may simply mean allowing time for inner reflection on what it is that truly touches your core. Maybe it is the colors of autumn or the smell of pumpkin pie. Perhaps, it is recognizing that you are loved within your chosen communities, evoking a sense of belonging. Or maybe, just maybe…it is in the understanding that peace on earth must begin with you. To be effective, outside interventions are highly reliant on inside beliefs. This collaboration permits you to transform from the foundations of your own beauty.
Move toward Light always. Spiritual wealth lives there. Light is compassionate and offers empathy even when we mess up. Light brightens in gratitude, and affords us the occasion to move into higher realms of Divine. Living a life of gratitude is a clear representation of this. Do hold it near…
May you have the most beautiful Thanksgiving,
The Holidays, as they are celebrated in most American cultures, are right around the corner. Lights, music, tasty foods, and beautiful fashions are often more prevalent during this time. Some people stress about impending weight gain, while others may search for a greater sense of purpose and well-being, which, depending on their state of affairs, can be impossible to achieve. When difficulties in coping occur, are these apprehensions for the holidays based on our own inflated expectations? And, are we neglecting realism, even though some are quite aware that the family dinner often ensues with a level of drama far exceeding historical achievements?
From a spiritual context, we know what we should do to prevent family and holiday burn-out. However, when caught-up in celebratory magnificence, comfortable and daily practices are occasionally pushed back until the first of the year. At least this is what we sometimes tell ourselves. All will be good in January, we say. Even so…the Good in you, to serve self and others, still remains, and we must discover and rediscover primary opportunities to consistently harvest it.
Let’s touch on a few…
One of the first steps for daily well-being is acquiring sound, restorative sleep. A recent study in the journal Sleep, showed that poor sleep patterns cause inflammation in the body and can be directly connected to several types of diseases. On the flipside, the same study showed that too much sleep can also produce certain forms of illness. Finding balance is indeed an important element.
One of my recent guest in his 70’s shared with me that without daily exercise, he is unable to experience a good night’s rest. One other acquaintance swears by essential oil of lavender in her diffusor each night. Another, believes that 8ozs of fresh carrot juice often can do the trick. Drawing the line to what we would try, may simply mean that we must find our own paths to rest…to rest the mind and the body for some of the psychological and physical responsibilities the holidays may bring, could be beneficial to experiencing peace.
Maintaining Healthy Routines
Next we must consider eating a healthy diet. Not only will this boost our immune systems, it may also help to balance the upcoming holiday meals patiently awaiting us. If you know that you will have a holiday event at the end of each week, try balancing your food intake prior to this time. Check with your doctor or nutritionist to learn the most ideal way to do this.
Third, practicing self-talk can also be a powerful tool. The little engine in the train said “I think I can, I think I can.” Well, pretend your heart is the little engine, and continuously tell yourself the same, relating to any trepidation you may hold.
Forth, when faced with occasional challenges or challenging people, adjust your self-awareness to smile inside. In these situations I tell myself, “This is clearly not about me, I am poised and smart enough to know this.”
Implement a Personal Mantra
Fifth, when you are uncertain about your own abilities to be able to skate through the next few months, tell yourself “I’ll show you” and use this as your personal mantra toward motivation to help to rid yourself of uncomfortable, stressful, and, “I’d rather be home than doing this“, moments.
Harvesting the good during the holidays is like the daily work of a farmer. We must plant the seed, water it, and patiently watch it sprout. With proper care it grows and grows into this wonderful nutritious element that sustains us for one season, and perhaps many others.
You matter! Take care of yourself. With consistency, you can accomplish more Good for yourself to then peacefully transmit onto others.
Enjoy this most beautiful time of the year!
Drummond, S.P.A. (2017). The sleep research society (SRS) is excited to be part of the evolution happening at Sleep. Sleep, 40(1), 1. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep.zsw078
Collectively, the month of September often bring us significant ecological changes. The weather starts to cool down and plants and trees begin their time of rest. Leaves turn to brilliant colors that enliven and awaken our spirits to the beauty they hold. Yes, this time of the year prepares us for what is to come as we await the core visible components of noteworthy change that are both external and even internal.
As our review of this remarkable time of the year become clear, we understand that September is most definitely a time for introspection and preparedness. Elements of Hallow’s Eve and Spiritual Celebrations are often in every space we turn. And, depending on our beliefs, indeed, the dramatic inflow of such elements can become overwhelming for some more than others.
Importantly though, what changes are you hoping to see in yourself during this preponderance of external alterations? We all know that change from all angles can be difficult to adhere to. Yet, there is always the mantra that “Change is Good”. But what is it good for? This is the question we must ask before embarking on a pathway of internal modification. Good as an adjustable direction when produced through interior change, may touch numerous aspects of our lives. It can be made manifest through our compassion for others or even through “actionable” steps toward healing self and in assisting those who share our everyday places.
There are many self-assumed descriptors that people who declare to be “change agents” use. However, even those in this line of work, must step back and consider the deviations within their personal being needing to be realized. No one is perfect, we are in this thing together! As a starting point, accept this as your truth and prepare to apply contemplative and actionable methods in the direction of achievement.
As Kahlil Gibran wrote so long ago “Accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.” Protect your heart while nurturing your fields. Exercise your right to quietude during this time of granular personal perception, and share your thoughts with your supportive squad.
The big factor in the process is coming to the realization that Good requires a momentous turning point in times of chaos. Yet, Love remains in the chaos and will assist you in crowning your verity. Breathe, embrace silence, and take action toward your upward good.
If we can assist you in the process, please reach out.
We often speak of the importance of being grateful, though not too many of us can say that this is consistent in our day-to-day lives. When the unexpected appears, at times we forget to say thank you for the lessons. Instead, we can become angry, upset, and may shut-down all together. However, what we fail to realize is that there is always someone who could very well benefit from a positive spin.
In a recent conversation I had with a dear friend who is currently going through a few trials, she shared with me about the importance of her saying “Thank You” even if someone literally steps on her toes. I listened and marveled by our congruent conversation of openness and deeper understanding. This led me to think about what it means to be in full gratitude in every moment, which can be boosted through the implementation of Nurturing Habits, a program we consistently use at ICL.
Here at ICL, Nurturing Habits is a name given to the way we use words to genuinely connect with people to build stronger relationships. Simply put, the words offer a deep connection to who we are as spiritual beings despite some of our human experiences.
All spiritual texts profess the importance of the Golden Rule. To touch on a few, in Buddhism, it is said “Treat not others in ways that you yourself may find hurtful.” In Christianity, Jesus said “In everything, do unto others as you would have them do to you.” And, in Hinduism it is said “This is the sum of duty; do not do to others what would cause pain if done unto you.”
Nurturing Habits is a form of abiding speech. When in use, the Golden Rule can become a simple act of everyday grace. So try saying these words more often:
Faithful speech allows us to become wiser in understanding the needs of those in our spiritual communities and in our everyday living systems, and to be grateful for their presence in our lives. It offers trust and support when needed, and helps to build the emotional well-being of others. Try practicing Nurturing Habits in your own environments, and share your findings with us.
May you have a fruitful August!
Source: Golden Rule (Buddhism): Udana Varga 5.18
Golden Rule (Christianity): Matthew 7:12
Golden Rule (Hinduism): Mahabharata 5:1517
July is a month I often view as a time that we as a nation can give thanks for our independence from the country that bounded us. It also affords me with a time to reflect on my own notion of independence, specifically in a spiritual nature.
Growing up in a country in Central America, I was tied to one faith, the faith of my father. After my migration to the United States, though still deeply embedded in this faith, the veil was slowly lifted from my eyes. In my home country the environment was a melting pot with many religions and spiritual adaptations, which I was allowed, by my mother, to partake in through experiences and lovely relationships. Yet, my spiritual comfort was always in my personal relationship with God.
This changed, as I moved into adulthood living in America. My inquisitive nature was risen by my drives through quaint neighborhoods and the vision of crosses, golden steeples, Ganesha, and the like. I was curious about what happened in these buildings of intrigue. Fear was released and I entered each to learn more and to be more. This began my first steps to what I now perceive as my personally crafted spiritual independence where I view God as the Great Mystery. The One, I know from spiritual guidelines, and yet, the one I long to know more intimately. My spiritual independence is an open book that allows me the opportunity to understand God in many contexts, grounded in cultural identities and spiritual variations.
Today, as a minister trained in interfaith principles, I am finally home. My spiritual freedom encompasses all that is right, intriguing, just, and humanly-fair. My daily walk provides me the opportunity to live in principles that were practiced so many years ago, while still honoring this God I’ve known all of my life.
Whatever you believe, I honor you with no judgements. Continue your walk of harmony and peace. The world needs you!
How we think…
“Peace among religions is a precondition for world peace. But religions, as religions, can
never be at peace with each other. To enable religions to be instruments for peace we
need to enable, first, religious communities to progress from religion to spirituality. For
the world order to be one of peace and justice, for the global village to be a theater of
right livelihood, it is imperative that a new and proactive spiritual vision commensurate
to the challenges of the emerging world order be enunciated without delay. The challenge
is to make “right livelihood” a universal goal. Recognizing this value in a symbolic way
through an award like this is a significant step in the right direction. This is not, however,
our journey’s end. We must not rest until right livelihood is within reach of every human
being upon this earth we love and cherish. We all have a role to play in achieving this
— Swami Agnivesh
What do you believe?
Love One Another…
We know that at times this is not an easy thing to do given the daily life challenges we occasionally face. Yet, it is our credence that this love must first start in our homes, to move into our communities, nation, and the world. Envision this and breathe it into reality.
We are here to support you every step of the way. Please contact us if you need a listening ear or two.
The unusual warm days in Colorado has placed some friends in a spring fever kind of mood. It is contagious as it is welcoming. I especially appreciate conversations that are historical in nature based on childhood experiences and how some of those same experiences are incorporated into present lives through the events of our children.
For many, current happenings have led us into deep reflection and a bit of concern. Yet, we know that despite setbacks, we can move forward. The spring equinox is a perfect place to start as we seek out simpler and more enriching lives; for ourselves, those in our circles, and those we continue to serve.
It is my belief that it is through our own knowledge, skills, and awareness that we can dismantle tribal divisions that separate and harm. Within this framework, ICL continues to offer classes and programs that can break down walls of misunderstandings, hate, and untruths.
Spring is truly a time of awakening, so let’s take advantage of the many facets of its veracity. This season, whether you are motivated to take a class with us, plant seeds, connect more with those who know your roots or simply just be still and wait for answers; know that we support you in whatever path you take. All we asked is that you do so with kindness and generosity, while acknowledging each person you meet as truly an element of universal presence. Consistent work on these minimal things can offer us such satisfying medicine to our souls.