During this longest night of the year, it is a perfect time to reflect on the coming expansion mirrored in the world that surrounds us. Our soul breathes with a rhythm echoed by the sun, and this is a day to remember that the sun is now making its way back into our lives for longer and longer each day…from darkness we see the light return.
If we are to change anything in our lives, we must do so from a place of knowing…if we are honest about our current state, and reflect from this place as clearly as possible, then we are able to envision the ways in which we will change it for the better. It is by seeing and accepting where we are right now that will allow us the ability to steer our lives in the direction of our choosing.
When we accept the truth of ourselves, we create a reference point for how we might choose to move forward in change. It is from here we can begin to explore what our inner vision is waiting to show us.
When we find ourselves fully accepting the truth of the present moment, it is then that we can look inward and find the clarity we seek for our personal growth. Advice, teachings, and guidance are all valuable methods for expanding our perspectives, but ultimately it is from our own inner space that the true way forward makes itself known.
When we have committed to deep reflection from our place of acceptance, our inner vision can be seen clearly. We can see not just the way forward, but also those things which hold us back. Seeing these things with the eye of our inward vision can help us find the direction we are meant to take, and prepare us for the steps ahead…
As we look inward to gain clarity on where (and who, and how, and why) we are and where we want to be, we can also see more clearly the things that are holding us back…often it is a picture that we did not realize we were holding, or an unconscious assumption of how things should or must be…if we find ourselves observing these things instead of being driven by them directly, they become things that we can make choices about.
We can create change in our lives, and one of the most profound ways to do that is to release, once recognized, those preconceptions that prevent us from finding new and healthy ways to progress ourselves. We can choose another path if we see the one we’re on and decide to take another…Whether it’s working on creating new habits to replace old ones, or taking the step to place ourselves in a new situation that we might not have otherwise, it is the pushing of those boundaries that allows us to let go and release old patterns that limit our personal evolution.
On Gratitude, Giving and Receiving
One of the most powerful and life-affirming practices is that of Gratitude. When we pause and reflect on the things we are truly grateful for, however small or profound, we make a choice to see life from the perspective of appreciation and awareness. Having done the work of reflecting deeply, accepting what we see, looking further inward to see what more we find, and releasing ourselves from that which prevents our growth and expansion…perhaps on this day when so many people are giving and receiving, we would do well to reflect from a place of gratitude all that we have been gifted in our lives, and all that we have of ourselves to give.
One of the greatest gifts we can give to another is that of our gratitude, and being appreciated for the gifts we’ve given is one of the most profound feelings we can have…and cultivating a mindset of gratitude through consistent practice (that’s right, practice) is one of the most powerful choices we can make, so be warned—it is extremely likely that pursuing this practice will increase your quality of life immeasurably.
When we see from the perspective of Gratitude, and upon reflection realize that appreciation of even the smallest things can result in immense feelings of gratefulness and love, it becomes clear that there are countless reasons for celebration. Big and small, close to us and seemingly far away, there are no limits to the reasons to be grateful, and therefore no limits to the cause for celebration.
Feeling gratitude inwardly is one thing, and can bring us significant inner joy…Celebration of the things we are grateful for turns that appreciation outward, and when we share our gratitude out in the world in the form of celebration we allow others to witness, join in, and perhaps reflect themselves and begin the cycle of awareness and gratitude again…
We are well aware of how important the power of intention is for achieving what we desire, but too often it is overlooked that our attention truly drives our intention. No matter what it is that we desire or would like to set our intention on, it is what receives our greatest attention that will manifest in our lives. It is important to remember the reflection we have done, and the results of our inward vision so we might stay focused on what we truly desire to be the change and growth in our lives.
Reflecting on Gratitude helps to keep our attention in a positive, giving and ever-evolving state. When we are practicing to see with the clear eyes of gratitude, we are practicing to keep our attention on the positive, life-affirming aspects of life. If our attention is placed in this positive mode, it is far less likely for the negative to maintain a hold…and if we are focused on appreciating the gifts we already possess, it is far more likely that we shall be open to receiving more. This, coupled with clarity of intention, will put us on the path toward our true intentions realized.
When we do the work to hone our attention, we find that the nature of our intention becomes clear…when we do the work of accepting our present moment and looking inward honestly from there, our path forward opens up. When we continue the practice of gratitude, of appreciating the source and meaning of all the gifts we can give and receive, we find that a celebration mentality emerges effortlessly…
These are all examples of mindfulness opportunities that we can choose and practice at any moment throughout our day, and when we continue to allow these thoughts to flow, a certain clarity arises across the whole of our day…clarity of purpose, of forward motion…clarity of the present moment, and the fact that we have a choice at every single moment to move toward that which we desire and how we want to be…
When we connect our awareness and attention (and therefore our intentions) to meaningful practice such as gratitude, we begin to feel a joy from a deeper place. The surface impressions of thoughts and things that can limit the depth of our appreciation and awareness begin to hold less sway, and we find that the roots of our everyday existence are reaching to a deeper place.
This is a connection to the true source of all things (call it what you will, OM, Source, Spirit, Brahman, God…), and when we are tapped into this true source of all things (take a breath and sit with that for a moment…it’s a pretty big deal…), we are also directly tapped into the well of energy from which all things emerge…and though our transformation has not yet fully occurred, by nature of the fact that whether we see it or not, we too are supported by that wellspring source…and it is from there that we will receive the vitality necessary to maintain through our transition and evolution to our greatest self…
We’ve done the work. Reflection, honest vision, acceptance, release…and we’ve allowed the process of metamorphosis to break us and our perceptions down into the most fundamental bits and pieces, the building blocks from which all is made…and what do we find?
We find that we have transformed. Though we have awareness of what we have been, and how we have seen in the past…the truth of transformation is that there is no going back…when we choose to see clearly, we can no longer pretend we have not seen. We have passed a point of no return, and if we are to maintain integrity with the growth we have achieved, this truth of truths will remain at the forefront of our awareness from here on out…
Congratulations! You’ve done it, you’ve transformed…right? Today you awoke to a new day, a new year, and a new way of being–a new light, a new perspective, and an awareness of a new moment in each and every moment…right? Perhaps, perhaps…
Whether we have ‘awakened’ in a moment or continue to struggle with the moment living us, the next step is the same…we may have used the winter solstice as a reminder of an opportunity to reflect, dig deep, and create a clear path for ourselves primed by the source…and we may have found ourselves on this auspicious day of the New Year ready to commit our intentions, but our work–no matter from where we start–is ever the same…it is to commit to a constant reflection on that which is the deepest reflection of our most necessary truth…
If we are truly committed to our practice toward our highest personal evolution, then we must know that each moment is not only an opportunity for the deepest reflection and gratitude, but also a chance to reassess our perception and action, continually guiding our selves toward the greatest good.