tree of knowledge
"I just want to knnnooowww", I find myself saying, often, in a whiny voice. I really just want to know. Why is that so hard? I want to know if it is going to rain tomorrow, so I can decide what I want to do. I want to know who will be at the event, so I can decide what I need to prepare. I just want to know. I don't feel like this is too much to ask for. And, I feel like it is so normal to want to know, to plan, and honestly, to control.
Then, I read something that stopped me cold in my tracks. Wanting to know. Wanting to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. I started to reflect on the story of Adam. Adam, in Heaven, in perfection, not in need of anything, in perfect bliss, and then a little voice whispered, "yeah, this is good, but want to see how it can be better? All you have to do is know what you don't know now and then you will actually be happy." Wow. That kind of sounds like me. I am perfectly happy, content, and life is good, and then something happens, not a big something, a little something, and I just "have to know" what I don't know now. Isn't this such a part of the human predicament? Wanting to know.
When I started to see the connection to Adam, being in Heaven (perfect peace, perfect bliss) and the Tree of Knowledge, I started to understand exactly how detrimental it is to our Soul to "just want to know." When we say, "we just want to know", what we are actually saying is, that we do not trust in the perfection of God's plan for us in this moment. We are pulling ourselves out of Heaven and in essence, creating our own Hell. Because, when you just want to know how the story is going to end, and you cannot, no matter what you do, it is a form of hell. And, this may just be the whole purpose of life. I am not sure... haven't gotten that far, I am still blown away by the desire to want to know. What if the purpose of life was to trust that every interaction, every experience, every moment was perfect in its creation and execution? What if we believed that we are actually in a state of Heaven right now or at least can be in that state in our mind, right now?
The last few weeks I have been practicing non-suffering. Regardless of what happens, I have chosen not to suffer. And, y'all, some not so fun things have happened. Just earlier today, I shed a few tears when someone "blew me off" (in my perception) instead of embraced and welcomed me. But, as I allowed myself a moment to feel the feelings, I reminded myself, I don't have to tell this story. I don't have to suffer. As you all know, and would tell me if you were in front of me, maybe she x or maybe y, but probably not "blew you off", and that could be my truth, if I want to choose to be happy. And, I do want to choose to be happy. In truth, I will never know. No matter what I do, I will not know if she was blowing me off or if I just happened to catch her at an odd moment. I will not know. I cannot know. And, then the question becomes, can I be happy without knowing? Will I choose the story that brings me grief or the story that uplifts me? And, most importantly, can I, in this moment, remember who I really am and know that no matter what I experience with another person, it does not, will not, and cannot change who I am fundamentally - a beautiful, loving, creation of God.
Next time, you find yourself saying, "I just want to know". Try this practice instead and see how it feels"
1. I do know. I know that I am always guided to the best possible path for my greatest soul development and the greatest soul development of everyone around me. I welcome the next step in my journey.
2. I will not choose suffering. I will not create stories that hurt me. I will choose to tell the true story, the story that reminds me of the truth of myself.
3. I know what experience I want to create. I want to create the experience of connection, of love, of joy and of peace. I know that my intention to create this experience will lead me the people, places, and events that will support this part of my journey.
I find for me, this practice helps me breathe a little easier and releases the grip of "needing to know" and especially, "needing to know, right now!". It helps me float into the space of pure faith and trust in the Higher Power. The place where I know what I need to know, that this can be as good as I am willing to allow it to be.
I love Anita Moorjani and her recent book, What if this is Heaven, is phenomenal. It talks about how every life experience can be seen through the eyes of perfection. What if we let the power that turned the acorn into an Oak Tree and an embryo into a baby be in charge of our lives? What if we let that All-Knowing power decide if what is happening (or what will happen) is for our best, instead of planning, organizing and determining. What would you do with all that free time of not worrying, planning, or scheming to control a future, that you never had the ability to control, no matter how wonderful, brilliant, hard working and dedicated you are? I have been writing more. Another chapter for a book, blog posts, and new stories about my life. It is amazing what we can use our creative energy to do when we are not busy trying to "know".
When I was younger, I marked new years by each Ramadan. I have always been a huge fan of this month for lots of reasons. Of course, there is all of the benefits that Muslims believe occur during the month with added prayers, added giving, and of course, fasting to keep God first and foremost in your mind. Then, there is all the community activities. Large community dinners with friends and late evening prayers at the Masjid (Mosque). I love all of these things, but what I loved the most, is the 30 day renewal aspect of the month.
Each Ramadan, for as long as I can remember, I took on a 30 day experiment. Any of you who are familiar with me, know that I am a big fan of applying concepts in a real way for at least 30 days to see if they work. I was no different as a kid. Growing up in America, I sort of borrowed a practice from Lent and added it to Ramadan, each year, I would "give up" one thing for the month. Instead of items like food, since we were fasting, that was pretty much already being given up, I would give up a "bad" habit each year.
I gave up talking about people behind their back, added giving $5 away each day to a homeless person so someone could eat the meal I was not eating (this was back in the day where $5 bought you a good meal), added saying all the prayers (there are the obligatory ones and then a bunch of bonus ones), genuinely complimented someone for something they are great at each day, and my personal favorite, gave up any type of lying for 30 days. Now, I would not say I lie. At least, I would not have said that, until I gave it up for 30 days. There was a lot of telling people, I could not make it to an event because of some reason, that was, well, not entirely true. This was huge for me. I realized how hard it was for me to say no, without an explanation, and usually a somewhat made up explanation based loosely of facts.
This year for Ramadan, I have decided to give up suffering. This is the new radical concept I am working with right now in life and I have found that it is bringing me a lot of peace and also bringing up a lot of other supporting behaviors that I have been doing that need to gently be shifted. I love telling stories. I love writing. And, I love looking at ordinary events and sprinkling a little drama on it, you know, just a little to liven it up. However, as I am choosing to give up suffering, I am seeing, that by default, I am giving up drama (still not fully happy about this one... it is a process).
This Ramadan, I invite you all to join me. Choose a habit that no longer serves you. It can be complaining, talking about others, seeing people as out to get you instead of out to support you, etc, and give it up for 30 days. Like Ramadan, this does not mean you will not do it at all for 30 days. Instead, it means, you make a commitment to something that is bigger than you and do your best to grow into that commitment. Most Mulsims do not enjoy or look forward to not eating or drinking all day, they look forward to making their connection to God more important than their daily life activities. And, when the purpose is so much greater than yourself, the actions (not eating, etc) are actually not really that hard.
Jack Canfield has a chapter from his book, The Success Principles that says 99% is a B*****, 100% is a Breeze. It is so true. Once you commit fully, whatever you are doing gets easier. What will you choose to remove (or add) to your life this next month in a commitment to be a better version of yourself? A commitment to be the YOU that you know you are capable of being?
Ramadan Mubarik my friends. I pray that this month uplift us all. I always teach people to join in any holy days that anyone is celebrating, because that many people focused on their higher connection is a good energy to be connected to. So, whether you are Muslim or not, I pray that this Ramadan uplift you.
This year, may we all be a little kinder and little more open and understanding to others. May we see that there is no one right answer to so many of life's questions and instead pray for ourselves and each other to be guided by the One who knows all. May we be more present to our daily moments and may be complete our daily routines with more awareness. May only kind words fall from our mouths. May our hands only be involved in kind deeds that build the world and our feet only take us to places that bring us closer to the true remembrance of Who We Really Are. May we act as children of God and see every person around us, especially those we really do not like, as children of God as well. May we be peace on earth so that there may be peace on earth. May we release anything that no longer serves us and grow into the men and women that we know we are capable of being. May we bless each other in every moment of every day. May we make love, peace, and kindness our greatest priorities. May we have the courage and the tools to speak out in truth in the face of injustice in the most loving manner possible. May we take all the good that has been bestowed upon us and increase the gratitude in our hearts and generously share with those that are truly suffering and do not have enough. May our hearts be cleared of any hurt, anger or residual ick that is left and shine bright with the love and light of God. And, may each of us, walking our own paths, increase the level of compassion towards ourselves and each other.
Ramadan Mubarik - May your prayers be answered and your burdens be lightened.
Create a New Story
Remember who you are.
I have found this is THE most important thing I need to remember, no matter what is happening. You are not a mistake, or an accident, you are a child of God. And, you are not here to suffer or fear, but to create and love. When things get tough, it is easy to forget who we are, forget our power, and forget what we can create. I feel the pain. I feel the fear. And, I choose to remember that God is greater than any man, any words, or anything that is happening in the world. This is the time for great faith - in God, in each other, and in ourselves. From this place, we can create the solutions that the world so badly needs today.
When you are focused on your small self (the part of you that can be hurt and needs protection) you are stuck in a special kind of hell. Life is not, never have been about, and never will be about you, however, life is dependent on you to flow. You are AN integral part, but not THE integral part. This is a hard concept sometimes to get spiritually. You are everything and nothing all at the same time, because just like you are everything, so is every one else - no more, no less.
The only reason that is even important, is because once you realize nothing is really about you, you are FREE! Yes, FREE to create, to be your wonderful, amazing self. There is no one else here that is just like you with your life experiences. There is no one else who can do what you do, in the way you do it. Sure... there are tons of coaches out there... there are tons of people who write blog posts... but there is only one ME! And, the people who are in need of what I have, will find me, and the people who need a different blog post, will find a different person. It is SO not about ME!
Is this making sense to you all?
Each day, my only job is to wake up and be the best possible Amina I can be. That is it. If I do that every day, then I am fulfilling my life purpose. Days, when I wake up, and try to be a better Amina, or a different Amina, or the Amina who is liked, or the Amina who seems smart, etc... then, I am missing the mark. I am causing myself suffering, because instead of being the amazing, wonderful me that I am, with my nooks and crannies and say, how can I be the best me today? How can I spread joy, love, peace and acceptance wherever I go? How can I be of service to mankind today? How can I shine my light the brightest?
And... my next phase of the journey, which I am experiencing now... how can I choose to remember who I am and not suffer, when someone says, "I don't like your light" or, "ick, that light, I like blue light". These days, I am remembering, that no matter what someone else says or does, I do not have to suffer. Even if they say, "I do not like you. I think you are worthless." I can simply allow that to be what it is, and not suffer. I have to say, it has taken me years to "get this" but the lightbulb has gone off and I actually get it! It is so liberating.
Jack Canfield says, "whatever you think of me is none of my business". I always thought that was cute. But, now, I think that is a hugely powerful. Whatever you think of me, is truly, none of my business. You are a divine human being on earth. You have had a unique set of life experiences and you have a unique life path. Whatever you think of me, is about you and your life path, and not about me, and therefore, truly, none of my business. On principle alone, I would never stand in the way of someone and their life path... but how often have I done just that?!?! How often has someone been walking their path, and I have thought, "ouch, why did you do that, don't you know how that makes me feel?". And, the other person, for their own reasons, tries to "give in" to my needs, and then we are off on a merry-go-round of insanity. Both me and the other person.
Instead, when someone needs you to be other than that which you are, say, "I love you so much" and continue on your way. It is good for them and good for you. If you can do this, without suffering, well, I feel like you have life all figured out! That is the key to life. I have people in my life, a lot of them, that are great teachers. I say to them, I need x, and they say, that's nice and continue on their life path AND at the same time, they love me with their FULL hearts. There is nothing more powerful than to be unconditionally loved by someone who also unconditionally loves themselves.
To start, focus on unconditionally loving yourself. Once you do, unconditionally loving others just flows naturally. You unconditionally love yourself by ACCEPTING YOURSELF EXACTLY AS YOU ARE RIGHT NOW. That is unconditional love. All your nooks and crannies - love the pieces out of those. Don't "try" to change them, love them. The power of love transforms everything. The more you love those pieces of yourself, the more they will change. It is just how it works. The more you hate/judge/force those pieces, the more resistant and stuck they will get.
You literally cannot be more than you are in any given moment. In this moment, if I said, "be smarter!", could you? No, you cannot be anything but what you are. And, the more you accept what you are, the more you grow, because we all grow through love and acceptance.
So, sprinkle some love and acceptance on yourself today and watch your life magically change right before your very eyes!
One of my favorite quotes from the book, The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. We fear suffering. We would do anything not to suffer, and yet, each day, we think thoughts that cause us suffering. We look at others behaviors and make judgments about what their behavior says about us. We spend countless hours, days, weeks, months, and years of our life, suffering. We do this because we think if we can rid ourselves of suffering, we can FINALLY be the people we are meant to be. But, like everything in life, you have to be the person you are meant to be within the world you are in, suffering and all. I went back and found this message I received about suffering from 2014. I share it here with you.
We ask you, "how long do you choose to suffer?".
For see, all suffering is an illusion you have chosen to create. We wait patiently, and with love, until you make a different choice. So, we ask again, with no judgment, "how long do you choose to suffer?"
Know that we will never tire of waiting and as soon as you are ready, you can hand over the burden you carry to us for we can make it disappear in an instant, as can you. For it is not real, it never was real, it was always an illusion. And, as you have gained more knowledge, your ability to create grander illusions have also increased. They are so well done and masterfully created through years of experience that you, yourself, no longer see them for what they are.
They are a false construct, created by a brilliant mind, that sometimes chooses fear over peace. We invite you to return to peace. We invite you to return to love, love for yourself. We invite you to simply hand the entire illusion over to us, with no explanation, no instructions, and no fear. We will replace your grand illusion with something grander - peace, God's light, serenity, self compassion and self love.
But, only when you are ready.
We are not in a hurry. We stand by you, ready and awaiting and simply ask, "how long do you choose to suffer?"
Channeled work - October 30, 2014
Lately, I have been thinking of choices. The choices I have made and keep making and the choices that others make and keep making. I am neat, organized, crisp, and clear... I don't like lines that are not straight or roads that lead to nowhere. I like it when everything makes sense, and yet, so much of my behavior and the behavior of others, well, does not make sense.
Why do we choose to do the thing we do? A lot of it is because of our belief system. We believe certain things so many times over and over again, that we create an entire story around this belief, and then keep replaying it.
But, what if we just changed our story?
I was in a meditation weekend workshop a few years ago. We were doing meditations, writing about it, sharing with others, and then going for walks and eating chocolate to re-ground ourselves. And, then, we did it all again. It was an amazing experience. I had one meditation that was so powerful. As I was walking around after writing and sharing about it... it hit me! The story I had told myself for years, and kept re-creating was... well, a bunch of baloney! Not only was it completely untrue. But, I saw exactly what actions I take to keep re-creating the exact same story over and over in my life. It's like a chess game - they do x, and then I do y, and we always end up with the result of z. However, once I saw that the entire game was made up... I chose to walk away from the entire chess game. Think about that for a moment. Sometimes, we call life, the game of life. But, what if, you could change your story and no longer play the game of life, but instead, live in complete inner peace.
I have met people who can do this. I am not saying they are perfect 100% of the time, but, they have a heck of a lot more peace than I do. I read Michael Singer's book, The Surrender Experiment and also An Untethered Soul. I read about his experience of taming his mind, something A Course in Miracles talks about as well.
And, then, these past few months, I got to see the stories I tell. And, I got to see the stories others tell. And... it just all clicked again. WHY? Why are we choosing stories that keep us broke, tired, miserable, sad, unloved, uncared for, not-good-enough, when we can just as easily choose the story that celebrates who we really are. I just finished Joy Challenge, and one of the biggest gifts I get from Joy Challenge each year, is to see how something I create from my heart touches and uplifts so many. And... I have raving fans! People who LOVE what I created. People who WANT to play with me. People who think I am more than good enough. Now, that is a story worth telling.
Look at your life. Where is there pain, dissatisfaction, angst, annoyance? Look at that area. Shine a light on it. WRITE about it... yes, write it all down. When you do, you will see the story you are telling yourself. Does that story make you feel better or worse about yourself? If it doesn't make you feel good, I suggest changing it. Yup, change it. Just create a NEW story. You may think, "wait! I have facts that support this messed up, sad story!" And I say, "of course you do!". You will have facts to support ANY story you come up with (see The Work by Byron Katie to balance your facts out). Don't believe me, watch TV commentary about our current political state. They all have facts to support their ONE point of view. It is called spin. The media uses it, consultants use it, advertisers use it... now, it is time for us to use it on ourselves. Let's SPIN up a story that celebrates your weakest parts. Let's spin up a story that reminds you of Who You Really Are. Let's spin up a story that makes you want to dance in the kitchen and sing at the top of your lungs, instead of crawl back into bed and pull the covers over your head!
Here is what I now is true... whatever story you spin up, the Universe WILL deliver. And, well, I know what story you are creating right now, because the Universe is delivering the results of it to you right now. Change your thoughts, change your story, change your results.
Are you ready to spin up a story that delights you? You can join me (for free) in Adventures in Amina this May to spin up a delightful story! Leave your comments below... what are you spinning up so that the Universe can deliver you what you most desire!
What story would I Choose?
If I walked out in the sunshine and decided to choose to be anything I wanted. What story would I choose? Would I be the lucky one, the pretty one, the funny one, the smartest one of all of them?
... Would I keep the story of hurt; of things done in the past that caused me harm? Would I choose to tell the sad stories as I leaned on your shoulder to cry? What would I choose?
Would I tell the story about how I finally got it right, all of it, right, all at the same time? Or, would I tell you about the nightmares that haunt me?
If I could chose, which story would it be?
If I just kept walking into the sunshine, could I leave all the old stories behind; the good ones, the bad ones, the sad ones? Could I walk far enough and long enough that those stories simply could not catch up to me anymore? Could I walk far enough to create a blank slate, a clean page, a new story waiting to be?
What story would I choose then? Would it be full of adventure or lazily floating down a river? Would I be the Queen or the Villain or both? Would my story be all about sunshine and butterflies, even though, I was taught that was unrealistic? Would I allow myself to dream up the story that made my heart sing or stick to the plot lines I already know? Which story would I create if I had a blank slate?
Hi! Welcome to my blog, Lunch with Cinderella. I love writing about my life experiences and the fact that they may help spur some cool experiences of your own. If you are here, leave a comment... I read them all and love hearing from you!
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