Let's talk money. I would say it is a subject that I love, but in all honesty, it is a subject that until recently I did not spend much time thinking about at all. I know what I want and I trust I will have the financial means to get what I want. I am much more excited about the end thing that money helps me get, including working from home, working part time, and new Ugg boots to keep my toes warm in the Illinois winter. Ming Chee and I started a Facebook Coaching group called, Being Present to Serve, where we talked about our amazingly similar philosophy towards money. And, now, we are taking our show on the road to Newport Beach, CA on Feb 24th and 25th to talk about Metaphysical Money.
What is Metaphysical Money?
We named our workshop Metaphysical Money because this is not a Suze Orman or David Ramsey How To money course (fyi - I love Suze and her jackets - just not how I do the money thing).
I loved reading the definition of metaphysics, because that is exactly how we relate to money! It is based on the first principle of things - using energy to create. I also love "abstract theory with no basis in reality" which explains exactly what we will be doing for two days. We invite each of you (whether you will be there in person or not) to set aside any of your beliefs about what is possible, how money works, and how it is earned and come in ready to create money by changing your energetic relationship to abundance. All of the beliefs about money are just that, beliefs. It is time to examine what we believe and see if those beliefs are helping us create better and faster or if they are actually holding us back. For example, a belief that I many people have is, "you have to work to make money". That is just not a belief I have. I know money can come from all kinds of interesting ways and I know money comes the fastest from when I show up and genuinely help others (whether I charge for it, or just make muffins for a neighbor). I know the actions where I am of service are the actions that attract more financial abundance into my life. And, the places where I am of service in a way that uplifts me, that is the best service I can give to another.
Do your money beliefs need an upgrade?
One of the most interesting exercises I went through was where I had to write down every belief I had about money and where it came from. I had beliefs from my mom, my dad, and my grandmother. I noticed that most of the beliefs I kept were from my grandmother and therefore had a fairly healthy relationship with money, even though, she grew up in the depression. She believed an Islamic principle so strongly that she lived her life by it. It is the concept of Rizak. This concept says that everything you get comes from God and is determined from God. The example that is often used is in losing your job or having something stolen, and then by miracle, someone else gives you what you need to make ends meet this month. That is because that sustenance was always meant for you from God. And, therefore, you do not need to "worry" about money, because your money has been put in a trust for you and that trust may be held by hundreds of people, including someone who pays for your coffee in the line before you, they were holding a part of your trust. That is the concept of Rizak in Islam. Once I learned this, I understood there is no need to worry about money. What I need will be provided in the means that is right for whatever life lesson I need to learn at the time. I may need to learn to live on less, and then less will be provided. I may have a big job ahead of me to help others, and then more is provided, because I have been entrusted with more money that is for other people. This spiritual concept takes "me" out of the money equation. It is all handled. My only job is to show up and be of service, the money will take care of itself.
What are you here to create?
During our workshop, we will be focused on being the people that we need to be in order to fulfill our contribution to the world. I use this example all the time. If you have been hired to paint my house, which is three stories high, and you need a ladder to paint it, wouldn't I do whatever I need to do to get you a ladder? I mean, I want the house painted. I can get a ladder from the garage or borrow a ladder from a neighbor but it is in my best interest to get you a ladder. In fact, it would make no sense for me to say, "nope, not getting you a ladder". When we are clear what we are going to create with the financial abundance we seek, the financial abundance (aka the ladder) will show up. Getting clear on how you want to contribute opens the door to the money coming. People who say, "when I have the money I will...", are just delaying their contribution. When they say, "I am going to start contributing today, even if it is just painting one part of the house" that is when the money shows up. You must decide to be the person you are capable of being and when you do, all the resources you need to be that person will show up. I mean, how could it not?
One more real life example. Lately, my facebook feed has been filled with bitcoin. I don't know much about it. It is some kind of digital currency. And, I found myself thinking, I wonder if I should learn more about bitcoin? Here is how Metaphysical Money works... if I need to know more about bitcoin, then someone will come up to me and say, "hey, Amina, have you heard about bitcoin? I have this great resource about it that you may want to check out!". Then, about 15 minutes later, someone else will post about bitcoin on my page. And, then the next day, someone else will tell me their experience with bitcoin. And, next thing you know, I have learned enough about bitcoin to either be part of it or not. I do not need to worry about FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) because there is no such thing. The experiences that are right for my life will find me. I don't have to go searching for them. I remember when I was looking for a relationship, people told me, "you have to get out there, Mr. Right is not going to come knock at your door or show up at your workplace." Well, guess what, he showed up at a place where I was doing training. "What is meant to be will always find a way" - Trisha Yearwood. I believe that.
So, relax. Lay back. Allow. Your money is handled. Instead of "figuring out" money, figure out how to contribute to the world, knowing what you need will be handled. Instead of reading another book or attending another seminar, get in touch with the higher vibration of contribution, certainty, self-love, presence and purpose. And, if you want to connect to that vibe (whether it is related to money or anything else) you can come hang out with Ming and I who will be operating from that frequency all weekend long!
"I hate myself", someone said to me in a particular difficult moment the other day. Nothing gets the adrenaline going in my body quicker than, "I hate myself." That statement is a clear sign that there has been damage done to the soul. Sometimes, it can take on a lesser symptom, "I hate myself when...", "I wish I was better at...", "Why do I keep...", and others like that. While not quite at the kick-into-action phrase, they are not that far behind and emergency soul medicine must be applied immediately. Unfortunately, there is no pill to heal your soul, it is done through self awareness, self care and finally, self love.
In the United States, we have become more and more obsessed with our health stats and scores. We have fitbits that measure how many steps we take and our heart rate. We get our blood sugar and cholesterol checked regularly. I know many people who have pH sticks to check whether or not they are in ketosis or home monitoring for a number of different statistics, but how much time, if any, do you spend on your soul health?
There are numerous studies on the mind-body connection and the spirit-body connection. There has been a lot of research on various spiritual causes of illness. One of my all time favorite pieces of work is called, Purification of the Heart by Hamza Yusuf, which is an ancient text talking about what causes diseases of the heart. The book talks about the worldly actions that when you engage in "harden" your heart - the physical act of plaque on your heart from actions like jealously, hate, anger, etc. If you truly want to live a physically healthy life, I would argue, you must ensure your soul is healthy.
I picture my soul like a delicate Faberge egg or like the rose in Beauty and the Beast. It in and of itself is delicate and precious. It must be cared for, protected, nurtured. Around it as an energy field that is like light-weight armor. It is super strong yet highly flexible. It is not easy to pierce it but it is able to be pierced. Each of us have a way of being that allows for certain areas of the armor to wear down over time. Mine may be on the left arm, while yours is on the right foot, but we all have these highly individualized points of weakness in our armor. And, these points of weakness are caused by phrases such as, "I wish I could be more....", "I don't know what is wrong with me" and the mother of all phrases that will put a huge slit in the armor, "I hate myself". Which is why when I hear that, I am like, "Nooooooooooooo, undo, undo, undo.... No!" Because I understand the impact to the armor when those words are uttered in a moment or self-loathing. Disease is created when we have holes in our armor. That is a way for physical disease to enter. Like alcohol to the liver, cholesterol to the heart, sugar to kidney function, self-anger is poison to the soul. And a poisoned soul leads to dis-ease in the body.
It does not have to be this way. Instead, you could accept that you are human. You could accept that you are going to make big mistakes - mistakes that hurt others, mistakes that cause you to lose something dear, mistakes that cannot be undone to have things go back to the way they used to be. And, if you can accept that this is just a part of life and a part of your journey and that you will not make those mistakes over and over, but instead, you will learn and grow in your capacity to love because of the mistakes you have made, you can love your mistakes and "love the one that makes mistakes". I learned that from my coach, Tamara Green. The key is not to be a perfect human being, as I thought. The key to enlightenment is not to become perfect. The key to enlightenment is to be able to see through the eyes of love - that means to see ourselves through the eyes of love and to see another through the eyes of love. That is enlightenment. It does not mean you will never hurt another - because in truth, you being you, hurts another. It is only having the desire to be love to all, to have no other goal than this.
This is the current lesson I am learning on my spiritual path. I love this path. I love what I learn. However to have access to these lessons, I have made mistakes. I have said things I wish I hadn't said. Harbored thoughts towards others that were not very kind. I have done things that are so below my Who I really Am and because of that, I get to learn this beautiful lesson. For the first time ever, I am seeing the true beauty of imperfection. I am seeing how much deeper I can love myself in my imperfection. My teacher said to me, "what would happen if you just accepted that sometimes you do these imperfect things - sometimes you behave in non-loving ways" and I balked. NO! No, no, no, no, NO! I don't want that. I only want to act from a place of love, but you know what, sometimes I don't. And, when I allowed that, I saw, many times I do not act from a place of love. Many times. And, that just increased my self-compassion. I thought it would increase my self-anger, self-frustration, but it did not, I felt so much love for the one who kept reacting in non-loving ways over really minor stuff. She must be really scared to behave that way. And, in that moment, I decided to no longer be scared. And... well... I haven't been, not at the same level. I just have not been scared in the same way. And... I have acted from a place of greater love. WOW! I won't say it was easy, but I also won't say it was hard. Once I saw, it was just getting used to doing things differently. And, noticing when I slipped back into my need to protect myself.
Prior to completing the workbook of A Course in Miracles in order, I had been asked to read Lesson 153: In my defenselessness my safety lies. In the lesson, it explains the vicious cycle that many of us find ourselves in on a daily basis. We think someone attacked us, so we defend ourselves by attacking them (either to their face or behind their back, calling people and saying, can you believe what xyz did?!). And, in that moment that we "defend ourself" we have just committed an attack on the other person. And, then we find out, whoops, they did not mean that, it was an misunderstanding or a miscommunication, but guess what, we already launched our rockets and created a mess! Wouldn't it be easier to instead do this, "Wow, I heard so and so just did xyz. That is so interesting." And, then go about our business. Not give it any meaning. Not assume it has anything to do with us. Not create any story about the event. Just let the event be what it is, wish the person well (because honestly, if they are doing something that could be misinterpreted then maybe they need our love?) and then go back to creating and living and dancing... I love dancing! What if that person purposely tried to attack you? What if they did? Do you need to respond? Have you ever seen someone get super angry and attack someone and they just ignored them? Who comes across as the stronger person?
In college, someone taught my best friend the 90/10 rule and she taught it to me. 90% of the time people are just doing what they are doing. 10% of the time, they are gunning for you. You have to know when that 10% is happening and get out of the way. And, it is a lot less often than you think. That is the way to respond, get out of the way. Not engage. Not pour gasoline on it. Not "stand up for yourself". Why? If someone really thinks you are crap, are you going to change their mind by yelling at them and calling them names? Is that going to show them how wrong they are about you? In my experience, that has not worked. Those people have just found another way to get at me that is not as direct and now based on something I said or did in a moment of anger.
The last thing I want to say about this is it boils down to my biggest realization of 2017 and just, well, my biggest realization. It all boils down to Remembering Who You Really Are. When I was studying conflict resolution, they taught me the "Swiss Cheese" Model. They said all of us are like a piece of swiss cheese, we have solid parts and we have holes. When someone says something that "hits" on of our holes, we get upset and think they are attacking us and so we react. We don't realize, it is because of our hole. And, the next person saying the same thing would get the same reaction. To fill the hole, use love. Love the fact that you have that hole. Know that sometimes you react because of the hole and that is not who you really are it is the scared, hurt, part of you. Show that part love and compassion and before you know it, that hole will be filled by the light of love and you will be well on your way to be an enlightened master :)
I want to specially thank, Lauri DeJulian, Tamara Green and Jeannette Maw for this part of my journey!
I have been watching the entire Star Wars series to prepare to watch the new one in the theater... we are on the final one!
As I have been watching this time, I cannot get over the way they talk about the Force. When Obi-Wan is explaining the force to Luke, he says, "It is an energy created by living beings. It surrounds us and penetrates us, it binds the entire galaxy together"... YES!
If you recall from Star Wars, every time they leave one another, they say, "May the Force be with you" and every time they are about to do something big, they say, "May the Force be with you". Because, they know, that truly amazing things can happen when you are aligned to the force. So, how are you doing using "the Force"? The Force is an alignment to all that is and is naturally aligned to the highest good for all involved. To feel the Force within you, you have to quiet your mind and search your feelings. And, as we say with Aniken, it takes a lot of training, before you can fully trust your feelings. This is exactly how it works with Source Energy. It is available to all of us at all times. And, to access it, you must get quiet and connect to it. But that process of getting quiet and connecting takes a discipline - like Jedi Training. The most important part of the training has nothing to do with the skills - swinging the sword, but with how well you can manage your emotions and keep them aligned to love, truth and peace. And, when you choose to forgo the lower feelings of your ego and connect to Source Energy, miracles occur.
There is really only one thing you need to know about tapping into source energy... you have to tap into it. There are a number of ways to do this. It requires some amount of tapping into your own self. This can be done through meditation. And, it can be done through prayer. I have a morning prayer I say every morning that connects me to Source Energy.
When I talk to people in coaching, I often times remind them to say a prayer and ask for help. To engage the Force, you must take a moment to set the intention to allow the Force to guide your movements, your words, and your beliefs. It is a consistent intention of stepping back and letting "the Force" take the lead.
Even when you have the force on your side, there may be times that feel like you are "losing". However, those of us that have experienced the miracles of source energy know that even when it feels like things are going sideways, they are not! Sometimes the Universe has a different path to get you to your ultimate good. Never lose faith in the Force, that is how you end up on the dark side!
As you continue towards your dreams, hopes and goals, know that there is a power that connects every living thing that is supporting you to be all that you can be and serve all that you can serve. Know that you are never alone. And, that the more you tap into this power, the easier the decisions and actions get. Tap into this power and know that it is yours and waiting for you to connect. As you move forward... May the Force Be With You!
During the month of December, Adventures with Amina spent 30 days focused on peace. I loved this practice. Not only did I feel much better everyday, I felt that I had more energy and was much happier.
We are living in a time where there are many things that are not quite working. It is a time for each of us to step up and bring our unique gifts to the world to make the world a better place for all. However, we cannot do it from a place of judgment, anger or hurt - it is time to step up like we never have before from a place of love and peace. This is much harder to do then stepping up from a place of anger or fear.
For this reason, I decided to take the 30 day Peace Practice and continue it for another 365 days. There have already been a number of times in the past 7 days where I have repeated, "I choose peace", to myself under my breath. Trump's first tweet of 2018 was anti-Pakistan... that was a great test of my peace practice. There are a number of times where we all feel like we are perfectly justified to be angry, however, it is not worth it. You already know this. I already know this. We know that nothing good comes from a place of anger. The good things come from a place of wanting to create something better. That is empowering and powerful. And, the only way to get to a place of creation is to believe that life is "fine" right now, but could be even better. That is the juicy-zone. The place of creation is a place of infinite possibility and a desire to make something better. This is a positive, inspired place, not an anger-filled place.
In Islam, we are taught your intention is everything. And, I have seen this in my own life. Two people can take the exact same action, but one with a positive intention and the other with a negative intention and they have two very different outcomes. The saying, you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people, all of the time. Your intention shows up before you do. This year, I invite you to have one intention, to choose peace. To have your thoughts, actions, and words align with peace. Instead of having goals, I invite you to have one goal - to bring peace, and to be peace in every situation where you find yourself. Wish peace on others and be an example of peace to all those around you.
One of the things I noticed about myself is how much I am able to get done. I am highly effective. But, in my getting it done, I often lost my peace. And, then all the kind things I was doing, went sideways. I realized, it is not about what I am doing but who I am being. This is a theme for me and one I talk of often. It is not about the actions you take. It is about the choice in a moment, when you feel justified to feel anything other than peace, to return to peace. I choose peace.
A Million Wishes
In 2018, I am sending you wishes for a Million dollars
A million unexpected dollars
A million ways that people treat you to things you love
A million ways you are recognized for who you are in the world
I am sending you a million wishes of abundance.
In 2018, I am sending you wishes for a Million moments of peace
A million moments of divine silence
A million moments of pure guidance
A million moments of knowing who you really are
I am sending you a million wishes of connection.
In 2018, I am sending you wishes for a million happy moments
A million sweet moments
A million things that make you smile
A million life events that brighten your day
A million sweet tastes in your mouth and sweet memories in your heart
I am sending you a million wishes of joy.
In 2018, I am sending you wishes for a million loving moments
A million moments with people who get you
A million moments of feeling loved and adored
A million moments of laughing until it hurts
I am sending you a million wishes of love.
2018 is your year.
In 2018, there are a million opportunities to do, be and have all the things you have dreamed of.
In 2018, there are a million opportunities to give that which you wish to receive.
In 2018, there are a million opportunities for you to shine your light brightly for all to see.
My wish for you is that you see every one of these moments and experience them fully.
My wish for you is that you are present and aware of the love that surrounds you at all times.
And, my wish for you, is that every one of your dreams comes true in 2018.
These are the random thoughts that I caught on my voice recorder while cooking dinner. I am tempted to share the recording and you can hear pots and pans and food sizzling in the background.
Have you ever heard somebody say, "they are all just experiences"? That is true. Everything in life is just a neutral experience. It is only our limited, human, brain that defines an experience as a good experience or a bad experience. We search to give every experience a meaning, to categorize it, to define it, put it someplace where we can refer to it over and over again. In which case, it becomes part of our story - the joy we had or the heartache we experienced or the stress or the sadness or whatever emotion we chose to put in that experience and then create a story about.
But when you go back to the actual event or the actual moment, all it was was an experience. And, if just because, at that moment, it was not the experience you desired, it wasn't the outcome you wanted in that moment, we have a tendency to take the experience and define it as something not positive or not good, and that is where the damage begins. The damage starts when we interpret our experience in some sort of a judgmental fashion - good, bad, I was betrayed, I was hurt, they were out to get me, etc. When in reality, all the experience is is just an experience. And how we feel about the experience is simply a choice. And, at any moment, we can change how we feel about the experience. We can make a different choice about the experience.
I think of some of the people I have met who have had some experiences that I found find very difficult and painful. Yet, they tell beautiful stories from these experiences. They talk of these experiences from the perspective of the gift it gave them. Yet, the actual event or experience, has not changed. But their perspective and the story they have told about the experience changes the experience so greatly that it changes the outcomes they have in their life; what they do and who they are as a person.
One of the most profound experience I had with this experience is when I did a weekend meditation workshop. I went in with a firm belief and a number of stories that supported this belief. And, somewhere, during one of the meditations, I realized, the story I had been telling was 100% false. It was such a big, fat lie. You know when you tell yourself a lie that is so big it changes how you walk, how you talk, how you act, and what you do. This was one of those! And, all of a sudden, I saw all my past stories around this belief as completely false. It is the weirdest experience. It is like KNOWING that the world is flat and then finding out that it is in fact round. Now, I had had many people tell me over the years that my belief system and my stories were inaccurate, but I could not see it. I really thought, "they do not really know". I did not understand how they did not understand how terrible this was. And, so it made me feel more lonely because I felt like the people who loved me the most, did not get me. In reality, I did not get me. They saw me perfectly clearly. I was the one with blinders on. I did not understand the perfection of everything that was going on around me.
And, to be honest, to this day, I do not see the specific gift of every single one of those experiences, some of which I defined as painful. What I do see is that every one of them put me on a path. And, I do see that the horrible, terrible, no good story, I made up about them, is completely false. And, some of the experiences that I had labeled as so terrible, that by simply thinking about them for a second or driving by the Starbucks where it started, etc, I could be in tears in seconds. Out of nowhere, crying, remembering this traumatic event. It is very different now... I see it was never traumatic. The only thing that was traumatic was the intensely traumatic story I told about the event. The other day I was in DC and by total happenstance drove by the Starbucks where I met someone that ended up in a hurtful fight. And, I kind of chuckled. As I was getting close to the Starbucks, I wondered if I would cry or be upset. And, instead, I looked at it, and it just looked like a Starbucks. It is hard to explain but this was an auto-cry response, I avoided this part of town, and now, it is not a good memory, it is just a memory - not good or bad.
I have learned to understand, and trust, and believe, that every experience is leading me to where I need to be. This is so true and so powerful and so impactful in my life, that I have chosen that this is the truth for me. And, overall I have seen that this is the truth for me - everything that happens to me serves my greatest good. On a side note, I could have chosen to believe something completely different and I would have the reality to match that. I could choose to believe, I am alone. I am unsupported. Life is hard. And, my reality would match that.
I know you all know these concepts already. How well are all of us really living this? Whatever experience you are having today - health, with a child or partner, job experience, financial experience. Have you defined it as good or bad? Have you told a story about it? When it happened, did you say, "This always happens to me. This is just my luck. I don't know why I am surprised?" How committed are you to choosing to see this experience as a neutral experience as opposed to a good or bad thing that you have to deal with or manage or cope with? We know our perception and how we see the world changes the world around us. If you have not experienced this, I offer you this opportunity, to change your perspective and then watch "facts" and "reality" change to meet your new perspective. Say, "I am always supported." And, then think of all the ways this is true, and then watch, as more support shows up in your life.
When you have this experience of "reality" changing to meet your new story, we call this a miracle. There is no way, I knew this was not possible, there was no way this could have happened, and yet it did. It is a miracle. The miracle came because you chose to look at the situation with a different perspective. You chose to drop your label of the experience and see it for what it is, an experience without judgment and without a story. That makes room for the miracle. This is a very powerful concept and a powerful practice. Changing your perspective about anything in your life, is very powerful; about a person, an event, or job, etc.
I don't want to sound like, "hey just change your perspective." Like it is that easy (though, it really can be in many cases) in some it takes more of practice. It is clear and simple, but simple is not always easy. There is "work" required to change your perspective. The "work" is to keep returning to this practice of willing to see the situation in front of you differently; willing to see it as an experience without judgment. Michael Singer wrote an entire book about this called, The Surrender Experiment. Just like if someone says to lose weight just give up gluten, dairy and sugar. That is simple. But to do it takes some amount of "work". Go easy on yourself as you take on this practice. If we knew how to do this at all times, we would. In a moment, it is not always easy to know how to change your perspective.
The way I learned to do this is through having a Coach. I have people in my life who can see a series of events and see the story I am telling about it and in a moment give me a perspective that is so different then the perspective I am having, that it will completely change my experience. That is the benefit of having a coach. They can see in that moment what does not seem available to you. It is like if I tell you, "you are on the wrong TV channel, change the channel." Well, you know how to use a remote, you get that peace will come from changing the channel. But, which channel? Which channel has that peace? Do you go to another channel that is almost identical to the channel you are on? Or, a channel that is even more terrifying than the channel you are on (which is what happens when we talk about the event/experience with most of our friends). What if I told you, "No, go to the opposite channel than the channel you are on". That is more guidance but not enough to know where to go. You need someone to tell you, "You are on this channel which causes these thoughts, feelings, beliefs and story. What you want, is this channel, this is the show, this is what is happening... see the difference in what you are thinking, feeling and believing on this channel?"
There are a lot of ways to have the experience of changing your perspective. For some it can be connecting to nature, for some it is doing a spiritual pilgrimage, a vipassana, walking the Camino de Santiago, others it is a life event. For me, I gained it through working with a Coach in a defined spiritual curriculum. Here is the basic way to do it to get started, Ask. Ask to be shown something different. Ask for a change of perspective. Ask for God, A Higher Power, Your Higher Self to show you a different perspective.
To summarize, keep your experiences as neutral as you can and ask for a change of perspective when you feel your experience is not positive. Ask to be shown the experience in a different light. This, my friends, is the work. My wish for you is that you see everything in the light of love that truly exists and not in the darkness and confusion that gets associated with the word, "reality".
We had an office party and they randomly drew names for holiday gifts. These gifts were displayed during the entire luncheon and I spotted a Hallmark Snowman, whose arms were made with real tree branches. I was in love with this little snowman, and in line with my personality, I told everyone at the party that I was going to win it. I just felt it. Well, I did not win the snowman.
I was on the training team and because we were so small we shared office space with the technical team, which was also fairly small. From a work perspective, we were about as opposite as it gets. The technical team liked to sit quietly and not interact with others, where the training team was made up of people with bubbly personalities interacting with many people each day. My manager (the training team) and the manager of the technical team got along really well so we often times did joint team events, happy hours, etc. Well, the manager of the technical team won the snowman. He was not present that day, so I took charge of the snowman and left it for him on his desk with a note about how lucky he was and how much he totally deserved to win. While I was sad I had not won it, I was genuinely over the moon happy for him. At the time, I would not have spent the money on something like that for myself. I would not have thought it was a good use of money… I have changed quite a bit from those days.
The next morning, I got into work really early to get a head start and as I approached my cubicle saw that the snowman was sitting on my desk! Attached to it was a post it note that asked that I take care of it and make sure it has a good home and the note ended with the most beautiful quote that not only have I never forgotten, but has shaped so much of my life. “We make a living by what we earn, but we make a life by what we give.” Since that day, every time I see the snowman (yup, it’s on my bed in my parents’ house), I remember the power of giving.
The advice I give to everyone when they are feeling sad, depressed, lonely or just less than... go do something kind for someone else. There is a magic in giving. There is a fulfillment that comes from knowing that today, for this moment, your life and who-you-really-are touched another person and made their life a tiny bit better, or happier, or more fulfilled. Be the gift that everyone so desperately desires these days. And, what you will see, is that As you give, so shall you receive. And, that your life becomes richer and sweeter when you give to others.
Principle #6 & #7 of Chapter 1 of ACIM: Miracles are natural. When they do not occur, something has gone wrong. Miracles are everyone's right, but purification is necessary first.
Once you realize that Miracles is the normal way of life, you realize the importance of the peace practice. We are all entitled to miracles at all times. We are all entitled to things "working out" in the best way possible, all of the time. The only reason we do not "get" those outcomes is be...cause we have not worked our own muscles to see that what is happening right now is a miracle.
Take any moment of your life. A good, bad, ugly, bitter, sweet, kind, mean moment. Anything that is presently happening and say, "I choose to see this as a miracle. I choose to see this differently that I am currently seeing it." We give everything in our lives meaning. We are the ones that put labels on it. In reality, every moment is a miracle that is occuring. We must only have "the eyes to see" as Ming says.
Today, I sit on my perch in the kitchen, watching a handful of snow flurries whisk around in the wind to write my first ever post about death and dying. It is a topic that I have somewhat avoided, not because I am afraid of it, but because I have always felt that I have not experienced it well enough to actually speak of it. Right after HS, I had a dear friend commit suicide. I could not go to the funeral. I could not see his family, his girlfriend or even my other friends. I pretended it did not happen. To this day, I do not know where he is buried, though, I have done a number of internet searches, still too scared to ask anyone who was close to him. I never paid my final respects. In college, I had a friend who lost her mother. I could not imagine how she could cope and yet, I watched her just be her. We went out to dinner and watched movies and I sat with her as she teared up recounting stories of her mom. All of this in the same day - she just continued being herself, different yet also the same. In my 20's, I had a friend whose younger brother was sick and I watched him cope - he was angry, he was stressed, he stepped up to make decisions, he checked out, he laughed, he made jokes... all the while he was just himself. A few years ago, I had a childhood friend pass away. I so want to tell you all the story. I feel it was an absolute tragedy; a horrible story that engrosses you. However, I decided long ago to never tell that story again, because then her life becomes about the story of her death and she somehow gets lost. Instead, I will tell you that we spent hours together trying different shades of lip gloss so we could be ready for our first kiss - her with her crush, me with mine. For both of us, our first kisses came much later in life, but at the precious age of 13, we were sure they would happen any minute and we were going to be prepared.
Her death and funeral was a turning point in my life. Up until then, I avoided funerals. In Islam, we have a tradition of going to people's house after someone dies and saying a prayer with the family to offer condolences. I avoided this practice as well. I always thought, if it were me, I would just want to be left alone, not have a bunch of folks (some I barely know) come over and "talk" about the person who just left. It felt like some terrible form of torture. The prayers, yes... but people could do those at home. By the time my friend had passed, I had already immersed myself in a spiritual path and I realized, she is not really gone. Yes, she is gone from the physical world. But, she is not gone. The day I found out, I went to the beach and talked to her spirit as I watched the sunset. The next day, I walked a labyrinth and she spoke to me asking me to do certain things for her at the funeral and I honored her request. I showed up at the funeral as if I was showing up to a party I had been looking forward for for years. I met all her friends, I chatted with everyone, I laughed, I hugged, I cried. I was so present in a way that I have not been present in ages. I was totally present for every moment. When there was an opportunity to see her body, I passed. That was not my friend, that was her outer layer, an outfit she wore. My friend is still with me. I see her all the time as yellow butterfly. When I thought of her a yellow butterfly appeared for quite some time. Shortly after her death, there was another tragedy (for us here on earth) in this story, and I don't see the butterflies anymore. I don't think it is because she is no longer with me, I think it is because she is so fulfilled where she is that she is having too much fun to come visit as much now.
The experience of seeing her entire funeral as such a beautiful, loving, present, spiritual experience, helped me for the loss that was to come. Last year, my Grandmother passed away. I was so happy about it. I really was. She was a bigger-than-life woman who was unable to feed or care for herself in any way. Years earlier, her life had become a day long TV watching on the couch, experience. As long as she was able to go for her daily walk, I knew she was still good. Once that ended, I thought, this is torture. I would have asked God to have mercy on her and end her suffering on earth, except for my mother, who was up until the last moment, so devoted to her. I believe she stayed for my Mom. And, when my Mom (and her other kids) were able to let her go, she transitioned peacefully in her sleep. I was the second person to see her after she passed and my mom joined soon after. She looked so beautiful and at such peace that I had no desire to cry. I had a desire to smile and gratitude came over me. Her funeral was a beautiful tribute to her life and the people who came and their stories were amazing. At no point did I feel sad. I know she is not only with me, but also in me. I wore her wedding earrings at my wedding. She is always right here, there has been no loss for me.
This morning, I spoke to another friend who is experiencing someone they deeply care about in a potential state of transition. I listened and I reassured him there will be no loss. There is no loss in death. Death is not a loss, it is a change. A change in relationship. If you have a partner and then have a child, your relationship with your partner changes. You can say it is a death of one relationship and a birth of a different relationship. I then received a message to share with him and with all of us and I decided to sit down and right. As I have been writing this post, however, I realized something. I spoke of my grandmother, a woman I have known my whole life, who I have millions of memories with, who I lived with for two years in Pakistan, in one paragraph. And, of my friend in pages. And, I know why. It is the same thing that my friend is experiencing now and the purpose of the message. Death is only painful if we see it as a tragedy. To some degree, I still feel like my friend's death was a tragedy. I know it is not. But, I have a little bit inside me that believes it is. I see my grandmother's death as a beautiful healing for all. And, as such, there has been almost no sadness. The transition of someone from their physical form back to their non-physical will only be as tragic as we decide.
I have studied a number of near death experience stories, especially, Anita Moorjani's Dying to Be Me, and I have a deep appreciation of where we go from here. A place of true and everlasting peace. I wish that on every single person I know. I am excited that we all get to experience that one day. And, the only thing that would make me sad to take that trip myself is the impact it would have on those I leave behind. So, as someone who is left behind, it is our choice to say, go and be at peace. And, to do this daily. Not hope that someone is no longer in the physical but to live each moment with each person fully and see them as a whole, complete, loving being, so that if and when the time comes that they need to transition into the non-physical, they know, we are whole with them as they are. The greatest gift we can give ourselves and each other is to see each of us as whole, complete, and full at every moment. To see each person as having lived a true and fulfilling life, at every moment. And, to know that no matter if we physically "see" the person again, they are always with us. I share this message that was given to me with you today.
The greatest gift you can give yourself and those in your life is seeing the person who is transitioning as whole right now. Their body may be experiencing dis-ease but they are still themselves. Their spirit is still intact today as it ever way. It is like when I try to do a cartwheel because I remember doing hundreds in a row as a child, and I wobble or I can only do one or two, and I think how is this possible. The way I see myself is as that child who did hundreds of cartwheels. In this moment, my physical body does not support that but in my mind's eye, I can still do it. It is the same for your loved one. They may be experiencing physical pain and symptoms but in their mind's eye, they are still themselves - whole. Your loved one is perfectly whole right now. If you knew that without a doubt, how would you behave in their presence? What would you talk about? Would you take a break to shower or nap if you needed it, knowing you have plenty of time? We do have plenty of time. They are not going anywhere. They may transition from the physical to the non-physical, but they are still with you always. Your goal is to enjoy your time with the person, not to save them. No one wants to be another's project. Simply be with them as a whole person - you are whole and they are whole. Two whole people coming together in peace and love. Like all of us, your loved one wants to feel loved and to be seen as whole and completed. See them in this way and in the process you will see that you too are whole and complete.
I have talked about a principle from The Success Principles by Jack Canfield, called E+R=O, taking 100% responsibility for your actions. This powerful, life-altering principle, states that your point of power, or control, is your response to events in your life. Using the formula, the E is for the Event, the R is for your Response, and the O is the Outcome. In order to get a different outcome (or to influence the Outcome), the only thing you can control is the R, your response. The E, event, is what it is, it is out of your control. Therefore, your point of power for changing the outcome to any situation is to control your Response to the event.
Recently, I was in a conversation with someone and I realized something so amazing while speaking to them. They had not decided who they were going to be in a specific type of situation. For example, every time I go to visit or speak to a new corporate client, I have already decided who I am going to be in that situation - smart, strong, caring, listening, and confident. That version of Amina shows up. That version of Amina dresses a certain way, speaks about certain things, and asks specific questions. The silly, fun side of me does not show up to the first meeting. The kind, professional does. I know exactly who I am in that situation. I know what I need to do and what parts of myself need to be fully present in that moment. My spiritual, connected side is also totally present, but that is not the side I begin the conversation with, it is the side I use to prepare for the initial conversation.
Have you thought about who you are (or are going to be) in certain situations?
What about if there is a family emergency? Who are you going to be in that situation? The one that offers prayers and support from a far? The one that writes a check immediately? The one that drops everything, shows up, and runs the show?
At a job interview? With your kids/spouse? When things don't go your way? When you win the lottery? Which of your unique skills are you stepping forward with in each of those situations? Which version of your authentic self shows up in each of these situations?
Most importantly, who are you when you feel attacked? Who are you when you feel like life handed you a huge bag of lemons? Do you use those events to allow a different version of yourself to step forward? Do you allow a victim mentality in those cases? Do you allow a complaining, negative side of you to take center stage?
There is no right or wrong answer. There is just a formula that works every time, E+R=O. However your respond to that situation influences the outcome. Take a moment to look at situations in your life where the best qualities of who you are shine through and situations where the less-than-best qualities of who you are step forward. If you take a moment to really think of these, then ask yourself, how can I allow a moment of pause to allow some of my better qualities to step forward in these situations?
There are people who really, really, really annoy me. I don't know why, they just do. And, in those situations, my "too good for you" qualities jump forward so quickly it would make your head spin. The practice for the month of December in Adventures with Amina is to keep your peace in every situation. Another way of saying that is to linger in the pause. There is a moment between the event and your response to the event, where you get to make a decision. For most of us, we are moving so fast, and on such auto-pilot that we miss this moment much more often than we catch it. Some of us even believe that "we can't help it, it just happens." But, that is not true. We all have an option to choose again. And, I believe, until you choose the path of peace, you will keep facing the same situation over and over again. Everything in life repeats until the lesson is learned. And, the only way to "learn the lesson" is to be able to see the situation in a different way. In order to see the situation differently, you have to make a different decision in that moment of pause. And, the only way to do that, is to actually catch the moment of peace/pause, so you have the ability to make a different decision. This month, we are going to focus on practices to help increase our awareness of the fact that the moment of peace (the moment of pause) is ALWAYS available to us.
Yesterday, I was having a difficult conversation with my friend. The situation they were in was uncomfortable and I felt myself getting annoyed and frustrated, wanting them to make a different choice and knowing they wouldn't. While listening (not really, I was not fully present, I was triggered), I looked up and saw a prayer on my wall and read it silently to myself. All of a sudden, the entire room changed. I realized, all is truly well. Life is truly good. And, that this situation is perfect and unfolding perfectly. I quickly relayed my confidence in my friend's ability to handle this situation perfect, and got off the phone! I do not need to linger in this situation and figure it out! There is NOTHING to figure out! There is no action required from me. The only thing I needed to do was be present and see my friend and the situation as perfect. Once I was able to catch a moment of pause, I saw that. It was so easy. That is the power to tuning into peace at any moment.
Want to improve your peace muscle? Want to be able to hear news reports and stay at a level of peace? Want to be able to see you are ok no matter what is happening to you or around you, because you are truly ok at all times. Join me in Adventures in Amina during December for a free 30 day Peace practice. Peace is a muscle like any other. And, the only way to build it is to do the practices. This month, I am offering you 30 days of peace practices that are easy and impactful. Like any exercise, the more you do the quicker you will see the result, yet, any amount of effort is rewarded. Join us this month for a consistent daily morning practice for each of the 30 days, followed by a different focus practice for each day to increase your personal level of peace.
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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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