Archive for June, 2012

Letting your beauty shine

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

During this month of savoring beauty, it’s time to take a look at whether you’re allowing your beauty to shine, or whether you’re hiding it unknowingly.

Several years ago I went through a series of personal growth classes, and one of the exercises revealed something surprising to me: Throughout my life, I had been suppressing my joy because a member of my family was not happy. If something good happened to me, I felt guilty. If I had something to celebrate, I downplayed it. I couldn’t talk openly about joy in my life because part of me believed that until she was happy, I couldn’t be.

Not only was this emotionally damaging, but it just didn’t work. In fact, it never does. If we think we can’t be happy until everyone else is, we’re all going to suffer a long, long time. But if we go ahead and let our light shine, we put more joy out there in the world and give others permission to be happy, too.

So take a really good look at the beauty within you. Are you allowing your light to shine as fully as possible? Or have you put yourself on hold and given someone else the power to determine whether you’re happy or not?

Ask yourself:

  • Is there any good that comes from me hiding my light?
  • What would happen if I allowed my light to shine?
  • In what ways could my inner beauty make the world a better place?

In the next few days, journal about these questions—and let your inner voice guide you to all the ways you can share the fullness of your beauty within.

We’ll give away two more books

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Wow…those first comments came in fast. Congratulations to our winners! We’d love to hear what you have to say, so please post a comment below before midnight Central time on July 9, and we’ll draw two more names to win a copy of Winter. Thank you for your inspiring comments and for being part of the Tending Your Inner Garden community!

Check out Carol Bodensteiner’s interview with us at http://carolbodensteiner.com/is-winter-your-season-of-renewal/

Win a free copy of Winter

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Thank you to Carol Bodensteiner, whose June 25 blog is an interview with us about Winter: Women’s Stories, Poems and Inspiration for the Season of Rest and Renewal. This is the first of four seasonal Tending Your Inner Garden® books to be published this year. And even though it’s about the reflection and silence of winter, it’s a great reminder that inner growth happens any time of year. In fact, the more we reflect, the more beauty we’ll see around us.

In one of her essays from the book , Carol talks about the beauty of quiet. “It’s hard to escape the internal noise,” she writes, “a remembered tense conversation, a project gone off track, a looming deadline, the mounting ‘to do’ list, a calendar teeming with meetings—all clamoring for mental space.”

Because Carol takes time for quiet, she comes up with a lot of great ideas, including this one: Be one of the first five women to leave a comment or reflection, below, about your own life based on one of the four seasons of the year, and you’ll win a copy of Winter!

So let us know…what’s happening in your life that’s sustained by the reflection of winter, the possibilities of spring, the abundance of summer or the gratitude of fall?

Also, if you’d like to be published in one of our anthologies, we’re still accepting submissions of essays and poems for our summer and fall books. Send us your submission soon!

And don’t forget to sign up for our blog and follow us on Twitter for practical, inspiring ways to bring more beauty, growth and harmony into your life by listening to the wisdom within.

Leave your comment and win a copy of Winter!

 

 

Welcoming summer

Monday, June 18th, 2012

This week marks the transition to summer—a new season, new possibilities, a continuation of the cycle of beginnings and endings. In the Inner Garden program, we talk about summer as a time of rapid growth and change. It’s a season when we may experience abundance—of weeds as well as flowers. And it’s a time when a hailstorm can suddenly move in and batter the landscape just outside your door.

You may be experiencing this in a number of different forms. Maybe you, family members or friends are dealing with unexpected diagnoses. Or maybe challenges are showing up in jobs, relationships and finances. So how do you deal with this? How can you see and savor beauty when summer’s weeds start to encroach on your life?

One way is to feel victimized and wonder why you’re being singled out for punishment. This makes life a difficult game, in which each hailstorm provides evidence that life is painful and scary, and all you can do is try to dodge the next fierce winds.

Another way is to see yourself as part of a greater system of creation, in which every experience is an opportunity for growth and healing. When the challenges come along—even the most painful ones—your inner voice speaks of gifts, lessons, connections, and growth. Instead of the hailstorm being your greatest enemy, it becomes your greatest teacher.

And in your ability to name it that way, your experience of life changes.

As we approach the summer solstice, take some time to journal about your experiences in life. Look back over the hailstorms you’ve weathered. What have they taught you? How have they made you who you are today? How did they serve as links in a chain leading you to a new love, a new career, a new expression of yourself?

Then open your arms wide to the coming season, soak up the light on the year’s longest day, and embrace all of summer’s beauty, both inside and out.

Listening to the sounds of beauty

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

We experience beauty through all our senses, but one of the most powerful ways is through sound. Whether it’s a teenage girl’s giggle, the chorus of a favorite song or a bird in your backyard, the music of life surrounds us every day. To truly savor it, we just need to tune in. Here are a few ways to listen for the sounds of beauty daily.

Sink into the moment. Become fully present with the most mundane sounds—the hum of the clothes dryer, your best friend’s voice, or the patter of rain. You may find yourself feeling thankful for the soundtrack of your life. Take note of all the ways beauty and gratitude are intertwined.

Turn off sounds that don’t serve you. Does listening to the news inspire you…or does it make you feel angry or depressed? Is background noise from the TV or radio a help or a distraction? Does conversation make you feel connected, or does it feel like gossip? You have a choice about many of the sounds in your life, so choose what leads to joy, love and healing.

Step outside. Pay attention to sounds in nature that you haven’t heard before. Ask yourself a question and see if nature answers it for you.

Practice active listening. Often when we talk with others, we’re half listening…and half thinking about getting groceries, tomorrow’s To Do list, or what we’re going to say next. Try focusing totally on the person you’re talking to. Trust that everything outside the current moment will be taken care of so you can be fully present now. You’re likely to hear great beauty in the other person’s words that you might have missed.

Listen to your own inner wisdom. Close your eyes and take a deep breath, then see yourself in a giant rain forest. Imagine that whatever external noise you hear is way overhead, above the canopy of the trees. Let that canopy insulate you from the sound. Then sink into your body and your breath until you experience the voice within.

Seek out silence. If you haven’t experienced the treasure of complete silence in your life, it might seem daunting. What if you think about something upsetting? What if you end up facing something in yourself that causes you guilt or shame or hurt? It can take courage to fully embrace silence. But when you do so with the intention of joy, forgiveness, healing, or other forms of love, you will experience it as a sound of infinite beauty.

This month’s theme: Savoring beauty

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Remember the black cloud that followed Linus in Peanuts? It was positioned squarely over my head earlier this spring. It wasn’t the cloud of doom, but of details: complex projects, too much work, unending deadlines. Within a few weeks, I let them throw me into a black-cloud mindset. Even when I looked at the emerging flowers in our yard or the budding lilacs, I couldn’t appreciate the beauty. No matter what I gazed upon, my mind saw only fatigue and worry.

It’s interesting how we don’t just see with our eyes…we see with our mind. When our mind is in the right place, we experience beauty all around us. When our mind is judging, worrying, stewing, resenting or feeling guilty or overburdened, it’s hard to see beauty anywhere. Everything gets filtered through that black cloud.

For the month of June, our theme is “Savoring beauty”, and it’s based on a few principles:

  • We see with our mind as well as our eyes.
  • We see what we’re looking for. If you believe the world is ugly, violent and painful, that’s what you’ll experience. If you believe it’s loving, compassionate and abundant, you’ll see beauty everywhere.
  • The way you feel about yourself determines the way you’ll experience life. You can’t see the world as beautiful if you’re beating up on yourself.

To savor beauty this month, make a practice of these Inner Gardening techniques:

  • Take five minutes a day to look for beauty inside yourself and in the outer world. Keep a beauty journal, noting what you discover that you may never have seen before.
  • Pay attention to your thoughts. Be diligent about showing kindness to yourself. If you’re taking on too many obligations, resenting people or situations in your life or being hard on yourself, do this: Stop, take a breath, and say no. Commit to showing yourself loving kindness.
  • Be clear about what you’ll allow in your life and what you won’t. Journal about this for greater clarity. Remember that your joy nurtures the world and makes it a more beautiful place.