On the Human Being

 

 

We are all valid, beautiful souls. Something that keeps popping up in life is the concept of stigmas. Let’s just take a moment to look at the definition of the word:

 

stig·ma
ˈstigmə
noun
plural noun: stigmas
  1. 1.
    a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.
    “the stigma of mental disorder”

 

The masses become immersed in false paradigms of “what should be”… and while we have moved through history often forgetting about how magnificent it is to simply exist, I feel the shift happening. It becomes obvious when real transformation is occurring; we observe synchronicity happening around us, people come into our lives (seemingly) out of nowhere that share our worldview, doors start opening and we find ourselves in new situations that challenge our integrity and shift our consciousness. Self-awareness increases, peacefulness is felt. This is what is possible when we let go of the stigmas and open our hearts completely.

It is discouraging to witness some of the same stagnant patterns happening over and over again throughout history — prejudice, greed-based war, social expectation… the list goes on. These things stifle our ability to operate in alignment with a Higher Purpose. We only move away from serving others and move into egoism if we continue to follow these practices that promote separation and unhealthy competition.

There is one thing we are always responsible for, and that is: choice. We transform when we begin to practice separating the Higher Self from thoughts, behaviors, and perceptions that occur in the mind. We can move into the bird’s-eye-view of our Higher Self and transcend our experiences by learning to choose what we want to think, do, and feel.

Until we commit to some level of inner work, to give ourselves permission to shed the tears, to admit to where we’ve fallen short… we can never learn how to properly care for ourselves, and so care for others.  This includes developing deep respect for all people. This requires letting go of assumptions about others regardless of their past or present situations. We can never know what someone is going through, has gone through, or will go through. So, the more we care for ourselves the more we can open ourselves to genuine care and kindness toward all beings. A step forward in seeing the true beauty of others. A step closer to truly serving. Anything or anyone who doesn’t support this… respectfully dismiss and move forward indefinitely. Be the example.

It’s just that time now… to move away from idolizing people for their ability to express talents, for their looks/bodies, or for their social/social media status ["popularity, career, etc"].

Further, there is no mental or physical condition that invalidates one’s existential Universal significance.

 

 

6 Simple Ways to Manifest Virtue

 

Maybe you’ve been in search of a way to change your current environment? You’ve felt something shifting inside, and it has become increasingly important to create harmony in your environment or current relationships. Your contribution to the Greater Good is important to you. Is this you?

Intentionally manifesting virtue is one way to improve your experiences and perspectives (isn’t that refreshing to ponder?!). Focusing more on a virtuous way of life aids you in making better decisions.  Here are 6 simple ways you can manifest virtue in your daily life.

1. Practice unconditional love. The art of offering others genuine care and kindness is one way to cultivate patience, understanding, and good listening skills.

2. Watch the sunrise. Getting up early, or setting aside time in your morning to watch the sunrise is a simple way to connect with nature and to be reminded of the simple things in life that you are grateful for.

3. Gratitude, above all. What things do you have to be thankful for in this moment? Practicing gratitude throughout each day is humbling and diminishes feelings of lack.

4. Meditation or Self-Hypnosis. Whether you’re emptying out your mind completely, or devoting a portion of time to intentionally direct a specific energy (for example, as with Metta Meditaion which extends intentional loving kindness to all beings in the world) — committing to the daily practice of focused awareness has a profound effect on self-concept, empathy, worldview, universal connectedness (oneness), mindfulness, and sense of wellbeing. Daily meditation practice is also directly linked to decreased stress, better sleeping habits, and increased self-confidence.

5. Write about it. Writing about experience, growth, and understanding can help you improve your communication skills and help you acknowledge your values and emotional cues.

6. Connect with your values, and surround yourself with others who share them. What are your deepest ethical values? Putting our values into words is typically not something we walk around doing from day to day, so making it a priority to actualize those values is extremely important. Realizing your values is only the first step; actions must follow suit. Volunteer work, spiritual discussions with others who share your worldview, book groups, attending public lectures and events that are extensions of your deepest ethical values — these are some basic ways you can put your values into practice and begin to manifest a more virtuous life.

Have a great week!

Fleeting Observations

Honey Moon, June 14, 2014

 Under the Honey Moon of June 2014 with Amy  – I have yet to see any of the photographs she created, from this ethereal experience we shared. This image is a digital rendering of two separate photographs. The halos around the moon were visible to the naked eye and looked almost like a rainbow stretching for miles across the night sky. 

 

All that we see… how does it compare to everything unseen — those things that can only be felt?
Those things that can only be believed in…
Are dreams any less significant than our daily waking lives? (no.)
Dreams,  projections of the immeasurable continuum called “infinity”.
Waking perceptions, fleeting observations.

Face to Face

Self Portrait, June 2014.

 

“Never allow your knowledge to stand in the way of Truth.” — Ajahn Brahm

 

 

One humbling experience after another. At times, we stumble over ourselves. Our language is not enough. We are guided to silence, into situations which require the mind to switch off.  When we allow the heart to listen, we find our center. We are shown our truest fears, and among them, our greatest strengths.

There isn’t a single living soul who exists in permanent absence of fear, yet there is a secret to managing one’s fear that can be found through the mere acceptance of it. Coming face to face with it. Where fear has been denied, one must turn back and acknowledge it in order to subtly dismiss it.

 

Strength and Progress

We cannot grow as long as we exist in denial of what we’re afraid of.  From a very young age, I was exposed to terrifying, painful situations that led me to believe if I pretended to be strong, I would eventually become strong… which only skewed my understanding of strength over time.

To anyone going through something that seems to be impossible to escape —- this is only temporary. There is beauty to behold, and truth to be held where the light intersects with darkness; when you choose to do so, you can and will ascend to a higher vantage point from which a deeper understanding can be embraced, humbling you in the magnificence of its Greater Purpose.

 

Social Media is not a Prerequisite

I’ll refrain from a lengthy explanation, but I would like to make a statement. Despite the advice of media experts, and even having learned how to successfully market a thriving business online — I no longer hold fast to the notion that social media status is required — for any reason. There are conveniences and inconveniences alike. But reliance on social media is not in harmony with the natural progression of things; a more organic, direct route proves through and through to be more meaningful, and more reliable. No matter who you are or where you’re from, important connections happen as a result of the vibrations [sent out from and received] by the natural forces, energies, and efforts resulting from intention.

This article from the perspective of a 45 year old male is worth taking the time to read.

 

 

Free Download of ‘Quiet’

Quiet: Collected Works Volume One

There is no phase of life that holds more significance than another, and one’s own evolution is never complete — but it is important to reflect.

The first volume of a very intimate arrangement in the making, ‘Quiet’ features journal entries, prose, poetry, short stories, and personal photography.

Fascination

Words and rhythm
Pause to listen
Fascination
(Hesitation).
Reverberation, it moves
All on its own, no choice but to choose:
This modern approach to courtship falls short.

What good is it to function in accordance with the whole
If the whole is moving away from truth?
I won’t.
We struggle in response to our disapproval,
Yet trick ourselves into believing that it hurts to feel removal;
Deep down we know this isn’t an environment where hearts can love
To full capacity.
And I observe:
How can it be ”love”, that one wrestles in resentment thereof?
Is it truly “love” that merely survives?
Have we forgotten how to grow in love that thrives?
And I refute:
It isn’t in the chemistry alone.
Physical expression grows meaningless
Where our emotions are left without a home.
And I assert:
Love fascinates!
Reverberates,
Commands attention,
Love conquers!
What is this meager word “survive” in terms of love?!

Night and Day (fleeting moments between mother and child)

Night and Day. from EscapeToLight on Vimeo.

 

It seems like only yesterday, I was rocking him to sleep in my arms.

My son and I often explore together, and today we drove 1/2 of the Coastal Ohio Trail along Lake Erie. The trail totals 293 miles of sand, stone, shells, trees, wildlife, big cities, and small towns. We stopped to take in views at Cleveland, Lakewood, Huntington Beach, Marblehead, Lakeside, Port Clinton, and East Harbor State Park. The opening clip shows a photograph on canvas that was taken back in 2005 when he was only 4 years old. He acted so mature and expressive during that session, and it was one of the only times he ever wanted his photos taken.

Checking the camera gear this morning, I noticed on the memory card was [Night and Day's] opening bathtub scene that had been recorded already more than a year ago. In our final moments before departure I felt myself becoming nostalgic toward the kind of time we spent together when he was so young. In the same instant I felt myself curious about the evolution that has occurred, and is still occurring, from then to now to years from now. These days, we’re able to hop in the car and spontaneously end up wherever our hearts desire. Nostalgia and curiosity are two opposite energies that can become so magnetically woven together…. affirming the present moment holds so much value and meaning.

I must admit — although I remained very present and aware throughout the day, putting this little short film together was done so through a fog in my eyes, a haze of happy tears — especially when I found the beautiful music by -DX- on Soundcloud to add to the video. I hope you enjoy the combination of sound and sight.

Here’s a question for other parent’s reading this post today: How do you maintain that “curious feeling” that your kids had at a young age? And if your child/children are still young, how do encourage them to explore their curiosities?

 

Until next time.. and thanks for visiting

xo,

Michelle (Aurora)

 

How to Experience Abundance

Photo © Michelle Black 2014

 

Mistaken Value

We have been conditioned to believe we need to acquire more [financially or materialistically] in order to experience more. This could not be further from what is possible. Existentially, we sometimes mistakenly seek out things that can be physically measured in order to experience ‘value’.   We live in a world where the cost of a designer cotton tee shirt can range anywhere from $90 – $165.  The cost of this tee shirt is $35 shy of a 1/2 share of organic local produce (13 week supply of food) — enough nutrient-rich produce to feed 2-3 people for 13 weeks.

 

True Abundance

True abundance can only be felt through gratitude. Gratitude is not just an expression of thankfulness, but a practice of being. Through consistent daily practice, gratitude helps us stay centered and present, alleviating feelings of need. Ever felt like you really needed that beautiful new ring, finally finished saving up the thousands of dollars to update the already-functioning cabinetry in your kitchen, or had to have that $450 Coach purse that has been marked down to $200? This feeling is a result of a number of things; design shows that are reality-based, constant advertisements on the internet, everywhere you look while driving, and every radio station or television channel… these are essentially brainwashing the masses. We don’t have to participate in these behaviors that are only wasting our planet’s resources.

True abundance can be felt when we’re willing to let go of attachments to material possessions, when we release ourselves from attachments to labels of any kind [ahem... "hipster kid, goth girl/guy, hippie, etc"] — when we let go of definitions entirely and experience things from moment to moment without attaching ourselves to the words we use to define the experience.

Abundance is experienced when we open ourselves to spend time with the little drops of rain that have collected on a leaf after the storm [photo in this article, above]…. abundance is felt when we let go of the chatter in our minds and feel filled up with each inhalation of oxygen provided to us by our Earth. When you share a smile with your child, when the songbirds are still singing after the screaming sirens die off, at every sunrise, beneath every night sky, with every bite of food, with each moment we can sit and rest, wisdom shared, loving emotions felt, every new day… just a few of the infinite ways to experience abundance.

What moments can you think of in your life, when you felt true abundance? Please feel free to share your experience in a comment below:)

 

Thanks for reading, and see you next time!

xo

 

Michelle (Aurora)

Growing Into Your Cautious Heart

 

There are moments when we’ve all been a bit naive.

Maybe it was giving others the benefit of the doubt,  or over-anticiping an end result, or trusting someone with harmful intentions…. whatever the case, as time passes we learn to be more careful.

You can still offer kindness and love without being naive, and yes, you can still take big risks and hold tight to your adventurous, free-spirit.

 

Caution versus Fear

Just because you’re careful about the situations and people you place yourself around does not mean you’re afraid, it means you’re aware. You know what’s healthy for you personally, and what isn’t. While some prefer quiet evenings in the bubble bath and a book, others prefer hyped up social gatherings filled with new people. Whether you’re one or the other, doesn’t mean the other is “worse” or that your way is “better”, it just means you know yourself. Yes, there are times when breaking out of your comfort zone is necessary, but not if it compromises your values or safety. That helps keep it pretty clear, whether or not a risk is worth taking.

 

Hope you’re having an awesome week so far!

 

xox

Michelle