Bookends for Love

I recently shared with my friend Sandi that I view faith and hope as bookends—standing sentinel—on each side of love. In my experience:

Faith has a track record — it’s associated with something (person, place, thing, event, or opportunity) that we have confidence in; something we have reason to believe will come through for us.

Hope is brand new — somewhat like 2014, it hasn’t established a track record yet; it’s unfamiliar. Having no  previous experience with it, we hope everything is going to turn out all right.

Love outweighs everything else — a powerful ally in any situation, bar none.

© Laurie Buchanan 2014

What is your greatest hope for this newly minted year?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are  choosing.” — Laurie Buchanan

The Book — Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience — Life Harmony

© Laurie Buchanan 2014

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Doors & Windows of San Miguel de Allende

During the month of November I’ll share photographs from my recent trip to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where I was one of the speakers at the First Annual Wellness and Spirituality Expo.

While there, my heart was touched—particularly by the work of two non-profit organizations. The purpose of this first blog is to set the stage by asking:

What do you find when you open the door of your heart?
What do you see when you look through the windows of your soul?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

Discovering the Seven Selves     Life Harmony     Facebook

© 2012 Laurie Buchanan– All Rights Reserved

Heart-Based Elder Care

Self-Portrait - Laurie and Dad

Self-Portrait - Laurie and Dad

That’s a picture of me and my dad. I’m currently visiting him in Encinitas, California (Dec 16 – Jan 1). One of the many purposes of my visit is to research local options for all levels of elder care.

But not just any elder care. I want my dad to be on the receiving end of heart-based elder care if and when he needs it; heart-based elder care with a holistic approach. In other words, people who have his best interest—body, mind, and spirit—at heart.

While here, my goal is to help my dad understand that there are many ways to approach optimal rest-of-life wellness, stress, pain management, and comfort. My desire with the research findings I present, is for him to make informed decisions as he crosses various bridges associated with the ageing process.

My objective during this visit is to maximize his self-confidence and independence, and to help him integrate complementary and traditional approaches in an effort for him to reach and maintain a state of balance.

In addition to working with healthcare and associated insurance benefits, we’re working on financial and legal aspects. Hands-on we’ve been doing lots of breathwork, cranial therapy, and reflexology. I think he’s actually having fun—at least I hope so.

In a recent email discussion about elder care with my friend Barbara K. she said:

“I have witnessed so many people headed for the 20-year chronic disease and disability in retirement sentence. I have listened to that lesson and, like you, practice good eating, exercise regularly, watching that cholesterol level, and working this brain on both sides. The women in my family live into their 90s and I can either do that vertically and independently, or horizontally and dependently. Genetics pretty much determines how long we live. Lifestyle determines how well we live.”

George Burns, the comedien who lived to be 100, is famous for saying: “If I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself.”

Leaving you with that wonderful food for thought, please know that my next post won’t be until I return home on January 2, 2011.

Happy New Year to You and Yours!

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com.

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

U is for Unity

Unity is Birthed by Individuals (UW-Madison by Laurie Buchanan)
Unity is Birthed by Individuals (UW-Madison by Laurie Buchanan)

Unity, though concerned with the larger group, is birthed by individuals—you and me. It’s my perspective the unity has two orientations:

Vertically, it’s our connection with Source Energy
Horizontally, it’s our connection with the people around us

The intersection of these two lines is the seat of compassion—the key ingredient for unity at its best.

Identification with a group is vital to how we define ourselves. The worth of any group lies in the behavior of its individual members. Every group has people who are positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing. And of course, every group has people who are otherwise.

Connecting with like-minded people helps to make us aware of our inherent unity. When we’re warmly included—validated—it nurtures a warm sense of belonging; a sense that we’re part of something bigger than ourselves.

One of my friends, an aspiring writer shared, “I wish I weren’t so shallow. But sadly, honestly, I am. I wait for validation. I wait for recognition. I wait to be invited … by him … by her … by them … by the publishing world. While I wait, I sharpen the tools of my craft and I dream.”

There are a multitude of groups we can align ourselves with: ethnicity, religious affiliation, spiritual tradition, sexual orientation, and political association—to name but a few. Regardless, as the camel driver in Paul Coelho’s book The Alchemist said, “All of our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.” Inherent unity.

Being one’s authentic self within a group is vital. Frank Lloyd Wright, the father of organic architecture said, “The reality of a building is the space within. And what you put into that space will affect how you live in it and what you become. Don’t clutter the place with stuff that does not ennoble it.”

His point is that it’s the details that express the whole. This is equally true of our personal ecology—inner landscape—which brings us right back to the beginning. Unity, though concerned with the larger group, is birthed by individuals at our compassion-filled, authentic best.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com.

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

GREEN – Develop Your Emotional Empowerment

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For those of you who are just joining us, welcome to the University of Life. In the previous “classes” we laid the groundwork for this course—The Color of Wellness, and looked at the therapeutic properties of the colors red, orange, and yellow. Today is my 53rd birthday and I worked it out so that the class palette would feature my favorite color, Green.

Green is associated with self-acceptance, love, and emotional wellness. It enhances love, peace, and inner balance. It’s the color of growth. Think of freshly-mowed grass that springs back after a barefoot step, a wedge of lime hugging the rim of a glass, moss-covered rocks in a stream, freshly-snapped sugar peas, or new leaves unfurling as they herald spring.

The positive properties of green are expressed as warm, sympathetic, compassionate, soothing, relaxed, fair-minded, and consistent.

The negative properties of green are described as envious, mean, bitter, inflexible, and jaded.

The healing properties of green are described as calming and soothing, and can address physical symptoms that include headaches, heart, and kidney problems, flu, and negative states of mind such as irritability, spite, fear, of emotional involvement, and claustrophobia.

When you need a boost in the areas of love and self-acceptance, indulge yourself with this color. Its frequency revitalizes the heart chakra, the center energy station in a system of seven. It encourages us to love ourselves just as we are.

Use the color GREEN to develop your emotional empowerment. Click To Tweet

Love, the most powerful energy of all, helps us to heal emotional wounds through unconditional acceptance and understanding. It’s here—the place of the heart—where we become a balanced and peaceful being.

What shade of green are you drawn to? Pure green is strongly associated with nature, new beginnings, and a sense of renewal; it’s the most neutral color in the spectrum. While the more muted tones are calm, restful, and soothing. Maybe you prefer the deeper, shaded variants that project trust and order, encouraging contemplation, serenity, and repose.

Regardless of the hue, green reminds us to listen with our hearts and encourages us to fulfill our heart’s desire. Archangel Raphael—Heaven’s Physician—is associated with the color green. It’s no wonder this color is often used in healing circles.

What we do with our physical environment—our personal space—speaks to our heart and helps us to flourish. Buy a piece of green clothing. Add a splash of green to your décor with flowers, pillows, a candle. or a throw. Do you enjoy antiques? Add a few pieces of depression glass or a green seltzer bottle to your collection. Or take advantage of the healing frequency of green crystals such as green aventurine, malachite, green jade, or emerald.

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Line of Communication – How’s Your Delivery Style?

Line of Communication by Laurie Buchanan

Riding our bicycles the other morning we passed what seemed like a never-ending line of telephone poles—a line of communication—standing smartly at attention. It made me think of the game “gossip” where someone whispers a bit of information into a person’s ear, it’s passed along in the same manner, and by the time the last person shares it out loud with the group, it’s changed considerably from the original message.

That line of thinking caused me examine my own communication and ask:

Am I clear, concise, and articulate?
Do I say what I mean, and mean what I say?
Do I deliver my message like a nail gun—hammering each point home? Or do I deliver it with graceful strength that leaves the recipient’s dignity in tact?

In other words, would I want to be on the receiving end of my own delivery style?

My mother used to say, “Laurie, make your words sweet and tender today, for tomorrow you may have to eat them.”

How’s your line of communication?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved. 

The Master Key to Healing

Bridging the Gap by Laurie Buchanan

Bridging the Gap by Laurie Buchanan

Ranked a great virtue in numerous philosophies, compassion is considered in all the major spiritual traditions as among the greatest of virtues. I recently came across this quote from Matthew Fox, an American Episcopalian priest and theologian. It said, “Compassion is not sentiment, but is making justice and doing works of mercy. Compassion is not a moral commandment but a flow and overflow of the fullest human and divine energies.”

The virtues of the heart help us make more conscious and ethical decisions; they are what fuels great souls. It is my personal belief that love is a person’s divinity in action.

Compassion is vital to the healing process; the common denominator of all restoration. When we hold heart-based intent (Light, Divine Love) for another person, it yields a dividend; the promotion of health and wellbeing for both the sender and the receiver. It activates HeartLight – illumination of the sacred space within.

It is my perspective that healing cannot take place without love. Like a blade of light that pierces the darkness, HeartLight in our sacred space, inner sanctuary, can remove dis-ease and restore wholeness—body, mind and spirit.

Have you ever been part of the healing process for yourself?
Have you ever been part of the healing process for someone else?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Friendship

Friendship by Laurie Buchanan

Friendship by Laurie Buchanan

A true friend is someone you’re transparent with because they accept you for who you are. They tell you the truth, even at the risk of hurting your feelings. Their influence is positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing. True friendship is something we actively maintain and invest ourselves in.

It is my perspective that a true friend is someone who encourages you to grow. They will not walk in front of you. They will not walk behind you. They will not carry you. They will, however, walk beside you. True friendship is all of these things returned.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

Tonglen

Tonglen by Len Buchanan

Tonglen by Len Buchanan

Tonglen is an active practice of loving-kindness; a breathing meditation of sending and taking. Performed by Tibetan Buddhists and other spiritual traditions, Tonglen is a positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing way to care for other people. The heart of this practice is compassion; to breathe in another person’s pain—physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual—and breathe out strength, joy, and peace of mind; whatever gives relief.

Tonglen can be done for people individually—a person who is ill, fearful, in sorrow, or in pain. Or it can be done for people collectively—people in a geographic area that has been struck by a natural disaster such as tornado, earthquake, flood, or famine. Tonglen can be done anywhere, anytime. It can be formal like you see me doing in the photograph, or it can be done while you’re driving, or in bed.

Tonglen — the active practice of lovingkindness. Here's how it's done. Click To Tweet

When the Dalai Lama was touring the United States, he recommended the practice of Tonglen. He made it very simple. “Tonglen is giving and taking. As you inhale, take on the suffering of others. As you exhale, give out to them all your gifts, virtues, and positive qualities.”

He suggests beginning the practice with equalizing, which means, “To realize that each and every sentient being wants happiness and does not want suffering, just like you.”

With that in mind, he imagines that this practice actually reduces suffering in the world, but he says that “Whether this meditation really helps others or not, it gives me peace of mind. Then I can be more effective, and the benefit is immense.”

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Divine Grace

Bidden or Unbidden by Laurie Buchanan

Bidden or Unbidden by Laurie Buchanan

University of Life  – Divine Grace Course Description

“There but for the grace of God go I.” I have a difficult time with this familiar phrase. In my experience, it’s usually said by someone when they observe a person in an unfortunate circumstance. To me, those words mean, “I’m somehow special—elect—and don’t have to encounter that type of thing.” As if God imparts some people with a healthy dose of favor and leaves others to flounder.

Grace. We all have it. We’ve all been endowed with this innate gift. But what is it? Some say that it’s compassion or divine love; others say it’s the protection of God. I define it as the immediate presence of Spirit. One of my clients offers this definition, “Grace is the breath of God.”

The famous Latin writing, “Bidden or unbidden, God is present,” means that God is everywhere—not just with a select few—but with everyone in equal measure in the University of Life. We’re all here to gain understanding. Most of us learn by making mistakes. Some of us are taking basic courses; while others are in accelerated programs. Regardless of the level of difficulty, the classrooms have an ever-changing terrain. Having a strong and secure internal foothold—divine grace—helps us to stay the course.

If love is an act of compassion, then grace is divinity in action. The next time we see a person and think, “There but for the grace of God go I,” let’s put our divinity into action instead and be the immediate presence of Spirit for that individual; giving them a smile, a word of encouragement, or lending them a hand. Grace not given is grace lost.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               ~ Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.