Peace Begins with Me

Enzo is the main character in Garth Stein’s book, The Art of Racing in the Rain. “Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs).”

Enzo (or Ensō, both are correct) is also the name of a Zen circle, a Buddhist symbol that represents infinity, “no-thing.”

For me, that symbol translates to simplicity, minimalism, a meditative state, and enlightenment which I define as “Recognizing that we are all connected, then consciously living that realization—our thoughts, words, and actions an unshakable reflection of that understanding.”

Zen is an enlightened state of mind. It’s also a way of being—living. As we close 2017 and look to writing the pages of a new year, my mantra is “Peace begins with me. Right here. Right now.”

Will you please join me?

Incidentally, The Art of Racing in the Rain is one of my all-time favorite books. If you haven’t read it yet, please carve out time and gift yourself with the opportunity. You’ll be glad you did.

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

New Ways of Knowing

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU AND YOURS!

My wish for you is PEACE of mind, JOY of heart, HEALTH of body, GRATITUDE for blessings, KINDNESS both given and received, INSPIRATION that fuels CREATIVITY, and GRACE—the immediate presence of Spirit.

I auto-scheduled this holiday greeting to publish today because I’m currently at the New Ways of Knowing: Meditation and Writing Retreat in California.

I’ve turned off comments as I won’t be able to respond, and look forward to being back online next Tuesday.

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Sankalpa

Rather than make New Year’s resolutions, each year I select a single word to focus on in the upcoming year. In 2017 my focus word is Sankalpa—a Sanskrit word that means determination; a practical step to harness willpower. With this resolve I’m going to plant, cultivate, and and nurture three seeds:

HOPE — optimism, joyful expectation

GRACE — the immediate presence of spirit, be the change

PEACE — reconciliation, unity

My practical and idealogical steps to ensure a good harvest include exercising intentional kindness. To build up, not tear down. To unite, not divide. To accept, not merely tolerate. To be better informed. To be transparent and vulnerable, not guarded and closed. And to actively listen, not passively hear what people with opposing viewpoints have to share.

Do you have a focus word this year?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

My Cup Runneth Over

When we saw this trailer overflowing with bicycles galore, I thought, Holy cow, that’s a lot of bicycles! I don’t know who owns them or why they have so many, but clearly their “cup runneth over.”

For the rest of the walk I wondered, what do I have a lot of? Certainly nothing tangible in that quantity. But I have a heckofa lot of intangibles to be grateful for: peace, joy, and whole health—body, mind, and spirit. In fact, my cup runneth over!

Does your cup runneth over?

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours.

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Lunch with His Holiness the Dalai Lama

On April 26 I had the unique opportunity to be one of eighty guests who enjoyed lunch with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Loyola University after he spoke to a crowd of 4,000 people about the importance of non-violence and human compassion.

Sitting in the second row, I had a clear view of the sacred chants, musical performances, and three high school students who read their award-winning essays in response to the Dalai Lama’s question:

“How can an attitude of non-violence counteract the prevalence of violence in our families, in our communities, and in international relations; and how can we as individuals cultivate and promote such an attitude?”

A humble man with a contagious smile, the Dalai Lama describes himself as, “A simple Buddhist monk.” Currently 76, he was proclaimed the 14th Dalai Lama at the age of 4 and became Tibet’s leader at 15. In 1959 he made a harrowing escape from Tibet over the treacherous Himalayans as the Chinese made a violent grab for power. He now resides in Dharmsala, India.

Never once using notes, the Dalai Lama spoke from his heart, calling on young people to lead the world toward peace. He said, “Concern should not be rooted in religion, rather, the focus should be on understanding.” And while his message was serious, he also shared stories that made the audience laugh:

His eyes sparkled with mischief as a recounted being a toddler riding on his mothers shoulders and using her pigtails to “steer” her in the direction he wanted to go in the event she wasn’t listening to him.

When he was ten or so, he and his older brother were not interested in studying—they liked to “goof off.” His spiritual teacher came to the conclusion that two “whips” were needed: a regular one for his brother, and a “holy” one for him (his was painted yellow). With a grin, he assured the audience that a “holy” spanking hurts just as much as a regular one.

In his message of hope the Dalai Lama shared:
“Change must start within one individual.”
“The future depends on the present.”
“The difference between violence and non-violence resides in the heart.”
“When we exercise a compassionate view, we let go of anger.”

In my perspective, the Dalai Lama is the embodiment of goodness. If we all emulated his compassionate attitude—one that is positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing—the world would be a very different place.

What’s one change you can make for the better?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

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

Please visit HolEssence and our Facebook page

© 2012 Laurie Buchanan– All Rights Reserved

VIOLET – Strengthen the Connection with Your Higher Self

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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, yellow, green, blue, and indigo. Today’s palette features the color Violet.

Violet is associated with self-knowledge, divine connection, and spiritual wellness. It enhances creativity, wisdom, and inspiration. It’s the color of royalty. Think of juicy plum, purple grapes, the velvet petals of an African violet, or the rich color of eggplant. When was the last time you picked turnips fresh from the earth? Have you ever seen a spiny purple sea urchin on the ocean floor while snorkeling, or been waved at by an iris dancing in the breeze? 

The positive properties of violet are expressed as inspiration, dignity, creativity, nobility, spiritual awareness, altruism, independence, and personable.

The negative properties of violet are described as fanatical, perfectionist, self-doubting, self-destructive, and alienated.

The healing properties of violet are cleansing and antiseptic and can address physical symptoms such as epilepsy, neuralgia, multiple sclerosis, and negative states of mind that include neurosis, despair, loss of faith, and lack of self-respect. Violet can also be used to suppress the appetite.

When you need a boost in the areas of divine connection and self-knowledge, indulge yourself with this color. The frequency of violet refreshes the crown chakra—the  gateway to our spiritual nature. This energetic center is where we consent to higher guidance for personal transformation.

The energy of violet helps to assimilate our day-to-day experiences into wisdom, waiting at the ready for translation into enlightenment. Violet encourages a peaceful environment and relieves tension. It promotes inner strength, wisdom, and kindness. Violet helps us to change negatives into positives and brings about increased feelings of spiritual connection. Because of its calming properties, violet is an excellent choice to use during meditation.

Are you drawn to pure violet? It emits the clarity of blue and the warmth of red. It speaks of grandeur and reverence. Or maybe you enjoy the lighter airy shades that are elusive and intriguing; while the deeper purple tones are shadowy and peaceful, inviting deep relaxation and meditation.

What we do with our physical environment—our personal space—speaks to our heart and helps us to flourish. Buy a piece of violet clothing. Add a splash of violet to your décor with flowers, pillows, a candle or a throw. Enhance your sacred space with a violet or purple zafu cushion to augment your meditation practice. Or take advantage of the healing frequency of violet or purple crystals such as amethyst, sugilite, or lepidolite.

A special thank you to Joseph’s Market for allowing me to take photographs in their produce department and to Countryside Nursery for allowing me to take photographs in their gardens.

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 ReservedNo part of this blog post may be used in part, or in whole, without written permission from Laurie Buchanan.

BLUE – Unleash Your Creative Flair!

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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, yellow, and green. Today’s palette features the color Blue.

Blue is associated with self-expression, creativity, and environmental wellness. It enhances knowledge, relaxation, and health. It’s the color of a cloudless summer sky. Think of your favorite faded denim jacket, robin’s eggs in a nest, an exquisite piece of turquoise, or the inviting water of a swimming pool on a hot day.

The positive properties of blue are expressed as peaceful, calming, tactful, sincere, trustworthy, fluent, introspective, and responsible.

The negative properties of blue are described as tongue-tied, cold, withdrawn, manipulative, and disloyal.

The healing properties of blue are cooling and protective and can address physical symptoms such as high blood pressure, migraine, fever, cuts, stings/burns, and negatives states of mind such as timidity, fatigue, distrust, indecision, fear of speaking up, and confrontation. Blue decreases respiration and is ideal for sleep and over-activity.

When you need a boost in the areas of creativity and self-expression, indulge yourself with this color. The frequency of blue resonates with the throat chakra. It creates a calm throat center from which to speak our truth. Blue stimulates calm, open, and clear communication, ingredients that are vital to working with others peacefully.

Are you drawn to clear blue? That’s a cool color that calms. Or maybe you enjoy the muted hues that recall a spring sky after the rain; while the shaded tones exude comfort and rest.

What we do with our physical environment—our personal space—speaks to our heart and helps us to flourish. Buy a piece of blue clothing. Add a splash of blue to your décor with flowers, pillows, a candle or a throw. Buy blue sheets that will gently encourage you to sleep at night. Or take advantage of the healing frequency of blue crystals such as aquamarine, turquoise, chrysocolla, or blue topaz.

[Lisa Krupp will recognize many of these photos from her home island, Eleuthera, in the Bahamas. Arch Rock was taken on Mackinac Island, and the pendant is one of my favorites, Blue Kyanite and Pearl].

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 ReservedNo part of this blog post may be used in part, or in whole, without written permission from Laurie Buchanan.