I Saw the Face of God

This is the final post from my San Miguel de Allende experience. As a participant in this story, I was unable to take a photograph, nor would it have been appropriate. As such, I’ve pulled a photograph from my archives; a photograph that represents what this woman was to me — a lighthouse.

Standing in the central part of San Miguel de Allende taking candid photos during their colorful, Day of the Dead celebration, my attention was caught by an elderly woman who’d journeyed in from the campo — the outskirts of town.

Bent from time and weathered with age, her small gnarled hands gripped two short sticks to steady her steps as she slowly progressed. A swathe of fabric wrapped over her shoulder — positioned at an angle across her back — sheathed her few worldly possessions.

And while many others who visibly fared much better asked for handouts, this elderly woman looked neither left nor right, but remained focused on the task at hand — to make it into the cathedral.

Curiosity piqued, I followed her. Ever so slowly she made her way to the third pew from the back on the right-hand side. I sat in the back pew on the left to study the elderly woman unobserved. Her silent sermon spoke volumes to my heart as she sat with eyes closed, palms upward in supplication toward the crucifix at the front of the church:

Keep moving forward — even through the pain
Don’t be held hostage by the opinion of others
Limit material possessions — they are a burden
Make time to sit with God
Believe

Carefully folding money so it would fit, I quietly made my way across the aisle and gently pressed a bill into her work-worn, ancient hand, tucking her fingers as I did. Before I could step away, gnarled fingers grasped mine, while her other hand slowly and repeatedly made the sign of the cross — touching my head, chest, and shoulders — as she spoke.

And while I didn’t understand her words, I clearly understood that I was being blessed; that her cloudless, silver-grey eyes took in far more than my features — they took in my heart. More importantly, as my tears washed down her deeply lined face, I knew that I was looking into the face of God.

When was the last time someone looked into your heart?

Laurie Buchanan

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

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The photograph featured in this post was taken at Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia.

© 2012 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Self-Realization Fellowship & Meditation Garden

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During a recent visit with my dad in Encinitas, California (Dec 31 – Jan 1) I spent time at the Self-Realization Fellowship and Meditation Garden. This location—founded in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda—is always included when I visit.

It’s a wonderful place to recharge one’s personal battery; to just sit and drink in the beauty with all of the senses; to meditate, relax, and renew. It was a welcome part of my journey. I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

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

www.HolEssence.com.

© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Y is for You

Who Are You? by Len Buchanan

Who Are You? by Len Buchanan

There are times during a session when I ask a client to tell me who they are. I preface this by saying, “I don’t want to know whose mother, wife, or daughter you are, what you do for a living, what group(s) you identify with, where you live, what you collect, or what you drive. When you take away all of those trimmings, who are you?

This question usually causes a long, thought-filled, inward examination. It’s a question that’s important for each of us to be able to answer for ourselves.

I remember Olivia (not her real name) who thought quietly about this question for the longest time. Eventually, tears slowly began to roll down her cheeks, but she was smiling. When she finally answered she said, I am enough.” That was the most powerful, profound answer I’d ever received. This is the place that we all need to be—I am enough!

An equally important question is why are you here? Not your geographic location, but your life purpose. Knowing why we’re here provides us with the most concrete and basic thing we can know about ourselves—that there’s an individual reason for each of us being here.

Many people believe that we “find” our purpose. Not me. I believe that we determine our purpose. There’s a big, whompin’ difference.

Who am I? you ask me.
I’m an extension of Source Energy; an expression of Divine Love.

What’s the purpose that I’ve determined? you’d like to know.
I determined that my purpose is to be a mindful agent of heart-based change—body, mind, and spirit.

What about you—Who are you? Why are you here?

“All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have been more specific.”
               — Lily Tomlin, American actress, comedian, writer, and producer

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

T is for Time

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Kronos, or tick-tock time, is chronological, sequential, and linear in nature; it’s governed by watches, clocks, and calendar pages. We schedule our lives by it—making appointments and keeping deadlines. It tends to be more of a taskmaster than a friend. Many people speak of “never having enough” of it as we race against the clock.

Kronos time is symbolized by an infant that ushers in the New Year and ends the annual calendar as an elderly, bent, and bearded man—Father Time—similar to the god Chronos in Greek mythology.

It’s my perspective that there’s much there’s more—much more—to it than that. I believe that the brow chakra (energy center) is the gatekeeper to a time portal; a place where we can step out of quantitative time as we know it—Kronos, and into qualitative time—kairos.

Kairos, or opportune time, is the word the ancient Greeks used to describe the right time, perfect time, supreme moment, or the “now.” Some might even call it divine time. Kairos intersects and brings transcending value to kronos time. It signifies an undetermined period of time (time in-between) in which something special happens. I was 6 years old the first time I remember dancing with Kairos time, but that’s a story for another day.

One doesn’t catch up with Kairos time; rather one participates in it. In one of my favorite books, A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle, she suggests that kairos time can, and does, enter, penetrate, break through or intersect kronos time: the child at play—consumed in the moment; the painter held captive—mesmerized at an easel; the saint lifted up—removed as it were, in prayer…

In her book, Close to the Bone: Life Threatening Illness and the Search for Meaning, Jean Shinoda Bolen wrote, “When we participate in time and therefore lose our sense of time passing we are in kairos; here we are totally absorbed in the present moment, which may actually stretch out over hours.”

It would be an understatement to say that kairos moments alter the trajectory of our lives. To miscalculate kronos time is inconvenient. To miscalculate kairos time is utterly regrettable.

When was the last time you were so caught up in kairos that kronos was transcended and you were at soul-level?

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

K is for Karma

What goes around comes around - the boomerang effect

What goes around comes around – The Boomerang Effect

You’ve heard the saying, “What goes around comes around,” on a surface level, that’s one way of defining karma. Often referred to as The Law of Return the Sanskrit word means action. I call it The Boomerang Effect.

There are multiple camps of thought on this topic, but my perspective is that we’re spiritual beings on a human journey; we’re here on a temporary layover in the classroom called life for the specific purpose of learning lessons before continuing on. Some people refer to these lessons as karma.

Enzo, the old soul and canine narrator of Garth Stein’s book, The Art of Racing in the Rain said, “I know that karma is a force in this universe and that people will receive karmic justice for their actions. I know that this justice will come when the universe deems it appropriate and it may not be in this lifetime but in the next, or the one after that. Their current consciousness may never feel the brunt of the karma they have incurred, though their souls absolutely will. I understand this concept.”

K is for Karma — otherwise known as The Boomerang Effect. What's coming back at you? Click To Tweet

The philosophical explanation of karma differs somewhat between traditions, but the general idea is basically the same. Through the law of karma—cause and effect—the result of every action creates present and future experiences, making each of us responsible for our own life and the pain and joy it brings to those in our sphere of influence.

I believe the karmic litmus test is to examine the motive that underlies our present actions. Despite how the past may account for many of the inequalities we see in life, the measure of a human being is not the hand dealt. Rather, it’s how the hand is played. Because we’re all interconnected, our decisions affect everyone.

What’s coming back at you?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

C is for Clairs

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We all have them—the clairs—they’re innate. The French word “clair” means “clear.” It’s the root word for each of the Clairs:

Clairvoyance (clear seeing) is seeing an image in our mind’s eye. It can be in motion, like a movie; or it can be still, like a photograph. It can occur when we’re awake, or asleep, eyes open or closed. The image can be figurative or literal.

Clairaudience (clear hearing) is receiving or “hearing” messages in thought form, with our “mental ears.” The source attributed to these messages is often one’s soul, higher self, angels, or deceased loved ones.  It can also be an actual sound or literal voice that we hear with our physical ears.

Claircognizance (clear knowing) is knowing something for a fact without any supporting evidence. Most of us have walked into a room where the atmosphere is so thick with tension we could choke on it. We don’t know what is going on, but we know for certain that it’s not good. Our knowing—gut instinct in our head—has kicked into high gear.

Clairsentience (clear feeling) is feeling a literal sensation such as a chill when there’s no change in temperature, or a perceived sensation such as the touch of a hand when we’re alone. It can even be a smell when there’s no reason for it.

Some people disregard their clairs, while others are intentionally aware. Which of the clairs are you most sensitive to?

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.

A is for Alchemy

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A very basic explanation of alchemy is that it transforms something common into something special. Derived from the Arabic word al-kimia, alchemy can be either a practice, or a way of life:

As a practice, the focus of this ancient art is an attempt to change base metals into gold—making the alchemist outwardly rich—financial gain.

As a way of life, the focus is on living with intention, achieving wisdom, and doing the work it takes to become a little more enlightened every day—making the alchemist inwardly rich—inner wealth.

What area of your life could use a touch of alchemy?

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

I Wish I May, I Wish I Might

I wish I may, I wish I might

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.

If you could have 3 personal wishes granted (something for yourself), what would they be?

If you could have 3 global wishes granted (other than for self), what would they be?

Caveat: none of your wishes can be to have unlimited wishes…

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.

It’s What’s on the Inside that Really Counts!

Capilene Long Johns

The mornings of riding our bicycles in short pants and sleeves are done and gone. We’ve consistently been greeted each dawn by 43-45 degree weather. Add in the speed of a bicycle, and we’ve got some additional wind chill to contend with.

And while outerwear is certainly important, it doesn’t compare to the importance of what’s inside the final layer:

Moisture wicking briefs and sport bra
Capilene long underwear – top and bottom
Under helmet skull cap with ear flaps

Yep, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts! This isn’t just true for outdoor sports; it’s true for life as well. You’ll recall that Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies with in us.”

What inside your outer layer?

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.