Contrary to popular belief, ambition and spirituality aren’t in opposition to each other.
Ambition is a strong desire to achieve something.
Spirituality is connection with our essence, our spirit that’s already whole and perfect.
From my perspective, the important thing is understanding the motivation behind our ambition.
The externals (academic achievement, upper echelon title at work, bling, financial status, the super-duper whamodyne car in the garage) isn’t who we are.
When we remove the externals—strip down and get bare naked to the internals—we reach our essence, our being. That’s where abundance resides: peace, joy, compassion, gratitude, inspiration, creativity, and grace—our basic wealth.
It’s from our essence that we pursue our passion—an expansion of who we are. Living our passion fuels both the internal and the external aspects of our self.
It’s from our essence that we utilize our talents, achieve our ambitions, and live our potential—to make a positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing impression on those in our sphere of influence.
When was the last time you got bare naked—right down to your essence?
Although I’m not a resolution maker, each New Year’s Eve I select a single word to focus on in the upcoming year. In 2013 it’s peace and all of its derivatives.
An enthusiastic proponent of affirmations and an avid believer in Gandhi’s be the change, this year’s focus word and positive statements concentrate on each aspect of my being — body, mind, and spirit — and how I choose to be in the world:
I have a peaceful, healthy body.
I have a peaceful, creative mind.
I have a peaceful, joy-filled spirit.
Some people write their word of choice and place it on a computer screen, car dashboard, refrigerator door, or other prominent places as a convenient reminder.
Somewhat like a modified rosary or mala beads, I wear a necklace with three small clear quartz drops — one for each peaceful affirmation.
“Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.” — Buddha
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
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?
Our recent taste of tropical paradise has me pondering how we can weave “Island Time” — the slow, delicious passage of time — into life at home. Not only do I want to move at a slower, more enjoyable pace; sanity requires it. But first, I need to buy into the idea; I need to sell myselfon it. And I’m doing a good job!
During our sojourn, I gathered many beautiful shells. My favorite is a palm-sized, pure white conch shell. A beautiful reminder that it’s not about doing, it’s about being; a reminder to slow down, breathe, and savor the moment.
“Any belief worth embracing should be able to stand up to the litmus test of scrutiny. If we have to qualify, rationalize, make exceptions for, or turn a blind eye, then it may well be time to let it go.” —Laurie Buchanan