You can enlarge your world on many levels through travel. More than just an outer world excursion, going some place that you’ve never been before can expand your inner world. When you explore new territory, including different geography, people, cultures and experiences, you may also discover something new about your deepest self.
For example, on a recent vacation, I tried something that I had never done before: a zip line canopy tour. Several friends told me that they had zip lined and enjoyed the experience. I wanted to try it, too. So, when I was making vacation travel arrangements for myself and for my boyfriend (who had never zip lined before either), I booked a cloud forest adventure tour.
Cloud forests generally occur in tropical, or sub-tropical, mountainous climates characterized by clouds that hover at the canopy level of the trees. The tour included riding an open-air gondola from the ground to the treetops where you are dropped off at an observation deck with fantastic views of the land below. From the observation deck, you return to the ground by riding down on a circuit of zip lines—8 of them altogether—stretching across canyons and between treetops.
The ability to choose is an immense power. Each day, we make countless choices that have an impact on our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Whether we are promoting health, harmony, happiness, and conscious evolution is up to us.
If you’re feeling powerless, consider this:
Making a single poor food choice will not kill you. But, over time, continually choosing to eat processed or sugary foods and avoiding healthy, natural, whole foods, will gradually erode your physical health.
Occasionally denying your self something that makes your soul sing will not kill you either. But, over an extended period of time, choosing to trample your spirit will slowly squeeze the life out of you.
Love is the essence of your being. It is the sacred ground in which you are rooted. It’s the invisible current of life that flows through you. And, when this vital energy is flowing freely, you enjoy vibrant physical and emotional health, and remember your connection to spirit.
Does it seem strange to think of yourself as love? That may be because, not only is love both a noun and a verb, but, from an early age, you experienced love as conditional. That means it is only given or received under certain conditions. While parents may, in fact, love their children unconditionally, from a child’s perspective, it doesn’t seem that way, when the parent withholds tenderness, affection and approval, when the child fails to behave as expected. As children, when we fell short of what was expected of us and met with disapproval, we may have concluded that we were unlovable or not deserving of love. Thus, from the earliest age, we got the message that our value is conditional and not self-evident. Later in life, this belief continues to be reinforced as people judge us on the basis of superficial things, such as our appearance and how much money we make, rather than for who we are. But more importantly, we do this to ourselves by rewarding ourselves with self-love only when we pass certain self-imposed tests. You know how it goes: if you gain a few pounds, things aren’t going well at work, or you aren’t in a relationship, you don’t feel good about yourself and deny yourself love.
“In reality, we are divinity in disguise, and the gods and goddesses in embryo that are contained within us seek to be fully materialized.” Deepak Chopra
Although hidden within each of us is the same energy, the Universe expresses itself through each individual in unique ways. You possess a distinct set of divine potentials — qualities, characteristics, talents and other latent abilities — in a combination that no one else has, or can give voice to in exactly the same way that you can. Consequently, you have an individual destiny that is uniquely yours to fulfill.
Destiny is something entirely different than fate, the notion that your life is predetermined. The dictionary defines destiny as the inner purpose of a life that can be discovered and realized. Fulfilling your destiny is not something that you do, but rather it is someone that you become. You’ve incarnated to discover who you are, to consciously step into becoming who you are meant to be, and to anchor that expression of the Divine energy in this world.
“Your sacred space is
where you can find yourself again and again.”
- Joseph Campbell
Many of us have an innate sense of the sacred. We know that we’re connected to something larger than ourselves and, through that greater power, we’re related to each other. Yet, in our busy lives, even if we’re living with intention and know we’re on a sacred journey, we allow things, like work and family responsibilities, to take us out of that place of knowing, and sacred being. We forget what we know becoming lost in thought and in the day-to-day busy-ness of our lives.
It’s really not surprising that our attention wanders from the Essential, because “. . . what is essential is invisible to the eye” (Antoine de Saint-Exupery). That’s why creating sacred space is so important. Because it brings us back to the sacred. As Joseph Campbell said, “Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.”
Are you familiar with the term “gateway drug”? A drug, of course, is a chemical substance used in the treatment, cure, and prevention of disease or used to otherwise enhance physical or mental wellbeing. The term gateway drug refers to a substance, such as alcohol, tobacco or marijuana, which is thought to cause users to be at an increased risk of using other more dangerous and illicit substances.
Like a drug, the subtle energy of kindness improves wellbeing and boosts the body’s ability to ward off disease. The tiniest drop of loving-kindness has exponential healing power— a soft, quiet power that can melt the heart, calm the mind, and soothe the soul.
“A healthy mind has an easy breath.” (Author Unknown)
Research shows an inextricable chemical link between emotions, including stress, and the functioning of the body’s immune system. The growing field of psychoneuroimmunology looks at, among other things, the connection between emotions and the ability of the body to heal itself. A pioneer in mind-body medicine, Dr. Robert Ader, coined the term, psychoneuroimmunology.
“His initial research, in the 1970s, became a touchstone for studies that have since mapped the vast communications network among immune cells, hormones and neurotransmitters. It introduced a field of research that nailed down the science behind notions once considered magical thinking: that meditation helps reduce arterial plaque; that social bonds improve cancer survival; that people under stress catch more colds; and that placebos work not only on the human mind but also on supposedly insentient cells.
The holiday season of gift giving is here. We shop for the perfect gifts for our loved ones. Yet, the perfect gift can’t be bought in a store or wrapped in pretty paper with a festive bow. “The most precious gift you can give the ones you love is your true presence.” (Thich Nhat Hahn).
While we know this, we may find it challenging to bring the healing power of our loving presence to holiday gatherings with our tribe. When we were small children, it is family that told us who we are. They taught us right from wrong, and what was acceptable in the society, or circumstances, into which we were born. Although we’re now adults, parents and other family members may still think that they know what is best for us. They may expect us to live according to their standards and to share their beliefs and values.