Love and Power

Standard

heart radiance

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.
Tao Te Ching, Chapter 33

Love and power are mutually exclusive. Or are they?

I had wondered if one can love and still be a force to be reckoned with. If one loves, and is thus compassionate and forgiving, then one is likely to be taken advantage of in this world, isn’t it? If one loves and will not ‘do whatever it takes’ to succeed and amass influence, then how can one be powerful?

Words like love and power are used so often we take them for granted. We assume we know what they mean. We assume the words have ‘universal’ meanings.  Not so. There is love, and then there is Love.

Small letter ‘love’ is the human feeling that is relational and conditional. Here love and power can be great allies. How often have we ‘loved’ as a means of keeping control – ‘if you love me, you will…’ or ‘I love you so…’. How often have we used ‘love’ to keep our ego safe in our social world? We say we love, by doing for another, anticipating appreciation, of acknowledgement such that the reciprocity is our way of keeping the other within our influence.  As a result, how often have we been ‘angry’ or ‘disappointed’ for another’s ‘ungratefulness’ or ‘ignorance’? How often have we failed to acknowledge or accept kindness shown to us to indicate we are still in control, to show we do not need?

This ‘love’ is psychological intelligence which originates from the mind. We know that mothers ought to love their children so most of us do. We know when we encounter the special someone and we react in ways which have been culturally prescribed. I am not judging this love, it is an invaluable human experience. I do not undermine the thrill, the kindness, the care, the attention that this love can be.

Then there is ‘Love’ with a capital ‘L’ which is unconditional. This comes from soul wisdom and resides in the heart. This is the Love that is universal, soul-expressed for humanity, which acknowledges that we are at one with our world, which honours our interconnectedness with one another. This Love just is. It is heart vibration reaching out with no expectation of reciprocity. It does not control, it does not seek to direct or judge. This is in the exquisite moment when you squeeze your child so tight, smelling her hair and willing to die for her. Or when you look into your beloved’s eyes and know that you are home. In those moments, you are invincible, you are indefatigable, you are powerful beyond measure.

We all have had those moments, however fleeting. You see, Love is Power, its essence nurtures and uplifts, strengthens and guides, enfolds and protects.  It is not power over another, rather it is power of mastery of self.

Imagine if these moments are sustained… How amazing would the world be!

Often Fear keeps us from Love. Our fear of not being connected, of separateness compels us to hang on to the objects of our connectedness; we inflict our cerebral, sexual or physical power upon them in our attempt to keep them to us. For ultimately we long to be safe, we yearn to have the embrace into which we can fall. But in our Fear, there is no Love, only conditional love.

Be still in silence. Listen to your heart. Notice your body sensations. In Love, you will feel light and open, free and embolden, powerful and invincible. All is possible.

May you experience Love always,
– FlorenceT

 

© 2015 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Talking dirty … about Beauty

Quote

 

Chinese beauty in traditional costume  “Beauty. The power by which a woman charms a lover and terrifies a husband.” 

    Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) American writer, satirist

 

 

 

Being Chinese, it is imperative for me to put across alternate/different image of beauty? 🙂

  Till next time,
  – FlorenceT
 
P/S Why talking dirty? See the first post on this series.

Meditation? For love and power…

Standard

The point [of meditation] is not to improve yourself …but to come back to who you are, the awareness that is your birthright

These are the words of Jack Kornfield, who facilitated the first session of the ‘Love and Power’ weekend retreat.

Mindfulness

Jack Kornfield quoted Zen master, Suzuki Roshi who when asked to talk about higher consciousness, said:

I do not know anything about higher consciousness, I just try to teach my students how to hear the birds sing.”

How beautiful, how simple!  Be present to the mystery and beauty that is life, and you will be content.

There is so much that we are not aware of, most significantly ourselves.  This then is the power and magic of meditation – to come back to who we are, to be aware and present. The practice of meditation is continuous and eventually it becomes easier. I have no answer as to the measure of time this may be for you nor even I.  It is not about arriving somewhere.  To be honest I am not certain there is a destination we need concern ourselves with.  It is the practice journey of meditation itself which teaches, which brings us back to who we are.

journey-ii-h-kopp-delaney

The essence of meditation is twofold – silence and stillness. As opposed to being ‘silenced’ by a fear, in protest or by resignation, silence in meditation is empowering because we come to sit in that space in which we are aware of ourselves, of our world and our relationship with the world; and we then have choice to accept ourselves for who we are.

I have written on occasions about our humanity, our flaws, our Shadow.  I hold mine gently in the palms of my hands, sometimes in playful lightness, sometimes in contemplation, always being mindful not to judge. I do not always succeed. That is okay too.  The very act  of being aware of my Shadow is by itself, empowering – to walk this life with consciousness.  As for judging, whether self and others, the crux is to know when you are judging; if you can name it, you are more likely to be able to let the act or thought go.  Practice, practice, practice…

Life is difficult – broken friendships, marital discord,social injustice, discontentment, illness etc.. Life is beautiful – bird songs, dew drops, oceans, loving relationships, desires, talents and abilities, etc..  Of the two, our common usual want is to embrace the ‘good’, the pleasant; while we ignore and avoid the difficult.

To paraphrase Jack Kornfield as he closed the first session,

Turn to that which is difficult (i.e. suffering) and you’ll learn something of value
Seat yourself in the middle of everything, joys and sorrows
Trust the space of awareness
With a loving heart, acknowledge this is our humanity
Without judgment, the need to fix it, or ideals.

This is what it means to be present – to not look to our history and judge and attempt to fix it, to not look to our future and judge it against ideals we have inherited from our past or history.

mindfulness-meditation-Jon Kabat-Zinn

Be present!

I know it is easier to be nostalgic of ‘the good old days’, be resentful or hateful of a history of a relationship, to look to ideals and be stuck when a future does not seem to be as planned.  We live everywhere – the past and the future – except in our present.  I know, I go there, more often than I care to admit.

We have the capacity to be present, what is required is the courage to do so. Because to be present may necessitate looking at our own pain now.

So will you take your seat amidst your humanity
With affection and tenderness
With love?
And be present to your humanity
The joys and the sorrows
With awareness and acceptance?

namasteIn Love,
– FlorenceT

 

Image 2: Journey by H Kopp-Delaney http://fineartamerica.com/featured/journey-ii-h-kopp-delaney.html

Image 4: Namaste by John Stevens http://johnstevensdesign.com/photo/namaste/

© 2014 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Love’s healing

Quote

kiss comfort

I shall gather you
Into the arms
Of love’s embrace

Let me ease the pain
Besieging you
With love’s pure heat

In anguish, you shall
Experience, grasp
A moment’s delight

In joyous respite
Remember, know
Love’s healing power.

– FlorenceT

 

© 2014 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Making meaning of our life stories

Standard

question markMaking meaning of our life stories” – that’s my tag line, and it occurred to me that I’ve not spoken to it.

Our lives are made up of memories, which are in effect stories, narratives which were told and remembered. These narratives, created by us and others, in turn have created our life, in how we think of or remember our lives thus far.  They give meaning.  And these narratives or stories also in some ways shape our perception of how our life stories are unfolding and how the future stories will be told.

Ever had the weird experience of being told two very different stories only to realize it derives from the same event?  Then you’ll pretty much figure out that these two story-tellers would attach different meanings to this event, and interpret them into their lives in different ways.

The stories we, and others, tell of our lives (and thus us) impact significantly on how we perceive, behave, interpret; and how we live.  It is not just the negative stories I am referring to, even the apparently positive ones have their sway.

woman in glassesI grew up being praised for my academic prowess.  I worked hard, put in lots of effort, and was relentless in my pursuit of excellence.  They were, I was led to believe, the reasons for my success.  I somehow did not quite believe I was intelligent, no matter what my successes.  Without hard work and effort, I would certainly fail.  Let me clarify – when I say hard work and effort I meant HARD WORK AND EFFORT, all the time.  No idleness, I was told!  I recall references to being ‘not really intelligent’ but ‘she works hard’.  So this was one of my stories – which led me to a life of busy-ness, too afraid to relax, always vigilant, just in case I missed life’s ‘opportunities’.  Don’t misunderstand, I do enjoy mental and intellectual stimulation, and I appreciate the work ethic my parents have instilled in me and the importance of having a goal in life.

But (there is always a ‘but’) I have now realised I am indeed intelligent and creative (now, that’s a story for another time!) – that I can ‘wing it’ if I choose to do so, and brilliantly if I may add.  It’s such comfort to have less of the stress and anxiety surrounding a fear for not putting enough effort, for not having worked hard enough and fail. I am far from being a sloth, however I am less hooked on this story of ‘hard work and effort’, and instead realising and/or acknowledging other stories that I fancy. A bit of self-love here 🙂

self loveI have many stories which I have had to fulfill, some of my choosing, some not – stories which require me to be the good girl, the dutiful daughter, the responsible one, the be-like-a-man woman of the world, the self-sacrificing mother… the list goes on.

Be aware of being stuck with any particular story for your life! It may serve others to tell a certain story of you.. be it of a victim, a survivor, the dependable one, the sick one, the weak one, the capable one… Will you let them?  Do you know yourself?

So making meaning is twofold – to re-tell the stories of old in our own words; and to tell the stories which have so far been untold (or ignored) so they can become a  part of our life.

I am conscious now of what and whose stories I am fulfilling… and I am pragmatic.  One story for now – my children need me to be an available mother, and I do so willingly and happily.  And I also know a time will come when this story ends.  And I am also choosing to write my own stories…

What life stories have bound you?  book

What stories will you re-tell now in your words?

What stories untold will you tell now?

Which stories will set you free?

 

Wishing you discernment,
– FlorenceT

There is a place in you that you must keep inviolate

Standard

Sacre Coeur 2010

“There is a place in you that you must keep inviolate, you must keep it pristine clean, so that nobody has the right to curse you, treat you badly, nobody… ‘cos maybe that is the place you go to when you meet God… say ‘no’ when it’s no, say so, back it up because that place has to remain clean and clear…”

The sage words of Maya Angelou.

I tweeted this Youtube video more than a month ago, but feel compelled to write this in order that it remains part of my public journal.

How often have we been tempted to let our integrity slides just a little for something or someone, to let go of our convictions if only for a moment, to permit another by their professed love or misplaced anger to invade our sense of self, to loosen our boundaries of decency, to lie for the sake of a loved one… so many instances when we can choose, and fail to keep ourselves inviolate.

As Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s poem “The Invitation” says,

I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.

It is not selfish to say ‘no’ to keep this place in yourself inviolate. It is an imperative.

This short interview of the late Maya Angelou by Oprah Winfrey is a must watch.  Go on…

 

Living and loving as an introvert

Standard

An introvert.. insights through the words of dorkymum. We need our space and our solitude, get it?! 🙂

dorkymum

good advice

*stands up*

*shuffles nervously*

*clears throat*

Hello. My name’s Ruth and I am an introvert.

Would you believe that it has taken me 31 years to say that?

Most of those years have been taken up with saying other things. No, I’m not anti-social. No, I’m not shy. No, it’s not that I hate people, or that I hate you, or that I’m a badly brought up Awkward Annie.

I’m just an introvert.

View original post 1,490 more words

Answer to your future calling…

Video

It doesn’t matter where we come from, it doesn’t matter where we’ve been, there comes a time when we have to stop looking back and answer to the voice calling to us from the future.

Believe that the sun will shine tomorrow
And that your saints and sinners bleed
We weren’t born to follow
You gotta stand up for what you believe

Extract of lyrics from Bon Jovi’s ‘We weren’t born to follow’.