Freeing Yourself from Expectations! by @AwakeningTrue


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Over the past few months, the weight of expectations has been a frequent topic in conversations with family and friends, and in my own thinking, journaling, and choices.  Each of us has a very personal relationship with the many expectations in our lives — our expectations of ourselves, what we expect from others and, of course, what we believe other people expect from us.  

Can expectations be positive? Of course! My parents had expectations that my brother and I would be kind and compassionate, that we would study while we were in school, and that we would become “responsible adults.”  I am certain that there can be many positive effects of expectations throughout our lives.  What I have been considering recently, though, are the other types of expectations, those that become the SHOULDs that weigh us down.  Those expectations can add stress and pressure to our lives, and often result in self-judgment and self-criticism. They distract us from our experience of inner-peace and joy.  

Expectations come in all shapes and sizes, and they can be REAL expectations that have been communicated to us or by us, or they can be IMAGINED expectations that are born in our assumptions about what others want from us.  Either way, expectations can become invisible burdens that we carry with us every day.  They weigh us down, but we carry them only because we decided to carry them.  We are the only ones who can create the pressure of expectations in our lives.  It is true that other people can expect things from us, but what they expect from us can only create pressure if we allow it.  The choice is always ours.

I have decided to surrender my habit of creating unrealistic expectations for myself, and my habit of accepting the weight of other people’s expectations.  I have decided that being free of weighty expectations is a state of mind, and a state of heart.  I invite you to release the pressure of expectations, real or imagined, and to let go of what others think of you, want from you, and expect of you.

Let’s explore feeling free!  Let’s explore moving through our days listening to our heart instead of listening to that voice – ours or someone else’s – telling us what we should do.  Let’s explore a life where there is no SHOULD.  Let’s imagine ourselves as beautiful, brightly-colored balloons, floating without resistance, gratefully choosing to soar above the tethers that would weigh us down. 

Sharon Kathryn D’Agostino —@SharonDAgostino, @AwakeningTrue and @SayItForwardNow 

Author’s bio: I believe in the power of love, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and gratitude! And I believe that each of us has an important role in shaping a kinder, gentler, more compassionate world for all.

Kumud’s note: Join our weekly twitter chat, Sunday March 26 at 9amET / 1pmGMT / 630pm India with Sharon as she steps up to lead #SpiritChat with her insights and questions. Thank you, Sharon!

Freedom from Expectations…

Photo Credit: © Blueenayim |

The Beautiful Struggle by @merryb923


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Nothing is permanent, the only guarantee in life is that there will be change, and that things come and they go. As this presents challenges in our lives, it also encourages growth and reveals opportunities. 

Although the word “struggle” usually has a negative connotation, it really is just a sign of growth and evolution. It is an invitation to show up for life and discover what is meaningful, and which gifts you possess. It is an opportunity to use your superpowers.

What kind of superpowers do you possess? How did you find them? What are some superpowers that you admire in others? How do they demonstrate these powers? These are questions that could never be answered without struggles, and they reveal so much beauty in our world. The fact that we must struggle makes the world more beautiful. 

When life is looking dreary and lacks luster, it may be time to invite a struggle. Whether it is releasing a toxic relationship, finding more meaningful work, or adjusting your priorities, there is something that must change to bring color back into your life, to shake things up and look for a new path to walk. Remember, everything is temporary, this too shall pass, just be present. 

Looking forward to #spiritchat tomorrow to discuss the Beautiful Struggle. 

💖 MerryB

The beautiful struggle depicted by the angry sea on a stormy day (Wells, Maine)

Join in our weekly gathering and conversation, Sunday March 19 at 9am EDT with guest host @merryb923 in #SpiritChat on twitter. Thank you for stepping up and leasing the chat, Meredith! – Kumud

The Joy of Inner Peace by @JanetNestor


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We are all on a journey to our sacred inner oasis. We want to connect to ourselves, life, and the divine. We want happiness, joy, safety, and inner peace. The issue is we don’t always know how to create it. However, if we find it once, we will keep striving to find it over and over again!

Our spiritual journey lasts a lifetime. When did you first become aware that you were a spiritual seeker? I was about 30 years old at the time and attending Adult Children of Alcoholics 12 twelve step meetings. Before ACOA I had no understanding of self-care, meditation, and no concept of how to create joy or inner peace.

In the beginning and throughout our journey we need teachers; people who can show us how to find the gifts of joy and inner peace that reside within our own being. And we need communities that support our journey. #SpiritChat has always been one of those communities for me. We grow together every Sunday!

There are mindful ways to learn what joy and peace feel like – how they impact our mind and body.  Mindfulness is focused awareness. We learn to witness our own body and emotions, become aware of our own inner nature, and then learn to live within our awareness. Becoming aware and experiencing heart virtues like joy and peace deepen our spiritual experience.

To really know what joy, love, peace, kindness and other virtues are, we need to experience them when they are paired with negative opposites. We all know that embracing heart virtues bring us energetically to a higher frequency. What we don’t know is what negativity takes from us.

We can use sensory awareness to make fun, laughter, joy, inner peace (and all the other viruses) part of holistic awareness, our energy system, and our heart center. When that happens, the energy of the virtues flow through our body connecting us to joy and inner peace. This activity is easy and is something we can teach our children and grandchildren.

Create a list of heart virtues that you want to adopt. The list might look like this: joy, love, kindness, peace.

Once you have your positive list, create a list of opposite emotions: sadness, hate, meanness, war.

You will need eight 3×5 white cards or pieces of clean white paper. No lined paper or paper that has been used before.

Write each of the words on the card or paper – one word on each card.

Hold the word joy between your hands until you can feel the energy of it flowing through you. You can feel the frequency of joy vibrate between the palms of your hands and perhaps vibrate through your whole body.

Then hold the word sadness between your hands and feel its vibration. Once you have felt the vibration of sadness, hold joy between your hands again. This keeps your vibration high as you complete this activity.

Repeat with each of the word pairs. Love-Hate, Kindness-Cruelty, Peace-War. Remember to hold the positive word, then the negative word, and again the positive word.

You will be surprised at what information you take in somatically, mentally, and emotionally. You intuitively know the importance of choosing a positive, joyful way of life. Words matter much more than we imagine! Words create our body’s chemistry and our quality of physical, mental, and emotional health.

If our body chemistry is positive, we experience positive emotions. which generate a positive, heathy inner environment. That balanced chemistry allows us to feel inner peace and joy.

If our body chemistry is not balanced, we experience emotions that are negative. Negativity limits our ability to experience joy and inner peace. Adding positive thoughts and actions gradually create a chemical change that results in a positive physical-mental-emotional-spiritual change.

If you try this little activity, let us know at the beginning of the chat!

Thank you for inviting me to be a guest host, Kumud. I look forward to our Sunday, March 12th #spiritchat.

Janet Nestor

Editor’s Note: Please join our long-time friend, supporter, participant and advisor to the #SpiritChat community, Janet Nestor (@JanetNestor) as she hosts our weekly chat on Sunday, March 12 at 9amEDT / 1pm GMT / 630pm India on twitter. Thank you – Kumud @AjmaniK

Janet Nestor on twitter

Janet Nestor, Author of “Pathways to Wholeness

‘Hold the word Joy between your hands…’

Celebrating Our Colors


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It was about a week or so today that the first color of spring first burst upon us by the fence line in the backyard. The two willows which we had planted when we first moved into our new home a few years have back have grown from a foot high to at least eight feet. Both of them were proudly sporting their full blooms of pink and white flowers that stood in contrast against the still-leafless trees of the forest. At first sight, they looked very much like the light coating of the first snow of a season that paints every branch of the willows with a delicate white. 

In the week since, the March of the blooms has been held back a bit with the weather going back and forth between winter and spring like a kid trying to master their new yo-yo. As a result, the hydrangeas are lying in wait for a consistent warmup before they will set forth their colors. After a couple of initial sightings, the orange breasted blackbirds have also seemingly slowed their migration to the backyard forest from the South. It has been left to the mallard ducks to add color to the local lake with their brilliant blues shining amid the many pairs of nesting geese.

The myriad colors of the season may be delayed, but I am sure that they won’t be denied. Like the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore wrote in his “Song of the Bird”

O Flame of the Forest,
	All your flower-torches are ablaze;
You have kissed our songs red with the passion of your youth.
In the spring breeze the mango-blossoms launch their messages to the unknown
	And the new leaves dream aloud all day.

It is only a matter of time that the ‘flame of the forest’ shall kindle the hearts of the birds and along with them, we shall see that  ‘the flower-torches are ablaze’. The birds’ songs will be ‘kissed red by the passion of spring’, and the ‘leaves shall dream aloud all day.’ Isn’t it wonderful that we can trust the poets of the world to remind us that we can find color in any season if we choose to let poetry into our hearts? What would our lives be like if we allowed ourselves to add more color to our lives through art, prose, theater, dance and so much more that enlivens us?

Spring is as good a time as any to add more color to our lives than we currently may be enjoying. If you need an excuse to dive headlong into more color, perhaps consider the Indian festival of colors – Holi – which falls on the full moon day (March 7/8) this year. Wear some colorful clothes, splash some virtual paint on some screens, write a verse or few of poetry with a theme of your choosing, break out some real crayons or paint brushes, share some sweets with a neighbor and more. In short, do whatever will bring a bit of lightness and playfulness to your heart. That’s what a sense of color can do for our spirit. 

It can make us feel like ‘mango-blossoms (that) launch their messages to the unknown’. Who knows — we may even pause the asking of questions and simply immerse in the colors of spring for a moment. 


P.S. Join us for our weekly gathering and conversation on twitter in #SpiritChat, Sunday March 5 at 9amET. We will share some colors with each other – bring your favorite pieces of poetry, artwork, artists, and more to share. I will bring some questions and treats. Namaste – @AjmaniK

Willow blossoms in early spring

Willow blossoms are the first to arrive with spring colors to the garden…

On Powers of Observation


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Small though it was, the bridge itself had never actually moved. I thought it had been removed by human hands because it was in relatively poor shape, but the fact was that I had just stopped seeing it. I had assumed that it was gone, and in its place was a relatively small stretch of water which I could just as easily jump move for walk around to get to the other side of the embankment.

All of that changed this morning, after six odd months of getting my shoes wet while navigating the stretch of water. The bridge reappeared in my awareness, where it had always remained, slightly hidden beneath the overgrowth. It hadn’t been touched by human hands, because some of the boards were still missing and others were still broken. A few feet left long, about a foot wide, just enough to support one human’s or deee’s crossing at a time, over an invisible body of water.

My delight at meeting this old friend was instant. It wasn’t that the friend had walked away from me. I had just stopped noticing my friend by thinking that it had disappeared from where I thought it once used to be – over that same patch of water which I was now regularly jumping over or walking around. It was a beautiful reunion today, as I walked through the tall grasses, stepped on the first of the boards gently, and slowly crossed over the few feet that held me as surely they always had in the past.

Once on the other side, I looked back and said thank you for reappearing, for giving me space to explore alternate pathways to the other side. It felt like a reunion with a long lost friend who I had stopped observing because I was too busy or distracted, or because I made the assumption that they did not want to be seen by me any more. The power of observation works in many different ways, doesn’t it?

Have you have ever experienced the sense that you have been observing certain things differently within you on your walk of life? Which observations tend to come from wisdom, and which ones come from assumptions? How has the power of observation affected your relationships with others?


As I was leaving for home, the Sun started emerging from behind the clouds above the tree line in the distance and I realized that like the bridge, the divine rarely move away from us – it is we who shift our heart’s focus of observation. The good news is that it remains within our powers to shift our focus back to divine awareness, whenever we so choose to observe it again.

P.S. Join us for our weekly gathering and conversation, Sunday Feb 26 at 9amET / 2pmGMT on twitter in #SpiritChat. We will discuss our powers of observation among friends who are with us in our journeys. Namaste – AjmaniK

The Power of Acceptance


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I am sitting in the downstairs window, bathing in brilliant morning light on a beautiful mid-February day. The two puppies are on the bench beside me, watching me write this as I pause to take a sip of my tea, wondering why their morning ‘cookies’ haven’t showed up yet. Earlier, I had been sitting in the upstairs window that overlooks the water, marveling at the thin sheet of ice still covering part of the channel that feeds the rest of the lake. I could hear the call of a goose through the closed window as he was probably laying claim to his nesting space for the season.

The conversation this morning, from the moment I woke up, started with the topic of ‘resistance’ and gradually shifted to ‘acceptance’ and then to ‘manifestation.’ When resistance came up, the engineer in was immediately drawn to the electrical analogy of voltage, current and power. As the conversation proceeded, I was reminded that it is the ‘night of Shiva’ – Shivaratri – a celebration of the power of manifestation of the One who is considered the greatest practitioner of Yoga in Hindu tradition. The belief is that Shiva’s ‘masculine’ power remains latent until and unless it is enabled and activated by Shakti, the divine ‘feminine.’ This activation happens on Shivaratri – the ‘ratri’ or night of Shiva. But I digress.

How is such activation of potential made possible in Nature? Using the electrical analogy, for a given amount t of voltage or unmanifesed potential, the lower the inner resistance, the greater the flow of current, or manifested potential. Manifestation ia inversely proportional to resistance. In spiritual terms, when the ‘Shiva’ within us lowers our resistance by accepting that the activation energy of Shakti is necessary to manifest our potential, the divine current flows naturally. Without acceptance, which is a lowering of resistance, our potential is bound and remains in a static, dormant, partly or fully frozen state, for all of time.

What may happen within us when we decrease our level of undue resistance? It is said that acceptance manifests divine current as life-force that literally moves us, accelerating us on our journey towards our ultimate goal in life.

Where does resistance come from? How does it accumulate over time? Could it be because we question, even protest so many things in our lives that we have very little control of? We question why, when and where we were born, and even of whom? We ask why we had a certain upbringing, traditions, schooling, set of friends and family, and so on. We ask why certain loved ones and relationships and friendships are no more. The resistance accumulates over life and times.

And yet, if we would turn resistance into acceptance, we could enable the current of life in this moment to flow and empower us. How do we turn towards acceptance? Perhaps we can begin with a decision to look at our past with a different perspective, with greater empathy, loving kindness, maybe even forgiveness and more. There are techniques and guides who can help us make this turn, lighten our past loads and help us create new pathways of increased acceptance in our hearts. We may need to seek, to ask, to be receptive.

Yes, all of this will take some work, but change and new flow is rarely if ever possible without some effort, is it? True, meaningful, sustainable and transformative acceptance requires all the power we can muster and the help and cooperation of all those who are able and willing to empower us. Don’t you think so? The result is that the more the current flows within us, the more power for good we shall manifest through our divine potential. With complete acceptance, Shiva and Shakti will become One within us, and a new cycle of creation will begin.

The infinite possibilities of the infinite await. Will we accept?


Join us for our weekly gathering and twitter chat, Sunday, Feb 19 at 9amET / 2pmGMT / 730pm India in #SpiritChat, as we celebrate acceptance. Namaste ~ AjmaniK

Nature teaches us so much about acceptance, doesn’t it?

Knowing our Inner Child by @merryb923


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I was so grateful to have the opportunity recently to peruse some of my childhood moments captured on a giant camcorder from the 80s & 90s, and videos of my parents and grandparents in the 60s and 70s. There were many fascinating things about these videos, watching with my young nieces, they were so excited to see all the “olden time things” (from the 90’s!)🤣

Another thing then dawned on me, and my nieces agreed, “Auntie looks so different, but she acts the same!” I haven’t always been like this, I evolved into this person. Imagine, I have evolved into being the same as I was as a child, and I love that!

This got me thinking, how much of life is about learning, and how much is about unlearning? I wonder how much of ourselves gets lost as we navigate our lives and the world around us. I wonder how many people never find themselves again. 

A lot of what we truly are is evident in our childhood, that innocent, non-forged version of ourselves that came into this world free of cultural norms, prejudices, and shame. I was happy to find that my self exploration brought me back to the wild, weird, enthusiastic child I saw in those videos. Is this something to aspire to? What are some positive child-like qualities we admire and what are some we would rather outgrow? 

Explore with me this Sunday at our #spiritchat gathering. I look forward to hosting again! 

I attached a picture of myself and my siblings in the mid 80s. I’m the little one, and this picture says a thousand words ❤️


It is my honor to guest host another #spiritchat and have the chance to give back to a community that has given so much to me the past decade++ The impact to my life is simply immeasurable. Thank you all and I’ll see you Sunday, Feb 12 at 9amET in the twitter chat!

Meredith (bottom right) with her siblings at age…

Let The Music Play


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It has been at least five years, and I remember the feeling like it was yesterday. During one of my morning walks on a fisherman’s trail by the river, I came around a bend and stepped into a clearing that was filled with hundreds of daisies. It was a clear blue-sky kind of day and there was a spring-like warmth in the air accompanied by the soft gurgling of the river as it flowed lightly. I paused, and did something I had never done before, and have rarely done since.

I took off my light jacket, and lay done on the grass, among all of the daises, face pointed towards the heavens, arms stretched out by my side, letting it all flow through me. I will never forget the coolness of the grass, the softness of the flowers, the sunshine smiling at me and the feeling of the sounds of the vibration of the earth’s hum as it held me softly. It was as safe a moment and space, an opening of the heart, that I ever remember experiencing in nature. The music of the earth and the waters, and the stillness of the sky made it feel like all the senses had come awake simultaneously.

After laying in the clearing for a few minutes, it seemed like all the sounds of the birds, the river, the breeze and the earth had merged into the one wordless harmony of celestial music. I am sure that you have had experiences with natural or man-made music that affect your heart in a way that words cannot describe. We all know that the vibrations created by music can affect our moods and emotions, and transport us to places that transcend our ordinary planes of daily experiences, don’t we? Imagine a state or states of existence where we have developed the ability to be constantly attuned to the celestial or divine music that plays continuously within us.

What would our life feel like if we were to primarily live in a state of higher vibration than we currently do? How do we develop the ability to spend most, if not all of our waking, working, resting hours in tune with that music which helps us live and love our best life?

Yes. It may takes practice, even a lot of practice, to live in that state of attunement with divine music. What do we get in return for all that practice? In my experience, once we have laid down in that field where we have felt embraced by the universe and all her elements, we never forget that state of superconscious joy.

If and when higher bliss is experienced within, we cannot then wait to wake up and walk, sing, write, meditate or practice whatever it is that brings us closer to our natural state of higher vibration, can we?

I invite you to practice to listen to the music play. We can surely all hear it and heart it, can’t we?


P.S. Join us for our weekly twitter chat, Sunday, Feb 5 at 9am ET / 2pm GMT in #Spiritchat. Bring some of your favorite music to share. I will bring some questions. Namaste – @AjmaniK

Sunrise on the Caribbean… the playing of celestial music…

Invitations of Spring


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It’s 10am Saturday morning and I have been up for at least four hours, absorbing all the energy flowing around and within me, from near and from 7500 miles away. This same routine has been going on for the past few days, and the energy has taken on a special frequency since the Indian ‘Spring’ festival of Basant Panchami was celebrated on January 26. Spring in the middle of winter in the Northern hemisphere, you say?

We are almost five weeks into winter, seven weeks from Spring. If we lean our hearts a little, and let our mind wander a week forward, we will be halfway there. In some ways, the festival is an invitation to the Spring that is imminent. Yes, winter may still have some questions to ask of us, but so what?

The better question to perhaps ask is — What does Spring mean to you and your heart? The calendar is simply a time-keeper, isn’t it? If we orient our energy towards the feeling that Spring engenders within us, will we not instantly evoke Spring, or any of our favorite seasons at our heart’s behest?

Over the past few days, particularly since I received and accepted Spring’s ‘early’ invitation to play, my schedule has been pleasantly ‘disrupted’ by my attendance at an online festival of ‘music and meditation’ every morning. As a result, I can feel that my internal energy has been shifting daily, slowly but steadily towards warmth, renewal and a harmony that is the hallmark of Spring for me.

As I finish writing, the Sun has literally made its way through the heavily overcast skies, the wind has been becalmed by a shift, the reflections of the trees in the pond are becoming sharper by the minute, and the geese are slowly arriving for the day. I am sensing another invitation to sing, to meditate, to raise awareness of what lies in the heart.

It surely feels like an invitation from spring to me. I guess that winter without will have to wait. Have you received any invitations of body, mind and heart lately? If so, what have you done with them?


P.S. I invite you to join our weekly twitter chat and gathering, Sunday Jan 29 at 9am ET / 2pm GMT / 730pm India in Spiritchat over tea and cookies. Namaste – AjmaniK

P.P.S The second phase of the ‘Spring festival’ of ‘music and meditation’ hosted by Heartfulness India will run from Feb 1-3 2023 at 7amET / Noon GMT / 530pm India. You are invited to attend the Free live sessions at ~ Namaste.

Spring invites us in its own subtle ways… to reflect on body, mind and heart…

Embracing Uncertainty by @merryb923


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A new year has just begun – I love a new beginning. What is a new beginning anyway? They are everywhere, all around us… they’re little opportunities just waiting for us to grab them. And let’s be honest, we never know exactly how anything will pan out. Very rarely do things end up being the way we expected. That’s the beauty of life- we forge new paths to find the unexpected, not to seek the familiar.

Sometimes the unexpected can surprise us, present a new opportunity – like meeting someone who will change our lives for the better. Sometimes it can disappoint us, derailing us from the life we had planned. While we can’t predict the outcome, we can learn to embrace the opportunity, take the journey, and figure out where the path leads.

The journey begins with a decision, those big decisions tend to stand out. I recently decided to change careers, and I saw a path laid out before me. I have often seen these paths and sometimes I chose not to walk them. But I looked at this path and it was beautiful, inviting, but also, long. I’ve already taken a few steps, and so far it’s exciting. I know there may be some rough patches, but I’ll embrace them, too. I have decided to embrace uncertainty. 

Join me at #spiritchat this week to discuss some paths we have traveled, the beauty we have found in uncertainty, and limiting beliefs we’ve had to overcome to embark on our journeys.  



It is my honor to guest host another #spiritchat and have the chance to give back to a community that has given so much to me the past decade++ There are no words to express the appreciation I have for Kumud and everyone here. The impact to my life is simply immeasurable. Thank you all and I’ll see you Sunday, Jan 22 at 9amET in the twitter chat!

White Mountains, New Hampshire
(photo by Meredith B.)