Love and Forgiveness by @AwakeningTrue

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Love and Forgiveness 

True forgiveness is like a rainbow – a rare and beautiful gift, precious and elusive.  As a child, I was often told that it was important to “forgive and forget.” No one explained that the step of forgetting – of letting go of our hurt and pain – may be even more important than the act of forgiving.  I understand that now that it is. 

I have been thinking a lot about forgiveness and when I consider the importance of forgiveness in all of the relationships in my life, and in everyone’s life, many questions come to mind… 

… Is it actually possible to “let go” of hurt?

… Do the people who have forgiven me “hold on” to the pain or sadness I caused them?

… Have I truly forgiven someone if I re-live, from time to time, the pain or sadness I experienced?

… How do I know, beyond a doubt, that I have been forgiven?  How does anyone ever know? 

The answers to these questions, and the mechanism for letting go of pain, seem unknowable to me until I add the most essential element in my life: LOVE. 

When we love unconditionally, and when this love guides our thoughts about others and our actions towards them, I know it is possible to “forgive and forget.”  When we love someone unconditionally, the way we hope they love us, we recognize that in our shared humanity we all make mistakes.  We apologize when we sometimes say or do things that hurt others, things we deeply regret.  Others apologize when they hurt us.  And if we are wise, we choose to love and to let go because if we do not, we continue to feel the pain we experienced or caused, and it remains a heavy burden to carry.  Only love can enable us to fully forgive, to let it all go, to drop the burden and move on.  Only unconditional love can help us wipe the slate completely clean.

We are all wonderfully imperfect, and in loving and forgiving ourselves and each other, we experience the same sense of awe we feel when suddenly a rainbow appears after a storm.  The miracle of a rainbow.  The miracle of true forgiveness. The miracle of unconditional love. 

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: I am delighted that Sharon will be hosting #SpiritChat for all of us on Sunday, April 18 at 9amET / 1pmUTC / 630pm India on twitter. I am so looking forward to “Love and Forgiveness”, and all the grace that emerges from her leading the conversation on this topic. Thank you, Sharon!

Rainbow of Forgiveness – Photo by Sharon Kathryn D’Agostino

 

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On Raising Intuition

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It is the kind of spring morning where the Sun shining on your back warms you just enough to be comfortable in a t-shirt as you watch the blackbirds flit back and forth across the lake between the rows of cattails that line either side of the water channel leading away from you. There is an ineffable feeling of peace as you feel the breeze waving its silken scarf across the lake’s surface to send the slightest of ripples adrift among the floating patches of green algae.

The two boys on the other side of the lake are blissfully swinging away without a care in the world as they launch their legs upwards towards the stars to go a bit higher with every swing. Your gaze scans the bank of trees on your right and you notice that they are much greener and fuller near the sky than they are at their roots. A blackbird has discovered that it’s safe to sit on the fence and pick on the block of suet hanging off of the fence post, even as the puppy walks the fence line right below her.

And so it goes. The mind occasionally wonders about the reasons for being, about the causes and the effects, while the heart says – hush, observe, feel, absorb – tune into your intuition to discover depths of capacity that you could or would never fathom if your mind were in charge. Feeling without clinging or grasping allows intuition to shine through our translucent heart. Intuition sets our heart free to feel so deeply that we raise our level of feeling. And so goes the cycle of life.

As my daughter reminded me on her birthday this week, and I quote: “Life is not linear. It is actually more non-linear than we want to accept or admit”. The mind has trouble with non-linearities, but the intuitive heart rarely does. The heart probably uses every experience of non-linearity, every unexpected happening, every serendipity, to slowly raise its level of intuition. Try this, experience that, adjust this, try again.

And then, one day, you wake up to an awareness that you have raised your intuition, step by step, to progress from belief to trust to faith. How may we have such faith? We sense a permanence of light and lightness within, a deeper intensity, an expansiveness, a sense of wholesomeness and wholeness in our heart. 

What may be the effect of such faith? It propels, even compels us, to spread goodness through empathy in action. It inspires others to be more empathetic, connected and trusting. In loving and living through intuition, we can forever change the orientation of our hearts, and connect more deeply to the seekers around us.

Namaste, intuitive seekers. May we all find joy in the raising.

Kumud

P.S. Join us for our weekly twitter chat and gathering with the #SpiritChat community on Sunday, April 11 at 9am ET / 630pm India. Bring some intuitive experiences to share – I will bring some tea and cookies, and yes, questions. – @AjmaniK

A Lily - After the Rain

The Heart’s Fullness

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For most of the years that the weekly #SpiritChat has been around, we take a break from our Sunday morning Twitter gathering on Easter Sunday. It has become a bit of a tradition, if you will.

This Easter Sunday, we are going to ‘break with tradition’ because my heart has invited me to do so. Let me elaborate.

I usually wait until after my Saturday morning meditation hour to choose a topic for our Sunday chat. Clarity usually comes to the heart after meditation. As I sat for today’s hour, I didn’t even ‘ask for a topic’ because I wasn’t planning to do the chat anyway.

And yet, the universe had different plans. As my thoughts receded and the noise was replaced by a fullness of warmth and light that first came as a trickle, then a flood, and then a stillness that just sat there, my heart’s master said — “hold space for them like I am holding space for you.”

Who are these them, I asked? They are those who want someone to celebrate with, but can’t. Or they are those who want to simply share with someone about their week. Or they just want to see a friendly face, like your friend, the veteran who stands under a tree outside the local post office holding a “be kind” cardboard sign – the one you stop and chat with every single time you see him, inquire about his health issues, share some prepackaged food or a mask, and more. Yes him, who often reminds you of the fullness and richness of your life, as he says “God loves you” at the end of every one of your street conversations.

Yes. Hold space for them, because them includes you. Be the vessel that can be filled with potential. That was this morning’s invitation, and I accepted.

What is fullness or emptiness? It’s relative, isn’t it? To paraphrase Lao Tse, “we focus on the beauty of the vessel, but its usefulness, its potential is in its emptiness”. When the heart’s vessel is full, we feel led to empty it, to share what is held within, whether it be joy or sorrow. When the heart feels empty, we want to fill it up again.

Back and forth, the pendulum swings, and a time comes when our heart’s fullness is permanent. We are home again to love. We can all celebrate that, can’t we?

Kumud

P. S. Join us for our weekly chat, Sunday April 4 at 9amET / 630pm India in #SpiritChat. Bring some goodies to share, and we will celebrate fullness. Namaste – @AjmaniK

Flowers fill the heart… Happy Easter!

On Life’s Diverse Colors

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As I walk outside on to the deck just after sunrise, I am greeted by a symphony of sounds and colors that are unmistakably spring. The blue hues of the lake shimmering reflections of the sky remind me of the much more expansive palette of the skies and waters of the Caribbean at sunrise on any given morning.

The greens of new buds on plants and the tiniest of leaves on trees in the forest encourage the grasses that are meandering their way back to life. There aren’t many reds or oranges or yellows or such yet, but I am sure that that palette will appear later during the sunset hour. I muse over my cup of tea…

What would our lives look like without the existence of color, or our ability to discern the beauty that the myriad colors of people’s experiences add to our lives? If our true wealth is the sum total of our shared experiences, then would we not be paupers without having experienced a multitude of hues of faiths, beliefs, cultures and such? Why is it then that…

There are so many who continue to insist that it is their color, their truth, their experience, their waters, their way of life, their spiritual practices, their books, their philosophy, their mythology, their culture and such that is superior and deserving of domination — and that all else must go.

It is like me trying to color the world around me with “my favorite color”. Or, perhaps it is like a color-blind person (yes, that’s me in real life) saying that a particular color doesn’t exist or cannot possibly exist or has no value because I literally cannot see it. Imagine if the extent of our universe was limited to our senses and their perception – would we not be living in denial of a large part of our human experience? I perhaps digress…

On this full moon of March, a weekend that marks the “festival of colors” or Holi in India, my heart asks more questions. What is the color of the falling rain or the dew drop or the tear in a mother’s eye? What is the color of the breeze that awakens the buds in spring? What is the color of the heat that warms the earth and causes the roots to stir to life? What is the color of love or fear or hate or joy or awakening? I don’t really know…

I do know that it is perhaps in embracing all our transitions through the experiences of all the myriad colors of our life, that we can prepare ourselves for the experiences which are colorless, formless, infinite and permanent. It is a form of Yoga. If we were to deny or negate the diversity of color in our world, how would we ever arrive at unity, let alone experience Oneness in our heart?

So, bring on Holi, I say, with all of its vigor of color, joy and celebration of all of humanity. Let there be color everywhere through light, so that its source can infuse love for all in our hearts.

Kumud

P. S. Join us to celebrate and share the colors of your life in our weekly chat – Sunday, March 28 at 9amET in #SpiritChat on Twitter. Namaste – @AjmaniK

What colors can your eye see in Spring?

Messengers of Equity

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The onset of spring often means that I get an opportunity to align my annual “work break” with my daughters “spring break” at school. This rhythm was fortunately restored this week, after the disruption last year due to the pandemic.

The rhythm’s restoration was accompanied by the opportunity to spend a whole week filled with twelve-hour long days and nights as the equinox approached and allowed for day-dreaming and natural observation. What emerged from simple observation without agenda? It was how nature tends to do such a wonderful job of being a messenger of equity in so many of her daily rhythms.

One such messenger that I got closely acquainted with this week was the sun rise over deep blue Caribbean waters every morning. The acts of waking up early to complete my morning meditation, followed by watching the sunrises became my new natural rhythm. I could literally set my watch to the song of the bird that would start singing while the dawn was still dark. Her faith in the new light that was imminent, was as unwavering as it was uplifting.

The sunrises were far from perfect, though. On most mornings, clouds of various width, depth and height would hug the sea, obscuring a direct view of the sun. And yet, every sunrise viewing was spectacular because every one of them started out unpredictably different. However, the conclusion and the Sun’s message was always the same.

Just before 7am, silvery linings would form on the edges of the clouds. Shortly after, the sun’s orb would ascend high enough in the sky to subsume the clouds with its golden brilliance. It seemed as if the Sun, in its rising, was messaging equity to all beings, regardless of their size, status or situation in the natural order of life.

How was this daily message received by the world? One example was seen in the appearance of the pelicans, who had a predictable rhythm along the shoreline while the sunrise’s drama was unfolding. Their timing seemed to based on a synergy between the sun’s emergence and the state of the tide. They often seemed to arrive peacefully, in groups ranging from three to maybe a dozen. With grace and peace, they fearlessly and repeatedly plunged headfirst into the waters for their morning catch. Their morning ballet was a pleasant, soothing contrast to that of the raucous crows and blackbirds!

The response to the Sun’s message of peace, harmony, abundance and yes, equity, is often received and acted upon differently by many of us, isn’t it? Why is this so? Does the messaging need to be improved? Is nature using the wrong messenger?

I don’t have the answers. All I can do is relay to you the message of equity that was delivered loudly and clearly to me on this vernal equinox. Our future depends on our investment into working towards equity for all. Will we choose to listen to the messenger and act accordingly, or will we close our eyes to the light?

I hope we choose well in this new season of healing and wellness for all.

Kumud

P. S. Join us in our weekly chat, Sunday March 21 at 9am EDT / 730pm India as we celebrate the Sun’s passage through equity. I look forward to seeing you after my ‘break’. Namaste – @AjmaniK

Sunrise on the Caribbean
Sunrise on the Caribbean…
March 20 2021, Vernal Equinox

P.P.S. My ‘break’ this year was made possible by being fully vaccinated relatively early (the 2nd dose was completed on Feb 6… ), and the invitation to a remote location #gratitude

Seasons of Renewal

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Over the last week or so, I’ve noticed the slant of the sun’s light and the arc that sweeps across the sky in my northern latitude, has changed. My morning and evening walks have made me acutely aware of this change. As the sun rises more eastwards and sets more westwards a bit everyday, the March of increasing sunlight is difficult to ignore. Winter is still holding on, and yet, bit by bit, spring is loosening its grips on the earths and the waters where the Sun cannot yet reach directly. 

The increased range and angle of the Sun creates increased warmth in the earth during the day, which lets the soil do more its work of awakening the roots during the night. Or at least that’s what I imagine. The birds have already awakened to the season and the cries of fledglings demanding food in the nests outside our living room windows are ample proof of this. In addition, there is the music of the shrills of blackbirds on cattails harmonizing with the squawking of the arrivals and departures of new flocks of Canadian geese in the lake every morning and evening.

The not-so-hidden message in the midst of all this new activity seems to be a call to renewal. It is perhaps not a coincidence that the timing of this message coincides with the renewal of hope in our heart. We feel renewal because we can see the beginning of the end of the pandemic that brought a lot of components of our lives to a standstill over the past year. We may sense renewal because nature is reminding us of the consistency of natural life-cycles that have persisted through millennia, despite our ignorance of, or interference with them. 

It is often said (in metaphysics) that outer Nature is simply a projection of our own inner nature. The state in which we see the world without reflects the state of our world within. If this is true, then every season, every transition, every change in the amount and intensity of light and warmth within our heart is reflected in the external world of Nature. If this is true, then every moment that we invest in healing, reflecting upon, and meditating on the source of light within our heart becomes and opportunity for renewal of both our inner and outer world. 

I posit that This is the true invitation of the season of renewal. I further posit that we can evoke and invoke the season of renewal in whenever we so choose to renew the awareness of our heart’s light. It is when we awaken to the light of our truth that we can stream, and yes, even binge-watch, all the seasons of renewal within our heart.

And now, it’s time to walk the dog, or rather, let him walk me outside. It’s a beautiful spring day outside. Namaste.

Kumud

P.S. Join us for our weekly gathering and chat with the #SpiritChat community, Sunday March 7 2021 at 9amET / 730pm Inda. Tell us about your favorite season of renewal! Thank you. – @AjmaniK

Sunlight falls on Autumn’s leaves in Spring – March 6 2021

Sunrise in Spring

The Heart’s Serendipity

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To try and define serendipity is to perhaps attempt to fly without wings. Let that not stop me from trying, though, because the mere notion of the word makes me smile. Saying it out loud makes me smile even more. Try it. Slowly. Se-ren-dip-ity. There. Are you smiling yet? Now, let’s get back to the definition.

Let’s begin with the dictionary definition and origin of Serendipity:

…the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way…

Origin: coined by Horace Walpole in 1754, suggested by The Three Princes of Serendip, the title of a fairy tale in which the heroes ‘were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of’.

What’s you’re definition of Serendipity? Does it involve any fairy tales? Here are a few of my offerings. 

Serendipity is an unplanned, unheralded, unexpected event, accompanied with a welcome surprise, which transports us to a different level of consciousness from the level of awareness that we initially stepped into the event with.

Serendipity is a suspension of attachment accompanied by a surrender to the possibility that infinite outcomes may exist for any given action.

How about a bit of word play? Serendipity happens when we allow our awareness to be ‘dip’ped much deeper into the gap in consciousness that seren-ity creates for us. Who needs wings, eh?!

Enough of definitions. Let me share some personal serendipities with you, in no particular order of time and space. Perhaps it will inspire you to think of some of your own.

Serendipity is a bit like when your teenager downloads yet another painting app for her phone, and you wonder – how many painting apps does she really need? A few days later, she shares with you one of her most creative ‘finger’ paintings yet. Yes, that.

Serendipity is a bit like when you, finally, after years of ‘rolling your own’ with your ‘practice’ of meditation, humble yourself enough to say ‘yes’ to the invitation of ‘meditation with pranahuti’ (Heartfulness), and the universe smiles back at you with deep love as it holds your hand on your new walk. 

Serendipity is a bit like when on a vacation trip to Mexico for spring break, you wake up early one day to take a walk with a Shaman who teaches you about how to ask permission of the universe – the earth, the skies, the waters, the winds – and then, a day later, your fear of water disappears as you learn to float in a crystal clear cenote. Yes. That.

Serendipity is a bit like when you go to the Friday evening happy hour after work on the insistence of a friend because you love all their deep-fried appetizers and you end up with a ‘chance meeting’ with a savant who ends up becoming your friend, then your wife and the one who has taught you every day over the past twenty six years about the meaning of higher love with her actions.
Yes. That.

Serendipity is the result of the universe’s gifts to us when we untether our mind from our heart and surrender a sliver of time and space to creativity, intuition, and openness. The result is that the infinite does its thing and adds sparks of joy to our heart.

The heart’s serendipity. Yes. That’s That. 

Kumud

P.S What does serendipity mean to you? Can you think of instances of ‘discoveries of sagacity’ that have created sparks of you for you? Join us and share some of your moments with us in our weekly community gathering in #SpiritChat on twitter, Sunday February 28 at 9amET. Namaste – @AjmaniK

The Heart’s Serendipity – Artwork by AA

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The Heart’s Release

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We often talk about the idea and need of “letting go” in our weekly #SpiritChat conversations. One of my favorite analogies in this context is given by Osho:

To light a fire, we need a spark. A matchstick struck on the side of a matchbox can provide that spark. And yet, once the fire is lit, we don’t keep the used matchstick around. Its work is done. The fire’s work begins. – Osho 

Over time, our heart tends to become the repository of many such “used” matchsticks. We tend to hold on to them, refuse to release them, “just in case”. The result? Instead of sharing the light, the energy and the warmth that the fire has lit within us, we hold on to worry – what if the fire goes out and I don’t have any more matchsticks left? Maybe I’ll be able to use the burnt one after all.

What else may we hold on to in the heart, as we refuse to release?

We hold on to waiting and waffling, letting our mind convince us that we aren’t ready, aren’t good enough to share our light yet.

We while our time away watching and marveling at the fire, all the sparks emanating from it, hoping for it to change for the better, before we decide to share it. We hold on to procrastination. 

We make deep dives into the mind’s spaces, wondering about the ‘why me’, ‘what now’, ‘what if’, ‘what about’ and ‘is it really my purpose to share’ questions. We hold on to the never-ending wondering. 

We keep looking at the wishing well in wistfulness and get swamped by uncertainty about the purpose and possible impact of our sharing. We hold on to a lifetime of inactive wishes while we let the heart accumulate ever-new desires, as the fire dwindles.

All this worrying, waiting, waffling, whiling, why me-ing, what now-ing, what iff-ing, what about-ing, wishing and more. All the while, the fire has now gone out, the embers have gotten cold, and we are still holding on to the burnt matchstick in our hands. 

And yet, there is a bright path, which can be walked by us, if we allow the heart to release the matchstick of our dogmas, our vanities, our hubris, our anger, our hate, and that is burning us out from within. It is akin to letting go of the weight of the hundreds of thousands of parts, systems, and engines that have served their purpose, and brought us this far on our journey. We are grateful for all them, including the sky-crane which has finally set our wheels down ever so gently on a new planet.

And yet, the sky-crane needs to be released too, or will be forever frozen in time and space, unable to move, to explore, to search for life. It’s time to release the final matchstick. 

In releasing with gratitude, all that has brought us here, we create space for our heart’s new mission — whatever we may choose it to be. In the heart’s release, we become free to leverage our spirit, opportunity and curiosity. Freedom allows us to appreciate and acknowledge our journey, and engage our wheels to begin our work.

A new world beckons. Let’s release our light. 

Kumud

P.S. Join us for our weekly conversation with the #SpiritChat community on twitter – Sunday, February 21 at 9am ET / 730pm India. Bring your wheels, ready to explore! – @AjmaniK

In a final act of release, a skycrane lowers @NASA’s Rover, Perseverance, on to the Martian Surface on February 18 2021. 

SkyCrane Lowers Perseverance on to Mars

The Heart’s Purpose

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Sometimes, you can live a lot of life in a mere five minutes. Sometimes, it may take you five hours, five days, or even five years to life a lot of life. Sometimes, even fifty years may not seem to be enough to live the life that we feel we ought to have lived or hope to live.

Before we go further, let me ask a question. What is the most significant ‘thing’ that you can remember about the last five years of your life? Some will ask in return – well, what do you mean by significant? One way to answer the ‘what is significant’ question is to ask – how well did it align with my purpose? To go further down the rabbit hole, we then ask, what is my (heart’s) purpose?

Purpose can be a very wide-ranging thing. Some of us (ahem) tend to spend a lot of time – a bit more than five minutes – wondering about purpose. Does my purpose need to be something I love (to do)? Does purpose need to align with what the world needs? Does purpose have to focus on what I can make money with? Or can purpose be drawn from my natural talents and what I am good at? 

The four questions related to refining and defining of purpose, so that we can arrive at significance, and what the Japanese have called  Ikigai – a reason for being. 

Ikigai entails actions of devoting oneself to pursuits one enjoys and is associated with feelings of accomplishment and fulfillment – Michigo Kumano

I was pointed to this perspective on purpose by my very good friend, Gopi Maliwal, following a discussion four weeks ago after he had cryptically (and uncharacteristically :)) tweeted… “this is one of the happiest days of my life”. We talked more via DM, and the reason for his “happiest day” became abundantly clear to me. He shared that he felt a sense of fulfillment because he had taken a step “to make his life truly useful”.

The brief conversation made me ask the question – what would give my heart and its actions a sense of accomplishment, of fulfillment, of significance, of having fulfilled its purpose? I further asked – five minutes, five days or five years hence, how much of my living will contribute to bringing me closer to my heart’s purpose?

I invite you to ask some of these questions. If it helps, sit with a loved one in your heartspace and reflect on the four quadrants – what are  you really good at, what is your current work, what does the world need, and, what do you love? What is it that lies at the intersection of the four quadrants? What emerges from the intersection?

Kumud

P.S. Heartmonth continues in our weekly conversation on twitter – Sunday, Feb 14 at 9amET / 730pm India. Join us as we explore our heart’s purpose and share the love. Namaste – @AjmaniK

The heart’s purpose is often revealed by Nature…

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The Heart of Bliss

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There is a certain clarity about those winter mornings where the sun finally breaks through the grey gloom which has been seemingly hanging around for weeks. You look out at the sprinkling of snow that has turned into a film of scattered ice on the driveway, crystals shining in the sunlight cresting over the homes across the street. You want to take a walk, but you know that it is better to wait because the brilliance is deceptive. The temperature is still in the single digits and there won’t be enough layers to keep you warm. 

Such is the majesty of a winter morning where the sun is now fully streaming onto your face as you have pulled back the last bit of curtain from the front window where the puppy has claimed the one warm spot on the bench along the split windows. You sit cross legged on the divan, just as you had sat on the floor a bit earlier for morning meditation where the waves of light from your connection to the earth and sky had filled you with the same warmth that you had felt when you last walked the beach at sunset on a Caribbean island.

Your heart is quieting as you keep writing, taking an occasional sip from the coffee mug which has “baby it’s cold outside” inscribed in a half circle around a snowflake. You can taste that special taste of fresh ground beans from a freshly opened bag of coffee seeping through your tongue, combining with your next breath, as it sends a unique sense of aliveness into the deeper layers of your awareness. More sunshine, more stillness comes your way as the puppy is now transitioned into an early morning snooze while she waits with me for the rest of the household to come awake.

Oy. Stop already. When are you going to talk about the heart of bliss? Ahem. What do you imagine I’ve been doing in the last three paragraphs? I’ve been trying to put my stream of thoughts into words. You can’t really plan this stuff, can you? You can practice to move your heart and its awareness towards silence, stillness, and warmth. You can practice to quieten the noise and filter out more of the daily perturbations. You can practice to be open to the remembrance that you have been through the glooms and storms  before.

What does the practice yield? You wake up to days like this when the Universe and its energy transports you from the walk along the shore to a deep dive into the ocean and whispers to you…

You are truth. You are awareness. And above all. You are the heart of Bliss. You belong. 

Remember That. 

Kumud

P.S. February is “heart” month. We will celebrate the heart every Sunday this month. Please join our kickoff celebration by joining our weekly chat with the #SpiritChat community on twitter, Sunday Feb 7 at 9am ET / 730pm India. Bring some #MomentsOfBliss to share. Namaste. ~ @AjmaniK

The heart of a rose, no matter its name is defined by bliss…

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