Dare to love…

 

Perhaps Martin Luther King said it best – “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”

As we wake up to the news of increasing hatred and violence, and all the pain and suffering that can bring, this thought comes to mind –

Dare to be the light of love unto your world. For YOU and your light of love are needed. Perhaps now more than ever. Never doubt that. Never doubt the power of love.

Kind thoughts … Kind words … Love in Action.

 

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Happy Canada Day!

maple leafYes, it’s that day again when those of us in the North celebrate the leaf (maple, of course), the syrup (also maple), the moose, the elk, the beaver, and of course, the loon (no, not the coin but that’s okay to celebrate too). We can be found waxing poetic about the skies, the vastness of the land, the beauty of the waters (cold though they might be), the music, the vino, the micro-beer, and all other things wonderfully Canadian. Now that we are in the time of summer warmth (and for some of you it is truly hot hot), you might even discover a few of us thinking fondly of snowy chilly times, but only briefly, you understand, none of us wanting to inadvertently call the frozen realm toward us any time soon.

So go out there and celebrate. Wave a flag, lift a glass of cheer, say EH! if you must (clearly I’m not a fan), share a memory with someone near (only the good ones are allowed today), be generous, be polite (another quintessential Canadian trait), be happy, and remember – shower your life, your friends, and your world with loving kindness … for if ever loving kindness was needed, it’s now.

 

HAPPY CANADA DAY EVERYONE!

Happy January 2017

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be changing a few things around at 22shangrila – taking down pages, putting new ones up. Consider it a bit of ‘de-cluttering’ for the New Year.

There will be a page called, WHAT’S NEW, which will mostly be about what’s currently available to buy, with a few added ‘bits’. This way you’ll be able to check it out at your leisure rather than having to scroll down on the main section to find things.

And there will be a page entitled, THOUGHTS FOR THE MONTH. You may find a quote there or something longer. Hopefully it will in some way inspire you and touch your heart. Because we are almost at the end of January (hard to believe, I know), it will begin February 1st, the Celtic New Year.

I’ll also be changing the POETRY page periodically. Mostly you see new postings of poetry in the main section, and that will continue. But from time to time, I will scoop one of them up and tuck it into the Poetry Page. Do go and take a peek now and then. I hope you enjoy them.

I also hope you’ll stay with me as we walk these challenging times together. The year 2017 promises to be a year of opportunity, but it is opportunity cast within a swirl of chaos. Chaos, as you may remember, can be diva drama at its best. As such, it loves to pull you in and hold you in its sway. It wants you to believe it is the only game in town. It needs that to succeed. However, if your desire is for peace and harmony, a growing serenity within, a life of kindness and caring for yourself and your world, this year will be your chance to truly live that desire.

Meditate. Find the stillness within. Look beyond the illusion. Stand true to your core knowing in your heart of hearts. Be kind. Be caring. Share your gifts and talents generously. Laugh in small giggles and big HAHAs. Let people know how beautiful they are – because they are. Daily tend your garden of life that it may flourish and grow. And above all – LOVE.

 

Love is the answer. Always has been. Always will be.

lotus flower

How Fragile…

 

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By: Aliana Alani ©2016

There is a beautiful song written by Sting called, How Fragile We Are. I heard it for the first time driving down a highway in the dead of night. Its haunting melody searched the horizons of my heart like the car’s headlights searched the road ahead. Were we travelling the same path? It felt that way. And so began, among other things, a love of Sting’s music, which continues to this day.

 

Light Within The DarknessOne would think that with all the topsy-turvy in the world we might just get used to the ebb and flow of life, its almost constant shift and change. You could even dance with the idea that within these upside-down moments, tremulous as they often are, reside opportunities hidden deep within, life lessons that can ultimately ease the way, shining a path to home.  And yet…

How fragile we are…

There is a vulnerability within us all. A soft spot we frequently like to protect. Instinctively we know it is a door to loving; still we’re careful, usually, about how often we leave it open, or who we let in, or whether we dare to enter it ourselves and live from its sacred domain, a center space we crave like some long distant memory. We’re careful, cautious, because inside we know…

How fragile we are…

And yet we also know, again at a deep level, that it is our greatest gift, this vulnerability, this circle of feeling. We sense, with every fibre of our being, that we are at our best when we are loving; that we are living our Divine potential when we are sharing that love without condition; when we are coming from a place of unlimited kindness and compassion. We know this, still…

When devastation happens – wars rage, fires ravage, floods submerge, people we love succumb to illness or despair and we find ourselves alone – when that which we hold dear dissolves before our eyes, it is hard to imagine that in such moments we are at the very precipice of loving, and yet we are. It may not feel like that. It may feel like an abyss with nothing left, no light, no home to go to, no one to hold onto. It may feel as though there will be no tomorrow – none you can see, none that feels worth living for. It may feel as though everything is closing down. And yet…

…the rain will fall, like tears from a star…

Every moment carries an opportunity – to dare to open, to heal, and to love again. Whether it is an outstretched helping hand, a smile that warms the soul, or a welcome mat you never expected to find – whether you are the giver or the receiver – whether we are talking about humanity, the earth, or beyond – it is all about the loving. Always.

…like tears from a star…

Nothing happens without all of us feeling it. All of us. Everywhere. Whether we know it or not. And everything blossoms and grows with love, especially when generously given. Things come and go. Worlds evolve and change. But the essence of love is always there, dancing throughout the play of life. It is who we are.

This love – infinite, knowing no bounds or limits – this is who we truly are.

 

Apologies and gratitude to Sting for borrowing some of his beautiful song phrases to filter through this writing. I didn’t ask ahead of time so I’m hoping he won’t mind. How Fragile We Are is, to me, one of the most beautiful songs ever written. If you have never heard it, do yourself a favor, find it, buy it, and listen.

Happy Easter

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For those of you who mark this time of year, HAPPY EASTER!

 

May the true spirit of Easter touch your hearts and awake your souls to the magnificence of who you truly are – and in that knowing, may you come to each day with the offering of kindness, love, and compassion – remembering that each and every one of us is on a journey to the heart of awakening. 

The Boogeyman

©Aliana Alani 2016

  Light Within The Darkness              EVERY STORY HAS A BOOGEYMAN, that nasty force that shows up when you least expect it, peeking through the shadows of the deep forest of your awareness (often called, your inner world). Sometimes there are even two or three, dancing around like toothless vultures in the wind. They delight in tantalizing, teasing, even terrorising. They look for the chinks in your armour, the cracks in your heart, and the storm clouds inside your mind. They eagerly sup on the doubts that linger and the anxieties that grow within you. They are especially fond of fear.

FEAR IS FOOD TO THE BOOGEYMAN, its own perverse, somewhat inverted, life force. It takes what you have so it can grow. It thrives on destruction. It likes things that fall away. Consequently it quite enjoys watching as you, and all that you might value, begin to crumble before its very eyes. It likes this even more than it does seeing you tremble – trembling being an example of escalating fear.

AT ITS FINEST, THE BOOGEYMAN becomes the quintessential vampire of the story, merrily sucking the energy out of existence. By the time you become aware of the extent of its intent, you are apt to find yourself fast-forwarding into that blackness commonly called, the void. You will, of course, emerge again. But that will be at a later date and possibly with fragments of the last journey embedded in your psyche.

IF YOU ARE ON THE ROAD to enlightenment, you are guaranteed to encounter The Boogeyman many times over in many ways and many forms. After all, it comes with the territory. All part of the journey, as the mystics might say. Are you told that when you start along its path? Probably not.

ENLIGHTENMENT, AND THE ROAD TO IT, requires a single-minded focus; a bit like candle gazing for the soul. No matter what is thrown at you, what changes in the script or bumps in the road, your mandate is to gaze upon the eternal light of creation and the heart of love. That and the peeling of the proverbial onionskin of your psyche are the skills necessary for that quantum leap that will, at some point, be required – that moment when you cannon-ball into another level of awareness and find yourself smack dab in the middle of all that is. Bank on it. Nothing less can prepare you adequately enough. It is like the hero’s journey. You must prove yourself worthy. How do you do that? By facing the darkness within as it manifests without. You must know who you really are. If you are to claim the Golden Cup of Enlightenment and drink of its endless blessings, you must ultimately see The Boogeyman for what it truly is – a plethora of smoke & mirrors, dust in the wind, illusion’s folly.

IF THE WORLD STORY YOU ARE a part of is also on the road to Enlightenment (and this one is), then expect a sometimes bumpy road. It won’t last forever, but it might seem like it at times. When the tempest swirls, and The Boogeyman’s roster of weapons dash and dive all around, there may be moments when you feel swamped in an overwhelming sadness, as though it is all pulling the very skin from your soul. It isn’t, but it may feel like that.

REMEMBER THIS – you don’t fight The Boogeyman by playing its game. If it dances devastation in front of you, you don’t win by creating more. If it surround-sounds you with neon images that say ‘fear me’, that is precisely the time that you do not fear. You be fearless. You stare at your own shadow. You turn around. No matter how destructive things appear to be, you see beyond. You see beyond.

YOU LOVE IN THE MIDST OF IT ALL. You laugh. You share hope and kindness and understanding, because that is the realm of love, and that is the way to the middle of all that is. You be who you truly are. You hold to that. You hold.  And sooner that you think, the fears within you will abate, the smoke around you will begin to dissolve, the dust will settle, and your world will come into a place of balance and harmony once again.

YOU BE WHO YOU TRULY ARE. You be the love. You hold to that. You hold.

 

To the Fear Mongers

Perhaps you do not know. Maybe you do not remember. Perhaps it suits you to not remember. Whichever the case may be, let me cast a window of knowing in your direction.

You do not own this world. It does not belong solely to you.  It belongs to us all. Therefore you do not get to decide what is right for me or anyone else. You do not get to decide if we will all live in fear or hatred or trepidation. You do not get to decide.

I realize you would like to. I also realize it might even suit your purposes, hidden though they might sometimes be. I realize that there are games in play and you feel obligated, perhaps even destined, to play them.

But let me reiterate – you do not get to decide.

This world belongs to each and every one of us, no matter our race, our religion, where we live, or where we would like to live. Ultimately we are all part of the divine energy of the universe – each of us dancing our own dance – each of us having an opportunity to shine a light on the very best we can be while we are here on this precious planet.

So you do not get to decide for me how I will feel, nor how I will think, or what I will do. That choice belongs to me, solely to me, just like it belongs to each and every other person on this earth. My responsibility in this dance is to remember that the choice belongs to me, and to choose lovingly and wisely.

So let me be clear about my choice. I choose to live in love. I choose to live in kindness. I choose compassion. I choose to care about my fellow human beings. I choose to see them for the divine light they truly are. I choose to envision a world of love and beauty, a world of harmony and peace, and I choose to see it happening now. I choose this, no matter what picture you attempt to bring to my table that speaks otherwise.

Your opportunity now, should you choose it, is to open your eyes and your hearts, and begin to choose lovingly and wisely.

Namaste.lotus flower

For many of us…

 
For many of us in this world, the time of Christmas is close at hand. It is a time of celebration, a time of remembering, a time of gratitude, and a time of family. Within its spiritual story is the journey of a young couple searching for a safe place to rest; a place to birth a child who would later prove to be, for many, a messiah.

Finding no room at the inn, so we are told, wherever they went, they ended up in a stable where the child ultimately was born.

The flight from one place to another is not unique. As a species, we have been migrating for as long as history can tell us, probably even longer. We move for many reasons, but much of the time we move because where we presently are is no longer a safe place to be.

Like Mary and Joseph, we flee for a better safer land.

As we prepare to gather our families around us, to decorate and light the Christmas tree, to sing cherished carols, and honour a special time, let us ponder this – Let us not be the ones who punish the innocent because of the atrocities of a few.  Let us not be the ones who say – there is no room at the inn.

BECAUSE WE ALL MATTER

                                                                                                             © Aliana Alani 2015

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WE LIVE IN A FRAGILE WORLD where what we know or hold dear can change in a second, and there are so many things we could be doing to soften its edges and warm its moments – for ourselves and for each other. Things that often take little and yet gift so much.

GENEROSITY – the dictionary defines it as ‘the quality of being kind, understanding and not selfish…’

GENEROSITY OF SPIRIT – is defined as ‘including the individual’s pure intentions of looking out for society’s common good and giving from the heart’.

IN A FRAGILE WORLD where most of us feel unbelievably vulnerable most of the time, the idea of being generous can often feel threatening; as though it might take something from us when we are feeling we have so little.

EARLIER THIS YEAR, I had one of those ‘change in a second’ moments where life suddenly turns and you are left wondering. The ice cometh, the fall happens, and everything flips (including you) into a different reality. The swirl of ambulances, doctors and surgery abound and you find yourself a little like Alice tumbling down that rabbit hole. Fascinating in a strange way but…

WHEN THE DRUG HAZE EVAPORATES and you are home again, more immobile than not, you find yourself gifted with that oft illusive thing we call – Time. Contemplation becomes the order of the day. Thoughts, the important and the not, spin like a slow-moving carousel. You filter, and you remember.

STRANGELY, PERHAPS, it is those moments of kindness which rise up and prove all important- the little things someone did to make your day easier – the smiles, the laughter – the goodwill of doctors and nurses – the angels that hovered nearby (and still do). That, and the escalating awareness that there really really really is only Now.

I HAVE SHARED THAT AWARENESS so many times in the years of my helping others but never was it brought home so clearly as during this journey. Are we doing what we love? Are we?  Are we giving what we can? Are we sharing our hearts with others? Are we loving – ourselves let alone anyone else? Are we doing it today? Because honestly it all can change in a second.

WHEN ACCIDENTS HAPPEN, it is so easy to take a stance and to blame– the city, the store where it happened, the sidewalk – whether you are the ‘slippee’ or the ‘slippor’ (make sense out of that one!). Plates of caring are offered up (even the sidewalk if you listen carefully says, ‘I’m sorry’). But when the world of legalese enters the door of dialogue that at the beginning seemed so positive, that generosity of spirit seems to evaporate.  The corporate fear of being taken reigns supreme and what was once an opportunity for caring between human beings is gone, like dust in the wind. I find that incredibly sad.

AS I RODE THAT WAVE OF SADNESS, which often seemed to marry the sadness of the world, I kept coming back to this – every moment matters. This world and all that is in it. Every particle, every cell, every atom is beautiful in its own unique way and carries within it a vibration of love, no matter what its story looks like. And yes, on one level we are beyond all the stories, but at the moment we are in this one, and so we are also here to remember, and to live that remembering.

TO OPEN THE HEART can be a scary thing, I know. But if we don’t – what then?  To be generous of heart may just be the greatest opportunity we will each ever have. The point is this – if I let myself love each moment of my day as if it were the only moment I will ever have,  I just might wake up some day, whether here or in the heavens, and find myself able to say – ‘I danced the dance of love, it loved me back, and we were better for it.’

SO BE DARING. BE GENEROUS. When that tiny gorgeous flower smiles at you, smile back. When that wee bird chirps merrily your way, grin like there’s no tomorrow. When the river of life throws you a curve, catch that ball and toss it back with a hint of a laugh. And when the love in your life suddenly looks like a tender delicate leaf about to crumble, hold their hand and remind them how much you love them, because you do. It takes nothing of you and gives so much in return.

AND REMEMBER – there is only Now and you truly are Love.

BE WELL AND PROSPER!