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Jesica Hanley Vega

Sing Your Song

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the divine

5 Steps On The Path To Peace

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Beach grass with dew.

1) In the October, 2014 issue of “O”  The Oprah Magazine, Paulo Coelho says: If you think small, your world will be small. If you think big, your world will be big*.

The smallest things seem big to me. When I was a child, I believed that if everyone slowed down and saw things as I saw them, there would be peace. Which is why I wanted to be a filmmaker. I wanted to show my world to people and have them experience life in all its perfection and glory.  If we took this world into our hearts, I believed, there would be no war.

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Fallen feather.

2) A heart is like a flower… It can be very brave, but it can easily be hurt.

As a young adult, I began to believe this desire meant there was something wrong with me: that I was naive and idealistic, that I was not cut out for the “real world.”

I was brave for a while but, as I grew older,  it seemed impossible that my vision of peace would be realized and I forgot my dream. My world grew small and I felt hurt.

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Purple Centaurea Nigra.

3) There is a Zen proverb that says, basically, if you want something, step aside and let this thing come to you.

And yet, once my heart was broken, it could be re-opened to the beauty that had captivated me when I was young. When I reconnected with the natural world, I reconnected with the vision of peace I had once known. Inside me was an inner child who said: Hey, do you remember that dream?

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Reflecting pool in an old tree stump.

4) A Personal Legend is the reason you are here…It is the only thing that gives you enthusiasm.

The only thing that gives me enthusiasm is the experience I have when I pay close attention to the world and my mind gives way to my heart. This experience is available to all people but it’s too often forgotten.

In Paulo Coelho’s terms, it is my Legend to live this principle: to demonstrate that peace is within reach at all times, within all people and between all divisions if we can slow down, listen and connect – with each other and the world around us.

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White clover.

5) If you are honest enough, God will guide you. Even if you take some wrong steps along the way, God will recognize that you have a pure heart and put you back on track. 

I have taken many wrong steps along the way but I am still on the journey. My resolve is tested daily. I’m not the proof but I AM the experiment and I live for peace not only as if my life depends on it, but as if yours does.

*All italicized statements from the Paulo Coelho interview in the October, 2014 issue of “O” magazine.

What’s In Your Closet?

Even the smallest things can leave me in awe.
Even the smallest things can leave me in awe.

My first-ever Mastermind Call has been going for almost two months and, despite a few anxiety attacks along the way, I’m thrilled with it.

Before each weekly call, I do a reading to get a sense of where everyone is at and where we need to focus our conversation. This week the theme was honesty, so I posed the questions: What are you hiding from yourself or others? and What would be possible if you came clean?

What I heard inspired me; I am regularly in awe of the courage and depth demonstrated by our little tribe and today was no different.

But then it was my turn. What had I been hiding  – and would I be willing to share it with people who look to me for leadership and wisdom? I wanted to share, but I hesitated: Would it make me look bad to admit I’m as susceptible to concealment and fear as they are? Would it diminish my role as facilitator and guide?

Brene Brown writes that vulnerability is the soul of leadership, so I stepped into the arena.

I am in love with God, I said, and I want God’s light to shine so brightly through me that other people fall in love with God as well.

Not the “God” that’s “out there,” mind you.  Not the  Human-Like God of punitive laws, damning judgments and religious wars. But the energy and light inside each one of us, that some don’t even call “God” but which they may call Source, Spirit, Purpose, Creativity, Unity, Unconditional Love  or, as Yoda put it, the The Force.

I love this —- that I call “God” and I have created a life around my devotion to it. But I hesitate to call myself – or my work – “spiritual.” Where there are words, there are prior associations, and nothing “God” has ever touched on earth has gone untainted by humanity’s tragic limitations on understanding and imagination. I haven’t wanted to be misunderstood, criticized or invalidated so I have kept my experiences to myself and remained in the closet.

But whether I call it something as lofty as God-the-Beloved or as secular and humanist as awe, I see and feel it everywhere and speak about it almost nowhere.

A friend reading a recent post asked me to describe a dimension of my sensitivity that I have re-framed from weakness into strength. This would be it.

Falling into trance-like states of awe doesn’t work in the dog-eat-dog world of busyness, competition and deadlines. And no matter how I tried, in my previous career I could never stop myself from becoming transfixed by a blade of grass, the nap on a shag carpet or the soul of another human being. I even cursed my “distractability” and untameable adoration of creation as the “thing” that stopped me from succeeding in life.

But now I celebrate it as one of my greatest gifts.

And, through my work as a guide and teacher, I seek to foster environments in which others have access and permission to experience such wonder in their own lives as well. By coming clean, risking being misunderstood and stepping into the arena with courage and depth, perhaps something entirely new is now possible for me and my world.  I can’t say, but it sure beats hiding my light.

What are you hiding?

And what would happen if you let the cat out of the bag?

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