Four leaf clovers, rainbows, shooting stars, sunsets, full moons, lucky pennies…
Crosses, stars of David, mandalas, rosaries, malas, om symbols…
Divine reminders. The symbols or totems we cling to that keep us connected to something bigger than us. The little tiny miracles that remind us we’re alive. The lists above are all really good examples of divine reminders, though perhaps a bit obvious sometimes. I feel like reminders need to be obvious, to be a bold clue that jogs our memory back to the thing we’re trying to remember. They don’t have to be religious or even traditional symbols. Just something that guides us out of our ego, pain, or suffering and reconnects us to the universe, the bigger picture, the good stuff!
Some of us have minds of science, not of faith. Whether we believe in a god or a goddess or have a religious or spiritual practice or DON’T believe in anything and practice nothing, we are all divine. Divininty is just aliveness. And we forget all the time. I do anyway. I plow through the day or what’s on my calendar not really giving thought to the who, why, where, what of my life. Do you get that way too?
I’m part of a daily Gratitude Group where we email ten things we’re grateful for, ten things we’re excited about, and some occasional brags to affirm we are being our best selves. For me, a divine reminder is anything that triggers gratitude. Gratitude is sometimes seasonal; it’s there, it goes away, then something happens, then it's back again, and then it goes away… Meister Eckhart, the German theologian born in 1260 said, “If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” I completely agree. I’ve written loads on the topic of thanks. Two of my favorite entries are Blessings and Hooray For Love. You can’t say thank you too much.
One of my divine reminders is in the summer season. The Indian hugging saint Amma comes to New York City and it is a big gathering. Yogis, seekers, spiritual explorers, and those who just need a hug come together for a powerful embrace that seals in the love and gratitude for the coming year. The small gesture of her hug packs a huge punch. Hugging this special woman reminds me of my divinity. She has hugged over 32 million people and I am one of them! I share this event with two of the loves of my life, my friends Adam and Christopher. One of my first forays into writing was as a guest blogger for my friend Gene Manuel. He liked how I shared some lessons from Amma on a Gratitude list and he asked if I could fashion them into a blog for his readers and art followers. If you revisit that blog, you can read my original impressions from Amma. Here are some nuggets from this year.
AMMA Highlights 2015
- When we cross over the barrier of our likes and dislikes to do what's right, we have access to instant grace.
- Use your imagination in a constructive way. When the negative things bubble up... head them off to a more positive direction. Like the annoying sound of a lawn mower: imagine you are hearing it call out the sound of “Om,” and it becomes a peaceful sound, not a disturbance. Even someone listening to neighbors playing loud music can pretend the song lyrics are mantras being chanted.
- It's never too late. Everyday is a new opportunity to begin again to work on ourselves.
- Reacting negatively is a choice and has consequences.
- A disciple brings an apple to her guru but was embarrassed that the fruit was bruised. The guru bit into the brown spots first, assuring the disciple that we are completely loved despite our rotten spots.
- Build a bridge of love to cross over a river of pain.
- What is sacred? The sunrise, moon and stars, the wind blowing, trees and flowers.
- There is no sorrow in God’s creation. Sorrow is a creation of our mind.
- Negative or positive. Beautiful or ugly. Heaven or hell. It’s all Perspective.
- Family and relationships require mutual adjustment.
- There is no end to pure love. We are bound. Love is our true nature. It may sometimes be hidden but it is always there. Nature means unchanging.
Do you have any divine reminders you can share in the comments below? Something you carry with you that grounds you and reminds you of your aliveness? Or something you see that always brings you closer to the universe or higher power?
This weeks’ recipe is a divine reminder of the bounty of Summer. Berries! This is a chilled soup to help cool off and feel like you’re treating yourself to a sophisticated, yet simple dish.
Cool Berry Soup
- 1 cup blackberries
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 cups stemmed and sliced strawberries
- 1 cups blueberries
- 2 cups red wine
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- mint leaves for garnish
Combine everything except yogurt in a pot on the stove. Stir, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Puree in batches in an upright blender or with a handheld stick blender. Pour through a strainer to remove seeds. Return mixture to pot and stir in yogurt. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve in individual bowls, garnishing with mint leaves and extra berries.