Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Overcoming Hopelessness: Nick Vujicic's TED Talk

I'm about to say something that you probably won't believe. And to be honest, after the hardships I've endured and the pain I've suffered, I can hardly believe it some days myself:

So much of life is not our experiences at all. It's our PERSPECTIVES, and it's our CHOICES that follow AFTER our experiences that truly defines our lives and who we are as people.


Experiences are temporary. 

             They last three minutes.

                                      Three months.

                                                  Maybe even three years.

Yet, still, they are still temporary. 


What we do with our experiences can-- and will-- last our lifetime. 

In his profound TED Talk, Nick Vujicic talks about overcoming hopelessness and the personal power of our perspectives and choices. His life is the definition of what it means to put our minds over our matters. And more, he is the epitome of what it looks like when the human spirit triumphs over the adversities it faces.

He will change you with his words if you let him. Will you let him?


Bookmark this TED Talk where you can and save it for your rainy day... Save it so you can remember what you are and what you're worth.

God bless you,
TUS

Where did I go?

The long story is too long to post, but the short story is that life is really, very, incredibly hard. And sometimes we fight just to breathe and stay alive... we fight to keep our sanity and our spirit in a world that wants to knock us down. Rest assured, I overcame and will continue to overcome because...

honestly...

there
      is  
           NO
                other
                       way...

I'll post more, I promise, my audience of one. I'll be posting here, perhaps-- or somewhere else.

That somewhere else is here: Virtuous is She

I hope you'll visit me and maybe tell others. I'm still the same girl, but I'm different too. The journey does that to you. 

And I know YOU know this.

Peace,
The Universal Soul

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Field Beyond...

Do you ever feel alone, just plain alone? I mean, you're in a room buzzing with people... chit-chat and broad, toothy smiles abound... but YOU are alone. A terrible shrinking feeling overwhelms you, like a magnet is sucking you out of your space in the room. People are everywhere, but every exchange is distant. Every look is empty, and every shoulder brush is senseless. 

Yet you ache to be known.

Truly.

Sounds all too familiar, right? Sounds too close for comfort? It's because I know you. I know it all too well because I am you. When you were in the room feeling empty and wrecked, I was there too. We may have even brushed shoulders a time or two.

Feeling alone is the most detestable, nagging feeling known to a realized man (or woman)... It's also the most common. Since the dawn of recorded thought, we've seen artists, writers, and even the minds of science struggle with the introspection called loneliness.

And what a beast loneliness is. It's often at the root of several other animals: depression, anger, anxiety, insomnia, low self-esteem, addictions...

To be lonely is to be human. But to be at peace we must find ways to face our fears of insignificance. Because at the root of loneliness is the fear of being insignificant. To look life in the face, to stare our very existence down is an insurmountable task. Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? What does it all mean?

We long to know the answers.

So we obsess, and we ache.

It's as if having these answers would rid us of our insignificance and numb the wounds our loneliness has inflicted on our psyche and spirits.

(If you're still reading this because you hope I may provide an answer or two, then I'm afraid I may be of disappointment to you. But I do have a message I pray you'll receive.)

Beyond the questions, beyond the fears of insignificance, beyond the deep pools of loneliness... there is a field. And in that field is a panacea, a absolute healing power. In that field is every other soul who has gone before you. And cradling that field are the hands of God.

By your very existence you have defeated insignificance. In your very footprint, there are layers upon layers of other men and women walking the same human experience as you. And God, the creator of all things living and beautiful, is at the beginning and end of this human journey.

You were never alone.

You are not alone now.

You will never be alone.

God set you on your path. He'll be there when you return. And in the middle of it all, when he feels too far behind or too far ahead, picture the field beyond all the questions and fears. Feel all the other souls around you who are just like you. Take heart in that. Find peace in that.

And feel the hands of God cradling us all as you envision the vibrant green expanse. Because we are significant, united, and dearly loved.

We are never alone.

Never.


I'll meet you in that field,
The Universal Soul
    

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I Hope You Dance

Things never seem quite right when I'm away from pen and paper, or from the iPad keyboard for that matter. When I'm not writing, things in my mind circulate like a water spout, and I begin to wonder what it all really means.

I don't know many things, but I do know for sure that we are all very different people; what one person embraces another person is confounded by, and one person's truth is another person's lie. For me, my truth is that I am both a sensitive and anxious person. Over the years of my adolescent and adult life, I tried to ignore these two truths. I'd hide them only to find them. I'd shame them instead of embracing them. I'd apologize for them instead of advocating for them. The dance played on and on, and it was a dysfunctional, mismatched dance where I didn't know who was leading or what the steps even were. It was a dance that didn't fit me, performed to music I didn't even like.

Honestly, it made me sick. But through the struggle I learned an imperative lesson about dancing: I'm no Tango. Never was, never will be.

I was always something else entirely...

I'm classic ballet. I take life slowly, sensitively, contemplatively... I find beauty in the journey and often feel overwhelmed by the buzzing pace of this world and the insanity that can take place in its peripheries. Ballet is about simplicity and raw beauty; it forces the viewer to feel the smallest thing in the deepest way and relies on the performance alone to speak a thousand words.

Now, I know it seems like I'm being abstract or straying from my point, but I promise you this is important. It's important because we all need to know our truths and how to dance with life. Once we can identify our personal truths, we can learn to embrace them and create a toolbox to live with them and enhance our experiences through them. Being sensitive isn't all bad; it helps me to empathize with others and gives me depth. Maybe I'm much kinder because of it. Maybe I'm more patient with it. Yes, I might hurt a little more about small things that others may find silly, but it's my truth, and I'm learning to advocate for myself. And maybe anxiety isn't the worst disorder to have. It makes me aware and helps me to be more careful in my decision-making. Because of it, I have compassion for others with anxiety and depression like I never could have had if I had not struggled with it as well. And in the end, both sensitivity and anxiety help to put things in perspective for me. I ask myself, am I at peace? Am I understood? If I can answer yes to both of those questions, then I am a happy girl. I don't need anything else: no material wealth, power, or prestige are required. I've learned to let my truths make life beautifully simply for me, rather than creating a reality of jagged edges and painful turns. It wasn't easy, as most good things never are. I danced through illness. Danced through pain. Danced through loss. Danced through judgement. But what matters is that I danced! And what matters is that you do too!

I've learned to dance with life on my terms, and I pray the same for you. The sooner we realize who we really are and honor those core truths of our spirit, the sooner we will be able to live our truth and dance the dance only we can dance!

I hope you dance,
The Universal Soul

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Seeing is Believing

The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something... Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion, all in one."
~John Ruskin

So much of life is spoken. There's a constant humming among us, a forever rush of words... But what's funny is our most natural and constant way to experience life is through our eyes. Our lids bat open from the moment our conscious minds awake, and they do not close until we are drifting off to our dreamland. Words, on the other hand, need our mouth to form sounds and thoughts... Sometimes, we're better off without them. They have a funny knack of getting in the way.

Here are some photos from the road over the past five months. They've taught me to be quite and soak up more through my eyes. They've taught me that seeing is believing. They've reminded me that beauty doesn't need a name, a witty quip, or a reason. Enjoy!

























Friday, December 23, 2011

The Currency of True Self


No. I’m not taking about dollars, yens, or euros (that’d be a whole different blog)... Although, I am taking about exchange and how we “buy” and “sell” and even “trade.”


In our lives, I believe we all choose our currency (few do it carefully, while most allow the culture to do the choosing for them). And with this currency, we go out into the world of relationships to buy, sell, and trade. We use our currency to gain friendships, respect, and romance. We use it to define our position and purpose. For some, their currency is wit. For others, it’s cunning. And for some, it’s intimidation. Really, the list could go on and on…

But the way our society is, it is very easy to feel that above all, beauty and material wealth are the currencies of our nation. Everywhere we look, we are bombarded with images of sensual men and overly-sexualized women, all of which are under the age of thirty. We are inundated with fantasies of affluence and power and are made to feel that those traits are our own currency, our crowning achievement, our highest calling.

If we are unthinking, it’s all too easy to allow the magazines, movies, and television to do the picking for us. The message is ubiquitous and unceasing. But what if we rejected it? What if we went about our lives with the currency we alone created for ourselves? And what if we helped others to discover their true currency as well?

To know your real currency, your true self (or as the Buddhists call it, ātman), one must truly look within their own nature. Your currency must 1) come from your natural state, 2) be timeless, and 3) be without worldly trappings.

1)    To know your natural state, one must look within themselves without the attachment of their roles and exterior definitions. Who are you, really? Not, what are you? For example I am a teacher and photographer… But who am I? I am a helper and an artist. Those traits will not change no matter my role or station in life. They are the fabric of my soul.

2)    For your currency to be timeless, it cannot rely on your age or youth. It must be a nature you possess now and forever. Beauty cannot be a true currency, as it only lasts a portion of your life. And you, my friend, were not the maker of your beauty. Your true currency must be cultivated by you. Your beauty is a blessing of good genes.

3)    True currency cannot come with exterior trappings that limit you or shape who you think you are. Your true self comes from within, and from this comes your currency for the world. A large home or a bountiful financial position is wonderful to share with others. But tomorrow a storm could come and carry it all away. Then what will your currency be?

So now, my friend, you must go about finding and defining your currency. And once you know, use them in your relationships with people, nature, and the Universe. Work to cultivate them and sharpen them. Use them in love, in pursuit, in selflessness. These currencies are your true self. It is a beautiful self, a more meaningful self.

This world is always changing, and so are you. The man or woman you see in the mirror today will not be there ten or twenty years from now. The jobs, wealth, physical characteristics, and roles you may perceive as “self” today, could be gone tomorrow. Instead of gripping onto this surface currency, learn to release it. Then go about the work of cultivating your true self, the one that is natural, timeless, and without the trappings of this exterior world.

And what’s magical, and exceedingly so, is that when you go out into this world with your real currency, your true self, you will be embraced by people just like you. You will be seen for exactly who you are, not what you are. And if you are not, be at peace; for the people who are oblivious to you, are often blinded by their own stumbling.  

May your new year be bright!

Peace and love,
The Universal Soul

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Thousand Words...

Over the past few months, I've thrown myself into my photography business and improving my craft... Here are a couple photos from the road that merge the art of photography and poetry together... Enjoy!



*All photos are property of K.A. Phinney.

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