Sunday, August 22, 2010

Living by the Spirit

Living by the Spirit is a new, but timeless, entrancing, yet grounding way to live. It is a sophisticated, unassuming, transcendent, yet balancing experience to be had everyday. Living this way is elegant, yet accessible, authentic, evocative and in the moment. It develops within you an unobtrusive, unprecedented sense of power and entitlement to all of life's rich blessings.

It used to be that living according to this manner was generally more hidden, secluded and not so culturally acceptable. Formerly the spiritual life was often associated with ascetics and yogi's living in the forest, or in caves and with saints or holy men/women wandering from place to place. More recently however, in the past few centuries it was often associated with monks living in monasteries, or nuns in convents.

Times are changing now it appears. Living by the Spirit is becoming a more trendy and culturally acceptable way of life, as many younger and older people alike are searching for a more genuine, inner, spiritual experience, a more fulfilling experience of life. It's quite apparent that many people are feeling the need to get back in touch with their sacred selves. Yoga, meditation and tai chi centers are popping up all around the country, as many people are reaping the benefits these ancient practices have to offer.

Religion is also changing as many barriers between race and religion are crumbling down. A lot more people it seems are becoming more interested in the inner, spiritual experience, rather than the outer, religious experience. This is a good thing too because true faith and belief is inner, personal and reassuring. In your heart and soul is a cavern where the beloved can meet you each and everyday for communion. There is also a fountain of living waters that nourishes the deepest parts of you, whenever you drink from it. You don't have to go to a tabernacle, mosque or temple to feel swept away by God's holy, mesmerizing presence. True, spiritual experience is oftentimes simpler than that. It's about going within yourself for illumination, inspiration and enlightenment, knowing the God of the universe is a part of and connected to your very being. It's totally about the inner connection you keep to this sustaining force of life and not so much about only performing the outward rituals and going to worship services once or twice a week. Real spiritual living is about devotion, dedication, giving in, surrendering to the force that can and will change and re-design you for optimal life performance and experience.

This new, yet timeless way of living is Living by the Spirit. It is learning to live from your heart and soul, rather than solely from your intellect. It is learning to be a more integrated, attuned human, spiritual being. It is learning to trust your inner promptings and listen to the subtle, still, small voice within for constant guidance and direction. This way of living is also learning to trust that things in your life are working out precisely how they need to for the unfolding of your soul and spiritual journey. It is learning how to incorporate spirituality into ALL aspects of your daily life. Before you make any plans for each day, take time to pray and meditate and seek spirit's guidance. Always ask for wisdom and necessary guidance in planning your day and events, then listen to any whisperings or inclinations you feel. And then trust and follow the wisdom your given.

Living in the Spirit is exciting and mesmerizing. You get intuitions or hunches about things, a lot of coincidental events start occurring, mysterious people and things start showing up at just the right time and your energy and insight increases. You become more enlivened and life takes on a different hue. You begin to see and experience the world differently. Life becomes rejuvenating, impeccably fulfilling, an unforgettable journey, as stars align and point you the direction you need to go. It is like opening the door to the possibility of spirit's magic and mystery operating in your life. We can either let in or shut out this magic. When you choose to let it in, your soul catches on fire and colorful passion begins circulating joyously through your being, brightening ALL aspects of your life experience. When you let in and live by the spirit, life becomes captivating, enthralling, riveting, a joyous dance and miraculous adventure.

Copyright Justin Topik 2013

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Reclaiming Your Inner Artist

Everyone has a creative spark, a creative genius, or well of creative juice to draw from. And though, not everyone is meant to be a Michelangelo or a Rembrandt, creativity is still a vitally, important part of every one's overall well-being. The need to create is almost an inborn desire, as is apparent in most children. They are so utterly passionate about expressing their creativity, it's quite enjoyable to observe. Kids little minds are just racing with thoughts and ideas. They are so uninhibited in expressing themselves. And they are so in touch with the magical realm of spirit, where all inspiration originates.

Creativity comes in several shapes and sizes. There are a multitude of ways of expressing it and Reclaiming Your Inner Artist. Some of these ways include: writing poetry, drawing, painting, wood working, decorating, creating plays or musicals, landscaping, pottery, glass blowing, song-writing, dancing, making inventions, or just simply using your imagination. These are all ways to get in touch with your inner artist, bring it to life, keep it alive and to help keep that inner spark burning. Each creative expression takes you deeper into an enchanted realm of alluring beauty and magic, a realm that beckons to you, to return to it often, for its life giving essence. Shutting yourself off from this realm is shutting yourself off from a major source of joy, passion, inspiration and enthusiasm.

In today's world it is quite easy to lose touch with our inner artist. We live in such a dominant left brained, analytical society, so a lot of us unhealthily repress, or completely starve our creative selves.  This we do to try and fit in, or gain acceptance; all the while the right brain, or creative, intuitive, side of ourselves is oftentimes screaming out for attention and recognition.

In many of us, ignoring the artistic side of ourselves creates an emptiness, a lack of expression and can even lead to depression. I was definitely one of those who fell into this category. In my early teens, I got to a point where all of a sudden I was overcome with an immense amount of darkness and despair.  Depression loomed heavily over my being.  Now granted I was dealing with a lot of deep rooted family issues and repressed emotions I had bottled up.  But looking back with a bit of perspective, I am convinced a great deal of my depression came from an enormous amount of unexpressed creativity.  My lack of expression and creativity totally bogged me down.  I was dying inside trying to desperately fit in, meanwhile ignoring my inner urges. But, through a lot of counseling and self work, I learned to express my true, deep seated emotions. I also started exercising my creative longings by writing music and poetry. Somehow with the grace of spirit, I managed to heal a broken part of myself by learning to express myself more fully.  I also learned to tap into a great, spiritual source and unplug the flow of my inner artist. I was able to re-awaken this glorious part of myself, after feeling stuck in a deep rut for many years.  I literally came to life again...

Embracing your creative side is a simply, delightful way to live. Not embracing it however, leads to stagnation, restlessness, boredom and a sour, unfulfilled life. There are two paths waiting up ahead of you right this moment. The creative, expressive path leads to integration, wholeness, a sense of belonging and completeness, while the non-creative, non-expressive path winds and winds leading to an unfulfilled destination.  It has many ruts and potholes you might even fall in if you're not careful. If you traverse only the latter path, it will never fulfill your inner longings. The wise traveler learns to walk  the creative, expressive path for the splendid fruit it provides, for he knows that walking this path leads to a spectacular, brilliant, illuminated destination. Reclaiming Your Inner Artist is returning to authentic living and authentic power.  It is reclaiming all parts of your gloriously, created being.  It is honoring the whole self.  When you reclaim your inner artist, you will reclaim your passion and your power...   

Copyright Justin Topik 2013

Monday, August 9, 2010

Embracing the Space Between

There are times in life when you may feel alone or confused, not knowing what to do, or where to go next. Usually this happens when you are going through some type of a transition. Your life may even feel frozen in time for a season. Take heart though my friend, for this too is part of the journey. Life is synonymous with change and change is unavoidable. But, that doesn't mean it is always going to be easy. On the contrary, change is oftentimes downright scary and can be a real uprooting experience. Change of any sort can be quite unsettling and unnerving. But a vital part of life and necessary ingredient for spiritual, mental and emotional growth is learning to be content wherever you are, or with whatever you are going through. Sometimes accepting the moment, or place we are in, whatever that place or situation may be, is an important part of the journey, whether we like it or not.

Part of maturity is becoming more steady and constant emotionally and spiritually.  And until we learn to be content in any situation, we are usually unsteady and not well grounded.  There is a nice quote from the Bhagavad Gita that really sums this up, "When a man has mastered himself, he is perfectly at ease in cold, in heat, in pleasure or pain, in honor or disgrace.  Wise men do not rejoice in good fortune; they do not lament at bad fortune." This quote conveys that true wisdom is synonymous with acceptance, detachment and being content with whatever life throws your way.

Life is a journey traversing many different landscapes. There will be deserts you must cross, flowing waterfalls to revel and bask in, towering mountains to conquer, meandering valleys to wander aimlessly in, fascinating seas to sail on and confusing, frightening jungles to walk through. You can't just be happy when everything is going your way, or when life is all "smooth sailing" as they say.  Whether you are between relationships, or jobs, about to get married, or divorced, transitioning through a difficult life phase, getting ready to start a new business venture, about to make a move to a different location, preparing for graduation, or whatever the case, Embracing the Space Between is a very important and necessary step for growth and development. We all know any of the above mentioned life changes aren't usually gonna be easy, however in enduring and embracing them, you are growing wisdom and understanding.  As acceptance grows within you, it adds a new dimension to the canvas being painted by your life experience.

Real life mastery comes as we learn to embrace every phase of our life 's journey.  This includes the ups and the downs, the good and the bad, as well as the significant and seemingly insignificant events.  It happens by embracing and honoring each and every phase of your journey as a part of the total spectrum.  Doing this only enriches your life experience.

The value in Embracing the Space Between is that it forces you to really go deep within yourself for guidance, trust and wisdom. Also, sometimes when you fall to your knees in desperation, it can help you develop a richness of spirit.  It encourages you to surrender to a higher power, to trust and accept what you cannot always see with your eyes and mind. Part of this surrendering, trust developing process is learning or accepting that just maybe there is a reason for the space that you are experiencing. Perhaps you need the space between for healing, to find yourself again, to get your life back together, or to pick up the pieces and move on from a draining, or destructive life situation? Whatever the case, it is what it is...  It is highly important to acknowledge and understand the space between is not good or bad, only new life experience adding valuable dimensions to your life.

Copyright Justin Topik 2013

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Most Important Face of Success

There are many different faces of success. Some of these include assertiveness, a positive attitude, feeling deserving and worthy of greatness, having confidence in your abilities, being resourceful, being somewhat of a risk taker, exhibiting perseverance, dedication, as well as maintaining a vivid mental vision of your goals. And while all of these are highly important and necessary elements of any success for sure, there is one which far outweighs the others in terms of major importance. In my opinion and life experience, The Most Important Face of Success is by far--attitude. When it comes to success, attitude is more important than ability, strength or even talent; for you and I both know there are many highly capable and talented people standing in the bleachers, watching the game as spectators in the game of life.

Talented people are a dime a dozen.  They can be found in every town and walk of life. I'm sure you probably even know some incredibly gifted, clever people in your own circle of friends or acquaintances. Perhaps you are even one of them? Here's the thing though, deep down we all know that talent alone is not enough to guarantee real, genuine success. A lot of incredibly talented people don't achieve the greatness they have it in them to achieve.  Many just don't see their own unique gifts, talents or abilities, while others are afraid of rejection.  The majority however just don't have the right mental attitudes. But whatever the case may be, those who achieve success in any area of life share one MAJOR thing in common.  They all have the right mental attitudes. They take the bit of raw talent they have, combine it with an unstoppable attitude, a great deal of perseverance and they achieve phenomenal success for themselves.

The point is this, you can have anything you want in life if you're willing to put on The Most Important Face of Success.  If you exercise an unstoppable positive attitude, there is nothing you cannot be, do or have, period...  Of course besides having the right attitude, you will still need to be wholeheartedly dedicated to your cause.  And you will also need to use your will power and be willing to really throw yourself into the game as well. 

Some of history's greatest successes were not necessarily the most talented.  They were just the most fiercely determined. If you wanna play big in the game of life, you have to show up with the right game face on. And unless you bring the right attitude, you will literally defeat yourself before you even get into the arena. A proper attitude is that important.  It's what defines great players from the mere mediocre ones. 

Success takes putting on many important faces. It also takes making a firm vow to yourself that you are worthy and deserving of great things. It takes putting your intentions out there into the universe, practicing assertiveness in moving toward the things you most desire. Real success is something that starts inside you right NOW. It starts with you believing in yourself, even when others may not. It starts with you believing you can achieve WHATEVER you set your mind to. It takes looking up at a unbelievably intimidating mountain, lacing up your shoes and beginning the journey, even though you may have no idea how you're going to conquer it. It is having complete, inner faith and confidence that once you start the climb, you will find or attract what you need for each phase of the journey. Its believing you will confront and overcome ANY obstacle you find in your way.  More than all of these things though, succeeding takes putting on The Most Important Face of Success, which is a positive attitude--a monumental force that makes a ginormous difference.  So put your game face on and get yourself into the game of life and do it now!

Copyright Justin Topik 2013