Only believe

For the past 2-3 weeks my husband and I had been working away on a immigration  matter. With our full time jobs, and responsibilities at home devoting time to this important matter was a challenge.

Late nights pouring over documents, printing and organizing papers, going over possible scenarios, questions. …it felt this thing would never end. Several phone calls with attorneys, friends, and family ….discussions and debating on the what if’s…all started to overwhelm and drain us, physically and mentally.

Finally when the big day came we arrived early, settled in a comfortable spot and tried to calm our nerves down, encouraging each other and holding hands while we were waiting for our number to be called.

Soon we went in, met with the officer, everything went smoothly and in 20 minutes we were out the door on our way back triumphant that the matter had been settled in our favor.

Considering how much preparation we had put in, the actual interview itself was very easy and quick. We came home still feeling dazed and relieved it was over. My husband remarked how much had changed in less that 2 hours and it was just 10.20 am! Indeed it had.

When we were in the cab on our way back as if on cue a car pulled up next to us and had these words written on the rear side of the car”,Only believe”.

Over the past few weeks we had allowed the stress to get in on the inside and spill into our interactions with each other. Instead of getting our strength by leaning on God we had let stress in and let it drain our energy. Although in our hearts we belive God is watching over is…our belief seemed to lack reflection in our actions.

And yet God had found a way to remind us to “only believe”. He was telling us He has our back and He was with us through it all.

We took it as a sign of God’s love for us.

I hope we let this sink into our hearts deep enough so we never forget.

Copyright Vani Murthy 2016.

Experiencing the fullness of Life

Gratitude

“When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in”- Kristin Armstrong

I was on my way to the DMV last Thursday. It was very cold outside and I was making my way to the bus stop. As I turned the corner I heard the bus halt at the red light. The bus stop was a block away and so I started running as I didn’t want to wait too long outside in the mid 20’s (Fahrenheit) temperature. But the bus got there before me.I was running cautiously to avoid slipping on melting snow so I didn’t notice at first but when I looked up, as I got closer, I saw a very old lady with a kind face (who had just gotten off the bus) signal to the driver to stop and wait for me. I thanked her and the driver and was very grateful to be on the bus. When I got to the DMV these instances of assistance from strangers continued and I was out in about two hours my work completed much to the surprise of my husband who had been worrying about it all along.

I wondered if it was a coincidence or did everything go well because I stepped out with a feeling of gratitude in my heart and so was attracting more instances to be grateful for? I don’t know the exact answer. I believe it was a combination of everything. So I decided to keep an eye out for any other recurrences. These past few days I found many reasons to be grateful for and have been touched by  positive developments in my personal life, much kindness, warmth and friendliness from new folks I met and have had many  instances to be thankful for. Yes I have had moments of self doubt, uncertainty and even some hurt but I am learning to catch myself before my thoughts turn sour and focus on all things to be grateful for whether big or small. I have realized that when I am in a mindset of gratitude I feel love in my heart, I feel I am surrounded by love where ever I am (either with friends, family, nature, or just praying alone) and nothing but more love and goodness is coming  my way if I am willing to receive it. I  seem to be unwilling to be tempted by anger, stress or anxiety. They seem a burden too heavy to carry and I am happily releasing them. I am sure they are going to come back and tempt me as long as I live but I intend to experience fullness of life with a heart full of gratitude and thanksgiving.

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world-John Milton

©2016, Vani Murthy. All rights reserved

A gift of healing

20150814_133105

“Dear Dad, I love you and miss you every day”

It’s been about 22 years since my dad passed and for most of those 22 years I went without speaking of his passing. Just the thought of it would make me physically ill and it felt like someone had reached in and ripped my heart out.

Early this year while mentoring kids at a homeless shelter in LA one of the kids shared about their struggle to cope with the responsibility of taking care of a sick parent and younger siblings, financial problems, having to miss school etc. I thought I was looking at my younger self asking my older self for help to deal with it all and that was the first time words started pouring out of me about his passing. All I remember is shaking like a leaf, my heart pounding as I shared my pain and encouraged her. I still don’t remember everything  I said but it lead to much healing for myself and others that were listening. I know my dad had reached out  from the other side and had not only given me a gift of healing but had made sure his memory served the purpose of healing and helping others . Now that I think about it I can’t help but smile. ..yup that’s my dad …always helping people…even from the other side 🙂

I am doing well now but its still hard to deal with emotions when I think of him. I met my husband early this year. He and I both have lost a parent at a young age. I guess that’s why we bonded quickly. Both of us understood the pain, grief  and suffering over losing a loved one early in life. I remember coming home and talking to my dad about him, chuckling and teasing my dad that he had been busy in heaven match making.  As the relationship progressed I spent lone time talking to my dad  asking for his blessings. I know he was present with us the day we got married at the Court house. I now fondly share his memories with my husband and my new family. My voice still quivers when I speak of him but instead of feeling sad I feel proud and very blessed that he was my dad.

 I love you dad! So long until we meet again 🙂

Dig Deeper

“If He has created us in His image, all we need to do to discover God is to follow the ancient Greek maxim -Know thyself”-John S Hatcher in his book Close Connections 

“To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment”- Eckhart Tolle

I read somewhere today (perhaps it was a verse from A Course in Miracles) – “Learning is an ability that we have made. It is not necessary in Heaven because there is no learning in Heaven. But we did have to learn the ego’s thought system and we all have learnt it very, very well”.

It made me think- Am I here to be a student of ego? The answer I heard was” Yes and No”. Yes because I had to be a student of ego first so I could be led down a path of pain, misery, hopelessness, doubt, fear and all the good stuff ego is made of, until I reached a point where I was broken and lost. That’s when I cried for help. And at that exact moment unbeknownst to me I took my first baby steps from the darkness  into the light and started a spiritual journey that has led me to a better understanding of self.

And No, I was not meant to remain a student of ego forever. At some point I was forced  to dig deeper into myself to find myself. In that process I learnt to listen to the stillness within me.  That is when I heard Him speak.  And that is when I began to see myself as guided, protected, loved and blessed with an abundant life. Even in my darkest moments I learnt to praise and stay connected to source.

While I was thinking about all these things the other day , Matthew West’s song “Hello my name is” started playing on the radio. For those who haven’t heard it before it goes something like this-

“Hello, my name is regret

I’m pretty sure we have met

Every single day of your life

I’m the whisper inside

That won’t let you forget

Hello, my name is defeat

I know you recognize me

Just when you think you can win

I’ll drag you right back down again

‘Til you’ve lost all belief

Oh, these are the voices.

Oh, these are the lies

And I have believed them for the very last time

Hello, my name is child of the one true King

I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, I have been set free

“Amazing Grace” is the song I sing

Hello, my name is child of the one true King

I am no longer defined

By all the wreckage behind

The one who makes all things new

Has proven it’s true

Just take a look at my life”

And the song goes on. But it reminded me of my journey and I thought  what a great song. We may all take different paths but our journey is very similar with the same goal – to find and know ourselves deep within and to know God.

With regard to my own personal journey I can say this- it has  helped me understand that everything the Ego is, I am NOT.

©2015, Vani Murthy. All rights reserved

Times of Expansion

photo (22)

Seeker, when you feel you soul contracting know it is for your own good. Allow not your heart to burn with grief. In times of expansion you spend and this expenditure requires an income of painful soul searching – Rumi

In todays class at the mission, our program director shared his personal story. He then split the class into two groups with each group lead by two mentors. The mentors were encouraged to share their stories of struggles and how it had helped them accomplish things in their life. As I gathered my group around me and we settled in, I was unsure of if any of the kids would want to share in front of a big group. To my surprise they started sharing right away. What surprised me even more was that there was more than one kid who was going through situations very similar to what I had been through at their age. In that moment I felt, ” this is why you needed to be here doing this so you can tell them your story and lift them up.” and that’s exactly what I did.

But sitting there listening to them, thinking about what I had just told them and also listening to my fellow mentor, I felt –

Everyone goes through difficult situations. Some more than others, pain and suffering is inevitable. But guess what? Change is the law of life. The one thing that is constant in anybody’s life is change. When we are going through rough times it feels like the longest days of our lives. We feel dragged down, frustrated, feel stuck and wonder if things are going to change at all. But sooner or later times change and something else comes along.

I used to think that once I had money, steady job, a nice place to live, a nice car to drive I would be fine. But that didn’t happen for a long long time. I went through rough patches followed by some more and then some more. At times I would be down and plead in desperation to no one in particular ” please leave me alone. give me a break” and at times I would yell out “this is BS. I have been through so much already I don’t care anymore. Bring it on”. But all along I was discovering the hidden riches in me – will power, courage, determination, incredible strength, the ability to overcome challenges and bounce back quickly perhaps because  I wasn’t afraid. I had endured so much already fear was not even a factor anymore and I suppose that allowed me to focus on problem solving rather than get stuck in that situation. I grew rich in wisdom, spirituality and  empathy for others . I let go of anger, self pity, and subjecting myself to misery by overthinking and over analyzing  the situation. I grew strong in my faith that things were going to get better, that I was and will be fine, and that I will come out of the situation better than before.

I stopped thinking the universe was out to get me. Instead I saw every challenge as an opportunity (time for expansion as Rumi says) for self growth, for opening up new doors. My experiences have taught me that I may have plans but life has its own plans for me and things happen that I hadn’t anticipated at all. I became more open minded and embraced change with a quiet inner knowing that things will work out and fall into place, I need to go with the flow. Every step of the way I would look back and reflect on my life and I would see all the treasures I had uncovered along the way and that strengthened my focus and my desire to keep pushing forward. I don’t regret any of the trials I faced because they have made me the person I am today. Rumi, you are right. I didn’t get to be this way until I had searched my soul, recognized my weaknesses and had the courage to change myself. No one could have possibly done that for me. I had to look deep within, take responsibility for my life,my behavior, how I handled challenges, coped with stress, grief, and overcame them.

And boy am I glad I did that. I not only survived the most difficult period in my life I prospered and now I am still stepping out in faith, sharing my story and inspiring others.

 

©2015, Vani Murthy. All rights reserved