Everyday Miracles was published in 2012 and since then miracles have continued to flow into all our lives. Of course some of them might have been missed if we were looking the other way and others might have been overlooked because we simply were not paying attention. But many miracles have touched all our lives again and again over the years because that it what miracles do. They touch our lives and often point us in a totally new direction.
Miracles and Love however, are intrinsically connected.
What’s Love got the do with Everyday Miracles? Is there a point where the energy of Love carries us into a realm of unimaginable wonder, a place where we become both the creator and the recipient of Life’s miraculous moments? I believe there is.
But before I tell you why, I want to ask you to close your eyes for a moment and answer this question. What is Love?
The Urban Dictionary defines Love as the most spectacular, indescribable, deep euphoric feeling for someone. The Oxford Dictionary says it is a strong feeling of affection. The Webster Dictionary defines it as a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties. But none of these definitions encompass the depth and breadth of Love because they all seriously have limited Love by referring to it as a feeling or an emotion, and it is neither.
When we are children we develop attachment firstly to our parents or caretakers, and in time this attachment, when nurtured in a healthy manner, leads us towards experiencing ourselves in loving relationship with our own self and with others. Our development then extends to include family, peers, colleagues and communities.
Some of us who are not nurtured in a healthy manner have elements of narcissism, grandiosity, self-righteousness, and superiority which blinds us to seeing clearly and, as a result, limits our potential and slows down the evolutionary process.
However, we all have the potential to evolve and discover other aspects of love including compassion. Compassionate love is love where self-criticism and self-abuse no longer exist and where we begin to see the beauty of others and appreciate their differences as well as their similarities. This then frees us to step into the next stage, which is love of humanity or group consciousness. Here, the call to be of service to humanity, to the animal kingdom, to science, art or medicine is heard. We feel a connection to something greater than ourselves. Love through the Soul enables us to move beyond earthly limitations, and we begin to reach outwards and connect to the powerful energies beyond the chaos of our planet.
In time this leads us to a recognition that each living being is an individualised spark of Divine Essence and we know that this is our true identity. The ‘I Am’ presence is in each and every one of us. This is also known as Unconditional Love. My spiritual teacher once told me:
“Your world has two choices: To love the Self unconditionally – and, in so doing, become an extension of everyone and everything else OR to fear the Self as being inadequate or inappropriate, and experience disconnection and fear of being open to others.” [Quote from John the Beloved, 22/2/2001]
But before I say more about Love, let’s look at the term of Everyday Miracles because in actual fact the term itself is a paradox, an oxymoron, a contradiction.
How can miracles be everyday?
How can something that is so life-changing and unique and magical and full of the essence of the divine be everyday? – and yet, according to Albert Einstein, how can it not? For he says: “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
I have always seen life as Miraculous. But not life in general, because when we speak too broadly we run the risk of becoming too vague and losing the context, but rather I see the miraculous in the moments of life: the unexpected messages we receive, the coincidences, , the synchronicities, moments of serendipity and happenstance. These are what I call Everyday Miracles. So what is the difference between a Miracle and an Everyday Miracle?
I think the answer to that question is simply interpretation, and interpretation comes from a person’s individual attitude. What is a miracle to one person may not be a miracle to another. The way we see life, the way we perceive and observe and the meanings we attribute to events in our life determine whether we see events as miraculous or not.
Recently I discovered the work and writings of Tim Hansel. He was a strong, risk-taking, all-out-effort kind of guy. He climbed mountains and led wilderness expeditions. One day, on the way back to camp after climbing on the Palisade Glacier with friends, his foot slipped and he fell a long distance down into a crevasse, landing directly on his back on the ice. The damage was tremendous and, although he lived, he continued to experience severe pain for the rest of his life. He also lived life from a place of choice.
He said, “Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain, but we can avoid joy.” One of the greatest lessons that this courageous man learned during this process was that he had the ability to choose joy, even in the midst of pain. This, says Tim Hansel, is in contrast to happiness which, you will note, comes from the same root as the word happening. Whether or not we feel happy depends on what happens to us. It is circumstantial. Of course there is nothing wrong with happiness! We all rightly enjoy when things are going well in our lives and circumstances. But what about when they are not? People like Tim Hansel, who lived in chronic pain, and others in a thousand different difficult life situations struggle with feeling happy. Hansel encourages us, alternatively, to remember that we are privileged to be able to choose joy.
I recently read a wonderful story of a man sitting in the park watching his children play. He had just completed six months of chemotherapy and was feeling so peaceful, so grateful to be alive on this beautiful day. He looked up at the clouds. A small patch of fluffy clouds moved away from the rest forming three separate letters. The first was J, the second looked like an O and the third was a Y. JOY He believed this was a miracle to remind him that Joy is there just for the looking. Everyday miracles reveal themselves when we choose to pay attention. The more present we are, the more frequently these moments occur. Life, regardless of our circumstances, is enriched a thousand times over when we stop and pay attention to what is happening right now.
Tim Hansel wrote “Life becomes precious and more special to us when we look for the little everyday miracles and get excited about the privileges of simply being human.” Some of the privileges of being human include the ability to feel gratitude, to give and receive forgiveness, and to live in wonder. When we connect to the wisdom of the heart we are more able to change our perception and see the miracles that happen around us everyday. So how do we connect to the wisdom of the heart? One way I find that works well for me, no matter what the situation is to stop and take a deep breath. And, if you can remember to take another, all the better. By giving yourself a breath you can go within and connect inside yourself. You can then access your own divine in-sight. When you go within and visualise your heart centre, maybe as a ball of light, maybe as a vessel you can fill with light, you are bringing your awareness to the heart of who you are. Giving yourself a breath helps us to slow down, pay attention and connect to the Spirit within. It allows us time to focus on the positive rather than lose ourselves in the negative. And, because like attracts like, we then call more positive and magical moments into our life.
I want to briefly mention four qualities that can help open us to the world of everyday miracles. Kindness, Gratitude, Forgiveness and Wonder. These four qualities are intrinsically linked to Love.
Kindness, especially random acts of kindness,increases the quality of Love into the world. A kind act may be keeping silent when a word may cause someone pain. It may be leaving $50 in the letterbox of someone you know is struggling a bit. It may be mowing your neighbour’s front lawn at the same time as mowing your own. 6 One person’s random act of kindness is another person’s everyday miracle.
Gratitude connects us to our hearts and turns even the most ordinary and mundane experience into a sacred moment. Even taking a breath is something we can be grateful for, especially when we have witnessed someone take their last. On the other hand, the most profound and life changing miracle will lose its brilliance and fade unless it is accompanied by gratitude. Recently my beautiful father passed away and his absence has been a great loss in my life. In only six years I lost my father, mother and husband. They were my anchors and the rocks of my life. Their passing woke me up to the fragility of life. I wake up knowing this could be my last day. it could be the last day of another person in my life that I deeply love. Knowing this and bringing it to mind heightens my sense of thankfulness for every minute of the day. The more we practice kindness and generosity the more we find it flowing into our lives.
Forgiveness is another door to opening miracles. Robert Muller said, “To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” But how do you forgive the unforgivable? When I met Sandy Macgregor and heard his story, I knew then that nothing was unforgivable. Eighteen years ago, Sandy lost his three teenage daughters and their friend when they were shot dead in their Sydney home. Few people would ever get their life back together again after such an event, but Sandy went much further than that and found a way to forgive. In his book, Peace of Mind, he describes the technique he used to do this. He also makes it clear that forgiveness is not about condoning an action. Forgiveness is only for yourself. What the perpetrator does with your forgiveness is up to them. Whatever they do is not your 7 responsibility. You are primarily responsible for yourself only. The miracle that comes out of forgiveness is freedom.
Wonder clears our lenses and allows us to see and hear and touch and taste for the first time, over and over again. Innocence gives birth to wonder. That childhood sense of playfulness and purity that heightens everything we do. As we experience wonder, life simply becomes more wonder-full. Paying attention to everyday miracles reminds us that life is a gift. The joy of taking a deep breath cannot be taken for granted, especially when you have seen someone take their last. The gratitude that fills your heart when your child succeeds in getting a dream job, or your grandchild says “I love you” cannot be underestimated. The peace we experience when we befriend an old enemy is possibly the greatest miracle imaginable. The willingness to let go of complaining, let go of being a victim, let go of our addictions to drama, brings into our lives a world of everyday miracles. From the Course of Miracles it is written: ‘Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle.”