How to find your inner joy

April 22, 2016

Joy Is Your Essence

As translated by Coleman Barks, Rumi says:

In the last hour before morning
lover and beloved awake
and take a drink of water.

She asks, “Do you love me or yourself more?
Really, tell the absolute truth.”

He says, “There’s nothing left of me.
I’m like a ruby held up to the sunrise.
Is it still a stone, or a world made of redness?
It has no resistance to sunlight.”

This is how the ancient Sufi sage Hallaj said
“I am God,” and told the truth.

Therefore be courageous and discipline yourself.
Completely become hearing and ear
and wear the sun ruby as an earring.

Work, keep digging your well.
Don’t think about getting off from work.
Soul water is there somewhere.

Submit to a daily practice. 
Your loyalty to that is like a ring upon the door.
Eventuallyd, the joy inside will open a window
and look out to see who’s there.

So Rumi teaches us that joy is our essence. Once we have learned that profound lesson, we can return to joy again and again.

Please my website at http://www.coupleswisdom.com for tools that can assist in this journey.]

Blessings to all readers!

–Victoria


My Happy Marriage

February 6, 2016

It took nearly 18 years together to learn to be truly happy. Perhaps we are slow learners; I’m pretty sure I am. For one thing, I had to learn to choose recovery instead of addiction. That was 13 years ago. I don’t think a truly happy marriage can exist if one partner is pursuing an active addiction. Even being an intermittent, functional alcoholic–as I once was–is a barrier to the kind of relationship which is authentic and includes profound bonding and deep communication.

Saying goodbye to addiction:

Perhaps I should define my terms. “Intermittent” alcoholics have periods of time when they drink normally or not at all. In my case, when I went on diets several times a year, I would not drink at all for weeks or months. “Obviously, I don’t have an alcohol problem,” I’d say to myself, because denial is not just a river in Egypt. When the diet was over though, I’d have one glass of wine at dinner, and within a few weeks I’d be drinking every day and too much. “Functional alcoholic” means I had a job, I never drank while working, and very few people knew that I had a drinking problem–only those who had seen me ruin a special occasion because sometimes I could not control how much I drank or my behavior after the first glass of wine. Sadly, it was primarily those who were nearest and dearest to me who witnessed or were hurt by those occasions; recalling this brings back the regrets I will always have.

By grace, the day my younger son’s first child was born, everything changed. Holding that precious baby, and overcome with love for him and for my children and their children, I knew that continuing to drink would fatally compromise those relationships. I stopped drinking that day, and never looked back. 90 AA meetings in 90 days, working the steps, making amends–through grace I did it all. The results have been profoundly positive. The classic alcoholic’s fear that I would never again have fun was the opposite of the facts.

“I love you just as you are.”

Just as important, on the road to a truly happy marriage, I had to become totally willing to accept and affirm my husband just as he is. I think it was a turning point when I began to feel and say, “Not only do I love you, but I am 100% satisfied with you.”

Having a deeply joyful and committed marriage is grace, it’s joy, it’s one of the greatest sources of gratitude in my life. In future posts, I will have more to say about this path and how it can be your path as well.

Blessings to you and yours, dear reader! Please visit me at http://www.coupleswisdom.com.


Rumi’s Wedding Day

December 18, 2015

Today is the 740th anniversary of Rumi’s death. He called it his “wedding day with the Beloved.”

Rumi is one of the great souls, the wise ones who teach us that there is nothing to fear in death. As one who has visited the other side and found unfathomable beauty there, I honor Rumi for his profound teaching. Through years of immersing myself in his ecstatic poetry (as translated by  Coleman Barks), my life was forever transformed. His wisdom permeated my selfishness, my fear and my attachment to my ego’s relentless demands.

Here is Rumi’s concise teaching about the profound journey of death. I was privileged to hold my mother’s hand when she breathed her last. I dedicate this poem to her and invite you to think of someone dear to you as  you read it and hopefully take in its wisdom:

On the day I die, don’t say she’s gone/he’s gone.

On the day I die, don’t say she’s gone/he’s gone.

Death has nothing to do with going away.

The sun sets, and the moon sets, but they are not gone.

Death is a coming together.

The human seed goes down into the ground like a bucket,

and comes up with some unimagined beauty.

Your mouth closes here

and immediately opens

with a shout of joy

there.

Blessings to all–

Victoria

=================

Please visit my website to see if there’s something there that can add beauty to your life: it’s www.coupleswisdom.com


The Joy Inside Every Human Being

September 29, 2013

Joy Is Your Essence

As translated by Coleman Barks, Rumi says:

In the last hour before morning
lover and beloved awake
and take a drink of water.

She asks, “Do you love me or yourself more?
Really, tell the absolute truth.”

He says, “There’s nothing left of me.
I’m like a ruby held up to the sunrise.
Is it still a stone, or a world made of redness?
It has no resistance to sunlight.”

This is how the ancient Sufi sage Hallaj said
“I am God,” and told the truth.

Therefore be courageous and discipline yourself.
Completely become hearing and ear
and wear the sun ruby as an earring.

Work, keep digging your well.
Don’t think about getting off from work.
Soul water is there somewhere.

Submit to a daily practice. 
Your loyalty to that is like a ring upon the door.
Eventually, the joy inside will open a window
and look out to see who’s there.

As always, Rumi urges us to seek the relentless joy that dwells within us all. We get there through daily practice, through intention, through service, and through understanding that we are in the process of discovering our own essence.

Blessings to all. If you seek more joy, read Rumi every day for 100 days.

For those of us who are blessed with a passion for music, poetry, dance or other creative arts, may we affirm to everyone we know that (especially when offered in service to others)  these arts provide a direct path to joy.

I close with these words from the Dalai Lama:

“We are visitors on this planet. We are here for ninety or one hundred years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something useful within our lives. If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.”

Please visit me at http://www.coupleswisdom.com

Facetime appointments with Dr. Victoria Lee are described there.

 


When Love Calls

May 2, 2013

 

When Love Calls You, Follow Him

Gibran says:

When love beckons to you,  follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep….
.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.

Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

I first read these words many years ago. They touch me still, but the interpretation I give them now has deepened.

In a most fortunate meeting with a wise person I know, I was reminded  that love’s deeper task is finding the Beloved of the Soul. Instead of the endless, futile search for perfection in a partner, we must look deeper. A workshop I did years ago with Stanislov Grof was called The Mystical Quest. Such lasting grace came to me from that event! I learned that I have an infinite Source of joy inside me. I can access it in a second at any time, regardless of circumstances.

Rumi says:

Lo I am with you always.
You promised that, and when i realized it was true
my soul flared up.

Any unhappiness comes from forgetting.

Remember, and be back with the Friend.

The wise ones of every path agree: infinite peace and joy cannot result from anything we may achieve, buy or be given. Through grace, that joy is available to all of us through inner discovery. “An intense inner life,” as Mother Teresa put it, is the path.

“Ask and you shall receive,” but we must ask.

A thousand thanks to Stan Grof whose work has clarified the journey for so many.

Blessings to you, dear visitor.

Please see the Poetry and Inspiration page at www.coupleswisdom.com for some of Rumi’s other gifts to us all.


Joy Is Your Essence

January 27, 2013

As translated by Coleman Barks, Rumi says:

In the last hour before morning
lover and beloved awake
and take a drink of water.

She asks, “Do you love me or yourself more?
Really, tell the absolute truth.”

He says, “There’s nothing left of me.
I’m like a ruby held up to the sunrise.
Is it still a stone, or a world made of redness?
It has no resistance to sunlight.”

This is how the ancient Sufi sage Hallaj said
“I am God,” and told the truth.

Therefore be courageous and discipline yourself.
Completely become hearing and ear
and wear the sun ruby as an earring.

Work, keep digging your well.
Don’t think about getting off from work.
Soul water is there somewhere.

Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that is like a ring upon the door.
Eventually, the joy inside will open a window
and look out to see who’s there.

As always, Rumi urges us to seek the relentless joy that dwells within us all. We get there through daily practice, through intention, through understanding that we are in the process of discovering our own essence, through service.

Blessings to all. If you seek more joy, read Rumi every day for 100 days.

Please visit me at http://www.coupleswisdom.com


Recovery and Joy

July 21, 2009

Rumi says:

The Pickaxe

This is a rented house.
You do not own the deed.

You have a lease, and you have set up
a little shop, where you barely make a living
sewing patches on torn clothing.

Yet only a few feet underneath
are two veins, pure red and bright gold carnelian.

Quick. Take the pickaxe and pry the foundation.
You have got to quit this seamstress work.

What does the patch-sewing mean, you ask.
Eating and drinking. The heavy cloak
of the body is always getting torn.

You patch it with food
and other restless ego-satisfactions.
Rip up one board from the floor
and look into the basement.
You may see two glints in the dirt.

—————————————
Rumi and all the wise ones want us to discover our capacity for joy.  On the road back from recovery,  it’s the biggest surprise.

In recovery, we realize that “stinking thinking,” was required to keep our addiction going. That’s true whether our drug of choice has been nicotine, alcohol, Vicodin, heroin or salt, sugar and fat. When we’re thinking like an addict, we believe false thoughts like these:

• No dinner can be lovely without wine.

• No moment of relaxation can be pleasurable without a cigarette.

• No party can be fun without getting stoned.

• No buffet or holiday can be a pleasure unless I can eat everything I want.

To the last group, Rumi says We are lutes, no more, no less. When the sound box is full of anything, no music. When the belly burns clean…., every moment a new song.

Recovery from any addiction means reclaming our inborn capacity to sing a thousand new songs. At first, it’s hard to see the glints of joy in the dirt of addiction. Most of us need others to light the way.

In my book, The Rumi Secret, I share an account of recovery from alcohol addiction. Here’s an exerpt:

….Once my denial was gone, I set about finding a way to actually stop drinking. Thoughts, however enlightened, are never enough to master the cunning and baffling hold of alcohol. You have to have a plan; you have to have support. Which will it be, I asked myself in fantasy: a cushy detox program on Maui or the Betty Ford Center with movie stars?

What it had to be and was for me at that time and place was good old AA; 90 meetings in 90 days. Put your soles in those rooms and don’t drink; it’s free and it works for surgeons, gardeners, clerks, psychologists and mechanics, for atheists and believers, for you and for me. One meeting a day for 90 days is the minimum; on a hard day, you go to three. On New Year’s Eve, you go to the AA party….

You go to meetings, you follow the format, and you don’t drink. You find a sponsor–someone who actually encourages you to call at any time of the day or night…and you don’t drink.

If you slip–through grace, I didn’t–you start over: 90 meetings in 90 consecutive days. It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. It only matters that you start again.

….I came to love the stories I used to hate (in the days when I “couldn’t stand” AA). Every AA, NA, OA, SLA, Al-Anon, or any other 12-step meeting is full of stories of transformation.

I thank my dead mother for easing my journey in becoming a person who now lives happily without alcohol. By adamantly refusing to have liquor in her house, she gave me 18 years of experiencing life as normal and full without it. For five years now, that has been my life. It is good, and I am very grateful!

Dear visitor: when I began this post today, I asked myself how could I serve? Who might read this and be touched? If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, know that you are never alone. Millions of your fellows struggle now, and the millions in recovery prove that it can be done.

The path of becoming who you really are is similar for all addictions. Whether it’s wine or chocolate or meth, the secret is that the addiction stands between you and your birthright of joy. Giving up the addiction is not a loss; it means becoming able to find more delight in precious moment after precious moment. This means you–Oprah, John, Mary, Robert, Victoria, Holly, and everyone else.

Blessings to the thousands of people who’ve visited this blog. Soon this blog will be re-designed to display your comments better. Please pass on this post to someone who needs it.

You may post a response here or email it to me at drvlee1234@aol.com. You can buy or find out more about my book by going to my website: http://www.drvictorialee.com.

May your day be full of awareness of the blessings dropping like blossoms all around us.