Be still. Listen with your eyes and your heart.

Be silent and listen,

The human mind has keen observational ability. However, our busy, modern lives are filled with chaotic, dizzy, conflicting thoughts, ideas, desires, opinions, images and demands; making it almost impossible to focus on just one thing and observe it deeply, so, most often we don’t.

The majority of us don’t listen to understand. We listen to react. Or, we listen to find the space to jump in and prove we’re right. I’ve found this to be the case in both my personal and professional relationships (and yes, I’ve played my dysfunctional part in both 😊)

It’s when we listen with our eyes and our hearts wide open that we observe the emotions, reactions, over-reactions (even our own), the body language and non-verbal cues, along with words and tone of voice, that we’re able to understand the state of a fellow human being and more importantly our own state and intentions.

When I was in a concert band years ago, I recall our conductor bringing stillness to the band before every performance or competition. One at a time, each musician tuned up, and the others were silent. Then, the conductor would tune us by section, flutes, clarinets, trumpets, saxophones, etc until we were “in tune” with each other. Then, our collective focus became the piece we were performing. We each had to thoughtfully listen and observe the conductor and the rest of the musicians to determine when it was time to play our part. We didn’t listen to react, we listened to create harmony.

When I was involved in community theater, before each production, the cast and crew would take a moment to rally and focus in on the performance ahead of us and the audience we were performing to. During a performance we had to listen, watch for our entry points and work together to guide each other through the performance, sometimes improvising when lines were forgotten or stage cues missed.

Many athletic teams do something similar before a game. They rally, get focused and tune in to their team members. During play, they have to be keen observers of what’s going on around them. They must listen with their eyes.

I know some of my healthcare colleagues do the same thing before they begin a surgery. They stop, become still and assemble their collective focus on the needs of the patient. During the procedure they must observe, listen and cooperate as a team.

As a community of 7.3 billion people, we can no longer pretend we are on different teams. We have to live, listen and play as if we are a part of the same symphony, the same stage production, the same athletic or surgical team.

We don’t have to look the same, sound the same, act the same, or BE the same. In fact, it’s our differences that create the harmony, the success, the wins, the applause, and our mutual respect and compassion for one another.

When we’re busy making noise, trying to be heard, being angry or offended or trying to be right, we’re not learning or growing or getting closer to solutions. When we’re loud, we can’t hear the exhausted whispers of truth flowing from each other’s tired souls, desperately trying to play our parts and create the harmony we all seek.

The most powerful messages are received when we’re silent and listen with our eyes and, our hearts wide open.

Toni O’Keeffe ~🌹❤️

The wisdom you seeks, is in you.

Once upon a time, there was a woman sitting on a large moss covered rock next to the ocean.

She sat quietly looking out across the water, feeling the sun on her face, the wind blow through her hair, inhaling the fresh sea air and taking in the beauty before her. She could sense an angel was near, and she feared it was “her time.”

The angel approached and sat beside her.
“I felt you were close,” said the woman.
“Were you afraid of my presence?” asked the angel.
“No,” the woman replied. “But I have so many regrets”.

“What are those regrets?” the angel asked.

“I regret I didn’t love myself enough to be who I was meant to be. I lived in fear of judgment, so I didn’t express my love, my creativity or my passions and missed what could have been the best parts of my life.

I realize now all I had to do was love myself, love and accept others as they are, and love this beautiful planet we’ve been given. It’s so simple yet, I made it so hard and, I’ve wasted so much time.”

The angel looked at the woman and said,
“Hmmm, if you had more time, tell me what you’d do?

The woman’s eyes lit up and her posture straightened.

“I’d live my life as a peaceful warrior, promoting kindness. I’d love without fear and without expectations. I’d sing more often, build more sand castles and dance in the rain. I’d explore this amazing planet and I’d express my creativity in ways that felt right for me.

I would set myself free by forgiving anyone who’s ever hurt me. I’d strip hatred, jealousy and judgment from my heart, as these things bring NO joy to me or others.

I’d live in a state of acceptance and embrace the beautiful differences I see in all of us.

I’d spend less time away from the people I loved. I would be less busy, less stressed, less concerned with what others thought, I’d consume less, worry less and be less impatient and less critical. I’d be less offended and make fewer assumptions.

I would BE fully awake, so I could see the world as the magnificent masterpiece she is, and, I would look into the world with grateful eyes and a compassionate heart.”

“That’s beautiful and perfect,”replied the angel. Now, go do those things.”

“What?” replied the woman. Aren’t you here to take me away?”

“No” replied the angel. I’m your angel of wisdom and light. I’ve always been with you. It’s only now that you’re beginning to see me and awaken to the wisdom that’s always been inside of you.”

The woman wept tears of gratitude. “How much time do I have?” she asked excitedly.

“I don’t know. None of us know. You might have an hour, a day, a week, months or many years. But, it will end. It’s the impermanence of life that makes this journey so precious.

No matter what you did yesterday, if you wake up tomorrow, see this new day as a gift. BE present on that day and BE fully awake. And if you wake up the day after that, live the same way.

None of us are getting out of this alive. But, we do get to decide how we live, how we love and what we learn along the way.

The well of wisdom and light you’ve been seeking, its in you. It always has been❤️”

The End
Toni O’K~🌹❤️

You and your Woo-Woo😁

I recently had a conversation with a friend that went something like this;

Friend; “Do you ever worry that the woo-woo stuff you post might put people off?”

Me; (*laughing) “Whats woo-woo stuff ?”
(I knew what she meant, but wanted to hear her say it😊)

Friend; “You know, all that hippie-dippy, peace, love and soul speak stuff you post.”

Me; “Why would I worry?”

Friend; I don’t know, some people might find it weird.

Me; “Well then they’re not my people.”
—————————————————-
What struck me during this conversation was how easily society has accepted what is artificial and manufactured. Yet, what’s authentic and “REAL” is often called weird, kooky or “woo-woo”.

There are a few definitions of “woo-woo”.
I like to think of it as tapping into ones deepest wisdom in the expression of our authentic and creative self.

For some of us, we reach a certain age where the energy it takes to be anything but authentic is exhausting and violates who we were meant to be. And so, we set our woo-woo free. (Yes, I chuckle like a 12 year old, each time I type “woo-woo”)

The world needs your woo-woo
I bet your woo-woo is beautiful!😉
Embrace “the Woo” in you 😁.
If people can’t accept you and your Woo as you are, they’re not your people.

So get out there and get your beautiful, hippie, dippy, woo-woo on and have a fabulous weekend ☮️.

Love Toni ~🌹❤️

Our actions flow to where our minds go.

When our minds dwell in darkness and focus on negativity and despair, we find negativity and despair.

When our minds are focused on light, positivity and love, we find light, positivity and love.

When we choose to see what’s good in people and the world, that’s what we’ll see. Likewise, if we choose to see the evil and brokenness in people and the world, that’s what we’ll see.

My little life journey has taught me that my perspective directly impacts my sense of well-being and joy and, my sense of sorrow and despair.

So, I choose to set my perspective towards the light. There are times life challenges me and I fall. I dust myself off, reset my perspective towards optimism, positivity and joy and, I heal.

Be mindful of where you set your perspective, because the mind always finds what its looking for.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️

Today, I will love you as you are.

“Today, I will love you as you are.
Tomorrow, I will do the same.”
What if we made this pledge to each other every single day?

What if we decided to stop judging each other based on race, gender, looks, wealth, lifestyle, belief system and trusted that each of us is on the path designed specifically for our individual soul?

What if we were kind, embraced our differences and lifted each other up when we witnessed one another struggling, rather than strike each other down?

What if we acted from a place of love, rather than a place of fear?

What if…we stopped making it so hard for each other?

Today, I will love you as you are.
Tomorrow, I will do the same.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~ 🌹❤️

Curious minds have more fun

I’ve always been curious. Asking too many questions in school and during business meetings, looking things up, turning over too many stones and exploring abandoned roads and pathways.

At one point I came to believe this was a negative trait because people were always telling me to “shut up” or to stop asking so many questions.

I know now that curiosity is a gift we’re all born with. It’s is an extension of our internal wisdom. Curiosity leads to new discoveries, new advances in technology, medicine and science.

Curiosity exercises all of our senses, awakens our minds and provides the neurons in our brains an excellent workout. Curiosity expands the imagination and takes us to places beyond the realm of every day doldrums. I feel “lit” and alive when acting on my curiosity.

Curiosity did not kill the cat, ignorance killed the cat. The more we know and the more we explore and imagine, the better off we all are.

When we ask questions we understand each other better, we begin to appreciate different points of view, we’re more peaceful, we cooperate and we’re kinder to one another.

Don’t be afraid to water your inquisitive nature and exercise your curiosity muscle. And, encourage the young people in your life to do the same.

We’ve got big challenges across this little blue plant of ours. It’s those active, creative, curious minds who are questioning, seeking and discovering, that will lead us to the solutions we need to heal the world.

And besides, curious minds have more fun. It’s your curious nature that will lead you towards new adventures, new people, new vistas, and yes maybe a bit of trouble, but that in itself is an adventure.

Wishing you a curious kind of day😊🤗

Toni O’K~🌹❤️

Fixating on what you want, might cost you what you need.

My life looks nothing like I thought it would when I started making plans and cultivating my big dreams decades ago. How could it?

When we’re young, there’s no way to fully anticipate the changes we will go and grow through. Changes in the world, changes in our priorities, our attitudes and beliefs, or, how our life experiences and learning will shape us.

I shouldn’t be the person my 20-year-old self thought I would become. There is no way 20-year-old me could comprehend the needs and priorities of 60-year-old me, especially when every decade I seem to emerge as something different than I was.

Yet, I always seem to land where I need to be. Over the years, I’ve learned to surrender control over what I thought I wanted, to make space for what I needed when it arrived, to remain focused on outcomes such as good health, happiness, wisdom, wealth, and love, and not get tangled up in which path I should take towards these things, but instead take the path that presents itself.

When we fixate on what we think we want or where we should be, we might fail to see what we need when it shows up.

Continue to cultivate your big dreams, recognizing the route to those dreams, may NOT be down the roads you expected.

We all get to where we’re supposed to be. How we get there, is not as important as how we live, learn and grow along the way.

Toni O’Keeffe ~🌹❤️

Open heart ~ Open mind

Life became easier when I surrendered my own tenacity and began to live with an open heart and an open mind.

There are things I’ve discovered and learned along the way, which I might never have unearthed if I had remained locked in my own stubbornness.

Our struggles often result from our inability to see the possibilities beyond our own thinking and the doctrines imposed on us.

Living with an open heart and mind means considering alternatives, actively listening to opinions different from our own, being kind before jumping to judgment and being aware of signs along the way pointing you in new directions.

Open minds and open hearts, have created more music, magic, poetry, peace, love and light in the world, then closed minds and cold hearts.

Toni O’Keeffe~🌹❤️

The Mirror

Toni O’Keeffe

My whimsey heart and childlike spirit are oh so playful, inquisitive, excited about life, full of energy, hope and believe anything is possible.

But the lady that looks back at me from the mirror tells another story. She possesses the calm and wisdom of her age, a sense of gratitude for making it this far, a few regrets and a curiosity for what might come next. She knows time is passing, so she embraces the gifts that arrive with each day.

The gray in her hair, folds in her skin and lines on her face are the well-worn roadmap pointing to the places she’s been. Her scars are the badges that honour her life and the lives she has brought into the world.

There is still much she wants to do, to see, to create and love.

As she continues on her path, she will allow her inner child to remain playful, believing she can still be more than she is. Her heart will continue to love and believe in the goodness that resides in everyone. She will remain curious and her gypsy soul will continue to dance. And, her body, well, I will love her as she is.

I hope you live your days, being fully present, grateful and in a state of awe for the adventure that is your life.

TO’K ~ 🌹❤️