What is Enlightenment?

what is enlightenment


Enlightenment, what is that?

I am that stranger who has nothing to give you and is telling you to look inside.

Look inside yourself…

Those who have not found their true wealth, which is the radiant joy of being and the deep unshakable peace that comes with it, are beggars…

They are looking outside for pleasures or for scraps of fulfillment, for validation, security, or love, while they have a treasure within that not only includes all those things, but is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.

The word Enlightenment conjures up the idea of some sort of superhuman accomplishment, and the ego likes to keep it that way.

But it is simply your natural state of felt oneness of being.  It is the state of connectedness with something immeasurable and indestructible. Something that, almost paradoxically, is essentially you and yet is much greater than you.

It is finding your true nature beyond name and form.

The inability to feel this connectedness gives rise to the illusion of separation from yourself and from the world around you.

You then perceive yourself consciously or unconsciously as an isolated fragment. Fear arises and conflict within and without becomes the norm.

I love the Buddha’s simple definition of enlightenment as the end of suffering. There’s nothing superhuman in that, is there?

Eckhart Tolle,  The Power of Now, Chapter 1: You are Not Your Mind

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Don’t Wait to Be Happy

you are far too smart to be the only thing standing in your way


Last Friday morning at work my friend got a news alert on her phone about a big explosion at a manufacturing plant in a nearby town. Later in the day we learned that there were two people seriously injured in the explosion and lost their legs. Both of the men were air lifted out to have emergency surgery to try to save their lives. Continue reading “Don’t Wait to Be Happy”

A little better than yesterday

Your life does not get better by chance it gets better by change Jim Rohn


Bob and I still aren’t completely back on track after our weekend fight and 3 days of not speaking to each other, but damn if  the air in this house doesn’t feel so much lighter after me reaching out with a just few texts and being kind.

It takes a bit of effort to restore relationship equilibrium after we have a huge fight.

And while it’s really uncharacteristic of my husband to apologize, it is up to me to not take that personally and try to restore peace in my life.

If I want to have peace, I have to be peaceful.  Continue reading “A little better than yesterday”

Walking my dog in the rain

I started a new work schedule this week after asking for it months and months ago. I went from working 5 eight-hour days a week to working  4 ten-hour days, with one weekday off each week. Well today is my first day off, hurray!

Enjoy the little things in life


I didn’t sleep well last night which is pretty par for the course lately for me. Once Bob left for work around 6am I slept hard for about an hour and woke up with my right leg completely numb. Ugh.

It’s rainy and cold out and I decided to forgo a morning Spin class because I feel pretty lazy and besides, my dog Buddy deserves some fresh air. So I bundled up and put on my rain hat and out the door we headed… Continue reading “Walking my dog in the rain”

How to Find Joy in a Dirty Kitchen

whatever the present moment containsThis morning I walk into the kitchen ready to start my day, and the first thing I notice is the sink full of dishes. This is the aftermath of my son who likes to cook late at night.

I also notice the dish rack is overflowing with dry dishes that haven’t been put away from last night’s dinner. Grr..

Mechanically I take a plate from the sink and rinse it open the dishwasher, only to find that it is full of clean dishes and hasn’t been emptied.

Irritated, I gaze over at the kitchen table and see my son’s prescription from the dermatologist. He needs to take this medicine back to school with him. I reminded him yesterday to drop the prescription off at Wal-mart. And there it is still laying on the table.

The recyclable garbage is full and so is the regular garbage.

And this little scenario is enough for me to lose my shit all over the place. I’ts 6:30 am on my day off and I haven’t even put the coffee on yet. And this is how I’m starting my day, feeling put out and feeling like I have to clean up after my 19 year old.

And it occurs to me…

Well, if this is my reality, and let’s be clear, this IS my reality, do I have to argue with it? Why do I automatically become negative and let my peaceful self become dark and feel bad because of nonsense like this?

Why do I give my peace away so quickly? Isn’t this how I lived for most of my life?

Do I have to be negative?

No I don’t.

My son is sleeping upstairs. He is going back to school this in 3 days. Do I really want to be in a crappy mood on one of the last days we’ll have together before he’s gone? And over something as trivial as dishes and a prescription and garbage?

No I don’t at all.

Eckhart Tolle teaches to “Accept – then act.  Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.  Always work with it, not against it. This will miraculously transform your whole life.” – The Power of Now.

Well I know for sure I am working against the present moment right now. I know that I am creating pain because I feel horrible inside.

So I do my best to Accept. And I get to work. My present moment is a messy kitchen first thing in the morning. My spiritual practice right now is to empty the dishwasher. I can do this feeling hostility and anger inside, or I can do it in peace.

I can choose to be peaceful by focusing only on the task at hand. I can take notice of how the clean plate feels and the sounds it makes as I put it away in the cupboard. And then the cups, and then the silverware. I can keep my attention focused on putting the clean dishes away.

It’s a bit of a challenge, because my mind keeps trying to go off into blaming and bashing my son and how lazy and irresponsible, etc. he is.

But again and again, I keep choosing to stay focused on and notice what I am doing. I choose not to indulge the thoughts.

And pretty soon I notice the heaviness lifts and somehow I feel better. 🙂

And I can stay in this peaceful place by continuing to stay focused on the present and simply empty the dish rack. And then do the dishes.peace comes from within dont seek it withoutAnd then I can choose to put the garbage in the garage and replace the containers with clean trash bags.

And no, this doesn’t make me a doormat to my son or to my own mind. Choosing to be peaceful and stay present while cleaning up the mess benefits me in so many ways:

A. The kitchen is clean and tidy again. Yay!

B. I turned my automatic bad mood around and saved my morning. Double yay!

C. Which is really good field practice for the next time I become automatically irritated over something. Which for me is A LOT… 😉

And the best thing:



D.  I didn’t lose my composure later that morning when I brought up the situation to my son. Maybe he’ll learn his lesson and clean up after himself next time, and maybe he won’t. Either way, I didn’t become that screaming lunatic mom, all over something that is really pretty trivial in the grand scheme of things.

Win 🙂

Today I found some real joy in the midst of my dirty kitchen. Grateful that I didn’t ruin my day or my son’s, for that matter.

Wishing you a clean kitchen 🙂

xox, Lisa Arcelia

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Happy new year :-)

grateful for this day



Today is New Year’s Day and I had planned on starting the new year with a good workout at the gym. But that’s not what happened.

When the phone rang at 7am I had just showered and was just about to fall back asleep. I am on call for my job in the recovery room this weekend. I had to get to the hospital stat as a patient was bleeding internally.

The operation was very involved and took several hours, but it was a success. At one point we didn’t think the man was going to live. Although the surgeon had found and sutured the ruptured vessel, the patient had lost too much and his body started shutting down.

His oxygen saturation was very low, and I watched his skin turn deathly purple blue. I quickly got the crash cart and got ready to start the code. As I drew up the epinephrine, miraculously he started to turn around. Somehow his body just started to right itself. Once he he stated to pink up, everyone in the room breathed a collective sigh of relief. It was still touch and go for about an hour, but we knew he had turned around.

Eventually we brought the patient up to the ICU where he would rest and recover for the next few days. After getting him stabilized in his room and giving report to his nurses, I was free to go. As I was leaving the ICU I saw the man’s wife talking to the anesthesiologist. I remembered giving her a quick hug earlier that morning as I ran into the OR.  I remember she told me how she and her husband just retired and still have so many plans..

I drove home exhausted and in silence sipping my morning cup of coffee, even though it was now after noon.

I felt a deep sense of peace and gratitude for being alive and for being of service. And for the gift of this day. When I got home I crawled back into my unmade bed and slept.

Wishing you a day of peace,
Lisa

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Emotional Pain – feeling sick in the stomach





For a variety of reasons, I find myself feeling very triggered and reactionary today. For the short time I have been awake I have had a very strong urge to lash out at those closest to me – and that means my husband and son, both of whom are home today. I feel the emotional pain right in my solar plexus, almost like a sick to my stomach feeling.

Having the presence of mind to get out of the house, I got in the car and went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. I turn on the CD player and hear The Power of Now, disc 6 and this is the balm I need so desperately… Continue reading “Emotional Pain – feeling sick in the stomach”

2 days till Christmas grr…

Christmas is in 2 days. I am grateful to have today off,  and tomorrow which is the Eve, I will probably get off too. I’m feeling stressed. I couldn’t get to the gym this morning, I have too much to do today. But Buddy and I took a brisk walk around the neighborhood first thing this morning. I passed out my neighborhood Christmas cards and killed 2 birds with one stone.

I felt unsettled at work yesterday. Feeling that holiday pressure. The gifts are pretty much done, but I had a feeling I should buy more stuff. My son is 19 and really he is only getting little things like stocking stuffers, sheets, Old Navy pj pants and not much more. He already got an expensive pair of boots and a gym membership while he is home for winter break and those are his main gifts.

I know he won’t care that he has so little to open on Christmas day, but it is bugging me. I’m thinking back to Christmases past when he was going up where the whole living room seemed filled with presents.

Breathe… One conscious inhale… One conscious exhale…

Christmas is not a gift buying or gift getting contest. I am not going to give into a feeling of mom guilt and just start buying shit so he can have a volume of gifts that my ego thinks is acceptable.. Good girl 🙂

My parents are at my brother’s in Chicago and my sister is home with her family in Endicott. So this Christmas Eve will be just the 3 of us at home. It will be nice and quiet. Christmas day we will spend with my in-laws. Not quiet- they are very LOUD people but I will breathe through it and be grateful and do my best. Did we get enough gifts for them? I think so… Have to wrap them later today…

Breathe… One conscious inhale… One conscious exhale…

Dinner is prepped and ready to go. I just have to do the calamari and pick up the lobsters tomorrow. I thought ahead and decided to let Shop Rite do the steaming for me. I really hate the thought of getting lobster, seeing them in the tank with their claws rubber banded looks so sad. But it’s already done… I can’t dwell on it.

Breathe… one conscious inhale… one conscious exhale…

The cookies are baked. I did that last weekend. The mouse on my computer was still a little sticky from powdered sugar even this morning- gross 😛 I had to keep checking recipes on the internet and I guess I didn’t wash my hands good enough. So glad that’s all done…

Christmas cards are done. So glad I don’t send them out en mass like I used to. I have paired down my card list so much over the years. And hello, when did cards get so expensive at the grocery store? It’s just paper for God’s sakes. Can’t believe they charge $6.99 for a decent card.  I think it’s just nuts. Thank God for TJ Maxx.

My neck is in a knot. No doubt because of the stress I feel. I am going to focus on just getting done what I can today and do my best not to project into the future. Not wanting to visit Chrismases past either for that matter 🙂

Hoping you’re not feeling too much holiday pressure. Have a great day! 🙂

Lisa Arcelia

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