Friday, September 18, 2009

An Honest Day's Play

The phrase, "an honest day's work" is one that many of us have heard very often, with the connotation that work is always admirable and honest...and play, well not so much. We have falsely been given the impression that work is good while things that purely for pleasure are indulgent, not totally necessary in our lives. Those who play often are looked at as not serious enough, lazy, unmotivated, undisciplined. We pressure our children to strive for more, barely acknowledging their last accomplishments before pressing on to the next challenge. Our Type-A society leaves little room for out-and-out relaxation or seemingly unproductive play.

Young children know how to play. They don't even think about it, not weighing whether it would be better to reorganize their closet or chase butterflies, not admonishing themselves for playing too much or regretting what they should have gotten more tasks done instead. I believe that children are closest to God among us, because they remember pure joy. They expect that their needs will be met and are therefore able just enjoy the moment. It is not until we burden them with our society's troubles and pressures that they forget.

In Biblical context, Jesus said,
"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3, NIV)

I believe Jesus was telling us to be like children, trust like children, play like give up our worldly/adult ways of worrying, toiling, and needing to be right, to instead finding what makes us joyous and doing it. There is a popular phrase, Find Your Bliss which provides good advice. Until we find our bliss, our joy, our playfulness - until (we) become like little children - we will never be closer to God, will never fully return to Him, will never return to our true and wondrous selves and enjoy heaven. In our worldly/adult world we create hell, not knowing that heaven is in our grasp at all times. We cannot find God/Source through analyzing, debating, or arguing who is right or through jockeying for acceptance through broadcasting our ego-based achievements...We can only find that place by finding our childlike playfulness, revisiting the experience of joy and peace, letting it ripple out from us to others.

Take regular time out for an honest day's play. It is where you will find your bliss and find heaven again.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How Spirit Speaks

A few years ago when my life began to open up to gifts and abilities to connect with spirit, to the intuitive ability to feel and see people's issues, their pain, and their path out or their purpose - I went through several months of intense and profound occurrences as I learned to deal with gifts and experiences, trying to navigate how to use them. I was also learning to trust and believe in myself, as we are taught in our society that these things do not occur. It is not even easy to tell others that you have had this experience, because so many will either mock your or condemn you for it. It was a period in which I knew the events were very real, but still needed reassurance that I should stay on this path.

There were so many experiences that took my breathe away at the time, but because of the common pattern of occurrence that developed, many of them sometimes got lost or forgotten in my daily routine, or as new experiences would occur. There are certain ones that stood out, however, as they marked a new level of connection or were delivered in such an obvious way that I could not deny them...or they were so magical and special that the feeling of God and spirit around me was breathtaking. I try to remember the really big ones fairly often, so that I never forget the realness or the magnitude of the occurence. One such big moment that told me that I really did have this connection was early on, when I was still partly denying these gits, in a moment in which I felt as if felt St. Francis of Assisi was by my side.

I was spending time away on the gulf coast of Florida to clear my head, eliminate distractions, and allow spirit to connect. My rented condo was on the 14th floor with a lovely balcony overlooking the gulf. Being in the month of October, it was cool and beautiful weather, making it fabulous to open the windows and doors to breathe the salt air and hear the sound of the waves. I had been on a long walk in meditation, and came back feeling a powerful presence with me. The name St. Francis came into my head, but I doubted my own ability to connect, thinking myself foolish for the thought. But something led me to retrieve a set of divination cards depicting Saints and Masters of faith. I cut the deck...and pulled the card of St. Francis...first cut, first card. Even though this astonished me, I, in my worldly mode of disbelief, still wasn't sure if I had this right...How could this be possible?...Why would St. Francis be here for me?...I must be crazy!

So I said a prayer apologizing for my doubts and fears, and asked that if St. Francis was indeed there, could he please give me another sign. As I sat at the dining table in prayer, I opened my eyes several seconds later. At my feet was a little sparrow who had come to the balcony of this specific condo 14th floors up, ventured through the 6" opening from the sliding glass door, and hopped across the living room to the dining area, a good 12 feet inside the condo, just inches from my feet, staring up at me in stillness. I looked at this little sparrow, such an apt symbol of St. Francis, with tears in my eyes, thanking it for doing this unusual task. The little bird stared up at me, and after my brief conversation thanking it and acknowledging its deed, it turned around, hopped back across the living room floor, out the door, then flew away to go about its day.

It was so appropriate for a sparrow to appear to represent St. Francis, since he was well known for his connection to animals and particularly to birds, alleged to have given a sermon to large flocks of feathered friends who would come to him naturally. He is often depicted with a sparrow on his shoulder. St. Francis was also known for his powerful healing ability, and for walking away from his family's wealth and notoriety to follow his calling from God, even though it made all those around him question his sanity. He is known for being true to himself.

Although many people might attribute this to mere coincidence, it was far beyond that. The timing and the likeliness of a sparrow coming inside through my door at that exact moment was too much to explain as a chance occurrence. It was a moment, among many others, which affirmed to me that I was on the right track, that this calling was real, and that I was being asked to follow in faith, even if it meant sacrifice, even if it meant that those around me might question me or fail to understand.

If we are willing to listen, Spirit (which you may call God, Holy Spirit, Source, Allah) speaks to us in powerful ways. The more receptive we become to the idea, the more attuned we will become to connect to it or understand it, and the stronger the experiences will be. Ask God to communicate with you through experiences that will guide you to the next step on the journey to your Purpose. If you are willing, the signs will come, and will magnify as you begin to acknowledge and expect it. This process will be life changing, because Spirit can offer such a better perspective than we can see in our grounded Earthly existence. Spirit is always waiting to show us the way on our path or to show us our Purpose in this life. God, angels, and spirit are waiting to connect, if you will let them in. Ask and is there for you always.

The well known Prayer of St. Francis provides a beautiful way to ask...

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dr. Oz & Health Empowerment

The Dr. Oz show officially started this week. Most of us know Dr. Oz from his appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show for the past several years, and, prior to that, his own Discovery Channel show, Second Opinion.

Dr. Oz, although a leading cardiac surgeon and Professor of Cardiac Surgery at Columbia University, is well aware of the inner ability to heal ourselves. In an Associated Press article (9/6/09), he is quoted as saying, "I found myself going to work and taking care of people who wanted to get better who believed that their only path to salvation was through my scalpel...I can heal with steel. I know how to do that. But it's very disenfranchising when you realize the true solutions are outside the operating room."

While medicine and medical procedures are a blessing and often offer miracles for repairing our weak or damaged bodies (often self-inflicted or self-induced through our own habits or denials), it is the inner healing and personal responsibility for our health that has been largely ignored in our culture in the recent past. We tend to do whatever we want to do, no matter how bad it is for us, then expect a pill or procedure to cure us without any real changes of our own. The combination of lifestyle changes along with benefits of medicine when needed is our way to a healthier society and the resolution of our healthcare issues. It is not enough to just throw money at more widely available health services, the root of the solution must also address our ability to heal ourselves in other ways than expensive and invasive medical procedures.

I find it humorous, in that way that spirit speaks to us, that Dr. Oz has the last name "Oz"... a name associated with the "Wizard of Oz," who conveyed to Dorothy that she had everything she needed within her all along, she did not need a wizard to fix her problem. I would say that Dr. Oz has found his true calling and purpose (which is quite evident in his enthusiasm), and that his name is just an affirmation of that!

What is even more promising about Dr. Oz, at least to me, is that he has advocated Reiki and energy work as an means of healing. He was one of the first doctors to allow Reiki during open heart surgeries that he performed. His wife, Lisa, is a Reiki Master. In her appearances during the "All About YOU Tour," she was quoted as saying, "My father's a doctor, my brother's a doctor, my husband's a doctor. I was actually a little contemptuous of Reiki at first. But life is energy. The difference between those body organs over there and you is energy. Everything is energy." Like many of us, Lisa Oz was skeptical about Reiki at first. It went against so many ideas that she had been brought up to believe...but then she tried it, and became a believer. Trying Reiki often does that to people. I know that was the case for me.

It is indeed powerful to have such a couple as Mehmet and Lisa Oz who can show the world the benefits of combining energy work with modern medicine to achieve not only our greater physical benefit, but our deeper spiritual experience...because these go hand in hand.

Click here to link to the "The Dr. Oz Show" website.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Beautiful Prayer

A friend emailed me a prayer this morning (author unknown), and it was one that is so touching and so accurate for how we should try to approach life and treat others that I will post it here. Adopting these thoughts reminds us to have both gratitude and compassion - a potent combination of energy and emotion that puts us in a place to create miracles around us. Often prayers just become recited words, but the imagery of this prayer provides situations that we can truly relate to in our daily lives, offering a reminder of both where we are and where we want to be on our spiritual path.

Heavenly Father, Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together .

Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love . It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.

If you send this to people, then you have a chance to touch them. You won't get any wish for material things, however you might just find a piece of serenity and the warmth of God's touch.

Read this prayer, feel it, connect with it and live it. If you do so, the feelings of gratitude and compassion that it evokes will certainly cause positive changes and miracles in your life that will reverberate around you.

You may feel inspired to add your own "verses" to remember yourself, or share through the comment link below. There are so many situations in which we need to remember to show love and compassion, rather than annoyance or judgment. The more we recognize them, the easier it is to change our behavior.

May you feel blessings yourself and provide blessings for others.
(To email this post to friends, please click on the envelope icon below).

Thursday, September 10, 2009


This past week, 17 year old Melanie Oudin set the tennis world on fire with her unexpected victories at the U.S. Open. Melanie sported the word BELIEVE on her tennis shoes, and the intensity of her game, along with the determined look on her face, made it evident that it was more than just a word, that she truly believed in herself in that moment. Her story ignited the crowd and television viewers, some who also adopted the word "Believe" on shirts and other attire.

Sports provide an arena for inspiration. It is one area of society where we still believe, knowing that expecting miracles can make all the difference in the outcome. Coaches seek to make the underdogs attach to belief because they understand that the energy of belief can make miracles, can help David slay Goliath. Fans know that their combined faith and enthusiasm can lift their team to greater heights, while players will readily acknowledge that the faith their fans put in them helps propel them. I think we love sports because it is a place where we can believe again, where we can remember our ability to change the outcome through mental determination - through faith. Through sports, we can practice that ability to cause great things to occur through the energy of belief.

For some reason, we find it easier to apply this belief in the sports arena, but harder in our day-to-day lives. If we adopted true faith, leaving behind fear that holds us back, we could experience more miraculous things in our lives. I find it interesting that serious athletes do not simply do things the way they have always been done, but seek new ways to get better, stronger, faster, through new technology, new equipment, new techniques. Contrast this to the typical spiritual experience in our society, which generally includes the rituals and practices of old, with little exploration of new things. Imagine if a modern day athlete refused to use any new weight training equipment, sticking only with the medicine ball and dumb bell to train. While they could certainly achieve some level of fitness with these old tools, their efforts could be much greater if they were simply open to trying new methods. If we approached our spiritual growth in the same fashion as an athlete, willing to study and explore new things to see what might give us new and better results, our spiritual lives could attain new heights. By adding the energy of belief - true faith - we would see miracles all around us. But too often, we stick with only the old approach, refusing to expand our growth through new ideas or new methods.

Return to the energy of belief in your life, and be willing to explore new ways to strengthen your spiritual practices. You just might see miracles and inspire others like Melanie Oudin did.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Advantage of Disappointment

I subscribe to Neale Donald Walsh's regular emails with thoughts on life and spirituality. The messages are sent in the context of "What I believe God wants you to know," and are usually a quick thought followed by a short paragraph that reinforces the thought. Over time, I have found that he often says exactly what I need to hear for whatever is going on in my life or that his thoughts reinforce my own, which is very reassuring. Today's message was one that I already try to live day-to-day because I have found that this thought process is perhaps the one single change that can have the most affect on spiritual evolution or changing one's life.

I believe God wants you to know...that disappointment is temporary. Only your thought is permanent.

Change your mind about what has disappointed you
and you will change your life. All disappointment is
just Advantage, looked at from the other side.

When my own spiritual journey went into high gear a few years ago, this concept was what was the most memorable to me...being grateful for disappointments and seeing them as gifts. I had a moment in which time stood still, while events of my life flashed before me like a rolodex of images and thoughts, flipping in front of me in great speed, yet I could feel and understand each and every one of them in a very deep and profound way. It was as if my life, both "good" and "bad" times, had been woven together into a perfect tapestry that had led me to that very moment, had prepared me in a perfect way for an awakening to a new journey and calling.

I have always been a person who gave forgiveness rather easily, understanding that difficult events make us stronger, and that as long I grew from an experience or learned from it that it wasn't entirely a loss. But in this moment, there was beauty and awe at the perfection of "my plan", or as some would say, "God's plan for me." Forgiveness is a wonderful and powerful energy, but it is not nearly as strong as the emotion of gratitude, which can truly change our lives. When we get to a place where we can not only let go of our own "mistakes" (forgiving ourselves) and those things that have perhaps been done "wrongly" toward us (forgiving others) we will experience true changes. By moving into a space of absolute gratitude for each experience, understanding that it was all perfect, that is was a beautiful gift of opportunity and growth for us, we are then on our way to true transformation - when we can truly let go of judgment against ourselves and others. It is in this space where we become closer to God/Source and can begin to have a deeper relationship with Him that is direct and personal, not dictated by anyone else. It is in this space where miraculous things begin to unfold around us.

Begin to see your disappointments as Advantages, gifts that will allow you faster growth and new opportunities that will be grander than you have ever envisioned. As Neale wrote, it will change your life.

Click here for Neale Donald Walsch's site

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Is It All A Lie?

A few years ago, I was in an workshop put on by Sonia Choquette working with changing your vibration in order to achieve more sensory perception and joy. Sonia is a best-selling author with Hay House Publishing and is very entertaining. I remember laughing and feeling a lot of excitement and joy in the room, and learning how vibration can be a key element in a person's spiritual evolution.

But what I remember most from the workshop is not the exercises that we did, but a story she told about a client that she had worked with who was dying of cancer. This woman had been a client for quite some time, so Sonia knew her fairly well, or thought she did. The client was a woman who had had a wonderful and exemplary life...she had an enduring marriage and great financial success, four wonderful children who had gone into successful careers and lives, she had been a fabulous hostess, volunteer, dedicated church member, and model citizen...a life and legacy that most would envy. But during one visit, the client had asked Sonia, "How do I tell them?" Sonia thought she meant, "How do I tell them I am dying of cancer?"...but when she started to offer her best answer, the client interrupted her, and said, "No..I am at peace with the cancer and talking about that... I mean, how do I tell them it was all a lie?...That I never did what I came here to do...that it was a life wasted?" and proceeded to explain how she had never really been herself but had spent her lifetime pleasing others, never having the courage to make changes because she had a life that most would envy.

She was on her deathbed wondering why she had not been her true self, but had instead succumbed to the "ideal life" that we all are taught to strive for. She had deep regret that she had not lived out her real life purpose because of settling for the lifestyle, because of letting the world decide her happiness.

When I heard this story, it hit me in my gut, resonating deep within my solar plexus, ringing loudly in my ears. That line, "How do I tell them it was all a lie?" echoed in my head, as I realized that my life had been much of the same, through no real (or at least not intentional) fault of my own or those around me, but instead through the societal ideals that are put forth for us which never really encourage us to explore, which work hard to keep us within tight boundaries, marching to that same drum. I had let myself be lulled into the my life, put to sleep, so to speak, through the repetitve lull of routine or expectation.

Since that workshop, I have thought of that line many times. It was a moment that has kept me on course in being different, in accepting unusual gifts, in being willing to go out on a limb or risk others' disapproval or questioning. While I had already been doing that to some extent, that message was like a loud roar, asking me to find and live my true purpose. I did not want to one day be on my own deathbed and look back to realize that it was all a lie, or that I had come here with a purpose but had never truly sought it, never found it, never lived up to it.

I have a feeling that there are many others who feel at a crossroads about their seemingly good lives, knowing that there is more on their lifeplan, that they have a greater purpose. There is unrest, but it is a good unrest. We are familiar with saying that truth will set you free, yet few of us really live in truth, in that deep and soulful truth. When we do live in that place, it is unmistakable. We have joy that exudes from us. When we get out of that place, something always seem a little off, small things agitate us, we are not our true selves, and we are certainly not our highest selves. We often assess our lives based on the outward illusions, sometimes finding bits of happiness or contentment within those confines, but not finding supreme joy, a joy that comes from living in harmony with your soul and purpose.

But as I have written so many times on this blog or elsewhere, there is a path home. There is a way out. It may not be entirely easy and it may take you time to find it, but it will give you joy, and it is there if you ask and follow.

Click here for more information about Sonia Choquette's work.