Sunday, November 22, 2009

Revisiting St. Francis

One of the most beloved prayers from which many of us derive comfort is the Prayer of St. Francis (of Assisi). It offers an avenue to our Higher Selves by reminding us to be a vessel for giving and allowing..."for it is in the giving that we receive". It is an example of not praying for something to be brought to you, rather that things be brought to others through you. If we adopt these thoughts and live them on a more daily basis, we soon realize that BEING love, BEING compassion, BEING forgiveness, brings the same back to us.

When I have difficulties in my life or struggles that seem to hold me down or cause me glimpses of doubt or uncertainty, I try to rely on the Prayer of St. Francis as a reminder that everything I need is within me - by giving it, it is mine. If I feel unloved, giving love changes that. If I feel sadness, giving joy to another changes that. By giving light, I change the darkness that may be around me, turning despair into hope...hope into faith. We often forget that we are capable of making change around us - simply by living change, living a new light, a new way. This is how St. Francis lived - giving of himself.

Lord, make me an instrument of your 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.

No matter how many times I have read or recited this prayer, it always gives me a warm feeling, a wash of warm love, courage, empowerment. On a previous blog post, I wrote about my own "encounter" with St. Francis and how touched I have been by his powerful presence around me. This post is entitled, "How Spirit Speaks" (click on title to link to post). It was an incredible example of how God and Spirit are there, waiting to connect with us, if we find the faith to step outside of our tight boundaries and seek that greater connection. It was a powerful moment of faith for me, and is one of the many moments of grace that have helped me follow this journey of healing and connection, helping others find their way through sharing my turn, helping me see more miracles through them...helping me feel the power of God more readily by being a vessel for that unconditional love, that energy that heals all things. By sharing faith, I receive more faith, just as St. Francis did.

(Click here for link to previous St. Francis post).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More On Gratitude...

Last week, I wrote a post about gratitude, and very shortly thereafter, a friend shared an idea on facebook for posting something that we are thankful for every day until the end of the month (the synchronicity of positive thought!) It was a great idea for getting us in the regular habit of consciously being grateful for all of the things around us, rather than focusing on negatives as we sometimes do.

Around that same time, another friend suggested a facebook group called "Days of Gratitude" with the concept of being grateful for something every day. This is a group of three women who are promoting the concept of adopting daily gratitude into your life as a way to usher in change, with the belief that by doing their exercises for 30 days, you will see positive changes. This is a simple way to begin to see and appreciate all of the gifts around you, instead of seeing the obstacles in your way.

To join this group or download their book, search fo "Days of Gratitude" on facebook...or go to their website:

Likewise, if you would like to challenge your facebook friends to post something every day until the end of this Thankgiving month that they are thankful is very simple way to get those closest to you thinking in grateful terms. Spread the gratitude and spread the love!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Living in Gratitude

In the United States, the Thanksgiving holiday at the end of November is a time for being grateful for all that we have. It has become traditional to enjoy a feast in celebration of blessings. The act of gratitude carries a powerful energy, not only in making one realize how much there is to appreciate around us, but also in generating more things to be grateful for. Yes, gratitude generates more blessings, if approached in the proper way.

Many of us have been taught to be grateful, but it is often with the overshadowing idea that we should be grateful because we dont' deserve the things we have. How many times have you heard, "Everything you have is God's...Everything you receive is only by His grace"...This thought process dilutes the power of gratitude. It plants the idea that we do not deserve anything, that we are not worthy of our blessings. While it is great to appreciate God's goodness or the blessings of the Universe, we also need to remember that we are deserving of goodness. It is only when we feel that we are not deserving, that we are bad or unworthy, that we BECOME less.

Guilt makes us feel that we are less than the magnificent beings that we are. It prevents us from feeling God's love. It creates our SEPARATION from God, not our CONNECTION to God. Until we release guilt, love ourselves, and remember our perfection beneath the negativity, we cannot be ONE with God. If Hell is a separation from God, then we create our Hell through guilt, which also tells us that we do not deserve more. Hell is not a place we go to after living a "bad" life, it is what we create in our minds from feeling guilt and unworhtiness.

To return to God/Source and to our own greatness as the Divine beings we were created to be, we must give up guilt and live in true gratitude - a gratitude that includes full acceptance that we deserve our blessings. Once we begin to practice this and believe it, we know that we are here to do more, that we have a greater purpose in this world. We then remember our Oneness with God and return to Heaven, leaving behind the Hell that is simply our own creation.

In this month of giving thanks, make a list of the things you are grateful for, and do so with the thought that each and every good thing you are listing is deserved. Move beyond the things that are easily seen as "good", and become grateful for the "bad" things or the difficulties you have experienced, understanding that they were opportuntities for growth or an avenue to get you where you are now. Forgive others who you may have perceived as doing you wrong and instead be grateful for what they taught you. It will lift burdens and open you up to experience deep joy.

True and complete gratitude will bring you gifts and blessings beyond what you have ever imagined. Make your list...add to it daily....see the good in the hardship...and more importantly, see the good in yourself and know that the best is yet to come and that you deserve it. After you have listed the things you are currently grateful for, make a list of things you will be grateful for in the future...a wish list of sorts. Feel gratitude for them in advance...and watch them begin to unfold.

One of the many things I am grateful for is those of you who read my blogs and have been touched by these thoughts. You are helping me live out my purpose to love, share, and heal. Thanks to each and every one of you.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

And the Walls Came Tumbling Down

Tomorrow will mark the twentieth anniversary of the Berlin Wall, built by communists to divide Germany, eliminating freedom, open travel, and personal opportunity for many. During the 28 years that the wall stood, 136 people were killed trying to cross it, while a divided nation felt isolated, restricted, and controlled by the barrier. The celebration upon the opening of the wall was monumental, with many Berliners dancing atop the structure while others crossed in awe and disbelief, excited for the return of personal freedom.

We build many walls in our lives, whether personally or as a society. On a societal level, we have had so many things dictated to us from such an early age that we don't ever even question many of them or examine them for their worth or validity. On a personal level, we succumb to these models for how to do things, rarely thinking from or following our hearts.

Many of us are feeling shifts in thought occurring, particularly relating to our spiritual paths, as well as feeling them in the greater community and world - a change in awareness, consciousness, and vibration that beckons us to seek more, that excites us with its potential for human growth, in a shift from fear and judgment to a place of more acceptance and love. Many Germans never imagined that the wall they had come to accept would ever come down. Most never challenged it but just lived with it as a part of their lives that could not be changed.

Throughout history, significant human change has come when a few committed souls were audacious enough to expect more, to expect change, even in situations where it seemed impossible. Ronald Reagan dared to utter, "Mr. Gorbechev, tear down this wall!" Many, including some of his senior staff, criticized Reagan that his speech was too harsh or "unpresidential", concerned that it made his sound crazy or that it would damage his standing. But he left the remark in his speech, delivered it forcefully and with conviction, going on to declare that it WOULD occur...

"As I looked out a moment ago from the Reichstag, that embodiment of German unity, I noticed words crudely spray-painted upon the wall, perhaps by a young Berliner, 'This wall will fall. Beliefs become reality.' Yes, across Europe, this wall will fall. For it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom."

Reagan ignited the hope of those who believed in a better world, and inspired new faith in those who had not believed.

Many of us feel these shifts in energy and see miracles occurring through faith. We believe that there are changes coming in the world. Many others try to discredit us, dismiss our experiences, or even worse, label our thoughts as evil or dangerous. But we KNOW better. It WILL occur, if we declare it forcefully and bravely, giving others around us the courage to believe, to expand their thoughts, to open themselves up to a greater God, a greater Self, and a greater earth, in spite of the resistance or the nay saying. For, as Ronald Reagan said, it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall of self-limiting thought or controlling religious and social edicts cannot withstand freedom that comes from opening our minds to more.

There are many examples of healing, miracles, joy, and faith that are occurring for those who have changed their thoughts. Science and spirituality are being shown to work hand-in-hand to reiterate the same ideas, rather than disproving each other or being at odds. Those who dare to read, experience, and explore will find more...their walls will come down...their universe will open to more than they ever imagined. Those who do not will be left behind the walls of limitation, of their own choosing. It is simply a matter of which we live in a new and brighter world that encourages the personal freedom to know God more deeply, or in a world where restricted spiritual thought limits God in our lives, or limits our own greatness.

Be courageous...tear down that wall.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Heal Yourself...All Else Will Follow

My friend Andrea posted a comment on Facebook that I thought was worth expanding. Her comment was "Don't run around and try to heal all your friends and family, do your own work and heal yourself.This will do more good for those around you than anything else."

She practices Reiki and other methods of healing and spiritual exploration, as I do. I think her comment is a beneficial one in examining where we need to focus most. It is wonderful and rewarding to help others around you, whether it be with healing work, assisting them with their troubles, or offering advice; but it is even more important to heal yourself. Ultimately, all healing comes from within, so until one is ready to get real and honest with their own issues and needs, no true and lasting healing can take place. Recurrent problems, even if momentarily minimized or squelched, will rise again, either in the same form or another.

One thing that I have found with healing work is that when others begin to think you have all the answers, it is easy for them to begin to lean on you for all of their fixes, forgetting that each of us always has the answers within ourselves if we are willing to go to our Higher Selves and Source to connect with those answers. Part of helping others is often giving them the morsels that they need, then sending them on their own way, setting them free to learn on their own, like a mother bird sends her young ones off to fly. It is similar to the adage, "Feed a man a fish and he will be nourished for a day..teach a man to fish and he will be nourished for a lifetime"...Show them a way, then let them nourish themselves.

It is important that each of us who is on a journey of healing or who desires to embark on a spiritual path takes the time to heal and nourish ourselves first and foremost. Even if we desire to help others, we must realize that they have to want help (and it is not our place to push it on them), and that they have to be willing to do much of the work themselves, to accomplish healing deep inside. Once one goes within and heals their own body or soul, their light will inevitably touch, inspire, or heal others around them - whether they are actively seeking this or not. Simply being in the right light and vibration has a positive effect on all those around us.

So..if you desire to help others, to be a light to the world, or to contribute to a positive movement in anything, first, heal yourself, take care of, value, and appreciate yourself. Then go out and BE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Muddying the Waters

It has become a widely used ploy in our society to muddy the waters over hot issues to prevent them from truly being discussed. Indeed, confusing the topic by changing the subject or stirring up fringe issues is often effective to squelch ideas or eliminate the debate....If you want to get the true debate off the table or avoid a subject directly, throw in a few tangents that will cause the spotlight to move elsewhere.

We see this in politics and government, where many seem incapable of just getting down to the facts, instead, confusing the important topics by throwing in irrelevant garbage or a lot of posturing. We see this in education, where layers of non-sense seem to permeate every facet, instead of just focusing on the issues that need it. We see this in religion, where a sure fire way to sidestep discussion is to throw in a few Bible verses to try to stamp out the discussion without any true communication or meaningful experience. We see this in families and relationships, where those who don't want to deal with issues create turmoil in other ways so that the tough subjects get avoided. If there are other distractions, no one has to face the deeper issues, making it easier to deny their existence.

We also do this in our individual lives. Rather than addressing our own issues or moving forward in our purpose or calling, we think of other things that suddenly need our attention..."I will do it after this dies down... I just can't do it now because of all of this other stuff..." It amounts to mere excuses. We all use them, we all lean on them. They are simply ways to change the subject from what we know we need to do by focusing on why we cannot do them. Others in our lives sometimes use the tactic on us when we try to move forward, applying fear, guilt, or other control tactics to muddy the waters, confuse us, or keep us off of our true goals or the issue at hand.

Once we begin to recognize the tactic rather than getting caught in its confusion, we are able to sidestep the distraction and stay focused. Think about your own life and surroundings...Are there common barriers that come up when you try to take charge and move ahead?...Are there resounding obstacles?...Are there others that tend to get in the way or discourage you, or situations that continue to crop up to prevent your progress? If so, those may be muddied waters, creating illusions to mask the reality, to prevent us from seeing clearly. Once you can see through them, they will no longer get in your way, or at least not as easily. Identifying them is the first step in moving on to a greater place that is more real, less illusion...a place of clarity that moves us beyond the murk and helps us identify our greater purpose.

Take the time to identify the ways in which your waters get muddied, either by you or by others. At first, they can be difficult to identify because we have become so accustomed to succumbing to them, but with time and practice, we become better at recognizing them for what they are. This process can lead you to a more direct path to your Higher Self, a place where clarity and peace will be yours.