Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Prayer of the Beautiful

This morning, a post on facebook made me think about how we often attach to the idea of our sin, our mistakes, our perceived flaws so much when we think about God. Through our conditioning, we sometimes focus on our shortcomings when we connect to Him, rather than our goodness. I believe that doing so creates a detachment and a separation, rather than a greater connection. I think perhaps it is why so many in the world feel empty or are searching to fill some void.

So I thought about what the best and most immediate methods for changing those thoughts might be, and how we can most easily and directly shift our relationship with God. I wrote this little prayer that can serve as a reminder to come to God in our best form, thinking the very best of ourselves, so that we might remember our own perfection and thereby connect with God more effectively. Say this when you pray and it will set up a new avenue of positive connection and will open you more readily to the pure love that God always showers upon us, if we will only learn to accept it and believe that we deserve it:

The Prayer of the Beautiful:

God, thank you for creating me in perfection, and for helping me see my own beauty when I turn to fear or doubt about who I am, who you created me to be. Help me to see my beauty in each moment, knowing that you love every part of me, even the things that I have come to think of as bad. You know why those thoughts are there, and know what their purpose is or what challenges I have faced, and you are with me always in helping me remember. Help me also to see the beauty in others, and in every situation which I am presented, feeling gratitude for every experience, knowing that You and your angels are my guides. I promise to seek to see good in everything and everyone, knowing that doing so will show me the way home to You, the way to eternal joy. Amen.

Say this in your prayers and feel yourself lift up, feel the empowerment that comes with it, and then use that energy to fuel you to do something good for the world. Share that light another in your kindness, in your willingness to see each person as beautiful, just like you.

Have a blessed and joyous day. You are beautiful...So choose to see beauty, and behave beautifully.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Parasite or Pearl?

When we go through hardships in life, it is easy to feel broken or battered. Sometimes it is difficult to see any possible benefit from the hardship, especially when struggles seem to follow one after the other. But our difficulties help us create pearls from our lives - pearls of both wisdom and beauty.

Consider how a pearl is formed in an oyster or mollusk. It is from a parasite that presents itself within the oyster - an irritant that the oyster must protect itself from. By protecting itself from the parasite or irritant, by forming a barrier around it, the pearl is comes from within the oyster, and from what was previously just a parasite.

If we apply this to our lives, we can more easily understand and appreciate our own hardships. We are the oyster. We are given irritants in order to bring out our gifts of beauty to the world. Our hardships allow us to create magnificent works of art from our lives. Without the parasite, the oyster would still leave a lovely, even if more ordinary, shell behind; but with the irritant, it produces a rare and wonderful jewel for the world. Our irritants help us produce pearls that enhance the beauty of the world.

One thing that stands out to me, beyond the usual pearl analogy, is that the oyster must protect itself from the parasite. It cannot just live with it as is and produce a pearl, but must form a barrier to protect itself from the harm that might be done by the irritant. In forming that protective barrier of calcium carbonate, the oyster produces the beautiful pearl. If it had not protected itself, it would become diseased and die.

We sometimes feel guilty for shutting out the parasites or irritants that surround us, those situations or persons that attach to us and hold us back, causing us dis-ease. But each such obstacle allows us to produce a work of art if we protect ourselves from it, and essentially shut it out from harming us. We should not feel guilt for creating barriers of protection in our lives. Our purpose is to create beauty through love and through finding our gifts and using them. If irritants attach themselves, it is also our responsibility to shield ourselves from their harm. When another has introduced friction or situations that can hurt us, we must protect in love, not attack. Like the oyster, if we simply isolate the parasite in such a way that it can no longer harm us, we are forming pearls in our lives, we are using the abilities and gifts that God gave us in a way that brings beauty. We are not only helping our own situation, but we are turning a parasite, an irritant, into a work of art. We help ourselves, and we transform another to a state of beauty.

Find ways to peacefully and lovingly address the irritants in your life, things that you might only have seen as parasites or difficulties that you were burdened with. Consider that each is an opportunity to build a pearl, if you will only see it as such and quietly, peacefully shield yourself from its harm. Create the pearl through embracing your hardships, through seeing them as gifts, as foundation for your unique work of art that will contribute breathtaking beauty in the world. By seeing in this way, you can release yourself from being a victim and understand that you have everything you need within you. You can be grateful for your hardships, realizing that they are gifts - and that realization is the greatest gift of all.

May love and light shine upon you today. Namaste.

Monday, October 18, 2010

God's Will Be Done

I was thinking about the phrase, "God's will be done" and what it really means. It is one of those phrases that has been pounded into our heads through repetition, but that we may seldom really think through in any way other than on the surface. I truly believe that God's will is for us to have joy, and that we are fully connected to God only when we are in that energy of bliss. But when we are confused or not committed to that, or sending out mixed messages about what we want (or thinking that we don't deserve blessings), God still tries to get us to joy. His vision or perspective is much greater than ours - so the path may be different from what we see. When the path seems foreign or unlike what we envisioned, we think it is bad, that things are going wrong - or that we are being punished - but it is really just God's direct route to get us there.

If we remain in joy no matter what is happening around us - if we find that place of peace within our souls knowing that God is always with us and is trying to send us deeper happiness and love - then we can cruise through the difficulties much more effectively. We don't need to ask "why me?" because, on a deeper level, we know that we are safely on the route to that joy that is Heaven within our souls, that place we have become so detached from in this world. God's route is the most direct and quickest path. Along the way, we may have upheavals, but these are merely signs of things that we need to address, or perhaps change in our lives, letting go of baggage or things that are holding us back from that heavenly peace.

If you begin to look at each hardship as a sign, or something that you need to learn or to let go of, then the path becomes so much more clear. These negatives will pop up to give you a chance to release them, or to change your thoughts about them, each one as a gift to allow you to progress in your consciousness, to allow you to more quickly be what you came here to be, do what you came to do -- to allow you to find your joy to fuel it. When the "problems" get more absurd, or seem as though you keep having the same sort of issues pop up over and over, then it is God's message to you even more loudly and clearly.

For example, it may seem to you that others take advantage of you regularly...but what you should ask yourself is why you keep getting in that position, then learn to say no once in a while. It is not about them, it is about you. You may also feel intensely negative vibes when around certain people that seem to get stronger and stronger. Consider that you may be progressing to higher vibrations, making their negativity more noticeable and less tolerable to you. Instead of getting angry at them or expecting them to change, remove yourself from its vicinity, even if only from the standpoint of emotional attachment. Begin to release yourself from these old destructive patterns, and you will feel your spirit rise.

Remember that each piece of this puzzle is God speaking to you...the things that frustrate you may be God showing you where you need to shift your own thoughts or attention. When you step out of the victim position and feel empowered by setbacks, knowing that they are guideposts for your change and your awakening, your world will change. From that, you will also change what you are putting into the world and will begin to make a more positive contribution from your new energy of joy.

God's will be done!...Be joyous! BE LOVE! THAT is God's will, and the will that you should have for yourself in order to align with God and experience the miracles that he offers. Go out and have a joy filled day, listening to God's clues for the direction toward your bliss.

Peace on earth begins with the joy and peace in your heart.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Beauty is in the Doing

I have been absent on this blog for the last couple of months, but I have not been dormant. I have been completing something that was important for me to complete. I have finished writing my first book, Setting God Free.

Sometimes the importance of doing something is simply to have done it. It doesn't matter the accolades or the outward rewards, what matters is that you went beyond the place where you might have given up, that you stayed committed to something you believed in, even when the odds were against you or the cost was high. I feel that way now. This past week I completed the book that I have been writing, off and on, for over two years. The process has been hampered by all kinds of obstacles that made it seem I might never get it finished. Many times I wondered why I was still at it, why I was putting so much on the line. My finances were thin, my support system slim. But then I realized that the obstacles were all part of the book itself, part of my growth, part of learning things that created spiritual expansion.

We are always given the lessons that we most need to learn from in order to complete our purpose more effectively. I think we have tests, but not in the sense of passing them or failing them as we have come to think of tests -- with that negative feeling if we fail them -- rather, that we have opportunities to gauge where we are in our journey or readiness. These obstacles, if we look at them with an open mind, are really gifts to help us know where we are on our path or purpose, to help us understand where our faith is.

It would be hard to write a book about faith and letting go if one could not continually demonstrate greater faith and a greater willingness to let go on every step of the way. My journey has been such. I had powerful and awe inspiring spiritual experiences that began a few years ago, and from the first moment, I knew that I would write about them - knew that doing so was part of my calling. But also from the first moment, I had fears...Fears of challenging religious thinking, fears of backlash, fears of being different. I also faced fears of what it would mean to my livelihood if I continued on that path. All of those fears have been fed and challenged greatly over the last few years - to the point that I know my conviction, no matter how it may have wavered in moments, is deeper than ever.

My book will be available for distribution in about two months. My doubts have settled, my mind instead fixed on the beauty of the journey. I DID IT! I finished this task, this important hurdle along my journey - I made that step even through doubts, even through obstacles, even through moments of uncertainty or fear. It feels good!

When we are living out our true purpose, we feel good. It doesn't matter if the world is falling apart around us, we still feel good. I have experienced this along the way. When I would retreat from focusing on my purpose, or this particular aspect of it, I was miserable, fearful, waiting for the next shoe to drop. When I stayed committed to my purpose, I was joyful even amid the chaos. It has been an important lesson, a valuable test that has left me more confident on moving forward, excited about what I might bring to the world from here on out. My book is about Setting God Free to be all that He can be in our lives, rather than living with a limited version of God; but writing the book set ME free, released my own ideas of limitations.

Think about the things that make you feel good - the things that give you joy. They will help you figure out what may be a better path for you in living who you really are or finding what you are really meant to do in this life -- because we all have a contribution to make, and one that will help make the world a better place. It does not have to be grand on a worldly scale because sometimes the smallest gestures tip the balance in the right direction to cause great impact, like a domino effect. Be part of it. Find something that makes you joyous - no matter how small - and do it. That energy of joy will lead you to another thing, and another. Soon, you will begin to see what your calling is...You will find your true and bright soul, you will reunite with God and your own perfection and beauty.

That will bring Heaven on Earth. You may not think it is possible in your current surroundings, but try it, sincerely, and you will see how very possible it is. You will create Heaven in your life, and bring Heaven to others. Collectively we will shift the world.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Growing Young

It takes a long time to grow young.~Pablo Picasso

Tomorrow is my 47th birthday and it is already the best ever! Through our conditioning, we have been taught to dread birthdays or not be too celebratory once we are "of a certain age," but I embrace them as growing young, not growing old. Life gives us many opportunities to get to a place of realizing that we are victims only of our own fears, our own illusions that have been handed down to us and which we have readily accepted. But when we realize the Truth about our voluntary imprisonment, and that freedom is there for the taking, there is a joy that is beyond what we ever could have imagined. In that moment, we begin to grow young again. I have experienced this vividly, especially over the last 3 or 4 years, and I have watched it in others, so I know that it is there for each of us, as soon as we are ready to accept it.

Through letting go of the need to control, be right, or live life in that carefully measured box of what society says we should strive for - by being willing to color outside the lines, truly and not just superficially -- I have been given a new lease on life. Gifts have been opened up within me which were there all along, but I could not see, or that I was afraid to release because of being different. I have seen some relationships drift away or change or be revealed in greater light, sometimes painfully at first, but always resulting in the peace of Truth...and that void has been filled with new friends, new discoveries, and heightened relationships that are ensconced in real love, joy, and acceptance.

Living as our true selves makes us young again. It no longer matters what numerical age we are, because our real age is within our hearts, shining through the love we share with one another. God restores our youth and vitality in the instant we remember our perfection, our true beauty, our Oneness with Him and with the Universe.

Today, feel young again. Whatever your troubles or cares, whatever your financial worries, whatever your job stress, or whatever load you have upon you today, let it go, even if only for a little while. Let go, and let God renew. Grow young again, laugh for a moment, remember joy, and be grateful for all that the Universe has brought you, knowing that all of it is supporting your journey back to your highest and best self.

Happy Re-birth-day to all!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Love the...Oil??

A couple of weeks ago, as I visited the Gulf Coast with a friend, I wrote a post about the oil spill and how the most important thing we can do is "Love Them Anyway". Our anger at who caused it or who is to blame does not help generate the energy that is needed to create miracles and solutions. I believe that there will be time later to resolve what happened and hopefully learn from it, but the focus now needs to be on how we fix it and protect the ocean and the wildlife, also restoring livelihood fishermen and others who have been so hurt by the crisis. My thoughts about sending love to the BP employees who are working to find a solution - sending love to the "bad guys" cause one or two raised eyebrows (and accusations of smoking crack! :), but many understood that what we give off, we get back. If we want miracles, we have to heal first, with love...we have to BE the miracle, in our hearts.

My friend Cathy DiDonato sent me a message on facebook yesterday which I thought hit on such an important but forgotten part of this vibrational equation. While many of us are trying to lift up and heal this situation through positive thoughts and prayers, her thought was that we should not forget about sending positive energy to the oil, which is also from our Earth but just displaced. Knowing that EVERYTHING has vibration, she had a thought about the oil needing our good thoughts and prayers too. I think Cathy is on to something, not just with respect to this oil crises,but in the way we behave in general. When we open our minds to the good of every situation rather than the bad, it makes us better people, heals our hatred and fear.

Here is Cathy's message to me:

I am having this thought over and over again. Call me crazy...Please let me know what you think. I’ve been thinking a lot about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Collective prayers for the water are being sent by many. Research done by Masaru Emoto have proven that these prayers are well received. During meditation I was made aware of the fact that we are only praying for part of the issue. The oil that is spilling into the ocean waters also have its place in nature, in Mother Earth and is being displaced. Does the oil have its own consciousness? Its own vibration? Is it also in need of prayers? I think that including the oil that is spilling into the Gulf in our prayers and returning it to the Earth where it rightfully belongs is going to be key in coming up with resolutions. The water belongs where it is and the oil also belongs (somewhere) where it is not.

Wow! What a beautiful perspective.

Most all of us, in industrialized nations at least, use oil..whether it is to drive our cars, travel on airplanes, purchase goods that were transported by truck, or using plastic (not just in our food purchases, but in our computers, televisions, vehicles, and all around us)...we all use oil. Yet "oil" gets such a bad name and is spoken of with such a vile energy and vibration from so many. This spill has magnified that, as we see the images of "ugly" oil on birds and beaches, we almost automatically begin to feel that the oil itself is bad. Perhaps during this time where oil is considered the bad element, we should be grateful for all that it does for us, understand that we have created a need for oil drilling....and, as Cathy said, pray for the oil. Give gratitude for a coming solution, and thanks for all that oil provides us. We can make a promise to conserve it more, and do our part to make the demand less.

We are bigger than the crisis, if we will open our hearts to be so. When we look beyond the common snapshot in any situation, we are more likely to find truth, then miracles. Thank you so much, Cathy, for your inspiring thoughts...and being brave enough to share them!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Love Them Anyway

I am in Ft. Morgan, Alabama right now, on the gulf coast that has been hit hard by the oil spilling out deep at sea. This ares is such a special and beautiful place, and it has broken my heart to see the images of the tragedy and hear the grim news. I have always felt a connection to the ocean - to the dolphins in particular, as it seems they find me whenever I am on the beach or near bay waters.

This morning, I went on my first walk on the beach, not sure what to expect. I went there to pray and send love to the entire situation, for I know that what will make it better is not blaming and finger-pointing, but the willingness to BE LOVE - to ask, "What can I offer to make it better." I believe fully in the power of prayer - if it is backed by pure love - love that is forgiving and unconditional, rather than judgmental and resentful. During this crisis, I decided that what I could offer was an energy of love and goodness, laying down the need to blame angrily, knowing that it would not be productive toward a solution at this point.

Our tendencies in this world when things go wrong are to look for who to get mad at or who to point the finger at in blame or retribution. There are times when it is helpful to understand what went wrong and why in looking toward solutions, but when the crisis is getting deeper by the day, it is time to focus our collective energy on good, knowing that the problem is somehow here to teach us something, individually or collectively. Because I love the ocean, and particularly the gulf coast, I felt that urge to get angry at someone too, but then realized what a blessed opportunity this was to overcome those negative emotions and send love in a difficult situation. I remembered that at other times of my life, that practice had been so important in my spiritual journey, and each time I had been able to do that, I had gained so much peace in my soul, love in my heart.

Jesus taught followers to love offer forgiveness even when it might not seem deserved. We often talk about following Jesus' example, but rarely do it in situations where deep emotions are involved. If He could forgive the unthinkable, then we should too, realizing that everyone involved in the problem is only human, and that mistakes do happen, even in controlled situations. When Apollo 13 had mechanical errors that meant its moon mission failed and disaster was impending...a nation and a world prayed and sent hope to those who were trying to fix it. We owe the same to this mistake...because it is our world together, and we have to be together in correcting the problems.

I believe that love and understanding are the energies that create miracles. At times, I have been accused of being a weirdo or a crack smoker for thinking so (smile), but I have seen so many miracles occur as a result of that thinking - that laying down of anger, resentment, judgment - so I know I am not the one off base here! In our thinking, blaming, angry world, we put out energies that only bring us more strife; yet if we can shift into a better energy we will reduce and often eliminate that strife, learning that it is all our doing - our illusion - created from our negative perspective.

When I sat on the beach and said my prayers, I sent love to the earth, the ocean, the animals, and yes, to the BP workers, asking that they be blessed with divine wisdom that would help them identify a solution, asking that they would be able to withstand the unimaginable pressure so as to think clearly and fix the problem. As I said my prayer, I felt a rush of peace and joy over my soul, and at that very moment, a school of dolphins appeared right in the waters before me, surfacing in pairs and groups. They had not come gradually down the shoreline, but surfaced right in front of where I was sitting, and lingered as if to tell me that they felt the love...that they need the love and good vibrations...affirming what I already knew deep in my soul. As I watched them in wonder, feeling that deep connection to them, I asked for a sign that we could do this - that we have it within us to find a solution and a miracle. They began to dart out of the water, not in their usual soft arc, but like race boats in pairs, jumping and leaping here and there, swimming at great speeds. It gave me peace. I believe dolphins are like our spiritual pulse-takers - knowing where we are in our hearts because they pick up on energy so keenly. The dolphins know something about this crisis - they know that it is an opportunity for us to change for the better, an opportunity for us to band together rather than bickering for political gain or lobbying efforts, for us to practice love and forgiveness, to appreciate our beautiful world and commune with it rather than working against it.

This experience brought up thoughts of one of my favorite quotes, one alleged to have been on Mother Teresa's wall in Calcutta, where she reminds us to forgive and love in every situation. The gift will be our own:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

This is not between you and them...or us and them...your choices in every situation are between you and God. Will you choose love or hatred? Kindness or revenge? Gratitude or resentment? Compassion or judgment? Will you offer positive or negative energy? The choice is yours...and your choice will determine your outcome in your own life. In choosing what you put out, you are declaring what you want back.

I hope that all will join me in sending sincere love and prayers to the gulf region, setting aside the anger for at least a moment. This is a grand opportunity to just BE LOVE.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Perpetuating Stereotypes

Our thoughts create reality. The more consistently we have a thought, the more likely we are to produce that event or effect. This works in our own lives and what we manifest for ourselves, but it also works collectively - in the collective consciousness of our world. That is why it is so important to begin to change our own minds, but beyond that, to encourage a change of thought in others - because the collective consciousness is so powerful in manifesting what we experience in our world.

It is sometimes said that stereotypes exist because there is an element of truth to them. It certainly seems that some behavior patterns can be true to groups - gender, race, age, nationality, geographic location, or other collection of people. But when I think about how our thoughts manifest our experience, I conclude that those stereotypical patterns may continue, in part, because of our collective thoughts about them. Judgment that we put out about things we disapprove of only creates more of the same...that energy of thought only feeding the situation.

When you look at the child in the ghetto and conclude that they will end up in a path of crime, consider that your thoughts may be contributing to that outcome. Change your thoughts. Put your energy into a path out of that despair - into a prayer that God give them strength to overcome a seemingly impossible situation, into a commitment of your love and compassion. Send gratitude for the fact that it is not you in that place, and RESPECT for those who endure it...because if God doesn't give us anything we cannot handle, then he must have great respect for what those souls are capable of. Give those that you might previously have passed judgment on the respect that God must be giving them through their heavy burdens.

We all have prejudices that have been heaped upon us by society. Because of our varying experiences, we inevitably have differing views of things. That can be a good thing, but we must first choose to let go of our negative views about things we know little of. In doing so and sending love and respect, we contribute to the solution, rather than to the perpetuation of the problems.

In the simple act of changing your thoughts - revisiting your ideas - you can contribute to a more positive collective consciousness, and one that will help change the world for the better. Be conscious of your thoughts, as they hold the key to change. Think in love, and you will be a healer.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Unconditional "Mother Love"

Today is Mother's Day, and I celebrate "Mother Love". It is that unconditional, nurturing love that sees the good in us, it helps us remember our attributes and what we are capable of. Those who have that kind of love from their mothers or others are fortunate, because it is the kind of love and acceptance that makes us better. Let's face it, everyone does not feel that kind of love from their mother, or from the world at large. Sometimes, a mother's love is about their own need to control, or need to feed their own ego.

I raised my children in a wonderful "family friendly" area - where people strove to be the most that they could be, to attain and obtain the best. It was a place where parents were involved in the lives of their children in a big way. In that sense, it was a very nice place to raise kids. But with that also comes the tendency toward "helicopter parenting" that needs to control and maneuver in order to make sure their kids "get ahead"...or the parents whose own egos are put upon the shoulders of their offspring. I will admit it can become contagious. As a parent, I sometimes fell into that trap, of expecting from my children what others expected of theirs, of sometimes trying to make them something they were not, all from the worry that if they didn't do something in the normal way or through a certain path that they would not thrive. I was never really at home in that place, nor were my kids entirely, because something inside told me it did not fit - yet it took me a long time to recognize and declare it.

Within the last few years, I have had many spiritual experiences that reminded me of not only my true nature, but that of my sons. And even though I sometimes wish I could do it over again in raising them, and adjust accordingly, I realize that it is never too late to make those adjustments. I have relearned how to read my sons, how to tune in to who they are rather than who the world says they should be. In my appreciation for my own growth and reconnection to my soul, I am trying to help them find their true selves, blaze their own paths - whether those be conventional ones, or not so conventional. I know that I do not want them to fall into cookie-cutter existences, so I am encouraging a path that might go against the norm. I know that at their young 20's ages, they too are bombarded with pressures of who and where they are supposed to be in their lives, so I try to impart upon them the courage to be different, to be true to themselves, to find their own path and follow their own calling.

Chinese spiritual philosopher Lao Tzu, said,
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be."

Whether we are male or female, childless or with many offspring, the greatest gift that we can give as "mothers," to our own children and to the world at large, is the gift to be love, accept, appreciate, and celebrate individuality in the world. When we give up the need for others to do things our way or see things as we do, we are giving unconditional love, we are giving "Mother Love" and birthing a better world. We are all aware of a loving mother's ability to heal - to make the hurt go away - and we can give that healing daily to those around us - to strangers on the street - and heal them through our compassion and acceptance. If you do not feel unconditional love from those around you, love yourself unconditionally - see your good, celebrate your uniqueness.

Share the Mother Love today. Feel the difference it makes around you. What you put out will be returned to you.

Happy Mother's Day to all those who share their Mother Love with the world!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Nature...God's Real Sanctuary

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in. ~George Washington Carver

For most of us in Western culture, going to church means gathering in a specific building on a certain day and at a certain time. There can be merit in that practice, and certainly there is sometimes an opportunity to gain inspiration within those walls. I don't attend any certain church. I often randomly decide to attend a specific one based on being moved by spirit as to where to go or when, or how often. I do not automatically attend any place at those "church hours" of Sunday morning, but do my own personal "church" throughout the week.

This morning, when I took my walk and was heading back home, I glanced one direction down the street toward a little neighborhood Episcopal church and felt somewhat called to attend there. When I later went back in that direction, I ended up sitting on a bench in a park across from the church. While sitting there, I heard a loud flutter that sounded like a very large bird's wings flapping. I looked up at the large fir tree beside me, with multiple trunks which gave it a hollowness almost all the way to the top of the tree, and realized that the sound had come from inside that tree,not too far up, and it was likely a large owl near me. I laid down on the bare grass underneath the tree, soaking up the energy from the ground beneath, knowing that is was replenishing me, knowing that this experience was something beyond what my skin could feel or my eyes could see. I "listened" to the owl with my spiritual ears (the ones that require little sound, but are connected to your soul). I felt my heart open. I asked questions...and waited for the wisdom of the owl to wash over me. I heard its wings flutter loudly again. The owl felt me and I felt the owl.

The majesty of this tree...of this owl, hidden from sight but obviously there...the energy and glory of God's creation surrounding me front and center, gave me my sanctuary. I did not need the building across the street, did not need the message from another person, I simply needed to commune with nature, soaking up God by soaking us His creation. Find some time in nature and you will find time that is truly with God. You do not need a building or an organziation to touch fact, you may be missing the truest miracles of God if you think that is the way to Him.

God's sanctuary is not brick and mortar, not steel beams and is in nature and in our hearts. Return to that acknowledgment and you will enhance your spiritual experience, and deepen your connection.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Challenge to Be the Change

Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. (~John Kenneth Galbraith)

We often look at the world in pain, wondering why there is so much strife, so much struggle, wondering if it is even possible to change it. I am telling you that it is, but the shift will come through those individuals willing to change, starting with their own thoughts and ideas about world around them…their thoughts about themselves and others. Think of what good could happen if we let go of the need to fight to be right or the need to prove that our way of thought is the best way or the only way. It is only when let go of judgment and needing to prove our way that we can grow individually and provide light to the world. We spend so much energy wanting to prove our way to another, and so little time just living it and letting it speak for itself. As I have said before, seeking to follow Christ, we should share light and spread it wherever we go, as Jesus did. By living this change, we change others. It is only our fear that keeps us clinging to our old thought, not allowing new in…it can be our fear of upsetting an angry and resentful God (which is impossible, since God is love). Fear has been implanted in our hearts, overshadowing the goodness and love that was put there at our creation. Love and compassion was showered upon us by God, fear was put there by man…by our own doubts, and by institutions that lost sight of love in seeking to be right, attempting to control others.

Each morning when you embark on a new day, you are making a decision, consciously or subconsciously, as to how you will approach the world. Will you support the old ways, that have supported old ideas, encouraged judgments, picking of sides, and needing to prove that our way is better…or will you support a new way that encourages exploration of thought, that examines other ways that may enhance your spiritual growth, one that allows acceptance of others who are different, or respecting ideas that are not exactly in sync with your own. Will you seek to accept every thought process or belief system that is essentially rooted in love, and discard those that encourage judgment or contempt. Can you recognize the flaws in your own thoughts, acknowledge and release them…making way for something better?

I challenge you to go through a day where you consciously examine every idea, every person, every group that you encounter that you may have previously been “against” or that gives you aggravation, and find one thing that you can agree with about them, or one thing that you admire. Find that single element, let it roll around, let yourself feel a connection to that idea/person/group, knowing that you have commonality on something. Perhaps it is someone who has vastly different political or religious views than you that has caused harsh disagreement or lack of respect, but you choose to step back and create a scenario in which you could understand why that person feels that way…imagining circumstances that have contributed to that thought, understanding that you cannot really know why they feel that way because you have not experienced the same things. Then put yourself in their place…and feel them acknowledging you. Imagine that you are the other person, accepting you exactly as you are, understanding your feelings, your fears, your concerns. Feel compassion in both directions.

This exercise requires nothing directly from the other person…it merely calls for you to open YOUR heart and mind; but by doing so, you will begin to open theirs, even if only a tiny bit. If you choose to be open and expect the miracles of healing, you WILL see changes and differences. For some relationships where there are vast differences, shadowed by anger and resentment, it may take practice, but by being committed to the healing, you will begin the process and see evidence of it, even if gradual. One heart can cause change in another, and another, and another. Make a commitment to change one heart at a time by changing your own, by sending love to another over and over again. You will then be part of changing the world. It does not require grand gestures or extraordinary effort, just small choices that create grand improvement.

If you have studied and followed the teachings of Jesus directly or indirectly, you will know that He taught through love and healed through compassion. That is all it takes to generate the energy for miracles. You can evoke miracles. You were put here to do so, encouraged by Jesus to perform things greater than He did. All it takes is a tiny shift and you will be on your way.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Where Is Jesus?

It is Easter morning and a beautiful day. Since Good Friday, I have contemplated what the symbolic meaning of Jesus' death and resurrection might mean to me right now in my own life. Instead of just holding the usual thoughts of "He died for me," I wanted to go beyond, and look deeper into what that death meant symbolically.

Unlike the Christian faith that I was brought up in and still celebrate in many ways, I don't see Jesus' death as punishment for my badness, but rather, as a message and example that as soon as we give up our old ways of judgment and become accepting of one another in love, our old and heavy self will die, allowing new life to unfold. To me, Jesus' death and resurrection demonstrated that the ways of this world are only illusion, that Heaven awaits us at any time. The key factor is judgment, and being willing to let go of that.

Religions teach us to judge (ourselves and others) with the idea that we are not good enough, not whole, and that we have to save everyone from their badness. We indeed are, at many times, lacking wholeness, but it is the judgment that keeps us from that wholeness. It is quite ironic to me that the rules and dictates that tell us we are incomplete without God are also creating many of the obstacles that keep us from realizing our place with God, by telling us we are less. Jesus reminded us that it is through love without judgment that we will instantly be whole. In other words, stop sticking your nose in other people's business and deciding that they are wrong and need saving...simply live in love and that will be all that is needed.

It also occurred to me that Jesus did not need to market or promote his message or draw people in through buildings, temples, lures or gimmicks to get people to see things his way...He simply relied on a message of love and truth. When others judged, he reminded them of their own hypocrisy or shortcomings, but he did not set out to judge others or to make them see things his way....people sought him out because he LIVED his message. He lived in LIGHT, not darkness. He WAS light. Nothing else was needed.

I think of the two Mary's who found the empty tomb and then spotted Jesus, while others could not see him. It made me think, "Where is Jesus now?" We are told that he will come again. In many ways we are seeking him, like the Marys, and in many ways the "tombs" - the churches and places where we expect him to be - are empty, lacking the faith to hold Jesus' great light. We often do not get deep and lasting comfort from visiting those places because they really do not contain Jesus's true light.

And I wonder, "How will Jesus come again?"...I believe that in the same way he was not in the tomb, he will not be in the places that we would conventionally expect him to be in...that we will find him when we are willing to look outside of those places, beyond those thought systems. I am not saying that those who do not look deeper for a greater connection to Jesus do not have him, but I am suggesting that perhaps he is not as present and glorious as he might be. Jesus represents NEW THOUGHT - so I seek to continue in his tradition of thinking in NEW WAYS to find more of him and be more like him. If you choose to look outside the tombs of your mind, opening your thoughts, I believe you might find a greater version of Jesus than you have ever known, and one that will be your own resurrection to your own perfection and true communion with God. I believe Jesus will come again through those individuals who chose to behave more like him and share light and love purely. Will you be one?

Happy Easter...make it your moment to shift into greater light and be more like Jesus...seeking new thoughts of a greater God...embarking on your journey to ONENESS.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Very Long Goodbye

My dad passed away last week. He had been ill for a very long time with failure of most of his major organs. He also had suffered from severe alcoholism that made him a different person, not always easy to get along with. I remember Nancy Reagan expressing her ordeal with her husband's Alzheimer's as "a very long goodbye," and I think this has been a similar experience. It is the constant hope that the person you know is in there will emerge and be different. It is the delicate balance of not giving up faith, but also not being to consumed in hope. I think what helped me do that was changing my faith not to things getting better or going away, but to understanding that they were for a purpose, to teach things, or provide opportunities for growth. In that process, I learned to let go of hurt, to detach in a healthy way, and be grateful for the lessons learned from the experience.

I don't know if we ever totally outgrow the need for our parents' approval. As I sat at my dad's bedside in the hospital the day before he died, I took some time to think of funny stories and talk about better times that we had shared. I told him how much I loved him and thanked him for all that he had done for me or taught me, told him the things that I was proud of him for. And although I knew he had not been responsive for days, not truly coherent for months, or totally lucid for years, there was a part of me that hoped he would say it back or give some indication that he wanted to say it back. In spite of my growth and understanding that our approval comes from within, from seeking truth - in that moment, I wanted his approval.

When I think more deeply about this, I think it stems from our belief that we are not quite worthy of God's approval. We seek it from our earthly parents and others, in part, because we are longing for that unconditional love from God, doubting that it could be there for us always. We cling more easily to the things we have done wrong or our seeming imperfections, but not very easily to the things we have done right. We see ourselves as less than we truly are, as flawed and undeserving of God's rewards.

When I think of God in the metaphor of "Heavenly Father" that has been painted for us, I think of my own sons and how I want them to see and know the good in themselves. When I feel like they are down on themselves or feeling like they are unworthy, it breaks my heart. I know how wonderful they are and want them to always feel that and know it. There have been times over the years when I could not get through to them with this idea, as even kids can be very down on themselves sometimes, and the world around them not so gentle. It was a horrible feeling for me, as a mother, to think that they were hurting or that they did not see their own gifts or perfection. I can only assume that God gets the same feeling when we think less of ourselves than He knows He made us to be. It must be tough to watch over all of your children knowing that they cannot see their own talents, their own abilities, or that they go around feeling like they are less than worthy of all that you want to give them. If we want to serve God or serve the world, we should not burden Him by accepting any idea that we are less, but should see ourselves as he our glory.

Throughout this week, dealing with my father's passing, I have looked to my own sons for love, and they have been there. My house lifted when they came through the door after traveling all day to get here. It makes me think of how God not only welcomes us home at any time, but probalby misses us being there with him. We can go home to heaven whenever we want by laying down our fears or our feelings of unworthiness, lifting ourselves up instead of tearing ourselves down; but we resist, thinking that we have not yet earned it. And God waits, ready to give approval, waiting for us to see ourselves as He does, perhaps broken hearted that we cannot.

I did not get my dad's approval at his bedside, or at least not directly, due to his state of unconsciousness; but I asked that he give me signs after passing, to let me know he was ok. I have received those signs that he is not only ok, but that he is thriving and alive again. My dad has heaven again...if he had only known it was there all along.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

How Dreams Can Guide Us

“Dreams are illustrations... from the book your soul is writing about you.” (~Marsha Norman)

Our sleeping dreams can be great teachers and guides in our daily lives. Sometimes these confused dreams of nighttime are teaching us in a subconscious way even if we don't "get it" consciously. Recently, I had a dream that was so symbolic of things I was going through, telling me how to deal with them, trying to vividly alert me how to react or proceed. If you have followed this blog over the last few posts, you know that I have been engaging in some difficult, yet ultimately liberating, detachment from some almost lifelong family patterns and issues.

A couple of weeks ago, during the crux of this process, I had a dream that was unclear and troubling in the moment, but became crystal clear to me when I recalled it the next day. It was an eye-opening parallel. In my dream, I recall having a problem with water pipes being clogged, causing my water supply to be barely a trickle and drying up quickly. I discovered that the pipes were clogged with vines, so I set about cutting and pulling the vines in an attempt to clear the pipes and return to full water flow. I kept working at it, but the more I worked, the less it seemed to help, as the water flow continued to diminish. I was frustrated as I continued to cut and clear, but then heard a voice that said, "It won't do any good to keep cutting because they will just grow back as quickly as you cut them, and will grow bigger. You need to replace the entire pipeline in order to get water. If you do not, you will have no life source flowing."

Wow. That was a moment of truth. In the moment of the dream, it was all about pipes and vines, but the next day, I understood this symbolism perfectly because, metaphorically speaking, I had always tried to fix the existing "pipes" to return the flow of water by removing the "vines", even though they only kept growing bigger and more invasive over time, coming back repeatedly in increasingly damaging ways. I was gradually cutting off my ability to connect to source, because those continuously choking obstacles that I could not eliminate were blocking that connection. Water is a source of physical of life, just as God is the source of spiritual life. If we block or slow the source, we cannot thrive, we cannot be fully alive in our greatest capacity. I was already aware that the obstacles around me had been blocking my spiritual connection to some extent, but this dream made it clear that the two could not continue in this manner...the blockages were winning by disallowing the flow. As I have stayed committed to detachment, my connection to spirit and spiritual gifts has come back in full force, or possibly even stronger than ever.

Our dreams tell us significant things, particularly when we are seeking a greater connection to Spirit. If we seek answers and ask for them, they will be revealed to us in many ways, including through our dreams. And while we may not always understand or even remember the dreams, they are at work in reminding us where we need to be and what is in our way. If we are sincerely ready to follow, the path will be shown to us.

Some believe that the dream state is part of our connection to the Spirit dimension, and that it is actually more "real" than our waking state of human existence. I tend to agree with this idea, and believe that dreams can provide so many answers, as well as momentary relief from the things that trouble us in our 3-dimensional existence. I receive a lot of communication from angels in my dreams, particularly at key stages in my spiritual growth. Whenever I follow the advice from my dream state, I find that the communication and connection in the waking state gets stronger.

So if you are seeking a greater connection, start with your dreams. Prior to going to sleep, ask that your dreams be used to reveal things to you. They are probably already being used that way, but asking for it can make them more of a focus for angels or spirit to communicate with you. Try to write the dreams down to see if they will later have meaning or become clearer to you. We have often been told to "follow our dreams," but perhaps we should do this in more ways than one. Apply the advice and guidance that resonates from your dream state, and it may help lead you to your greatest waking dreams, and everything you desire in your life.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Identifying Your "Downers"

When we talk about letting go of the things that are holding us back, we often have a hard time identifying them. Partly it is because there are certain things that we think are "givens" in our lives - that we cannot possibly let go of. We don't even consider that these may be areas we need to change or step away from.

Sometimes this may be people that keep us heavy or feeling entangled, sometimes it is circumstances - job, where we live, financial situations,health problems - but most everything in our lives can be changed if we really want to. You may have a job that you hate but feel like you have no choice. While it may be true that you cannot leave in this instant, you can certainly do things to prepare for a future change. While you may assume that you have to live where you do, there may be other options that could be considered if you really want to do something different. You may worry about health issues, but fail to make changes to your habits...Worry about finance problems, but not eliminate the behavior that may have contributed to them. It is so often our failure to change that keeps us in "problems", but the problems are merely indicators that we need changes.

I run across so many people who say they want change in their lives - want less stress, want to have more meaning - yet keep doing exactly what they have always done. I have been in that place before as well, and still find myself migrating there at times. It is our conditioning, and we sometimes feel obligated to continue it. Eistein has been attributed as saying, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". Many of us live our lives this way; I know I certainly have in many areas, but it is not so hard to change that practice it if you really want to. Change is what allows us to grow. If we are not becoming more, we need change.

The first step is identifying the areas that need alteration. This is often the hardest part - but hard only because we ignore many of these areas, not wanting to consider possible change. This may be relationships that bring us down, work situations, financial challenges, routines that we are stuck in. But we generally have internal indicators that should be recognized as signs to us that these things are not serving us, or that our attachment to them is not contributing to our greater good. It is only when we are in our highest vibration that we can affect others most powerfully, or that we can affect our own lives and manifest our destinies - so it does not serve us or anyone around us when we stay attached to things that keep us down. The martyr syndrome does nothing to advance our purpose, nor does believing that we are less than what we really are, or that we should settle for mediocrity, or stay in negative, burdensome situations.

Become conscious of the indicators of stress or heaviness in your life, then identify the things that trigger those feelings. Also identify the things that give you joy, so that you will know the direction that might serve you better. You will then have the answers for what needs change or release. If you ask for the answers, they will be given to you...then the choice is yours for what you are willing to change. Have courage, be brave. Your higher self, your destiny, is waiting.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I Can See Clearly Now, the Rain Is Gone

My previous blog post, "Tests of Detachment," marked another turning point of growth for me in letting go. I have had many instances and opportunities to practice this over the last few years, and each time, I have grown significantly. There is a mastery in deciding not to stay in illusion or drama, but to find the lesson and the perfection in every situation. (If you have not read that post, it might be helpful to do so before reading this).

Since writing that entry last week, I have actively practiced it - loving my father, but not getting consumed by him, his drama, or by anyone else who wanted to stay in it with him. It has definitely been a test because there have been some ensuing events that threatened to drag me back into it in a deeper way, but thus far, I have passed the test. The feeling is liberating beyond what I can convey with words. My understanding of the perfection of the situation gets clearer and clearer to me, and I am encouraged by my own ability to rise above it. I have likened it to crabs that are placed in a boiling pot of water...if one crab gets close to escaping, the other crabs will grab it with their claws to keep in in the boiling water with them. But I don't want to be in the boiling water that will become my demise, and I am staying steadfast in my escape!

During this process, there has been a song that keeps coming into my head at random times - in such a way that it feels like a message of affirmation to me, and it is most appropriate. The song is "I Can See Clearly Now" by Jimmy Cliff and is an upbeat song about the triumph and clarity after the storm. When I heard it in my head, I was energized and couldn't help but get a big smile on my face, feeling lifted off the ground by its message. I found a youtube version that I have played a few times because it lifts me up even further. This particular version has clips from "Cool Runnings" - the story of the Jamaican bobsled team, so its underlying message is even more uplifting - and also quite appropriate during this Olympic season. (CLICK HERE to view this happy video).

Yesterday and today, from a weather standpoint, have been absolutely beautiful here in Asheville - bright, bright, bright, sunshiny days - following an unusually harsh and somewhat grey winter for this area. So not only am I struck by the metaphor of the song in its parallel to my life and growth right now, but it is as if the weather is exemplifying that thought as is a NEW DAY! We should appreciate the inner growth that the winter provides, but be willing and eager to accept the sunshine when it bursts through.

We each have the opportunity to make every day a "new day" - and one in which we see sunshine and brightness in our spiritual lives - deep down in our souls. This exists for us at any time we want to receive it. We are in constant control of the choice...Will we make today a day in which we open ourselves up to the bright sunshiny day that is out there, or will be stay under our umbrellas, fearful and tired of rain, but unable to see the sun? Step outside of your patterns and let go of the things that are weighing you down or holding you back. When you release them, the sun will shine in.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tests of Detachment

One thing I have learned about the spiritual journey is that when you make progress, the Universe/God/Holy Spirit is eager to push you ahead to more. So it often seems like the more progress you make, the more you get bombarded with new hurdles to overcome - ego obstacles that are within your control but hold you back. Over the last several years, as I had the courage to take leaps of faith, I always experienced some new gift, or an expansion of a gift that I already had. The bigger the leap of faith, the more expansive the gift would be. But along with the gift, another obstacle always seemed to present itself almost as soon as the previous one had been overcome.

Often, I would enter the "poor me" moment, "when is this going to stop?" At times, I wasn't sure if I could take it, but fortunately, each time I felt ready to give up, I had a moment of clarity, realizing exactly what was happening, understanding that the new challenge was a gift - an expression of what I needed to learn next in order to advance to my true purpose, by letting go of my worldly way of thinking and behaving. I reminded myself that since God doesn't give us anything we are not capable of handling, and since He and His host of angels and spirit have a better view and perspective of our needs and our path - getting consistent obstacles was actually a compliment and sign that I was on the right path. In the childhood game of "hot and cold" where "hot" is used to tell the blindfolded finder that she is close, and "cold" is to tell her that she is farther away, our obstacles are sometimes signs that we are getting "hotter" - closer to finding what we have lost or forgotten. It was as if I was hearing angels telling me in quick repetition..."hot, hot, hot...keep going in this direction".

These moments of clarity served as an affirmation that even though it may have seemed like things were very wrong, those feelings of joy in the midst of adversity showed that I was on the right track... letting go of old thoughts was ultimately bringing me peace by showing the way out of attachment to them. In spiritual thought there is the concept of "ego" - which is not so much about arrogance as we commonly think of ego (although arrogance can certainly be part of it); but the spiritual concept of ego is that it is all of our negative thoughts that hold us back and make us think we are less. These are all essentially rooted in fear. When we think negatively (particularly about ourselves), we are doomed to attract more negative into our lives. It is the reason our world stays in conflict. When we overcome these fear-based thoughts that hold us back - anger, guilt, jealousy, judgment,the need to be right or have our way as the only way - we are stuck being less than what we really are - less than the wondrous and powerful beings that we were created to be. It is our perception of ourselves as less, as unworthy, as undeserving, or as incapable of attracting good that keeps us from returning to that true Oneness with God - that place where we find bliss and joy in each moment, even in the difficult ones.

My father has been a severe alcoholic for most of my life. It has been a painful experience for him and for those around him. It has been something that seemed to rear its ugly head in so many ways and so many moments - always ready to overshadow good things. Many around him have stayed attached to his drama and his need for control - including myself in many ways. For years, I had a desire to "fix" him, to help him overcome this by getting help. I could not understand how others were so content to let it continue, even feeding and fueling the problem when his body was screaming out in illness that it could not take any more abuse. I could not understand their denial of it until I understood that they were as trapped as he was. The denial around me made it feel like I was part of a circus, yet, when I would try to detach from the drama, I would have guilt laid on me - how could I desert my father, how could I not be supportive of his needs? I even had my spirituality thrown up to me in extremely hurtful ways, as if my desire to be spiritual meant that I should do whatever anyone wanted me to do in every moment and situation - no matter how insane it was or how damaging it was to me.

But what we have to understand about spirituality is that it should be our focus to LOVE everyone - to send them love and compassion - but it DOES NOT mean that we should stay in their drama because that is only keeping us from attaining and perfecting our gifts. Misery and suffering does not bring out our gifts - detaching from misery and suffering does.

My father is now in the hospital again and is deteriorating quickly, yet he still clings to his old ways of anger and manipulation in getting what he wants. I know that all he has to do is release and see himself as a wonderful and perfect child of God in order to be free, but his religious upbringing tells him that he is bad, so he bahaves badly...What we think is what we become. It is painful to watch the drama around him, as well as the attachment to drama by some others, but I can see it for what it is, and know that I must release myself by detaching without guilt. I cannot let my journey be derailed by others' choices or fears...I have come too far for that and it would not be serving my gifts or God by letting ego win.

Lately, ego has been working me hard. It is not surprising, because I have felt myself returning to my power so strongly, empowered by the obstacles that I have overcome; so ego is pulling out all the stops to own me once again. But my journey has taught me that the harder ego works, the more important the leap must be. When you find yourself feeling beaten up by life, tell ego to get behind you - in the same way that Jesus said, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me". Ego (fear, guilt, anger, control, judgment) does not serve us and it does not serve God. Our simple act of telling it to go away empowers us to overcome its control over us. It is a reminder that ego has no power without our willingness to go along.

As difficult as this process with my father is in my earthly eyes, with my spiritual eyes, I can see that my father's journey is a gift to me...An obvious and blatant demonstration of the insanity that ego creates. My father may have chosen this difficult path to teach me and those around him the lessons of letting go - of detaching. Dad may have made it more absurd in order to make a point of how ridiculous and destructive ego is - and to point out to me just how ridiculous it is for me to stay there. I feel as if my father has been my teacher, and his work - his suffering - will only end when his job is done. He is providing me with a big test of my belief in my purpose, to gauge how well I can demonstrate my faith, how well I can "practice what I preach". It is for this reason that I detach - to let him go in peace knowing that his job for me is done...and I thank him for it.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

I Am a Little Pencil...

I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world. - Mother Teresa

I have just moved forward toward publishing the book I have been working on - off and on - for a while now. There has been a period in which I could not do much writing and I was frustrated about it, feeling like I was failing, but I have now realized that I have actually been working on it more "on" than "off", even if it did not seem so. Events of my life have been telling the story, with me living the book even when I was not writing. The experiences ARE the book - the seeking, the learning, the practicing - all a necessary part of what is being said. It is one thing to write about something from your head, telling others how to be, but the experience of living it, obstacles and all, makes it from the heart. To write this book from the heart, from the soul, I needed to live it fully, and God provided me with wonderful opportunities to "practice what I preach".

I needed to learn to let go of my own fears and just trust Him, knowing that everything we need is provided at exactly the time we need it, and when we are ready to allow it. I needed to clear areas of my life that were holding me back, some of which had been holding me back my entire life, patterns that ran deep. I needed to learn to love me, because the love I give others is not complete until I really love and appreciate myself. I needed to learn that I am deserving, and special, and that I have many gifts from God to share with the world, to help make it a better place. I needed to let go of the effects of a world that beats us up, telling us that we are less, forcing us to conform to its way, which are not always in line with who we really are.

At the beginning of this year, I started hosting a facebook page studying "A Course In Miracles". Its ideas correspond to many of the thoughts on this blogsite, and the ideas that I have been learning since I started down this journey of spiritual awakening. ACIM shows us a systematic path on which to undo some of our worldly conditioning so that we can return to God in a truer fashion, through returning to our own power that is activated by love. It shows us how to release our fear emotions, which include doubt, guilt, judgment, and uncertainty. Although I had studied ACIM previously, going throught the exercises again at this time, after I had cleared many obstacles, has been immensely helpful. Doing it with others through facebook, I believe, has given me an added power. As we seek to grow spiritually, we are uplifted by others who are doing the same.

As I move forward in finishing the book and publishing it, I keep in mind Mother Teresa'a quote and ask to be a little pencil in the hand of God. I know these experiences I have had are through God, and I ask to be an accurate messenger of ideas that will help others find God, find peace, find love for themselves and others so that our world can be a better place. If you have enjoyed this blogsite, please hold me up in the light to help me complete this task in a way that brings light to others.

We are all pencils of God, whether we are writing, expressing other gifts, or simply living in a way that shows compassion and acceptance of others, remembering that we are all One. Find your avenue to be a little pencil, to open to your gifts and share with others. Your life will have new meaning and you will have more joy and peace.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Giving In Secret

For the last week the world has been united in compassion for Haiti. Tragedy is a powerful bonding agent. It touches our hearts and gives us moments of understanding that we are all One. In those moments, love flows through conflict, through discrimination, through resistance. These moments become more than unfortunate and painful events - they are not punishment from God for misdeeds - rather, they are opportunties to renew the love in our hearts. On a daily basis and without those strong reminders, we have a harder time staying in that place of compassion.

Many people and organizations become moved to help, to give, to send love and prayers, which is a great thing. However, there is an element of grandstanding that can also occur in an event of this magnitude, as people use it as an opportunity to get notoriety for themselves or their groups. I want to be careful not to sound too critical here. As Aesop said, "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." But I also want to remind that gifts given quietly from the heart may have more impact on our souls - because they are void of ego. It can be difficult to keep ego out of the equation, and the need or desire to publicize what is given can be an indicator of where we are. If we can refrain from marketing what we have given, then it tells us that the gifts are from the heart and for the sake of giving, not for receiving recognition.

When we give and broadcast it, there is something lost. Our gifts become much more meaningful and soulfully rewarding when they are quiet, not subject to examination by others, not subject to our ego's need for boasting, not subject to gaining publicity or public accolades. I think that is what Jesus was saying in this passage that he Bible credits to him:

2"So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

3"But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

4so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
(Matthew 6: 2-4)

I don't think Jesus was saying that it was entirely bad to give publicly, but that it is not the best and purest way to give, and does not indicate that there is full communion with God. While we benefit from giving either way, the need to be noticed for it speaks of a need to impress, of an inner feeling of being unworthy and the need to earn acceptance. There is a fine line between charity for charity's sake and charity that is partly for pride's sake; the pride tarnishes the beauty of the charity. Therein lies the root of our soul's troubles. That need serves as a sign that we are still not understanding that God thinks we are perfect and wonderful, and only our negative thoughts about ourselves keep us from Him. So that need to tell everyone can serve as an indicator or gauge of where we are spiritually - as individuals, as a church or other group.

Many might say that giving publicly helps awareness and encourages others to give, but even that suggests a competition or underlying guilt. Certainly with our media coverage, the levels of giving would be well known whether or not they are credited by name. I encourage you to increase your charity to others...whether it be through money, through time, through a commitment to go out each day and be a light to others by your ways. But try to do it quietly, where you will know that ego is not involved in it; then you will know your own sincerity. It simply allows you a level of soulful connection with God, not man, that can be liberating. It is an opportunity to live in the world but not of it.

God Bless Haiti - and let us thank the people of Haiti for opening our hearts through their difficulties and their courage in adversity.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Honoring Dr. King's Message

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who challenged us all to be better, to think better. His ideas were so ahead of his time that he lost his life over them, at the hand of others who acted in fear of the changes that his thoughts might bring about. Dr. King helped us progress by shining light to drive out darkness.

Each of us has come to this world as light, with the purpose of illuminating the darkness. This is why humans progress - because we know that is our purpose. Those individuals like Dr. King, who are willing to be that light against the odds, help us to be better people, help us to love one another in actions rather than just in words. It is interesting to me that those who opposed Dr. King did so very much in the name of God and Christianity, quoting Biblical scripture to justify their actions. In hindsight, most of us can see that was in error, yet so many well meaning people do the same thing today in justifying their hatred.

Recently, I saw a declaration that "the Bible is not PC" (meaning Politically Correct). I pondered that statement, knowing that the bearer of the message was probably meaning to convey that since the Bible did not use "PC" terms, then we should never consider them. It was intended to be a clever "buzz statement" that I'm certain has been repeated over and over by many who think that it demonstrates their dedication to the Bible and to God.

Then I thought about the Bible's politics...the ideas of the times were that women were essentially worthless, wealthy men held all the rights and power, it was acceptable to own human beings in slavery, or to sell your daughter into slavery...the poor and downtrodden were expected to remain that way. Perhaps the Bible SHOULD HAVE BEEN more politically correct, but since the powerful had the ability to filter and control its message, why would they want to change their established ways? Perhaps Jesus's messages were an attempt to balance those horrid inequities through softer words of love and compassion...just as good (unextreme) political correctness seeks to do. And while I would agree that sometimes PC gets a little silly or extremist, and sometimes becomes more about winning political favor, the premise behind it might be illuminating. Personally, I don't want to say things that are hurtful or offensive to others, even if I didn't mean them that way.

Judgment is a dark emotion. When we look at others as less than us, or decide that only our way is right, we are spreading darkness, not light. We are not illuminating their goodness or driving away the darkness, rather we are contributing to it. When we become callous in our ways and resist change, we are neither enlightened nor enlightening. Just as it only takes a small amount of light to illuminate a dark room so that we can see our way, it only takes a small amount of light - a few committed people - to illuminate the world. When we do this collectively, there will be no darkness. Just as God declared, "Let there be light," we can declare, "Let ME be light," and choose to spread unconditional love.

On this day of remembering Dr. King's contributions, decide how you can spread light. Are you willing to challenge old accepted ways of thinking in order to make way for new illuminations - as not only King did, but as Jesus did? Can you risk disdain from others in order to seek or deliver a new message, encouraging love and freedom rather than fear and control?

See others with love rather than judgment, notice good qualities rather than bad, give up your need to be RIGHT in exchange for a need to be LIGHT, and you will contribute to driving out darkness. Be the light amongst the darkness, the love amongst the hate, the hope amongst the despair, the calm amongst the turmoil. It is your purpose and where you will find peace and joy.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sacrifice vs. Surrender

I am hosting a page on facebook for studying "A Course In Miracles" (ACIM). I have studied this text before, but decided to revisit it for 2010, as I seek to move forward in a deeper spiritual journey. By studying ACIM with others on facebook, I get the benefit of the group feel - the power of minds joined to help each other, without any one individual dictating what others should believe. As I work through the exercises, I can feel the strength of numbers helping me to grow, knowing that we are all in this together - and I don't just mean the ACIM group...I mean we are ALL in this world TOGETHER...and we are ONE! The sooner we remember that and let down our need to have our way be the only way, the sooner we will have peace, within our own hearts and in the world at large.

One concept that stood out to me this week was the contrast of sacrifice and surrender. We sometimes intermingle these concepts as if they are similar, worrying about surrendering because of what sacrifice it might bring. ACIM teaches us that sacrifice is not necessary, that it is not of God, but only man's doing:

"Sacrifice is a notion totally unknown to God. It arises solely from fear, and frightened people can be vicious". (Text,3.I.4)

"Surrender" in our world sometimes has a negative connotation of giving up or admitting defeat, being beaten. Surrender often implies a loss of freedom, yet in the spiritual sense, surrender IS freedom. It is simply a release from all of the bondage and baggage that our human earthbound ways have taken on in error, a remembrance that sacrifice and struggle are entirely unnecessary. We have concocted illusions that have made us feel unworthy, and have assumed that sacrifice would be required in order to clear ourselves, in order to earn back our worthiness. So we punish ourselves with pain, thinking that it well serve as penance. In Christianity, for example, the cross represents sacrifice by Jesus. We are told that Jesus had to sacrifice for our wrongdoing, yet the message of Jesus was that sacrifice was all in our minds - that we could heal ourselves by simply remembering that we had that ability - that our pain was all in our minds.

The sacrifice idea becomes a very powerful tool to control us - to keep us feeling badly or that we have a debt to pay, to hold us down from true freedom and our Highest Selves. When we surrender to God, we are not bowing down in weakness as has often been portrayed; rather, we are lifting up into our strength and greatness, showing faith that we can move mountains, as we were told we could do, but seldom remember or believe. People and organizations that gain their power through fear and control do become vicious at times when we begin understand that sacrifice is unnecessary, when we circumvent them to surrender to our Higher Power. They can attack or heavily criticize in their fear, trying to whip us back into submission to their ideas, but others will know there is truth in our thoughts and actions, so we must hold fast and bringing others along in love and peace.

So make a choice to surrender - to ask God to reveal your true strengths and gifts. Accept that you are a Divine being - creating your experience, creating miracles - and return to that rightful place where you were created to live perfection. Give up the idea of sacrifice so that you can surrender to living and loving without judgment, without the need to be right, without the need to control others. Accept your power, and it will be the end of your suffering.

BE the light of the world...

CLICK HERE to view or join my facebook group for "A Course In Miracles"

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Put On Your 3-D Glasses

Recent talk about the 3D movie Avatar caused me to think about the 3D viewing process, where the audience must wear special glasses in order to see real depth in the 3D picture. I thought about our spiritual vision, and how, when we see only with our "earth eyes", we cannot fully see all the depth and layers that exist. We miss things, miss the whole experience - miss truth - because we do not choose to view what is before us in the way that it was intended to be seen by its creator.

In New Age circles, as well as ancient spiritual practices, there is a common term of "Third Eye", which represents our spiritual sight - one that brings the blurriness into absolute clarity so that we can see what God really intended for us -before the ways of this world stripped us of our "truth vision". Our images have become distorted in layers of control and illusion - our tools of true sight systematically taken away over the ages so that we do not have the methods to see God in His fullness.

But now, in this age of information and discovery, we have the ability to return to our full spiritual vision - to return to our spiritual sight. In the same way that is is easy for a movie viewer to have the full experience of the production by putting on their 3D glasses, we can begin to have the full experience of God by returning to our spiritual sight - we simply have to ask to see truth, ask God to show us, then be willing to open our eyes and see. If, in a 3D movie, we put on the glasses but close our eyes, we will see nothing, our experience then limited to sound and what we hear. In our spiritual journey, if the visions are shown to us but we close our eyes and listen only to those around us for our truth or to tell us what is happening, then we will not experience it for ourselves. In the same respect that 3D glasses allow us to see a movie with a new look, changing our spiritual vision can help us see in a more Divine way.

This is a new year and new decade, marking a new beginning, a freshness. Make it a spiritual beginning. Stop seeing life in 2 dimensional black and white or in the way that others have told you to see it, and move on to full color and dimension, having the experience for yourself. In spiritual terms, our dimension is referred to as the 3rd dimension - but there are more dimensions that are beyond this mass/body existence. Once we move to these levels, we are acting more in alignment with God and our Higher Selves. Challenge all that you have thought in the past (mostly from what you have been told to think) and move on to truly think and live on your terms, having the full experience because you no longer see with deficient sight.

Ask God to give you the next dimension - a truer experience - ask angels for their help and guidance, then allow it to happen. Don't second guess it and put your own limitations on it, but accept it as it comes, knowing that you want to see clearly from God, not from man's blurred vision of God.

Your life will change...this new year will be more real...this decade a momentous one. It is all waiting, just be willing to put on new spiritual glasses to live in the moment rather than the past or in past interpretations. Then savor all of the new experiences...ask for even more...and enjoy.