Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Gratitude List

A friend of mine explained to me that one of her spiritual practices, each night before bed, is to write a list of everything that she is grateful for. I love this idea, and when I practice it my body immediately feels lighter as my awareness expands to include all that is possible.

The state of being grateful increases our capacity for good things. It allows us to validate the positive and make room for more of it. Studies have shown how gratitude affects our bodies, easing the tension brought on by worry, lowering blood pressure and enhancing our immune system. I have begun talking about a gratitude list as a tool for some of the people I work with around stress-related illness. I notice how quickly their breathing slows and their faces soften, as they realize they can stop fighting what's wrong in their lives and acknowledge that they have a choice about what in their experience they emphasize.

Gratitude is a choice. A person I know who often struggles with not having enough money had been telling me that he was about to be homeless because he couldn't pay the rent. A short time later, he told me about getting some money unexpectedly, so he was able to stay. He then went on to talk about how bad things are for him, barely making it by the skin of his teeth. His thoughts of lack are creating alot of difficulty. What he didn't even see was the tremendous gift he had just been given, in getting the money he needed! What we put our attention on, we cause to grow in our lives.

Our lives are meant to glorify the creator within. Holding on to limiting beliefs does not honor what is most true about us. In any situation of seeming lack, whether it be not enough money, not enough time or love or recognition, we are able to change our perspective and the course of our lives. Cultivating a feeling of gratitude instantly changes our experience from one of disappointment and wanting to one of creativity and abundance.

My gratitude list is long, and tonight I plan to rewrite it. I don't mind that when I rewrite it many of the same things come up each time, because I can appreciate and validate them yet again. In acknowledging the good in my life, I make room for more.

Be grateful for your gifts, large and small. Don't let them go unnoticed. Just behind every belief in lack lies our ability to consciously look for the good. That is our birthright, and worth being thankful about. Through it all, we live. We laugh and cry and strive and wonder. Our hearts beat on, allowing us the miracle of expressing the divine through our own unique humanness.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Saturday, January 30, 2010


We have been given dominion over what we manifest in our lives through our thoughts. When we consciously decide what it is that we desire, and then speak as if it is so, we set in motion unlimited creative power. Affirmations are well-known and widely used as a tool to impress the subconscious, and change the way we automatically think, to help us manifest our desires. An affirmation is a statement to yourself, in the present tense, regarding a circumstance you want in your life.

I decided recently to try something new, to write an affirmation as a simple mission statement for my life. (In case I ever need to be reminded, which of course, I do. And just so I, and the universe, are clear. . . )

"My life is created for good. I am meant to have all of the joy and peace I can imagine for myself. I am blessed and lucky. My marriage and my relationships are mutually nurturing, joy-filled and healthy. I have work that expresses my talents to the world, fulfills me and has great meaning for me. I am being used for a mighty purpose, and all I do brings me joy.

I am at peace with my childhood; the past does not control my present reality. The truth I know is much bigger now. I honor others' paths as I walk my own. I own my place in the world as a person of value.

My body is completely healthy and strong; I move through menopause gracefully and with validation of my place in life. I heal easily from temporary dis-ease. I treat my body with love and respect in all ways, getting enough play, exercise, and rest, and eating healthy.

I have abundant money and resources to have and do all that I want, because my life is created for good."

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Friday, January 29, 2010

Spiritual Lessons From Elvis

Elvis was a red-eared slider who graced our family with his presence until he died last September. He was almost 30 when he died, which is a long life for a turtle in captivity. He lived with us for not all, but many of those years, and in that time I grew to know Elvis as one of God's most extraordinary creatures.

Elvis was the epitome of what you'd expect from a creature whose type has been on the planet for upteen years; he was the wisest of all of us. He'd look at me with the kindest, most understanding eyes. He was also a great listener. I mean it, he was. Elvis was present. All of us in my family came to know Elvis this way, and expect it. Other people who came into the house, too, were drawn to walk over and speak to this amazing turtle, and feel his very strong and peaceful hello. Every morning when I opened the blinds behind his tank, and other times, too, I would bend down and say hello, telling him what a sweet and handsome turtle he was.

He was very social and very clear about what he wanted. He loved to get out of his tank, and I have great memories of him trying to keep up with me as I walked down the hallway with a load of folded laundry in arms. You haven't lived until you've been chased by a turtle. He also loved to have me hold his face up to my cheek; the warmth must have felt nice to him. He would go limp and his legs would sort of hang down, like he was just too comfortable to move. It was endearing, and probably would have won us $10,000 if someone had taken a video.

His death was really hard for me, but the spiritual lesson I learned from him as he made his transition is one I'll never forget, and certainly fitting one as amazing as Elvis. For months I had been noticing that he was slowing down, still eating and interested, and being his old self, but slowly becoming less vibrant. I knew he was getting old, and began to try to accept that, hard as it was. Over months it progressed very slowly, to the point where I started to consider whether I should take him to the vet. I was very torn because I didn't think there was anything they could do and I kept getting very strong messages from Elvie that he did not want to go to the vet; he wanted to die in peace, outside in the backyard grass.

I did end up taking him to the vet, despite what he kept telling me, because I had to. He was pretty chipper on the way. They kept him all day, took blood and did a number of tests, and when I picked him up I knew it had taken out of him all he had left. I found out that he had an infection. I hadn't even known it.

I got him home, lay him in the grass outside and lay next to him and told him goodbye. He opened his eyes once and looked directly into mine with that deep acknowledgement of everlasting life, then very peacefully closed them and stopped breathing.

In addition to alot of grief, I felt so much guilt and sadness over not realizing he had been sick. For all of the understanding of what he wanted and needed, I didn't pick that up. I felt so bad at having failed that amazing creature. One day, in my meditation, I said hello to him as spirit, and very bravely asked how he had experienced his turtle life. I was afraid to hear the answer. And he showed me a clear picture, without hesitation, from his perspective in his tank, looking up, of my own face above his, lovingly saying, "Hello Elvie, hello sweet turtle." And I cried as I remembered that life and love continually change form but never really die, and that my loving of him had been more than enough.

Love chose, for a time, to be a red-earned slider . . .

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Forgiving is something very simple in theory but difficult in practice. I understand that we're all finding our paths to the God within in our own unique, often stumbling ways. I know that we are all perfect in the process of remembering who we are. Much of the time, I can even consciously acknowledge the spirit of God within the people who I encounter.

I have a limitless ability to forgive, but that doesn't mean I always do it. Fear gets me stuck in needing to blame or to hold someone in a less than Godlike view. I need them to be a certain way, because I fear that if they aren't, somehow I will lose, something will be taken from me or I will be hurt, or somehow less. I know in my heart this is not true, but in that reactive moment it feels true. It usually has nothing really to do with the situation at hand, but more with reminding me of something from my past that I haven't yet come to terms with. Those memories can have alot of emotional charge.

Forgiving may not be easy much of the time, but it's an important part of our spiritual nature. When we condemn others in our thinking, even over little things, we perpetuate negativity in our awareness, and it can affect our outlook and physical health. It also robs us of our joy. Blaming takes alot of life force that I'd like to use for other, more delightful things.

Edwene Gaines talks wonderfully about forgiveness in her book "The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity." In the chapter, The Mysterious Power of Forgiveness, she states that "harboring a grudge completely blocks our ability to have peace of mind. . . An unwillingness to forgive is like stabbing ourselves with a knife and expecting the person who did us wrong to feel the pain. Forgiveness is not something we do for the sake of another person. Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves." Before I read her book, I hadn't considered the connection between prosperity and forgiveness.

I've enjoyed practicing one of Edwene's tools about forgiving, which is to try to spend an entire day without holding on to a single negative thought about anyone. It's harder than it sounds, and certainly makes it clear how often the mind rushes to judgement. I noticed in practicing this tool what a great space it is, choosing to instantly release each negative thought as it comes up and not dwell on it. In doing so, I create a world of my own making.

I learned another simple forgiveness tool from Roland at Unity. A group was discussing forgiveness, and he said "I just see them in the light." Wow. That means that in a twinkling we can see the truth of someone as the light of God, even if they have just done something that ticks us off. And the great thing is, it works!

I really love how the light of truth graces our humanness in so many simple, small ways.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Treasure Mapping

Treasure mapping is a way to clear our connection with the creative power of the universe, in which we are all active participants. They pave the way for us to see our steps in manifesting our desires. Treasure maps are also called vision boards or mock-up boards. I learned about this tool years ago, and have enjoyed creating many treasure maps in that time.

Start with a big poster board, glue sticks, scissors, and magazines that pertain to the things that you want to have in your life. Most adults don't often get an opportunity to play with glue and scissors, so this is fun! The idea is to cut out as many examples of the things that you want as possible. Cut out picture and words expressing the spirit of your goals.

The treasure map can focus on a single thing, a certain category or a number of different things. Sometimes when I make a treasure map for the new year, I include goals around my health, my work, my leisure activities, and other things that are important to me. Other times, I focus the treasure map on just one thing, and the specific details around that. Make sure it has a clear theme. The more specific you can be about what you put on the map, the better. The clearer you are with your intention, the more likely it is to come to fruition.

The next step is arranging the ideas that you've cut out and gluing them to the poster board, much like a collage. Some people like to add a picture of themselves on the treasure map. I have at times put the date in large letters in the center of the map, as a way of emphasizing that in creation.

I like treasure mapping because as I'm sifting through magazines, considering which pictures and words best reflect what I want to have or be or do, I am sending very specific instructions to the universe, and that creative spark within me, that it will be so. It is very spiritual work, but also a very fun process.

I have quite a few treasure maps from years past up on a shelf in my closet, and also a few more current ones down where I can look at them often. It's always very validating when I occasionally take all of them down from my closet and am delighted by how much I have brought into being with my intention. It's a great reminder that all we have to do is put the picture out there, and then let it come to pass.

May this tool be a blessing!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Finding God in a Pickle

I spent time yesterday with a group of wonderful women, doing our yearly treasure-mapping day, where we each create a collage of what we want to create in the coming year. It's a great spiritual tool, and I'll discuss it in a future blog. Today's blog concerns a different topic, though, stemming from our conversation yesterday, when Carrieanna came across the idea in a magazine of "finding God in a pickle."

That struck me as a very juicy subject to ponder, so at MaryAnn's prompting (the gauntlet having been thrown down, so to speak), I tackle the topic of the lowly pickle as a spiritual tool.

Believing as I do that everything is a spiritual tool if you look at it the right way, I considered the possibilities. We can look at this in a number of ways, depending on the word stressed. A less obvious way might be to think about what if we found God, herself, in a pickle, as in a problematic situation? How would we respond to God in a pickle? And what could that pickle be? The possibilities are mind-boggling, current world events notwithstanding. Or, taking that line of thinking a step further, could we then be asking what do we do if we find ourselves, as Gods, in a difficult situation?

Definitely worthy queries, but what about actually finding God in a pickle? And would that be somehow physically manifesting herself in that pickle, or metaphysically speaking? Because metaphysics explains the fundamental nature of being (and because it's pretty funny), I couldn't resist the chance to consider the fundamental nature of God being a pickle.

Which leads to another question: Not all pickles are brined cucumbers, or even troublesome situations. Sometimes a pickle is a sour, disagreeble person. Can God even be a pickle, in that sense of the word? I choose to think so, yes. God can be any darn thing she chooses.

God is everywhere present, in our highest highs and lowest lows, in our jubilent successes and in those moments when we feel we are not worthy of taking up space on the planet. God is the source of every idea ever imagned, including the most modest. God is who we are when we are manifesting our greatest, and also when we're feeling like we'll never get it right. Every expression of us is right.

So back to the humble pickle. Some people don't like them, but some people like them alot. Sometimes they're pale and joyless, other times they're crisp and vibrant. At times they're tart, but can also be pretty sweet. Sounds alot like some people I know. Clearly, God is a pickle.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Replenishing Your Energy

It's helpful to have a tool for calling our energy back into ourselves. Energy is very fluid, and is constantly being exchanged between people. When we encounter someone who is frustrated, for example, we may end up feeling out of sorts without really understanding why. When we are trying very hard to talk a friend through a difficult time, we may walk away feeling depleted and sad. In this situation the energy transfer may have been in both directions, giving away our vitality and taking on another's sadness.

The Berkeley Psychic Institute teaches a simple way to replenish our energy, called a golden sun. What we think, we create. What we visualize, our bodies perceive as real. We could use any image to represent our life force, but a golden sun is a a great healing. To me, it represents the energy of the Supreme Being within me, which contains all of the truth of who I am.

Begin by visualizing a very large, bright golden sun above your head. Allow that golden sun to begin to collect any of your own energy that you may have left behind or given away. You don't necessarily have to see what's coming back to your golden sun, just allow it to happen. It's important to call our energy back to ourselves because while our energy works for us, it doesn't work for others. For others, it actually gets in the way. When we give our energy away to others in an effort to help them, we are not acknowledging their infinite ability to perfectly create for themselves. In the process we can begin to become uncomfortable, things can feel difficult, or we might lose our clarity and get caught up in things not of our own making.

When you feel ready, allow the golden sun to come down through the top of your head and into your body, filling every organ and bone, every cell in your body with the gold vibration of your own spiritual energy. That's all there is to it!

This is an easy tool to practice, and also easy to forget. But I teach, and write, to remember. So my tool for today is gold suns, lots and lots of them!

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Letting it all fall apart

An instructor at the Aesclepion Healing Center taught me that sometimes you just have to let it all fall apart. I needed that tool yesterday. Sometimes you have to stop fighting. There seems to be a fine line between the striving that comes with choosing to learn and grow in this life, and sitting comfortably right where I am and not striving to change a thing. It's always been a tricky balance for me.

Sometimes I take on too much. It's really easy for me to feel like I can do more, or do better. It's not nearly as easy to just sit back and let everything be just fine the way it is, and not try to exert any of my own will in having things turn out the way I'd like them to. Before I even realize what's happening, I slip back into a place where there are way too many things I'm trying to influence; all good things, but still. . . my experience of my life starts to feel like alot of effort.

Letting it all fall apart is a strange tool. On the surface it doesn't seem like a spiritual tool at all. But destroying is a part of creating; it makes space for new things in our lives. When I hold on and try to control all of the little details, really I'm limiting the possibilities of how all of it can unfold. I would definitely feel more comfortable if every detail about having enough money for retirement were figured out, if I was never confused by other people's actions, if I didn't have to think about work and laundry and grocery shopping and all of it, plus having time for myself, if all of my old childhood programming were behind me, and all of the countless other things I expend energy fussing about. That's not the way of it, though. I'm human. I believe that I can create every moment in my own way, but doing it through brute force clogs the pipes of creation, and gets downright tiring.

Yesterday, I was burned out. I got to the point of saying enough, I give. I can't care about this anymore, even the stuff that's really important to me. The thing is, I forget that trying hard doesn't make stuff happen. Letting go does. Effort just makes us feel invalidated, and gets in the way of all of the help that is available to us when we surrender to that higher part of ourselves that doesn't need to try, but just is.

So yesterday I let it all fall apart, in my head, and it was a relief. And today, I let it all fall apart some more, and nothing bad happened. I realized that all of the striving to make things happen really is wasted effort; it's alot easier when I just let things be messed up, or not, in their own perfect way.

I don't know for how long I'll remember this, maybe five minutes. But for those five minutes I am grateful.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Heart-Focused Breathing

I recently became aware of the Emwave computer software by the HeartMath Institute, and bought it for my Mac. It's been being used in a number of different settings to help people learn to quiet the mind, be more centered, and enter what they call a state of "coherence," where we are at our most creative, happy and productive.

Apparently not only our heart rate, but more importantly the fluctuations in our heart rate, are very accurate measures of coherence. After putting a sensor on the earlobe, the program measures how heart rate changes as we breathe. Our heart rate naturally goes down when we inhale and up when we exhale. Ideally the heart rate fluctuations should be very regular. When a person is stressed or nervous, the heart rate fluctuations jump around and make a very jagged pattern.

The software graphics indicate at any moment whether you are in the green zone, which is the highest coherence, the blue zone, which is less coherent, and the red zone, which means the heart rate fluctuations are irregular. The graphics are fun, showing the zones and graphs in real time.

The instructions are to gently focus on the area of the heart, then begin to breathe into and out of the heart, and then to hold a positive feeling, such as one of gratitude. The idea is that when we do this, our heart rate fluctuations become more regular and we become more grounded. HeartMath Institute has some really interesting ideas about coherence on a personal as well as global level. I encourage you to check their website if you're interested in learning more.

I've been using this software for about 3 months and I'm still amazed at how quickly and easily it knows when my mind is starting to wander. I will be sitting at my computer breathing into my heart, at green, just breathing, and then my mind will start to jump around and pretty soon the bar moves over to blue, or maybe the red. As I bring my attention back to my heart the bar moves back to the green. It works much like other biofeedback tools, but the technology is very sensitive. It's really fun watching how I can shift my attention and instantaneously affect my heart rate.

I've started using heart-focused breathing in my meditation, without the computer software but just practicing the three steps: focusing on the area of my heart, breathing into and out of the heart, and holding a thought of caring or gratitude. What I've noticed is that, like other techniques, it's a great way to quiet my mind and enter into a state of relaxation and body awareness. When I practice heart-focused breathing, I can feel myself letting go of the striving of the particular moment. In that space, no condition is better or more desirable than another; I'm not as limited by my preconceptions; my body exists as a vehicle to experience creation unfolding in perfection, as it always is despite what the mind might be thinking. With heart-focused breathing I see the small, fleeting nature of my thoughts and know they need no response; they are not me.

A few minutes spent spent in touch with that quiet, never-ending part of myself that knows everything and needs nothing is a healing beyond words.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Monday, January 18, 2010


There are many ways to release what we are holding on to that does not serve us. I learned the technique of grounding at the Berkeley Psychic Institute, and it has been the basis of my practice for the last 18 years.

Some of the energy that we hold on to contains our own truth, and some of it does not, because we have picked it up from places outside of us. BPI teaches us to release what is not our own truth using a grounding cord. A grounding cord is a connection that you create from your first chakra, at the base of your spine, down into the center of the planet. It can be anything you choose, a waterfall, a tree, a rope; anything in your imagination works. What we imagine manifests. Think of it as another way to choose the unfolding of your experience.

After you have created in your imagination a line of energy between your first chakra and the center of the planet, allow your body to release anything that does not serve you down the grounding cord, where the energy will be recycled. No effort is needed here, just a gentle intention to have it be so.

What would you like to release? Maybe some worry about the future or a specific person, or some self-limiting belief that is not really true about you or your ability to create without limits? This morning, in my meditation, I noticed that I was feeling a bit anxious, not about anything in particular but just feeling unsettled. I realized that I was holding onto worry about my family, my daughter and son-in-law moving to Northern California, my son and his girlfriend having to drive back to the Bay Area in the wind and rain, life issues my parents and siblings are facing.

A grounding cord is a wonderful tool for releasing unfounded worry. I sent that worry for my family down my grounding cord, in my minds' eye, and remembered again that I can trust the Christ within each of my loved ones to be safe and happy. The Christ within has all of the answers they will ever need.

I remember when I learned about grounding at BPI, an instructor talked about our being able to ground discomfort or disease from the body. I had a headache and decided to try it on that, in that wonderful spirit of a beginner where there is doubt because it's new to our experience, but also excitement about the what if this is actually possible? So I created a grounding cord and let my headache dissolve down my spine and out the grounding cord. And it worked! It was one of many moments in my training there that caused my awareness of who we are to bust wide open.

When I am able to release and let go, I create the space for a much higher consciousness to work.

May this tool be a blessing!

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Prayer for the People of Haiti

I found this prayer for the people of Haiti from Unity's "Silent Unity" blessings. The link to the website is below.

"Friends, with situations like the one today in Haiti, we may ask ourselves, What can we do? While we'll soon learn of the many ways we can be of assistance, one thing we can do immediately and jointly is pray. We invite you to join us in prayer for all those affected by the earthquake in Haiti.

As you pray, know that God is present in the midst. Envision each and every person in Haiti surrounded in this divine presence of love, comforted, strengthened and guided in next steps. Hold an image of divine love in action as individuals assist in recovery and relief by providing food, water, shelter, clothing and medical aid.

There is energy in prayer that touches the minds and hearts of all involved. United we make a difference."

Remember, our thoughts and intentions are prayers.


The situation in Haiti reminded me of how important it is for us to be mindful not only of what we're creating on a personal level, but also of the part we play in creating the consciousness on our planet. It's easy for me to go days without watching the news, and I heard about the earthquake from coworkers. Without really meaning to, I get busy and distanced from what is happening outside of my own small circle.

But each of us contributes to how events unfold in our world. We collectively set the tone for how this world evolves. The planet needs our positive attention. Our ultimate destination is never in question, but how we get there is formed by what each of us is holding as truth moment-to-moment. Each time we proactively choose faith over fear in our own lives, we send out ripples that affect the planet and every living being. Every thought weaves another thread into the fabric of ongoing creation. What we think in mind is produced in kind.

There are many ways we can help heal the world, but I decided to use the tool of intention. Intention is asking the God within us for something. It's a form of prayer. I know that when I ask I am answered, without fail. The universe cannot act in any other way. The trick is believing that what you ask will be answered, rather than believing the "thought behind the thought," which we're often not aware of, and is usually something like "but. . ." or "I can't really see how that will happen." When it appears that there is no way possible, we are answered. If enough of us remember and really trust that, a quantum shift will happen. I believe it's happening now.

The planet throughout history has had periods of great change and chaos stemming from leaps in the consciousness of humanity. And periods of change are very messy, personally and on a global scale. When things are the most difficult, it's very hard to believe we will be answered. What we believe, we are asking for, consciously or not. When we ask for something, we have made a choice; it is already done. The God consciousness that is everywhere responds. If we believe the chaos we are choosing it, and that is what we experience. If we trust the order behind it and that humanity's destination is never in question, we create a different world.

So I send my intention out into the fabric of creation that all of the world's beings manifest themselves in truth, as their very highest expression of God. In that instant fear dissolves, and my awareness expands to accommodate a world where this is so.

And so it must be.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


It takes alot of courage to live in awareness of who we are. This duality that we live in is set up to compel us to mostly forget the truth, but also to provide the opportunity for us to choose, again and again, whether we will express the highest within us, or something much less. Every day we are confronted with impressions that we are less than what we really are.
If it weren't for the fear created by those appearances, it wouldn't be hard to live as Gods. We could choose our best and highest expression without feeling the doubt that stems from a world seeming to hang in the balance. But we do live in duality, and our biggest fears usually speak much louder than the quiet, deep knowing that all is created from perfect consciousness.
I believe that God experiences herself more fully through our choosing to experience our own Godselves. And we can't really experience something that just is. If something just is, we have no sense of it in relation to anything else, so the depth and breadth of it is lost. To fully experience something, we have to have experienced its opposite. Without knowing hate, we couldn't get a sense of the unfathomable complexity of love. Never having encountered darkness, we would be unable to perceive the full meaning of light.
So here we are in the duality, with all of the things that come flying at us that say everything's a mess, you're not good enough, maybe you should worry instead of trust because surely this wouldn't be happening if everything really were OK.
Be grateful for the appearances of lack; they're sacred teachers on our path. It takes exceptional courage when every past experience you've had says this can't be good, and everyone around you is in fear, when the planet seems a very scary place, to stand and say, I choose something else. I choose to be an expression of God with complete dominion over my reality. I choose to see the grace in the opportunites that all of us, individually and collectively, have to grow into the truth. I choose to hold on to my truth like the holy grail, even when, especially when, those around me are most afraid and expect me to be there, too. As compelling as it is to get swept up, we always have a choice. I choose a world of my own making.
What if we created a world where no one chose fear?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I wrote recently about a tool that is very helpful for me - writing letters to God. There is something about the act of writing the question, and then writing the answer, that helps me to keep my mind quiet and hear the answer. I can tell when my ego is trying to answer, because the response feels harder, and somehow rote. When the answer comes forth without effort, I know it comes from my God self.

I do believe that the God within has the answer to every question and the solution to every problem. From that consciousness came every invention, amazing work of art, each act of love. I forget that I am part of that consciousness and have all of the answers that I need at all times. I am grateful for all of the tools that help me remember who I am.

An excerpt from one of my letters to God. . .

Dear God,
I am seeking to renew my sense of purpose in my life. I have time now to focus on what has great meaning for me. I feel like I need to do something, but at the same time like there is nothing I have to do to be complete. I feel ready to stand and create something new, but what? What is my purpose?

Dear Sherry,
There is great fear of needing to get it perfectly that doesn't lead you to your truth. What brings you joy is your purpose. Forget the pull of what you "should" do. What would you love to do? You can live your purpose every day, doing the things that bring you joy, making new friends to have fun with, bringing yourself fully to whatever you do, trying new things. Your purpose is to glorify your life by doing what you love and not feeling bad about it. There's nothing more you "have" to do.
Consider this, your purpose is to be happy.

Thank you, God!

Monday, January 11, 2010


I love mindfulness as a practice. Not so much to think of it as a discipline, but to take advantage of the richness and color it infuses my life with. If we're not aware of it, we can spend most of our lives without being fully present in our moments, letting the mind take over with its endless stream of stuff. When I pay attention to my thoughts, I realize how many of them have nothing to do with anything bearing on the present moment. When I allow that to happen (which is most of the time), I feel I'm only partially having my life, because so much of it slips by unnoticed.

I went out at lunchtime today and walked to Barnes and Noble. It was no big deal, maybe a five minute walk, and I was caught up in whatever random thoughts were sliding by. I knew where I was going and what I was going to do when I got there. There wasn't anything else that needed my attention in those five minutes. Whatever I was thinking about during my walk I could have thought about later and it would not have made any difference. But there I was, walking without really noticing I was walking, and thinking.

I chose to be mindful in that moment (thank you, God, again, for my remembering), and brought all of my attention to the present. In that instant I was where I was. I was aware of lots of cold grey around me, the wet fog, the cement of the sidewalks, the parking lot, and thought briefly that maybe it wasn't so important to be really present for this particular walk. Certainly I could conjure up something alot more pleasant in my mind. But I knew that wasn't true, as I noticed the slight resistance my body felt being surrounded by that damp blanket of fog and the lifeless scenery. If I had not chosen to be mindful, I would not have been aware of feeling heavy and sluggish in response. It's not at all like being in nature, which my body responds to by feeling incredibly light. It was much more subtle, and delightful because of how much I noticed it, I - am - walking - on - pavement.

That simple state of just being turned a very unimportant moment into one of beauty and grace. It was a gift that I brought back to work and enjoyed throughout the afternoon.

Here's to having our moments!

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Prospective Diary

Another great Eric Butterworth tool is the prospective diary. It's another way of creating your day. When we don't consciously decide on what our experience is going to be, it is decided for us. In unconsciousness, we allow old programming or the energy of the people around us to create our reality. A prospective diary is a way to choose, ahead of time, how we want the events in our lives to unfold and how we will react to the things that happen around us.
When I did a prospective diary a while back, I wrote it the evening before. This morning, I decided to do a prospective diary about the upcoming day. It's amazing to me how powerful simple intention is. "When one is committed, providence moves" to clear the path for what we have in our sights to materialize. The thing is, it's easy to get sidetracked and lose focus on what it is that we want to create. There are countless things in life that pull our attention to create in a different way than what we might really want. But when I have concrete things I've chosen to expect, I don't lose sight of what I want in the middle of a really busy day.
We are the expressions of the ideations of God, and we are creators in God's image. Like God, what we imagine comes to pass, whether it's our idea or someone else's we're holding on to. For me, committing my idea to paper clarifies what I want and gives me a point of reference to return to when I get distracted. I noticed a number of times today that when I felt myself losing focus on the things I had chosen to create for today, I remembered the prospective diary and my intention was reset in that moment.
While some of my experiences with a prospective diary have been dramatic, today the day unfolded gently but was no less powerful. A few times I felt myself leaning toward a knee-jerk reaction, and remembered the choices I made for today, in the diary. That quickly, my experience shifted to one of my choosing. Thank you, God, for my remembering!
May this tool me a blessing. . .

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Honoring Others' Paths

I was provided with another humble opportunity yesterday to remember to honor others' sacred paths. This seems obvious, but is not necessarily easy when people, especially people I love, are hurting and going through really hard, sad stuff. My truth tells me that we are all unique expressions of the divine, and that all of our creations provide us with opportunities to choose how to express the God part of ourselves. But sometimes when really challenging things happen, instead of seeing God within another person, instead of trusting the soul's purpose in dealing with that particular trial, I see a problem. I worry. I try to cajole them into making different choices. I become afraid for them, and at time it hurts.
But matching other people's pain doesn't change it for them. We are meant to express our compassion but not to suffer for people. Matching pain does not create light in the world. When we choose to see the greatness in another despite the circumstances, we help them see it in themselves. When we choose to see perfection at work in the world, we help bring it into being.
The minister at Unity has talked about feeling afraid sometimes for his adult children. They live far away, and he worries about their happiness, and their safety. He said that at those times he chooses to trust the Christ within them. In doing so he acknowledges the part of them that knows themselves as one with God, and infinitely capable of making decisions that allow them to express themselves fully and joyfully in this world.
There's a saying that a friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you've forgotten the words. I believe the song in my brother's heart is joy, and I will sing that song to him in his plight.
I chose to see him as the God that he is, made of the consciousness that created all of the perfection that I can see and imagine, standing tall in the light. He could never be less. I celebrate that for him.
May this tool be a blessing...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Letters to God

I am acquainted with a woman at Unity who explained at a book study group a few months ago that she used to write letters to God. She told us that she would get her notebook, and write "Dear God," and write her question, and then sign "Love, Jenny". When she finished, she would write "Dear Jenny," and write God's response, and sign "Love, God". The conversation moved on to other topics, and we didn't focus too much on Jenny's letters, but the idea stuck.
I've read Neal Walsh's "Conversations With God" a few times, and felt truth in the message. Some of God's explanations in that book remain part of how I explain existence, to myself. But it never occurred to me that it is something we can all do. I had tried asking questions of God in my head before, and never had a sense of a voice talking back to me. I was intrigued and decided to give it a try.
I had no idea what to expect, but in the interest of research, wrote my question, signed it, and then wrote "Dear Sherry". What came forth was a simple, very certain knowing and I started to write pretty much without thinking and without effort. When I felt any effort I stopped for a moment to listen, and started again when it felt right. I wrote until I felt done, and then stopped to read it back. I was struck. The response was straightforward and eloquent, and I knew it came from outside of me but also from the highest within me.
I've been writing letters to God since, and have at different times felt tremendous awe, a deep sense of connection and order, and wonder. A few times I've laughed out loud.
Right now, it feels surreal writing about it. An hour ago the dog was dragging his butt across the carpet and I was thinking "I need to call the carpet cleaner". Then I sat down and wrote a letter to God (on a completely different subject, by the way) and was instantly connected to All-That-Is.
A spiritual being having a human experience!
This is a great tool!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Listening to the Silence

This morning, I felt drawn to listen to the silence. Not just the quiet of the morning, but the deeper silence that resides within me. I was drawn to listen, and was surprised by the strength of the pull. It was really hard to quiet all of the distracting thoughts, but I did, for moments at a time, and started to become aware of the quality of the space between my thoughts. My truth resides there. In that profound silence there could be no doubt that we exist within divine order, expressions of a God that sees only perfection. In that deep quiet, I understand God's joy. In the space between my thoughts, I am.
I let the truth that is much larger than my thoughts heal me, and it heals me now, as I remember. All of the things that seem so hard in my thinking are only hard while I hold on to them. I let go and see that it was just a choice, the letting go or holding on. When I let go, the sky doesn't fall. The world doesn't burn out because I've stopped thinking about everything, all the time, to be safe. My world expands to include every inkling of joy I've ever had.
In the silence God smiles, and I take a picture and hold it in my memory.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Walking the Labyrinth

My husband, Mike, my son, Eric, and I walked a labyrinth on New Year's Eve, as we've done for the past few years. Bless Eric, that he was willing to get up early and drive for an hour to do it, because it was important to his parents.
I love walking into that circle and having the strong awareness of myself as eternal spirit, at the very same time I hear the traffic going by, see workmen moving around and the cracks in the sidewalk, all of the countless small details of inhabiting a body. I love knowing myself as eternal spirit as my path passes by Mike's or Eric's on the labyrinth and I am aware of sharing space with them for a moment, then moving on on our own paths, but each of us always contained by that bigger circle which contains all perfect paths.
While walking the labyrinth, no matter what direction I'm heading or how many twists and turns I take along the way, I'm always moving toward the center, where I know in the center of myself, in my heart, that I am God in expression. In the middle of all of the twists and turns of the labyrinth, the center stands.
Each experience I've had in the labyrinth has been different. I've been guided each time to remember just what was important for me at that time. This last time, I was reminded that All Is Well. In the middle of all of the big issues facing humanity in general and all of us individually, I can be glad for all of it because there is a mighty purpose behind it. All paths lead to an awareness of ourselves as God, without exception.
I remembered that pain is part of the dichotomy that we live in, and aids us in knowing joy. We can never really grasp and own for ourselves one side of a dichotomy until we have fully known the other.
Best of all, for me, was remembering yet again that there is nothing I need to do, no burden I need to carry to fix things. We are all the light of God. We can be nothing else. Everything we experience is contained by and part of that light of God, just like the circle of the labyrinth contains all paths leading to our knowledge of ourselves as God, and light.
What that means for me practically, in this new year, is that I don't have to suffer over what is. What is, is, and it serves a mighty purpose, one that I can trust. It's not easy to see the light in the middle of the darkness, but this year I choose to look for the good in all of it. I am grateful for the light that contains it all.
(In case you're interested, Mike read a book on labyrinths recently. It's called "Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool." I haven't read it yet, but he liked it alot.)
Here's to the light!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Today I will act as if. . .

I went to bed last night feeling very grateful for remembering a tool I hadn't used in a long time. The wonderful gift of it was that it allowed me to consciously create my day. A few years ago I read a book called The Creative Life by Eric Butterworth with a Unity book study group. One of the exercises in that book is "Today I will act as if. . ."
I've been off work for two weeks for the holidays, and went back yesterday. When I woke up at 5:00am to to do some writing and get to work by 7:30am, I was already starting to feel pushed and lacking enough time to do all of the things I want to do. During vacation, I really enjoyed all of the extra time I had, and was starting to feel stressed about how will I fit in all of the things I want to do every day: meditate, write, exercise, cook a simple, healthy dinner, spend time with my husband. It's never easy to balance all of it on top of working all day, for most people. I was starting to feel pretty out-of-sorts about it.
Thankfully, I remembered that I create my reality not by what is happening to me, but by how I am thinking about it. The limits exist only in my thinking. And what I believe dictates how my experience will unfold.
So I wrote in my journal "Today I will act as if I have all of the time and money I need to do all of the things that bring me joy." Just that. I am always awed by how consistently and perfectly conscious choice manifests in my life. Remembering to choose consciously is a prayer, and always answered when asked as all prayers are. The important part is being aware of what our thoughts are praying for. I love the saying that "worry is praying for something you don't want." And as the Buddha said, "As the fletcher whittles and makes straight his arrows, so the master directs his straying thoughts."
Yesterday, I denied the limits of my own making, and chose instead abundant time and resources and joy, by choosing to "act as if." And I watched with gratitude as my day unfolded, catching up with two weeks' worth of referrals, emails and phone calls with ease, doing one thing at a time in perfect order, enjoying the contribution I make in my little corner of the world. And I had time, at lunch, to do my meditation, and after work to write, and walk with my dear husband and share the day, and a simple, healthy dinner.
I acted as if I had all of the time and money I need to do all of the things that bring me joy, and it was so.
So I'll close now and decide on a tool to help me remember, today. . .