Monday, March 29, 2010

Hearing God

Early this morning I had a conversation with God in our room at the Howard Johnson's.  I was really glad for that conversation, because I've had some important things to discuss.  I've been busy for the past few days, traveling to Georgia to be with family for our grandson's third birthday, and so this morning was the first opportunity I've had to be still and listen.

I sat down and quieted my mind, asked my question of God, and then focused my attention on that space that is everything, where it feels like I can hear the hum of our collective being.  In that place, I wait to hear God's voice from the air, from the glow of the streetlight, or the paint on the wall of the motel room.  God's answers come to me from all of those places, and everywhere, all at once.

I sat and waited, and God's voice did not come.  I continued to quiet my mind, and listened, but the familiar dialog didn't start.  What came instead was a strong sense that God was busy, and not available just then.  For a moment I felt quite disheartened, until I realized that that was not possible.  God is everywhere present, and in every moment of my life. 

I recognized that it was I, not God, who was too busy.  My mind had been too busy.  I am never separated from the voice of God, but it felt like that was true, for a time this morning.  I remembered that my experience of God is reflected in how I am experiencing myself.  And with that remembering, my dialog with God resumed; my questions were asked, and answered, and I was reconnected with my truth.

I have found that hearing God's voice is a matter of shifting my attention, from the details at hand, to a softer focus on being, where everything just is and the details are not important.  The God whose voice I seek speaks to me from all that is, from outside of me but also from within.  Because my experience out in the world reflects what is taking place in the universe within me, when I find peace in my thoughts, there is no end to the peace that I find in the world of my making. 

This morning I remembered myself as God, choosing again to hear herself.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cultivating Humor

My husband told me last night that he'd love for me to do a stand-up comedy routine, just for him.  Just picturing it made him chuckle.  It made me chuckle, too.  I can see us in our living room, him sitting at a make-shift round table with a glass of wine, and me standing with a wrench or some other pretend microphone, saying "Did you hear the one about. . ."  We've done sillier things.  We tend to laugh alot.

I'm a true believer in humor for healing all types of ills.  In the stress management class that I teach at work,  one of the things that I discuss with people is the idea of actively cultivating humor.  I enjoy watching people who have come into the class very burdened by the demands in their lives light up at the thought that maybe something as simple and uplifting as laughter could help ease those burdens.  Research has proven that laughter lowers blood pressure and stress hormones, and increases immune function and the release of endorphins.  It really is good medicine.

Humor unites people, because laughter is the universal language.  Sharing a private joke or a moment of happiness with another creates a bond of good-feeling and lifts the heart.  I remember when my son was about 18 months old, he would pick up his play telephone, hold it up to his ear, and laugh and laugh.  I realized early on that he was imitating what he thought a person did on a telephone.  I looked like that, talking on the phone with my sister.  I am pleased to say we still do that.

Many times, when my husband or I, or both of us, have had a tough day at work, we decide to do something funny.  We've gone to the park to swing and slide, which is very humorous, especially to the kids watching us.  We've batted the wiffle ball at the park in heavy wind.  We've worn big wax gummy lips to the dinner table.  We've eaten cake with my son, not using utensils, and then taken pictures.  Not too long ago, while paying bills, my husband donned his slippers that look like rainbow trout, and I wore a bow tie.  Recounting these times, and remembering so many more, makes me smile.  Humor is even great years later, with the remembering.

There is no limit to the ways we can create humor for ourselves.  Rent a funny movie or choose to read a silly book.   I have a couple of sites bookmarked on my computer at work that I can go to for a quick joke in the middle of a hectic day.  Make a mental note of something that really tickled your funny bone, and then remember it when you need to smile.  Most importantly, choose to find amusement in the little things as you go through your day.  To quote that very articulate author, Dr. Seuss, "From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere."

Celebrate your sense of funny.  Each of us has our own brand of humor and our own way of expressing it.  Mine is more quiet, which makes the whole stand-up idea all the more comical.  I'll let you know when my routine is finished.

Humor, and laughter, bring us into step with our highest joy, and open us to fully celebrate being alive.  Here's to laughing loud and often!

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fear Not

I asked God what I should write about today, and She said, "Fear Not."  I thought that a fitting topic, because while finding ourselves in fear has always been a necessary part of remembering who we are, there sure does seem to be alot more of it banging around lately.  It's not always easy in the middle of some fear-based reaction to stay calmly centered and tell ourselves that we're much bigger than it is.  In the moment, all we see is the monster's big teeth and we know we're just seconds from being lost for good.

I remember, way back in my early 20's, reading a book that changed my life.  It's called Emmanuel's Book, A Manual for Living Comfortably in the Cosmos, by Pat Rodegast and Judith Stanton.  Pat Rodegast channels a being named Emmanuel, and his teachings cover many topics.  At that time in my life, before I had begun my search for truth, and before I had any tools for understanding the events of my childhood, Emmanuel's words were, quite literally, a balm for my soul.  The words gave me hope where, looking back, hope was so lost that I didn't even know it was gone. 

Emmanuel's Book sparked in me a sometimes difficult, but mostly joyous quest for truth that has lasted since.  And the words that hooked me are, "You are safe, you are safe, you are safe."  I read that and even though it took me many years to finally own that truth for myself, the words opened a possibility in me that grew stronger and stronger, gradually opening me to a truth that gets sweeter every year I live.

We are safe.  If we could but remember that, God within would dance alot more.  When I remember that I am the creator of my experience, and that I have chosen fear as part of my path to knowing my own greatness, it is transformed to a gift I give myself.  Fear is created by me, and through me, and for me. 

Fear is a choice, and that is a powerful perspective.  In any moment we can choose fear, or faith.  Fear is just being temporarily stuck in a lie.  Faith, and love, are truth.  We say in Unity that fear has no power over me, and I know that is true because even though I get temporarily stuck, I created all of it as part of my divine path of forgetting and remembering.  I can get unstuck!  Even in the middle of the most trying circumstances that life can dish out, we are safe, we are safe, we are safe.

I am, as always, profoundly grateful to the many teachers I've been blessed to encounter in my life.  If in writing my truth I can give back even a bit of what I've been given, I am happy.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Monday, March 22, 2010

Loving the Body

I realized in beginning to write about validating the amazing miracle of our bodies, that one post wouldn't be nearly enough!  I'll begin with some thoughts today, and add more at a later time.

These wonderful vehicles that our souls have created to have their human experience are worthy beyond measure.  Our society is so body conscious, but in a way that actually harms the relationship that the soul has with the body.  We are taught to focus on the body as a way to conform to the norm, and to judge our value based on its size and shape.  We all know that the incredible expectation for our bodies to fit within a narrow range of appearance is unrealistic and unhealthy, but most of us are driven to conform to that expectation nevertheless.  It's amazing how powerful that influence is on us.

When we are trying to fit a mold, communication between spirit and body is diminished.  Spirit becomes much less able to hear the messages that the body is sending out, and the body becomes unable to hear the soul's validation of its creation.  I believe that learning to listen to the body is a lifelong process, and not something that we always do easily.  We need to be present to hear our body's gentle messages.  With our thoughts in the past or in the future, we will not be aware of our bodies at all.  When our minds are very busy, we usually take our bodies for granted.

There are many downsides to taking the body for granted.  One very big disadvantage is that when we are not present and choosing to sense and feel what is happening in the body, we miss so much of the delicious experience of living.  Some of those feelings are wonderful beyond words, and some are very difficult, but they all create the depth and texture of our experience.

We are not present when we are caught up in thought.  I really believe that thinking is overrated!  We think too much.  We could accomplish just as much, probably more, if we consciously chose to review data, make decisions, and then put thinking aside and experience!  There are for me no moments in my life more exquisite than the ones spent squarely in the present, using my senses, feeling my emotions, aware of my body's being.

We are also much better able to care for ourselves when we pay attention to our body's needs.  In our performance-driven world, it becomes easy to focus on completing tasks and completely ignore our bodies' gentle urgings.  If we do that for too long, our bodies may need a more forceful way to communicate, which sometimes happens though illness.  Our bodies always let us know what they need, we have only to listen.

If we take the time to allow the gentle communion between body and spirit to take place, we find truth.  In hearing the soul's infinite regard, the body knows its own sacred nature and is healed.  Without that space, our bodies are disconnected from the truth and we feel invalidated.

Creating a space for body and spirit to connect can happen in many different ways.  It can be something we choose to do quickly, or a practice that we dedicated more time to.  A really simple way to find connection with the body is to breathe, consciously and into the body.  Breathing grounds our awareness into the body.  Another thing I will practice is to consciously pull all of my energy into my body, so that none of my awareness is spilling out, and I am aware of the physical space that I occupy.  (I will write more about being in the body in another blog.)  Another thing I have done, when I notice that I am caught up in some judgment of my body, is to just quiet my mind for a moment and ask my spirit it's opinion.  This is a great tool!  There is no media-driven demand for thinness strong enough to budge my spirit's infinite love of my body, just as it is, in all of its perfect ability to walk me though the days of my life, as a light-filled expression of God.

When you find yourself having a hard time appreciating your body, remember that that opinion does not originate with you, and then let your body listen to the eloquent wisdom of your soul.  Love is there.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Guarding Your Mind

Unity is a big source of inspiration for me, as I'm sure you've noticed reading my posts.  Reverend Ken mentioned today that  "you need to guard your mind," and it jumped out at me as an important spiritual tool.  As I took it, guarding my mind means being the sentry at the gate, protecting my mind from any thoughts that diminish me, or others, or the world.  It is choosing to be that ever-vigilant, benevolent guardian that always serves the truth.

I am very aware of wanting to be the crafter of my own thoughts, and thereby bring my own dreams to light.  But it is so very easy to get caught up in speaking or thinking in ways that I don't even really want any part of.  I catch myself doing it all the time.  It's an interesting place, that moment when I recognize that I am holding something as true that I certainly don't want to perpetuate into the future.  But habit, or the old need to please others by not disagreeing with them, or some other form of unconscious, fear-based response kicks in and there I am again on auto-pilot.

I like the idea of being my own benevolent protector guarding my experience and serving truth.  To do that, I realize that I need to be more committed to being watchful of the words and thoughts that I don't want to give life to, and deny them, regardless of who might not agree, or understand.

As probably happens in many workplaces, among my coworkers the conversation lately turns fairly often to the economy, job losses, cities needing to eliminate emergency personnel, programs in public education being cut, the world going to hell in a handbasket.  I have many times joined in with the tsk-tsking, and nodded my head in agreement.  Surely, it is sad.  It is scary.  But that is not the reality I wish to seal our future with.  I am no longer in agreement to acquiescing, not even to a nod of the head.

I spoke to my dad a few days ago, and he was worrying about my husband's job (he's a public school administrator), and talking about how bad things are getting, people wanting to carry guns, and other things that the fear-promoting media is so adept at focusing on.

I am happy to say I didn't buy into the fear of the moment.  I told him that we trust the outcome and that the best will happen.  I told him that we are choosing not to participate in the recession, and that we will continue to look for the gift in all of it, because this life is nothing if not an amazing, enriching and wonderful gift.  At the end of the conversation my dad, who is an avid follower of the television news, said he was going to do something else with his time, and we both affirmed the perfection and divine order that we are part of, each in our own way.

That conversation could have gone a very different way, had I not been guarding my mind, and very consciously choosing the truth I wish to serve.  It would have been easy to just agree.  But in making a conscious decision to choose the reality I see and speak of that, his perspective was lifted, and mine, and the planet's.

I am grateful yet again for another tool in remembering the unlimited potential we have in creating the world we choose to see.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Friday, March 19, 2010

Enlighten Up!

Most of us know at least one person who has the uncanny timing and ability to lighten the mood in a group of people, to raise the vibration when things start to get too serious. David, our music director at Unity, is like that. We can always count on him to keep things light with a spontaneous quip that gets us chuckling. He doesn’t take himself too seriously.

It is easy to regard ourselves and our life path with too much seriousness. I know I often do. It can seem like hard work at times, moving forward, trying to be the people we know in the deepest part of ourselves that we are, striving to be our best selves. We are taught that hard work brings results, and we apply that maxim to everything, including growing in our spiritual understanding. On the physical plane, hard work may accomplish results, but as unlimited creators of our experience, no more than our intention is needed to bring a dream to fruition. I need to enlighten up!

For me, there is absolutely nothing better than remembering that I don’t have to try so hard. We really don’t have to try at all. What a delicious truth, that perfection exists in and through everything, and we can just relax and bask in it. In our most peaceful, or most chaotic, days, divine order guides all. We can let go into the experience of all of it, comfortable or anxious, light-hearted or totally stuck. We have designed all of it as part of our soul’s playground.

I spent some time last night being incredibly grateful. I was thinking about some of the experiences I’d had yesterday, and became aware of the absolutely perfect way they provide me the opportunity to choose who I am, and who I want to be. In that moment, I knew myself as the designer of those experiences, every part of them, and I was God. There was no effort, because I knew that all that comes to me is good. I felt larger than I’ve ever been as I reviewed lifetimes of experience, and knew it was created not only by me, but though me, and also for me. It is all done for me. And I knew for just a few moments the profound love that called forth my being. I am forever changed.

May you know the lightness of being God’s love, and may this tool be a blessing. . .

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Enthusiasm is the energy that turns the moments of our lives into magic.  Enthusiasm isn't something we must wait to feel; it is something we can cultivate as often as we remember.  I am always amazed by the incredible creative power we have, in each instant, to choose what we will experience.  In any moment, there are countless different things that could capture our attention.  We tend to focus on what we expect, based on past experience or what we've been taught.  In this way, experience can limit the flexibilty in how we see things.  We will always see what we expect, if we don't resist the temptation to believe everything we think.  Much of that thinking is old, outdated, and never originated with us anyway!

In order to be as fully open as possible to the gifts of this life, we must claim our power in creating a world of our own making.  We are not seeing the world as it is, we are making the world we see, based on our thoughts and beliefs about it.  Experience is not hard-wired, it is infinitely variable depending on what we decide to accept into awareness.

Right now I am delighted by the possibilities.  Am I struggling to find the right words, or am I writing with ease the thoughts that come from my heart?  This moment is an incredible gift in choosing my experience, and I send the vibration of that choice outward into ongoing creation.  How much importance and immediacy will I place on my awareness that my office is messy, and needs dusting?  There is no judgment here, for me just a decision about whether to deal with that now, or not.  Is needing to get ready for work soon an interruption in my enjoyment of the peace and warmth of the morning, or a valued opportunity for learning and growth, hearing the wonderful stories of my fellow travelers, and making my own contribution in the world?  In each moment there is the potential for any and all possibilities, but what I focus on dictates my experience.  It also creates the habit by which I begin to experience similar situations in the future.

Life is a struggle when in our awareness we are always responding to unwelcome situations that are thrust upon us to deal with.  When we choose to create our own experience instead of respond to the world according to a programmed set of expectations, it is so much easier to live in gratitude, enthusiasm, and ease.

So work awaits!  I will take the warmth of the sun, and the peace, with me through my day.  I will hold it in my awareness as I teach, and learn, and enjoy hearing the stories of the people I meet today.  And I will thank God for the ability to find the right words to gracefully convey the truth that I hold in my heart.

Today is the day that the Lord has made; rejoice and be glad in it!

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Living Your Bliss

Our dear Reverend Ken at Unity recently quoted Joseph Campbell as saying that the purpose of life is to live your bliss.  I do love that idea, that all we need do is decide what brings us the most joy, and allow those to be the most important things in our lives! This prompted me to consider bliss as the main purpose in life, and also to learn a little more about Joseph Campbell's philosophy.  I really enjoyed what I read, and have included some of his quotes here.  They reminded me of my son, Eric, so I dedicate this post to him.

It has occurred to me many times on my personal journey that the main reason we're here is to be happy.  I believe that we are meant to glorify as grandly as possible in our countless different ways the God that lives in and through each of us.  Moving through our periods of doubt and forgetting is part of the process of finding, and living our truth.  According to Campbell, "Where you stumble and fall, there you will find gold."

Campbell's ideas validate the incomparable gift of our being.  He said, "The priviledge of a lifetime is being who you are."  How well said!  It's so easy to get wrapped up in doing, that we don't delight in our awareness of being.  At the end of my days, what I did won't be nearly as important as how present I was in experiencing all of the moments of my life.

His idea that we create meaning through our experience was simply and rather bluntly put:  "Life has no meaning.  Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life.  It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer."  What is the meaning of life?  To simply be.  That is miracle enough.

I also appreciated reading his thoughts on our path in life.  "If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path.  Your own path you make with every step you take.  That's why it's your path."  Also, "If the path before you is clear, you're probably on someone else's."  This for me emphasized the importance of living in the present moment.  Try as we might to nail things down into some manageable and predictable future, plans change as priorities shift.  We are constantly evolving, in the midst of creating who we are, and who we want to be.  Life happens, when we're busy making other plans.

Campbell had some wonderful ideas about our experience of challenge, and even though he died in 1987 his thoughts resonate today:  "We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us.  The labyrinth is thoroughly known.  We have only to follow the thread of the heroes' path.  And where we thought to find an abomination, we shall find God.  And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves.  And where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our existence.  And where we thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world." 

The heroes' path, then, is having the courage to do what brings us joy, and not make any excuses for it.  It is choosing to seek the gift inherent in all circumstances.  It is taking ample time to revel in the glory of being alive, here and now in this small segment of eternity. 

Living our bliss is the heroes' path. I am grateful to have stumbled upon these wise words.

May you live your bliss, and may this tool be a blessing. . .

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Getting Unstuck

Sometimes my old, habitual thought patterns hit me like a ton of bricks and take my breath away.  I intend to let them go; I even believe I have moved past them, only to have them jump out of the shadows when I least expect it.  I'm not talking about the small stuff.  I'm talking about those really huge fears that our intellect tells us can't possibly be true, but in that deeper, unconscious part of us where a seed of doubt has been planted, roots struggle to take hold.  It is that place of "but what if" all that I know in my heart is true about existence really isn't?  My knowing, and spiritual practice, usually keep this voice in perspective, but then some event suddenly triggers old, fearful thinking, and I am lost in it. 

The Berkeley Psychic Institute calls these "core pictures," the ideas we've accepted from outside of us that take us farthest from our truth, and seem the hardest to gain seniority over.  I know that these stuck places are what make us human, and provide moments of immeasurable grace when we re-claim the truth.  But when I'm in the middle of it, I'm just stuck.  And it makes me wonder, what do we do when we're in the middle of a big fat lie, but it really feels like the truth?  In that moment, what can we do to remember?

When I am stuck in a core picture, my first instinct is to fight it.  In an effort to not be uncomfortable, I try to convince myself that I am not stuck, and I end up making excuses, or competing, or trying to control the outcome.  Admitting to myself that I am stuck, in pain or in fear, is the most important part of getting unstuck.  It is a way to see the light in the darkness.  Once I acknowledge that I am lost, healing pours to me from countless sources, an unexpected hug, remembering to use a certain tool, or to slow down and be in tune with that my body needs in the moment. 

It is important in those moments to stop in order to let my answer come to me.  That means acknowledging that I am hurting and afraid, and that is not always easy to do.  But trying to override it doesn't help; what we try to avoid tends to pursue us with greater vigor.  As God said, through Neale Walsh in Conversations With God, "You can't hear my truth until you stop trying to tell me yours."

What I can do now, in my grace-filled moment of remembering, is be grateful that every time I have stopped and faced the monster that was chasing me, I have not been overcome, but held in love, restored to peace, and graced yet again with knowing a truth so sweet that I can't understand how I could ever have doubted it.

I know that I will find myself again in doubt, on my perfect path of forgetting and remembering.   And I give thanks in advance for the gift of getting stuck in darkness, and then finding my way to the light.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Declaring Yourself

When I was studying spiritual hands-on healing and clairvoyance at the Aesclepion Healing Institute, we practiced a technique called declaring yourself.  I was aware that this exercise creates more space to validate our unique expressions of being.  It is in effect a way to claim the space in creation to be our own extraordinary selves.

From that place where we are aware of being all that is, but also aware of being a unique person inhabiting a finite body, we declare ourselves using our names.  For me, it is "I AM, Sherry."  After spending some time quieting your thoughts and bringing your attention within, breathe deeply, and declare yourself to creation as many times as you feel comfortable with.  In this way, we bring our awareness of the vastness of our spirit into our human experience.

Eric Butterworth in The Creative Life explains a similar exercise of declaring our intention for ourselves in ongoing creation.  This exercise focuses on consciously denying our automatic negative thinking about who we are, and aligning with the truth of us, as expressions of all that is.  Habits of negative thinking are never the truth of us.  They come from ideas we've accepted throughout our lives, from various sources, all stemming from fear.  We can recognize our truth, though, because it always contains our highest thought.  When we are aware of a thought that comes from a lesser place, we can choose love, for the thought's source, and for ourselves for our forgetting.  In that moment we consciously create heaven on Earth.

Declaring yourself, from The Creative Life, is as follows:  "Take an inventory of negative or limiting declarations you have claimed for yourself.  You know your own list.  Recognize this is the conscious mind (the intellect) that judges by appearances and is not in tune with the creative flow.  Now turn them around using the words 'I AM.'  Identify yourself by the name of the Lord, I AM:

'I AM Life, vibrating as perfect health in every cell, organ and function of my body.'
'I AM the radiant Light of pure knowing.'
'I AM established in the divine flow of substance.'
'I AM protected.  I live under the shadow of the almighty.'
'I AM Love, and I AM secure in the energy of all true relationships.'

This is your creative genius, which knows its oneness with the Source (Infinite Mind, or God), and the words are powerful -- they are the spoken word of creation."

We always have a choice in the expression of ourselves that we paint onto the canvas of ongoing creation.  What picture of yourself do you want to bestow upon eternity?  Some of my declarations are that I am safe and protected as a blessed child of God, that I am a perfect and beautiful expression of light, and that the power of God the creator expresses in and through me.

Declaring yourself is claiming your best and highest as a being of light created in the image of God.  May your declarations always be worthy of you, and may this tool be a blessing. . .

Thursday, March 11, 2010

God Is, I Am

We are blessed to live in a world filled with such light-filled people.  They have graced my life as amazing teachers, the authors of the many life-changing books I've read, enlightened souls I've encountered through this blog, all of my spiritual brothers and sisters.  I am deeply grateful, and acknowledge the profound joy of our collective being.

I was reminded again yesterday of a favorite author of mine, Eric Butterworth, and a simple and healing tool for focusing the light that is ever present in us.  As he explains in this book "The Creative Life,"  we can affirm and breathe, God Is, I Am. 

"Take a few moments with this breathing exercise:  On the inbreath, speak the words 'God is.'  Hold it . . . then, on the outbreath, affirm, 'I am.'  Hold it.  Repeat this several times.  Get the sense that you are vitally coupled with the energy of God's light.  With this centering in the light, you see with light.  And your seeing actually becomes a "light treatment" of all that you see.  . . .  (You) become synchronized with and in the stream of light that is everywhere present.  Now make a survey of your schedule for the day:  your appointments . . . contacts, projects and relationships.  As you hold them in the light one by one, you give to each one a 'light treatment.'  . . . The whole of Infinite Mind is within you -- and you have access to the wisdom of the ages."

This is good stuff!  When I practice this, I become aware of the light that is always within me and everywhere present.  The texture of everything in my awareness changes as I recognize the perfection in all of it.  I release concerns or considerations that are not my own, and there is no need to struggle over anything.  God is, and I am, in this moment of light.  I am an active participant in creation - an ongoing design of perfection.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

All Is Well!

My husband and I had a sailboat for a few years; we didn't take it out much and never got very good at sailing, but we enjoyed having a little cabin on the water.  I wanted to rename it All Is Well.  He thought we should rename it All is Swell.  He's clever like that!

I believe that some of the best spiritual tools are the simplest ones.  Reminding ourselves that all is well, in the middle of whatever temporary setback is occurring, can help put things back into proper perspective.  Circumstances affect us to the degree that we accept them as truth.  We are infinitely powerful in creating any outcome we choose, by what we believe.  If we remembered that, what a different world it would be!  I think our dear Reverend Ken at Unity illustrates this beautifully when he says that yes, there is a recession, but I choose not to participate!  He is affirming that all is well in his world, specifically with his financial resources.  I love the affirmation, "The light of God surrounds us, the love of God enfolds us, the power of God protects us, and the presence of God watches over us.  Wherever we are, God is, and all is well."

I had a conversation with my daughter recently and we were talking about the health of the planet, global warming, and issues with availability and safety of the food supply.  At first glance, these and so many other topics in our world seem almost insurmountable.  At times we can believe it is too late to turn things around.  It is never too late.  We can turn things around in an inkling, with a conscious intention that all is well.  Fear has no real power over us, except to the degree that we decide it is warranted.  My part in our conversation was to remind myself, and her, that things do appear in many ways to be heading in a direction we can't turn back from, but as limitless creators made in God's image, we have within us every answer we need.

I acknowledged that day that my perspective probably sounds like I am a pollyanna.  I choose very consciously to be just that!  To change this world, we have to believe that there are answers and resources available to us that we haven't even considered yet, and that all we need is provided to us by simply asking, and believing that it will come to pass.  We hear this, and want to believe it, but often can't.  Ask, and we are answered.  Knock, and all is opened to us.

In the face of our current challenging circumstances, I can imagine perfection unfolding and it is done.  The destination is never in question, but how we arrive is our playground.  Maybe today I'll sail, on a boat named All Is Well.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Letting the Day Come to You

I am sure there are people in the world who live in constant awareness of divine order.  I am not one of them!  As I'm sure you've noticed in my writing, I often forget.  I get caught up in worrying about people, or anxious about how things will turn out.  Thankfully I get back to remembering that I have a choice about the reality I create through my thinking.   I write and teach to reaffirm this for myself.

This morning, I found myself swept up into my most common fear du jour, that I don't have enough time to do it all.  Oh, how enticing this false belief is!  When I'm not aware of myself beginning to slide down that slippery slope, before I realize what's hit me I am caught up in all kinds of negative thinking.  I get very focused on all that needs to get done, instead of just enjoying my moments.

One real benefit of life experience is that we are able to notice when we end up in places that we've been before.  Our stuck places are more familiar, and we gain more ability to navigate them.  We can acknowledge that the thoughts we are having are habitual, but not reality.  

I noticed this morning that the to-do list in my head was taking way too much energy.  I had the whole beautiful Sunday in front of me, and I was spinning about things like grocery shopping and laundry and writing bills.  The funny thing was, the list in my head wasn't just of chores; I was also worrying about how to fit in my get-to-do things like working on my stained glass, meditating, walking, writing, all of the things I do to nurture my spirit.  The programming to get it all done can cause even the nurturing things I do for myself to start to feel like too much to accomplish.

Thankfully, I remembered to let the day come to me, instead of the other way around.  I decided to stop grasping the possibilities for this day and controlling them, and stand still, and see what happens.  I decided to just stop.  Stopping is a great spiritual tool, and I'll write more about it in another blog.  It is a small leap of faith to turn my attention away from the voice that warns that the sky will fall if everything doesn't get done.  It did try to advise me about the dire consequences of starting my week with piles of folded laundry on the living room sofa!  The voices of fear and lack always seem so much bigger in the moment.  But I persevered.  My commitment for today was to just see what the day brought.

What my day brought to me was peace, and alot of color.  I immediately noticed the vibrant spring green in my backyard, and the joy that comes from remembering that all I ever have to do is be.  That happens often; when I get back into present time the world is much more brightly colored.  It is not the world, but I who has changed.  When I affirm that things will happen in divine order, it is so.  My day was not really different from what it would have been had I struggled with the to-do list in my head, but it was much more gentle.  I really enjoyed the message at Unity this morning.  The grocery shopping got done, and that was colorful, too, not only the people I watched, but also the whole isle full of hokey pinatas that I don't think I've ever noticed before.  My day was blessed with so many delightful details and experiences that I miss when my thoughts are out in the future, or back in the past.

How the rest of today unfolds is left to be seen.  Tomorrow at work I plan to keep myself squarely in the present moment, by letting the day come to me, and I will sit back and enjoy the show.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Friday, March 5, 2010

Raising the Veil

There is a song by this title that we sing at Unity; it is one of my favorites . . . "I'm raising the veil, between me and my God, no separation, no distance at all; God is right here in my heart, I'm raising the veil."  I believe that within each of us is a deep yearning to know ourselves and each other as the magnificent children of light that we are.  Even when we are lost in forgetting, even when we are identifying very strongly with that which is not the highest we or the world have to offer, that need still burns. 

Our dreams of lack, the veil of forgetting who we are, create the perfect stage for recognizing what is not true of us.  In that sense all that comes to us is an answer to a prayer.  I love the idea of carrying God in my heart; God expresses through me when my soul is having a dark night, and when I know the light of her presence living as me.  Without darkness, we couldn't know light, and so both the veil, and its lifting, are answers to a prayer.

We can choose to experience that veil as an almost physical thing.  It is solid in its ability to separate us from our totality, but also very sheer fabric, easily pushed aside by changing our thinking.  I have viewed situations in this way before, where an instance of fear or pain is playing out on a small stage, and at its edge a curtain hides a much bigger, brighter creation.  The drama occurring on the small stage has immense value as an integral part of the sacred production unfolding.

We are meant to get caught up in believing that the drama developing on the small stage is our life, and defines who we are.  But we are not our struggles; we are pure spirit, able to step back and see ourselves as experiencing something, but at the same time acknowledging that the experience is not who we are.  Raising the veil and stepping out onto the grander stage of living as an unlimited creator made in God's image is a brave act.  When we stand up and claim that truth about ourselves and others, in their fear and forgetting many will say no, you are not.  We stand anyway.

My husband and I have a print on our living room wall that some may have seen; it is entitled "Fra Giovanni - Letter to a Friend - 1513."  It says, in part, ". . . The gloom of the world is but a shadow.  Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy.  TAKE JOY!  Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty . . . that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.  Courage to claim it, that is all!"

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Focused Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is the foundation of many relaxation techniques and some forms of meditation.  It is an important part of the practice of mindfulness, and of quieting the mind.  It helps bring our attention back from what we're encountering in the world, to ourselves.  There are many types of deep breathing, and all are helpful.  Deep breathing techniques are very simple to do, and over time and with practice can help us get more in touch with our inner voice, and our own truth.  The hardest part of this is making a commitment to regular practice.

The technique that I teach to patients at work is called focused deep breathing.  In class, people usually practice this technique for about 5 minutes, and almost always report feeling more calm and centered in that short amount of time.  It's a good idea to begin in a quiet place where you can sit for a few minutes with your eyes closed.  Closing our eyes helps us reduce distraction and bring our attention within. 

Begin by noticing whatever you notice outside of yourself; outside of your own space, so to speak.  This could be any number of things, voices of people nearby, the hum of the refrigerator, temperature, anything that is not you.  This is the place where our attention is focused most of the time, on things outside of ourselves.  That isn't a problem, because we are in the world and dealing with things.  But we also need an amount of time when we are "off", not attending to the details of living but being aware of our inner world.

Gently begin to shift your attention to become aware of what you notice on the inside.  You may notice your heart beating, your chest rising and falling with your breathing, or the weight of yourself in the chair.  This is the place where we will keep our attention, as much as possible, during deep breathing.  Everything else will wait.

Notice your breathing, whether it is fast or slow, or shallow or deep.  Allow yourself to begin to breathe a little more deeply, but comfortably; there is no need to force it.  As you begin to center yourself in your deep, comfortable breathing, remind yourself that right now, all I have to do is breathe.

During this time your mind will wander, because our minds like to be busy.  When you notice that your thoughts have drifted away, gently bring them back to your breathing, without judgement.  Spend as many minutes as you'd like being centered in your breathing.  When you are ready, gently open your eyes.

I had a woman in class yesterday who was struck by the idea that all I have to do is breathe.  She said that the realization that she could actually live like that, even for a few minutes at a time, changed her world.  What I saw was that it helped her realize that she has a choice about how she will experience her moments.   She created a much bigger space to be present in creating her world.

I sometimes use a deep breathing technique before I begin my meditation or other spiritual practice.  It is a simple but very powerful way to connect with our truth.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Conversations With God

God speaks to my husband through song lyrics, but he has to work a bit for it.  It has become an almost daily occurrence.  He doesn't remember song lyrics, but he remembers the tunes of songs.  I, on the other hand, remember lyrics.  Not so much the tune, which is most likely why I don't sing, at least in public.  Well, only in the car, or around people who I know will love me anyway. . .

This morning, my husband came in to the bedroom, asking me what this song was that had come in to his head during his meditation.  He was humming a tune and trying to throw in a few words.  It's become a funny exercise in the morning, listening to him humming and trying to get the song.  We usually figure it out, and he is always delighted when I tell him the lyrics.  They always have some type of encouraging message for him.  He remembers them through the day, and has started recording them in his journal.

God communicates to us in many different ways.  Neale Walsh in Conversations with God has transcribed his own conversations with God on the subject of communication, and many other topics.  In the book, God says that he talks to everyone, all the time.  The question is not to whom he talks, but who listens.  This is great stuff!  He says that the most common form of communication is through feeling.  Feeling is the language of the soul.  I so much agree.  Through our feelings the body hears our spirit.

God also communicates through thought, often through images and pictures.  Experience is the next level of communication.  Finally, when feelings, thoughts and experience fail, God says in Walsh's book that he uses words.  Words are the least effective means of communication, because they are often misunderstood. They are noises that stand for feelings, thoughts and experience.

I have read Conversations With God more than once, and love the message.  Remembering that we can so easily hear God's voice is an immeasurably wonderful gift.

So how do we know if what we are feeling, thinking, experiencing or hearing is from God?  In the book, God makes the distinction clear:  "Mine is always your highest thought, your clearest word, your grandest feeling.  Anything less is from a different source.  The highest thought is always that thought which contains joy.  That clearest words are those words which contain truth.  The grandest feeling is that of love."

To remember this always: that in the midst of the worst life can dish out, I can trust my joyous thoughts; that is where the truth lies.  That I can always speak the truth as I know it, and it will serve the highest good.  And that I should always express my love openly, even when, especially when, it seems the most difficult to do.

To hear, we must first become silent.  We need to quiet, as best we can, our reactions, and wait for that which brings awareness of truth, joy and love.  Lately, as I ask a question of God, and I wait and listen, it feels almost as if I am listening to the air around me.  But I know it is much more than that.  I am listening for my answer in the quiet space that contains my immediate surroundings but also all that was ever created.  In the space between my thoughts, I listen for the voice of joy.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Monday, March 1, 2010

Forgetting and Remembering

I woke up this morning feeling out of sorts after a conversation I had with a loved one last night.  She has an ongoing situation within her family that she is having a very hard time navigating.  There is nothing I can do but listen, and it makes me sad to hear how negatively she is being affected by it. 

As I often do when I am having difficulty seeing my way out of troubled thinking, I decided to write a letter to God.  In that letter, I explained to God (as if she didn't already know!) that it is difficult for me to stay centered in my knowing that all is for good, especially when around me is so much fear.  I asked how I remember the truth in the face of job uncertainties in my own family, the pain and struggle that so many of my dear ones are experiencing, the loss of so many lives in natural disasters and other causes.  How do I remember, in the midst of it, that it all serves a divine purpose?

God responded simply and eloquently, and the words washed away my forgetting and brought me peace.  He reminded me that my path is to see the lie within the fear.  The situations in this life make up a glorious but very brief part of eternity, and there is a much bigger process unfolding in the issues that people are facing.  In the middle of immense suffering, they are safe.  I was reminded that when I can appreciate the confusion and pain and fear as a very necessary part of our path to the truth, that is seeing light in the darkness.  I need to be grateful for the challenges that my loves ones and all people experience; it is through our humanness that we get to chose, over and over again throughout eternity, how to express our inner light.

The act of turning my attention from my loud, fearful thoughts to the quieter voice of God reconnected me to my truth, and I was healed.  I was able to relax and breathe easier.  I am so grateful for that small but ever-present voice that is the light in the darkness. 

Humanity is going through a difficult but important time.  All of us are experiencing and watching others experience incredible trials.  The process of human evolution is accelerating, and that change by necessity creates new levels of chaos.  But in those challenges is our opportunity to choose, and choose again, the path that we know in our hearts is there, to the best and highest in all of us.  We are all longing to know ourselves, individually and collectively, in our true splendor.

We can't let temporary conditions convince us that it is too late; eternity is much larger than that.  We are part of the creative consciousness that imagined every good thing you have ever seen or heard of in this world.  The consciousness that created every life-saving medication, every language, every culture, the technology that connects us all, all acts of beauty and works of art, we are created from.  It lives in and expresses as each of us.  All we need do is remember, and choose that truth, for ourselves and our world.

This morning I stopped to listen to the gentle truth within me, and remembered, again.  I acknowledged in my loved one her perfection, and her power as part of divine creative consciousness, moving without error to the light.

May this tool be a blessing. . .