Friday, April 30, 2010

Saying Yes

Saying yes is that magical state where we accept what is happening in any given moment without resistance.  Saying yes to the present moment is an even more vitalizing tool than acceptance, which is a very powerful tool in and of itself.  But saying yes can elevate our experience from acceptance to enthusiasm.

It is inherent in the dualistic nature of our existence that in our minds we label our experiences as good or bad, or the people we encounter as right or wrong; our thinking tends to be very black and white.  This is part of divine intelligence at work, and serves us in our coming to know ourselves.  But we tend to oppose the "bad" things, and the "wrong" things, and that opposition shuts down the joy of just being here, alive in this moment and open to all that is good and right.

Work has been very busy lately.  Yesterday I counseled 15 patients, which is alot for one day.  By yesterday afternoon I was starting to feel like "enough, already."  When I get into that kind of resistance, I'm just trying to get through, and not doing my best for myself or the patients.  I'm definitely not enjoying my moments.

By God's grace I remembered to change my mind, and say yes.  Yes, I am here in this moment.  Yes, I'm doing my best, and that is good enough.  Yes, this job that I have loved for many years makes me crazy sometimes.  Yes, I am an ongoing contradiction of wants and fears and perfect knowing and peace.  And yes, it is all here for me to express myself within.

I felt my body take a deep breath, expressing its own perfect knowing.  And in that second I smiled, as I was filled with gratitude for all of it.  I am repeatedly impressed by how instantaneously and completely changing my mind changes my experience.  Changing my mind is a prayer answered.

The best part is that I finished my work day feeling alot of enthusiasm about having the opportunity to be doing what I love, interacting with interesting people, and making a difference in my own way.  It really is amazing what happens when I stop fighting what is.

I love how Eckhart Tolle puts it in his book, Stillness Speaks.  "How often each day, if you were to verbalize your inner reality at that moment, would you have to say, 'I don't want to be where I am'? What does it feel like when you don't want to be where you are -- the traffic jam, your place of work, the airport lounge, the people you are with? . . . Acceptance of the unacceptable is the greatest source of grace in this world."

We can't change what comes to us; people will do what they do and situations will come up as they must.  That really doesn't have anything to do with us.  But we can bring ourselves fully to where we are, and know that within everything is a seed of grace.

Here's to being here, and all that comes with it:  yes, yes, a thousand times yes!

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Monday, April 26, 2010

Setting the Body's Energy

Everything we experience in this world is vibration.  Our thoughts and words, our interactions with others, and the interactions between groups of people all produce a certain vibration.  Our bodies, too, experience vibrations of energy, and are very sensitive to the energy happening around us.

An example would be answering the phone, and after hanging up noticing that you feel very different than you did before the conversation.  You may feel down and tired, or you may feel energized and uplifted, depending on the energy of the conversation, and of the person you were speaking with.

There are many tools we can use to influence the energy we experience within our bodies.  All begin with first choosing what you want to create, in your present experience.  It's not difficult to do in practice; probably the hardest part is remembering that we can choose how we want to experience our moments.

The other day I wanted to change the energy I was experiencing, to a higher level.  I wanted my body to match the vibration of my highest good.  At the Berkeley Psychic Institute, they sometimes use a technique called "bringing yourself up to gold."  Gold is often seen as the color, or vibration, of God, or truth, or our highest.  It is the color of clarity.  So I decided to use that tool to set the energy in my body.

A great thing about BPI is that they really focus on keeping spiritual growth like being in kindergarten, so many of the techniques are simple, and profoundly powerful in their simplicity.

The other day I practiced it in this silly way, in the energy of kindergarten:
1. Get comfortable and close your eyes
2. Breathe deeply and focus on yourself
3. Affirm to yourself that the color gold embodies the vibration of your highest good
4. In your imagination, see the color of one cell in your body (I used the tip of my nose) change to gold
5. Watch as the adjacent cells in your body match the gold one, and the gold vibration of your highest good spreads from cell to cell down and through your entire body
6. Feel yourself as gold, and expressing the truth of your highest good

You can use this technique to bring into your body any specific energy you'd like, such as peace, or enthusiasm or self-acceptance.

If you choose to try this, remember that it works best when we don't try too hard, so just have fun with it.  Our intention to have it be so is enough.  As we watch this manifest in our mind's eye, we enhance the strength of bringing it forward as our truth.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Don't Take Anything Personally

The second agreement in Don Miguel Ruiz' book, The Four Agreements, which I introduced in a post a few weeks ago, is to never take things personally.  I found the ideas in this book to be simple, and I can very much see the value in them.  None of them are easy to maintain, though.

It is important to remember that what people do really has nothing to do with us.  People come in to their encounters with others with a combination of assumptions, expectations and beliefs about the world that are theirs alone.  Each of us interacts with the world and with each other based on the reality that we see, and for each of us it is different.  That each of us holds a unique perspective is obvious, but I think it is sometimes easy to forget when we don't understand another's motivations.   It's pretty natural to make assumptions based on what we hold true, but that may not be true for the other person at all.

In his book, Ruiz says that, "Nothing other people do is because of you.  It is because of themselves.  All people live in their own dream, in their own mind. . . Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you.  What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds.  Their point of view comes from all the programming they received during (their life)."  I can imagine how much misunderstanding could be avoided if people could make this simple, but challenging, agreement with themselves.

He goes on to explain that it is best to not take personally even positive things that people say or do, because those are really not about us, either.  "Whatever people do, feel, think, or say, don't take it personally.  If they tell you how wonderful you are, they are not saying that because of you.  You know you are wonderful."

This really is powerful stuff, couched in simple language.  For me, it is another way to hear my own truth, and create my own outcome as I allow others to create theirs.

Finally, Ruiz says that, "As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won't need to place your trust in what others do or say.  You will only need to trust yourself and make responsible choices.  You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you."

For me, this is one of the most important truths.  As unique expressions of God, each of us lives and breathes intelligence beyond measure.  Each of us is choosing our steps along our own perfect path to remembering fully who we are.  They are our steps.  People won't always agree or understand, just as we won't always understand others.  But there is a sacred place for all of life, in its infinitely varied expression, and for its own sake alone.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Thursday, April 22, 2010


My husband tells me that I am impatient. I don’t know where he gets that idea from. (I’m kidding about that.) When I get something in my head I can be pretty single-minded until I’ve made it happen. That ability to focus has served me well many times, but it can also limit my ability to create good things if I get too intent on one single outcome.

The more years I spend on this earth, the more I realize the importance of letting go, to allow space for the as-yet-unseen possibilities that are part of perfect and divine order to come in to my life. I appreciate the value of being single-minded in envisioning that my life is created for good, but I can be more flexible about just how that good is going to come about. Surely I have some ideas about how I’d like to experience my life, but the quiet voice of the God within me whispers of truths that I just don’t hear when I’m heaven-bent on trying to control my path.

I love the writings of Jon Kabat-Zinn on mindfulness. In his book, “Wherever You Go There You Are,” in a chapter on patience, he says that “patience is remembering that things unfold in their own time. The seasons cannot be hurried. Spring comes, the grass grows by itself.” The seasons of our lives will also come, and we will grow toward the light as we must.

Ultimately, I know that there is no need to hurry things. One of my favorite sayings to remember is that the outcome is never in question. We are going to end up where we need to be. I have found that whether I choose to spend my time striving and wanting, or in deciding and then letting it be, the outcome is the same either way. How I feel getting there is very different, though. I’d rather let the “getting there” be done in an energy of peace, and in openness to the miracles that spirit can create when I get out of my own way.

I came upon Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, which was quoted in Kabat-Zinn’s book:

“I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content.
One world is aware, and by far the largest to me, and that
is myself,
And whether I come to my own today or in ten thousand
or ten million years,
I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness,
I can wait.”

Eternity is a very long time.  The divine intelligence that lives as us calls forth our best, at the perfect time and in the perfect way.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Seeing Ourselves in Others

I believe that many problems between people could be averted in remembering that others mirror back to us those qualities that we ourselves possess.  We are not able to recognize a favorable attribute in another if it is something that we do not already own ourselves.  This can be a very empowering realization - acknowledging that those people who seem to manifest great things with ease are part of the same creative consciousness that we all embody.

Anything that we admire in another lives in us as well, whether it be the ability to create happiness, peace, joy, healthy relationships, a good job or a shiny new car!  Not only the people we encounter every day, but Jesus, the Buddha, the Dalai Lama, and all of the greatest teachers of the world share with us the very same intelligence that brought our collective existence into being. 

That we possess the same attributes we witness in others also helps us locate the parts of ourselves that are still in darkness.  I remember a teacher at the Aesclepion Healing Institute saying that the people we have the most difficulty with are our biggest teachers.  That was really helpful information at the time, because it caused me to begin searching in my own life to see if it was true.  And I found that it was. 

It’s difficult to accept, in the middle of being very upset with someone else, that they are here to help me learn something valuable about myself that I may have been avoiding.    But if I choose to be completely honest with myself, I realize that what I resist in others is usually something I am resisting acknowledging in myself.  

It might be that we have been needing to practice compassion or forgiveness, or to be less reactive.  Maybe we exhibit the same behavior but haven’t been aware of it.  Or it might be that we’ve been involved in a relationship that we’ve needed to walk away from, but out of fear have stayed longer than is healthy.  

In the perfect and divine order in which we exist, everyone is our teacher - those we might not see as worthy of that honor, and also those who seem so far beyond us that we could never hope to be where they are.  There is no need to hold on to judgment, or envy, because all that we see in others we already possess.  Instead, we are provided with the opportunity to choose what we want to do with the information.

I am always grateful for the teachers who come into my life in countless different ways.  Some I have welcomed, and some have presented lessons that left me kicking and screaming.  But all continue to help me choose how to be the best and highest me.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Embracing This Life

We embrace this amazing existence not by doing more, but by focusing on what is truly important.  We are probably more similar than dissimilar in the things that are most dear to us.  We all want to be happy, and to have loving relationships that are mutually supportive and nurturing.  We want to have strong, healthy bodies that can waltz (or boogie) us through our life's dance.  And we all want to be seen, and known, openly and honestly, for all that it has meant to be our unique selves.  I believe this is true for most of us. 

Thank Goodness for the challenges, for they help us find those rather elusive answers about what has the greatest value to us.  It's pretty easy to get caught up in the demands of the day, and end up spending long amounts of time separate from what is meaningful.  At times, I remember to ask myself, "At the end of my life, is this what I will remember?"  There are things that fall quickly down the priority list when I view them in this way.  Ultimately, a life spent involved in what provides meaning infuses our lives with joy.

It is said that happiness is not in having what we want, but in wanting what we have.  It's tempting to focus on what is still lacking.  But the life of our dreams comes from finding the good that is always present, standing right there next to the distractions and concerns.  We embrace our lives, and our good, when we recognize the gifts we've been given.  How sweet life is when we cultivate a joyous dance of unfettered gratitude, not only in our thoughts, but in our prayers and in our hearts as well.

So today, I embrace my life with an amount of gratitude that has no limits.  I am here, in this healthy, strong body that is infinitely capable of walking me though all of the adventures of my making; in the middle of a glorious day filled with unlimited possibilities for me to experience wonders of all sizes, shapes and colors; and for as long as I am here this is my daily legacy, as a child of God.  Today is the day that my heart beats, and I choose how I want to show up. Today I am.

May you embrace the gift of living another precious day as your unique and perfect self, and may this tool be a blessing. . .

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The "I" Who Observes Me

I remember my husband telling me, years ago in a discussion of spiritual things, that he knew spirit existed within him because there was a part of him that was not what he experienced, but stood outside of his experience, watching it.  He explained to me that the part of him that observed as he moved through all of his thoughts, feelings and activities was the eternal part of him.  As he said, there's a me noticing me.

A fellow spiritual blogger, Inspiration Austin, wrote of this recently in his blog, Inspiration for Spiritual Journeys, in a post called Learning to Step Out of Your Skin.  In his post, he discusses the difference between the "I" that we normally identify with, and the I which is the observer of our experience.  I was grateful for that post, as yet another example of the order and serendipity in which truth expresses itself:  answers often come in various ways, from different sources or in different words, and at just the time when that particular answer is precisely what I'd been seeking.

Surely, we are able to live in awareness of being spiritual beings having a human experience.  We can know ourselves as eternal spirit expressing as our own unique personalities.  After listening to a guest speaker at Unity a few weeks ago, I discovered how truly helpful and precious this awareness can be for me.

In his message called "I Believe in You," he showed a fun but very profound video clip from the 1967 film version of the musical "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."  Robert Morse is singing "I Believe in You" (click here for the YouTube video) to himself in the mirror as other men around him sing of wanting to stop him.  It is a silly but poignant example of how life can be sometimes, when in the moment everything seems to be conspiring to limit how we want to express ourselves, and we are doing our best to stand tall in the truth that we are larger than those limits.

As we smiled watching that video of a grown man singing in the mirror, tipping his hat to himself and in a great state of self-appreciation, I noticed what a strong message it gave to those of us watching.  What a tremendous gift, that part of ourselves who not only observes, but can speak the truth to us when no other voice in the world is, or can.

The eternal "I" who sees us always is a dear friend who, as the saying goes, "knows the song in our heart and can sing it back to us when we've forgotten the words."  I am getting to know the "I" that observes me as a gentle and loving parent, noticing my emotions and reactions and providing me with unconditional love and guidance as I learn more about navigating my time on this earth in love, peace, and gratitude.  It is the voice of God within me.

I tried it, speaking the words "I believe in you" to myself in the mirror.  It was silly but also fun, and uplifting.  I've remembered since then to allow the voice of I, the eternal observer,  to inspire me and heal me by speaking the words of the song in my heart.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


We all want peace, between nations, between strangers, and in our close relationships.  We want peace within ourselves especially.  It often seems that if only circumstances outside of us were different, our lives would finally be different, and we could get some peace.  If my family members were all doing well, if the economy weren't such a mess, if there were different politicians running the country, if my kids were grown and out of the house, if my boss (or my spouse) weren't such a lunk-head, if drivers weren't so rude (the list is endless), then I might find a tranquil moment in my life.

But the world we experience is an ongoing reflection of what is taking place within us.  The amount of peace that we are able to find is directly proportional to the nature of our thoughts and beliefs.  Awareness of this truth really can set us free.

If I accept that all I see in the world is mirroring my beliefs, then I can challenge my thoughts and change  my experience.  I exercise my power in designing my reality when I choose to live in peace.  Every less-than-peaceful person or situation I encounter is a perfect teacher, once I get past the resisting and fussing over how the world is not behaving according to my expectations, for me to choose how I want to show up.  At some point, hopefully more sooner than later, I remember to stop and ask myself, have I done or am I doing something similar?  And I try to work on that.  Our interactions with others provide a mirror in which to see the still-learning places in ourselves that we would not necessarily see otherwise.

It is said, as within, so without.  I'm learning that it's never about the other person.   It's always about me, and what I have yet to remember about choosing my best and highest expression of the God within.  I try to be grateful for the events in my life that seem to rob me of my peace, because they provide such perfect opportunities for me to remember that I can at any moment choose the peace that is the truth of me.  I may have been waiting many years, or many lifetimes, to come to just this moment, where I can stand in opposition to another's choices or expression, and then choose instead to forgive us both.  Even when we are expressing less than our highest, we are all heroes.  Our armor may at times get dented and rusty, but it never stops reflecting the light.

Peace stems from the decisions that I make every day about how I label my experiences in the world.  As those decisions nurture peace in my heart, they promote peace in the world as well.  Let there be peace in my heart.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spirituality and Health

I was asked by Catherine at Continuum Wellness to do a guest post on spirituality and health for her site, which covers many great topics on natural and alternative healing methods. Catherine is a homeopath and holistic coach with alot of very useful information to share.  You can read the post, and check out the Continuum Wellness website, at the following link:   guest post on Continuum Wellness.

I've wondered a few times if and when I'll run out of tools to share.  I have many rolling around in my head, and jotted down in my notebook, and life presents more ideas on an almost daily basis.  So it's not going to happen for awhile.  Thank you all for reading, and for your uplifting comments, and for sharing yourselves.  We are all a part of creating heaven on earth.


Monday, April 12, 2010


Dancing as a spiritual tool?  You betcha!  My husband and I have taken swing dance lessons on and off for years.  We're not very good, but it's one of the things we do that brings a huge amount of joy.  Something absolutely, positively magical happens when I start to dance.  It doesn't matter what's been going on previously in the day.  When my husband starts spinning me around, and I'm trying to anticipate where he's going to lead me next, before I know it I'm grinning ear-to-ear like a nut!  It's exhilarating, and fun, and well, funny!  It's not uncommon for us to laugh out loud when we're dancing.  Not very dignified, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.  We're starting swing lessons again next month, and I can't wait.

My husband teases me sometimes about unexpectedly breaking into dance.  It's a wonderful way to move my body, and be spontaneous, and express happiness in being alive.  And as much as I love dancing with my husband, I don't always need a partner.  I have been known to turn on some fun music and dance in the car on long trips (seated, of course).  More often than I should probably admit, I've put some funk on the radio driving home after work, and car-danced my way down the freeway (after making an agreement with myself that I'm not going to worry about what the people driving near me think!)  Turning on some music and dancing after I get home from work is a great way to release any stress I'm holding onto.  And dancing my way through a day of housework makes the job a whole lot more fun.

Dancing can be a spiritual tool, because it takes me out of my head and squarely into that delicious space of just enjoying expressing through my physical form.  When I dance, my spirit dances, too!

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Let There Be. . .

My life works best when I step back from all of my trying and worrying, and rest in the truth that it will evolve just as I envision, gently, beautifully and perfectly.

In the graceful, quiet days when everything around me is in peace, I joyfully affirm that divine order is at work in my life and in the world.  In the hectic, questioning days when I’m feeling like I’ll never get it right, my memories of infinite peace and trust in the process seem very far away indeed.  Creating a conscious life feels like a pretty big undertaking, like it should somehow require a great deal of thought, or study, or . . . ., something. 

By this time I’ve learned some tricks and tools for navigating my life’s course with intention.  I’ve practiced meditation for many years, enjoyed creating treasure maps and doing affirmations.  I love all of the many wonderful tools we have for experiencing truth.  They are all great, proactive things in creating a life with purpose. 

But how amazingly powerful that space is where we can allow the God within to express fully through us, where we can simply let there be, and it is done.  In just allowing something, there is no effort, no trying, no need even for being proactive.  Just an acknowledgement that all we need do is choose, and our experience reflects our decision.

There’s an amount of faith and trust needed in creating this way.  When I remember that I don’t need to try at all, but can simply allow whatever I need or want to be, my body calms down.  There is more space for me to be present in my body and in my experience.  I can express more of who I want to be because I’m not struggling against anything. 

It’s a peaceful place, in those moments.  But inevitably I’ll move on in my day, and some other detail will capture my attention, and I’ll forget about whatever I had decided to just allow to be.

It’s all part of the process.  Once I turn it over to the God within, it is done.  It may take some time for me to realize it, but my prayer has been answered.  I just need to have faith in the process.  Situations may arise that cause me to doubt that what I have allowed into being is real, but that is part of the process, too.  Faith really can move mountains. 

Tonight, in my quiet writing space, I choose to let there be perfect expression of the song in my heart.  And it is done.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Being Impeccable With Your Word

Because our words have such tremendous creative power in our lives, it is important to be very conscious about the words that we use.  Just as we need to guard our thoughts, it is even more essential in living the life that we intend to use words that embody the energy we wish to manifest in our lives.  Our words are even more powerful than our thoughts in creating how our moments will unfold.

The words we choose, like our thoughts, are mostly unconscious.  We react to something and speak before we've decided if the words are a true representation of who we want to be.  I know I do.  It's very easy for me to forget to be deliberate about the words I speak.

In his book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz devotes an entire chapter to being impeccable with your word.  It is one of the four agreements.  In it, he says that "Through the word you express your creative power.  It is through the word that you manifest everything."

Literally every word we speak promotes either truth, or fear.  Our statements act to enlighten ourselves and our world, or help hold them in darkness.  Even small, seemingly innocuous statements, like gossip or judging anothers' behavior, have far-reaching effects because they plant seeds of negativity.  Whether from truth or from fear, the opinions, ideas and concepts that we plant grow quickly in the mind's fertile soil.  Ruiz makes the point that our minds become fertile for the type of words that we use.  When we use words to promote positive thoughts, those are the kind that latch on and grow in our minds.  Such is the nature of the spiritual law of attraction, which is always at work.

I found it interesting that impeccable means "without sin."  Ruiz states that "a sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself."  Ultimately, all that we sow in our thoughts and words comes back to us, as the energetic code of that communication forms the reality of our experience.

According to the book, "When you become impeccable with your word, your mind is no longer fertile ground for words that come from (negativity).  Instead, it is fertile for the words that come from love. . .  How much you love yourself and how you feel about yourself are directly proportionate to the quality and integrity of your word.  When you are impeccable with your word, you feel good; you feel happy and at peace."

I am grateful for the reminder!

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Friday, April 9, 2010

Why Not Now?

Every moment that we are alive is a brand new opportunity to create our reality.  I've known that, and I've practiced it as much as I'm able at my present level of awareness.  But I think I'm just beginning to gain the barest understanding of what that really means.  The truth that we are unlimited creators seeking to express the God within is my foundation, giving meaning to all that I see and do in my life.  It provides for me the answer to my most heartfelt what-is-the-meaning-of-life questions.  And while I believe that humanity is on a course of not only discovering this truth, but owning it in the deepest parts of ourselves, it's surreal when I attempt to envision what that truly means.

If I am limited only by my beliefs about what is real or possible, then every single fear that I have is groundless.  Consider that.  If I claim dominion over what I hold to be the truth, then every seeming fault in my personality, all of the things I'm trying to figure out or get right, or the limiting thoughts that keep me from pursuing my wildest dreams, are of my own making and never have to restrict me again.

I'm not sure how a human being releases all of that fear, but why not start now?  I believe that we could change not only our own lives but the whole world, if we all agreed to stop being in fear.  We could even change our health and our longevity with different thinking, because our bodies react at a cellular level to the thoughts that we hold.

I know this is a big step in our evolution, and it likely won't happen tomorrow, but it could, and it is.  As with everything, the growth I see within myself I witness outside of myself as well.  When I notice myself in old, fearful thinking and take just a moment to deny it using any of the tools mentioned in this blog or elsewhere, it's a very simple process, but profound in its results.  When I choose to affirm that all is for good, the sky doesn't fall and life goes on as normal.  But it is nothing less than a miracle moment.  Usually a quiet miracle moment, known consciously only to me, when I am simultaneously my normal self moving on to the next thing, but also reborn.  I'm finding it to be a very gentle space, one that doesn't seem earth-shaking but feels right.  I'm finding that joy is how life is supposed to feel.

All we have is now, to do the things we've always wanted to do, and to know how great we really are.  The universe was created to support us in this process.  Heaven on Earth is there, in remembering that we can pursue our wildest dreams.  Why not now?

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


The divine purpose of having our wondrous physical bodies is to know ourselves as unique expressions of God.  In order to expand into our awareness of the truth of our God nature, we must first experience ourselves as less.  Being human is rife with opportunities to forget who we really are.

Throughout life we face situations that challenge our ability to see ourselves as whole and perfect.  We are always striving to "get it right."  The trick is to remember that it's always right, even when it's all messed up.  In all of our struggling and striving, it helps to remember that it is meant to be this way.  Without knowing doubt we would never have the certainty to grow into our best selves.

I was reminded of this today talking with my son, Eric, who is a very talented 20 year-old musician.  He has been feeling alot of joy in expanding his musical abilities, and feeling confident about his path.  About a month ago, he hit a wall.  A few things happened that shook his confidence.  Instead of  feeling joy in his music, he began to doubt his decision to pursue that course of study.  He couldn't stop the voice in his head that kept telling him he wasn't good enough, and actually found himself playing worse than he had in a long time.

He spoke to my husband and me about it, and I like to think that our gentle reminder that the voice is not the truth, and to just acknowledge it and let it go, helped a little.  I know that he didn't really need any advice.  But in the middle of things like that, it's hard to keep our heads up, let alone know ourselves as anything even close to God-like!

My son told us that everyone hits times in their lives when they don't feel good enough.  He wasn't sure exactly how to restore his shaken confidence, but he knew that he would.  He said he was glad it happened early in his life so that he can get past it, and then next time he'll know that he can.  What wisdom from a very capable young man, recognizing the gift in a very unwelcome situation.

I recently bumped into a prayer on self-acceptance, written by Robert and Janet Ellsworth, which spoke to my heart:
"Help me to admit mistakes without feeling shame, and to recognize that they come to teach me.
Help me to find my own voice, to say what I mean and mean what I say.
Help me to see the good and laugh at myself and my life more.
Help me to discover my gifts and honor the uniqueness of others.
Help me to accept who I am, a beloved and special being in Your eyes.
And above all, help me to remain patient and gentle with myself."

I think Eric did a good job of that!

May we all be gentle with ourselves as we compose our life's melodies, and may this tool be a blessing. . .

Monday, April 5, 2010

Looking For the Good

It's a test of faith, or at least a very big stretch, to embrace the idea that there is a positive way to view everything.  I'm not talking about the more everyday things that we by habit react to.  I'm talking about the huge, life-changing, don't-know-if-I-can-make-it-through-this stuff that we all face at times in our lives.  I am a heartfelt believer that all is for good.  But sometimes, when we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of the big things, it's hard to see how.

In my work as a clinical health educator at a large HMO, I don't teach spiritual ideas because that wouldn't be appropriate.  But it's interesting to me how they slip in, because truth is truth.  Teaching the stress management program is one place where I notice that this happens quite a bit.  I mention in that program how our outlook is shaped by how we label things, and the physiological effects of positive thinking.  I touch on the practice of cognitive restructuring, which is really just a clinical term for becoming more aware of what your automatic thoughts are and choosing to replace negative ones with more productive ones.  And as I've noticed time and time again in classes, choosing to look for the good can work for people who are experiencing an overload of normal daily stressors. 

But what about handling the real crises, such as loss of livelihood, marital separation, or illness or death of a loved one?  Can we somehow find good in that?  In my own life, when I've hit those times, I most definitely have not been able to see anything positive about what was happening.  But looking back, I realize that I was able to accept that I would get through, and some day be able to recognize the gift in the experience.  Maybe even when we can't find the good in the moment, we can look instead for that place of knowing that the best and highest is taking place, even if we can't see how just then.  I got through one very difficult point in my life quite a few years back, with the very frequent prayer, "Let the best happen for all of us."  At the time I didn't know how it could, but it did.

I love the Unity belief that everything that happens to us is an answer to a prayer.  Everything.  All that we call to ourselves is an answered prayer, or will help us release something that keeps us from manifesting a prayer.  In either case, our heart's desire can never be thwarted.  The soul's purpose is to always be moving us to the light.

In the worst of times, loss of a job can mean finding inner resources or outward support that we never dreamed existed.  The separation of a couple can mean an opportunity to recreate a more joyful and healthy relationship, or to move beyond one that no longer serves both people's highest expression.  And love never dies, but changes, and then finds itself again.

In every moment of our lives, the perfection that we embody is working to illuminate our path.  All we need do is trust that it is there for us.  When we look for the good in what we experience, we affirm the limitless creative power of the God within.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Living From the Heart

I wrote some time back in a post called Heart-Focused Breathing about some amazing software I bought for my computer, called Em-wave, made by the Institute of HeartMath. The idea of heart-focused living is very interesting to me, and I've really enjoyed working with the software in my spiritual practice. I'm finding that, as with most things, it's easy to forget to stop and take advantage of this tool, but when I do, it creates alot of peace and grounding in my life.

The idea of it is that the normal changes in our heart rate as we inhale and exhale become more irregular when we are in stress. The Em-wave software uses biofeedback techniques to help people learn to focus their attention on the heart and quiet thoughts, thereby producing regular patterns of heart rate change - a state they call coherence.

It is accomplished by focusing on breathing through the heart, and then holding in mind a positive emotion, such as gratitude or caring. With practice, it gets easier and easier to maintain coherence, and the software lets you know how you're doing. It's an amazing product, really.

I recently became aware of another group doing research into heart-focused living, called the Institute of Noetic Sciences. The word noetic is derived from the Greek nous, for which, according to the institute's website, there is no exact equivalent in English. It refers to "inner knowing," a kind of intuitive consciousness—direct and immediate access to knowledge beyond what is available to our normal senses and the power of reason.

What fascinates me about the work they're doing is the idea that our thoughts and emotions affect the heart's electromagnetic field. The electromagnetic field produced by the heart is the largest in our bodies. This very powerful field can affect not only us but also those around us, and the entire world! I am excited and encouraged by this emerging field of study. Think of it, that as people learn more and more how to manage their thoughts and consciously choose what they hold to be truth, the electromagnetic field that they project into the world affects others! We have known this intuitively and clairvoyantly, that our energy affects people around us. But I really love the idea that science is learning ways to quantify the affect that each individual can have on the world by choosing to hold a positive belief or emotion.

What I'll take away from this new information is to more often place my attention on breathing into and out of my heart, from a place of gratitude, as explained in my earlier post on heart-focused breathing. From my practice on the Em-wave software, I know that this very quickly changes my heart rate pattern, as my focus turns from worry to one of peace and gratitude. And it's exciting to know that as I create peace in my heart, I help create peace in the world.

Click on the video clip above to watch a short video from the Noetic Sciences Institute.

May this tool be a blessing!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Being in the Body

I've heard of people looking for out-of-the-body experiences.  I am seeking as much in-the-body time as I can muster.  Being out of the body is easy; we do it all the time.  Where our thoughts go, so goes our energy, to things outside of us.  I am having an out-of-body experience when I'm sitting at work planning what I'm going to cook for dinner, or when I'm reliving a conversation I had with someone the day before.  There are plenty of wonderful things for us to put our attention on, and we need to do that to be in the world.  But I've found that to really experience my life, to live it in the way that is most appropriate for me, and to find meaning in all I see outside of me, I have to be, as much as possible, in my body.

Being in my body means that my attention is within.  At the Berkeley Psychic Institute they speak of it as having the outside of the aura close to the body.  The energy field expands to encompass all that a person has his or her attention on, and the more that we have our attention on, the more we have to consider, decide about, and possibly be responsible for.  When our energy field encompasses too much, it becomes very difficult to hear our own voice.  We can become scattered, stressed, depressed, or physically ill. 

In addition to helping us hear our own truth, being in the body helps us be present in our lives.  It enhances our experience of the sumptuous feast of this existence.  When I am present in my body my senses are turned up, my own healthy emotions are ebbing and flowing, and I feel more of what it is to be fully human.  I am aware of being me, rather than the effect of everything around me.

Pulling the aura close in around the body reduces the amount of data that we are tuned in to, and allows us to quiet the external in order to focus on the internal.  I often stop and visualize my aura shrinking, as I "pull myself back in." What we visualize, the cells of the body perceive as real, and is made manifest.

Many other tools explained in this blog and elsewhere help us get back into the body.  Deep breathing and meditation techniques work, being in nature, walking, anything that helps return our focus to our own being.  Other possibilities might be taking a bath, enjoying a really good meal or glass of wine, or other things that cause us to relish the experience of having our amazing physical bodies.

I was glad to be in my body a few minutes ago, sitting in my living room as the clouds passed overhead and for the first time today I was washed in sunlight, listening to a jazz recording that has been my favorite since high school.  If I had been attending to anything other than just being, I would have missed that exquisite moment of my life.

When I am in my body, it is a celebration of my spirit's divine creation.  My spirit knows it's home, and I hear the voice of the God of my heart.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Friday, April 2, 2010


I woke up from an interesting dream this morning.  I dreamed that I was with a group of people and we were writing a story together.  It was being recorded on paper, for some reason 14 lines per page.  Someone suggested that the next thing in the story be to forgive.  I didn't feel that forgiving should be written into the story at that point, without any context explaining it being there.  People were talking amongst themselves, and I said something like, "In order to forgive, we need to have had someone do something that was not in our best interest, and then we need to remember that they are worthy of a place in our heart, and then we can create a space to forgive."  Everyone stopped talking and started taking notes, and I woke up.  

I've writtten about forgiveness before.  One of the things this dream reminded me of was to take note of  the quiet truth of my heart, rather than the much louder promptings of my thinking.  Another thing that the dream caused me to remember is that I call people into my life in order to experience forgiving, or anything else.  As with everything, even those situations where people don't have my best interest at heart, are called forth by me, to create the opportunity for me to choose how I want to show up. I could never know myself as forgiving if I'd never had a reason to forgive.  I could never really know peace if I'd never known chaos.  And so it goes.

I also realized that there are layers of forgiving.  I can decide to forgive, and feel like I have, but then suddenly feel hurt or angry over what I thought I'd forgiven.  In order to really release something, I must first look directly at it, be honest with myself about why I am being so affected by it, and feel my feelings about it.  It doesn't help to avoid the very situations I've called to myself in order to grow.

I am struck often by the grace that allows us the ability to choose what expressing ourselves as God actually looks like.  Over and over throughout time, we decide.  Every situation is an opportunity to choose who we are, and who we want to be.  We are gifts to each other in our awakening.

I came away from that dream renewed by the peace that comes from knowing that the best interest of my soul could never be thwarted.  And I am again grateful for the gifts I have been given, in their many and varied packages.

May this tool be a blessing. . .