Challenging Yourself

Do you remember the last time you challenged yourself to do something you’d never done before?

If you answered, “yes”, was it scary, daunting, exciting, or maybe all three?

Often, I find that I like to stay within my comfort zone, that quiet place where I feel safe and warm. But every once in a while, I sense a need to step out of the box I’ve built and try something completely new.

One such opportunity came along while I was reviewing my email. I got an offer through Word Press, which is where my website is hosted, about an intriguing writing contest.

I’ve never entered one and wondered how it would work.

So, I investigated and discovered that it was organized by a woman named Lydia Lukidis and was titled the Fall Writing Frenzy Contest. Those entering would be requested to write a story of 200 words or less based on a photograph. Many choices were offered, and you would have a couple of weeks to complete your entry and then submit.

I scrolled through the photos and was immediately drawn to one provided by Danielle Colucci (for Unsplash). The photo showed a stone alleyway bordered by buildings along both sides, with a hillside in the background. One of the buildings has a porch light on which casts a reddish glow on several stones of the alleyway. It was taken at dusk with a fading blue sky and gray clouds. Although a story started to form immediately, it would not come into focus.

I tried and tried, but nothing would take shape and I found it quite frustrating until I realized I was trying to write it from my head and what drew me to the picture was from my heart.

So, I let go and sat back and waited for my heart to fill in the words. I found I had to walk away, think about other things, and then come back. Once I did, I could lean into writing what my heart wanted to say.

What came to me felt like a true story. It touched me deeply and I wanted to share it with you.

Will The Light Be On (my title)

She knew I had to leave. My family would starve without food. Without me.

I remember the last thing I said to her. I told her that I loved her and would be back soon. And then I kissed her, gently brushing my lips against hers and walked out of the door and her life.

She must have believed that I lied to her, because it’s been three years since I’ve seen her face, heard her voice, held her in my arms.

How could she have known that I was taken, forced into the back of a truck, and made to be another’s servant, working in their fields from before the sun rose until after it fell out of the sky.

They gave me only enough food for one day’s strength. What they did not know was, she was my food. She was my hope. Hope that I would one day see her again, be with her, marry her.

So, one day I ran. I ran so fast and so far, they would never catch me.

And now I am here, turning the corner to her street. If the light is on, I’ll know she still loves me. (end)

One of the things I learned during this creative process is that I cannot discover anything new if I remain standing in one place, locked into doing the same things over and over again.

I know that it takes courage to step into the unknown, but there is so much freedom and joy waiting there for us.

While checking to see if my contest entry was received, I found I have no record of it being sent. At first that really disturbed me, but after I thought about it for a few minutes, I relaxed and noticed that the real value to me was in accepting my own challenge, enjoying the creative process, and loving the resulting story that still warms my heart each time I reread it.

I hope you enjoy the story too.

Good Commands

There seems to be a battle going on inside of me and perhaps this happens to you as well.

It seems to center around the role of my ego, which spends a great deal of time feeling conflicted. On the one hand it wants to expand and grow larger and on the other hand, it wants and needs to protect what it has created.

As it expands, its defensible area requiring protection grows, creating more pressure. In effect, by its very nature, it is making its life (my life) more challenging with each expansion, no matter how small the bite.

It feels like a losing proposition, and I wonder how I will ever gain any sense of peace, if this continues?

I want peace in my life. I want to feel whole and complete and release any need to protect myself from everything around me.

I imagine you may feel the same way and that you too probably want to feel a sense of freedom.

I recognize I need help and I know where I need to go for it.

So, I ask my divine guide, Lia (which stands for Love In Action), a part of god who speaks to me in an ethereal feminine voice, for her counsel.

Her presence warms me immediately. I know she will help me find a clear path, so I begin to calm and slow my breathing.

She tells me it is up to me to make decisions about my way forward.

I want to know more, so she offers me this advice.

“Nothing happens in your life without you choosing it. It is important to remember that ‘choosing’ is a ‘command’ word to your whole being (essence), therefore, as you use it, you must apply it to all parts of you, including and especially, your ego.”

Lia tells me that her use of the word, ‘must’, is not meant as a requirement, but rather is used to note what I ‘must’ do, if I want to experience a certain outcome.

As usual, I need some clarification, so Lia continues, “What I am saying is that, if you believe and desire to feel whole, complete, happy, joyful, or any other feeling, you must ‘command’ (choose) that this belief is your reality.”

She knew I still needed more, and went on, “You do this all the time, as with so many other decisions and it becomes who you are, no longer who you want to be.”

She asked me if this made sense to me.

I responded, “Yes, and it would seem that this is what affirmations do, when they are honest, true and believable commands, from my inner to my outer self.”

“Exactly,” Lia agreed, “as you speak it (a choice which is commanded by you), so it shall be (what you accept into your life and experience in the world).”

“It is within this practice that all things come forth in your life. Without any conscious commands, nothing happens. You remain motionless, which allows all your defaults to appear and guide your direction.”

I began to understand what she was really saying. I am the maker of my life. Because I have so many programs running in the background, my life can run on autopilot.

I have enough experience with this to know it does not create the life I desire, so it is up to me to consciously choose what to command in my life.

This makes me fully responsible for the life I experience and as difficult as that may sound, it is exactly the way I want it to be.

I am grateful for her presence in my life and tell her so.

No Missing Pieces

Do you feel as though you are missing something in your life, that there are pieces of you that you need in order to make your life work?

And perhaps you are wondering how you are ever going to be at peace within yourself?

There are periods in my life where these questions have confused me and circled me and found a home inside of me.

One of these periods happened this morning. But unlike my past, I did something rare and incredibly worthwhile.

I asked for help.

I asked my divine guide, Lia (which stands for Love In Action), a part of god who speaks to me in an ethereal feminine voice.

She told me I was trying too hard, which was no doubt true. It’s what I usually do, especially when I can’t seem to find an answer that fits.

Lia said to me, “A shift that would help you is to think of yourself as ALREADY WHOLE and that nothing you can ever do will make you MORE whole.”

What a stunning statement, if I could find a way to believe it. I imagined the amazing changes that could make in my life.

Already whole. Wow, does that take the pressure off!

I told her that sounded wonderful, but from my current mindset, I asked how could I come to believe it and accept it as my truth?

There was a moment of silence. I knew what this meant. It was time to clear my mind of distractions. I don’t know about you, but I cannot hear anything from the outside, if my inner dialogue is too loud. So, I paused and waited.

Lia felt me slow into stillness and spoke again, “As always, you CHOOSE it as your reality and once chosen, you repeat this (thought/feeling) as your reality. You do this over and over again.”

She waited a moment, then continued, “I know you tend to think there has to be some bigger, more extravagant concept or practice, but there isn’t. It is this simple. Try to remember, the best things in life are all simple.”

Being a slow learner sometimes I wanted to paraphrase what she’d said to me, to ensure I really understood. “So, I CHOOSE to tell myself I am WHOLE already and once I accept this and live this truth, I feel whole, and this changes me?”

A simple one word reply, “Yes.”

“But” I said, “I find this choice difficult to make when I don’t believe it. How can I when there feels like there are missing pieces to me?”

Clearly, I needed reinforcement, which is what I received as Lia spoke again, “Missing pieces are figments, mental mirages, but not the truth. You are seeing/observing the ‘outer’ layer only. It is your ‘inner’ layer that is your truth and where you are whole.”

I questioned, “So, I have to look deeper inside?”

She told me, “Yes” and I asked another question, “But what about my outside?”

Lia allowed me to settle down, sensing my inability to fully grasp what she was saying to me.

“Your conscious choices define your experience of everything in this world, both inner and outer. Your inner world already knows this and has used this power to create your magnificent life. Your outer layer, that which sees, but fears the world, needs to know that there are no real missing pieces and that you are already truly and completely whole. This happens through your ‘choosing’ to see the truth. The proof you seek happens every time you make this choice and believe the results. It really is that simple.”

I sit back and try to absorb this message to me, and it becomes clear, I will only know the truth if I give myself to this simplicity.

I Know Who You Are

I know who you are.

You may be wondering how that’s possible. After all, as a reader of this post you could be from anywhere in the world. You could be any nationality or speak any language. How could I possibly know you?

And yet, I do.

You may be thinking I’m joking or crazy to make such a claim.

I’m neither.

You may be asking yourself why I would say such a thing. Aren’t we all very different beings? Don’t we all have our own points of view? Isn’t there too much variety for everyone to be known?

What do you think?

Are there enough similarities between us that bind us together? Enough commonalities that each of us can be known by the other?

It’s an interesting thought, isn’t it?

Could it be possible that we each share the same basic traits or are we dependent on the idea that we are all totally unique and cannot be known to one another without a great depth of connection?

So many questions.

Here are some of my answers. I supply them as considerations because I never want anyone to believe anything I say if it doesn’t feel true to them.

I trust you completely to decide all things for yourself (for your self).

But you see, I still believe what I said. And the reason I feel I know you is that I know where you came from.

I believe each one of us here shares the same birthplace…heaven.

I believe we swam in the same ocean of bliss, and we chose to come here to this earth to live a part of our symphony together. And although we may play separate parts, we share the same source.

I believe we were united in heaven, known by each other, bound by love.

When we arrived here, some of us may have chosen to forget everything, even our connection to each other. We may have released great parts of our truth, even who we really are.

I’d like to help you remember.

That’s part of why I’m telling you that I know who you are. So that you can look at all those who seem so different from you, but aren’t. You can look past their appearance and see inside of them. And when you look carefully, you may realize that we are one beautiful being, split into many shapes and sizes. Each of us a reflection of the divine, walking here together.

I know who you are my beautiful, radiant friend and I’m glad that we are here together.

Spiritual Blueprints

Do you believe a blueprint exists for your life? A path forward that is already laid out? Or do you feel that everything that happens is random?

These are interesting questions to consider.

My father was an architect and dealt with blueprints his whole working career. For many years he had his own architectural firm in the town I grew up in. He eventually moved from a small set of rooms on a second floor that he rented to a two-story building that he owned. It was quite large, with a full basement and huge attic space.

I got to know every inch of the building because in the summers I worked there performing a number of different tasks. I cleaned, took care of the yard, did small repairs, helped with office work and whatever special jobs my dad needed.

The most challenging was when he decided, one incredibly hot summer, to have me move all his stored blueprints from the basement to the attic. He was concerned about the moisture degrading their quality and potentially needed them for future reference.

It turns out there were hundreds of them, and they all needed to travel up three flights of stairs and be organized and stored in the attic. That may not sound like much, but consider I’d start out each trip in the 60-degree basement and end it in the 110-degree attic. Those 50-degree changes, done over and over, were exhausting and I ended up drinking an unbelievable amount of water just to stay hydrated.

I remember having to take quite a few breaks. On one of them, I pulled out and unrolled one of the blueprints to see what I was transporting.

If you are unfamiliar with blueprints, they are large sheets of blue paper that show various levels of detail on different pages and are used by contractors to build structures. They’re meant to be unrolled on a flat surface and often are organized to display different levels of what is being built and are extremely detailed.

On several occasions my dad would explain them to me and even let me do some basic drafting, a simple version of a blueprint. I found them fascinating, but not enough to follow in his footsteps, which fortunately, was okay with him.

Recently, I was involved in cleaning out my mom and dad’s house to get it ready to sell and came across some of his blueprints.

Something registered with me.

According to my personal spiritual beliefs, each of us comes here to earth from heaven with our own spiritual blueprints. They are all unique and serve as a guide for our lives. We are not bound by them because we have free will, but they rest in the background and provide wisdom and direction, much like the mechanical blueprints architects create.

So how do you access your spiritual blueprint? Where can you unroll it and lay it flat to look at?

I first became aware of mine during one of my conversations with god. god made a reference to it, saying that each human is made up of physical, emotional, intellectual, ego and spiritual components. They intertwine, but the spiritual component is the only one that knows their spiritual blueprint.

I wanted to know how the rest of me could be let in on this.

What I discovered was that every quiet contemplative state allowed some access. So, when I sit and breath, stilling myself, I open the door to it. When I slow down and wait patiently and give my intuition a chance to come to the surface, I open the door. When I meditate, going deeply within, finding harmony and calmness, I open the door. These are peaceful, wonderful practices to open to the wisdom available in a spiritual blueprint.

And there is one more.

When I can’t seem to settle myself and find the open door, I ask for help, promising to pay attention. I ask god to help me find a stillness where I can listen carefully. I ask god to unroll my spiritual blueprint and help me see it clearly.

I’ve seen it many times and am always grateful for the insight it provides. I believe you can see yours too and hope that in your stillness it comes through your open door.

Searching for Beliefs

Where do our beliefs come from?

Most likely some are taught to us directly, while others we seem to absorb without knowing when or where they came from.

Then there are beliefs we choose for ourselves with intention. If I think about my life, there are beliefs I hold, both because they have a strong appeal to me and ones, I’ve chosen in reaction to what others attempted to force upon me.

Choosing our beliefs may take quite a while. We might feel it’s important to spend the time to sift through all the fiction to find the facts. And even then, it can be overwhelming because certain facts feel very slippery. What is undeniable one day can change over time. Add to that, that the experts don’t agree, and that new research is always occurring and our comfort level with the beliefs we’ve chosen may decline further.

There are other difficulties in the process. Here’s just one simple example.

Have you ever been to the doctor’s office and seen the height chart attached to the wall? You’re asked to stand with your back against it, while the nurse or doctor determines your exact height. There is an underlying assumption that the chart was correctly installed. But suppose that it wasn’t? If it was placed an inch or two above the floor, your height measurement would be wrong. If you’re fully grown when the measurement is taken, you’re likely to live the rest of your life believing an inaccurate measurement.

The same can be true for all your beliefs. If the basis for them is incorrect, the conclusion is incorrect.

I’ve observed that forming my beliefs spans quite a breadth. It’s not all about the facts of life. My beliefs run the distance from intellectual to physical to emotional to spiritual and beyond.

I have to remind myself that sometimes what I’ve been taught is merely someone’s opinion. It’s their perspective and not something I want nor need to accept. That feels very important to me.

At certain times in my life I’ve been told, either out loud or by another’s actions, that I am not very smart or capable or worthwhile. It becomes my decision to accept or reject these statements and believe what I choose.

It’s everyone’s right to challenge beliefs they already have or are in the process of forming. For intellectual decisions it seems reasonable to learn all the facts we can, from as many sources as possible, then choose what appears to be the best answer, while keeping in mind that what we choose needs to be flexible. It feels wise to recognize, that as new facts become available, we can alter our beliefs and that nothing is cast in stone.

When considering emotional beliefs, I’ve found it wisest to ask for input from those I trust most, but to also rely on my feelings and intuition, which can be wonderful guides, alerting me to truths that lie beyond the facts.

As for spiritual beliefs, I rely on my relationship with (god) for all my answers. I believe that each of us is directly connected to the divine, who is always available, waiting for a chance to be present in our lives. Going within ourselves gives us an opportunity to discover truths we can not find in the world around us. Time and time again, by calming my breathing, quieting to silence the outside world, and opening my heart, a way forward will appear. There are of course times I need to be patient, but a part of my truth always comes to fill me.

I believe that you can be filled too, should you decide to open your heart to your inner world.