Wouldn’t It Be Cool If…

Do you allow yourself room to dream? To release all the normal restrictions you accept in your life and run with wild abandon, giving yourself the chance to expand into your best, biggest life?

I know what my normal answer to these questions is…no, I don’t.

For me, this begs for an important awareness to rise to the surface of my life. An awareness that asks, “Why not, why don’t you?” It asks not in a mean-spirited way; it just wants to know my answer.

I suppose there are many reasons and if you are at all like me, they start with, not enough time, too many other obligations, it feels too selfish, not enough money and the list goes on.

Maybe it’s simpler than that.

Maybe I’m just plain scared to live my best, biggest life. Maybe you are too.

Enter Marie Forleo. If you don’t know about her, you’re in for a treat. One of my last trips to our public library I checked out her audiobook, Everything is Figureoutable. It takes a little bit to get past the title being kind of weird, but every moment of the book is well worth it. Marie has fabulous things to share with readers/listeners and fills the pages with her personal stories and insights.

Every time I read or listen to a book, attend a retreat or workshop, or watch a movie or TV show, I’m attentively waiting for some gold to come my way. Something that will help open my world and set me free.

I’ve come to believe that one will always be there and that was certainly the case in listening to Marie’s audiobook. She mentioned that one of the exercises she recommends is writing down an answer to this statement,” wouldn’t it be cool if…”.

I admit, I was intrigued by this. I didn’t do it immediately, but I filed it away for when I could spend some quality time with it.

When I eventually decided it was time, I got out my journal and sat quietly and waited for what desires came into my heart and mind that wanted to be expressed through me.

It was a deluge, one coming after another, along with a string of images. It was an immediate ‘high’ and I sensed how fantastic it would be if they all came true. In the moments it took to create the list of wonderful ideas I felt no need or desire to critique, edit or modify my answers. They just tumbled out and gave their light to me.

It doesn’t seem important to share my list with you because the point of the exercise is for you to give birth to your own personal ideas and dreams. To let them take a step or two into the world through you.

So, are you game?

Would you like to sit in the quiet of your own heart and mind and ask yourself to envision your world by asking, “wouldn’t it be cool if…?”

What would you write down? What would expand you and broaden your life and allow your inner fire to flare up into acts of creation and joy?

I liked the idea so much that I now have a note I keep that reminds me to answer this question each month. I think it will be very enlightening to see my responses side by side and witness the changes that occur in and through me.

I encourage you to explore this idea and see what happens in your life as your dreams become real.

Acts of Creation

Have you ever wondered how you got here? And what about all the stuff that surrounds you? Where did it come from? Unraveling this mystery can be the work of an entire lifetime.

I am constantly amazed by the simplest things and wonder how they came into existence. Take this six-cent air mail stamp for example.

It seems pretty insignificant at first glance, doesn’t it? Out of date certainly. But, in my opinion still very cool looking. It turns out that if it were in mint condition, it would be worth about $100. And here’s an interesting fact, if it were a slightly different plane and facing the opposite direction, it might be worth $500. Not bad appreciation for a six-cent investment from the 1940’s.

My curiosity appears to know no bounds because here’s the string of thoughts that followed from first seeing the stamp. Maybe your mind runs away with sometimes too.

I wondered who had the idea for this airplane, meant to transport large heavy cargos from place to place. It needed a creator, a special kind of dreamer to envision how it would be possible to fill it with tons of equipment and yet lift it into the air. Then, of course, it needed technicians, designers, production staff, marketers, those wanting to ship their products and those wanting to buy the products.

And it needed pilots and technicians and crew to fly it and airport staff to keep track of it and help it land in heavy cloud cover and ground crews to unload it.

And everyone involved in the process needed to be trained.

I wonder, how is it possible to train someone on something completely new. Something no one has ever done before. Where do the skills come from? And where does the belief begin that starts this whole process?

Mirroring this line of thought, I began wondering about the stamp itself. Someone had to authorize its design, then there was the artist who crafted it, those involved in production, distribution and staff at the post office who sold them. And all those who bought them.

And how did it get to me? To be a part of my collection of cancelled stamps? I wonder, did this stamp ever fly on board the very plane it pictured? Did it arrive at the Post Office, get purchased, then placed on the outside of a package and sent via air mail on the plane it represented? Wouldn’t that be an awesome string of events?

I like that thought because it seems rather poetic to me.

When I sit back and look at this stamp, I can’t help but ask, how did we all get here? What sort of acts of creation brought us into the world?

Okay, I know there is a simple biological explanation for this. I am a father and I understand about the birth process, but there is something infinitely more elaborate and exquisite going on behind the scenes. I know this every time I hold a baby in my arms. Their newness to this world helps me feel/see beyond the veil between here and heaven. I can look into their eyes and see they still remember what it was like there. They have no words to tell me, but their heartbeat against my chest while holding them, speaks to me.

They are all magnificent acts of creation.

I wonder what our lives would be like if we remembered this more often. If we appreciated each other and devoted time to honoring that we are all creative beings, bringing light and life into the world.

It’s funny to me what thoughts and ideas can evolve from one single six-cent air mail stamp. But then I think, every act of creation is a miracle and a cause for wonder.

How to Compost Your Fears

Would you like to continue our journey together into a greater understanding of how to compost your fears and turn them into fertile soil to enrich your life?

Note: This Post is a continuation of my post, How to Compost Your Fears, part one from January 16, 2022. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, you may want to do so before moving ahead with this post.

So, it’s been four days and it’s time to find out what’s happened to the fears we placed inside our composting containers. I’m curious about what sort of breakdown and changes have been happening while we’ve been away having a good time.

I imagine that your contents and mine may appear very different. Since the only contents I can see are my own, I’ll describe them, and you can see if some of the same things happened to yours.

Before I do, I have to admit that I have some preconceived notions about fear. My sense has been that fears intention is to take something away from me. To somehow make me less, which can create a good deal of anxiety. Over time, I’ve come to a new realization, that this is not the only way to view the role of fear. I’ve discovered it’s possible to shift my attitude and see fear as a divine messenger whose intention is to give something to me to help guide me toward my best life.

A second concern about fear centers around my perceived inability to control outcomes. Ordinarily I want things to turn out a certain way and consider any other result to be unsatisfactory. This generates a tendency toward worst case scenarios and a fear of failure. At times my awareness kicks in and I recognize this isn’t what I really think, but what others have told me, which creates incentive on my part to shift and change directions.

Okay, back to my compost container. When I pried off the lid and peered inside, I discovered the contents had separated into layers, with the lighter pieces (not seeing smiles or being able to hug others, appearing foolish and feeling small) on top and the denser pieces (feeling unsafe, unworthy and a failure) on the bottom.

I realized that not all fears have the same effect on me but that it is still essential to acknowledge each one and be open to its message, rather than ignore them or pretend they don’t exist. I found that each fear offers its own insight and as I embrace it the fear I once experienced is released.

Maybe you are like me and need examples to make sense of the world.

Here is one of the dense fears I experience fairly often. The fear of being unworthy or unloved. I’m not saying it is based on any reality, but that’s one of fears hallmarks, because it only has to appear real to be a problem.

When this happens to me now, I try to come to a full stop and acknowledge the fear I’m feeling and remind myself that I have the power to take action. I have free will and can make any choice I claim. I can find a great self-help book, talk with a friend or counselor or, as I usually do, have a conversation with god.

Whichever I choose, my aim is to shift my level of awareness and recognize the deeper truth that my sense of feeling unworthy or unloved results from seeing myself as separate from god and others. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I’ve come to believe that fear lies underneath all things and shows through every time I need to be reminded of the truth, that I am a part of the divine and connected to everyone else here on earth and that I am loved and cared for and that there is always an answer available to me.

I remind myself that avoidance of fear is not the answer and that although it may seem counterintuitive, opening myself to fear and embracing its message enlightens me and robs fear of its power over me.

No matter what your contents look like or how they feel, know that you have the innate ability to release any of your fears and discover the divine message(s) they came to bring you.

How to Compost Your Fears

Recently I was thinking about the whole composting issue and whether I wanted to be a part of this revolution. In the middle of my research a thought occurred to me. Might it be possible to compost my fears in the same way I compost my left-over food scraps?

Before I continue, I want to share that this is a two-part post, the first part today and the second part on Thursday, January 20, 2022.

When I began my research, I only had a vague idea about the process of composting. Maybe you already know a great deal, but in case you don’t, here’s a little background that might be helpful.

The whole idea revolves around combining decomposing plant and food waste and other organic materials. The end result is a mixture rich in plant nutrients and beneficial organisms that can be used to fertilize and improve soil.

In other words, you are able to grow really good stuff with it.

What happens in the process is that everything is combined and placed in a sealed container and left alone. It just sits there, waiting and doing its thing. Really, it couldn’t get much easier.

So, what I’m wondering is, what if I handed you a container and told you that you could place all your fears inside and seal it shut in the hopes that what came out of it at the end of the process would be rich, fertile soil for your life. Would you do it?

And if you did, what fears would you place in the container? What are you holding onto right now that would feel wonderful to release from your life?

I know this is something I would benefit from doing, so here’s my list.

I am afraid of feeling small and not pushing myself beyond my careful limits. I fear that others may not find worth in what I write and therefore, in me. I am afraid to appear foolish. I fear that I might lose this game of life somehow. I have fear and concern about the future and that as I age, my physical wellbeing will deteriorate. I am afraid for the health of those I love, especially during these troublesome times. I have fear that our world will never return to what is was before COVID and I won’t be able to see others beautiful smiles and hug them. I am afraid that we won’t listen well enough to the earth and to each other. And ultimately, I am afraid of both failure and success, but for very different reasons.

This is just a partial list. It’s what came to me just now. I imagine your list may be very different from mine, but what might be the same is how it feels to each of us deep inside. We may have different names but the same sense of fear.

Okay, let’s imagine that you decide to give this a try. First, spend a minute or two and create a list of your fears and concerns by acknowledging them and placing them one by one in your imaginary composting container. Once they’re all in there, snug the lid on top and push it firmly down sealing it shut.

In the silence I hear you asking me this question, “now what?”

Now you leave them in there and go do whatever fun things appeal to you. Take a walk, play a sport, workout, paint, read, anything you find relaxing.

In a few days we’ll see what’s happened to your fears, but for now I want to share what the world might be saying to us about this approach.

In all likelihood it’s telling us that absolutely nothing is going to happen and that the whole idea is ridiculous. This is how the world often speaks to us, as if it’s invested in the continuation of our pain.

But here’s some very good news, we don’t have to listen to the world. We are not required to pay attention and can always choose our own path. That’s what we’ll be doing this coming Thursday, so please join me then.

The Trouble with Choosing Sides

Imagine you are standing amongst a group of kids. You’re facing two other kids who are looking at you with a careful, critical eye. You can see little wheels spinning in their heads while they make their choices. Basically, they are thinking one of two things.

Who will help me win the game we’re about to play (“I want them on my team”) or who will lose it for us (“I absolutely don’t want them on my team”)?

I was a part of this scene dozens of times during my childhood, both as the one making the choices and as the one hoping not to be chosen last.

There is a tremendous emotional imprint made during these sessions which can last a lifetime. It can also affect your self-esteem level, which carries forward to many other situations.

I realize that choosing sides seems to be a part of life and perhaps I would be wise just to accept it.

But I can’t. There is too much at stake.

Every way you look there are expectations for you to make a decision on who to support. Which sports team, political party, religion, talking head, family member, TV show, you name it. You are expected to agree with a certain number of important figures in your life, family members, teachers, business leaders, all to show your allegiance.

But what if you disagree with the crowd? Or, as some others will see it, worst yet, have no opinion at all?

There could be some trouble in that for you, couldn’t there?

Earlier in my life I didn’t have many opinions and I only reluctantly chose sides. Well, except for football, because of course I knew who the best team was. Or did I?

Being forced to choose a side is a tricky thing. Suppose you have no real opinion, or you don’t truly know all of the facts, or you don’t care which side seems to be ‘more right’? In many situations you are expected to choose a side…the ‘right side’ of course. Staying neutral can be dangerous and can place you outside of your group, family, or nation.

Okay, so why would anyone hesitate?

Well, the first reason is that once you choose a side, it makes it very difficult to understand those on the other side. It’s as if your brain goes on strike. It says, “I’ve come to a conclusion and I’m sticking with it and now I don’t have to think any more…case closed”!

You want to talk about dangerous, there it is.

A second reason is that you might feel as though you are missing something. How could there be all these other people who have decided another way is better? What do they know that you don’t? Are there some facts you are unaware of? Maybe it would be valuable to talk with them and find out.

And here’s another thing that happens when you choose a side. Huge rifts are created, and greed and envy polarize positions making it impossible to see beyond them. Wars and territorial issues surface. Borders and fences of all sorts are erected. And emotional attachments harden hearts.

So, what if we didn’t choose sides? Would society collapse? Would there be chaos?

What if we searched for some common ground? What if we were willing to listen so that we could truly know the fuller story? What if we were willing to compromise for the sake of unity? What if winning and losing became unimportant, but everyone gaining peace and harmony took center stage?

And there is more at stake because having to take sides has an emotional impact on each one of us. Being forced to comply with arbitrary positions corrupts us, makes us smaller and weaker as people and blankets our free will which is one of our greatest gifts.

Well, perhaps I am choosing a side after all, one where we aim toward peace and understanding and harmony. I can live with that one.

Blueprint for Life

Have you heard the simple saying, ‘in a nutshell’?

I hear it less now than I did in the past, but occasionally someone still mentions it. Ordinarily, they’re using it to sum up an idea in just a few words, or as another way of saying, “to make a long story short.”

The funny thing is, it hardly ever does. Most stories seem long, including my own, as if they are too difficult to shorten.

Hearing the expression recently I thought about nutshells. Take an acorn, for example. Acorns are very small, about the size of a large marble, but they can grow to a towering height of 60, 80 or even 100 feet tall.

How do you suppose the contents of that little acorn can create such a marvelous tree? Can you imagine the blueprint inside that sets in motion such a spectacular event?

I realize many things must come together to make it happen. Water, soil, decent weather, absence of fires, good nutrients, and of course the warmth and nourishment of the sun.

I started to wonder about other things in nature. Do all of them come from such humble beginnings?

That got me wondering about us. About our human species and our beginnings. We start out even smaller than an acorn and look what happens to us. Sure, we don’t grow to the impressive height of an oak tree, but we are incredible, nonetheless.

Do we each have a blueprint hidden inside of us? And, are our blueprints unique?

It feels important to me for each of us to decide about our own answers to these two simple questions because it sets the stage for what we experience in our lives. If we believe our life is cast in stone, it will feel very limiting to us. But, if we consider that our blueprint is just a starting point and that we can build on it in any direction we wish, it becomes something else entirely.

I want to share what feels like the truth to me.

I believe each of us chose to come to earth and that we created a blueprint that would allow us to experience a certain kind of life. I also believe that we have complete free will and are able to shift and change any part of our blueprint that does not feel right to us. We can choose to embrace any ideas that support us and choose to release any ideas that restrict us or confine us or limit us in any way.

You may be thinking right now, how can our blueprint provide structure for our life if we don’t know what our blueprint is? After all it’s not as if we were handed an instruction guide when we arrived.

So, how are we to know what our blueprint is?

I believe there are many ways to uncover our blueprints.

We are each naturally gifted with some talents, ones that become obvious to us by our own observation. At other times, someone else may see something in us that we don’t and encourage us to pursue new paths. And, as we move through our lives, we are likely to discover parts of your blueprint as we attend school, play sports, engage in the arts, learn skills, or excel in a profession.

For me though the best way to know about our blueprint is to talk with god about it. To have an honest, direct, open conversation, asking for insight and placing yourself in a receptive frame of mind to listen and hear god’s answers.

In my own conversations I feel guided and supported. I am never told what to do and I’ve come to realize that every path leads me forward, if I am open and accepting. I understand that my blueprint is only a starting point for my life, and I am free to expand, to create and to experience all possibilities.

I marvel at the beautiful design of each of our blueprints and what we are capable of becoming.

Permission

How would you like to do something extraordinary for yourself? Something to raise you up and empower you?

I’m going to hope that you said, “yes”.

As this new year begins to enfold, I wanted to offer you a practice that has proven to be both magnificent and magical for me. It began several years ago when I was attended a retreat at Kripalu in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Our program presenter is one of my all-time favorites, Tama Kieves. If you ever get a chance to attend one of her workshops, please do yourself a favor and sign up. She’s fantastic.

One of the exercises she suggested to us was to write down several ‘permission statements’. They could be about anything, as long as they felt true to us. It was and is one of the most liberating experiences of my life.

It may sound simple, and it is. There are no set rules and no limits to the creativity you can express, so you can go in any direction that calls to you. The freer and more open you are, the greater your rewards.

This is a life-affirming process and something you can do whenever you feel it would assist you or boost your energy. Each time I add to my list, I feel wider and more expansive. And happier.

What a divine reward that is.

If you have the time now, perhaps you’d like to give it a try. I’d suggest starting with five statements and see how it goes.

The first time I did this it took me several minutes to get into it. I can’t recall what I was concerned about but there was some roadblock standing in front of me. I had to marshal my forces and shove it out of the way before I could begin.

That turned out to be my first permission statement…” I give myself permission to do this assignment”. And from there things began to pick up speed. After the session was over, I went back to my room and sat down to see if more would come. And they did, a whole river of permission statements flowed out of me. It was as if a dam had broken. The liberating feeling created was what my heart needed in that moment and I was so grateful.

I can still capture this same feeling when I write new permission statements now.

I’d like to share some with you in the hopes that they serve as a springboard for your own to appear.

“I give myself permission to speak my truth. This does not mean I have to tell everyone everything.”

“I give myself permission to release the word ‘should’ from my vocabulary and speech and thought whenever it appears and to remind myself the word comes from fear, and so I can turn to love, no matter what the subject or context.”

“I give myself permission to live a life of happiness, bright beautiful happiness, knowing I deserve it simply because I am alive and know there are no requirements or restrictions on my life, because I am a free child of god.”

“I give myself permission to trust the process (of life) and to release any investment in the outcome(s).”

“I give myself permission to realize that at times I will feel struggles and feel vulnerable and feel fears of all kinds, but then to always remember to choose to love myself.”

They are not all long statements. Some are very simple.

“I give myself permission to dream any dream.”

“I give myself permission to live the life I came here to live.”

“I give myself permission to be gentle and kind and loving.”

I hope that this idea takes root in you and that you give yourself whatever permission would offer you peace, freedom and love.

Giving In

What if we gave in?

I want to be clear here.

I am not talking about giving up or resigning from life. What I am talking about is a kind of letting go and not holding on so tightly to specific results.

When there is only one outcome that we find acceptable, we are limiting life and all the other wonderful opportunities that could happen. It’s as if we are creating roadblocks that prevent us from seeing and experiencing a larger world.

I’ve done this so many times in my life.

It’s hard not to. We are often programmed to want what we want. To set goals and achieve them. To create wish lists. To ask for very specific things; a certain car or watch or book…you name it. And sometimes we can even become obsessed by what we hope to possess.

We tend to think that we need to visualize or manifest only one thing or one outcome or we risk feeling like a failure.

So, what I’m really asking is whether we are capable of giving up this kind of thinking, this kind of asking, and this kind of expecting?

What if we gave in and it expanded our world?

Think of it as opening to a full allowance for everything to be possible, not just the one result our conscious mind can dream up. Our lives are so much bigger than that.

When I consider this, I wonder, what would that look like? How would that feel? What could happen if I could shift my attitude and mind-set?

My immediate answer is…anything could happen!

At first this sounds a bit scarry. ‘Anything’ is pretty wide open and could include things I’m not ready for. Perhaps this is one of the reasons we tend to want specific outcomes, so that we both get what we want and don’t get surprised by other things.

But how do we really know that what we think we want is what is best for us? I think the answer to that is, we don’t.

How could we?

And this begs another question, a far deeper one.

Will life, the universe, god, or whatever concept that feels right to you, provide whatever is best for us, if we give it a chance, and don’t shut the door and focus on only one thing?

Can we find a way to trust that?

That is a very tough question and one I’ve struggled with over the years.

What form of proof would you require before you could accept that what you experience in life is exactly right for you?

On my best days I am patient and open. I encourage myself to pay attention and carefully watch what happens. I counsel myself to accept what appears in my life, believing it is meant for me. I let go of what I’ve established as my goals, aims or desires and allow what comes to fill, feed and nourish me. When this happens, I recognize a greater truth, that I am cared for and all things in my life serve me. It may take a bit of time before I see how they do, but if I let go of my expectations, I come to see this clearly.

There is an awesome grace in giving in and letting go of whatever creates disharmony in our world and I am grateful each time I allow this to happen.

New Year Love

I’ve chosen to repeat my post from the end of 2020 because I still believe it represents the truth and I wanted to remind you about it. So, here it is.

I wonder what you want from this life. If you were given a notebook or a journal or a clean slate, what would you write on it?

Here’s a choice…you can stop reading this post for a few minutes and write down the first things that come to you or you can keep reading and perhaps, if you’re interested, do this later (although I may spoil it a little with the rest of this post).

This isn’t the typical New Year’s resolutions, nor a list of challenging items to attempt to accomplish. Rather, it’s a wish list of the experiences you most want to have this time around.

Now, what would happen if I asked you to narrow your list down to only one thing. Would that be difficult for you?

I think it is often the case that we have so many options it becomes challenging to sort through them and choose only the ones that we think will make us happy.

Years ago, Maureen and I were in San Diego and went to brunch at the Hotel Del Coronado. It was incredible. I think they boasted that they had over 130 selections to choose from. It was overwhelming and almost everything looked delicious. I seriously doubt whether anyone left there without a massive stomach ache. They should have handed out Tums as folks walked out the door.

That’s how it can be when we’re given too many choices. Often, we want more things than we can manage. That’s my reason for asking you to narrow your list to only one item. To gain some clarity and focus.

I want to share with you what I chose.

I want to feel loved and that it makes a difference that I’m here on this earth.

I am profoundly grateful that there are those in my life who tell me that they love me and that I make a difference in their lives.

But sometimes, I only hear long after the fact that what I did or said, reached someone. I long to be a part of others’ lives, connecting deeply them. I want them to know that I love them.

From time to time, there is an aloneness that comes to join me. When this happens, it is hard to feel others love for me.

In one of those moments I asked Lia (a feminine part of god I know as Love In Action) about this and was surprised by her answer.

She said, “YOU are always free to do this…to offer love to yourself and to others. And you can always talk with me and I will tell you the truth…you are made from pure love.  You needn’t be troubled by your own misperception that you are anything else but love. The truth remains the truth, that you and I are ONE. One pure love.”

I don’t know about you, but for some reason it’s hard for me to tell myself that I love me. It’s only on my wisest days, that I can hold still, take a calming breathe and tell myself that I love me and that I know it matters that I’m here. That I have a purpose and a mission.

Lia offers this reminder, “It is the same for every one of you. You all want to know and feel love. I ask that you believe me, that you are love.”

My hope for you, heading into this new year, is that you know love and feel loved. It’s truly the reason why I write these posts.

Thank you for allowing me to repeat this. My next post will be new, I promise.

Letting Yourself off the Hook

Have you done something wrong? Maybe someone else thinks that you did, and they’ve placed you on a hook for it.

Perhaps you recognize an error you’ve made and can’t get past it.

What do you do?

Clearly, this may be simple or quite complex and no one answer exists for all situations. You may or may not agree that you belong on the hook. You may not think that the source of controversy is important or any big deal. You may disagree completely and believe you are blameless.

But, even if you are, knowing that others do not share your opinion can create difficulties and challenges for you.

I wonder what inner part of us controls our decisions about accepting and releasing blame. I wonder too when does blame turn into shame?

I know for sure that both blame and shame are extremely heavy loads to carry, especially if you feel you have to carry them for a long period of time. I don’t think any of us are prepared for that.

So, what resources are available to us?

I believe it is true that lots of perceptive, intelligent, and self-aware folks exist in the world. Many have made it a part of their mission to help those facing blame and shame issues. They have wonderful and insightful things to say and provide a host of suggestions about what to do. If you’d like, you can find them through an internet search.

But what if you don’t have access to their work?

Perhaps that’s the time to focus on your inner resources and your divine self, to call upon your immense strength and your accumulated wisdom from your years here on this earth.

I’d like you to consider that there is a sacred part of you that knows all things, but as of yet, has not been called upon for answers.

I confess this approach requires that you acknowledge you are connected to the divine and the source of all wisdom. Just because I believe this to be true isn’t enough. For there to be any divine aid in resolving blame and shame, you would need to make the decision that you are a part of god.

For just a moment, suspend any sense of disbelief and open to the possibility that you have access to greater wisdom. Allow yourself to conceive that you are directly connected to the divine. And that you can ask and receive answers to all of your questions.

Imagine that there is an answer for you, a solution, and a way forward.

Take a moment and sit back, close your eyes, and breathe in and out gently. Ask for help and guidance. Smile to let the love in. Be open to knowing that there is a center line running through you of joy. A joy that accepts you as you are and understands that you say and do things from a place of unknowing. You are present on earth as an unfolding of perfection. Not perfect itself, but an unfolding into perfection. And as you unfold, recognize that blame and shame do not serve you, other than to point the way past themselves so that you may see more clearly. Know that joy is your natural inner path toward all things.

From this relaxed place, release yourself from any hooks you may be encountering and allow your heart to guide you to the answer you seek and to the way forward that lets go of blame and shame and embraces love and joy. Once in the arms of love and joy, life flows easily.

Peace be with you and inside of you.

Words Matter

Words matter, the ones you speak out loud, the ones you keep inside and especially the words you tell yourself.

Just the other day I was writing in my journal, and it struck me how differently the words expressed would be if I truly looked at each one.

Here’s a sentence I wrote.

Perhaps there would be some benefit to me if I acknowledged all of my concerns and accepted their potential outcomes, in advance.

There is a lot of meat in this sentence for me, but before I say anything about the content, I want to share that upon rereading it, I felt several changes needed to be made.

Here’s what the sentence looks like when rewritten.

There is benefit for me in acknowledging all of my concerns and accepting their potential outcomes in advance.

Can you sense the difference?

I certainly can. To me the shift is in its definitiveness. There is no ‘perhaps’ about it and rather than there being any question about the benefit of acknowledging my concerns, there is a sense of assurance about doing so. That is a big difference and it made me wonder how often my words reflect my true desires and intentions.

In this case, the content also changed. It shifted from being a question to being a statement that there is great value to me in allowing my concerns to surface, knowing that when I accept them in advance, I can discover their worth. There is power and strength where there had been concern and worry.

Words matter.

They each have their own energy and we are susceptible to it. If you are paying attention to them, you recognize their impact. You can feel them and some of them can elate you while others cause suffering and damage.

When you send your words into the world, they create waves. They ripple and ricochet because what you say to others can move far beyond them. And when combined with strong emotions, their expression and power are heightened.

Words when used with ill intentions cut and destroy and neither the receiver nor the giver are sparred.

Care with using words is a wonderful gift. Kind and generous words build and strengthen. Loving words add to the world. They bring joy and blessings. They open hearts and make the world a wider and more beautiful place.

The direction words travel, whether aimed toward our inner world or sent into the outside world, is important to consider.

What kind of life do you want?

It’s often reflected by the words you choose.

It feels to me that words have an inherent strength, and you can feel this while using them. Surely it depends on the circumstance and the manner in which they are used, but here are a few examples of what I mean.

Wishing feels weak because there is so much room for failure.

Hoping, wanting and desiring are stronger, but lack a sense of conviction. They hint at not being in possession of what you seek.

Intending and aiming are stronger still and more directional and will probably bring about greater results, if there is action taken.

Knowing, claiming and choosing strike me as more complete words. They are active, aware and directive. When used, they call into existence and create and become real in the world. They are the end result of conceiving, believing and taking action.

All words matter.

What we say to others and what we tell ourselves matters. Words create much of what we experience in our life and when chosen wisely bring joy and love into the world.

I am so grateful for words.

Worrying is Optional

Maybe you’ve heard this phrase before, but have you ever considered it might be true for you? Perhaps you’d like it to be, but you don’t see any way it could happen. And because you can’t see a path, one does not exist for you.

But, what if one did, would you take it?

I’ve been wondering about this for a long time. My daily TO DO list of chores and tasks seems endless and unless I’m in a good place, there is always some amount of stress created by my desire to get things done.

Then of course, as I go through my day, more things get added and sometimes it’s overwhelming. I have to step back and recognize I’m the one in charge, not my perceived list of things to do.

It’s often about my attitude and expectations. If I allow the list to become my master I suffer. This suffering takes many forms. I feel stress in my body, my mind ceases to work fluidly, and my emotional state of being drops. Worry seeps in and tries to smother me.

I feel the power shift from me, to what I fear.

I am not comfortable with this. I ask myself, how can I find a better path, one that leads me out of this cyclical downward spiral?

The answer is not obvious to me, so my struggle continues.

I need help. I know that I am not the only one who feels this way. Others have shared their challenges with me, and they don’t seem to know the way out either.

Before the stress and worry fully cripples me I make a choice. I decide to ask Lia for help. Lia (Love In Action), is for me, a part of god. She is divine feminine energy and is always present in my life. It is my belief that she is present in everyone’s life, one breath away, ready to listen and respond. I encourage you to reach out to her if you need help.

I asked her about the worry and stress I feel and after waiting to see if I was done speaking, she told me this.

“Of course, the answer is CHOICE, as it always is. In this case, your choice is to be open to the truth, that ALL possibilities exist and are already in place. You choose the one you desire to be your earthly reality. It is wise to bear in mind that others in your life are making their own choices alongside of you. There is a weaving together of your life stories, but you are in charge of yours and how you see and experience the world. You create your own life, no one else’s, so focus on your decisions. You aren’t in charge of everyone, only you. You can make suggestions, but it is up to others to make their own decisions. If you choose to feel stress because others don’t follow your suggestions, the answer is simple. Stop making them or release your investment in their outcomes.”

I expressed gratitude for these words but admitted to still feeling stress over the sheer number of things on my plate.

Lia continued, “the truth is there may be many items to be processed but the actual time necessary to complete them is manageable unless you are going to magnify them with stress. You do this by worrying that they won’t get accomplished or completed on time. It is this magnification process that causes your stress, and it is your choice how to manage it.”

I saw her point and it made sense to me.

She added, “regarding your tasks, you might want to consider separating them by day, applying your resources wisely and ‘just doing them’, rather than spending time thinking about them. Worry and stress are bigger when you have no action plan in place. Also, make a point of not accepting others stress or worry level. They may want to give them to you, but you are not required to take them.”

Lia’s final comment to me brought everything together.

“Whatever you decide to do, center it in love. Make every choice one that supports love for yourself and others.” I believe I’ve found my path now

Sitting For Ideas

Can you imagine finding a quiet comfortable place to sit, then closing your eyes and peacefully waiting for marvelous ideas to arrive inside your mind? Ideas that would improve your life, offer you specific direction and help you to navigate the world.

There is such a place and it’s inside of every one of us.

One of my favorite mentors is Napoleon Hill. I’ve written about him before and probably mentioned that, when he was a cub reporter, he was given the opportunity to interview Andrew Carnegie, who was one of the wealthiest men in the world.

Carnegie took a liking to Napoleon and extended to him introductions to many of the most successful people in business, finance, and the scientific world. Napoleon would spend his next ten years assembling their best ideas and placing them in his book, Think Big and Grow Rich, which is still one of the top ten best-selling self-help books ever published.

Elmer Gates was one of Napoleon’s interviews. Elmer was a prolific inventor and at the turn of the 20th Century owned the largest private laboratory in the world. Napoleon was curious to know where all his ideas came from. When he arrived at Elmer’s office, the secretary asked him to take a seat and told him it might be a while, because Mr. Gates was ‘sitting for ideas’.

Eventually Elmer came out to meet Napoleon and invited him into his office and explained about his delay. He told Napoleon that when confronted with a problem or seeking a solution for a workable invention, he would ‘sit for ideas’. By this he meant that he would enter a darkened room which had only a desk, a chair, a pencil, a pad, and a flashlight. Without distractions, he would sit and wait for ideas, and when something came to him, he would write it down, then go back to sitting until the next idea came. Elmer told Napoleon that this was how he was able to discover answers and solutions that had evaded his busy waking mind.

Given Elmer Gates enormous success it makes me wonder what I can gain from this strategy.

I’m not immediately drawn to the darkened room approach, and you may not be either, but I feel there is something of significant value here.

Perhaps it is that, releasing distractions, creating a peaceful open environment, and embracing an attitude of expectation are key components to success.

I have little doubt that each of us would be well served by distancing ourselves, for even short periods of time, from life’s distractions. Shifting our environment, whether that is a darkened room, a long hot shower, a walk in nature or a meditation period, would give us time and space that could be greatly beneficial.

For me, there are many mornings when I wake up filled with thoughts and ideas. So many, that I have to begin writing them down the moment they come to me. That’s why there are pads all over my house, so that none of my ideas escape. I refer to this process as my overnight download.

I don’t know where the ideas come from. I could speculate, but what feels important to me is their arrival, not their source.

Elmer Gates is not the only person to take advantage of seeing beyond the observable world. Michelangelo said that every block of stone has a masterpiece inside of it and that the job of the sculptor is to let it out.

I believe that in order to find the masterpiece living inside of each of us we need to open ourselves to a truth. A truth that we are a part of the divine, whole and holy. A truth that every answer exists within us, and it is our task to set it free. Believing this and expecting to discover our answers is the gateway to all ideas becoming real.

Heart on Fire

What sets your heart on fire? If you stopped right now and made a list, how many things would be on it?

Maybe you have a list already, one that’s blazing inside of you. I’d love to hear about it. I find that when someone shares the dreams that light them up, it inspires me. I catch a part of their glow and feel brighter and there is a desire in me to reach beyond where I am. To reach higher and wider than I have before.

I am constantly watching and waiting in expectation for ideas that will give new dimension to my world.

I came across one recently. I listened to an audiobook by Marie Forleo, titled Everything Is Figureoutable. She is a wonderfully dynamic person who has an incredibly simple and effective strategy for solving life situations. I strongly encourage anyone interested, to check out the link I’ve provided about her at the bottom of this post.

Here’s one of the ideas she suggested. It a simple exercise but if you allow it, it has profound ramifications.

You write down this statement and then complete it with your own personal answer, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…”.

I think this is so important that I’ve decided to do the exercise once a month. It appeals to me not only because it is fun, but because it encourages me to explore grand possibilities. Each time I do it, I open to a sense of adventure and excitement and write down my biggest dreams.

So, if you took a few minutes, what would you write down? What do you think would be cool to experience in your life?

I find it works best if you release all the normal limitations we place on our dreams. Just go for it and write down everything you feel like putting out into the universe.

My answers are outlandish now. At first, they were somewhat contained, but I asked myself, ‘why are you restricting yourself’? So, take it from me, let go and write everything that comes to you.

Would it help if I gave you a few of my answers?

If you said ‘no’ then skip to the next paragraph, but if you said ‘yes’, keep reading. Wouldn’t it be cool if…I could share my thoughts, dreams and revelations with people across the world, wouldn’t it be cool…if I could fly, if I could visit Bali, if I could talk with anyone I wanted (now or from any time), if I could see like a hawk, if I could walk the Appalachian Trail, if I could sponsor children to a better life, if I could create amazing art, if I could write something that would brighten someone’s life, if I could dream every night in color, if I could see the aurora borealis from my backyard.

The list of things I can dream is endless and they are not all beyond my reach. That’s part of the benefit and joy of doing this. They trigger something in me that feels real and that creates joy inside me.

So, what do you want to experience in your life?

Here’s something to keep in mind as ideas come to you. Write them down without hesitation. Save the second guessing and analysis for later. This is a brainstorming exercise, so just let go and get carried away.

In case you are wondering, the answer is ‘yes’, some of the ideas I write down inspire me so much that they become real. I invest time, money, and attention in them. I don’t allow myself to get caught up in any kind of restrictive logical thinking which prevents action. I set that thinking aside and instead of asking myself ‘how CAN I do this’, I ask myself, how WILL I do this? The word ‘can’ often stops me, but the word ‘will’ offers me power and I use it to create solutions and bring my ideas to life.

So, wouldn’t it be cool if…

Here’s the link to learn more about Marie Forleo.

http://www.marieforleo.com/2016/05/everything-is-figureoutable/

One Formula for Life

Are you ever overwhelmed by life? Do you have too many responsibilities and obligations? Is there more to do than you have time for?

If you fall into this category like I do, I’d like to invite you to join me in an exploration and an opening into some remarkable space. I promise it won’t take more than a few minutes.

Recently I felt like I was wearing an overcoat filled with weights, like the one’s navy divers use to explore the sea bottom. No matter what I did, I couldn’t struggle my way out of it. This increased my frustration and decreased my ability to enjoy life.

For those of you who have been reading my posts for a while you might guess what I did next. It’s what I always do when my thinking mind cannot fathom how to solve a problem I am having.

I talked with Lia.

For those who are new here, Lia stands for Love In Action and is a part of how I see god. She has a divine feminine voice and speaks with me any time I ask. She listens and never interrupts. She waits until I exhaust myself. And when I am done and ask what she thinks, she answers me. Sometimes her answer comes in the form of a question. One that leads me to recognizing my own truth. Other times, she offers suggestions or ideas for me to consider. Always she speaks in a loving way.

If you would like to talk with her, open your heart and ask her to come be with you. If you wish to speak to a different part of god, one that feels more right to you, please do that instead.

Since she and I had a conversation about all of this, I thought I’d share it with you.

Here’s what she had to say.

Take a walk. Change your scenery. Absorb what nature offers you. She’s invigorating.

Eat something you find delicious. Allow yourself joy as you take in sustenance. Give thanks for all those who helped it travel to you.

Embrace happiness. Remember it comes in all sizes and take it inside of you. Let it make you smile.

Take a hot shower. Allow your cares to wash away and the heat to soothe you.

Be thankful. This means being filled with thanks to your very brim. Write down what you are grateful for. Savor them, no matter how big or small.

Live in your heart. Be attentive to life. Focus on your feelings and follow them. Treasure them.

Open to hearing. To the sounds of the world and those echoing inside of you. There is wisdom in each of them. Wisdom and beauty.

Reap joy. Hold every moment that calls to you. Laugh, cry, sing, hug, give.

Connect. Love those around you. Bring them into your world. Share your dreams and listen to theirs. Harmonize.

Release. Give yourself permission to let go of anything that feels oppressive or that weighs you down. Allow yourself freedom.

Be expectant. Let yourself be drawn forward. Watch for what you know is yours and embrace it.

Love from your heart. Expand into the world from your generous, open, gorgeous, loving heart.

When Lia finished sharing with me, I realized the overcoat I was wearing was gone. I felt lighter, not enough to float away, but enough to be carried along by the winds of change she’d created. I hope they carry you too

What Writing My Own Obit Taught Me

Have you ever wondered about the marvelous truths that could be revealed by one simple act of writing? In this case, I’m talking about writing your own obituary notice.

Okay, let me explain.

I know this may sound a little crazy and you needn’t be concerned because, in order to write your own obit, you have to be alive, so all is well. What I want to share with you is that this can be an incredible celebratory experience, quite the contrary to what you might be imagining.

I’ll start at the beginning.

Several years ago, I attended a workshop at the Kripalu Center in Lenox, Massachusetts. Our class was given a number of challenging writing assignments. Writing your own obit was not one of them, but the material we covered generated a spark that led me to consider the idea.

I didn’t do it right away. It felt too threatening somehow, so I filed it for later consideration. But like so many things in life that beg for attention, it wouldn’t sit still. So, after a few weeks of trying to ignore it, I gave in.

Because of what I discovered, I’m very glad that I did.

Many things became clearer to me about my life. The first one is that many obits focus on how a person died rather than how they lived. It isn’t as important to me how I leave this world, but I care deeply about how I live while I am here, and I would want others to know something about me. Writing gave me a chance to do a life review and choose some meaningful events and I had an absolutely wonderful time sorting through my memories and soaking up the joy.

Several obits I encountered concentrated on lengthy lists of milestones and life achievements. I wondered; did this truly give value to the person’s life?

What I decided to write about were all the moments of celebration that occurred during my life. The events that gave my life deep meaning and connected me with others. I realized I had lots of my own milestones and a host of noteworthy accomplishments, but they all paled in comparison with the simple moments of sharing with the people I held dearest.

Another aspect of most obits is the listing of relatives who either passed away before the person or who survived them. They are often shown in chronological order and seem, at least to me, somewhat perfunctory. What I decided was to list everyone who brought heart-felt meaning into my life. I wanted to acknowledge them and tell them how much they meant to me. Listing everyone was an intensely beautiful experience for me and I glowed for weeks thinking about so many things we’d shared.

This self-assigned task also provided me with another shift in focus. I noticed a tendency to consider that a life could be defined by a list of the things a person accumulates during their earthly existence. A house, cars, artwork, seasonal property, bank and brokerage accounts, jewelry, titles, memberships. When I started thinking about this, I gravitated to the exceptional opportunities I encountered in my life that led me to deep spiritual connections with others. It became an adventure in cherishing experiences and releasing my attachment to things.

I also realized that the purpose of the money I earned or was given was that it allowed me to trade it for the value of worldly experiences, especially when others were involved. Others who at first were acquaintances, then friends, then kin to me (those I loved the most).

I found this writing exercise to be life changing because it allowed me to alter my perspective and see life as one continual celebration of events.

I wonder, if you chose to accept this assignment, if you would find that true as well.

Profound Puddles in Your Life

Tell me, have you fallen lately? I don’t mean this literally. I mean, have you taken a step that you thought would lead you forward, only to find you missed your goal completely, and maybe landed in one of life’s puddles.

When I was in Junior High School, I went out for the tennis team. It was going to be a stretch for me to make the squad, but I thought it might be good for me. Well, that’s not entirely true. My parents thought it would be good for me.

When I got there, seven other guys were waiting for the coach to arrive. We lined up and were assigned to four courts and told to volley with a partner. The coach watched us for a while, then asked us to gather around for his decision.

I’d made the team, he told me. I was pretty enthusiastic about it, that is until I discovered everybody who showed up made the team.

Over the next couple of practices, we all played against each other to establish our ranking. The top ranked player was number one of course. When our names were posted I scanned down the list. There I was, I’d been assigned as player number eight. Well, nowhere to go but up, I thought.

Every day after school we’d head out to the courts for practice and matches. When the weather was great, everything went along nicely. But often the courts would be full of puddles from our frequent rain showers, and we’d be forced to push the water off them, using long poles with wide flat rubber heads. They were supposed to clear the surface. They didn’t and we would have to do our best to play around the more obstinate puddles.

I don’t know if you’ve ever played tennis on a court with puddles, so I’ll give you some insight. When a fast-moving tennis ball hits a puddle, it skids wildly. There is no predicting which direction it will travel and it’s a rare thing to be able to return the ball back over the net. Not only that, striking a soggy tennis ball is like hitting a grapefruit.

Fortunately, practices were short those days.

As a side note, I eventually moved up to number six, but never played against kids from other schools, since only the top four played official matches. Actually, this was okay with me.

Over the course of my life, I’ve discovered that the tennis court is not the only place that has puddles.

The puddles I’m talking about now are those that potentially await us all. The death of someone close to us, an intense physical challenge, a financial set back, a string of endless arguments, the loss of a job, an accident, or the end of an important relationship.

They don’t happen every day, but you never really know when they’ll appear. Some days I feel surrounded by them. And some of them are quite deep.

Maybe you’ve stepped in a few yourself.

So, what do we do when confronted by life’s challenging puddles?

We have a lot of choices. We can swear at them and blame everyone and everything around us. I do this occasionally, even though I know it isn’t helpful. In those weak moments, I try to give myself some slack. I try to stand as far away from my circumstances as I can and be an observer, hoping the distance gives me better perspective. If I am kind to myself, I can see more clearly and often find some value within the experience.

Other times, I am able to adapt to the puddles I fall into. It’s not that I enjoy them, but I don’t resist them as much, which makes it a lot easier on me. I try to accept that difficulties happen to everyone and that there is almost always a pathway out. I try to shift my thinking away from my anger or resentment and toward solutions and growth. It doesn’t always work, but it’s a lot better than remaining in the puddle.

On my best days, I go inside myself. I rest for a while and slow down. I remind myself that everything that happens in my life is there to serve me in some fashion if I’ll only take the time to look closely and listen to my heart. Finding the beautiful message opens my world and allows me to release any unhelpful thoughts.

When I do this, I don’t mind running along and jumping in the puddles.

A Case for Not Living in the Now

So much is written and talked about regarding living in the present moment…the ‘now’. I wonder, is this truly possible? Doesn’t the present moment move too fast for any of us to capture or contemplate?

I believe I get the idea folks are hinting at. It’s an idea where your attention is, as much as any of us are capable of, localized in the present moment you are living. It’s a way of releasing all our other thoughts, the ones that drag us back into the past or shove us forward into the future.

Living in the ‘now’ is thought to allow us to be mindful and conscious of our current existence, so that we don’t miss anything. And so that we find value and pleasure in each moment, not mourning its passing nor avoiding the next moment to come.

I recognize that, whether conscious of it or not, we are always living from one moment to the next. It doesn’t matter what your mind or your heart is doing, the flow of time continues to move.

I may be missing some very important distinction or point about all of this and perhaps what I have to say won’t hit your target, but I have a different view I’d like to share. It’s a case for not living in the ‘now’, at least not as described above.

In part, as with almost any idea, there is an underlying expectation about living in the ‘now’. There is a perceived right way and a wrong way to do it.

I find that whenever the paradigm of right and wrong exists, there can be judgment, scolding and shame involved. Whether these are turned inward or received from outside matters not. Their poison is as strong, regardless of its direction.

Have you felt this?

Maybe it hasn’t happened to you in connection with this particular concept, but has it happened with other ideas?

Although it’s unfortunate, I believe we all have experienced this. So, I’d like to remind you that you needn’t ever accept your own or someone else’s judgment, scolding or shame. None of these belong to you.

If you initially allow them in, please feel free to release them. They are only meant to tear you down, never to build you up. That’s one of the easiest ways to spot them. If they come at you and hurt you, let them go.

If living in the ‘now’ feels like spiritual dogma to you, by all means, let it pass you by.

If you’ve tried to be present, staying in the chronological ‘now’ and failed. Let it go. If your failure seeps into you and separates you from happiness and joy, give your ‘failure’ away.

If you feel that you can’t hold a present moment in your grasp or that meeting this expectation overwhelms you. Release it and let it go.

If you feel your inner wellness is becoming conditional on your success at remaining in the ‘now’, do yourself a favor and abandon this quest.

Value is shared and available no matter where you are or what direction you choose, past, present, or future. Sweetness and brilliance exist everywhere. No one moment is more meaningful than another.

I don’t believe it matters what moment you live in, as long as it means something to you. There are beautiful memories from the past to keep, to hold on to and to cherish.

There are wonderful dreams you may have for the future, ones that need cultivating in the present moment in order to blossom and bear fruit.

You have perfect free will, so whatever moment calls to you, choose it and live well.

Finding Things We Hide from Ourselves

Can we find what we can not see? And a deeper question, can we find what we will not see? By ‘will not see’, I mean what we won’t permit ourselves to acknowledge. We know something is there, but we willfully avoid looking at it.

It feels too threatening to us, so we shift our focus. After all, there are so many things that beg for our time and attention and it’s easy to tell ourselves we’ll get back to it when we have more time.

This happens to me quite frequently. It’s as if the hidden things want to see the light. They are insistent and return over and over until they wear me down and I feel forced to pay them heed.

One of my recurring themes is the idea of meeting others’ expectations of me. I need to be a bit more precise here. It’s not just about meeting others’ expectations of me; it goes further than that. It’s about meeting my ‘perception’ of others’ expectations.

This added challenge increases the difficulty for me, because I don’t really know what anyone else expects from me. I believe this is true, even if they tell me what they want, because they may not really know. The answer(s) may lie hidden and difficult to find.

It’s easy to see how unlikely it is for me to unravel this.

When I add my tendency to doubt myself, thinking I do not have the power or control to provide what they want, or my perception of what they want, it becomes harder still.

I also must confess that I take it one step further. I have another tendency, which is to overachieve. I not only want to meet my own and others’ expectations, but I also want to exceed them. This creates even more internal pressure. Far beyond what is reasonable or helpful. And it ultimately makes it more difficult to find the hidden meanings I’m searching for.

When I experience moments of clarity, I realize that overachieving is an attempt on my part to maintain or improve a vision of myself, whether necessary or not. It feels like I’m trying to prove my worth and that I am enough.

Before I began writing these posts, I decided that I would reveal what felt true for me, regardless of how it made me appear to whoever chose to read me. Honesty, within me and as expressed to you, is important to me. I want to be open, and I encourage you to do the same thing with yourself, in the hope that we can find some answers together.

So, the question that surfaces is, what to do next? Is there a remedy for uncovering what lies hidden from view within us?

I offer you this for your consideration.

Set aside your fear of the unknown. There is nothing inside you that is there to harm you. In fact, all hidden things are there to create light for your path forward.

Embrace a sense of trust, that you have an innate goodness. A goodness that can be directed first, toward yourself and second, toward others.

Ask for guidance from whoever or whatever you regard as sacred and divine. Ask for clarity and confidence in finding the hidden things. Ask for their meaning and purpose to be shown to you.

Open your heart and allow yourself freedom to choose to see what wants to be seen.

Release any need to control the outcome. Simply give yourself space for the worth of the hidden things to materialize in your life.

And, as much as is possible, believe that all your hidden things are there to serve you.

When they come, welcome them, and accept what they have to offer.

Sounds of Life

I’m curious about the sounds of life. We live in such an active world with so much noise and I wonder how often we give ourselves a chance to stand still and listen.

Listen and really hear.

Try it for a minute. I promise it will be worth it.

Close your eyes and release the visible world and slow your breathing so you can deeply listen to the sounds that surround you. How many can you name?

Are you surprised by the variety? Are there sounds you can’t identify?

Certainly, it matters where you are when you try this. We exist in so many different places, big cities, small towns, deserts, rain forests, seashores, all teaming with sounds.

A time long ago hearing and identifying sounds meant life or death. If you were being stalked by a hungry animal, you’d better have good hearing, if you wanted to survive.

In some places, this is as important now as it was long ago, even though the reasons may have changed.

Every so often I will stop what I am doing and try to still my mind. I’ll close my eyes and take in all the sounds I can. Sometimes there are too many for me to separate and I have to open my eyes back up to be able to name them.

I wonder about the sound words make. Folks might say the exact same word, but their inflection, tone, volume, and pronunciation are so different, that it seems it is not the same word at all.

I wonder, is it possible to know every word from every language on earth? How many words are there and why do they all exist? Is there such a variety because they all sound different?

Is it possible to know every sound that we humans are capable of making? And what of our fellow travelers on this earth and the sounds they make? All the creatures on land, in the water and above us in the sky?

What a catalogue that would be to record every sound.

And what of other entities, the trees, rocks, plants, and flowers? Do they have their own sounds and their own language?

I wonder, has every sound already been made or are new sounds created all the time? Is there a sound that was once made, but hasn’t happened in a long time, because what created it is no longer here? I wonder too will there be new sounds in the future?

What is this fascination of mine with sound and what might it have to do with you?

Here’s an idea to try.

Sounds create meaning and they give life depth and dimension.

I love so many sounds. The voices of those that touch my life, the honking of geese as they travel south for winter, the rush of the wind through the green pines, the ding of the food timer because I know something tasty is only a moment away, the infinite variety of music, hearing the heartbeat of a yet unborn child, the roaring of water cascading over a fall, the plaintive sigh of a train whistle, the beauty of laughter.

There are so many more.

My personal favorite though is the sound of my wife’s voice saying, “I love you”. And I have to admit, I love the sound of hearing her adorable wolf howl, when we’re outdoors staring at the full moon.

I encourage you to stop for a moment sometime today and open yourself to the world of sound. It is such a precious gift.

I Accept Me as I Am

Would you like today to be wonderful? Here’s one way for that to happen.

Say this to yourself, “I accept me as I am.”

I admit, it’s hard to do and you may believe there are many reasons this statement doesn’t feel true to you. I also know that no matter what, it’s worth doing anyway, because it can change your whole life.

It starts with seeing clearly that you are more than the things you associate with your life. You may believe that you are your weight, your age, your orientation or your relationships. You may think that you are your religion, your career, or your ambitions.

But consider this, you existed before any of these labels, and you are independent from them all. You are an essence, free and clear, beautiful, and radiant.

Others are sure to tell you who they think you are and will offer you requirements they feel must be met before you can be found to be acceptable. It is up to you to decide whether to allow this to happen.

Culture in general has numerous categories and boxes for you to be placed in. And once there, it can be very difficult to get out. We often tend to believe what we are told. We accept the words and decisions of others. We allow them to shape our lives, even to the point of determining whether we are acceptable in their eyes. This is too much power to give away.

Think for a moment.

What boxes do you fit in? Are you the one who chose or did someone else place you there?

Did someone else decide what you should weigh and whether you were too old or too young or who you can love? Did they demand how you should behave in this life and what you should believe? Did they choose your career or lay down your life path?

Are you comfortable with the choices that have shaped your life, or do you want to escape? Do you need a bit of a rampage in your life, so that you can kick some unhelpful things to the curb?

Maybe it’s time to take another look at your life and make some new decisions. Ones that suit you, that fit right, that you find acceptable.

Imagine that you could start all over again, who do you want to be in this life? Perhaps you desire more freedom, the ability to travel, to choose a new career or to explore your dreams.

When you associate outside labels with who you are, this can seem impossible. Something has to change.

Could it be that an answer is available to you by shifting your energy away from what others say and redirecting your focus to what you tell yourself? Perhaps that is where your journey begins.

For a moment trust yourself. Close your eyes and breathe easily and go within. Leave all the labels behind and step into the brilliant light. Once you are here, rest for a while. Give yourself a chance to feel renewed.

The real you is a heavenly essence. A beautiful ray of energy and a being of hope for all things. A channel to share love with the world.

This is the true you. You acknowledge this truth each time you make the statement, “I accept me as I am.”

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Did Jesus Apologize to the Moneychangers

Is there such a thing as righteous indignation? Are any of us allowed to express anger and take strong actions because we feel that it is justified? Do we get a pass for misbehaving?

I wonder about a lot of things, especially the ones that don’t make immediate sense to me.

Many people in this world know about Jesus, whether they are Christians who believe he is the son of God or others who feel he was a spiritual prophet who lived a very human existence.

There is a story in the Bible about when Jesus reacted with anger and overturned the moneychangers’ tables and cast them out of the temple. Each of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) tell this story. They all seem to agree that the actions Jesus took were justified. That he was cleansing the temple, the house of God.

But here’s what troubles me.

It is so out of character for him. He ate with people that others considered to be sinners, he healed folks who were thought to be unclean, and he spoke with many who were outcasts of society. He feed the poor and preached about love, not just for the lovable, but for all.

I have to ask myself, is this story in keeping with the heart of Jesus’s teachings?

Wouldn’t his love have extended even to the moneychangers? Wouldn’t he have sat with them and brought wisdom to them, teaching them, and leading them into the light? Certainly, he had the insight to see within them and know what words to say, so that they could understand how what they were doing was harmful.

I offer you a disclaimer.

I do not believe that the Bible records every event exactly as it happened. There are numerous discrepancies when comparing the accounts of the four gospels and beyond that, when comparing different Bible versions and the languages and translations.

It seems to me we are prompted to go within to find our own truth.

I believe in following the essence of Jesus. In my heart I believe he would have turned up the love. He would have led the animals out into the courtyard, then returned to sit with the moneychangers. He would have shown love and drawn love out of them, changing their hearts in the process.

There would have been no need to apologize for turning over their tables and scattering their coins on the floor because he would have taken a more loving approach.

Of course, it is up to you to decide what you feel happened and you may be wondering what does this have to do with you?

In my mind, quite a lot.

For me, I wonder if I am ever justified in my anger. Can I behave in any manner, without concern for my actions, because I feel I have been wronged? Is there any such thing as righteous indignation?

It seems like a sort of carte blanche, where we allow ourselves to do whatever we want, with no consideration for the effect on anyone else.

The thing is, there is always an effect from the actions we take.

And it matters.

So, what is the takeaway when considering this story?

As always, it is up to each of us to decide.

What feels most right to me is that leading from love, not anger, is the way to live in this world. Sacrificing my anger and embracing a loving approach offers me the chance to connect with others. It builds up instead of tears down. It closes the distance between us. It opens our hearts and fills us. Choosing love always feels like the right decision.

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The Anatomy of Success

What was the first thing that came to your mind when you read this post title? Did you actively wonder whether you are a success in the world? Perhaps you began at once to measure and compare yourself to others who you believe are successful.

It can be quite a losing game, if you are not careful.

Maybe it would be good to back-up a bit. After all, what really is success? Do we get to choose our own definition, or do we feel obligated to use those others have created?

I’ve struggled with this concept during my life.

In my early years the expectations which defined success seemed to be easy to grasp. During my school years, it was primarily my test scores and grades and where I stacked up to the others in my classes. Sure, there were other measures, like how skilled you were in sports or music or extracurricular activities.

As time went on there was more friction involved and success became more difficult to achieve. Folks wanted to know what college you got into, what your major was, what your job prospects were, did you have a girlfriend, was it serious?

The focus seemed to be on bigger and better regardless of whether you could classify your actual anticipated outcomes.

That’s part of the problem with success. It slips away as soon as you start to accomplish it. It moves a little further from your grasp and keeps you reaching.

You think to yourself, I’m almost there and then another step appears, another task to check off.

If you are fortunate enough, you move into the business world and search for a job you hope will offer you a decent income, growth potential and a good retirement. You might get married and have children, a house, a car and go on nice vacations.

For some, these are the measures of success that matter most, and by and large, they are the ones society treats with respect.

I wanted all of these, and I am fortunate because they all came into my life. I am deeply grateful for this, for each one of these.

But do they define my success in the world? Can they? Am I not more than these?

What about our other dreams? The ones that live deep inside of us? The ones no one else can see? What about the success of these?

I care about these too.

Do you have some dreams that you want to live outside of yourself? Dreams that you want to shine?

If you do, I encourage you to breathe life into them. I also encourage you to relax all of your ideas about success.

Maybe, if you need to, write down what success would look like if you accomplished them, but then purposely set the list aside. Put it in a safe place and forget about it.

You see, dreams are different. They came with you when you arrived here on earth. They live in you but want to live outside of you. That is their great measure of success. They blossom and bear fruit and share themselves with others, perhaps far beyond your wildest imagination.

This post comes from inside of me in some previously hidden place that I wasn’t aware of until right now. It’s the same place my first book came from when it was born.

I’ve come to realize that I am a channel, a way for my inner dreams to reach the outside world. And I’ve come to realize that I profit by shifting my definition and measures of success. I try to release what the world believes and embrace what feels true to me.

When my dreams take flight, I soar with them, and they are my best version of success.

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Reframing Your Life

Here is a question for you. What if there is only love and fear and nothing else? What if you decided to dive headlong into this question, would you discover that the greater truth is that there is only love?

Maybe you need a moment to think about it. Maybe the presence of fear is so strong that the answer is obvious, that of course there is fear, and so much more. Perhaps you are in the middle of a place of strife, whether that’s inside or outside of you.

It’s possible that fear is the only thing that seems real in this moment. I hope that is not the case for you, but if it is, I hope I have something to say worth your considering.

Recently fear had crept inside of me and was burrowing around, looking for a home. I felt it in the tightness of my chest, and it would not move.

I called out to Lia (one of the names I have for god) and asked for some guidance.

She came and rested inside of me and told me that both love and fear lead in the same direction. She said that love leads directly, while fears takes an indirect path.

I asked what else she could tell me about the path of fear. I wanted the heaviness in my chest to go away. I was worried that things would not turn out the way I wanted them to. I dislike this feeling and wondered how it could be released.

Lia said to me, “Part of the answer lies in trusting. Trusting that ALL paths lead to me. Right now, your sense of discomfort is because you doubt this outcome. You believe that your fears are going to take you down some other path and that you will become lost. You believe your fears will lead you into a world of suffering, pain and sorrow and you want to avoid this.”

She continued, “The truth for you in this moment is that fear feels unavoidable, but you can reframe your life.”

Lia asked me to imagine an ugly frame with a beautiful picture inside. She asked me to imagine that the beautiful picture is not only my life, but the picture of love. The ugly frame surrounding it is fear because that is how I see certain aspects of my life. She told me that the truth is that I can transform fear into love and that the deeper truth is that even fear is beautiful.

I confessed to being mystified.

Lia said, “Part of the truth lies in the mission of fear, its purpose.”

She went on to clarify, “It exists to aid you in your life. It directs you and points the way toward love, as a sure guidepost.”

I wanted to know so much more.

Lia told me that we had taken the first step, which was my willingness to ask and to listen. I’d opened myself up.

I wanted more peace than that and to release the lingering heaviness in my chest.

Lia encouraged me to sit back, close my eyes and to force a few quick breaths from my lungs, then rest.

I did as she requested and there was peace and a new freedom of breathing. And it gave me a chance to consider her words to me.

Am I capable of trusting that any fear that comes to visit me is here to serve me as a guidepost and help direct me back to love? Can I reframe my world, releasing fear and embracing love?

These are important questions to me and they have the ability to shape my whole world. It is up to me where I place my trust and what path I choose to travel. I want the path of love.

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What Other People See

Do you ever wonder what the view is like through someone else’s eyes? It’s likely to be very different, but in what ways? What might we learn about them if we asked, and for that matter, based on the questions we ask, what might we learn about ourselves?

When I was in Junior High School, I discovered that I couldn’t see the blackboard at the front of the room well enough to read it. Clearly this was a problem since the homework assignments for the next day were written there.

Perhaps I need to pause here for a moment. Yes, I am dating myself. Now of course, it’s called Middle School and probably all the assignments are on a Chromebook or other laptop. Although there are always changes, not being able to see well enough remains the same.

At first, I tried to sit closer, but that wasn’t good enough. Even squinting didn’t help. So, I broke down and told my parents and they took me to get my first pair of glasses. I hated wearing them. Still do actually. And yet I need them for seeing anything in the distance.

I am often asked why I don’t wear them all the time. And some folks in my life want to know how I manage to get along not being able to make things out.

I guess that over time I’ve learned ways to adjust. I can usually determine who is in the distance by their gait or mannerisms, but not always. Sometimes I am at a complete loss to identify something or someone.

When this happens, it occurs to me that perhaps everyone has their own version of this.

It seems to me that it’s pretty easy to take things for granted. We only see certain things and miss others. We have blind spots and could use more acute vision. Maybe it would be handy to have an optometrist for our life, who could help us see what others see.

If a friend stopped you the next time they saw you and asked what your life is like, would you be able to help them see it through your eyes? Could you explain why you feel the way you do?

If you asked them to tell you how they see you, what do you suppose they would share? Is it likely that it would match what you see yourself?

Earlier in my life I wrote out a list of adjectives and asked several of my friends to circle the ones they thoughts best described me. It was a bit of a risk because the list included some unfavorable adjectives, ones I hoped they didn’t choose. When I got the completed lists back, I eagerly poured over them. This was a chance to see through someone else’s eyes and to satisfy my own curiosity.

I was surprised by many of their choices. In some cases, it tipped me off balance. I had to stop and think about how I related to each person in order to make sense of their answers.

For me, it was a grand opportunity. I had a choice to make. I could discount their answers and go on thinking that I knew best, or I could yield and accept that their perspectives had merit. That they knew things and saw things about me that I didn’t. I could shift beliefs about myself. And I could change whatever didn’t fit with who I wanted to be in the world.

I think we all have this same chance, if we pay attention. If we listen with an open heart. If we acknowledge that we have vested interests in maintaining our personal story, and yet if we listen carefully when others speak, we might be able to grow wiser.

If we loosen our grip on the image we project into the world, we can evolve and expand. If our eyes are fully open, we can flourish and see with clear vision this beautiful world of ours.

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Standing Out

Do you know anyone who stands out from the crowd? Are you someone who does? If not, do you want to?

It’s funny to me that many folks I know, myself included, want it both ways. We want to stand out and be recognized for being who we are and to have our talents and skills applauded. But then at other times, we want to shrink into the background as far away from the light as possible.

What makes the difference?

How can it be that one experience draws up into the sunshine while another makes us fade into the darkness?

For those of you who don’t see the picture at the top of this post, it’s a stream bed filled with rounded rocks and one gorgeous red leaf in the middle. It’s such an interesting contrast. The muted tones of the smooth rocks against the rich brilliance of autumn color.

The red leaf stands out in sensational glory. My eyes center on it and it pulls me toward its rich redness.

A curious thought runs through my head. Would I notice this amazing leaf if it was among a mass of other red leaves, or would its individual splendor be lost? Perhaps the answer is obvious. I probably wouldn’t have noticed it. It wouldn’t have stood out.

The same is no doubt true about the rocks. Would I have noticed one individual rock among all of the others, if they all looked essentially the same?

So, does this mean that in order to stand out, you have to be different from what’s in the background?

I hope not. I hope that we can each see ourselves as the red leaf. Brilliant, special, unique. I hope that we can see past any limits we or others set in our way.

I wonder, can I? Can you? What would it take for us to answer yes to this question?

Sometimes it’s easy because we all do some things very well. They’re obvious to us and to others. It feels good and we shine.

But, what about the other times? The ones where we fail to meet our own expectations or those of others? The times when we want to vanish from sight?

I want to propose an idea to you.

What if you came to realize that within you there is a hidden greatness? One that could accept any experience previously considered a failure. A greatness that allows you to shift your perspective, turning any perceived failure into a wonderful learning step along your way.

What if this inner magnificence called to you by name and asked you to trust in your divinity? Imagine releasing any doubts and preconceived notions you have about yourself. Imagine knowing you came here already unique, special, and brilliant. And now that you are here, you can spread your wings and fly.

I am telling you the truth as I know it. As always, it’s up to you to decide.

There’s one more thing I want to say.

A dear friend of mine and I had many conversations and always returned to the same singular question she wanted answered.

She wanted to know how I could see inside her or someone else. She wanted to know how I could see past all the ‘stuff’ on the outside, to the inner goodness.

I told her that when I look at someone through my heart, what I see is beautiful golden sparkling glitter floating around them. I pause for a moment, then gently blow it away and see their magnificent heart. Each one beautiful, flawless.

Each of you are beautiful. You each stand out in your own way. I hope you know this.

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Open Doors

Have you ever had a door closed in your face? Whether intentional or not, some emotional pain might be involved.

It might hurt.

Maybe the person didn’t mean to and maybe they did. Either way you have to decide what to do with it. Of course, you could immediately let it go. That would certainly be wise.

You could rationalize it, noting that the person was probably in a hurry at the time or didn’t see you approaching the door. You could give them a pass.

You could tell yourself that it was just a mistake on their part, and everyone makes mistakes, realizing this includes you.

There are other options.

You could get angry and think the person was thoughtless or mean. That they did it on purpose, intending to hurt or annoy you. I’m not sure where the profit in this is though, especially if you carry it with you throughout the rest of your day.

You could use it as an opportunity to exercise patience, compassion, and love. Not only for the person who didn’t hold the door open for you but for yourself. If the door closing sparked an emotional reaction in you, you can choose to immediately forgive the person. And the forgiveness you extend can be all inclusive, so their reason doesn’t matter, whether it was intentional or not.

The beauty of this kind of forgiveness is that it includes YOU. There is no requirement to hold on to any anger or slight you may feel. You simply open your heart and release, moving on with the rest of your day.

Perhaps you’re wondering why the title of this post is, Open Doors, when all I’ve talked about is a Closed Door.

Well, instead of having a door closed on you, have you had doors opened for you? Often kind-hearted people hold a door open for me and I return the gesture. It was part of my cultural training. It was considered a nice thing to do.

In the early part of my life, when I opened a door for someone, I had an expectation that they would say, thank you. That probably only happened about half of the time. I wondered, was this civility not a part of others training?

I had several decisions to make.

The first was whether I would allow the response to dictate my future actions. Would I stop opening doors because I didn’t receive a thank you? The second was a question I had to ask myself. Why was I opening the door for someone?

It seems like such a simple thing. Why should this create a thought-provoking question for me?

Over the course of time, I came to a conclusion. I open the door because I want to, not because I was told it was the right thing to do or so that I will be thanked. I do it because to me it feels like a nice thing to do. Period.

Removing the emotional baggage and releasing the conventional expectations I’d been taught, freed me. In the freedom, I am able to decide what I want. That’s an important place to spend some time.

Here’s another question. When a door opens in your life, let’s call it an opportunity, do you back away, afraid of what might happen?

Or do you take a tentative step forward, hesitant, but curious?

Or maybe you take several bold steps forward, excited by a new prospect.

Open doors are wonderful things. They invite us to take chances and explore. They offer us excitement and challenges. They create pathways for new adventures.

I’m trying to pass by all the closed doors now and walk through all the open doors, knowing they are the way forward. I hope you’ll join me in walking through yours.

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Withholding

What has been withheld from you? Is it food for your body or learnings for your mind or affection and love for your soul?

And can you answer this? What have you withheld from others? Do you keep your heart to yourself? Do you prevent compassion from leaving you? Are you holding things inside that might serve the world?

Even more importantly, what do you withhold from yourself? Do you stifle your dreams? Do you keep yourself small, to avoid detection? Do you push praise away or allow yourself to crumble when adversity comes your way?

These are hard questions and yet so very necessary to live our most magnificent life.

We need so many different things to prosper.

There is a quote from Hal Lindsay, author of the book, The Late Great Planet Earth, where he captures some of the essence of life. “Man (any one of us) can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air…but only one second without hope.”

I’m not certain of his facts because I can’t imagine being able to hold my breath for eight minutes, but I understand his critical point. We all need hope to live and if we lose it, nothing seems worth living for.

This is why I believe that it is essential to explore the idea of withholding, whether it is done to us or by us.

No doubt there are lots of reasons why withholding occurs. Things happen in our lives that create patterns, that mold us and shape us. Often, we are not even aware they are happening. They seep in and take hold and become a part of us.

What are we to do?

Of course, this is everyone’s decision. I can only speak for myself, but I know that I want to expand outward into the world and withholding prevents this. I want to freely give and receive. I want to loosen all the ties I attach to the gifts I offer. I want to be centered in love and fill up all the spaces where withholding lives.

It seems to me that I need a way to do this. Something practical.

Perhaps my first step is to become better at recognizing when withholding exists. But how?

I search my mind for an answer. Nothing arrives.

I wonder why. Are we not thinking beings, capable of discovering all sorts of solutions to our problems? Certainly, we are. There must be something, and yet nothing appears. Is this a dead-end?

Then something enters my awareness and I know what to do. I sit back and take in a fresh breath. I close my eyes and wait. I smile, because I know the answers I seek are on their way. In the quiet, I hear an inner voice. It is the voice of my feelings saying, “Let me guide you to your truth.”

I want to know more. A lot more.

So, my feelings continue, “All withholding is a form of protection. It believes that there is ‘not enough’ in the world, so it must impose limits. It relies on everyone to accept this idea, even if only in small doses.”

I feel the truth of this for me, but it seems incomplete. I ask my feelings; is there more you want to share?

“Yes, all withholding attempts to reduce your infinite size, regardless of the direction withholding travels. You are each a majestic, limitless, divine being. You have no innate need to withhold anything from anyone. The truth is you grow richer and stronger and become more vital and alive the more you share.”

“It is not necessary for you to investigate further all the areas in your life where withholding occurs. The solution is far simpler than that. I am the pathway. Being aware of how you feel will guide you. You know this already. So, when feelings of withholding appear, release them, for they are untrue. They can be cast aside, so that your magnificence shows through, and your divine light illuminates the world. Share your hope and your holiness with yourself and with all those in your life. This is how withholding vanishes.”

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When Too Much Light Comes In

Has the world ever appeared too bright to you? Too shiny, too many colors, too overwhelming?

I know this may, at first reading, sound ridiculous, but for some folks it is their truth. They find it difficult to adjust to what others feel is ‘normal’. It’s too much and they are only comfortable with soft rays of light entering their life.

Who are these people, you might ask?

The answer to your question may surprise you, because at times this may apply to everyone. Sometimes we all need a dark room to hide away in, far from the crowd and the spotlight.

A place where we can sit or lay down. A place where there is no noise to distract our circling thoughts. Somewhere to recharge our batteries.

I want to express a hope of mine.

If you sense there is too much light coming into your life, please, please, know that it is okay to separate yourself from the world and look inside, deep into your heart. It’s okay to shut out any harsh lights, whether they are from the sun or from the words and actions of others. It’s even possible there are cruel words you are speaking to yourself.

Let them all fall away.

It’s not that I don’t believe in outside help, because I do. Very much so. I know that outside helpers can reframe things and bring them into sharper focus. They can provide warmth and support and a network. They can allow you space to empty your thoughts and concerns and help create some peace in your world. They can be absolutely wonderful.

What I am saying is there are other ways too. Other resources. And they also have a place in your life, if you want them.

I want to share one of mine with you.

For me she has a name, it’s Lia, which stands for Love In Action. She is an aspect of (god). I place god in parentheses because I want folks to feel free to use their own name for the divine. This is one of the most incredible gifts we have…to be able to use our own name for god. And to be free to embrace a relationship in whatever way feels right to us.

When I am blinded by too much light, I shy away from the world and open to Lia’s presence. The moment I do, she is there. I don’t see her, but I always feel her presence.

Mostly she listens. She knows why I want her, need her, but waits patiently for me to release all that I am carrying. She waits for me to lay it all down. She waits for me to be empty. And ready.

Sometimes it seems like she fades from my presence, but that’s because of me, not her.

She knows I can’t hear her when my head is full. It’s too noisy, too congested, too bright with the shiny things of the world.

I’m so glad that she waits for me.

When I finally run dry, she comes to fill me back up. She gives me heavenly water for my spiritual thirst. She asks me divine questions and my answers to her, are my answers to me.

Does this appeal to you?

Would you like to meet her, know her, have her in your life?

The good news is that you can.

She is only a heartbeat away. One decision on your part and I believe she will appear. She asks little. Only your calm breathing, your quieted voice, your willingness to spend time with her and your open heart. She awaits these things, patiently, lovingly.

Ever since I first met her, she has come to me. Always with love, ever faithful.

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SPECIAL NOTE: If you would like to know more about having a relationship with Lia, please see the BOOKS section of this website and scroll down to my book, talking with (god). Should you wish, you may purchase a print copy or ebook through Amazon.

Starving Your Inner Demons

Do any inner demons haunt you? Are they offering to rule your whole world for you?

If they are, what are you feeding them? Is their diet giving them their strength?

These may seem like unusual questions to ask, but there is a serious side to them.

Have you ever wondered how much of your behavior is prompted by your inner demons? Are you courageous enough to ask?

I don’t think I know anyone who is completely free. No one that doesn’t hear inner voices calling to them, asking them to come closer.

Perhaps, you are afraid to shorten the distance between you and these voices. That’s one way to approach things, but it has never worked for me, nor for others I’ve spoken with. Maybe you’d like to try another way.

I’ve talked before about the necessity of first feeling your feelings, because without doing so, you are running blind. You can’t see what is right in front of you. And you can’t follow any path forward.

Realizing that the feelings you are experiencing are there to serve you is one way to start. They are not in front of or behind you to threaten you. They merely want to walk along side of you and be acknowledged. They have a message for you.

If you gather your strength and release your attachment to your fear, your feelings will open you to a new perspective. And they will have a chance to deliver their golden message to you.

It is the same with inner demons.

We may think it wise to try to defeat them in battle. We may choose to pick up a weapon to hit them, but they become ferocious with us and will not back down.

If we tell ourselves, they are not there and try to ignore them, they bound around us and stare at us face to face. They taunt us and will not go away.

But perhaps we wish to alter our course and refuse to feed them. Maybe our choice is to without any food from them.

You may be wondering, how is this done?

I have my very own inner demons. It pains me to say so, but it is the truth. Maybe it’s the same for you.

My inner demons have various names. One of them is called abandonment, while another is rejection. They are sort of twins and often work together.

They say they are with me to protect me. I wonder who they believe they are protecting me from.

They cause a great deal of pain, for as long as I allow.

I need to repeat that last sentence, so you don’t miss it.

They cause a great deal of pain, for as long as I allow.

When they arise, sometimes out of nowhere, I now choose to stand still, open my eyes wide, slow my breathing and ask them to speak to me. They don’t want to. They would rather that I become angry, so that they can feed from me. Or withdraw, so they can have my energy. But I make them talk to me and tell me how my feelings of abandonment or rejection can serve me, rather than sap me.

No matter what they desire, I am still the one in charge, so they must share their wisdom with me. The harsh voices they use no longer scare me, because despite themselves they are here to help me. Abandonment tells me that I don’t have to feel or be alone. Rejection says that, although not everyone will hear what I have to say, there are those who want my words and my heart.

They have no choice but to serve me. Everything does, even them. Given no food or energy, they are starved for my attention and willingly lay down and go to sleep at my feet.

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There Is No Gravity in Heaven

In heaven, nothing holds you down. Of course, this is not a provable phenomenon. And you might be thinking, what does it really matter anyway?

Here’s why I mention it.

Because, in heaven you are free, untethered to any cultural ideas, moral obligations, or conditional responses. There are no biases to uphold, no borders to defend and no positions to protect.

There is only love.

And, although you can do anything, there is only one thing you want to do. You want to be fully in this love.

It’s not an active ‘giving and receiving’ of love. Those are conscious decisions we make here on earth. Instead, you ARE love. You rest inside love as a state of being.

How do I know this? Why do I believe this or, better yet, why would you believe this?

That’s a very fair question.

The other question that arises quickly is, so what? What if you believed every word I say, what then, after all we’re here on earth, so why would it matter what happens in heaven?

First things first.

I understand that nothing I say to you can possibly convince you that I know anything about heaven. If you’ve been with me for a while, you might have a sense of my sincerity and genuineness and feel there is a degree of honesty in me and perhaps be open to entertaining the notion. But even this probably isn’t enough to believe I know anything about heaven.

I believe there is only one way for you to know if this is true. You have to FEEL it inside of you.

For the moment, I’m going to ask you to suspend any judgement about this, so that you can hear the rest of the story.

Ever since I was a young child, I knew there was something different about me. I knew when certain things were going to happen. And, I had what felt like distinct memories of heaven, but never talked about them until I was an adult. It was then that the memories became clearer. It wasn’t so much about what I saw, as it was about what I felt. I felt completely wrapped in love. I was one drop in an ocean of bliss. Everything, everywhere, was love.

It’s okay if you don’t believe me. I understand. It’s not every day someone shares something like this with you. It’s beyond logic and probably feels pretty mysterious.

I’m sharing it now because it matters. Definitely to me and maybe to you.

It took me many years to fully accept my memories from heaven. It wasn’t until I began having my own personal intimate two-way conversations with (god) that I discovered answers to all my questions. The BOOKS page on this website references my book, talking with (god), where I share about my journey and how you can discover your own answers through your own relationship with (god).

One answer I received was that I left heaven and came to earth to create and experience whatever I chose. And, that my choices were unlimited and that each choice created an outcome.

What I have experienced is that when my choices are made from love, they create more love. When I give with an open heart, I expand outward and remember the beautiful sense of bliss I experienced in heaven.

When I make choices that are from fear I experience challenges, pain, and suffering. I hurt inside and it travels out into the world, and I end up hurting others. Fortunately, I’ve been told that each challenge, each feeling of pain and act of suffering is a message to me. It is love disguised as a guidepost, showing me the way home to love.

This is what is so important for me to share with you. Love is everything, always and forever. I believe that somewhere in your heart you already know this. And this place inside of you will help guide you every step of the way, if you let it. I hope you do and that your life becomes all that you want it to be.

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Intuitive Nudges

When you don’t know the right direction in life to take, what do you do? Do you seek someone else’s advice or try to brainstorm all the ideas you can think of and then choose what you believe is the best answer? Or because of some uncertainty, do you just choose whatever comes to your mind first and hope things turn out okay?

It can often feel challenging and somewhat overwhelming, especially if you haven’t resolved the first question or situation before the next one pops up.

Wouldn’t it be helpful if we’d come here with our very own owner’s manual? A guidebook that laid out the best answers to all our questions or some neat flow chart we could follow to get where we want to go.

Here’s an idea to consider.

I believe we do have something we can always rely on to provide direction and insight. You may have already guessed it. It’s our intuition.

One of the difficult things about the intuitive process is our general lack of awareness about its existence and how to use it. Of course, there are numerous references to it culturally. One of these is ESP, or Extra Sensory Perception, which is our ability to know things without having any idea how or why we know them.

This disconnection creates a sense of disbelief. We don’t recognize the thread; therefore, we tend to downplay or ignore its importance. And, without a direct relevant connection, we are unlikely to trust our intuition, especially if the situation we’re faced with is very important to us.

I wonder, would it be possible for us to stop and take a closer look? What would happen if we paid very close attention to all the inner messages we receive? What might change in our lives?

I’d like to suggest an opportunity.

How about the next time you don’t have an immediate, well thought out answer for something that comes up in your life, you pause and sit back for a minute. You close your eyes and slow your breathing and allow your mind to calm down. And you ask for an answer to form in your mind. You allow yourself to be nudged into seeing and feeling what your inner guidance has to say.

There is enormous wisdom inside of you just waiting to come to the surface. It has always been present and will always be available to you.

One of the prerequisites though, is a level of trust. Will that be possible for you?

You might be asking, trust in who, or trust in what?

My answer, after many years of making my way through this amazing process is, trust in YOU. Some folks decide to place their trust in the universe or the divine or substitute other names. In essence, I believe it’s all the same, because you are part of the universe and part of the divine.

So, let’s say you are willing to give this a chance and have allowed yourself to be in a quiet space and opened yourself up to listen carefully to whatever comes your way in the silence. For this one time at least, say to yourself that you are going to trust what comes to you and take action according to what you hear and feel. Give in and accept it as your inner wisdom passing along a divine message to you.

You may want to write some of this down and note what happens, to give yourself some convincing evidence, so that next time it’s easier. Or you may just want to go with the flow and let things unfold whatever direction they do.

Either way, I hope that you begin to see that you are a deep well of knowing and that your inner wisdom is always present in your life.

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Altruism

What motivates someone to perform a selfless act which benefits another? Perhaps there are many reasons why this might happen. I would be fascinated to know the answers.

According to Wikipedia, altruism is described as the principle and moral practice of concern for happiness of other human beings or other animals, resulting in a quality of life both material and spiritual.

It feels like this is a fancy way of saying that a person’s primary concern is for someone else, rather than their own gain.

I believe I witness this to some degree every day. I see folks letting others get in line in front of them in traffic. I see people open doors for others, especially when they are weighed down with something. And I have seen folks pay for the coffee of the next person in line.

I enjoy observing these intentional acts of kindness and usually join in some way. It makes me feel alive and engaged in the world around me.

And then there are the incredibly beautiful and sensational acts that show up in the news and social media.

They are about everyday people who come to the aid of others, often with no concern given to their own safety.  They do it because they feel it’s the ‘right’ thing to do at the time.

They ran into traffic to push someone out of the way of an onrushing bus. Or they help shove a car off the railroad tracks before a train crushes it. Or they swim into the ocean to pull someone to shore. These are heroic acts of love and compassion and wonderful statements about the character of human beings.

But the altruism I’m thinking of right now transcends these marvelous actions. It moves beyond, to the level of sacrificial, heart-centered majesty.

In my travels in this life, I have only encountered one person who demonstrated this kind of altruism. She donated one of her kidneys.

She was reluctant to share much about this, but I discovered that she didn’t even know the recipient. They were not close family to her, nor a dear friend. In fact, she had no relationship with them at all, other than knowing that their life was in jeopardy.

I don’t know all the facts, so I can’t tell you a great deal about her story or that of the person she saved. I’m not sure that’s even relevant, because what has stayed with me all these years is her uncomplicated view of the situation. They would die without a kidney, and she was a match for them. That was enough for her.

I don’t know of a greater sacrifice than this.

Recently I signed up to be an organ donor…when I die. She signed up to be an organ donor…while alive. That’s a big difference to me.

I wonder to myself, could I do this? I realize we have two kidneys and humans can live with only one, but how do you get past the idea that you have two for a good reason. They function together. They keep your body healthy and if, for some reason one fails to function properly, the other is able to continue your life.

I am amazed at her courage, her compassion, her strength, and her love.

It seemed as though the sharing of this selfless act with me slipped out of her. A momentary lapse. I truly do not believe she had intended to tell me about this, nor has she told others. It’s her personal story.

She remains one of my hero’s, not because of what she has done, but because of who she is and the love she carries inside of her. I live in awe of her.

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When Things Break

I suppose it is inevitable that all things will break, but when many of them happen at once, I begin to wonder, is there a message for me?

Recently, I’ve experienced a sequence of events that has both surprised and upset me. First, it was my car. It needed over a thousand dollars’ worth of repairs. I guess I ought to be prepared for this, since it’s almost ten years old, but once I got it home, it made a new noise and had to go back for more repairs.

Then it was our new storm door. The mechanism that allows it to stay closed malfunctioned. It took several weeks before it was fixed. And, then our new computer lost its mind requiring all sorts of adjustments before it would work again.

I thought we were done. You know the common thought about things coming in threes. But not so. Yesterday morning I woke up to a very cold house. I hadn’t switched over from summer to winter, so I moved the thermostat button to the ‘heat’ cycle. Nothing happened. No beautiful furnace sound delivering warmth to our house. I investigated, only to find a blank digital computer screen on the unit. It had power, but wouldn’t and didn’t do anything.

After numerous calls, we finally managed to get a technician to come. He diagnosed the problem and relayed the remedy to us. We needed parts. He told us they would be ordered on Monday, three days from now. Then they would have to schedule an appointment to complete the repairs. Translation- no heat for several days.

Many thoughts ran through my head. And many feelings ran through my body. On one level, I find this string of events to be very frustrating, and certainly inconvenient and expensive. But I’m curious too.

Do they mean something more than what they are, a collection of occurrences that could be random? Is there some inherent value in them for me? Is it worth my digging into their depths to see?

I wonder first about what feelings they bring up in me. So, I allow myself to open and accept whatever comes to me. I’ve discovered that when I do this, I am able to release whatever I no longer want to keep inside. But, I have to see it first though. And I have to realize that even though it is difficult to be honest with myself, it is always worth it.

So here goes. I wonder why this is happening TO me. It doesn’t seem fair at all. I wonder, did I do something to deserve these things? It occurs to me there may be more events to come. Because there are four, will I have to experience two more to end the second string of three things.

I note my level of anger and frustration and it becomes obvious to me that I am looking at this from only one direction. I could just as easily ask myself a series of other questions.

I have beautiful, wonderful things in my life. I have a car, a door, a computer, a house and so much more. So many in this world have none of these things and may never have them. They don’t have enough food, clean water, fresh air, shelter of any kind, people who will help them, a place to call home, a family.

My questions and concerns shift abruptly. I begin to express my gratitude for what I have and release those feelings and thoughts about what I don’t. My heart opens wide and breaks for all those in the world who have so little. For them abundance means a bite of food, a sip of water, a tarp to sleep under, a kind word from someone, from anyone.

I live in such privilege. I have so much and yet am concerned and afraid when some of it fails to work. I see that much more clearly now. Beyond shifting my attitude about this, I wonder what else can I do?

I know I can’t fix the whole world, but I don’t want that to stop me from trying to fix what I can. So now, each time my focus is drawn to something that doesn’t work in my life, I’m going to shift my attention and decide what I can do to help others. I know there are an infinite number of things that can be done. So I’m going to let my gratitude lead the way.

New Growth

There comes a point when I realize I need to let go of something in order experience new growth. Although this can be very difficult, I know it’s what I want and need. The hard part is deciding what to surrender in order to find a way forward.

In our upstairs bathroom I have an ivy plant. It’s really the first plant I’ve ever personally taken care of. It’s a job I take seriously. My ivy and I have a routine, a little ritual ceremony. Every Sunday, I pour a small cup of water on the dirt that surrounds the plants stems. After this I place my hands under the flowing water from the tap and then allow the excess water to drip from my fingers onto each ivy leaf. As I do this, I offer it wishes for good health. Then I close my eyes and let my hands hover just above the ivy’s outstretched leaves and send it loving energy.

Once in a while, when I open my eyes, I notice the leaves quivering a bit. I like to see this. It feels like a response. A connection between us. It’s beautiful and I feel closer to my ivy.

It seemed to thrive, sending up new shoots at the base and new leaves on the older stems. When the new leaves sprout, they are such a gorgeous shade of green, far different than the mature leaves. They are tiny at first, but then spread out and grow, unfurling and swelling in size.

We’ve been together now for many years and recently it needed a new container. It had outgrown the original smaller one and wanted more room to spread out. So, my wife repotted it, she being better at plant things than I am.

Everything went well and my ivy continued to flourish. That is, until we went on an eight-day vacation. I thought to myself, it should be okay, after all it’s only one more day than usual.

I watered it before we left and gave it a tiny bit extra.

We returned home and I went upstairs to check on it.

Disaster.

It looked so unhappy. Many of the leaves had dried out and no matter how much extra care I gave it, the leaves didn’t come back to life. Of the five stems, three looked really bad. I wondered what I should do. I felt as though the soil could no longer support all five stems and that if I didn’t do something soon, all of them would die.

Whether it was the right or wrong thing, I decided to cut the three stems that were withering. I felt I needed their surrender so that the remaining two could thrive.

So far, it’s worked. The two stems now have some healthy new beautiful green leaves forming. I am so happy to see them and welcome them into our world with love.

I wonder what would have happened if I couldn’t allow myself to surrender the dying stems. I think the whole plant would have died.

After some reflection, it became clear to me that this same process exists inside of me. What am I holding onto that is withering my spirit? What do I need to let go of or release?

It’s kind of hard to know the answer to this. I can’t just look at my outside world and see, like I can with the plant leaves.

It’s trickier than that and I wonder what gauge I can use to measure with.

So, instead of looking outside, I glance inward. I move beyond appearances and my thinking mind, to a place where my feelings reign. When I arrive, I ask one simple question, ‘how do I feel?’

I realize this sounds pretty general, but it’s not. If I am quiet, answers float to the surface. All of the things that concern me bob up and down waiting to be noticed. I come to understand that this is a process that is aided by my patience. I am helped by the inner knowing that all will be revealed, if I slow down and wait.

And there they are, lined up together, waving at me. My feelings of desire for control, the weighty sense of having to please other people and the chains that cling to my internal measures of success.

I see them as clearly as a dying leaf on my beautiful ivy plant. And I know my best answer is to surrender them. Releasing them gives me my best chance to thrive. I want that. I want that for me, and I want that for you, if that’s what you decide.

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Expectations, the Thief of Joy

It seems that I am constantly at odds with myself over the expectations I have. Does this happen to you too?

I set them up in my mind and then when they don’t come true as I expected, it creates a cascade of emotions. There is sadness, anger, disappointment, frustration, and confusion. All of them, thieves of joy.

I don’t like this part of my earthly adventure.

The obvious question I need to ask myself is, ‘why do I continue this thoroughly unenjoyable experience?’

There must be a better way.

Perhaps if I chose not to have any expectations about anything, maybe that would solve the problem. But how likely is that?

For me, not likely at all. I’ve tried this repeatedly without success. It ends with the same result. Even though I say to myself that I’m not going to care about the outcome of something, some part of me ignores this ‘suggestion’. It has already recorded my expectation and won’t let it go. So, when it becomes obvious that my expectation is unmet, it repeats the cascade.

I know this doesn’t make sense, but it is what happens. At least, most of the time.

I do believe that experiences, such as this, will continue to arrive in my life because they bear messages for me. They hint at things I would benefit from and that would improve my life. They come to offer me gifts.

So far, I’ve missed their value. And because of this, I continue to suffer. I realize this is my choice and that if I opened myself up, I might be able to see more possibilities and maybe some real answers.

How is this to happen?

I know there are numerous excellent self-help books that probably address this issue. They no doubt have many valuable suggestions to make and have provided a great deal of assistance to those prepared to try them. I sincerely congratulate those who read them and adopt their recommendations. It would be wise if I would join them, but something stops me.

It may not be the wisest approach for me to take, but it appears that I like to struggle. That may sound foolish, but I know it is the case with me. I have to personally confront whatever issue stands before me. I have to feel the weight of it. And, I have to wrestle with it until it breaks apart and shows me some truth.

So, I lay myself open and I ask for divine guidance to enter and assist me with finding a way forward.

And, what comes is this, I want joy. I want it as a centerpiece in my life. Joy goes far beyond happiness. Happiness is fleeting, but joy is truth. I believe each of us came here to earth filled with joy. It is a part of our natural state and a reflection of love.

I see how setting expectations puts limits on joy. It declares there is only one right solution and when it is not met, there is a price to pay. I see how setting expectations is looking for value outside of me. And my sense of satisfaction with life becomes dependent on what happens outside of me. Is there anything more fragile than this?

And so here is the message I’ve been waiting for. It is always about what is ‘inside’ of me. I can never reliably find what I’m looking for outside of me. This is at the heart of all my expectations, a desire to be fulfilled by what lies beyond me.

This will never happen because it is what is inside of me that matters. The wonderful news is that this is where all the good stuff is. We came here with all of it. If I close my eyes and slow my breathing and look inside and remember who I truly am, a part of the divine, I can awake to the knowing that I am made of love. I am whole and complete, just as I am. No outward fulfilled expectations will make me more than I already am.

So, when the next one comes, I will remind myself of this truth and release the expectation and in remembering to do this, will center on the joy inside of me.

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How Do I Love Me

Who taught you about love? It might be hard to remember. It may go back so many years that you’re not even sure.

I believe all babies come to earth filled with love, ready to be held, so that they can share their overwhelming sense of wonder with anyone who picks them up.

I certainly felt this when I held my children and grandchildren. I looked into each of their eyes to see if they could remind me what heaven was like. I gazed at them and felt a beautiful sense of oneness and closeness. And I fell into their bright, shiny faces, absorbed in their afterglow.

I felt as much coming into me as I was sending into them. Each of them taught me about love.

Sometimes I wish I could remember what it felt like to arrive here on earth. To be the one held. I imagine what a difficult trip it must have been, having my first breath squeezed out of me and needing desperately to have my lungs filled with air. Then trying to adjust to all the open space around me and the chill and bright lights and commotion. It’s no wonder that many babies scream. I want to, just thinking about it.

As a baby’s days pass and their experiences deepen, I wonder, how are they to learn about life? Who will listen to them for the clues that they are ready to learn? Who will be their teachers?

Will it be an interaction, an exchange of the meanings of life or will the baby have to do all the receiving and not be allowed to do any of the teaching?

As the baby becomes a child, the lessons begin. All sorts of things must be learned. What ‘hot’ means. That food belongs in your mouth, not on your head or the floor. That scissors are pointed, and that most animals have soft fur, but very sharp teeth.

After a while the lessons shift from being primarily about safety and become about understanding the world. There is a process of discovery. What a color is and what letters are and how numbers work together.

All of this is important. Necessary even.

But what about love? Who teaches us about this? Is it someone who knows what it means and how it is shared? Or do we sometimes learn from someone, who themselves, was never taught and can therefore not teach?

Are we shown examples to follow? And if so, what do they tell us about love? Is there harmony between what we are told and what we see happen in the world?

Often there are wide discrepancies, and we are expected to behave according to other’s words and ignore their conflicting actions.

But we know the truth somehow. We can feel it.

And whether we like it or not, it becomes up to each of us to decide about love, especially, the love we feel for ourselves. We may be fortunate enough to have had wonderful role-models to follow, but if not, we owe it to ourselves to be our own source of love.

I believe that deep inside each of us there is an inexhaustible wellspring of love. It’s inside already, waiting to be tapped. We don’t have to look outside to find it. And we don’t have to wait for anyone else to give it to us. We can give it to ourselves.

I believe this is the truth because we all came here with it. Each of us was wrapped up in love.

We show our self love by giving ourselves permission to release all the lessons we’ve been taught by others that do not feel true to us, and recognize that they may have meant no harm while teaching us. They just didn’t know better.

We show our self love when we forgive those who failed to help us understand, that the most important love, is that which we show ourselves. Then we can move on.

We show our self love when we accept that we are all beautiful, radiant beings, able to embrace the truth that we are all lovable. And in this way, we take charge of answering the question, how do I love me.

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Self-Acceptance

I’ve found that I can not grow without first accepting who I am. When I fail to do this, there are inevitable conflicts that arise.

Let’s say, for example, that I want to lose some weight. Some part of me has already determined that I am not acceptable the way I am. Maybe this would be okay if my health was at stake, and I truly needed to lose weight to save my own life.

But that’s not my case right now.

I want it for other reasons. I’m not sure I even know what they all are. A couple pop into my mind. I believe I would be physically more comfortable shedding some pounds. My clothes would fit better. And I would look better.

Hold on, wait a minute. I need to ask myself an important question.

Who would I look better to? Who do I feel I need to please? What benefit is it to me to please someone else? What do I need from them, that would cause me to alter how I look at myself?

I have to stop and answer these vital questions.

If I am trying to lose weight for someone else, haven’t I already contaminated my purpose?

There’s more to it. If I am trying to lose weight and get on the scale every day and am disappointed with my results, a part of me refuses to accept me as I am. There is a sense of sadness and maybe anger.

I am forced to wonder; will I ever be able to accept me as I am? Is there some magic number on the scale that will satisfy me?

Let’s say for the sake of argument that there is a magic number and that I convince myself that I will always be happy with this number. The obvious challenge now is, how do I stay there? What amount of time and energy and commitment will it take to remain at this ‘ideal’ weight? This arbitrary number I’ve chosen, becomes my prison sentence.

So, I ask, what is it going to take to release this kind of thinking?

A companion question comes up. What is the comparison between remaining at this restrictive target weight and seeking and finding self-acceptance of who and what I am and, in this case, what I look like to myself?

Which is the far greater prize?

If I listen carefully, I hear my answer. ‘You are loved, just the way you are.  You do not need to do anything to be worthy of love.’

The voice goes on to say, ‘Love is yours for the asking. You are acceptable just as you are. Once you know this as true for you, you can change anything in your life. You can change anything, not because of fear, but because of love. You can add more love into your life and shift whatever you choose, not because you feel you need to, but because you see new possibilities and hold new dreams.’

This is what I was waiting for. A way to release my fears and embrace self-acceptance, knowing it belongs to me.

I hope that you know it belongs to you too.

As you’ve been reading this, our focus has been on weight loss, but self-acceptance is so much more than this. It applies to every aspect of our lives, and the answer is always the same. ‘You are loved just the way you are.’

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Milestones

The first time you experience something in life is usually very special. It carries with it a unique energy which can endure for years, and in some cases, an entire lifetime.

Some call these, ‘milestones’, because they are actions or events that mark a significant change or stage of development.

Many come to my mind and perhaps they do for you as well. No doubt there would be quite a range if we compared lists.

I don’t remember a lot of my ‘firsts’. First tooth, first time I ate real food, first baby steps. Maybe my parents recall, but all I have of those memories is what others have told me. Funny, how stories you are told become your ‘truth’. I wonder how much of my life has been shaped by what others have told me about myself?

As I grew older I remember being able to do things on my own. My first trip out of the house by myself. No one holding my hand or telling me where to go or what to do. I’m pretty sure I kept my house within view, but how precious to be unattached and free to roam the neighborhood.

I remember my first bike. Freedom.

I remember my first day of school. Containment.

I remember my first kiss. Surprisingly in Kindergarten, from the little blonde girl who sat next to me.

I remember lots of firsts. One of them may strike you as strange. I was a kind of skinny kid, so I remember the first day I weighed 60 pounds. I thought that was a very big deal.

I also remember my first plane ride, first piece of my mom’s famous apple pie, first day of college, first date with my wife, first book I’d written, first death of someone close to me. The lasting effect of this still lingers somewhere in the background of my life.

I remember the birth of our first child, a gorgeous little girl, and being the first person to give her a bath and hold her. I remember the birth of our son, a first when you consider he was our first boy, and how wonderful it felt to hold him in my arms.

Each of these firsts mark the beginning of new and unique experiences for me. There are other important events that I want to commemorate too. This post is actually one of them because it represents my 100th post. This feels like an important milestone to me.

At the beginning of this website posting adventure, I would have found it very difficult to believe that I would be capable of creating enough topics and writing full posts about them to reach this number. Another milestone is coming up October 4, 2021. It will be the one year anniversary of generating two posts per week and sharing them with you. I love doing this and challenging myself to grow through writing and sharing.

Part of the reason I wanted to write about milestones is because I sense you are capable of far more than you may think is possible. I say this because I’ve so often seen it be true with folks I know.

So, I wonder, do you have a dream you would like to become real? Does it seem out of reach to you at this present moment?

What about all of your firsts and the milestones of your life, can you allow yourself to be convinced that you have the power to make all of your dreams come true?

I would like to encourage this belief.

You may think that you need more money or more time or some expert help with your dream. If you do, perhaps you will consider asking for help. The help you need might be right there in front of you, waiting to be asked. I know that without my dear friend, Cheri, none of my books would be available to the world, but with her help, they all exist on Amazon in print and as ebooks.

You may think you don’t possess the talent or the skills or the drive to accomplish your dreams. I want to share with you that this is not the truth. Everything is possible. It may take some constant nourishing to nudge your dream into existence. It may require gradual baby steps. And your dream may require several starts and stops, but if you can conceive it and find ways to believe in it and take some action steps, you CAN make it happen.

I encourage you to reach out and create your milestone dreams.

A Gentler Way to Heal

Sometimes a disease may find its way into our life. When it does, the intended cure or treatment may be more painful that the disease itself. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a gentler way to heal?

I am not naive enough to think that all of our experiences with a disease can be easily cured, if at all. I know they can’t.

And even though there may be several treatment options, they might all fail.

What is our resort then?

Its asking a lot, but might it be worth it to try to shift our perspective. Perhaps we could take a deeper look.

Several years ago I wrote the first book in the Little Buddha series. Its the story of a young girl (Claire) who becomes a mentor to a man (Sam) who has been searching his whole life for illusive answers to his questions. He struggles with the idea that she could possibly be wise enough to share the wisdom he seeks, yet something within him opens and allows her in.

She offers him insights, not only to the mysteries of the world, but to his own inner life. Most of them come as a result of the assignments she gives him to complete. In the second chapter of the first book, Sam has been been searching for her without any success, until one day when he sees her lying in a chair in her front yard. He immediately knows she is not well. His worry propels him forward and a conversation follows.

Sam wants to know if there is anything he can do for her. Claire attempts to reassure Sam that although her body is not in harmony, her spirit is alive and well and that Michael is helping her. Sam does not understand her statement and wants to know who Micheal is. Claire explains that he is many things. He is her cousin, but also a ‘lightgiver’, who is one who knows a lot about the ‘light’, or what others would call ‘life’. She goes on to explain that Michael came to show her another way to understand wellness, a better, a gentler way.

Sam asks what Claire means by a better way.

Claire responds, “Well, my doctor says that I must fight and never give up and never give in. But Michael says there is another way. He says that everything we think, feel and say is either from love or from fear. He says that fear is not real. It is there for us to push against and to point the way toward love. It is our choice. So, if we choose to fight our condition, like my sickness, we are feeding it fear and this always creates conflict. And when your energy is already low, any kind of fighting works against you. Michael says that when you are sick and you are forced to slow down, if you can look, you can see things as they are. This can be an enormous gift, because when you look closely at things it can change your perspective and allow you to see the ‘dots’ so they become meaningful to you. Michael says that love is the key, not always easy, but always right. Love creates harmony in the body and in life. He says, the ‘light’ is filled with love. He works with me so that I see how my life is about ‘connecting the dots’ with love.”

Sam is perplexed and requests more of an explanation from Claire. As she often does, she asks Sam to share a meaningful and challenging event from his life. As he does, it becomes clear to him that each decision he made was connected to the one before and the one after. He also learns that labeling each outcome as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ made it harder for him to understand what was happening. Through the process, he discovered that fear, rather than being something to avoid, was actually a beautiful messenger, meant to lead him toward the light, toward love.

Sam gains valuable insight and starts to rearrange his view of the world. He comes to understand that Claire sees her disease not as a punishment, or a trial to be endured or a battle to be won. She places herself in the middle of it all and allows fear to have a voice and to help guide her toward ‘the light’. She acknowledges that her body is not in harmony, but allows her spirit to soar. She steps aside and looks at each moment seeing their connection and embraces the love she finds, using it to return to wellness.

You could see all of this as a gross oversimplification or a scenario unlikely to produce real results. That’s certainly one choice.

And perhaps I would agree with you, had I not had numerous occasions to see how this actually worked in my life. Being able to connect the dots, releasing any strength I’d assigned to good and bad labels, allowing fear to be a trustworthy guide and knowing that everything points toward love has changed my life.

And if you wish to see the connection between dots, I hope that it brings clarity into your life and a gentle wellness into your being.

Permitted Invasion of Stress

Have you ever experienced something in life, where despite your best efforts, things went completely out of control and spun off in all directions, creating total havoc?

I sure have.

It happened again recently. Maureen and I had replaced our front storm door with a brand new quality unit we thought would be ideal for us.

For no apparent reason one of the parts in the lock mechanism retracted and I could not get it to move, even a fraction of an inch. I imagined leaving home and returning only to find that somehow it snapped itself back into place locking us out of our house. And to add to this scenario, of course the key would no longer work. So, I taped over the opening to make sure we’d be able to get back in until we could get it fixed.

A few days later our brand new iMac computer, which had previously been working flawlessly, decided to question our standard password. I entered it and the little gray dots on the screen shook in place, saying in effect, ‘uh uh buddy, not your password.’ So, I tried again. Same result. I called in reinforcements. Maureen entered the password and again if shook it off. We both looked down at the keyboard. Nope, the Cap Lock key was not on.

I waited a bit to see if it would come back to its senses and watched as the screen froze in place and would not respond to any keystroke. I was completely locked out.

So, now my house and my computer were both restricting access. Interesting.

I won’t try to explain in detail, but there were a number of other things happening that were going the same way. And as it happens we were trying to get ready to go away on vacation. I admit that I was stressed out about the intersection of all these problems hitting at once. I took no time to step back and breathe. I didn’t get up and go for a walk or tell myself it would all be okay and that the things I was experiencing would all work out.

No, instead I permitted an invasion of stress into my life and rushed ahead and made matters worse. Instead of dialing Apple Customer Service I mistakenly got through to Apple Care Customer Service. And yes, they are a scam outfit. But given my inner stress and lack of forethought, I fell into their trap, which resulted in having to change all of my passwords and other information and a great deal more stress, and still no functioning computer.

I hope that you don’t have any stories similar to this, but you probably do. You may be able to identify with my confusion and understand why I didn’t step back and more carefully consider my actions.

I believe that everything that happens in life contains hidden gems waiting patiently for us to reveal them. I’ve spoken about this to lots of folks and am often asked to share what has come to me. Sometimes I think the requester wants to judge the benefits I discovered for themselves and see if in their opinion they justify the stress I encountered. Other times I believe there is a genuine curiosity and desire to see how they might be able to reveal gems in their own lives.

Here’s what was revealed this time to me, so that you can see for yourself.

I realized that I am human and will make mistakes and will sometimes berate myself for them. Seeing this clearly allows me to acknowledge my feelings, then release them and any ego attachment to them.

I recognized that fear was the driving force behind all of my stress. And, in my case, the fear represented a lack of faith in the loving universe. This gave me the chance to center myself in my belief that I am loved, protected and cherished by the divine.

I accepted that when I feel stress and time pressure building I loss focus. This helps me to realize I can consciously release whatever stress enters my life and shift my attention to addressing things positively. I also realize that I can stretch time by slowing down, sitting back and breathing into it.

I acknowledged that anger was playing a significant part in my experience. It blurred my vision so that all I could see was unfavorable outcomes. I embraced the idea that being angry is a choice. A choice that does not benefit me and one that requires a high price to be paid. I don’t want to pay this kind of price and I can make better choices. It’s really up to me.

I came to understand that a big part of me was flashing the ‘fairness’ card, enticing me to jump inside the loop of seeing the world as not fair to be treating me this way. The whole idea of fairness is a trap. Quicksand really. The more you struggle, the worse it becomes. I heard a small beautiful voice inside my head saying, “There is no such thing as fairness or punishment and there are no required lessons to learn. You are free to choose to experience life in any way you desire. You can release yourself from anything that feels too heavy or creates stress. Please choose wisely.”

And a companion to fairness rose up during this experience. Control. My desire and my need to control not only the outcome but the process as well. I realized that control is born from fear and I also realized that control is an illusion. We make choices, but we don’t control all outcomes. We are not here by ourselves and there is an incredible web of interconnections throughout the universe. I opened to accepting that there is great wisdom in releasing any sense of control and trusting in the innate intelligence of the universe.

Lastly, I found that when confronted by overwhelming challenges, I can be sustained by consciously releasing whatever rises up in me. I can focus on being patient with myself and offer myself love, knowing I am part of the divine and a radiant being of light. In this way I can be wholly engaged in life, ready for any beautiful encounter that comes my way.

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I Dare You

I dare you to read this post.

I dare you to cross the imaginary line that separates you from where you are and where you could be. A place where you may find something new and worthwhile.

I dare you to cross a line you don’t even see yet. A line that offers you an adventure you weren’t counting on. Can you resist the dare? Do you want to resist it?

As a kid I heard the words ‘I dare you’ pretty often from my friends. Most of the time they were trying to get me to do something stupid. Something that I’d look foolish doing or would likely hurt me and they could enjoy some laughs at my expense. That’s often what young boys do.

Well actually, that’s what older boys do too.

I was fairly good at resisting their pleas, so they escalated the intensity of the phrase, getting louder and louder. I DARE YOU, they would shout. Eventually I had to decide if I would knuckle under or walk away. Unfortunately, I didn’t always walk away and they ended up getting their laughs and yes, I ended up getting hurt.

The older I got the better I was able to ignore those who dared me. But a funny thing happened. I began to take over their taunt and dared myself to do things.

One time I was walking through a train yard and thought it might be fun to hop onto one for a ride. I dared myself to do it and disengaged my brain. The next second I was running alongside the moving train and hoisting myself into the open boxcar. So far, so good I thought.

After the train picked up some speed my brain reengaged and I thought it might be beneficial for me to get off before it sped up any more.

Here’s the thing about jumping off a moving train, in case no one ever dared you to do it. You have to hit the ground running at least as fast as the train is moving or you fall. Hard.

In my case, after jumping off, I took one step and fell forward, a pretty spectacular face plant, into a roadbed of cinders. Cinders are very hard, sharp, unforgiving black rocks that can pierce clothing easily. And they hurt. Quite badly.

Now you would think I would learn from this experience not to do it again. From where I sit today, I would have counseled my younger self to choose some other dare.

You’ve probably guessed already.

Nope. I dared myself to do it again. Perhaps to prove that I can learn from my errors in judgement (mistakes).

So, I dusted myself off and hopped aboard another train. This time, as it sped up, I ran inside the boxcar and jumped out, got my balance and continued running, keeping pace with the train. I slowed after a short distance and then stopped, watching the train disappear into the distance. Ahhh, success! How sweet.

I wonder whether anyone has dared you to do something you didn’t want to do. Or maybe, you decided to dare yourself. Often dares are meant to challenge you and it can be difficult to overcome your fears or to take a chance, not knowing the outcome. Sometimes the risk seems excessive or you’ve seen others attempt and fail and you don’t want to experience the same results.

What if you knew for certain that you could accomplish whatever you or someone else dared you to do? Would you do it then? Do you need that much certainty?

Here’s my dare for you. I dare you to believe that love is the answer to everything. I dare you to accept that you are loved unconditionally by (the universe, spirit, the divine, god, or whatever you view as sacred). I dare you to be the answer to someone else’s prayer or need. I dare you to look inside of yourself and embrace you innate goodness knowing that you are beautiful and worthwhile and radiant.

I believe you are all these things and more.

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Love In The Present Moment

I’ve been wondering lately if it might be possible to find love and express love in everything I do.

I ask myself, is this what Yeshiwa (Jesus) and Buddha did? Is it what Mother Teresa, and Gandhi did? Does the Dalai Lama live this way?

When I ask myself this question, my first response is- no way!

No matter how spiritually connected I may feel at a given moment, I don’t think I could remain conscious enough to let love flow through me like this.

There are just too many triggers for me in life. I’m not even sure I could do this for thirty minutes straight. Could you? Could any but the most spiritually gifted among us?

So, I think to myself, maybe it would be a good idea to set my sights lower. Perhaps there might be a way to increase my awareness enough so that I could hold others gently in my heart and offer them some love, realizing that even if I couldn’t do it all the time, this would still be better.

But I suspect, even this would be very challenging, and this starts an inner dialogue. Part of me has already decided it is not possible to find or express love in every moment, so why try? This part of me is ready to let myself off the hook and I haven’t even begun.

Another part of me enters the conversation with this thought. If you only do the things that are easy, what will you ever accomplish in life. Are you not going to try? Are you that afraid of failure?

A third voice requests my attention. It’s quieter, but there is power in it. It asks me a simple question. What would it change for you if you could find and express love in all that you do?

I hear snickers in the background from the first two voices and then silence.

There is a peaceful momentary pause, giving me a chance to respond. Well, I thought, it could change everything for me.

I would be able to lighten up, to release my fears, to draw others into my world, to smile with ease, to open my heart, to give, to graciously receive, to hug with my whole being. A list flows out of me. A truly wonderful list. I can feel its presence and its power.

The first voice returns and speaks loudly, sure, this sounds very nice, but how do we get from (here) where we are to (there) where we want to be? Do we have to put on rose-colored glasses first?

The third voice takes no offense and offers soothing words and a question. Do you like treasure hunts?

We ask the third voice, where did that come from? It waits patiently until we answer.

Well, yes, we do.

Wonderful it responds. I want to share a secret with you. You knew it at one time, but have forgotten, so let me remind you.

One of the most beautiful things about this world is that we’ve hidden treasure everywhere.  Every single experience you will encounter throughout your life has treasure in it. Some lie on the surface and are easy to spot. Others are buried deeply and may require you to dig to find them. But each one of them is worth pursuing. They may at first seem dusty, but each will sparkle and shine once you polish them.

How do we find them we asked?

You find them by opening your heart and expressing love. The more you do this, the greater the love you will experience. It’s up to you and what you choose. Choose wisely, my love.

All the voices quieted but one.

I want to try, it said.

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Broken Hearts

A broken heart can seem like the end of the world. But, if you give yourself a chance, it can also be the beginning of a new world.

Sometimes we don’t feel we have the ability to defend ourselves from a broken heart. Things just happen to us. They come and overwhelm us, sometimes making it hard to breathe. And it can seem too challenging to believe there is any way to reassemble our lives and reclaim our heart.

I have a story to tell you about this.

My sister, Alison, and I like to try out various art classes. We decided it would be fun to do some stained-glass work, so signed up and when the time came, showed up at the studio. As is often the case, I was the only man present. I’ve grown accustomed to this and the mothering I usually receive from the women taking the class.

There were seven or eight of us present. The instructor was very pleasant and helpful and guided us through the process and various techniques we would be using. When she was done with her introductory comments, she asked us to wander around and choose the glass pieces that appealed to us.

It was a lot of fun seeing all the various sizes, colors, and textures of the glass pieces. I gathered what I thought would be enough to complete my project and sat down next to my sister.

At first, I began randomly placing pieces in my frame. I really didn’t have any preconceived idea how my project would turn out. I was just ‘winging it’. At some point I realized I didn’t like how it looked, so I tipped out all the pieces onto the table.

There were a host of shrieks and everyone in the class turned toward me. They simply could not believe I’d done that and were upset on my behalf. Some thought it must have been an accident. Others were convinced I was upset or crazy. Once they knew it was an intentional act on my part, they all wanted to know WHY?

I told them I’d changed my mind. I looked at the assembled stained-glass pieces and I didn’t like what I saw. I told them I needed to start over and that it would be okay. They didn’t seem at all reassured and went back to their own projects, shaking their heads.

I began again. This time though the pieces fell easily into place. I noticed a surprising calmness inside of me. I’d followed my own inner guidance and as I looked down, an incredible thing happened. A beautiful image appeared. It was Mary, the mother of Jesus, dressed in a blue swirling shroud. I looked more carefully and noticed she was holding a broken heart in her hands. I knew she was mending it. I sat there in complete awe.

Of all the artwork I have created, it is by far my most favorite.

It speaks to me. I hear gently words she shared about how to mend a broken heart.

She told me that it is only when we choose to feel what we are feeling that we can begin. We know it’s going to be painful and yet, I feel there is a promise in this for us, that once we allow the pain in and recognize its presence, it becomes ready to leave us. We can let it go, making space for something new to take its place. And we can start over. We can be patient and watchful, looking for a new life to emerge. We can open our hearts, so we can experience new dreams. And, although it seems impossible to us, we can be grateful. Grateful that life does not end with a broken heart. If we allow it, our life can begin again. Our hearts can be mended.

I think about this every time I look at my beautiful stained-glass artwork hanging in my office window. Sometimes first thing in the morning the rising sun lights it up and I sense the truth that no heart is ever beyond mending.

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I’ll Be Happy When

Is there a right time to be happy in this life?

My answer to this seemingly simple question makes a big difference in the quality of my life.

I’ve spent a great deal of time living a conditional life. You may know what I mean already, but if not, here are some examples of a statements I’ve made.

I’ll be happy when I reach a specific goal.

I’ll be happy when my TO DO list is complete.

I’ll be happy when the balance in my account is high enough.

It’s possible you could add statements of your own, especially if you’re a pro at this like I am. I want to say, ‘like I was’, but I’m not there yet. I still struggle with this affliction.

The funny (and not so funny) thing is that I’m usually not happy when I achieve my objective. Sure, there is a momentary high, but very soon after, I set a new goal, add another item to the list or increase the account balance target.

I accept that this whole delayed happiness issue I have is fixable and I’ve made observations over the course of time which have helped. Here’s four that I’ve discovered.

The chances of my being happy decrease the more I look forward or look backward.

The chances of my being happy increase when I live in the present moment.

The chances of my being happy decrease with each prerequisite I attach to a goal or desire.

And the chances of my being happy increase when I release all the conditions I’ve attached.

Yes, it’s all up to me. But that’s fair because I’m the one who views the world this way. Yes, I had help. I learned by watching and listening to others. I saw what they did and copied them.

I was taught to have goals and aims and to accomplish wonderful things. You may have been to. And some of us were taught to wait to be happy until we’d fully achieved our goals. Perhaps the reason was so that we would continue to strive. Maybe otherwise we would be satisfied with less than our goal. Maybe we’d just be slackers.

I’ve always known that living a conditional life would be painful. I think I could tell from the beginning it didn’t feel right. But when you are a kid, you are trained to comply, so I did.

The problem with this is you can’t grow up without questioning things. Without knowing why they are important. And I want to grow up. I want to chuck all the conditions I attach to thoughts and ideas and dreams out the window.

I think that’s where they all belong. Maybe you’ll want to join me in this adventure.

My first step is to be happy to begin with. I’m not prepared to wait any longer. My life is far too short to wait any longer. I’m going to celebrate the simple things, like breathing, walking, sleeping, eating, loving. I’m going to learn from my rich history. I’m going to spend more time doing the things I love, because they are awash in happiness. And when I feel the need to pursue a goal or aim, I’m going to ask myself…why? Why is this important to me? If I can’t answer that, well then, it’s not going to make the list.

So, if you walk by my house someday, be careful, because I may still be throwing my unnecessary ‘conditions’ out of the window and I know you don’t want them either.

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Disillusioned

Who has not lost faith in something or someone? Been deceived or been the deceiver?

I find it fascinating how some words have no counterparts and wondered if disillusioned was one of them. I’ve never heard anyone use the word ‘illusioned’, so of course I had to look it up.

Well, it was there. Illusioned, according to one source, is something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality.

So, perhaps a desert mirage is a good example. A distortion that fools us into believing something that is not there. Although somewhat difficult to explain, this type of illusion is caused by physical atmospheric conditions.

But, what about the illusions we humans create? We are extremely potent creators, capable of deceiving not only ourselves, but others as well. Of course, not all of it is done on purpose, nor with deceptive intent. Most of the time, it just happens and we’re blissfully unaware.

We are not always mindful of our actions or thoughts or words and what they create.

And perhaps we just take for granted that there are illusions in the world.

So, how does this relate to disillusioned? Wouldn’t that logically be the opposite? Sort of a dispelling of an illusion? A ‘seeing through the deception’ to reality?

Not according to the dictionary. To it, disillusion occurs when there is disappointment in someone or something that one discovers to be less good than one had believed.

I wonder, does that mean that we first view the world, then decide how it looks and operates and then accept our conclusions as the truth. Do we build our reality, then become surprised, upset, angry…when it is not how we perceived it to be?

Are we then disillusioned by our own illusions?

You may be thinking, where am I going with all of this?

Here, is where.

It’s to a place you may find challenging to consider. So, as with all things (including this website post), please feel free to disregard it. But, as long as you’re already here, I’ll tell you the rest of the story.

What if our earth life is a magnificent illusion? What if it’s a place for each of us to experience whatever we choose, but it’s not where we remain once we’re done choosing?

What if it’s an illusion in the sense that there is a greater truth, a reality beyond this earth life.

I know this is a challenging concept because some would say that, if this earth life is an illusion, it means that anyone could do anything they wanted, and it wouldn’t matter, because it is only an illusion. They would use this idea to justify any action they chose, like it doesn’t really matter or result in any consequences.

This is not what I’m saying, nor what I mean.

Rather than nothing mattering, everything matters.

Every moment provides an opportunity to experience something of deep value. To form connections with others. To love and be loved. To serve and receive. To create and experience anything.

Some believe that there is nothing beyond our earth existence. I am not one of them.

I believe that, once we pass from this world, we become ‘disillusioned’. We see beyond what we thought was reality and break away from the magnificent illusion of our earth life. We release ties to the illusion and return home to ‘heaven’.

I love this grand illusion of an earth life. I love the depth of connections I have here, but when it’s my time to leave, I will welcome the grand disillusion as well.

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Words

I think words matter. The ones that get spoken and those that remain hidden.

There are an incredible number of words in the world. When you consider all the different languages, it must be in the millions, especially if you include slang words.

I was thinking about words the other day and split them into two categories, mean words and kind words. There are no doubt neutral words, but I’m leaving them out of the equation for now.

What struck me was that I wasn’t drawn in by the actual words themselves, but more by the way they are used and the intent behind them. The way we choose them or express them.

I think it says a lot about us.

I try to use kind words whenever I can and find that I feel better when I do. When I use mean words, not only do they hurt others, but they also hurt me. I feel it inside and I don’t like it.

Words seem to have a lasting effect. They leave a trail. They can be life changing. But they can also be life threatening. They can sink you into the depths or allow you to rise.

I’d like to say that I always take great care with words, but I don’t. I am human and….and what? And I make mistakes. I choose words without thinking, without considering their impact, both to others and to myself.

I wonder, is it even possible to be conscious of all the words we use? We say so many in a day. I think it’s possible that we feel we need to.

I wonder another thing. What would it be like to stop using words for a while?

I once read a fascinating book about John Francis. He was distraught about certain things in his life and decided to take a vow of silence for one day. That one day led to another. And then another. And then to a string of days that would last for seventeen years. Yes, I said, 17 years.

Can you imagine going without words for that long?

How would you communicate with your loved ones and with the world?

Sure, you could use sign language or some form of it, but in a way that seems the same to me. They are words in picture form, but still words.

Wordless. Talk about an isolating feeling.

Although my initial focus was on the mean or kind words we say to each other and the impact they have, I shifted to wondering about the words we say to ourselves.

Can you think of the most recent words you told yourself? What were they? Were they mean or kind? How did you feel when you heard yourself say them? Did you want to take them back? Did you want to let them go, to rid yourself of them?

Did your words reflect your truth or were they reflections of what others have said to you?

These are big questions.

I don’t have all of the answers. I probably never will. That’s okay. I don’t need to know everything. What I do know is that words matter. And I’m trying not to take them lightly, because they form my world. They speak to me, and they speak for me.

I’ve come to a decision about all of this. I want them to speak for my heart and for my spirit and to offer love to the world. That’s what feels the most right to me.

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Giving Up Sympathy for Myself

When I began writing these posts in October 2020, I felt it would be very important for me to be as honest as I could. I’m not sure if I always am, because we so often tend to fool ourselves. We think one thing but feel another. Which is the truth?

I was struck with a thought lately having to do with how I make my way through an illness or challenge I’m having. It occurred to me that I feel a need for sympathy. Not only my own, but from others as well.

An internal quote materialized out of nowhere.

“The more you are willing to give up your need for sympathy from others, the more easily you’ll be able to accept that all things serve you, even the ones that don’t appear to. Perhaps, especially those.”

Wow, I thought, there’s a lot of meat in that statement.

I sensed two enormous ideas emerge.

One, that everything serves me. I’ve spent a great deal of time considering this with my head only to fall short of understanding it. My head says this couldn’t possibly be true because its view is narrow. It only looks at the present so, of course whatever problem I’m having seems unfortunate to me and I want to dispense with it as soon as possible.

However, when I engage my heart, the meaning becomes clear, or at least clearer. My heart sees into the distance. It waits and watches and connects the dots so that a whole picture is revealed. Once this happens, I can see that what first seemed to be an insurmountable challenge, is actually a powerful message to me. A message that creates clarity and helps guide my thoughts and actions in the future.

The second idea is potent for me. Perhaps others don’t rely on sympathy, but I’ve come to realize that I do.

Feeling that I need the sympathy of others is a huge crutch for me and it prevents me from seeing any depth or from moving on. It makes it difficult to shift and recognize any insights.

The NEED for sympathy becomes my focus and commands my attention, leaving no resources available to me for deciding what would better serve me.

I have to force myself to stop and ask, “what do you want most?”

Part of me responds that I want sympathy from others. It feels good. And yet, I recognize that it is only momentarily satisfying, leaving me unfilled and wanting more.

Another part of me takes a different approach and understands that what I truly desire most is to connect as deeply as possible with the divine inside of me. It knows that every time I focus on soliciting for and accepting sympathy from others, or from myself, there will be a delay in connecting with my heart and my spirit.

I have to decide what is most important to me.

Choosing can be a hard thing to do and I am not always capable of selecting the most beneficial response to the situations I encounter. Maybe this happens to you too.

For now, I’ve decided to give up sympathy for myself and look deeper into the experience so that I can discover the hidden gifts and messages. And I want there to be free space available for me to store the new treasures I find.

I’m pretty sure there will be times I succumb to the charms of seeking sympathy for myself, but my heart feels open and ready to look elsewhere now.

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Ballast

Ballast seems like a funny word to me. One day it just popped into my head out of nowhere, so I decided to look it up. I thought I knew what it meant already, but as is so often the case, I was mistaken.

The first usage given, for both the noun and the verb, refers to ships. Ballast is some kind of heavy material, like sand, gravel, iron or lead, which is placed low in a ship in order to improve its stability or refers to the stabilizing force offered by these materials.

Interesting.

I wondered how that might apply of our human lives. What sort of things stabilize our existence and give us ballast?

No doubt the answer is different from person to person, but I thought it might be useful to consider if there were some beneficial principles involved.

So, suppose one day you’re walking down the street and a strong wind starts to blow, what gives you ballast? I guess you could fill your pockets with sand or gravel or, if you could even find them, iron or lead. Sure, you could, but not very practical, huh?

You could just move indoors until the strong wind goes by. That would solve your problem. But what about those problems in life that you can’t get away from by hiding inside? What gives you ballast for them?

I know that one of my solutions was to try to block difficult problems as soon as they appeared. I told myself, nope not going to affect me!

But the truth was they did affect me and by spending my energy trying to block or deflect them, it caused a great deal of inner tension and made it even more difficult to deal with the other things going on in my life.

It wasn’t until I started attending Unity Church, that I began to realize, that I had to give myself the chance to feel my feelings. Without taking this scary step, I was never able to move beyond the fear and the subsequent tension it created.

I confess it is challenging to make this shift and, as much as I’d like to say I’m beyond it, that probably isn’t the case. I still have to remind myself to go inside and be honest. And, I still need to feel whatever I’m feeling, before I can move on.

Letting my heart sit with my fears, deep inside me, now feels like ballast to me. They can be very heavy at times, but they draw me in and by allowing them to speak to me, I can create the space for their release.

As it turns out, one ballast for me is the strength of knowing I am safe in this world, which is another Unity idea. When I am challenged, I can remind myself that there are those who want me to succeed. And, there are those who love me and will help me. They are in my corner and it gives me peace knowing that no matter what, they are ready to steady me when life becomes rocky.

Maybe you are reading this and thinking, well, good for you that you have a support group, but I don’t, so who is going to assist me, especially when I experience tough times?

I know there are lots of different groups that seek to provide the help that each of us needs, but if you can’t find them or they don’t find you, I have one place you can still go for stability and support.

I’ve spoken of it before and will again. It is the divine, the sacred spirit that lives inside of you. All it takes is to speak out and ask, then listen with your whole being. I believe that the divine stands waiting at all times for our approach and all it takes is an open heart, ready to believe, ready to be loved.

For me, I know this to be my truth. I hope it becomes yours as well.

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SPECIAL NOTE

If you want to know more about having a relationship with the divine (god), please see the Books page on this website, where there is a description of my book, talking with (god). If you can’t afford it, please let me know  (use the Contact page) and I’ll send you a free copy.

Lessons or Experiences

From the folks I’ve talked to, there seems to be a consensus that school is focused on learning specific lessons. The expectation appears to be that the student does not know anything, so must be taught by the teacher. Further, it is assumed that the teacher knows what would be valuable for the student to learn.

The closer you are to educational systems, the more you realize that it’s all about the curriculum chosen. There is no way that any one teacher or any one student could know all things, so choices must be made and priorities decided about what to focus on in the classroom.

Inevitably, certain events and facts get lost in the shuffle. And then, there is the tendency to slant important details to suit whoever is in charge.

A glaring case in point was demonstrated to me during one of Maureen’s and my vacations. We visited Vancouver, Canada (absolutely gorgeous, by the way) and were fascinated to discover an enormous mural depicting a series of skirmishes that resulted in Canada winning a major battle against the United States. We looked at each other and asked ourselves, “Didn’t our textbooks say that we won that? We could have sworn they were quite specific on that point.”

Hmmm?

Well, no matter. I mean, it happened so long ago. What difference does it really make?

Perhaps, if it were an isolated instance, it wouldn’t matter. But it has ramifications far beyond which side actually won, because it’s unclear if there is a definitive correct answer, so what level of trust can you put in any of your lessons?

Along with many others I know, I come across events in my life and one of my first reactions is to wonder if there is a ‘lesson’ in it for me.

In school we are taught to learn our lessons. If we fail to do that, we’re told, we’ll need to repeat the class, UNTIL we’ve learned our lesson. This is potent stuff, unless you like summer school.

One trip there was enough to cure me. Who would want, after a very long school year, to spend the hot summer in a stuffy classroom trying to relearn a subject you didn’t like in the first place? No one, that’s who.

Here’s the real rub for me.

This whole idea of having to learn our lessons gets carried over into the rest of our lives. When faced with dilemmas and problems that don’t feel resolvable to us, I often hear people say to one another, “well, I guess you’ve haven’t learned your lesson yet.”

Beyond this not being the least bit helpful, it perpetuated the idea that there is one correct answer, and clearly, we’ve missed it.

I’d like to offer an alternative thought for your consideration.

Suppose there are NO specific lessons for you to have to learn. And, of course, this means there are no lessons you have to repeat until you get them right.

What if life is just a series of experiences? Simple experiences, without right and wrong answers. Without implications or attached judgements? Would that change things for you?

When I shift away from ‘lessons’ and focus on ‘experiences’, it makes a powerful difference to me. I can let go of worrying about getting life ‘right’ and open to the treasure inside of each of the experiences I encounter.

I admit that sometimes I have to dig deeply to uncover the treasure, but I’ve found it is always there waiting for me.

Perhaps if you give this shift a chance, you’ll find all of the treasure you are searching for. I certainly hope so.

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