Heaven On Earth

What if I asked you to tell me how you would create heaven on earth? Could you do it?

Let’s say you answered yes, where would you start?

Several years ago, I was contemplating this very question. Once I began to write my response, I realized it was far more challenging than I thought it would be and that it would demand a great deal more thinking on my part.

Also, my version of heaven on earth seemed to come in stages.

I’d like to share what eventually formed inside of me, in the hopes that it sparks something inside of you. What I would really love is if we could compare notes, and perhaps change our worlds together. I’ll leave that up to you.

Since mine turned out to be pretty long, I’m breaking it up into two parts, so please stay tuned for my next post as well.

Here then is my Heaven on Earth assignment (Part One):

My first thought/feeling is that you would be able to hug another person for as long as it took to feel balanced- that you could send love outward to them and receive love in from them- and all of this would be considered normal- that it would be so filling, rewarding, enlivening that everyone would want to do it- that it would not get confusing for anyone.

And

We could all say to each other, “I love you” and it would feel “right”- there wouldn’t be awkwardness or uncomfortable expectations attached- that saying it would be an extension of our hearts recognizing, appreciating, and connecting with each other.

And

We would feel free to give each other gifts- both large and small and it would happen spontaneously, from a center of love, not based only on acceptable events, but anytime- the gifts would not have to be equaled or paid back, they would feel good to receive and perhaps we could gain a sense of comfort with the concept that there will always be enough for everyone if we share from the heart.

And

We could cherish each other because we care and want to support and enrich each other’s lives, because we realize that it is just as important and necessary as when we were first born to be held and caressed and know we mean something to someone- that we would realize that touch fills our life with love, creates connection, expands our hearts, increases our immunity, focuses us outward, gives life and creates life.

And

We would know the beauty of giving from a calm, generous, loving heart- which raises up the giver as it supports the receiver, we’d know it is beautiful to be both giver and receiver, that it balances us, connects us- that we could give without thought of need of receiving, but just for the pure joy giving contains within itself- that we would grow in opening our hearts till it became our nature, our first action, our expanding from love.

And

We would see how forgiveness sets us free and invites others to do the same- we would open to know that everyone hurts, everyone lacks, everyone needs, everyone is in pain and that their unkind actions come from these lacks- from the lack of love, such that only love can fill their empty space- and forgiveness is born from love, the kind of love that recognizes the choice of sacrificing our own sense of pain to fill another with love- and surprisingly, in the process we are also healed.

There is so much more to say, so please join me for my next post.

Note: The entire Heaven On Earth assignment also appears in chapter three of my book, Little Buddha Book One, where one of the characters, Sam, is given this as an assignment to complete for his growth by Claire (Little Buddha).

This book is available in both print and
eBook versions on Amazon, along with the other books in the series.

Silence

When was the last time you found silence?

After a few minutes thought, I couldn’t remember my last time. You see, I believe silence is far more than the absence of noise. It is deeper and more profound. It is a gift beyond measure.

I can only hear silence if I give myself a chance to listen, to pause for my heart and my ears to be still. I need a space inside me to open for quiet, and for where everything seems to be at peace.

I wonder sometimes, do I understand silence?

Our world is so noisy with an incredible array of sources; cars, trucks, buses, planes, people talking, shouting, singing, birds, insects, wind and water, lawn mowers, clocks, chimes…the list is so long. And even if these all fall away, there is the sound of my own heart beating.

Inside me, I feel a strong need for silence. There is an indescribable value in it, beyond what I can explain with words. Perhaps you sense this too.

I wonder, how long could I sit and appreciate silence before it might become too much for me? I ask myself, what does ‘too much’ even mean? Do I need some form of noise in my life at all times?

When our children were young, they could watch TV, do their homework, and carry on a conversation, all at the same time. It seemed natural for them. Easy. I realized quickly I could never do that. It’s too much noise for me. I need breaks between periods of noise. I need a place to get away.

I wonder about this, and something comes to me.

It’s hard to explain, but I want the silence of ‘home’, which is the sound of heaven.

Silence, but not silent.

You may be asking, what does that mean, thinking that it makes no sense.

For me, it does.

Silent is the act of not speaking, while silence is a state of being, a place of peace, the essence of bliss, and yes, the sound of home, heaven.

There is movement, energy and love radiating in the silence.

This may sound appealing to you, and you may want to know how this kind of silence can be found.

The simplest answer I know is, it’s found inside of you.

My last post was about feeling loved. In it I shared that I have an intimate relationship with aspects of (god). That I invite (god) in and I ask (god) to be present and so (god) comes and sits with me, keeping me company, listening deeply to me, hearing me in a way unlike any other relationship.

It is here I find silence, in between our thoughts. It is here that bliss baths me.

It is here for all who choose it, no matter what name you choose to use for (god).

I’m reminded of the saying, ‘silence is golden’. It’s meaning for me does not come from the absence of noise in our busy world, but rather from the bliss of heaven, the magnificent place of peace that rests within each of us.

If you are searching for silence, consider going inside and asking for (god’s) presence to lead the way back to heaven.

Feeling Loved

I wonder, did anyone ever tell you that you would be loved, no matter what?

I suspect someone may have said this out loud to you, but did it turn out to be the truth?

When you did something ‘wrong’ and were punished for it, did you feel loved or was this the beginning of your concerns about the world?

It’s only in retrospect that I’ve been able to see the truth in this for me. And it led to several other conclusions. I understood in a new way, that the world is not safe. And I came to believe that I could not fully trust others. I wanted to, but I couldn’t.

We are all creatures who observe. Not only do we hear what others say, we see what they do. We watch as they role model for us and then, we decide how to act. But I wonder, is it really a decision or is it a reaction?

If we want to feel safe and loved, aren’t we likely to act as others want or expect us to behave? That certainly feels true to me.

What also feels true to me is that I use this same reactive thinking and apply it outwardly to the rest of the world in all my relationships, the work world and everywhere I go.

My beliefs are formed around the principle of whether I feel loved. Beneath the surface I worry about whether I am meeting others’ expectations of me. Am I doing enough for them to love me?

This is what has been modeled for me.

There is no blame here. I don’t resent those who placed this expectation on me, and I don’t blame myself for accepting their expectations. Neither of us know any better. We’re just passing along what we’ve been taught, from one generation to the next.

I pause for a moment to consider.

How is this to change? What enlightenment will come into my life to show me a better way?

I know an answer, one that works for me, and I want to share it with you, in the hopes that it might work for you too.

I’ve talked a lot about it, if you’ve been reading my posts.

It is my relationship with (god). I bracket the word (god) because I want to distance us from standard definitions. To me, (god) has many forms and feels. For me, there is abba (father), na’a (mother), yeshiwa (brother), lia (sister) and essence (the foundation of all heavenly bliss),

When I invite them in, they come. They do not force their way in, ever. They wait for my invitation, then come and share their wisdom, insight, and love with me.

They are reflections of (god), each a part of the divine for me.

Yours might be different. I honor that. We all see and feel the truth in different ways. What seems important to me is that (god) is available to each of us, waiting for our decision to reach out with an invitation.

As soon as I open and ask and prepare myself to be quiet and listen, (god) appears. We now have two-way dialogues whenever I ask. Wonderful, honest, personal conversations.

It is here I know I am loved. It is here there are no expectations, conditions, or requirements. No matter what I have done or left undone, I feel loved.

Please know this relationship is yours as well, whenever you decide to choose it.

NOTE: If you’d like to know more about my relationship with (god) and how you can have your own, please feel free to read my book, talking with (god), available on Amazon in print and eBook versions.

Deserving

Do I deserve to experience what I want in this life? Do you?

I don’t believe this is a simple or straightforward question. The concept of deserving is far too complicated for that.

I need a place to start.

The place I’m choosing has to do with whether I deserve to lose weight, but you can substitute any other objective or goal if you’d like.  

So, do I deserve to lose weight? Actually, the better question is do I believe I deserve to lose weight? If I can’t answer ‘yes’ to that question, it’s doubtful I’ll ever achieve what I’m setting out to accomplish.

I also need to focus on what the word ‘deserve’ means. Here’s what the Oxford dictionary definition says, “to do something or have or show qualities worthy of (reward or punishment)”.

So, to me it’s an action word requiring me to essentially earn a reward. I feel there is also an implication involved that I must give something up in exchange for the reward, in this case, most of the foods I enjoy.

And what I hear myself say is that if I can’t or don’t do this all the time, then I don’t deserve to lose weight.

What a terrible idea to hold on to.

I sense there is a part of me that is keeping track of everything, especially those things that relate directly to my stated goal. So, whenever this part observes me thinking that I ate some forbidden treat, the obvious conclusion is that I do not deserve to lose weight.

I believe the mere thought (belief) that I do not deserve to lose weight creates its own reality, despite any of the other positive things I have done.

I call this process, ‘putting on mental weight’. And I’ve noticed it results in also putting on physical weight.

Does this make any sense to you?

I wonder, might this same principle apply to other areas in my life? To my relationships, finances, mental health, work life or family concerns?

I wonder too, is there a part of me that has already established criteria based on some form of a ‘deserving model’ that I’ve built or accepted?

It takes only a moment to decide the answer to this question.

YES, clearly over the course of time I’ve created numerous models that rest firmly under the surface of my life. I’m sure it would be enlightening if I understood how they were formed, but I’ve learned from experience that to uncover them would be time consuming and ultimately not worth the investment.

What seems far more important is what I choose to do right now, which leads me back to my original question about deserving. Do I or don’t I deserve to lose weight (or anything else in life)? After a few moments, a one word answer comes to me…sometimes.

That’s a terrible answer and it leaves me hanging.

Fortunately, I hear another voice inside me. It is insistent, yet gentle and commands my attention, drawing me in. It is Lia, a part of god who speaks to me in an ethereal feminine voice, and she has come to tell me the truth.

“You are a radiant being filled with love and light. This is your true nature. You can accept what the world tells you, if you choose, but nothing it says will change this fundamental truth. There is no such thing as deserving or not deserving. It is merely an arbitrary decision, a reflection of what the world views as real. If you decide to abide by what the world tells you, you will suffer needlessly. I encourage you to release all thoughts and beliefs that govern or limit your decisions and grant yourself the freedom to experience your life fully. This is why you came here, to live a full life, unhindered by self-limitations and with all things open to you.”

After a pause, Lia added these words, “Whether it is your weight, or any other aspect of your life, you may experience it in any way that you choose.”

I sat, blown away by the grace of this.

Ideas

Here’s a mystery for you to consider.

Where do ideas come from?

Sometimes I am overwhelmed with the number of ideas that come to me. Far more arrive than I feel I can actually accomplish, despite wanting them all to become real.

At other times, no single idea stands out. There is just a swirl of activity inside me, but no clarity whatsoever.

It’s hard to make sense of this phenomenon.

Recently I was experiencing a wave of wonderful ideas and wondering what to do with them all. I found it very challenging to prioritize them or organize them in any meaningful way.

Maybe there are times when this happens to you too.

As usual I decided to ask my divine guide, Lia (which stands for Love In Action), a part of god who speaks to me in an ethereal feminine voice, to help me understand what was happening.

She told me to think of ‘ideas’ as menu choices and to choose the one (or ones) that most appeal to me. The ones that deeply absorb me or that I feel drawn to create or simply find the most joy in.

She went on to say that it was very important to realize that I might feel a sense of obligation or stress or some other negative emotion during the process of bringing an idea to life. She counseled me to release any idea that produced these feelings.

I guess Lia felt it would be helpful to provide an example that would stand out for me, and she did.

She said it would be like my going to a delightful restaurant and ordering liver and onions, which I can’t stand, and forcing myself to eat it. Ugh! Point taken.

Lia went on to say that all of the ideas I receive are flowing ‘to me and through me’ to have a voice in the world, if I choose to give them one. And before I could respond, she added, that if I chose not to act on any of the ideas, they would travel on and find a ‘home’ elsewhere. No worries.

This prompted a question in my mind about the nature of ideas.

“So, all these ideas are on a journey of their own, headed into reality, but not necessarily by or through me?”

Lia responded, “Yes, ideas have a life of their own and will seek out those that wish to bring them to into reality. Remember, even though you don’t like liver and onions, someone else thinks it’s a wonderful meal.”

This put an entirely different spin on things for me. I’d been feeling pressure to give every idea that came my way a life. And here was Lia telling me that it was not necessary, nor even beneficial for me to feel this way.

She encouraged me to consider how often it happens that the same movie or book themes take center stage or that the same invention happens, but in different countries across the globe.

Lia explained that ideas are energy in movement. They seek out those that are likely to be receptive, sometimes appearing once and other times coming back repeatedly.

I confessed that, at times, I feel so limited and can only help a few ideas become realized.

Lia responded by saying, “This is not true, you are not limited, but if it feels true for you, it becomes true for you. I encourage you to allow yourself the emotional freedom to give life to what moves you with joy and release anything that does not come from joy. When you use this principle as your barometer, all is well.”

Good Commands

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She asked me if this made sense to me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Missing Pieces

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

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

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

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

I asked for help.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A simple one word reply, “Yes.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Simple Act of Caring

Do you usually dream at night?

When you do, do you remember them or do they just disappear, leaving a trail that’s too hard to follow?

Sometimes I remember them, but they don’t make any sense to me. They’re so full of places, events, and people, all jumbled together.

Recently though I came across a fantastic book titled, Infinite Purpose by Liv Lane and Lori Portka. One chapter is devoted to dreams and the emphasis it focused on surprised me. Rather than attempting to decipher all the parts of an individual dream, the suggestion was to take the dream as a whole and follow the theme to see where it led.

The authors recommended that you try it for a week and see what you experience.

I decided to take their suggestion and discovered a whole new world. I was able to capture the essence of the dream and find some profound insights.

This morning I woke up and was able to remember an entire story. Many of the details remained fresh and clear, but it was the central theme that was important to me.

There was an elderly lady who was conducting a transaction, perhaps in a bank and she was extremely dissatisfied with the service and the outcome and demanded that her voice be heard. A meeting was scheduled for the next day to attempt to review her transaction and a member of senior management was called in for support.

The meeting time arrived, and all were assembled. At first the staff tried to explain, but soon discovered the elderly lady was not interested in hearing their rationales. A different tact was taken, and a more general conversation ensued. This pleased her and it soon became apparent that she had no desire to discuss the transaction from the prior day. What she did seem interested in was being heard and seen, as a person.

Toward the end of the conversation, she became very quiet and closed her eyes. Her breathing slowed, then ceased.

The staff were concerned and tried to wake her, but she did not respond. One attempted to take her pulse, but there was none. It was then that they realized she had died.

One staff member looked at her carefully and was surprised to find she’d died with an enormous smile on her face.

I’m sure there could be many interpretations for this dream, but what jumped out at me was this…everyone wants to be listened to, to be valued, to matter to someone, anyone, even if they have to be angry and demand attention to make it happen, as the elderly lady did.

All she really wanted was to be seen, heard and at a deeper level, loved.

There is a powerful message in this dream for me, one I would have previously missed.

During my working life I was involved in two ‘relationship’ fields, the first in banking and the second in human service. One thing they both centered on was recognizing the inherent value and worth of each individual. Demonstrating caring, support and encouragement meant everything to the customers and folks being served.

Simple acts of caring feed both the giver and receiver.

I try to remember this and am often granted opportunities to show caring, whether it’s reaching for a product on a high shelf for an elderly person, opening a door or looking into the eyes of someone I thank for their service. There are a million ways to connect and each one offers tangible ways to care, should we choose them.

How It Can Be

I have to admit it. I’m sad about a lot of things happening in the world right now. I suspect you are too.

Do you wonder what can be done? Does it seem that one person’s actions are lost in the shuffle and that change is unlikely to ever happen?

I’m certainly catching that sense.

The magnitude of events feels overwhelming, and I need to find some balance. I need to catch my breath. I wonder, where am I going to go for some answers and direction?

I put myself on pause, to give myself time to consider.

My answer becomes obvious.

Inward.

Inward into my spiritual home, to a place of divine connection.

I ask, “Where has it all gone wrong and how is it ever going to change?”

The answer I receive astounds me.

“It starts at the beginning.”

I don’t know what this means, so I ask for more details.

What I receive takes four whole pages to write, more than I think you might want to read at this time. I need to summarize it, for you and for me.

I hear words that make me think about how our lives are not the same, from one person to another, from one place to another.

There are disparities in justice, opportunities, resources, and all of the basics in life. How can there be peace when this is the case?

Since we are each given free will, we are offered the choice to map our own direction, regardless of how it impacts others. So, the strong are able to take advantage of the weak, those with money and power are allowed to decide for those with little or none. Those in command are able to set up all the rules, most of which favor themselves.

My head shakes at all of this. I am only one person, what can I do about any of this?

The divine pulls me back to the present from the faraway place in my head.

“Start with you.”

“What do you mean?”, I ask.

“You cannot solve the problems of the entire world. What you can do is be your best self. You can do what you think the world ought to do. You can shift your mindset, your heart-set and your actions.”

I need to know what this really means and ask for more.

“You know the ‘answer’ is always ‘love’.”

I know I’m supposed to understand this. To know exactly what that means I ought to do, but I don’t. I find it challenging to apply the concept of love to practical things.

“You are making this too complicated. The answers you seek are always simple, even this, especially this. Ask yourself one question.”

“And what would that be?”, I respond, desperately wanting to know.

“What would serve all equally?”, was the response.

Wow, I wasn’t prepared for that.

I am struck by the idea of equality and how much of it is missing in this world. I wonder, how much of it happens because of me. And for a moment, I imagine the radical changes in the world if equality existed for everyone.

And I see within this, the heart of ‘love’, that the divine brought into focus. It makes something real that was cloudy.

Every day I can choose to use my voice, my words, my actions to speak for me. I can use my heart as my guide. I can give freely, vote for ideas that create sharing opportunities, support those who propose changes to make all lives better. And hundreds of other real, tangible ways I haven’t even thought of yet. And I can choose to encourage others to do the same.

How can it be?

Any way we all choose.

Everyone Is Valuable

Do you love to read? Or are you more of a writer?

Or perhaps like me, you are both.

Some part of me has always wanted to write. At first, I felt as though I needed to conjure up a story, but as time went on, the stories came to me, often unbidden.

When my grandmother came for visits, she slept in my bed, and I moved into a room off my parent’s bedroom, where my mom did all her sewing. It had the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on. We called it the slab-lounge.

This tiny room is where I wrote my first story, a real ‘page turner’, titled, The Case of Shootist McRowan. At age nine, I was all about the FBI, so of course, that’s the subject for the story. Shootist Mc Rowan was the leader of a gang of really bad guys, and it was up to the FBI to hunt him down and capture him. The ‘good guys’ won, as you might expect. I probably still have the story somewhere.

When I was in college and supposed to be studying and attending all my classes, I was out in nature.

My favorite places to explore were the streams that ran down into the river from the surrounding hillsides. The water ran wild some days, and it was pure challenge to stay upright and dry. It was and still is, one of my most ‘happy places’.

One day while wandering along one of the closest streams to me, a vision came and a story. It took me quite by surprise and I had no idea where the story was leading me. But that’s part of the joy of being a writer, you get to share the mystery and the magic.

I’d like to share the story with you.

Jamie

Jamie is wandering aimlessly down the path, carrying his stuffed bear with him. Small tears of wonder formed in the corners of his eyes as he gazed at the newborn leaves. He saw in them, faces, smiling, gentle, little faces.

On the path there was a brook that went splashing, gurgling, babbling down the hillside, cold and bright. It caught Jamie’s eye and brought him closer and closer, until he stood at its edge. He leaned forward and peered into the water. All those bubbles bouncing off the rocks. He watched and watched, being carried down the brook several times until he burst in the orange light upon the banks. One time when he burst, he spread into the air and floated away with the wind, listening to the tales of the birds.

Once again on the path, Jamie walked, almost faltering on a broken tree limb. Shivers grew on Jamie’s back, his only sign of the cold.

White frosted ghosts hurried down through the air past Jamie’s face. He turned his head upward and there grew a snow petal tree; each branch coated with soft, clean white petals. One petal dropped and wove a pattern, gliding to the earth. Jamie watched, reaching out his hands, hoping. And, as though the petal was a part of him, it tumbled softly down into his loving hands. He kissed the petal and bending, rested it in a special place among some purple flowers.

The path was ending and ahead at the gate stood Jamie’s nurse. She strode out through the gate and taking hold of his hand, she led him home.

Though Jamie turned twenty-seven last week his heart remains full of the wonder and awe we all so often miss. He is often called by many names, none of which are who he is. He cannot be housed neatly in a category or diminished by a definition.

I see him as unique. He has a special value to me because he views the world in a way I so admire. He sees the simple, obvious treasure of ‘being’ here on this magnificent earth.

I am so grateful for the story he told through me.

I loved him then and I love him now.

Conversations with Past and Future Selves

Would you like an opportunity to speak with yourself, either from the past or the future? To have things revealed to you, to make your life easier or to offer you a chance to avoid pitfalls.

That’s the question that came to me recently.

The event that created this was the purchase of a new bed for our upstairs bedroom. In order to make space I needed to relocate all the storage bins I’d shoved under the old bed. I’d really packed them in and basically only had a vague idea what they contained.

I made myself a promise to sort through every bin and make decisions regarding what was worth keeping and what needed to be thrown away.

My discoveries were very enlightening. There were all sorts of interesting things covering several different time periods in my life, some from college, some from my early working years and a few things that were more recent.

I found a lot of journals I’d written and decided to leaf through a few. I was struck by the life events that concerned me at the time I wrote them, some of which remain with me today, while others have long since been resolved.

A question popped up.

I wondered how my life would have changed if the ‘current me’ could go back and have a conversation with the ‘past me’. What could I have learned? And would I have listened and changed course?

I’m not sure.

Some part of me believes I wouldn’t have paid attention, and gone ahead and made the same decisions, despite the sound advice I received.

I don’t know about that either.

What would you have done; listened or ignored your ‘future self’? It’s an interesting question to kick around. Certainly, I’d have liked to avoid many of the problems in my life and taken an easier route.

But would I really?

The reason I ask is, would I still be the same person that I am today if I’d made different choices? And if I had, what would the consequences have been? Suppose the advice given me by my ‘future self’ altered the decisions I made that led me to a new friend, or a better job, or a wise investment?

How can anyone know the right path to take so that they experience the outcomes they most desire?

Something twisted during my musing about this.

I wondered, what would my life be like if the ‘current me’ could talk with the ‘future me’?

What if that were possible? What questions would I ask?

A few came to me quickly. How long will I live? Will I lose those closest to me? What will my day-to-day life be like? Will the New York Giants ever win another Super Bowl?

I sat with all of these questions and more for a while before deciding that I don’t really want to know.

I think it would spoil the surprise. And I think it would change every moment of my ‘current life’ because I’d be thinking about the ‘future me’.

I also think my life would lose its spontaneity, its spark, and its sparkle.

So, despite how much I might learn, I would choose just to wave to my ‘past’ and ‘future’ selves from a distance and go on about living my ‘current’ life.

We can still be friends, but for now, I choose to live in my present moment.

Emotional Breathing

Have you ever heard of emotional breathing?

Do you wonder if it might help clear some of the excess emotional feelings you have that are weighing you down?

No doubt there are many situations in life where emotional breathing would be extremely helpful. In my last post I wrote about one of these, overeating, but this is just the start of a very long list.

I’m not sure why, but I was surprised to learn from the internet that there are numerous sites devoted to all sorts of breathing techniques, and many include the same themes and practices.

Most appear to focus on inbreath and outbreath, the timing and sequence of breathing, and physical movements or lack of same. They all offer promise and hope and surely many folks use them to relax and improve their daily lives.

I’m happy they all exist.

What came to me recently was a different version and one I’d like to share with you.

First though, I’d like to ask you to consider doing something.

Could you stop for a moment and sit back, close your eyes, slow your breathing and rest? Then, when you feel some calmness wash over you, gently encourage yourself to scan your body for any places that feel painful or uncomfortable. Sit with each of them and give yourself an opportunity to see if they hold emotional weight.

If you discover a place that does, ask yourself how it feels to you. Do any emotions arise? If so, what are they? Do you remember anything, as you hover over the area? Are there any images that come up? Can you describe them?

Take note of your observations. It’s not necessary to write them all down, but you certainly can if you want to, and this might be helpful for later. 

For now, though, choose one area that stands out and focus on the part(s) of your body where you feel the presence of emotional weight.

Allow yourself to recognize the emotion and know you have a choice whether it exists or not. No one can force you to feel something against your will unless you allow it. Open your heart and know your original nature is pure and believe you deserve to return to this state, unencumbered by any emotional feelings that others have given you or that you’ve taken on without knowing.

Find a comfortable space where you won’t be disturbed for a period of time. Choose whatever posture you like best. Set a peaceful mood in whatever way appeals to you, such as soft lighting and music. Close your eyes and slow your breathing until you feel calm, then bring your attention to one part of your body where you felt emotional weight. Remain here and allow it to speak to you. Listen carefully and once you feel you’ve heard its message, rest again for a moment.

Now, while in your comfortable position, take a long slow breath in, imagining love filling you. Then, while feeling the emotional weight of the area you’ve chosen, let out a long slow breath, imagining the release of all that you are holding. Continue alternating, loving in breaths and the outbound breaths and the release of emotional weight. 

It may help if you add words to this process. On your in breath you could say, “I breathe in joyful, loving feelings to feed, heal and support me” and on your outbreaths you could say, “I breathe out, release and surrender whatever is weighing me down.”

When I do this, it takes a while for the impact to be recognizable. The first few times is like priming the pump where not much water comes out. But as you continue, and your breathing relaxes and lengthens, it can be positively wonderful. And there can be a blessed sense of emptying and release of emotional weight, anywhere from a lightening of the load to a mystical sense of weightlessness.

I hope that you find this a blessing.

Overeating

Overeating is a complicated affair.

Personally, I find that it happens to me when things are really challenging in my life. Part of me believes that I need more food and that it will help soothe me or satisfy some craving I have.

But what occurs instead is that I gain weight, experience painful acid reflux, and have very poor-quality sleep. You’d think these results would be enough to prevent me from continuing to overeat.

They aren’t. They don’t.

Another part of me enters the picture. I think to myself, this has to be easy to resolve, I’ll just eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer snacks and treats. Surely, this will make things better for me.

And perhaps this would be true if the part of me that wants to overeat wasn’t resistant. But it is.

There is a constant war of sorts between periods of control and excess.

I find it strange that while on vacation, I give myself permission to eat whatever and whenever I want. This of course leads to weight gain, but never as much as I would have anticipated, probably because my activity level is so high. So, maybe if I maintained this same level of activity after vacation it would be okay.

I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t work for me.

I ask myself, what’s really happening here?

I am struck immediately by one obvious answer. I am at peace on vacation. I don’t have hundreds of things I’m thinking about and feel the need to accomplish. I’m not emotional taxed on vacation.

This leads me to another observation and a more important set of questions.

What other reasons are contributing to my overeating? Are they emotionally based? Are they resolvable?

Am I hung up with my looks and how I see myself? Am I thinking about how others see me? Do I seek or need or want their approval? And if so, why?

To a degree overeating feels circular to me. There is a cause-and-effect riddle that faces me and asks to be addressed.

I’m tired of the game and want answers, so I decide to plunge in. I realize everyone’s situation is different and that you’ll want to substitute your own emotional clues, if mine don’t make sense to you. But it might prove helpful to read along and adjust where necessary.

For me, I believe overeating is emotionally based and arises inside me from different directions.

Judgements. The judgement process might begin with others, but over time I find that unless I’m very careful, I internalize others’ views and criticisms of me.

Comparisons. Whether initiated by others or ourselves, any form of comparison is damaging and unfair. We are all unique people and have our own paths to travel.

Ideals. Self-created or adopted from others, having specific ideals of exactly how we ‘should’ look, act or feel is extremely limiting and offers us no true way to feel good about ourselves.

Having considered these words, I am now more aware of their emotional impact on me and sense they are driving some of my emotional weight and desire to overeat.

If you give yourself a chance to sit and listen to your emotions, body, mind, and spirit, perhaps you’ll discover some reasons of your own.

In my next post I’d like to offer you one possible way to release any emotional weight you carry, whether from overeating or another source.

Love As A Prayer

I admit that I have felt quite challenged about the whole nature of prayer. Perhaps you do as well.

When someone asks you to pray for them, what does that mean to you? Do you think they mean for you to request a specific outcome to occur in their life? Are you comfortable with this?

I confess, this has plagued me for a long time.

Of course, I want them to experience their best possible life. I want them to be free from painful obstacles and difficult and challenging decisions.

But how can I possibly know what the right choice is for them?

Even on my best day I do not possess enough insight for this.

It seems to me that part of our cultural training includes the idea that we can pray for someone and that our prayers will create the specific desired outcomes. And what I hear most is that when we pray to God (or the universe) the expectation is that God will listen to us and bring about the resolution of whatever problem(s) we’ve brought to God’s attention.

This approach seems to imply that there is only one ‘right’ outcome, the one the requester of the prayer wants to happen.

What if there is more to it than this? What if there is an even better answer?

There are problems with this whole approach, because should the prayer not be answered in the way requested, the requester is left wondering several things. Is my prayer not worthy of God’s attention or approval? Or perhaps, God is not listening to me. Or that God wants me to experience this difficulty, despite my prayer and the prayers of others.

It is easy to end up feeling like a victim if the specific prayer request is not answered.

Add to this the cultural phenomenon where there are two teams competing to win a game and folks praying for each side to be the victor. If you were God, how would you grant both prayers?

So, where does this leave us and what is God’s role in granting answers to prayers?

What if we looked at this from a very different point of view?

If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you’ll know my beliefs can border on the radical, so be prepared.

Imagine that God does not take sides, nor does God have a stake in specific outcomes. Since God has given everyone free will, God does not listen to one prayer and ignore another, nor dictate particular actions and outcomes.

So, what does God do and who is God?

What has been shared with me, which is of course up to you to decide for yourself, is that God is unconditional love. And unconditional love is the purest form of energy. It gives and supports all of life. It is non-directional and non-judgmental. It is open hearted, free, and available to everyone at all times.

God, as unconditional love, lives inside each person and is always available. Its pure energy can be offered and shared with anyone at any time.

And once given to another, it combines with their energy and creates sparks to help them light their path, so that they can see more clearly.

This non-directive, non-judgmental, open hearted, unconditional love supports and encourages the receiver, giving them strength and insight to move through whatever situation they are facing. It allows their spiritual plan to unfold, no matter what challenges appear on the surface.

When I am asked now to pray for another, I pause to remember this and dive deep into my heart and offer unconditional love as my prayer.

I Am My Dad Today

Has anyone faded away from you?

I know I am not alone. I know there are many others who share the loss I feel because someone they love is fading away from them.

Whether the reason has a name like dementia or Alzheimer’s or is nameless, whole parts of them seem to be missing and it creates a huge hole in their world. And my world too.

To watch this happen, whether bit by bit or all of a sudden and know there is nothing you can do to stop it, brings a cascade of tears.

How are we, the ones left empty and dry by their departure, to sit with this sense of loss?

I can only answer this for myself, but perhaps by sharing a part of me, there might be something valuable for you.

I write.

And through the writing, I allow my heart to bleed words onto the page.

For me, this is a way to vent the grief I feel and once it is outside of me, I can breathe again. I can let go of what I’m holding inside that rests on my chest and smothers me.

By writing, I open to wisdom and peace and let words flow through me into the open air.

Here is the poem I wrote.

I Am My Dad Today

I am my dad today.

At least that’s what my mother thinks.

She calls me by his name, her only connection to this world.

She asks me (him) where she is. I tell her but it doesn’t sink in.

She asks again.

I offer another answer and it falls into the same dark hole with everything else I say.

For a moment, I am not my father, and she asks me who I am.

I brace myself and tell her, I am your son.

A look crosses her face.

I wonder, could it be recognition?

She looks up at me and tells me she has no children.

I guess that makes my sister and me orphans. It’s certainly the way a part of me feels.

I wonder what string attaches her to this earth. I can’t see one. It must be some sort of magic.

It’s time for me to go. I tell her I need to go home to make dinner.

She asks me when she will see me again.

I try to calm myself.

I tell her that my sister, her daughter, will be with her tomorrow and that I’ll see her again the next day.

She turns away.

I walk out of her room wondering who I will be to her then. I cannot possibly know.

The one thing I do know is she will still be my mother.

I try to find some peace in this.

I love you mom.                             (end)

I know that I cannot change what is happening to her or to me, but I need to find a way to live in this new space.

I’m sure that others who have experienced this might be able to shed some light on this for me, but I want to know what god has to tell me.

So, I ask.

My answer comes from a part of god I know and love. It’s a part of god I know as Lia, which stands for Love In Action. She has a distinctly feminine voice and always speaks loving truth to me.

I try to calm myself and let go of the distractions that surround me. I breathe in and out, slowing and softening, so I can hear her voice clearly. When I find some peace, she speaks.

“The solace you seek comes when you release and accept.”

She continues, “Yes, of course, you feel deeply for the living loss of your mom, who is both here and not here. Rest easy and remember this…when she is with you, she is yours AND when she drifts beyond you, she is mine. She slips past the veil between worlds, and she comes to be with me. We sit together with the most precious love surrounding us and we rest in this beautiful state of bliss.”

I take heart and she tells me more.

“I know that all you see is a woman you love who appears to be here with you, but you cannot seem to reach her, and she seems disconnected and far, far away from you. I encourage you to see beyond this surface view. I ask you to accept my blessed assurance that she is with me and is always covered in my love.”

I sit with this revelation and let it fill me with peace. I do still feel the loss of connection with my mom, but something deeply profound has change inside of me and I now know she will always be taken care of, not by me, but by the sweetness of the divine.

Why Are You Here

I’d like to propose a radical idea for you to consider.

Here it is.

You are here to experience JOY.

Sure, I know that sounds crazy. You could say to me, look around, don’t you see what’s happening these days? It’s a fractured world. There’s climate change, political upheaval, war and the resulting horrors, drastic economic shifts.

You could ask me; how do you expect me to be happy and feel joyful?

And then you could say to me…are you mad?

Part of me is likely to respond that I can’t find much joy in this life either. I have my own list of prohibitions to joy and a host of prerequisites before I will allow myself to honestly answer that I feel any ongoing sense of joy.

But another part of me refuses to give up on this idea. It asks me to look deeper within myself and reveal a greater truth than what appears on the surface.

Yes, I see the challenges. I feel the pressures to perform, to possess, to acquire, to say out loud that I am happy and fulfilled. I fully sense my limits, physically, emotionally, financially, and mentally. And they weigh a ton. I know they do.

I’ve come to recognize that so much of what I see in the world is driven by fear and it forces me to ask the question over and over again…why am I here?

There is a strong part of me that wants to know my answer, or is it answers?

Each time this happens, some sort of list appears, as if completing it will provide satisfaction, a sense of completeness or elemental clarity for me.

It hasn’t. It doesn’t.

Maybe the same thing happens to you. Maybe you also associate ‘what you do’ with ‘who you are’, so that the more you accomplish, the better you can feel about yourself. Maybe you too seek to answer the question of why you are here with specific goals you set and meet. And perhaps you are just as unsatisfied with this approach as I am.

Perhaps you are ready for a shift in perspective. And maybe it will take something radical to make this happen.

Well, here’s something you may want to consider. Since fear doesn’t work, how about trying love?

The love I’m talking about is expressed through a genuine sense of joy. I’m not speaking about happiness, which can be fleeting and easily overcome by the world. Instead, I’m speaking about a profound inner belief that we are each here to experience and express joy.

What does that mean?

My personal answer is that it will be different for each person because what brings joy to one is not the same as what brings joy to another.

Then how is joy found?

Here’s a shocker. I don’t believe joy can be ‘found’, because this implies it is OUTSIDE of us, hidden somewhere, waiting to be discovered.

What feels like the truth to me is that joy is INSIDE each of us and is revealed when we center on love.  I see that fear is only a messenger and it guides by showing us what does not work, but it cannot tell us why we are here, because only love can do that.

So, what is the radical path I am suggesting?

It will take a little time, but it will be worth it. I promise.

It starts like so many other paths, with breathing in and out slowly, deeply, quietly, allowing your body to relax. It starts by closing your eyes and letting the world fade away, and then opening your heart and saying ‘yes’ to going deeper inside yourself (your self) and asking what brings out the joy in you? What makes you feel the most alive? I suggest the answer to these questions are also the answers to why you are here.

I’ll share some of my joys to get you started…I am here to help others find their own path. I am here to speak my truth (each of my books and these website posts are my attempts to share with you). I am here to connect deeply with family and friends, and to both give and receive love. I am here to get lost in the beauty of the natural world and I am here to live as an extension of the divine for as many days as I walk this earth.

If you give yourself some time, I believe you will reveal the truth about why you are here and how joy creates the spark for all things to happen in your life.

Ego Wants a Role

My most recent post focused on Free Will and its relationship with God’s Will. This brought up several questions for me, so I decided to investigate further, which means asking Lia, a feminine voice of god, to share some insight with me.

One of the most perplexing questions I encounter is how active god is in my life. I wonder how the relationship takes shape between my actions and god’s actions. Are they always in some kind of harmony? Is my free will always the action that counts the most and takes precedent?

So, of course, I asked god (in this case Lia) about this, saying, “How are you active in my life, especially in relationship to free will?”

Lia responded, “It’s less complicated than you think. You and I are connected. It can truthfully be said, we are ONE, because we are inseparable, except that you can agree to make it ‘appear’ as though we are not.”

“This ‘appearance’ happens when you accept the illusion of an earth life, but keep in mind, that beneath this illusion is the truth, we are one and inseparable.”

“While living the ‘agreement’ of the illusion, you accept that your EGO will assist you with the creation and maintenance of a state of awareness called and known as YOU (insert your name). Ego works diligently to manage this state of YOU, which includes a belief that you are separate from others and that you have observable boundaries.”

“If those boundaries appear in jeopardy, ego goes to work to reinforce them and reacquires its comfort zone. That is its job, and it takes it quite seriously.”

“Occasionally, ego becomes relaxed or is forced into surrender, either voluntarily or involuntarily. When either of these happen, it creates a unique state, one where you will/can experience life outside the ego walls.”

As interesting as these insights were I still wanted to know how active Lia is in my daily life and how her action relate to my free will.

In reply she said, “As an earth essence, you are always free to do or experience anything you choose. You cannot do otherwise. This is a fundamental truth. However, since we are truly ONE essence (you and I and all others) you could say that WE have free will. WE are in relationship, always and forever, part of the same fundamental truth.”

“When you ask the question as you did, your reference point becomes a statement that there is separation…a you and a me, two entities.”

“When you view us as separate, you are forced to confront the idea of two entities, each with its own free will, which creates a conflict because it implies, we could want two different things. Unless you surrender to the truth, this will not be solvable- ever.”

I’d been listening very carefully, but wanted to make certain I heard her correctly so I asked, “Are you are telling me that, if I shift my beliefs, I will be able to see the truth, that we are not now, nor ever were, nor ever will be, SEPARATE and as such, WE have free will?”

Lia answered, “Yes, and there is more to it.”

I wondered what else there was to know and asked, “Since we are ONE, how do I make sense of my life as it appears?”

I was surprised by Lia’s response, “That depends fully on how much you want to wake up and remember.”

Some clarity was seeping in, and I responded, “I see. That’s the dividing line, isn’t it? If I truly desire and choose to wake up, all will be known to me.”

“Yes”, Lia answered.

“Then why am I afraid of this? Do I think it will end the game of life?”

Lia’s wisdom and insight shone through clearly for me as she answered, “Your ego is concerned that it will not be able to protect you if you choose to remember. There is no truth to this fear (worry, concern)…none at all, but it feels real to your ego and that’s all it takes in order to want to stay put in your current understanding.”

“How can we allay ego’s concerns?”

Lia said, “Ask ego what it has seen during your life, as you’ve expanded, that creates an uncomfortable feeling for it.”

The truth is plain now. I need to know more about what my ego has to say before I can move forward. It is certainly time for a chat.

God’s Will

Are you familiar with the concept of God having a ‘will’ for you?
A specific plan for things God wants you to accomplish? A way to move through your life according to a long list of do’s and don’t’s?

The folks that seem to talk about this give the impression that you should know what God’s will is and comply with it, because after all, it’s God we’re talking about.

The incredibly tricky part is that although you are supposed to abide by God’s will, there are almost never any clear indications of precisely what God’s will is for you. This leaves you in a powerless position and opens the door for others to be the authority and speak on God’s behalf.

How can one person know what God’s will is for another? What source of wisdom allows them the clarity to inform and dictate what another person is to do with their life? Is their claim that God speaks directly to them and provides specific insights about all the people of this world and what each one should be doing?

You may have guessed by my questions and word choices that I don’t see life this way.

I’ve had many conversations with god and am a true believer in one of god’s greatest gifts, ‘free will’.

Free will is an open invitation from god to experience everything possible in this life. No are no exceptions, expectations, demands, requirements or strings attached. Free will is pure.

I believe logic would like to have a say in this discussion. If one of the tenets in life is that we each have ‘free will’, how can it be that there is another force called God’s will? The two would be mutually exclusive by nature, since surely there will always be conflicts, and any override of free will, voids it completely.

What proponents of God’s will have to offer is that God’s will is supreme, therefore, any instance where we use our free will in opposition to God’s will, must be abandoned or relinquished.

Of course, our free will allows us to make choices that create pain and suffering for ourselves and for others. It also provides us with the power to make choices that create healing and loving actions.

How we use our free will is entirely up to each of us.

I fully recognize there are dilemmas involved here.

How is anyone to know the truth?

How is anyone to know what God’s will is for them?

How does free will work if it conflicts with what one is told is God’s will? How does God’s will work if it is in conflict with our free will?

The answers depend greatly on what one has been told during their life and their willingness to explore new territory. If there is a strong belief that God’s will is sacrosanct and that someone else has been given the wisdom to explain what it is, there may be little room for an alternative view.

However, if one has been told these things but has never felt comfortable with them, there may be an open door to enter to consider the importance of free will.

Ultimately, I believe that having your own conversation with god, whatever your concept is for god, is the pathway to your own certainness.

I am a firm believer that sitting in stillness, breathing in and out, until a calm center is reached, and opening our mind and heart creates an opportunity for divine connection.

This is the place where all is known.

Heading Into The Storm

It seems human nature to try to avoid challenging situations in life, almost like we’re hard-wired that way. Perhaps some internal awareness is operating, attempting to save us from having to deal with things we wished were not a part of our life.

When a difficulty presents itself to you, what are you inclined to do? Do you shy away or pretend it’s not real or solicit for help from others? Or do you face it, recognizing it’s unlikely to be resolved without your direct intervention?

There are of course lots of other strategies, but most seem to come with potentially uncomfortable consequences.

You may be thinking this very moment about something you’re facing and wondering how to proceed. Or you may want to arm yourself with a new approach for when the time comes for your next challenge.

You might already know that I am a writer. Afterall, you are reading something I’ve written right now. But I write more than these posts. I am wholly engaged in a series of books that all go by the title of Little Buddha, and I’ve just completed Book Four. In it there is a story about a young man, Max, who worked in the western part of the America doing an internship with the US Forestry Service. This gave him the opportunity to observe nature and experience her wisdom.

Although he learned many things from the Forestry workers, a Native American by the name of Black Elk, was the one who taught him the ways of nature and filled him with a living wisdom he could carry with him. More than this even, Black Elk taught Max how to observe and understand life for himself. Certainly, a most precious gift.

Perhaps the most valuable teaching of all came one day when Max was observing a herd of buffalo and watched as a massive snowstorm swept toward them. He paid as careful attention as he could, trying to see what each of them would do. In the chaos and blinding snow too much happened for him to notice it all. He wanted to understand better, so he asked Black Elk to share his wisdom.

Black Elk, whose normal approach was to teach through asking questions, decided to explain through the use of his own observations.

This is the story he told Max.

“Many, many years ago there was a Sacred Buffalo. All the other buffalo watched the Sacred Buffalo and followed the Sacred Buffalo everywhere it went, always finding enough to eat. One day, a great storm arrived. Many buffalo turned away from the storm, charging as fast as they could, trying to outrun it. Others watched to see what the Sacred Buffalo would do. The Sacred Buffalo snorted and stamped its great hooves upon the earth. Then, giving one great cry, it glanced at the herd and ran full speed into the storm, disappearing in a wall of white snow. All the other buffalo followed stampeding behind where the Sacred Buffalo had disappeared into the whiteness. A short time later all the buffalo emerged from the storm into a place of stillness and there, grazing peacefully, stood the Sacred Buffalo.”

After some more discussion Max came to understand the value of heading into the storm. He accepted and embraced the story and shifted his life, recognizing the wisdom of the Sacred Buffalo.

In my own life, I’ve seen that trying to avoid or run away from my problems has caused an enormous amount of pain and suffering for me. I’ve allowed all those scary, fearful, difficult decisions that have come to visit me too much reign over me.

The essence of Max and Black Elk’s story enlightens me. Opening myself and allowing courage to come forth, then acting swiftly and boldly, heading directly into the storm of any problem, I now see as the wisest path forward. It shortens the length of the storm and leads me into a place of peace.

In the story Black Elk gives Max a carved wooden buffalo that had been bleached white by the sun as a reminder for his travels through life.

My hope is that I remember the teaching of this story.

Should you wish to read more of the story, you can order a copy of the book, Little Buddha Book Four by Rob H. Geyer, on Amazon in either print or ebook format.

Choosing Your Memories

If someone asked you to share one of your memories, what would you choose to tell them?

Now imagine the same person asked you to share five or ten or fifty, how many of them would be ‘good’ memories?

If you were given a day or two to conjure up as many memories as you possibly could, how long would it take before you mentioned a ‘bad’ memory?

It fascinates me to consider what my answers to these questions would be. It feels like some sort of subtle test, a way to measure my satisfaction with my life.

I had an occasion recently to investigate this idea up close and personal. As my mom’s power of attorney, it was up to me to sign all the mortgage closing documents on her recent house sale.

I’d promised myself that I would walk through the house before the closing. I wanted a chance to capture the living memories I felt were stored there. I wanted to sweep them up and bring them with me. To store them somewhere safe inside me so that I could hold them, perhaps forever.

As I walked in the front door, the floodgates opened. I can’t recall the very first time I entered the home I grew up in and I that I have been a part of for over sixty years, but so many things stood there in front of me.

The house has so many interesting features and every inch of space is utilized. There is a shelf inset into the wall in the foyer. One of the shelves used to hold a small wooden ship I carved for my father. It had toothpick masts and thread rigging and it took me a long time to build. It’s not there anymore. I have no idea where it went.

I walked into the living room. A place where so many joyous family gatherings were held. A place where a mounted deer head rested above the fireplace. I’d bought it at a garage sale for 25 cents. I thought it was a great deal. I’m willing to bet the seller and his wife thought they’d made a profit. The deer head is gone now. I have no idea where it went.

On into the dining room, where all our family dinners happened. My mom was an excellent cook and I remembered many of the meals we ate there. If I stretched a bit, I could almost taste them. It became my mom’s reluctant bedroom, when it wasn’t safe for her to go up and down the stairs any longer.

Going from room to room brought more and more sweet memories. Words, sounds, feelings. The comings and goings of six decades. All the games, conversations, fears, hopes, and dreams. All the wonderful cookies after school, fresh out of my mom’s oven. The mad crazy ping pong games with my father in the basement, which was too short for our smashing forehands. All the imaginative games with my sister, one of which was pretending to be radio disc jockeys under the dining room table. Don’t ask me why that was our station headquarters. It just was.

Upstairs I walked down the hall to my bedroom. I could still see it as it was when I was a child, the placement of my desk and chair and bed, the Hopi Indian wall hanging, even the closet that had a sort of secret compartment where I stored my prized possessions.

My memory lane is long. The savoring, both touching and sweet.

Perhaps you’ve lived and lost some parts of you, a house, a family member, friend, favored pet or a lessening of your skills and senses. It happens.

What I think matters most to me is what I do with my memories.

Do I let the ‘bad’ ones overtake me, bringing me down and crushing me into silence and grief?

Or do I sift through them until all that are left are the golden, glowing, shiny memories. The ones I wish to keep and hold near to me.

The beautiful thing is, we each get to choose.

What Is Your Stride

What is the distance between your feet as you walk? Do you take generously long strides or tentative short ones?

What do you think it says about you?

What messages are you sending to yourself?

It strikes me that there is something quite valuable to learn from spending some time observing this simple physical phenomenon.

I find that I take very long strides. I can gobble up distances quickly, especially if my pace is intentionally fast. The other day I wondered why this was. It seems to be my default. But why? And what, if anything, does it mean to me?

I had to sit with these questions.

As you probably already know, sitting with questions can be somewhat uncomfortable. I find I want to know the answers and am not always patient enough to wait. I’m inclined to want to move on to something I can solve.

Well, there’s a pretty big clue for me!

Perhaps one of the reasons I take long strides is because I am impatient. That feels very familiar to me. I think I’ve told myself this before. And this answer seems to link automatically to another insight. It’s the one about ‘running out of time’.

There is an internal time clock running in the background somewhere inside my head. It prompts me to move and suggests I need to move NOW, or risk running out of time to get done what I say I want.

And the clock is connected to a list, identifying all the tasks and accomplishments I seek to complete. Tick tock, time to move and take some more long strides.

It’s interesting to me, that when I take long strides, I find I often lose my balance. Could it get any more metaphorically obvious?

The sheer act of walking too quickly affects my balance.

Hmmm.

When I’m conscious of this, I try to slow down and shorten my stride and give myself an opportunity to consider the path I’m taking. Would it enhance my life to be more careful and more patient?

I wonder too, where am I going in such a hurry anyway?

I’m not sure exactly. And this observation feels important too.

I encourage myself to stop and sit for a while and consider. Where am I going and how do I want to get there? And how do I want to feel once I arrive? Each of these questions seems worthy of answering.

So, here’s a question for you.

What is the length of your stride?

Is it slow and thoughtful? Is it just the right amount of slow, or is it so tentative that you risk never arriving anywhere?

Does it vary? Does it change whether you’re going uphill (facing hardships or challenges) or downhill (when everything seems easy, and nothing is out of place)?

I wonder whether, like me, you’ve rarely thought about this. I wonder too, whether now that a seed has been planted, what will happen next for you?

For me, I believe it’s time for some changes.

I’m going to try to shorten my gait and stay in balance more often. I’m going to give myself a break by releasing the inner need to beat the clock ticking away inside my head. I plan on hitting the pause button, so that I can find a new sense of balance, without the misplaced belief that I will run out of time. And I’m going to pay attention to the length of my stride and listen to see if it wants to share a message with me.

Resurrection of Love

This is a companion to my previous post, One Path to Love.

On Good Friday in 2018 I spent three hours, from noon until 3:00pm, standing, sitting, and walking around the sanctuary of Unity Church in Albany (NY) with the hope that I would be able to connect spiritually and come to a greater understanding of the events surrounding Easter.

I sensed a strength, peace and clarity and felt a ‘knowing’ arrive within me, as if I were present during that time. It felt intimate and real, and I wanted very much to capture each of the stories so that they could be shared with the world. Over the next several weeks I received the words you are about to read. But more than the words, I received the beauty, grace and Yeshiwa’s (Jesus’s) loving heart that was and is the center of each of these stories. The full text appears in my book, Nine, a Holy Week Story of Love.

I do not ask you to believe me. I ask only that you read the words and let them reveal to you what truth they have to share.

This part of the story tells of an encounter between Yeshiwa and Mary Magdalen at Yeshiwa’s burial site following his resurrection.

Chapter Eight: Resurrection (excerpt)

Yeshiwa’s narrative:

I watched from afar as the one I loved most sought after me. She approached the tomb where I had been laid, trembling with fear. Fear that I had been taken and would be lost to her forever.

She touched my burial linens, so lovingly placed upon me by Joseph after I’d been taken from the cross. She traced every impression and quietly sang a sweet song to the memory of me.

One of my angels came and spoke to her asking her, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

His garments shown with brilliance, and she fell back away from him. Then gathering herself, she said, “I am searching for my master. I wish to honor and anoint him. Please, if you know where he is, please tell me.”

The angel’s heart opened to her, and he said, “Fear not, for all is well. Your master has risen, as he told you he would. Go and seek, so that you may find him.”

She left, her heart quickening and her love revived. And she came and found me, and we held each other’s gaze and she said to me, “Oh beloved, I was so afraid. I remembered your words to us, yet still did not believe you would return. Please forgive my faithlessness. You know my love for you, and you know my great joy at seeing you, you the most precious gift to us all.”

“Mary,” I said, “there is no need for forgiveness. You have wronged no one, least of all, me. Come to me, heart of my heart.”

And she came and we embraced. As we parted, I gently held her face in my hands and looked into her eyes and placed the wholeness of my love deeply into her heart and because it was her greatest desire, she came fully awake.

I spoke to her, “My beloved, it is yours now, to teach as I have taught. To sow ripe seeds among the many. To guide the sheep and the shepherds. To you I have given the keys to the kingdom, that all might inherit everlasting life. Know that my love for you is eternal, remember me in each moment and in each breath.”

She gazed at me, and tears fell from her eyes and down her cheeks. “I will do as you ask. I will be mother to all and servant wherever I stand. I will feel you in each moment and remember you in each breath, you my master and beloved.”

“Go now and tell the others. Tell them I will meet them on the road. Remind them of my words and my promises and my love for them.”

She leaned back into me and softly said, “It will be done as you ask. I will tell them, and their hearts will rejoice.”

Then Mary and the others with her departed, running, that they might bring my good news to all who loved me.

These words show the love between Yeshiwa and Mary and the bond they shared. While channeling them, I was surrounded by their love and knew beyond any earthly knowing that this love belongs to every one of us. Freely given, offered with no expectations or demands. Ours without exception.

I hope that within these words there is something of value for you, something worth keeping for the rest of your life.

One Path to Love

On Good Friday in 2018 I spent three hours, from noon until 3:00pm, standing, sitting, and walking around the sanctuary of Unity Church in Albany (NY) with the hope that I would be able to connect spiritually and come to a greater understanding of the events surrounding Easter.

I sensed a strength, peace and clarity and felt a ‘knowing’ arrive within me, as if I were present during that time. It felt intimate and real, and I wanted very much to capture each of the stories so that they could be shared with the world. Over the next several weeks I received the words you are about to read. But more than the words, I received the beauty, grace and Yeshiwa’s (Jesus’s) loving heart that was and is the center of each of these stories. The full text appears in my book, Nine, a Holy Week Story of Love.

I do not ask you to believe me. I ask only that you read the words and let them reveal to you what truth they have to share.

This part of the story tells of an encounter with one of Yeshiwa’s tormentors who was present during his whipping.

Chapter Six: Path (excerpt)

Yeshiwa’s narrative

And I was given over to the pain of men. To men whose hearts had long ago left them, leaving them free to release all of their harshness upon me without limit. And yet in their desire to exalt over me, they suffered as I did, with every lash and cruel word, as they brought more pain into their lives and mine. When they had exhausted all of their strength, they dropped their whips and let me lay upon the coolness of the earth.

I could feel the emptiness of their spirits and I wept tears for them, for their lost lives. One, a man named Aaron, came over to me, grabbed my hair and pulled it back, so that my face tilted up toward his. I knew he meant to mock me further, but when our eyes met, he found he could not move or speak. In that single loving moment, his heart came alive. Came back fully to him. The light that had left him was born anew and was fanned into full flame and he fell down beside me and wept until he was as dry as the desert.

He gazed at me beseechingly and said, “I am so sorry master, so very sorry. I know I deserve nothing good, for I am a most wicked man, but please, please forgive me.”

I placed my hand over his heart and looked into his eyes, holding his gaze, and said to him, “My son, you are forgiven, go in peace and show love to the world. Show them the love I have shown you.”

He bowed at my feet, continuing to cry, and said, “Thank you my lord, this I will do all the days of my life,” and he helped me to my feet and walked the path to the cross with me.

—-

The words above flowed easily through me, channeled in a way I cannot fully comprehend, yet believe without even a shadow of a doubt. Each time I read them I cry tears when Aaron’s heart is changed and becomes alive again.

What a wonderful thing, to have your heart revived, to have your life changed, to want to share what you received with others, to give away your gift.

To me, this is the radiant message here. It is the redeeming nature of love. A free gift, available to everyone who chooses it.

That is what channeled through me and stays with me. I hope there is something here for you too.

Dementia’s Song

I’d like to share a very personal story with you, one that may resonate with your life experiences if you know someone with dementia.

No doubt this condition takes many routes. Some happen quite quickly. Others occur in a slow ebbing spiral, descending almost without notice, until one day the stark differences become painfully obvious.

It demands a very high emotional price, certainly from the one personally experiencing it, but also from those surrounding them. Watching the progression can be numbing, knowing there is so little that can be done.

Each person living through the changes must face their own emotional challenges, which of course are impacted by physical, mental, financial, and spiritual concerns.

I’m guessing that no two experiences are alike, but that there can be help and healing through sharing. That’s why I’m writing this post. I cannot know what assistance it may provide, but saying it here helps me and I hope it opens some doors for you.

Recently I awoke at 4:30 in the morning with a poem inside my mind, waiting for release, asking to be written. I hadn’t been expecting it, and yet it was there. So, I rose and wrote it down and felt a strong urge to put it into the world.

Here it is.

Dementia’s Song

I hope she knows me today.

My mother sits in her chair.

More than half faded from this life.

I cannot tell if she knows me.

And her stare gives nothing away.

I am left to wonder.

Is any part of her still here with me?

Once so sharp.

Now

With so few words.

Is there any promise for tomorrow

Or is that hope gone,

Like the sun winking out

At the end of the day

On the far horizon?

I wonder

Can I surrender

This fantasy inside of me

That I have any control

Over her staying?

I wonder too

Will her love remain

Here with me

When she finally leaves?

Perhaps that is for my heart to decide.

I want it to be so.

I hope she knows me today.

This was written after I’d visited my mom only to discover she didn’t seem to know me anymore. It left me fully disoriented, my world upside down. How could we have had such a good interactive conversation just the day before? Hours ago, that’s all, just a few hours.

I watch her trying to assemble words into sentences. The words will not come. They are like a skittish kitten hiding under a bed. The more you try to coax them to come out, the further they retreat from you.

Something obvious occurs to me.

I have no control. I cannot do anything to change this. I feel helpless.

And another thing occurs to me. Perhaps she feels the exact same way.

I wonder, how am I to deal with this?

A word shines brightly inside of me, grabbing my attention.

Acceptance.

It doesn’t mean I don’t try to help or be supportive, but it does mean I accept the reality we are experiencing. The wisdom inside this teaches me to accept all outcomes. It alerts me that my suffering is caused by my resistance to accept what is.

It is important for me to feel my feelings, to dive headlong into them, rather than trying to avoid them, even though I know it will be painful. By now, I know that it is far less painful to acknowledge my feelings, rather than a prolonged avoidance or resistance to letting them come into the light.

So, I will try to sit with no expectations and just be with her, accepting what each of us is experiencing and centering in love, as best as I can.

Not Accepting Shame

Are you familiar with the feeling of shame? Do you know where it comes from for you?

I wonder how often we can answer this question, because most of the time it just appears, unbidden.

I’ve begun to investigate some of the emotions that make me uncomfortable to see if unraveling them helps in letting them go. I’ve discovered several are insidious. They can’t always be traced back to a source. It’s also possible that they are buried so deeply that there is no thread to pull to start a healing process.

When I stop and think about ‘shame’, some obvious causes come to mind. As a child you are particularly vulnerable. You have so little power and so few defenses.

I distinctly remember having a finger pointed at me and being told that I should feel ashamed of myself. This brings up so much for me. To start with, the gesture of having a finger pointed directly at you is very threatening and is reinforced by the negative energetic force that flows through it.

And then, the implication that you ‘should’ (a word I’ve eliminated from my vocabulary because of its negative power), feel ashamed of ‘yourself’. To me, this indicates that you are supposed to obey your training and ‘know better’ and rather than having to be scolded by someone else, you should perform a self-scolding.

The idea here is that you’ve received enough scoldings that it is now your responsibility to monitor your behavior and to shame yourself.

I wonder who makes up all the rules that we feel we must abide by? And more concerning is what makes their version correct? Why are ‘they’ able to set standards of appropriate behavior, including the ones that regulate shame?

I looked up the dictionary definitions for shame, which can be used as a noun or a verb. The definitions split off in several directions, so I looked a little further and came across this.

“Shame can be defined as a feeling of embarrassment or humiliation that arises in relation to the perception of having done something dishonorable, immoral, or improper.”

Again, according to whom?

Is it not possible that you know when you’ve done something that hurt another and after thinking about, want to apologize and make amends? Are we not all capable of this on our own without having to suffer being shamed?

I believe shame is a weapon.

It is used by people to control others, to shape their responses and behavior and to force them to comply with arbitrary standards. I also believe it is used by weak people whose goals is to make themselves feel more powerful.

The purpose for shame is domination.

I believe there is great value in listening carefully to what others say, but also to what they do. Actions and words are very powerful. Paying attention provides opportunities to evaluate our own and other’s choices.

If we believe we have acted in a way that has created problems or hurt others, we can take corrective actions. That is up to us.

I don’t believe anyone ever has the right to hand another a dose of shame. And I believe we all have the right to reject it if it is given to us. Not accepting shame is a powerful tool in protecting your feelings from those who seek to control or dominate you.

I believe we all know the right course of action for ourselves and always have the ability to ask for help and guidance, when we don’t.

Trust

I’ve struggled with the whole idea of trust. Have you?

Partly it’s the concept. There are a lot of implied ideas involved but not a lot of agreement.

When you trust someone else, how open are you? Perhaps at first your trust is rewarded, however, at times you may end up disappointed with others because they break your trust, leaving you guarded for the future.

Maybe you ask yourself, was there an agreement or did you presuppose others were innately trustworthy?

And then there is the question of whether you trust yourself. Based on what I know about me, I wonder if I am as trustworthy as I think I am. Certainly I’ve let myself down on many occasions, but does that make me untrustworthy?

I feel I need to ask myself another important question to help get my bearings. What am I basing my sense of trust on? Is it evaluated solely on the outcomes I experience?

Or is it as simple as, if I don’t get my way, my trust is broken?

Clearly there is confusion here for me.

No doubt there are very intelligent and keenly insightful people who could share much about trust with me, but if you’ve read my posts before, you’ll know where I’m going for my answers. Yes, to Lia, a part of the way I see god (a name I have, in this case, for a decidedly feminine voice of god, which stands for ‘love in action’).

When I asked for clarity, this is what Lia said.

“Do you trust the universe?”

I responded, “I’d have to say the answer is ‘no’, based on how I’m interacting with the world”. I asked, “What can I do about it? How can I relax and allow the flow to carry me?”

Lia’s voice was smooth and calm as she spoke, “Trust is a big word and concept, BUT it isn’t what you think. Your version goes something like this”. All will be well, if I believe properly, rely and trust that the universe (divine, god) has my back, which means things will turn out essentially the way I want them too or I’ll see clearly that what is happening serves me.

“Does that sound accurate to you?”, she asked.

I said, “Pretty much, yes” and added, “so what is trust, if not that?”

There was a moment’s hesitation, as if to underscore the importance of her next words. “It is the belief that nothing matters, as it relates to the observable outcomes.”

I felt that would require more explanation for me to understand and said so.

Lia told me this, “Your version of trust tries to tie together your desired outcome with my actions, so that you experience what you say you want.” Then she added, “Trust (in me) means that, in advance of any outcome(s), you believe all will be well. Nothing specific is preplanned, but ALL outcomes exist. If you altered your belief system to accept that ALL outcomes serve you, you would not need one specific outcome to occur, you would be satisfied with what showed up. Knowing that whatever shows up will/does serve you (and others) is trust.”

I knew she had more to say, and I would have to come back to this to truly understand her message to me.

Lia continued, “Placing or demanding any specific outcome(s) represents a lack of trust and you will feel this across your essence- physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and ego. Part of the reason you will feel this is that the feeling is a message to/for you, a directional arrow pointing the way to living a peaceful, happy, joy-filled life.”

“Your feelings are giving you cues to follow. Those of discomfort tell you to move in another direction and those of pleasure and comfort encourage you to continue on your path.”

“If you don’t find or observe any cues, try something different, pay attention and move accordingly, trusting your insight to guide your way.”

“All of that is a lot to think about,” I stated.

“Yes,” she said, encouraging me to feel that I could return to this conversation any time I desired.

I’m sure I will. I need to feel more trusting in my life.

Losing Friends

Have you ever lost someone important to you?

Is there anyone who could say ‘no’ to this question? I cannot imagine this being the case, unless you are very, very young.

How can we cope with our sense of loss?

I realize everyone is different and no one approach will work for all, but I feel compelled to try to open some kind of door here. Certainly, for myself, but also for you, if that is something you desire.

Like many others, I have experienced a great deal of loss in my life. Some of it in dramatic fashion, some over prolonged time periods, some from a distance, some close up.

During a relatively short period of time, I lost my father, my best friend of forty years, my mother-in-law, two brothers-in-law, a great aunt and my daughter’s family boxer. All these beautiful, incredible beings passed from this life to another, through the arms of death.

Absorbing the emotional impact of these transitions was very challenging for me. I had to recognize this was the truth. I couldn’t hide from the pain or ignore it. I couldn’t rationalize that they were better off leaving their lives here. There was a kind of limbo inside of me that surrounded their passing. A suspended state, leaving me wondering about how we are all connected and whether the connection goes on, despite their physical absence.

I was attempting to find my way through this when another loss occurred. Even though not a brother by birth, I had a deep connection with another and called him my brother, and he died by his own hand. Gone in one second of time. Violent, tragic, and yet completely understandable to me, given his circumstances. In his death I recognized that any form of judgment muddies the water. You cannot know another’s path without being on it yourself.

I also discovered that not all loss is the result of physical death. Friendships die, even long-term ones. And they can be just as painful. All those years melting away into mere memories.

It is easy to become stuck in the sadness and sense of loss. And the pain often extends outward into other areas in your life, sometimes overwhelmingly so.

So, where did my struggles take me?

One direction led me to asking why any of us are here? Is it solely to experience our heart’s breaking?

I believe the truth is that we are not here to subtract from each other’s lives but to add to them.

I bolded that statement because it is that important. Those few words shifted something huge inside of me and offered me a question to ponder.

Who am I now, that they were in my life? What did we share? What did we offer each other?

I feel glory in my answers to these questions.

I feel an awareness of something real and tangible. A sense of beauty and depth and how my life is better, fuller, grander because of them.

I sense that parts of them are now parts of me and I can pass them on to others. Their lives then extend through me, becoming another part of the amazing tapestry that covers this world.

Whatever pain or suffering once existed, can be transformed, if I allow it. If I encourage it. If I embrace it.

If I open and let my feelings run through me and guide them, knowing ‘all is well with the world’, I become free and can remember clearly how beautiful every connection I’ve ever made truly is. All a part of the whole.

When I see my life through this lens I feel blessed.

I Know Who You Are

I know who you are.

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

And yet, I do.

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

I’m neither.

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

What do you think?

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

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

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

So many questions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’d like to help you remember.

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

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

Helpless

Have you ever encountered a situation where you felt absolutely helpless?

I have.

As a matter of fact, I’m feeling that way right now with my mom in the hospital, having fallen two days ago. Yesterday she had a bad reaction to a medication and when I saw her, I was shocked. Very little about her seemed normal to me and the disparity left me reeling. I tried to make sense of things.

I spoke with her doctor and nurses, looking for some reassurances. I received some but couldn’t reconcile what they said with what I was seeing.

My mind revolted.

I am used to being able to solve problems with and without others help. But, in this case, I felt ill equipped to do anything for my mom.

I’m not comfortable with this at all. It feels like the essence of helplessness to me.

And this feeling fully uncovered my need for control. I’ve become used to having at least some measure of control over my life and the things around me. And yet with this situation, I have none.

In my wisest moments I know this idea of control is a sham. At any given time, my expectations of being in charge can be shattered and reality can overcome me. I am not as helpless as a baby, but in certain situations, I feel like one.

It’s an arresting thought and one that creates deep side effects for me.

My mind struggles and my emotions are in turmoil and my body feels their dramatic effects. I wonder, where is my spirit in all of this?

Will it be a source of strength or just lie dormant?

I know I certainly need it, its healing, its centering, and its grounding wisdom. I need something within myself to hang on to, so that I don’t get swept away.

How do I reach for this, hold this?

I gently ask myself to sit back and breathe. No pattern, just breathe.

I close my eyes and allow the world to slip away and let breathing be enough.

I am all too aware I need help, not only help, but hope. More breathing.

As I breathe, I feel a little space open up inside. And within the space I feel an invitation.

Some inner wisdom comes to sit with me saying, “It’s okay to feel”. Another breath, “It’s okay to feel whatever you are feeling”. Another breath and more words of wisdom, “You are both weakness and strength. You slide along, experiencing it all, wholeness, and helplessness.”

Air moves in and out of me, following this wisdom.

“You don’t always have to be in charge or in control. It’s okay to let others have their turn.”

I’m feeling relaxation wash over me.

A realization takes hold, it’s okay to feel helpless, to be helpless, and like all other things, know that it will fade away and move beyond me.

I breathe this in and out. I can go on how

Spiritual Blueprints

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

These are interesting questions to consider.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Something registered with me.

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

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

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

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

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

And there is one more.

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

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

Oil and Water

Have you ever heard anyone say, when referring to people who always fight and argue, “Oh, those two don’t get along at all, they’re like oil and water”?

It’s a common phenomenon. I’ve seen it happen many times and perhaps you have too. I’m pretty sure I’ve been part of this equation, sometimes consciously and sometimes without even being aware. There seem to be some people you run across in life who feel like your polar opposite.

It made me wonder how the expression came about. It turns out this one is based on scientific principles. Not to get too technical, but to give a frame of reference here’s a quick explanation.

I promise there is real, tangible value to understanding this principle, so please keep reading.

Water molecules are made up of one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms. The oxygen atom has a negative charge, while the hydrogen atoms carry positive charges. This allows water molecules to form very strong bonds with other water molecules and also gives them the ability to breakdown and dissolve other molecules, like sugars and salts, because of its polarity.

By contrast, oil molecules are nonpolar and are referred to as hydrophobic, meaning they are “water fearing”. Instead of being attracted to water molecules, they are repelled by them. As a result, if you combine oil and water the two separate, with the lighter oil molecules floating on top of the heavier water molecules.

One vivid example of this principle may be seen when there are puddles in the street and a car leaks some oil into them causing an oily film to stretch across the surface of the water. Although it may appear quite beautiful, it creates difficulties to properly clean up…think monstrous sea-going oil tanker with a crack in the hull, flooding the ocean with thousands of gallons of oil.

Can anything be done about this? Yes. When detergent is added to oil and water it helps to break up the surface tension between them and allows the detergent molecules to bind to both the water and the oil molecules.

Science lesson over.

Remarkable when you think about it.

But why all this talk about molecules?

Here’s why. Consider the polarity of other entities. I’m sure you can come up with many of your own, but here’s a few to get you started: ecologist and big business, two countries or gangs fighting over disputed territories, two religious communities arguing about which can claim spiritual superiority, or two political parties failing to see the bigger picture.

The list of examples we could come up with is no doubt voluminous.

As I thought about these polarities, surprisingly I began wondering about ‘detergents’ and what role they could play. Not the detergents used to clean dishes, but rather acts of openness and compromise that could be used to bind both sides together and aid in resolving conflicts and finding common ground.

I confess I am a dreamer.

I see what happens when one side ignores the other and how it fosters added hard feelings. I witness how blind faith builds fences and boundaries to be protected.

I’m not saying this as if I am exempt. I’m not. But seeing this from the direction of oil and water and detergent speaks to me. It offers me an insight and a way forward.

What if, instead of seeing polarity we added some detergent to the mix (listening skills, opening to the bigger picture, compromising, agreeing that we want the best for the next generation, caring, a bit of generosity, compassion and empathy).

What might that look like? How might that feel? What difference might that make?

I wonder about these things every time I pour some detergent into the sink and wash the dishes and I remind myself to do my best to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

Paying Attention

Are you always paying attention, or do you sometimes get caught up in your life and lose focus?

Do things seem completely out of hand at times, making you wonder if you have any control at all?

They do for me.

One night recently I got home from a winter’s walk and set my gloves on the counter. It turns out I set them too close to the edge and they promptly fell on the floor. I don’t actually enjoy picking things up off the floor. My body is sort of stiff and inflexible, so it’s a bit of a chore for me. I’d rather it wasn’t this way and I do all sorts of exercises to help myself out, but it’s still challenging.

I reached down, took a firm hold of the gloves, and set them further onto the counter, then stopped and asked myself a question.

Why did this happen?

The simple answer was, I wasn’t paying enough attention. I casually placed them too close to the edge. This sequence of events could have easily ended there, but it didn’t because I believe everything we do is potentially meaningful.

So, what might be hidden in this for me?

It didn’t take long for me to realize that sometimes I’m just careless about things in my life. Little things and big things.

Am I the only one who feels this way?

Do you forget where your car keys are? Are you late for meetings? Do others have to repeat what they are saying to you because you weren’t listening to them? Do you miss turns while driving and have to go back?

These are all signs of not paying attention. Of course, they don’t usually cause real problems, but to me they do possess some undiscovered meaning.

What could they be pointing to?

Does anything jump into your mind?

As I sit back and wonder, something come to me. My mind is too busy. There’s just too much going on upstairs in my head and it makes it impossible to focus. Rumbling around are all my plans, ideas, to do list items, appointments, chores, grocery, and meal preparation plans…the list goes on and on. I’d be willing to bet your own head is as full as mine.

Part of the value of sitting back is that it provides a respite and a way to gain some distance from things, to let them fall away, if only for a short period of time. When I find myself in the middle of an episode of inattentiveness, I give myself permission to stop. Stop and see what value is hidden in my situation.

If I give myself a chance, I can often find at least one treasure. Granted it takes some practice, but it’s well worth it.

So, why did my gloves fall on the floor? That’s where this all started. Could there truly be more to it than just an act of carelessness?

Yes.

The gloves falling was a tip off. An alert. A sort of warning alarm to let me know that if I’m inattentive with the little things, I’m also probably inattentive with the big things in my life. And most of the big things matter.

At the moment, I have a lot of big things going on, so this alert message helps me to center. It’s one thing to have gloves fall onto the floor, it’s another thing entirely if I don’t pay attention to medical, financial, emotional, or other concerns.

Realizing that the major reason for my lack of attention is that my head is too full is a wonderful thing. It gives me the opportunity to release those things that are taking up valuable space and to shift my thinking and consciously choose what to focus my time and energy on.

In the end, I’m glad my gloves fell onto the floor and set off a chain reaction that helped to clear my mind and give me some incentive to pay better attention.

Engagement with Life

Do you ever wonder what it means to engage fully with life? Or, what you need to do to interact in a way that creates exactly the experiences you desire while here on this earth plane?

I’d like to share a conversation I recently had with Lia, a part of (god) that comes to me as a feminine voice filled with love.

If you’ve been with me for a while, you may already know about her, but if not, I think it would help for me to explain a little bit.

Lia is always available to me (and to everyone) and waits for me to begin our conversations, although I do believe she places a constant string of reminders in my path. I know she’s there and loves to talk with me, but I have to decide to quiet my world so that I can hear her.

Every time I do, I fall in love with my connection to her.

So, when I felt challenged by the route my life was taking, I literally stopped what I was doing and sat down. I breathed in and out and allowed my mind to slow down until it was at peace. It was then possible for me to engage with her. You see, she never overrides my free will, because this is my life.

The thought that was circling my mind was, ‘can I experience exactly what I choose here on earth’?

This question cycles around and around for me and I desperately wanted an answer. I waited, patiently (well, mostly).

I don’t actually hear an out loud voice, it’s more like I ‘know’ what she’s saying to me.

Lia began speaking, “At this point, with much of your life you are not choosing consciously, rather, you are allowing life to take its own course. This means you are not fully engaged.”

I thought about this for a bit and came up with a three-part conclusion. First, I recognized it was true, I don’t always consciously choose my path. Second, when I do, I don’t consistently choose the same path, so I don’t experience what I say I want to experience. And third, I don’t always believe in what I do choose, so I get very mixed results. I asked, “Is this what you’re talking about?”

Lia acknowledged, “Yes”, then continued, “the engagement I’m speaking about is found in the sacred formula of ‘conceive, believe and act’. This is what determines your level of success and whether you experience your intended choices.”

I needed to let that sink in. It seemed to me there was more to it, so I asked for clarification.

She paused, then told me this, “You can’t just say you want your life to be a specific way and then magically experience your request. It would be helpful if you understood an important nuance. The use of the word ‘want’ produces an experience of ‘wanting’. It does not produce ‘having’. Wanting is an action word without the power to create. It is weak because there is no conviction or action behind it. Similarly, when you express a ‘desire’ or a ‘wish’ for something, it would be wise to recognize neither leads to creation. They are ‘hollow’ words. Their only result is a buildup of more desire or wish fulfillment. Without action, they are both useless.”

I sat back and thought about this, and it became even more obvious to me that words really do matter.

Lia added, “Your cultural vocabulary plays a significant role in your life and how you choose to experience the world. You say that you want to engage fully with life and to experience exactly what you choose. Now that we’ve spoken, I’d like to ask you how you believe this will happen.”

After a moment I responded with these words, “For me to experience anything in this world, I need to consistently conceive, believe, and take action. And part of this active process is ‘claiming’ the results, rather than merely hoping, wishing, wanting, or desiring them.”

I could feel Lia smiling at me and nodding agreement.

I believe I have a pathway now and I wanted to share it with you.

Searching for Beliefs

Where do our beliefs come from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trusting

Are there a lot of people in your life that you trust? Or have you been burned once too often to offer your trust to others?

A memory jumped into my head when I started to think about the subject of trust.

Can you picture a playground teeter-totter, also known as a see- saw? In case you are not familiar with them I’ll give you a quick explanation. Imagine a long board placed over a mid-point pivot (think fulcrum) with handles near each end. It’s meant for two people, usually children. One sits at one end and holds on to the handle that span the width of the board. The other child sits at the opposite end hanging on to their own handle.

At rest, one end of the teeter-totter sits on the ground, while the other end is up in the air, so the two children need to hold the board parallel to the ground, throw their legs over the board, hang on to the handles and balance there. Then one child pushes off the ground and rises upward while the other child falls downward, requiring them to bend their knees. After a moment the downward child pushes upward causing the upward child to fall toward the ground. The cycle is repeated over and over until at least one child tires of the game.

A discovery may occur to one or both of the children. The closer they sit to the middle, the less height they get. This is the safest position but offers very little excitement. The further the children get to the ends of the board the higher they go and the greater the thrill.

Here’s the trust part.

If a child decides to get off quickly when they are at the low point, the child at the peak crashes to earth in a free fall. From experience I can tell you this can be quite painful. At first, you’re shocked and weightless, then you realize there’s no way to land easily, no matter how strong your legs are.

Here’s another thing that happens.

It challenges your friendship.

While at the peak of your teeter-totter experience you were completely defenseless and the child at the other end, who could protect you, let you fall. A total breach of playground etiquette.

And dangerous for you.

It seems to me that there are lots of situations in life just like this.

You come to rely on an expected level of care from others. You may feel it is implied and doesn’t need to be defined or formally agreed to. It ought to just happen that others are concerned about you and try to help you, especially if they are your family or friends.

I wonder about lots of things. It’s just the way my mind works. I usually let it go and try to follow its path. In this case it led me to looking up the definition of the word ‘trust’. I discovered it’s both a noun and a verb. As a noun it’s an idea, as a verb it’s an action.

It represents a belief in someone or something’s reliability, truth, ability or strength.

How do you decide to trust someone? Do they have to have a track record with you of previously proven support?

Does your trust evaporate if they fail to meet your expectations? Do you base your level of trust of others on how trustworthy you think you are?

I find it challenging to answer these questions. I’m struck by the tenuous principles involved in trusting. I wonder which elements I need to see and feel before I extend my trust. I wonder too, what others need or want from me prior to giving me their trust.

Perhaps the answer is simpler than I might think. Perhaps it’s not about anyone else but me. Not about their actions or intentions, but all about how I want to live in this world.

Do I want the safe ride in the middle of the teeter-totter or the thrill ride, living the fullest life offered? It’s possible I might get hurt, but it’s also possible I will find rich rewards through trusting.

I guess it’s a decision offered to each of us. I hope the one you make brings you joy.

What’s Worth Keeping

I wondered recently what I would keep if I only had a few minutes to save some of the things I own. I’m not sure where the thought came from, but it made me sad and a bit anxious. What would happen to all my other treasurers, the ones I didn’t or couldn’t keep?

The thought initially created suffering inside me. Why had this popped into my mind?

It was fleeting at first and hard to capture, but then a second thought came forward. I wondered which of my emotional reactions in life were worth keeping.

Is it worth remembering each hurt, disappointment, and failure? How about retaining every instance of anger, worry or resentment? Are any of these worth keeping?

And if I decided to hang on to them what would happen to me, to my inner being? What would their impact be on me? Would they somehow serve me, even if they felt heavy and weighed me down?

I needed to spend some time with these questions to see what would happen.

I wonder how they strike you. Are you holding on to emotions or thoughts that are truly worth keeping?

I came to a one basic conclusion I’d like to share with you.

I realized that each thought and emotion helped shape me and that it was entirely up to me to decide which to focus on and keep in my consciousness.

Those I chose to retain could help guide me. They could assist me with choosing new directions. Even if I initially felt they were part of negative experiences, I could learn from them and discover the beneficial aspects that could improve my life.

I decided to kick back for a little while and give myself some open space to consider. I sat back and allowed an example to come into the light.

The first to appear was this.

I’ve had a really bad cough for over four weeks now, which has made sleeping very difficult. It’s the only symptom I have. To be sure I was okay, early in the process I decided to take a COVID test. Gratefully, it was negative. However, dealing with the cough had become so challenging that I resorted to taking a Tylenol PM before bedtime.

It was magical. I began to have the best sleep I’ve had in years, even considering a few coughing fits during the night. Instead of waking up at 5:00 or 5:30am, I was sleeping until 7:30 or 8:00am and feeling well rested. I know it’s medically unwise to take the Tylenol PM for long, so I’ve switched to Melatonin, which many others I know swear by.

So, what’s my point in centering on this example?

It’s this. All my attention could be focused on the difficult physical challenges I’ve been having and how life can feel very unfair. I could dwell on ‘why me’ or ‘why is this lasting so long’? And when thinking about this experience, the parts I would keep would be very negative. They might even influence the rest of my life every time I felt a cold coming on or coughed for any reason.

But a certain wisdom inside me recognized that rather than choosing the negative outlook, I could shift and express divine gratitude that I might encounter deep blissful sleep for the rest of my life by taking something to help me. I could recognize that without this apparent negative coughing experience I would never have known there was help for me. So, I decided that’s what was worth keeping.

Other experiences began to take shape, and each offered me the same opportunity. I could choose to focus on the negative aspects or find the valuable learnings within each experience, the ones that made them worth keeping.

Regardless of what we experience in life we all have the choice what to keep with us. I am very grateful for this and hope you find ways to choose wisely.

The Nature of Forgiveness

Do you find that you are able to forgive others?

Are you able to ask for forgiveness from others?

I realize both of these offer their own challenges. Life is often messy and complicated and it’s easy to fall out of harmony with family, friends, and others. Even when doing our best, we may offend or hurt them or be hurt by them.

Balance is easy to disturb but not as easy to mend.

Much is said about forgiveness. There is a school of thought which says an apology must be offered first before forgiveness can be granted. Another school takes a far different approach and says that forgiveness easily given releases everyone.

After struggling for most of my life, I was finally able to come to a place of peace with the whole forgiveness process. It happened as I wrote about it. A story took shape inside me and needed to be brought into the light. This is how my book, Little Buddha (Book One) was born. In the first chapter, a man, Sam asks a wise six-year-old sage (Little Buddha, Claire) if she can help him understand the nature of forgiveness.

Here is the passage.

“Do you think you could answer a question for me?” I asked a little timidly. “Perhaps” she said. “Well, I was wondering if you could tell me about forgiveness. Do you know anything about that, even though you’re so young?” I admit, I thought I was being foolish asking, but in light of her wisdom and my lack of it, I didn’t see how I had anything to lose. She sat for a minute or so filling the bucket to the top with dry white sand.

“Can you imagine something?” she asked. “Sometimes I have a hard time with that, but I’ll try hard”, I responded.

“OK”, she said, “Imagine that my bucket is you. It’s everything you think and feel and experience during your life. Imagine that everything that is within you- YOU chose to put there. Nothing got in without your choosing. Nothing. Whether conscious or not, every thought, feeling, idea, reaction, and prejudice. Every cruel word, every kind gesture, every act of faith, every indifference, everything. Imagine that each of these things takes up space, just like the grains of sand in my bucket. Once it’s full it’s very hard to find more space for anything, no matter how valuable or important. There are ways you can empty part of your bucket if you choose. One way is forgiveness. But first you have to imagine one more thing.

“Can you imagine that everyone else here is just like you? They’ve lived their lives filling their buckets and sometimes they don’t have any space left either. They’re doing the best they can with what weighs them down. In their hearts, they too wish to be free and to have open space to experience more of the beautiful things in life. But they too don’t know how. 

“They probably sense it, dream about it and desperately want it just like you do. This is very important to know. To forgive anyone anything, requires YOU make a conscious choice. No one else can do it for you.”

She eyed me carefully saying, “Now bring to mind something which begs forgiveness. Feel the space it holds within you. The weight of it, the size, color, and dimension. Imagine knowing it needn’t exist and that you can fill its space with something beautiful. Now, close your eyes. Welcome it in. Let it rest in front of you. Believe that it has served its full purpose for you but does so no longer. Look inside your heart and allow love and compassion to open within. Breathe easily. Smile for a moment. Know that no matter what, this decision is up to you and no one else. Picture your love and compassion surrounding you and the focus of your forgiveness. Now, allow it to fade and fade and fade until it disappears. Breathe and feel the space inside you open. Feel the sunshine enter you and the air move around you. Listen for the sound of your own being. Sense the room created inside of you, now open for that which does serve you. For beauty. For wholeness.”

I believe that these words came ‘through’ me and are not my own. They have more strength, wisdom, and insight than I possess. I believe they were meant for me, to help me, to free me. And now, I offer them in the hope that they do the same for you.

PS

Should you want to know more, this book is available through Amazon in print and eBook versions.

Learning Gratitude

Is it possible to learn gratitude or does it come naturally?

Maybe, it’s both.

If I asked you, what do you think you’re likely to answer?

More and more I hear about gratitude as a practice, something you incorporate into your life, so when I read a book recently that focused some attention on this, I decided it was time to see what it meant to me.

While in Maine this past summer on vacation I came across an intriguing book. It’s written by Chris Gentry and is titled, The Little Book of Prosperity. It’s divided into twelve chapters, which I discovered were organized in a very thoughtful progression. It starts with goals and dreams, then taking action and growth. These chapters are followed by self-confidence, gratitude, and positive self-talk. The book escalates into a chapter on master mind (groups) and concludes with positivity, decision, perseverance and giving back. I dutifully read and did the encouraged exercises in order with one exception. I waited until the end to complete my dream collage.

I found each chapter provided a great deal of inspiration and support for my earth adventure. When I arrived at the section about gratitude I decided to proceed slowly.

At the end of the chapter, Chris recommended that readers commit to a daily practice of gratitude for ninety days. He suggested that each morning a journal be kept where you would record at least five things you were grateful for. The items could be anything, big or small, quick or long lasting, it didn’t matter as long as they were true for you.

I decided to embrace this practice and see what sort of change(s) it made in my life. I confess it was difficult to do every day because sometimes I got distracted or felt too busy. I had to remind myself of my commitment and that I would never know the worth of this if I didn’t give it my best shot.

So, in late September 2021 I began keeping track. I noticed that the ‘quality’ of the items I chose varied substantially and their range was extremely wide. As a sometimes overachiever I added some items in the evening and occasionally noted more than the suggested five items. Since I was doing this for me and not as an assignment to be handed in, I felt fine with setting up my own rules.

Several times through the first ninety days I lost steam and considered abandoning the challenge. That only lasted a day or two and I ended up sticking with the program and being very grateful that I did.

When the ninety days was up, it wasn’t even a consideration as to whether to continue or not. I found the practice to be so valuable that I incorporated it in my daily routine. When I’m too rushed, I give myself permission to record my five (or more) items when I get to it, as long as it’s the same day. It’s now been 146 days and I can foresee this continuing far into the future.

Why? And what could be in it for you, if you decide to embrace this as one of your practices?

My simple answer is…A LOT.

The most striking impact this had on me is the change it brought about in the way my day began. It helped set an extremely positive tone. It raised my conscious awareness of how many wonderful things I experience in my life. And although this was a morning practice, my attitudinal shift stayed with me throughout the day. I found myself feeling thankful for so many things I’d previously taken for granted, which added remarkably to my positive outlook on life. It also broadened what I considered valuable and worthwhile and helped make me more aware of expressing gratitude to others.

And I discovered that the changes in me were reflected in who and what I encountered during the day, which was a huge bonus.

If you decide to give this a try, I’d love to know what your experience is like. And if you know or ever stumble across Chris Gentry, please be sure to tell him how grateful I am for his contribution to me and the world.

PS- I did try to reach out to him but wasn’t successful.

Memories of Heaven

Do you believe in the afterlife? The idea that there is a place where you go once this earth life is over. A life beyond death.

Have you ever wondered about the beforelife? About where you came from, before you arrived here on earth. A life before life.

I have.

In fact, I have distinct memories of heaven. A place of sheer bliss. I’ve never heard of or spoken to anyone else who has these memories. It’s almost impossible to share what it’s like because there are no words to describe it. Words fail because it is a feeling.

Only one tangible memory has stayed with me.

It is the ceremony that took place before I came to this earth world. I was surrounded by my closest ‘kin’. That’s a very important word to me.

To understand ‘kin’, imagine looking out at the ocean. Water everywhere your eye can see. Seamless. Completely one. Then imagine being able to use a fine eyedropper. You slide it into the water, squeeze the bulb and pull out one single drop.

This is you. This is your essence, taken from the vast ocean of bliss. Imagine holding the eyedropper and squeezing the bulb and watching that one single drop fall back into the ocean, again, one with bliss.

The place where that drop was taken and the place where it falls back in are surrounded by other essences. These are your ‘kin’. Your bliss-playmates, those who will connect with you in all of your lifetimes. You have made divine promises to each other. You have such love that you will play any part chosen, despite how it will look from an earth perspective.

Our earth framework makes it impossible to understand this because we need rationality. We expect everything to make ‘sense’ to us. We find it very challenging to accept that some of our most profound teachers appear as enemies. If we could shift and see clearly, we might recognize them as our closest kin, here to serve our lives.

It is these kin who surrounded me in heaven. They aided me in the creation of my spiritual blueprint. A blueprint my physical, emotional, intellectual and ego selves would not remember. Only my spiritual essence would retain this wondrous awareness.

At the end of the ceremony, I accepted what I call, ‘the great forgetting’, because carrying the awareness of heaven with me into the earth world would not allow me to fully experience the duality that exists here. I would know the truth and could not ‘experience’ the world.

I came essentially as a blank slate, ready to receive the world. I came as we all do, as a baby. If you have ever held a baby in your arms and starred deeply into their eyes, you’ll know they still remember the essence of heaven. There is something special about their gaze. A reminder of what lies beyond the veil that separates heaven and earth.

One discovery I have made while here on earth is that revelations are possible. Revelations of the truth. Of things I chose to forget, but now remember. A form of enlightenment, of shining light into the darkness. Of opening to my spiritual blueprint.

I believe that each of us has this same capacity.

I believe that our hearts are the pathway, and that love is our guide.

I realize this is a most unusual post, but it felt completely right for it to be shared now. I don’t know exactly why it chose now to appear, but I trust it and hope my kin will see it.

Certain Outcomes

When you are uncertain about an outcome does it create doubt, anxiety, and fear in you? And are you concerned you’ll make the wrong decision? Or are you open to the adventure and excitement of the unknown?

I wonder, if we believed that there were many possible outcomes and that we could choose which one to experience, would that change things for us?

It feels like the answer to that for me is…yes, but how would that happen? How would it be possible to choose a specific outcome, the one I want most and have that be my result?

I wonder if that is within our control. I want to think so.

It’s a challenging thought to consider…do I truly believe I can experience exactly what I want, and in the way I want it to happen?

Part of me does not believe this is possible. It sees the events that occur in the world as more random and less planned. I realize the reason that part of me feels this way is the training I’ve received during my life. Perhaps you’ve been trained the same way.

There is an underlying sense that because there are so many factors at play, you get what get as a result. There are degrees of this kind of thinking. The bright side has me hoping for the best, without necessarily feeling it will come true. The dark side has a fatalistic bend to it which tells me I have no control and must accept whatever comes my way.

I stop and ask myself, if I ignore my training and open to a wider range of possibilities, how else can I see this?

The first thought that comes to me is simple. Change my beliefs. Let go of the ideas that guide me and shift to an approach that serve me, that provides beauty and wonder and promise.

After all, just because I was trained to think in a particular fashion does not mean I’m bound to it. I have the free will to alter any choice that does not feel right to me. I can abandon harmful and counterproductive mindsets and instead choose thoughts, ideas and strategies that take me where I want to go in my life.

I believe that you have this same awesome power at your disposal. It’s inside you already and merely awaits your command, before rising to the surface.

When I struggle to break free from thoughts that hold me back, I seek an example to focus on. Something that will create a template that I can use to help me with my next challenge.

Here is one I offer as a personal example.

I have big dreams. I have something deep inside which longs to be shared with the world. But the world is such a big place, and I don’t know how to make my dreams come true. I need help. I need someone who knows things I don’t. Someone who knows ways to connect, like social media. So, I went in search of a professional who could guide me. I know my desired outcome. I want a partner.

My search hit a series of dead ends making me question whether I could truly choose the outcome I desired.

Time for a shift. Time to reassess and ask myself some questions. It turns out my answers all pointed in the same direction…a belief that the outcome I will experience is, in fact, up to me, if I am willing to put my faith in it into action.

This step reminded me about what I consider to be a sacred principle. Conceive, believe, and act. I do conceive that there is a perfect someone who will want to help me. I believe they exist and will come into my life. And I will take the actions necessary to make this happen.

For me, this is the way to all certain outcomes.

Are You Going the Right Direction

Is it challenging for you to answer the question, “are you going the right direction?”

For me, part of the difficult is in defining the word, ‘right’. Somehow, I feel an assumption exists based either on what I want to experience or what others expectations are of my choice of direction.

It’s fairly easy if we’re talking about physical direction. If you’re old school like I am, you can get out your map and plot a course to arrive at your destination. Those with GPS only need to enter the addresses and let the machine take over the guidance. If they get off course somewhere along the way, it’s okay, they’ll be told a recalculation is in process and then a new set of turns to take.

What makes some of this interesting is that you never know if your planned route is the best. There could be an accident, road construction, or an unexpected traffic jam, any of which could pose problems for you.

But the ‘right’ direction applies to so much more than where you are going physically. It could be your intellectual pursuits, emotional stability, or spiritual direction.

How can you know when you’re on the right track?

Perhaps one of the answers lies in whether you’re achieving your goals and objectives, but what if you haven’t identified them yet? What then?

Setting down what you hope to achieve isn’t always easy. There may be some benchmarks the world offers, but they may not suit you personally.

Often, we think we must accomplish a standard set of goals to feel successful. Goals that bring us more credentials, money, prestige, awards, or notoriety. But are these the only achievements worth directing our efforts toward?

How can you tell what your most beneficial direction would be? Is it an intellectual, emotional, or spiritual decision?

Some part of me wonders whether if, ‘what actually happens in our life’, IS the answer to that question.

I probably need to explain this statement a bit.

What I’m trying to say is that our lives have a way of moving forward, and that each open space we experience eventually fills up and what fills the space, IS the answer/decision/direction. This certainly seems to suggest that we’re not particularly conscious during the process and that it just sort of happens.

An entirely different way to approach this is to take charge.

My nature is that of a goal setter and planner for most experiences in my life. This is an effective way to map a direction, but it isn’t for everyone. There are those who treasure the ‘stop and smell the roses’ approach, which offers wonderful opportunities to engage directly with life.

And there are those that place a premium on flexibility which allows one to pursue whatever objective or goal they choose without stressing about how or when it will be achieved. This also provides some space to discover that it’s more about the journey, than it is about the destination.

I wonder too, which direction will be the most worthwhile for me, the one my head plans or the one my heart seeks?

Over the course of my life there’s been a transition from prioritizing what my thinking mind wants to what my heart feels. It’s a huge shift and I heartily endorse it, while realizing it isn’t for everyone or for every occasion. The reason I’ve chosen it is because my sense of inner satisfaction is so deep when I trust my feelings to guide my way and choose my direction for me.

What If There Were No Mirrors

I was struck by this question recently. What if there were no mirrors?

I’m guessing that we could still see ourselves in other surfaces like water or shiny metal objects, but the essence of the question was more about not being able to see our reflection at all.

Some practical things popped into my head. It would be pretty hard to comb your hair, shave your face, put on makeup, or fish an eyelash out of your eye, if you couldn’t stare at your reflection.

Then there were some other considerations. You couldn’t check to see if your tie was straight, if your clothes were on just the way you wanted them to be or…well, you get the picture.

And as important as these things might be at times, there was something much deeper in the question.

What do we think when we see ourselves in the mirror?

If you chose to answer that question right now, what would you say? Would it be a physical description that you gave or something more meaningful?

Can you look at yourself in the mirror for any length of time, say two minutes or would that be too uncomfortable?

How much judgement jumps into your thoughts when you see yourself in the mirror? Too old, too young, too tired looking?

Do you hear others voices in your mind when you catch a glimpse of yourself? Voices you would prefer not to hear.

It seems doubtful to me that we are all comfortable staring at our reflections and that it’s reasonable to think we’d see something we’d like to change about our appearance.

So, what if there were no mirrors, would that change this dynamic? Would we be willing to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt and be satisfied with how we ‘think’ we look?

The funny thing is, we can do that now.

We can ignore any of the critical thoughts and judgements we place upon ourselves and those that others pass along to us. It may not be easy to let go of these recurring patterns, but it is possible. Not only that, it’s also very beneficial.

I attended a workshop once where the presenter asked each of us to stare into a mirror, and while looking deeply into our eyes, say “I love you” to our reflection. When asked how we felt about this exercise, each of us reported that we felt very uncomfortable.

Why?

That’s an important and eye-opening question to attempt to answer. It’s entirely likely that our answers would vary, but perhaps one reason is because we’ve become so conditioned to accepting our faults and failings, which are often reinforced by others, that we don’t acknowledge our innate goodness.

Sometimes we may think that we have do everything perfectly in order to be loved, by others and by ourselves. It makes me wonder if looking at our reflection in the mirror brings this to mind.

So, let’s pretend for a minute that there are no more mirrors. You’ll have no direct way to see yourself except through your own inner reflection.

To me, that’s an intriguing thought. It shifts focus from outward appearances to inner ones. What do we value about ourselves? What kind or compassionate acts define us? Who do we intend to be in this world? Are we centered in love?

And it gives us an opportunity to decide what sort of reflection we want the world to see.

I’m going to try to remember this the next time I see myself in the mirror.

A Different Diet Plan

Does anyone know how many diets plans are out there?

It’s likely to be a big number and there may be lots of folks who’ve tried several. It’s tempting to assume that if someone has tried more than one, it means the first one didn’t work. Naturally, there may be a host of reasons for this, with some completely outside our control.

I am personally not an advocate for any specific diet plan, so you won’t find that kind of advice here, but what I would like to share is a belief that a successful diet plan is far more than which types of food you do and don’t eat.

It’s also about more than how much or when you eat. Of course, those things matter. So does the amount of exercise you get and how much water you drink.

Here’s what I wonder.

What about all the other things we take in daily and their impact on our physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies? What is the weight we carry from our continual exposure to a hurting world?

I’m curious about the effects created by our concerns, whether it’s our debts, relationships, jobs, money, health issues. Do they add weight?

I sense the answer is…yes, and in more ways than we suspect.

If you consider that we may work at a job that does not fulfill or reward us, have challenges managing our own or others physical issues, or are heavy laden with family responsibilities that don’t seem to end, it’s pretty clear why some diet plans fail.

Add to this that we often live in a fear-based world as reflected by our news and social media content.

Okay, let’s say we accept that the world can be a challenging place to live, especially if you’re adding the idea of losing weight to your to do list, isn’t our next question, what do we do about it?

I’d like to offer you a few ideas. Only you will know if any will work for you.

There are a lot of people in the world who would like to see you succeed in reaching your goals, whatever they might be. If you know who they are already, that’s wonderful news.

If you don’t have someone like that, perhaps right now is the time to find them. Whether it’s an existing or new friend, family member, counselor or another professional, you deserve to have support in your life. You are a unique and beautiful being and are meant to thrive in all ways. Sometimes for this to happen, you have to ask for help.

So, take a moment and consider, what do you want your life to be like? Are there some practical things you could change that would make it easier for you? Could it be as simple as beginning some new routines, like keeping a gratitude journal? Or maybe giving yourself five or ten minutes each day that’s just yours?

Perhaps your top concern is losing physical weight, but it might be helped along by losing the emotional or spiritual weight you are carrying. And maybe once you lose these, the physical weight can be released.

I confess, asking for help has always been difficult for me. Maybe it’s the same for you.

I am an eternal advocate for asking help from the divine. I know things can get a little messy here because there are so many names and concepts, but I ask only that you choose the one that feels most comfortable to you.

When I ask for help now, I offer my gratitude in advance because I know that the divine loves me and will always provide care and support, so I am thankful even before asking.

It’s a simple process…sitting quietly, closing my eyes, breathing slowly and evenly, and opening my mind and my heart, then asking for the help I need. If it feels right to you and you wish to try this, my profound hope is that you are able to release the weight of the world.

Revelation

My idea in writing these posts is to put forth as close to the real me as I can, rather than hold back what feels like my truth. I believe everyone, when they hear or read something, will know if it speaks to them and if it does, they’ll want the full story.

What I’m sharing today is my conversation with god from Friday, January 28, 2022. I share it in the hope that you will find something of value in it for your life. Here it is…

I believe it would be helpful for me to ease back on the throttle for a while. I’ve had my foot pretty heavy on the gas for a long time now.

I wonder, what does this mean- practically speaking?

I lean back in my chair and try to let what’s calling me most come and sit next to me and… let it matter.

Can I do this? I don’t actually know because my nature is to associate myself with what I produce. To identify with my results. No results, means no me.

I know this is errant thinking. I am where my thoughts come from, the source of everything, the deep well inside of me that is connected to the divine. I can think I am something or anything else, but this is only a thought. It is not real.

It is part of my free will, the blessed allowance I have that can choose to experience my life from any direction.

What I wonder is, why I’ve chosen to push myself so hard and to try to expand outward in so many directions, sometimes all at once?

Why aren’t I more aware of my own inherent, majestic connection to the divine?

What could be so much better about striving to reach so many earthly goals and accomplishments?

I have so many practical questions. What I need are some practical answers. Answers that don’t send me more outside of myself.

How is this to happen?

Time to practice what I preach and go inside and ask for my divine connection to open to me. For this to happen I need to be quiet and allow the world to slip away and to breathe as if each breath is breathing me. To gently close my eyes and open my heart and wait.

I know the divine lives inside of me and I know it will speak to me, comfort me, love me and lift me up.

I prime the connection by giving gratitude in advance, not as a device to get what I want and need, but as a sacred offering, my outside love, to receive my inside love.

A voice, like the first breeze that brings spring, enters me. It flows through me, cleansing me and sweeping away all that clutters my life. Ahhh, now I can listen clearly.

“Divine child, magnificent being, all is yours already. All a part of the whole. It all exists in full form. There is no need to create it, only to reveal it. How you spend your time is yours to choose.”

Does the voice truly mean this? Can my life be this simple?

Perhaps I don’t understand what it means for a thing to be revealed, rather than created.

I consider another moment. There is no perhaps about it, I don’t understand.

“It is not the action, but rather the belief which matters. For something to appear real to you, you believe it must be created, so you fill your life with acts of creation. But the truth is that all things already exist. When you choose to believe this as your truth, life becomes much simpler. This belief offers you the patience you need in order to reveal the truth, rather than attempting to create it.”

I know the truth for me when I hear it. I know now that there is wisdom in releasing one belief and embracing another.

And I know, I want revelation far more than creation.

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.