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.

One Formula for Life

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

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

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

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

I talked with Lia.

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

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

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

Here’s what she had to say.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Commas

Little things are sometimes big things, or can be, depending on how we see them.

Take a ‘comma’ for instance. It’s so small you might miss it if you’re reading quickly. But, it’s important because as a punctuation mark, its intention is to provide a pause between parts of a sentence. It can also be used to separate items in a list or to mark the place of thousands in a large numeral, like 83,120.

My wife, Maureen, an English major in college, probably knows all of the eight other things a comma can do as it separates parts in a sentence. I confess this makes my eyes glaze over. Which is really okay, because some of my interests do the same thing to her. It seems fair and works for us.

Now back to the comma.

I was thinking about how we could use a comma effectively in our verbal and non-verbal communications.

Imagine that you’re engaged in a conversation with someone and things start to go off the rails. There’s a little heat and you can feel your temper amp up a bit and sense the other person beginning to do the same. Now, imagine being able to insert a comma, a pause between argumentative statements. Your small little comma can save the day and chill things down. All you have to do is stop for a moment and put the comma into action.

Ideally, if both you and the other person did this, you’d likely be able to reset the conversation and find some common ground to restart your dialogue. I realize that sometimes the other person won’t cooperate, but it might be worth using your comma, even just for yourself.

I wonder, what would happen if you disengaged and sat back and thought for a moment? What would they do? Might it be worth trying to see what impact it would have?

I sense the other person would be taken off guard and perhaps, settle down a little. After all, it’s hard to argue with someone who isn’t fighting back.

Or, how about when someone is naming all of the things they think you’re doing wrong. Imagine being able to pause the list until you can catch your breath. That little comma can give you enough time to shift your perspective or get out from under the weight being placed on you.

I wonder, what if each of us could raise our hand as a way of interjecting a non-verbal comma into challenging situations we face?

And, what if the other person had to stop for a moment and give us a chance to consider their words before responding? What might we gain from using the comma this way? Would it create some distance and offer us a greater perspective? Would it lessen the tension and give us a chance to step away?

My personal answer to all of these questions is, ‘yes’.

I see the comma as a small piece of salvation, similar to a reset button. I think it has numerous benefits, not the least of which is encouraging us to slow things down until we’re sure which direction to travel.

Perhaps we can’t influence others to act in ways we find acceptable or helpful, but we can influence our own behaviors and make our own conscious choices, ones that offer us a sense of calmness and peace.

Next time you sense the need for a comma, maybe you’ll want to give it a try and see what happens.

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Shifts in Belief

One of the best things I can do for myself, when something in my life is not going the way I’d like it to, is shift one of my beliefs. I may not immediately know which belief or how to change it, but I know it’s the wise thing to do.

Folks often tell me they have bad memories. My usual response is, “I bet it’s far better than you think it is.” I follow this statement by asking, “would you like some proof?”

Doubtful, but intrigued, folks almost always say, “yes”.

There are numerous methods to improve memory and I’ve worked successfully with several. Based on what I know about the person, I choose one I believe will appeal to them.

In one case, I was talking with a staff member (who I’ll call Gwen) and she explained that she had trouble remembering when she needed to retain several things at once. Gwen added that they all kind of ran together, making it hard to recall any of them and asked if I really thought she could get better at remembering.

“Absolutely,” I said. I asked her to write down a list of ten random things. She glanced at me with a hesitant look, but picked up a pen and wrote them down.

“Okay,” I said, “now we’re going to make a movie together. I want you to tell me your first item and we’re going to create a visual picture in your mind.”

She’d chosen ‘tie’, so we visualized an enormous tie the size of a house with a bold rainbow pattern on it. Next item happened to be ‘house’, so we visualized a scary haunted house and wrapped the tie around it. We continued this way through all ten items, making each stand out, the more bizarre the better, and then linked them, one to the next to the next, until we’d connected all ten.

“Now we’re going to practice our list three times,” I told her. Gwen repeated the movie we’d created three times, getting quicker with each repetition.

Her manager (Sadie), who had watched the whole episode, was given the task of asking Gwen to list the items in order, while she compared it with the list Gwen had written. Gwen did it flawlessly.

I asked Sadie to randomly select any item and ask Gwen what item came before and after it. Sadie made her choice and Gwen responded correctly. I asked Sadie to choose a random number that corresponded with an item and ask Gwen what the item was. Again, Gwen answered correctly.

Gwen was stunned. “That was so easy,” she said, “but I’ll probably forget by tomorrow.”

“No, you won’t,” I said, “and not only that, you’ll also be able to change other beliefs. It’s likely that you have been telling yourself other things that are equally untrue. Here’s a chance for you to shift your beliefs about anything you’d like.”

I saw Gwen once or twice a month following this memory visualization exercise. She’d see me coming and knew what to expect, because each time I’d ask her about her movie and each time she recalled it with ease.

“So,” I asked her, “do you still have a bad memory?”

Gwen would laugh and say, “Guess not, huh!”

Nope, guess not.

The funny and wonderful thing is that we are all capable of shifting any of our beliefs. Once we recognize that they exist, we can decide if they serve us and make our lives better. If they don’t, we can choose to shift them in ways that do serve us.

Nothing in our inner life is set in stone. We have the freedom to decide and choose whatever we desire and set a pathway toward experiencing it.

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One Person Can Make A Difference

I’ve often heard the question asked about whether one person can make a difference. Sometimes it’s about making a localized difference and sometimes about a global one.

The usual response is that, ‘no’, one person cannot make a difference and that it takes many to accomplish a task, especially if it’s a big job.

I know it may seem like the truth that we are small and limited beings and that the world is a great big place.

But there is another truth. One I fully believe in, that you and I are unlimited beings, capable of anything. I believe there is an abundance of inspiration available to us, if we are open to it. And this abundance, once engage, can spread anywhere and everywhere.

I’d like to share an example with you.

It’s a story about one man, Scott Harrison, and his epic life journey. He relates the following on his website describing himself, “After decades of indulging his darkest vices as a nightclub promoter, he declared spiritual, moral and emotional bankruptcy. He spent two years on a hospital ship off the coast of Liberia, saw the effects of dirty water firsthand, and came back to New York City on a mission.”

I don’t think this brief blurb is enough to tell his story. It’s so much bigger and more powerful than this.

A friend suggested I watch a video that Mike Dooley (yes, the Notes From the Universe guy), had on his website to see for myself what Scott was about.

I did.

And for most of it, I cried. At first, I tried to hold the tears back. But then I gave in to the emotions I was feeling and let them run wild.

Scott left his former life and stepped on board a Mercy ship bound for an African nation he didn’t even know existed. He offered to be a photo-journalist and capture images of the folks the doctors helped. The images are stark and terrifying and amazing. The operations performed changed lives, making it possible for the folks who received them to live a more normal life.

At a certain point, Scott decided to visit some of the communities and what he discovered changed his whole world. He could not believe the living conditions, especially the state of their water. He learned that almost all of the sicknesses that plagued the people living there were due to the unclean, germ infested water, which was all they had to drink.

He knew he had to do something about it.

The statistics staggered him, and probably still do.

According to his website (https://www.charitywater.org/about), which I strongly suggest you check out, there are 785 million people in the world who lack access to clean and safe drinking water. That is mind boggling to me. More than twice the population of the United States.

He came back to New York City and began to work on changing that. Since 2006, his organization, Charity:Water, (through 5/8/2021) has funded 64,999 water projects in 29 countries, and has provided clean, safe drinking water to an astounding 1,273,998 people. These are ever changing numbers, since donations keep coming in.

All this from one idea and because of one person taking one step.

Scott has organized things a little differently. His organization follows three principles. Track every dollar given by donors (you can actually see the GPS coordinates of the project you help fund), open transparency and a commitment to 100% of all donations going to fund projects. He’s found a way for (non-project) private donations to fund all of the other costs, so that the water projects receive all of the general donations.

Right now, he’s trying to engage as many people as possible to commit to helping and suggests several ways to go about it. Please consider visiting his site and then follow your heart.

As fantastic as this is, Scott is just one of so many people who take one idea and change the world. Maybe the next one will be you.

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Somehow Everything Serves Me

Does this seem like a radical statement and unlikely to be true? Is it enough to shy away from even reading this post or is there a chance that you hope that it is true and want to know more?

For the majority of my life I would have said ‘yes’, it is a radical statement and ‘yes’, it’s unlikely to be true. I would have followed that up with answering that ‘yes’, it is enough to make me move on and ‘no’, I don’t want to know any more. I know enough already.

I felt it would take a major shift to change my outlook, one I did not believe was possible.

I’d suffered numerous outcomes in my life that I could broadly describe as ‘bad or negative’. Things had happened that hurt me and distanced me from others. I’d fallen and failed and frozen in place and thought to myself, what good can ever come from ‘this’, whatever ‘this’ was.

Perhaps you’ve experienced your own challenges, pain, frustration and resentments in your life. Many are probably the ‘fault’ of others or fall loosely into the category, ‘it is what it is’. Some problems may be the result of actions you’ve taken or not taken. Others are because of words exchanged, sometimes in the heat of the moment.

When I first considered the statement that, ‘somehow everything serves me’, I wondered, how could this be true? How could something so painful or which felt so wrong, ever offer me any benefit or value?

I discovered that asking this question out loud or thinking it inside of me was a part of the wall that separated me from an answer. Asking this implies, at least to some extent, that I don’t believe that everything could possibly serve me. And, if I already held that opinion, there was no room for any benefit or value to show itself.

There was another hurdle to jump over.

What did the statement mean to me when it said, ‘serves me?’ Did that mean that there should be some obvious connection I could see that linked a ‘negative’ experience with an eventual ‘positive’ result? And, how exactly would I be ‘served’? Would I even notice?

I find I learn best when I have an example to follow. I promised myself to remain open to the idea that it could be possible that somehow everything serves me. I promised to be observant, during the search and afterward, in watching for the benefit or value as it was brought my way.

I felt it would be a good idea to choose something big as my example. Something with a little meat on it. It turns out that wasn’t all that difficult.

I lost my job. By lost, I mean that it was taken away from me. One day I had it and the next day I didn’t. I’ve read that this rates as the #5 most stressful experience in life and I can see why. It changes everything; financial, emotional, social, intellectual, physical, you name it.

I confess my initial reaction was one of being totally overwhelmed, and I believe that tears were involved. There was only the very smallest part of me that held out any hope that this might ‘serve me’.

I came to realize that it’s possible to stand too close to a situation and that you have to take a few steps backward to be able to see clearly.

As the days went by, I kept my promise to remain open. I allowed myself to grieve and release the heavy weight of my emotions then move on with a watchful eye. I found that I could stand far enough away and make decisions that would help move me forward. I took a critical look at our finances and made sweeping changes. I opened to receive an offer for a new job, even though it wasn’t a part of my original plan. I made concessions and tried to rewrite my story.

Months passed and there they were, sitting right in front of me. A whole host of benefits. I had a new job which offered me the chance for achievable results. I had dramatically reduced my work stress level and responsibilities. I had the chance to revise our finances, which set us up for a better future forecast. And best of all, I found a way to retire years before I would have, had I stayed at my old job. This allowed me to spend more time with Maureen and to share in the radiance of babysitting our granddaughter, and then our grandson.

I’ve discovered that, no matter what example I choose, the outcome is the same. I am served by everything that happens to me in my life. This doesn’t mean that everything is rosy and bright. It’s work, most of the time. But, it is work with a huge payoff, far greater than I’d ever thought possible.

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