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Universal Principles in Action!

Recently I was in a dilemma about a prosperity workshop I wanted to attend. The guest facilitator was someone I’d heard about years before and whom I admired from a distance. I’d never met her in person but, after hearing her story of success and reading her book of how she has used – and continues to use – Spiritual principles to create a prosperous life, I was inspired to take the next step and attend her workshop. And I needed to quell any lingering doubt and skepticism about what she was teaching. I believed the only way I could learn the truth of her claims was to meet her in person. Little did I know her lesson would come from an entirely different source.

The first challenge I encountered was that her workshop was scheduled on a date for which I already had major commitments at the exact same time. The afternoon was fully booked. I was required to attend another function, and there was no way to see her that day. I searched her website to discover she would be in another town the following evening, delivering the same presentation…a town that was 360 miles away!

After a little more research, I knew I’d rather drive than fly. I could leave the morning of the workshop, drive about six or seven hours, attend the two-hour workshop, stay the night at a hotel, and drive back early the next day so I could teach my own class the following evening. Piece of cake! Then I went online to register for the workshop. After entering my name and contact details, I hit the “submit” button and got an instant response: EVENT SOLD OUT. Argh!

Now, when I had finished reading her book the midnight before, Spirit had given me a nudge. You know, that small voice with the big message? It had told me to contact her directly about how much I wanted to meet and talk with her…how inspired I was by her book. So when I received the “SOLD OUT” message about the workshop, I began writing an email to her – to propose another idea. At the same time, I sent an email to the distant workshop organizer, asking to be placed on a reserve, backup or waiting list, in case someone canceled at the last minute and I could still get in. Simultaneously, I had a quick but stern talk with the Divine.

I said, “Listen up, God. You’re the one that put this idea into my head. I’ve done everything I know to do to see her. If you really want me to go, then you better figure it out and DO something about this! I’m ready to go. I’ve done all I can. And if this creative intention stuff really works, then show me some results now!” I’d worked myself up into quite a praying frenzy. So I took a deep breath and went back to writing my email to the author/teacher.

I explained about not being able to see her at the first workshop due to conflicting events…how I was willing to drive the distance to see her in another town…only to find out there were no tickets available, but that I was on a waiting list and hopeful. I offered to drive her from Point A to Point B (and back again) just for the privilege of hearing her experiences and basking in her years of wisdom. I assured her I was not a stalker, just a very enthusiastic minister with a desire for clarity about a big project of my own. I offered to pay for the travel and meals, and deliver her safely to wherever she needed to go, even if I could not get into any of the workshops where she would be speaking. I’d patiently wait at my hotel until the next day and bring her back to wherever she needed to be. I was willing to serve and happy to accept any time and conversation she was able to offer.

I was just about done composing and editing her email, when another one came back from the distant workshop organizers. They explained that they had put me on the reserve list a few minutes ago, as I had requested. I had been second on that list. However, they just received a cancellation from a couple who couldn’t use their two tickets, so enclosed in the email was a link to my FREE ticket and directions to the workshop location. They also offered to find me a place to stay with one of their group’s members. They looked forward to meeting me soon.

As I read the email twice and then again, I started crying. I also quickly printed the ticket to be sure it was real. Then I sent a REPLY, thanking God…and them…for the opportunity to attend. Hotel reservations were secured immediately. After wiping the tears from my joyful face, taking a few deep breaths, and gathering my itinerary papers together, I went back to make changes to my email to the author/teacher.

The email now expressed a tone of heartfelt service rather than pleading. I told her I had been able to secure a ticket at the new location. I resisted offering all the details of this miraculous victory. My offer to drive was still an option I hoped she would consider. I pressed SEND…and smiled my way through a prayer of gratitude for this valuable lesson.

When we are clear about our intention, our desire, to experience something Good in our lives…and state it or write it plainly…and throw in some passion toward its creation…and do our part but also leave some room for God to work in mysterious and wondrous ways…I have NO doubt that demonstrations such as this will occur all the time. We need to be open to seeing the miracles, the God-stuff, being created all around us…in God-time, not ours.

This was the fastest gift I’d ever received from the Divine (that I can remember). It wasn’t my first and it won’t be the last. But this experience was a clear reminder of the clarity, the passion, and the trust I need to have when creating something I desire. It wasn’t going to come from the author/teacher. It came from the Divine Power within me…the same Power that’s within each of us. What an incredible lesson! And there’s more…

Since that day my “big project” has gotten even more clarity. With the help of a spiritual life coach, I saw not only some much needed adjustments to the vision I’d been creating for myself, but also what had kept me from going forward with my plans. It was the wrong dream! My new direction has filled me with energy, enthusiasm, and simplicity of vision…it’s do-able and exciting! I wake up eager each morning to take the next steps into my future…and reluctantly retire to bed late at night. I love this life!

One last note…in case you still don’t think God has a “hand” in our affairs. After all that activity to secure a ticket, get a hotel room, rearrange my work schedule, etc., a week before the workshop date the author/teacher fell and broke her arm, which will include additional surgery. She had to cancel BOTH workshops and has no other events scheduled in this area for the rest of this year. However, there is a FREE three-day Ministers’ workshop next year at her retreat center…and I REALLY want to see what that looks like.   🙂   Listen up, God!

Discriminating Ideas

I recently saw a film about a well-known American baseball player in the 1940’s. It depicted the challenges of and racism toward a black athlete entering a strictly white sports team. Some parts of the movie were difficult to watch because the hatred was so clearly portrayed. It didn’t seem to matter to the team’s other players that this rookie was a phenomenal athlete or that the team’s improved standings as a result of his playing would benefit all of them. At least…not a first.

Eventually, much of the initial bigotry and prejudice amongst team members subsided, thanks to a forward-thinking team owner. The ideas associated with general racial discrimination became more specific over time. They became more discriminating about their discrimination. What an idea!

I find it interesting that two words, so similar in form, can be so different in meaning. Discrimination has synonyms like: bias, favoritism, prejudice, bigotry and intolerance. Discriminating, on the other hand, uses words like: sharp, astute, selected, perspective and discerning. Except for the positioning of the final two letters of each word, they’re identical. So where is all this going?

Any discrimination I have faced in life has not been racially based. Religious, yes. Gender, yes. Economic, yes. Nationality, yes. As a result, those experiences have made me more discriminating, whether I’m close to someone or not. For example, I’ve felt the pangs of religious discrimination from family members; it can come from anywhere. That experience had a significant influence on my efforts today to warmly welcome everyone who chooses to explore New Thought teachings and, in particular, our Spiritual community and church.

Much Good for my personal and Spiritual growth has resulted from those past hurts. I am…

  • more selective about what I share about myself or when I voice my opinion. I don’t need to comment on everything.
  • diligent in keeping an open or objective perspective about the world, to be more accepting of people as they are…neutral, non-judgmental. (It takes a little more effort and sharp focus when the people are closer to you in relationship. )
  • able to separate the person (that child of God) from their misbehavior, which has allowed me to practice forgiveness more readily.
  • an astute observer, noticing details about a person’s words, body movements, voice tone, or other communication methods.  As I really see people, I’m able to notice their vulnerability, their authentic Self, and offer compassion and kindness that connects us at a heart-level, a soul-level, where we recognize we are all part of that Divine Oneness.

These are discriminating ideas that I offer to you now as well. If we were to hone our discriminating skills, using the four bullet points above, we might never experience discrimination again. Think about it. Isn’t it about time?

 

Snowstorms, Over-Dressed & Nesting

Heavy_SnowToday’s spring snowstorm and my habitual nesting that accompanies it, reminded me of a snowstorm twenty-five years ago. It explains why each prediction of heavy snowfall sends me scurrying to the grocery store to “stock up” as well as to have food prepared and cooked in case the power goes out. While today I’m not so concerned about having a supply of candles, I do have an inventory of assorted batteries for numerous flashlights. My phone and laptops are also fully charged and at the ready. My 4-wheel drive vehicle is gassed up. And then I watch the snow with no concern whatever.

The spring snowstorm of years ago started shortly after I arrived at the office. Snow had been predicted, but I had way over-dressed that morning for the bus commute to work. I wore leggings under dress slacks, two pair of warm socks in my snow boots, a turtleneck shirt covered by a sweater covered by a Aussie-style, walkabout coat. I loved that coat. It was khaki green and long, a great windbreaker, durable and stylish to boot. I topped off this ensemble with my “outback” leather hat, a warm scarf around my neck, and thermal gloves on my hands. I was ready for the elements!

The company decided to close early that day to allow employees to get home before the roads became dangerous. I redressed into my gear, walked to the bus station, and awaited the arrival of my chariot for the 15-mile journey toward home. The highways were already a challenge for drivers, including the one at the front of our bus.

As we approached the exit ramp, the incline of the highway and the ice on the road made it impossible for the bus to go any farther. One of the passengers, a female flight attendant who must have been a cheerleader in a former life, rallied the passengers to gather near the back of the bus. The theory was that our combined weight, concentrated over the rear wheels, and then jumping up and down together to the commands of our cheerleader attendant, as the bus driver slowly engaged the gears and tires, would allow the bus to creep up the exit ramp. Thus, we could make our bus connections or get to our cars, and she could get to the airport to make her flight. It worked for a few hundred feet, but the highway’s incline won. The bus couldn’t make it up the hill or to the car park ahead. It was stuck on the highway.

For those individuals who needed to get up the exit ramp, unbury their car, and join the insane traffic jam that traversed both sides of the road over the highway and the bus below…it was time to leave behind the warm bus and the motivating echoes of the flight attendant. I cinched the belt around my coat, secured my backpack and hat, and stepped out onto the edge of the highway and into a biting wind filled with snow, ice and cold.

A few of us made our way up the exit ramp together, crossed the intersection to the parking lot, and then went our separate ways. I stood inside the three-sided bus shelter, wondering if the bus to take me on the final leg home would actually arrive. Could it even get through all that traffic, let alone manage the icy road conditions? Since these were the days before cell phones were common, I had no way to let my then-husband know where I was. I just prayed he and my daughter were safe at home, and that I would get there before too long. It was already dark and the temperature was dropping.

I waited for at least 30 minutes, glad I had over-dressed and wondering if I’d get home faster by walking those last two miles rather than just standing there in the blowing snow and icy wind. There was plenty of traffic, none of which seemed to be going anywhere. Finally, the bus for my route pulled into the parking lot, escorted by two police cars as a way for it to get through all the traffic. I don’t remember if anyone got off the bus, but I know I got on as quickly as I could. There was standing room only, but it was warm. The crowd was friendly, everyone supporting the driver’s efforts and each other. There was no end to the travel stories of the past few hours. This commute had already lasted more than two hours for me and I was definitely ready to see it end.

Our bus left the parking lot and pulled into the crawling traffic, trying to make its way across the overpass and the highway below. The first bus had left by this time. Cars and trucks and snowplows slowly crawled the four lanes below. My new driver suddenly announced that the road conditions were making it impossible to complete his route. He had been instructed to divert the bus to a Red Cross shelter at a local church just up ahead.

I knew where that church was located and it would take me close to, but in the opposite direction of, my home. I made my way to the front of the bus and begged him to please let me out when he reached the corner where he was going to turn the bus toward the church location. I told him it was very close to my home and I could walk from there, please. That was the truth; it was only about a quarter of a mile to walk. I could tell he was concerned for my safety, so I begged a little more. When the bus turned off the main road, he stopped, opened the door and I got out. So did a couple other people before the driver pulled back into traffic toward the church and emergency shelter.

The snow was already a good 18 inches deep with drifts up to my waist. I was grateful I didn’t have miles to walk. I was rather pleased with myself for being so over-dressed that morning. It was perfect for the current conditions. I felt strong. I was used to walking and thought this to be a good test of my strength and stamina. It was. I wrapped my long scarf across my mouth and around my neck, readjusted my backpack, and headed toward home.

After 30 minutes of trudging, slipping, falling and getting back up (my foot went down an open curb gutter buried beneath a deep drift; I thought I’d lost my leg), I finally made it into the townhouse complex. Another few minutes of dragging my body through waist-deep snow and I was standing in front of my gate and home.

I was greeted with hugs and many questions about my extremely long and cold journey home. My four-year-old daughter had been so concerned. After taking off my layers of wet clothing, all I wanted to do was to hug her and cry. I was so grateful to be inside. I chec

ked my leg for bruises, changed into some dry clothes, and, together, she and I started cooking.

We made several entrée dishes and baked other goodies in less than an hour…just before the electricity went out due to the heavy snow on the power lines. It came back on and off again throughout the night, but never long enough for us to get cold. We were going to be okay. We had food. There was plenty of snow for refrigeration, if we needed it. And I knew I could walk the distance to the convenience store if I really had to. I spent the evening reading bedtime stories by candlelight, cuddled in warm blankets and lots of love.

Snowstorms. Over-dressing. Nesting habits. They all go together for me. I want to add something else… Gratitude. That experience was the first time I remember truly listening to my intuition (to over-dress for the day and then to cook quickly when I got home). I’m thankful that I paid attention. I’ve never doubted the messages since. Today’s snow is a good reminder to keep listening.

Self-Reliance

[I wrote most of this in 2006 with a bit more added today…a reflection of Emerson’s essay of the same name. ]

When I’ve thought of self-reliance in the past, it’s always been in the form of survival, of doing what needed to be done and usually without anyone’s help. I learned to rely on certain skills to live my life and care for my children – skills such as: my ability to work and learn, intellect, communication, to “read” people, humor, to get back up no matter how much I was beaten down, to adapt, to change. These are the tools that kept me alive, fed my children, and allowed me to build a life. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and the challenges I’ve overcome. My abilities served me well.

mirror_imageHowever, there were times when I did not trust my own judgment. I occasionally lost touch with any sense of God-presence and many times turned to my human abilities or the words of others rather than rely on a Higher Power. I was self-reliant, but with a small “s.”

Emerson’s self-reliance offers a different perspective. He defines it as “a new respect for the divinity in man.” This interpretation has me thinking of it as Self-reliance (with a big “S”). I now view the term as, not what I can do to live, but what I can be to express who I am in this life.

I agree with Emerson on a number of points he made. I can believe in my own thought; I can trust myself. As a living expression of God, I must find courage to fully express my uniqueness, my talents and abilities, without hesitation. There is no reason to imitate someone else in order to find fulfillment in my life – “imitation is suicide” and it kills the core of who I am. If I believe that “infancy conforms to nobody,” then why would I choose conformity as an adult and allow society more control over my life? “My life is not an apology, but a life.” I must and DO live it to the fullest capacity I can muster. Emerson states: “Do your work, and you shall reinforce yourself.”

Well, I know how to work, and am finally doing the work I’ve been called to do. I’m also learning to be the person I always dreamed I was – a unique expression of Spirit. May my actions express the greatness I feel inside me, without apology. “I must be myself.”

 

Praying from a Different Position

Every once in awhile we’re given the opportunity to see into the future, of what a situation might be like, if we’re only willing to open our eyes to see it. Such was the case as my husband and I made our way upstairs to our room at the end of a very long and busy day.

He walked up the steps in front of me, slowly, one step at a time. I followed close behind, clutching the back waistband of his jeans and the thick belt wrapped around his waist. I very much needed his strong momentum and the pull up the stairs as a recent injury to my knee hindered my mobility, gait and strength in climbing toward bed and a night of much needed rest. My leg was swollen and throbbing with pain.

Half-way up the stairs I made a flippant comment about not expecting this type of ascent to come so soon in our lives; I thought it would be at least 15 to 20 years before we would have experienced this episode. Our laughter turned to tears. We were supporting one another in a very physical way, but also an emotional one. We hugged as we victoriously completed the last step. We were both keenly aware that we needed to make a concerted effort immediately to achieve and maintain our individual physical strengths so that this assisted stairway climb would be an anomaly and not the norm anytime soon.

It was a minor accident. The heel of my shoe got caught in a small hole. The shoe stayed stuck just long enough for my leg and knee to hyper-extend. Before the jerk from the forward thrust could pull me to the ground, the heel came free from its prison. I maintained my balance, readjusted my shoe, and continued through my day. In the middle of the night, several hours after this incident, I was awakened by throbbing pain around the knee. The joint was seriously injured. I sent a prayer request to my “spiritual brigade.”

knee_xray_image
knee_xray_image

After two days of wrapping, elevating and icing the swollen knee, my husband convinced me to see my chiropractor (who specializes in sports injuries, too). Naturally, I did my own research before the appointed time, forming my own diagnosis. The doctor came to the same conclusion through his examination of my limb that I was able to discover on my own. I love validation! However, because the knee tissue was still quite swollen, any further MRIs or testing would have to wait a couple of days more. More ice. More rest. More prayer.

The injury was perfectly timed. This is my “spring break” from teaching classes. Also, I’m fortunate to be able to work from home. Most of my work is computer-based and I can sit on the chaise or at my desk with my knee wrapped, iced and propped in a somewhat comfortable position…and still be quite productive. By having limited mobility, I maintained focus on pressing projects and am ahead of schedule. What a gift

The prayer support and messages from friends lifts my energy and helps me stay focused on returning to full functionality as quickly as possible. I’m grateful for my husband’s loving attentiveness and his willingness to collect my things from one room to another. My dog monitors my every move, content to stay close by in case I need something to cuddle. I’ve even begun replacing my shoe wardrobe with safer, sensible and knee-friendly styles.

My attitude is one of gratitude and positive focus. I choose to be well. I choose strength and health. And I know that I already have it right now within my mind and soul. It’s just going to take whatever time is necessary for the healing to manifest as a fully functioning knee joint.

Meanwhile, I’ll say my prayers from the sitting position, knowing they are answered just as easily.

Face-to-Face & Heart-to-Heart

Those folks who spend any length of casual time with me or friends who know me well will acknowledge my kinship with communication technology (e.g., tablet, laptop, email, texting, social media, etc.). I’ve always been somewhat of a geeky introvert (yes, I have) so these forms of “talking” or staying in touch with people have been my favored or preferred methods of contact. I enjoy writing and playing with words. Just because I have a smartphone doesn’t mean I use it for conversation; it provides my link to email accounts, texts and the Internet. However, lately I’ve been increasing my personal face-to-face contact with people and with surprising results.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” ~ Nelson Mandela

I’m sure part of my past hesitation to communicate verbally stems from being hushed as a child. The adage “Children should be seen and not heard” was a constant reminder that I had not yet earned the right to speak with any wisdom or knowledge of life. I developed a fondness for collecting quotations that expressed what I could not find the words to say. I carried the idea of being reserved into adulthood for many years, speaking only when I truly felt passionate about a particular situation, injustice, cause or favorite topic. Then, perhaps not so oddly, I majored in Communication at university and now speak every week before a growing congregation. My writing, speaking and teaching topics are all spiritual in nature. What isn’t?

“When we talk about understanding, surely it takes place only when the mind listens completely – the mind being your heart, your nerves, your ears – when you give your whole attention to it.” ~Jiddu Krishnamurtiheart

What I have discovered to be my biggest aid in communicating with people is…(drum roll, please)…to be authentic…to come from my God-Self and not my ego-self. As long as I let go of all the concerns of what people will think, how they will react to what I say, how cleverly I present the message, how long I go on, whether they understand (or not) the words I use – as long as I release all those thoughts and speak from my heart or pause in silence – the meaning will be understood. Sometimes, such “speaking” comes from just being present in their presence…to hold a sacred space where they, too, can be their authentic selves.

“We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.” ~Diogenes

Some of my favorite moments have been sitting with a friend, lost in our individual thoughts, connected at the heart-level, and joined in the spirit of the moment. I’ve done that quite often this week, relating with people I’ve just met, known for a few months, or with friends whose lives have mingled with mine for decades. It takes more effort to meet face-to-face and share heart-to-heart; no doubt about it. I come home from these experiences gently used and deeply satisfied, content to have been part of someone’s journey for part of a day or to help with some form of healing. I’d like to think their experiences are as positive as mine. I know that being in their presence has revealed in me a desire to do more of this type of “talking.” I am grateful for the soul exchange and want to attract more of them.

“Sometimes it’s a form of love just to talk to somebody that you have nothing in common with and still be fascinated by their presence.” ~ David Byrne

As I go through my work day with technology and assorted gadgets, messaging for the sake of efficiency, writing on the computer rather than long-hand, I’m drawn to my phone. I open my contacts database and peruse the list for the name and number of someone dear to call after work. I pull out my note cards and write a message to go with the package to be mailed. The note cards provide just the right amount of space for generous love and few words. I complete my tasks quickly and efficiently so that, when the next opportunity presents itself to hold sacred space for a dear friend, I will be ready to do so…with a smiling face and a loving heart.

“Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too much.” ~ John Wayne

Defiant Faith

This week a phrase has been repeating itself in my head and heart with absolute clarity and power: Defiant Faith. I don’t normally think of myself as defiant…not since my teenage years or battling through my first divorce. The simple definition is “a bold resistance to an opposing force.” This Defiant Faith of which I speak relates to the Power of Thought and its ability to create whatever images or ideas or beliefs we keep in our consciousness long enough to manifest.

I know how powerful thought can be in my life…in anyone’s life. I’m a witness to the “miracles” occurring for many people around me – getting promotions at work, being awarded new jobs in a beloved career, homes selling in record time, offers of help just when you need it, unexpected gifts that ease the burden of life, recovery from pain and illness. Defiant Faith is a powerful trust in one’s vision for their life. You know that you know that you know!

“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privileged, established institutions and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid…Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.”

~ Bertrand Russell, Why Men Fight

When moving and living in Defiant Faith, you do everything you humanly know to do in a given situation, in that NOW moment…cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s. You demonstrate responsibility for your part of the creation process. Then you let go and let God have some space to create the final form. It’s in this last step where Defiant Faith can be such a powerful force for yourself…to support your belief in the idea you are about to birth. It’s a way to remind yourself that the direction in which you are moving has value and purpose. You are resisting the opposing forces of negative thought of your ego or from the naysayers around you. Your belief, your faith, MUST be defiant if this dream or desire is to come into being!

“We must face this situation with great awareness, responsibility and defiance.”

~ Bashar Assad

PhoenixAwareness comes from many sources. First, and foremost, from that “still small voice within” if we only give It proper attention and actually listen to It. Meditation is great for hearing It. Awareness and responsibility also come from our own life experiences, including any ventures deemed unsuccessful. There is MUCH to be learned in what we sometimes call “failure.” Mythology tells of the great phoenix rising from the ashes of its predecessor. There are many success stories built on years of disappointment. And yet a Defiant Faith kept the dream alive. An idea, a thought, to create…whatever had been placed in someone’s particular being…head, heart and soul…had to be brought into being…or die trying.

“Dying is not difficult, yielding is impossible.”

~ Jane Grey Swisshelm

I, too, am at that juncture. My desire to create “something” is so big I can no longer contain it. Yes, it’s important to take measured steps, to plan and build on solid ground, to do my part in full awareness, with great responsibility, and in absolute integrity. This adventure will teach me even more about myself; it will test and expand my skills, capabilities and consciousness. I will definitely grow. The tasks will build community and connection; it will bond those involved in a united purpose for the highest and best good of all. And this journey will require a Defiant Faith and trust that this thought, this idea, is mine to do…now! And so it is.

Transcendence

You can’t have fear and faith at the same time. Easier said than done. This morning I woke up with another subconscious gift about that phrase. Thank you, God! Rather than approaching fear with the aim of a stealth bomber or well-rehearsed mantras, a more reasonable and achievable approach might be to transcend fear or whatever else is holding you back from living a rich and full life. This means, in general terms, to “go beyond…rise above…or be greater than.” How would we put this into practice?

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.   Eleanor Roosevelt

First it absolutely takes awareness, active consciousness, to notice and identify what is keeping you from expressing as your highest self, your God-Self. This can be accomplished in the wink of an eye or after years of self-evaluation, therapy, classes, emotional pain, and contemplation.

After you achieve the ability to do this a couple of times, recognition of lingering issues and fears usually comes much more quickly. Yes, it means to do what Eleanor Roosevelt recommended (above quote)…and more. You not only “look fear in the face”; you go beyond that fear to a place where it has no power over you. The strength that builds within you comes from a Divine Intelligence and Source of Love. Old reactive habits are replaced with new responding behaviors. Such changes result from recognizing what no longer brings you peace, through spiritual classes and teachers, or past positive experiences upon which you can model future changes.

In the Science of Mind textbook, it says this: “There is, then, no limitation outside our own ignorance, and since we can all conceive of a greater good than we have so far experienced, we all have the ability to transcend previous experiences and rise triumphant above them; but we shall never triumph over them while we persist in going through the old mental reactions.”  (SOM p. 147.4)

transcend-image

We can apply this transcending process to health challenges, time constraints, and fears of all kinds. Every time we adjust our thoughts about some previous fear or difficulty, letting the fear dissipate through acceptance of what is – given we’ve done everything we know to do to that point – we transcend the negative energy of that situation. It becomes less fearful, less worrisome, no longer intimidating. We move beyond it. And just like the creative nature of a spiraling universe, or the spiraling design of our DNA, our consciousness expands upward and outward in an ever greater expression of Life.

“A man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life.” – James Allen

My greatest application of transcending something particularly significant was when I applied it to the fear of death. My childhood religion had convinced me that, no matter how I behaved, it may never be ‘good enough’ to enter the gates of heaven. Years later, after decades of life experiences, a fresh interpretation of biblical verses, and a mature acceptance of God, forgiveness, and the energetic Spirit that expresses as me… my fear of physical death has transcended into what will be just another experience of Life. Not something to be feared. And not something to be hurried into. But something to anticipate with awe and wonder as I focus on and complete what I must do in this physical existence before the transition occurs.

“In such degree as we contemplate the Spirit of Livingness, It becomes manifest.” (SOM p. 336.3)

As long as my focus is on: living Life to its fullest; serving others to the best of my ability; loving myself and humanity, animals, the world; expressing as my authentic God-Self for the highest and best Good in all situations; and contemplating Spirit with increasing awareness and active consciousness…as long as this is my focus, my life will be well-lived and my time here will have served a greater purpose. There can be no fear in that. Only Faith. Only Love.

 

Tires, Tools & Toes

In my early (young and naïve) adult life I saw no real advantage to having a good set of tires on my car. When money was tight, I’d even purchase “recaps” rather than real tires. I still got from point A to point B and saved a lot of cash in the process. Needless to say, I usually wasn’t the one in charge of maintaining the cars in the family. Many years later, however, after driving through snowstorms, rainstorms, off-road, back roads and highways, transporting children and grandchildren, and being able to experience a number of different vehicles in the process, I’m absolutely convinced that a good set of tires with thick and gripping tread is more important than the comfort of the driver’s seat or any other “extras” that attract us to buy a certain vehicle.

This was made particularly clear to me a couple of years ago when my husband and I were on a road trip through the Rocky Mountains…in March…in a blowing snowstorm…going downhill (faster than I preferred)…with a lot of other cars trying to do the same. My car was not aerodynamic; it was rather lightweight, too. Did I mention the blowing gale-force winds? We had never driven together in conditions like this or with me as the passenger. Yet we stuck to that frozen road better than in any machine I’d ever driven.

ImageThe man who sold us the all-wheel-drive car a few months earlier had also thrown in an almost-new set of snow tires and, being intelligent enough to put them on the vehicle by the first snow, we were now the benefactors of an amazing driving experience through the worst conditions ever! Our path was so securely held by those tires, that we confidently and fearlessly journeyed forward. No subsequent conditions ever stopped us from traveling to our destination.

“It’s important to have the right tools for the job,” my dad had told me more than once. Again, life (and my income) didn’t always provide everything exactly as I wanted or needed, so sometimes I had to improvise. That could mean a project would take longer or not look as good as I had pictured in my mind. It might even result in unnecessary aches and pains due to the exertion of more muscle than I would have expended if I’d only had the right tool in the first place.

Having the right tool for the job DOES make a big difference, even if there’s a learning curve to using it. The project gets done more efficiently, looks more professional, and you often don’t have to buy additional materials to replace the ones you messed up the first time (or two) due to improvising. It’s an experience that benefits you in numerous ways. You grow through the process, perhaps learning patience along with new skills. There’s that sense of accomplishment when it’s done correctly. The right tools give you power to create your vision!

So what about toes? They do serve more than one purpose, according to experts. First they provide balance to the body. In addition, extensive, scientific testing shows that they help accelerate the running function in conjunction with the heel and the ankle. I’m content for the balance aspect (and being able to squeeze my toes into mud in the summer garden).

What is the purpose of all this “Tires, Tools and Toes” stuff? All of them relate to Divine Source (you knew there was a connection)…and can serve as our reminder when performing routine tasks.

  • Like the tires…when I’m firmly grounded and living with a deep belief of my connection to God, grounded in my beliefs, I don’t swerve or waiver in my life’s purpose and intentions to express fully, confidently and fearlessly as I journey ever forward in this world.
  • When I use the right tools to keep my life working properly – tools like meditation, studying, praying – my consciousness expands and I powerfully co-create with Spirit a life filled with joy, happiness, abundance, and love.
  • As for the toes, I pay attention to the little things in life so I can stay in balance. As I simplify my material wants, my needs are generously provided. Along the way, I take time for fun.

 Everything has purpose and meaning. Today, this is mine.

Decadent Self-Care (a Spiritual practice, I’m sure of it)

LIst_todoI’ve gotten a little behind in my self-assigned tasks. I keep track of things like that. Lists help. There’s no one to blame and I’m not feeling all that guilty, either. The truth is I’m starting to experience a more balanced life (a Spiritual practice) and schedule, including having some creative/hobby time, recreational activities, and feeling rested. This can be attributed, in part, to the fact that we bought a new bed… actually two. Let me explain how it’s impacting my schedule…in a very positive way.

My husband and I will celebrate …[getting calculator]…16 years of marriage in a couple of months. The very first piece of furniture we bought together back then was an Amish oak, Mission-style queen bed frame and mattress set. Mattresses come and go, but the bed frame has been a centerpiece in our marital life. We bought it together and, like our relationship, it is strong, secure, and will last for many, many years.  Our sleeping habits, on the other hand, have changed since the honeymoon.

This awareness came unexpectedly a couple of months ago during a period of illness – we both came down with the flu and chose to sleep in separate beds until our fevers and coughs subsided enough so we could sleep together again. I wasn’t hit with the virus as hard as my husband was, so I chose to sleep in the guest room and use a small, twin bed we had placed there.

The experience made me realize how small a twin bed had become since my childhood days.  However, sleeping alone on a twin bed actually gave me more space than being crowded over to the edge of a queen bed. I took measurements. The twin mattress was 36 inches wide. I made comparisons. A regular twin is normally 39 inches wide or about one-half the size of a king bed, which ranges from 76 to 80 inches wide. Our queen bed mattress is 60 inches.

I’d become accustomed to being in about one-third of our mattress space during the past few years. I don’t call it sleeping – not really. Between our snoring contests, blanket-tugging wars, and my hot flashes, sleep had become something I did for two or three hours at the most, wake up for awhile, and start again. Not a lot of “rest” in there, but the disturbances had become the norm. Then I got to experience a full 36 inches of mattress – all to myself – and I began to notice how deeply I slept and how refreshed I was the next day, barring the flu symptoms. I recovered rapidly and I began formulating a plan. No longer would I be happy with 20 inches of sleeping space for the rest of my life. Changes were about to be made.

new_bed_021913I had all the measurements of various bed sizes. We visited a couple of stores to test out different mattress styles and sizes. I presented an idea to my dear husband, and after lengthy consideration over a period of weeks, we purchased TWO full-size mattress sets – one of his choice and one of mine – and placed them side-by-side in our bedroom. Now we each have our “own” bed with 54 inches of space to roll around in…108 inches of total AWESOME and decadent self-care! (again, Spiritual – I’m sure of it!)

I have been sleeping more soundly than I have in years. If a hot flash warrants blanket fanning, I know it won’t wake up my snoring husband…and he’s so far away on the other side of the bed acreage, that I don’t hear him that much anyway. We reach out our hands (or a foot) across the sheet to validate the presence of the other, comforted in knowing our loved one is near, peacefully sleeping close by, sort of.  It sure beats sleeping in separate rooms (as we’ve heard older folks sometimes do in their maturing years).

While we still need to work on further customizing comforters and headboards, we look forward to early bedtimes and sleeping later whenever we can. We’re thinking about moving a coffee pot upstairs, too. It won’t be long before this bedroom suite beats any 5-star hotel. I’m sure there are plenty of other features and décor items we can add to make it a place to spend the weekend (or at least a long Saturday morning). I think I’ll sleep on it for awhile.