I is for Intuition… Spirituality A to Z

There is something magical about listening to that Still Small Voice within me, which I refer to as Intuition. When I listen, and actually follow that Divine Inner Guidance, I am repeatedly amazed at the Good that unfolds in my experience of Life. The key to following the correct guidance, however, lies in being able to identify it properly: is it Intuition or ego?

The way I’ve been able to simplify knowing which “voice” is speaking to me is by the length of the dialogue that goes on in my head. I always know it’s Intuition if the thought is instant and complete. It happens all at once and there is no question about it. I know that I know. However, if an idea comes to me and then is followed by a mental debate or other mind questioning chatter, that’s my ego. This delineation of these two guidance systems has never failed me.

Intuition has expressed itself when I’ve been guided in a particular direction – whether it’s an idea that comes to me to create something, in my writing, or to drive down a particular street. Some people call it a gut feeling, a knowing, or a sixth sense. One definition I found describes Intuition this way: “the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.” I prefer to substitute “conscious reasoning” in this case, with “human reasoning.”

I need to be Spiritually conscious in order to hear that inner voice. I like to think of Intuition as the way God communicates with me. And what I’ve learned is that the more I pay attention to Divine Guidance, the more God communicates with me. Unless I’m open to listening (such as through meditation), unless I’m Spiritually conscious, my ego mind-chatter drowns out any God-messages that are there for me to hear. It’s up to me to pay attention.

Pausing in my activities and daydreaming during moments of writing or other creative endeavors are really ways to stop and listen to the Infinite Creator’s direction of what to say next, or where to go, or to try something new. It’s a way to separate the wheat from the chaff…of what is truly important from the non-essentials of my experiences. My ego doesn’t always like such pure direction and thought, so it can sometimes get in the way of what truly needs to be communicated by adding a bunch of gobble-di-gook for attention. (Like that last sentence.)

Intuition allows me to stay connected to Spirit, to God, in a most personal and intimate way. I see it as God’s way of speaking through me…expressing as me…and I honor and cherish those moments of awareness. I’m paying attention more so I can connect more; to demonstrate a higher quality of living and a loving beingness in Life. As a result, I get to be in that Universal Flow where everything just happens in perfect timing and Divine right expression. It’s amazing!

F is for Faith or Fear… Spirituality A to Z

A wise friend once told me, “You can’t have Fear and Faith at the same time – choose.”

Yes, you get to choose. And to the degree you focus on one or the other, your choice determines how you will fare through any situation or decision.

What I’ve discovered as I contemplate this equation is that it takes very little Fear or Faith to tip the scales in the other direction, depending on the situation.

Fear-Baby-2The seed of Faith is and always has been present, waiting to be nurtured, cultivated, and allowed to grow to fuller expression. The weed of Fear has always been with us, too, although it was initially in our infant make-up only as the fear of falling and loud noises. All other fears developed as we grew, coming from those around us and society in general, especially through the media. Fear is a learned characteristic.

It takes a concerted effort to not get caught up in the hysteria of news events and tragedies that bombard our psyche on a daily basis. Yes, sad things happen. Yes, some of those acts are brutal, senseless, and unforgiveable. As long as we continue to view and share and repeatedly talk about such cruelty, that is what will continue being created in our minds and our world… and Fear will maintain its foothold in our race consciousness. We need to stop replaying the tapes or teaching these fears from one generation to the next. There is another option.

Be selective with what you fill your mind and thoughts. Be informed and be objective, yet learn to be non-attached to the form of negative experience. If the acts of violence you see projected through the media are too much, then turn off those programs!

Let me clarify, learn to separate your awareness from the act itself…to look beyond it…and focus on the person or people behind it. While it may take some effort and a change in your own beliefs to accept it, that person or those people are just like you and me – human, God-beings in physical form.

For whatever reason, they are coming from a place of Fear, brought on by misguided information, erroneous instruction, habitual cultural or religious teachings that have gotten off-track at some point. When you react with Fear…rather than responding with understanding, love, objectivity, non-attachment, or forgiveness – and a Faith in the God within …then you and I only perpetuate the cycle of Fear and it becomes stronger in everyone involved.

While this level of Fear may describe a global situation or local tragedy, and be perhaps a most difficult challenge to address with Faith and Love, you can apply the same awareness in your everyday life. For example, a toddler has complete Faith that his parent or grandparent will catch and protect him from falling when he throws himself backward in their arms. The only time Fear may eventually appear is if no one catches him…time and again…and trust is broken with that person and caution takes precedent in future behavior.

You move from Fear to Faith when you try again after a failed relationship. No matter how bad it was before, you believe and trust that it MUST be better next time. There’s a time for healing and renewal, eventually leading to a rebirth of Love.

There might also be Fear about changing jobs or starting a business. Previous experiences of non-success (AKA mistakes or failures) may slow your decision-making process to the state of paralysis, making NO decision for long periods of time…until, finally, you MUST listen to that voice of Faith and take at least one step in the direction of your dream simply because the voice of Creation won’t be quiet.

When properly recognized, Fear can be a useful tool as an early warning system within our psyche. Acknowledge it. Look at it. Reveal the love-floating-heartssource causing it and resolve to move beyond it through Faith in a Higher Power, Unlimited Intelligence and Eternal Love.

Grow within you a belief that everything DOES eventually work out for the Good of Life overall. You can stay in Fear…or move forward in Faith and watch your world change. You choose.

E is for Effect… Spirituality A to Z

Once more, here we go…Ask, Believe, Choice, Decide and then comes the Effect, the result of the first four Spiritual Principles. We can go from A to E in a matter of seconds or take years to see our “asking” come into manifestation or form. The process is known as the Law of Cause and Effect.

Effect does not make itself and always follows Cause (the first four steps, A-D). Effect is created through the power behind it, bringing it into fruition. As stated in the Science of Mind textbook, “Everything which we see, touch, taste, feel, hear or sense with the physical senses is an effect.” Effect, that which shows up in our physical, visible world, is a result of our intentions (conscious or not) powered by the invisible, Divine Intelligence of creation. The invisible into the visible…what we see comes from what we do not.

While this process is often identified with things we can see and use in the physical world (stuff), the same steps can be used for those intentions and goals that are not so concrete… such as a healthier relationship, a new attitude, a different job, and the like. Such “things” are very real to us and yet they are not made up of anything we can put our hands on, nothing of the material world.

For example, I heard the story of a young man who moved from one state to another, looking for a fresh start. One of his intentions (Cause) in the new location was to work a retail job that was unique to anything he’d done before, but something he’d always wanted to do. He established an intention before moving. Within 48 hours after arrival to his new address, he was working in his field of choice (Effect).

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit family members I hadn’t seen or even talked too much in a few years. I went with the intention (Cause) of experiencing a healing of the angst that had existed between us far too long. While I pride myself with being able to communicate with nearly anyone, I was unable to say anything without getting a defensive or angry reaction from this person. What little I said was based in Truth, Principle and a desire for greater understanding and cooperation. Alas, such was not going to happen.

As I listened to the tidal wave of emotions spewed in my direction, I saw the deep fear of a wounded ego behind the words. In that moment, realizing it was not really about me (I was just the target of choice for that day), I felt a deep, loving compassion for this person. All the frustration I had held, up until that moment, just slipped away like black ooze down the sewer drain. And I smiled as my heart opened to allow a greater understanding to enter my being. I experienced a healing in an unexpected way and my soul filled with joy (Effect).

I have seen and experienced how the Law of Cause and Effect works with unwavering certainty. What we declare in our thoughts, words or habits, especially those done repeatedly over time, will without a doubt manifest in our lives according to our declarations and beliefs.

  • If you think you’re never going to be successful in business, the Law agrees… that is what you will create.
  • If you say you’re never going to have a meaningful, loving relationship, the Law agrees… that is what you will create.
  • If you intend to be proficient at playing the piano or working a computer, the Law agrees… that is what you will create.
  • If you believe your life is filled with happy events and all you need for a satisfying and rich experience, the Law agrees…that is what you will create.

The longer you hold in consciousness, in your own mind and heart, what it is you want/intend to experience or create, and hold it with passion and clarity, the faster Law (God) can bring that into your life. But if you keep changing your mind, or don’t really know what you want, then what you will tend to experience are pieces, close-calls, or a hodge-podge of what the final result could be.

I think getting Clarity about what I really want to experience is sometimes the most difficult part of the formula. The Law of Cause and Effect works with amazing accuracy and perfect timing. It must bring back to you what you put out into the ethers, the energy, of creation. The Law has no choice but to obey your direction. It’s up to you to determine the intention (steps A through D), do your part of the creative cycle, and expect only the Good to show up in your life. Look for the Good and be Grateful when you see it.

God never fails me. God never fails you. We fail ourselves. But we can also correct that – at any moment…and the next…and the next. Start right now! What you focus on…in consciousness… with your words… in your daily habits or actions… what you focus on WILL grow into manifestation in the physical world. And so it is.

D is for Decide… Spirituality A to Z

I love how Universal Principles follow the alphabet in a natural and logical progression. Thus far we have looked at how we need to (A) ASK for what we want. Then, it is critical to (B) BELIEVE in what you have asked for; that it is already a possibility in the Mind of God. This abundant Universe will most likely provide you with (C) CHOICES from which you can select the best options…and usually better ones than you could have thought for yourself. However, until you DECIDE, take action, nothing happens. D…is for Decide.

“It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires a great deal of strength to decide what to do.”  Elbert Hubbard

You can ask, believe, and review the choices in front of you, but until you act…until you make a decision …it’s as if you’re standing in front of an open refrigerator full of food expecting a meal to jump out at you – all prepared and ready to eat. It’s not going to happen! You need to select/decide what you wish to eat, prepare it or cook it, and put it on your plate.

The same is true in Life. The same is true about your thoughts and beliefs – you can and do choose them. And as a result of deciding what you think and believe the majority of the time, you create your world. Your beliefs, consciously created or absorbed through culture (race consciousness), become thoughts, actions, and eventually your life. Gandhi said it wonderfully:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts… Your thoughts become your words… Your words become your actions… Your actions become your habits… Your habits become your values… Your values become your destiny.” – Gandhi

Every step in this process involves making a decision. No one thinks for you. No one speaks for you. After you come of age, no one decides your habits or your values. You get to decide what you will keep as your own from childhood – or from ANY experience. It’s empowering! Each one of us gets to decide how we will respond to Life’s challenges. Each one of us gets to decide how we will serve or be in the world. And each one of us gets to be responsible for what we decide.

Whether we’ve been aware of it or not, these Universal Principles (and more) are how Life is created. Whether we acknowledge the Principles through using them – try to ignore them or work around them – they’re still in place responding to our thoughts, words and actions. Whether our experiences are of our own conscious creation or as a result of the world’s impact on us, these Principles, these Laws, rule. It’s so much easier to work WITH the Universal Laws than to keep getting knocked down because we refuse to acknowledge them.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”  J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Every day is your opportunity to Decide anew. You can continue on the path you’ve been traveling or take a new one, even if it’s only to test out something different for awhile – then Decide again. Perhaps it’s time to try a different approach in a relationship or a new attitude at work. You might be thinking about job options or an alternate living arrangement. Maybe you want to express your art or fashion choices with new designs. It might be time to go back to school or change careers or stop working altogether. Whatever it is that keeps coming up in your thoughts, it will not go away until the issue is addressed and a decision is made.

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Then, once you make a decision, one based on that Spiritual “knowing” (intuition)… one that has no doubts about being the right choice… amazing things begin to happen. It’s the kind of decision where you know that you know that you know. There’s no sound of the ego voice debating in your head. Everything unfolds in absolutely perfect timing for your highest and best Good, and your life expands in Joy and Beauty and Love and Peace.

If one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. – Henry David Thoreau

I have learned to trust Divine Power by starting with little decisions, witnessing the results, and gradually working up to grander ones as my “mental equivalent” has grown. As my trust grows, my choices and decisions have gotten larger, too. My confidence in Spirit has increased. My vision and life has expanded in wonderful and loving ways I only dreamed of years ago.

My challenge now is to ask and believe in ideas and endeavors that heal me, challenge me, and grow me in areas dear to my heart…maybe even make me a little nervous because they’re so much bigger than I used to dream. True, it can be about acquiring material things, and those are also in my realm of possibility thinking. Yet, they’re not the only areas of growth on which I must decide.

The decisions I make today are more often about the person I’m creating inside this human form. The focus is on becoming the highest expression of God I can envision. And just when I think I’ve achieved the best “me” possible…that this version is decidedly so much better than what I used to be…another choice presents itself and the A-B-C-D process begins anew. And so it is.

Spirituality A to Z

As often happens when I pay attention to Spirit, an idea will just “pop into my head” at some odd time and be totally irrelevant to what I’m supposed to be thinking about or doing. That is the case now as I am inspired to create a series of essays on “Spirituality A to Z.”

Thus, for the next few months I will focus on one word or phrase of spiritual significance and offer a New Thought perspective on the topic…from A to Z. If you have any particular words or phrases you would like to offer for a topic, feel free to send them to my church email address:   pccrs2945@gmail.com.

 

A is for Ask begins our series. Of course! Asking is what generally begins anything of significance in our lives. Perhaps the most famous of Bible quotes on this word comes from Matthew 7:7: “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” (KJV) Later, Matthew also wrote (Ch. 21:22): “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”

The first verse is part of a long list of sayings, doctrine, which is credited to Jesus and that we are instructed to follow. The second passage came after an incident where Jesus had come upon a fig tree that had no fruit. He was hungry but found only leaves on this tree. It is reported here that Jesus told the tree it would never again grow any fruit and the tree immediately withered away. Jesus explained to his amazed disciples that if they had such faith and no doubt, if they asked in prayer, they could do the same type of thing, whether it was a fig tree withering or moving a mountain.

Whether real or metaphorical, the story provides clear direction for all of us. If you want to create something in your life, claim an experience for yourself, or attract an opportunity of some kind…you must ASK for it or declare it so. The desire needs to be as clearly described as you know how to do. There should be passion, feeling, in the declaration, preferably positive emotions toward the longing. The point is, if you don’t ASK directly for what you choose to experience in your life, the Universe (God, Spirit) can only provide to you the average of what your thoughts focus on most of the time.

Ernest Holmes in the Science of Mind textbook wrote that asking also refers to mental acceptance of a situation or thing. For example, if we desire new employment, a home, greater health, money or a certain type of relationship, then we need to pray as specifically as we are able for that desire. Put as much detail into your prayer or mental work as you can until you embody the idea so completely that there’s no doubt in your mind about its creation. You may need to repeat this process daily. It’s your fears you need to change, your doubts that need convincing. Only in this way can we co-create with God through the Laws of Mental Equivalent and Cause and Effect.

On the other hand, let’s say you’re not feeling well and you think (belief) you’re not going to get any better. So you isolate, stop seeking treatment or taking medications. You don’t call the doctor or anyone who might be concerned about you. As a result, no one knows and no one can help you. And you have created exactly what you think and believe was going to occur. The Laws still work!

You MUST ASK to receive your Good, even if the asking is just a mental operation…like a thought… a prayer…or a whisper. This is not about wishing or day dreaming. This is about choosing what you desire to have manifest in your life, your experiences, and then declaring it so as though it’s already a fact.  Because, in fact, it is…in the “Mind” of God. Once you’ve claimed your Good, it’s already done Spiritually in that moment. It’s just a matter of human time – and maybe with some action steps of your own – before you see the physical demonstration show up in your life.

So how much Good are you willing to claim for yourself? Ask, and you shall receive. It works for me. I know it works the same way for you. It’s a Divine Law, a Universal Principle. God can only do for us, what God can do through us. Ask away…believe it’s done…and watch what happens in your life. Hallelujah! 

It’s All In Your Mind

There’s a colloquial saying that claims, “It’s all in your head.” I remember hearing that phrase on occasion when I was growing up, especially when I would start to project about some concern or problem happening in the future that would totally ruin my teenage life. The phrase was meant to stop me from such a negative train of thought. I later took it to mean that I was creating an unnecessary problem in my life. Both interpretations are correct…I know that now.

It truly is all in one’s head or mind. What we think about most often…positive or negative…we create in our lives or attract to us in some way. This means we must be diligent in our thinking and not fall into complacency. It means being aware and rigorously honest about the intentions, the motives, behind our thoughts, asking ourselves from time to time, “What was the real reason I said that [snippy, loving, mean, kind] remark?” or “Why did I treat him/her that way?” or “Where did that comment come from?”

I find it interesting to examine my thinking patterns to be sure I’m on the right track toward creating the life I intend to have – now and in the future. What is it I REALLY want to experience?

Right now, my focus is on Balance/Harmony, Abundance and Peace. This means I must also consider living from Love and acknowledging my connection with all Life. I must focus on the Universal Principles that are behind all creation…these (and other) “qualities” of God (as referred to in Religious Science).

This type of focus can be a challenge with so many distractions in the world or life in general. What I’ve noticed is that as I become more attuned to living and thinking from my God-Self, my human ego-self gets a bit unsettled, wanting to return to old habits and avoiding any change in the status quo. Opportunities for Spiritual growth continue to present themselves as a kind of challenge to see if I’m really making any progress…to test my commitment to this path. Sometimes, it can be two steps forward and one step back, depending on whom I’m interacting with and what the challenge might be. Yet, the evolution of Higher Consciousness will not be stopped.

The point is to be aware…to stay connected to Divine Love…to know that what you create in your life and what you are now or will experience… is truly all in your mind. You and I get to decide–in each second, each moment, with each thought, word and action–how we’re showing up in the world.

What does that look like for you today? Pay attention!

LETTING GO… BY CHOICE OR OTHERWISE

Our church recently hosted a special healing event where several alternative wellness practitioners and healers shared their skills and wisdom with curious would-be clients. Healers offered services such as Reiki, SRT, or Yoga Nidra. One gentleman offered his intuitive skills through reading Tarot cards for folks. I was one of them and the last person to sit at his table.

As it was the end of the day and nearly time to start packing up the event, the reading needed to be shortened in some way. I asked him to do just one card. He shuffled the cards. I cut the deck. He fanned the cards across the table and waited for my selection. I used my own intuitive nature to select the perfect card – the 5 of Swords – and with no verbal input from me to offer any clues (I thought), his interpretation began.

This card, in general terms, is about the fear of loss, of losing control…an illusion of its own. With his eyes focused downward to the card on the table, he talked of how I was going through or may soon be going through some sort of loss. His eyes questioned my face as I remained silent and unaware of anything about which I may have felt a sense of loss. My mind was blank…open.

He continued this line of explanation and then reassured me that, while I may be saddened for a time over the loss, this void would open my life to greater expression and possibilities. His commentary and the session came to a close. We all packed up the event. I put the experience aside as something that was fun and interesting. I could think about it later.

Later came sooner than I expected.

Two days following, my husband and I agreed on a new wall-hanging/headboard idea for our bedroom… one that would utilize an embroidered duvet cover I had painstakingly created about 20 years prior and that had become our bed’s covering in the early years of our marriage. As our bed size had changed, and to preserve the memories associated with the piece, we no longer used the coverlet but had stored it away.

The detailed needlework designs on the queen-sized muslin coverlet had taken me two years to complete, with subtle, hand embroidery work that filled the center and ruffled sides. The angelic design symbolized our Divine introduction and enduring Love. It was the largest and most complicated fabric art I had ever done. I knew I could reconstruct the coverlet into a beautiful wall-hanging, a visible reminder of how we met and how our love had matured. I couldn’t wait to get started! I fell asleep with great anticipation for the project.

The next morning I went to the linen closet to fetch the coverlet from the plastic storage bag. It wasn’t there. Each shelf I searched revealed only towels and sheets, but not the embroidered masterpiece. I expanded my search to the craft closet, sewing bins, guest room, dining hutch, boxes of holiday decorations, and the garage. While I located many items that were no longer useful and could be given or thrown away, the coverlet was not among the finds.

Besides my own prayers of resolution and peace, a friend offered prayers to Saint Anthony, the patron saint of lost things. I called a couple of my children to see if it was accidentally packed among their belongings during previous extended visits. I changed my affirmation from “I can’t find it!” to “It’s somewhere in this house and it’s ready for me to see it!” I cried at my loss. The words of the Tarot reader came back with haunting clarity.

I fully realize my sense of attachment to this artwork and the memories I have threaded into the design. Still unwilling to face the loss of this treasure, I’m continuing the systematic search box by box, closet by closet, corner by corner, and drawer by drawer…until I know with absolute clarity what I truly do have as my earthly possessions and if this one accomplishment is among them. I will do a thorough and complete investigation. In the process I will also “release” many other things, more clutter and unused possessions that no longer serve my new direction and the life I now express.

cherub_trumpetIf by some accident the embroidered cherub truly has taken his trumpet and departed my realm, I will let go … by choice or otherwise … and open my consciousness and my interests to richer and fuller experiences. And so it is!

 

A Persistent Muse

The other day I woke up with such excitement about an idea, I couldn’t remember if I’d actually had any sleep the previous night. It was as if my creative subconscious had been busy putting together pieces of an idea that had been brewing in my brain for about five years…and now it was time to DO something about it!

I’m sure this brain activity was triggered by a frustrating accident of sorts a few days earlier. During the clean-up phase after a community event, the entry door became inaccessible. In itself, this was no big deal. However, in the event room behind the timer-locked door were the equipment pieces from the evening’s activities, burning candles (in a tray of sand), and my purse. Fortunately, I had my truck key in-hand. Also, I had heeded Spirit’s voice and left my cell phone in the truck earlier that evening. Yet, I was quite disturbed that I could not retrieve my purse, wallet, identification, etc.

After pacing for several moments, listening to the committee voices in my head, leaving messages for the building’s owner, and peeking through a small window to be sure the candles would pose no threat to the premises, I reluctantly left my possessions behind. I deduced that, since the timer-locked door could not be opened now, it certainly wouldn’t be opened during the night. Resolved that my purse would be safe, I committed myself to return at dawn when the door would once more unlock itself.

Enter the Purse Muse

It’s no surprise that my creative subconscious should be formulating a design for my perfect handbag. I’ve been searching for it in stores andhandbag-purse boutiques for years, reluctantly settling for an “almost” version time and again that I thought would satisfy my needs. Alas, none met the challenge. So, with the near-loss of an “almost” version fresh in my mind, the Purse Muse appeared to solve the challenge.

I awoke with a pattern and overall design clearly placed in my awakened consciousness. My first task was to visit a local drug store to see if there was a container that could provide the basic size and shape of the untested design. I found it! With my purchase in-hand, I quickly transferred my possessions from my “almost” purse to this new container as a trial-run to see if it would actually meet my needs. I’d been fooled before by the purse fairies. I was going to take it slow this time until there was no doubt about the validity of this inspiration.

It took only one day to prove I was being led toward a viable design. Could it be true? After all these years, was I finally nearing the end of my search for the perfect handbag? I could wait no longer.

The next morning I rummaged through my bin of fabric remnants, gathered up old purses meant for the donation bin, set up my sewing machine, and sketched out the rudimentary design for my ultimate carry-all. It’s a good thing I’ve been sewing and crafting for decades…and am fairly good at puzzles. Nevertheless, after five hours of obsessive, creative intensity (one hour for each year of searching?), I had fashioned and pieced together a handbag that is now my favorite fashion piece. It’s functional, practical, stylish and affordable…made just for me!

Already a granddaughter wants me to make one for her. My work-aholic nature wants to put the design into mass production. I’d just like to make another one (a fall/winter version) for myself.

Meanwhile, I feel such complete satisfaction to have followed the creative inspiration of the Purse Muse from the eye-opening idea to a final, artistic piece…and to have fulfilled a longing that only my skills and talents could do. I listened to the Voice of Creation and the final result was as crystal clear as the vision from whence it was born. And so it is always.

Making Contact

I’m thinking about getting a new phone. It’s been well over two years and I’m due for an upgrade. I’ve also convinced myself that it would be easier to see what I’m doing if the screen was bigger.  Really, I just want a newer phone. Before I head off to the cell phone store, however, I’ve given quite a bit of my attention, time and effort to going through the contacts list on my phone…and my computer…and my internet email account. I want to be sure my contacts are cleaned up, accurate … and then backup the contact list on my phone to another location that is off my phone.

I have a lot of contacts. Due to some magical mistake made during my previous phone upgrade, the technician (or me) managed to double my phone’s contact list. I ended up with over 948 records. I never counted them. I never bothered to clean up my phone’s contact list…until today.

So far I’ve been able to get the list down to 729 726 contacts on my phone. I have another 284 names in my internet account. Some are probably duplicates. Apparently, even with today’s technological advances, getting a phone’s contact list to sync to one or two other depository locations is not an easy proposition. It’s far easier on the spy TV shows than in real life. Even after a trip to the phone store with questions about my situation, the best they could do was reassure me that I wasn’t crazy about what I was trying to do. The only thing is, the process only works one way …not both.

Why all this trouble? Why is it so important?Old_dial_phone

First, I truly value the names that appear on all my various contact lists and I want them to be accurate. They wouldn’t be there unless there was a reason to include them. At one time or another, each name was added with the intent of staying in touch, reaching out, having a conversation. Sometimes it happened…other times, not so much. After years of no communication, I’ve simply forgotten who some of these people are. Quite honestly, if I haven’t contacted them by now (or they, me), it’s highly unlikely it’ll happen any time in the near future.

I didn’t mean to forget their names or the experiences we shared. The entries that were deleted weren’t all personal friends. The list is a combination of customers from a long-ago business, board members of a company where I used to work, recruiters for companies where I applied for jobs, people who visited our church, classmates from college, or someone I found interesting at a party and thought I would contact later. Some of these names have been on my list a really l–o–n–g time. I didn’t want to let them go. But holding on to forgotten memories was serving no one.

The only way we ever grow is to let go of what is holding us back. The best way to lift up our consciousness is to release the weight of what is keeping us down. Whenever we create a void in life, God/Spirit is more than happy to fill it – usually with something better than we had previously. Sometimes that means deleting names from an old phone list or cleaning the clutter from a life of overwhelm. Other times, it means forgiving ourselves (and others) for saying or doing things we may not even remember properly or fairly.

In all cases, it requires us to be in the present moment…to appreciate what we have here and now…to focus on the Good. As long as I stay in gratitude for the life that is mine, for the friends and family to whom I’m connected, for the gifts I’m given or work long and hard for …as long as I stay in gratitude, everything that’s important will be provided…and more!

I rest assured, knowing that my communication with God is a two-way and direct call, if I but listen to that still, small voice within…no phone required.

Back to Basics: Simplicity

Some months ago a friend told me how she picks one word on which to focus for the entire year. I liked the idea so much that I decided to do the same. The word I chose to begin this practice was “simplicity.” I’ll admit there are times when I forget about it. However, I’m quickly reminded of my intention whenever life starts spinning into chaos and confusion or I start experiencing feelings of overwhelm. It’s then I know to take a deep breath, stop whatever I’m doing, and evaluate what’s most important in that moment.

Sometimes, it can be as simple as getting a cup of tea…practicing songs on the piano…going outside to feel the sunshine…petting the dog. When I physically remove myself from the situation and the moment of confusion, it’s easier to gain new perspective. I’ve found it works with people, too. While it may not always be possible to remove myself from someone’s presence, I can stop talking or mentally planning my next sentence. I can listen. I can see them more clearly in that moment of heightened awareness. I can connect with them soul to soul where words are not necessary.

zen_gardenThe practice of simplicity brings added benefits I had not anticipated. I’m learning to have Zen-like focus in all of my tasks and activities. While I’ve been an accomplished multi-tasker, I’m more willing now to limit my attention to one task at a time until it’s completed. I actually get more done by having dedicated focus on one single project rather than trying to do several at once. The quality of my work has improved. The moments of chaos and confusion happen less often. I’m able to work for longer periods of time without feeling nearly so tired or stressed. One step in front of the other. Back to basics.

I’ve also begun applying the idea of “simplicity” to my life’s greater vision. Everywhere I focus I consider how I can do things with the least amount of commotion, effort, money, time or energy. Sometimes this means delegating a task or project to others…taking my time to arrive at a decision…or just not doing it…right now. When I get into that mindset that I have to “make things happen,” then I need to look at whether its creation is a matter of forcing something (ego) or a sense of lack in my life (not enoughness).  In either case, it’s necessary to go back to taking a breath, being grateful for “what is” and giving more thought to the validity of the desire.

As I’ve simplified my life, I’ve made numerous changes. I’ve gone back to basics with my diet and nutrition… planted a garden… make my own laundry soap… visit more with family and friends… changed careers… am more successful in financial matters… enjoy a variety of creative activities… and am constantly grateful for my life and everything in it! It’s simple, but not always easy. Yet, so worth the effort and diligence required to calm my busy mind. I live more from a sense of peace than I ever have!

Such commitment to a simpler way of living and being means that I get to experience daily the basic feelings of happiness and contentment…love, serenity, abundance, and connection… to life, people, my work, and God… one purpose, one action, one simple thought at a time.