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One of my favorite things to do in the mornings, after meditating and doing my spiritual study, is to check my Facebook memories feed.  It gives me a snap shot of my life in years past.  This is very helpful because I don’t remember the past.  Not really.  I remember it in very general terms, but specifics are gone.  I once had a friend tell me this was because I live so much in the moment that once that moment is gone, it is truly gone.  I believe this ability is a gift.  I work with so many people who remember the past like it was yesterday, and base their current lives on it, which leads to limitation.  I much prefer not being able to remember the past, because I can dive into each new experience with childlike vision and very little fear.  Except when PTS (I refuse to call it a disorder.  There is absolutely nothing disordered about fearful reactions to shit happening) hits.  The kicker there is that I still don’t remember much of the past, but my body remembers it, and anxiety kicks in, and it is very difficult to replace that anxiety with calm.  PTS is quite inconvenient.  But I discovered something about that PTS, and that discovery came about as a result of a question a prayer partner once asked me.  I discovered that when I am tired, it is as if I’ve left a door open for that PTS to sneak in and take over.  So the key is to stay in balance and be well rested.  And I am lucky because in addition to not remembering the past much, I’m also disciplined.  I go to bed at the same general time every evening, and get up at the same general time every morning.  And on those nights when sleep is a bit elusive, I allow myself to sleep in.  I get up every morning and do the same thing:  I meditate, contemplate and study.  I’ve been doing this for over 30 years.  Such a disciplined spiritual practice is another gift.  I say it’s a gift, but really, it wasn’t given to me.  I developed it.  It just feels like a gift now.  The other thing in my life that is truly a gift is my intensity.  Yes, I realize this intensity scares people and they tend to go away behind that fear.  I’m ok with that, because that intensity has served to allow me to be extraordinarily successful at any endeavor I undertake.  I take a deep dive into everything I do, whether it is cooking or gardening or a career.  Skimming the surface of anything simply isn’t on my list of things to do.  I was reminded of all of this as I reviewed my memories for today.  Going backwards, there are springtime activities, ministerial activities, school activities, photography activities.  With horseback riding interspersed throughout.  A nice little snapshot.  And then there is today.  As people are settling in to sheltering in place, I am beginning to witness in my work all sorts of feelings: boredom, anxiety, confusion, anger.  And then there are the ones who are gleefully taking advantage of the time.  They are getting projects done around the house and beginning to experience what it is like to not be rushing around all the time doing stuff.  They are beginning to experience what it is like to simply be, rather than to do.  I believe this to be another gift.  Beingness is, or can be, a foundation from which we move forward into the world doing.  If we begin with beingness, we then discover who we be as people.  We discover what our feelings are.  We discover what the trend of our thinking is, whether it is positive or negative.  We discover whether that is acceptable to us, and begin to wonder if we can change it if it isn’t.  We might even begin to discover what our values and beliefs are.  And change those if we wish.  Because really, this time is an unprecedented opportunity for us to cultivate a nice little practice of contemplation and inner exploration, to get to know ourselves, and our Selves.  We have the opportunity to change the world right now.  Because we have the opportunity to change ourselves, and that is where change begins.  So the affirmation for today is this:  Today I gratefully accept the gift of being rather than doing, and I experience peace and calm as a result.

I’m in an interesting place today.  Since December 1, (so basically for three full months) I’ve been so involved in an interim ministry assignment that I’ve allowed my other ministerial activities to take a back seat.  I’ve not worked on my books.  I’ve not made any progress setting up my podcast.  I’ve come to a decision about the name and focus of my ministry, but haven’t taken any action on that decision.  I’ve come to a decision about how I wish to get involved and be active in my organization, Centers for Spiritual Living, and I haven’t acted on that one either.  Instead, I’ve been creating and doing talks, creating and doing workshops, creating and doing a full day retreat.  And I’ve been doing some fairly intense one on one work with quite a few folks.  This is all work I love, and it is all work that I set an intention to do when I was visioning for my ministry.  But also included in that vision was the podcasts, the books, and more blogging.  And UGG, I may have to do whatever necessary to get over my objections to video format, because I’m learning that is the in thing nowadays.  And just by my language, you can tell a lot about me.


OK boomer.

 
Go ahead, you can say it to me, I’m good with it, Ok boomer.
In short, I’ve been a bit out of balance.  And now I am in a blissful almost three week break from intense interim ministry work.  They actually told me they wanted a bit of a break!  Apparently I’ve been working them too hard.  Well, yes, I can see that.  I sort of thought that was what I was there for, but they’ve been working hard right along side me and I’ve learned that most people are not as driven as I am.  Hence, the out of balance.  

Anyway, my intention during this time was to get some things done in the areas I’ve been neglecting.  Plus I have a celebration of life ceremony to create, and several wedding ceremonies to create, and one batch of wedding photos to edit.  Instead I’m contemplating which hot springs to go to and what seeds to plant for my summer garden.  I’m recuperating from a cold.  We’ve had unseasonably warm weather, so I’ve been sitting in the sun a lot.  Just sitting.  
I guess I’m just getting back into balance rather than swinging past it, so I’ll just lean on into this for a bit.  Go with the flow is the phrase of the day today.  There is a spiritual principle inherent in going with the flow.  My friend Jeff Anderson, in his book “The Nature of Things,” says it like this:  “in mind, body, heart and soul we are designed to be supple, to move and to bend in constant movement as the environment and conditions of life change, both around us and within us.”
In the Sermon on the Mount, this concept of going with the flow is described as meekness.  “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.“ I say this because the metaphysical meaning of the word meek is yielding, pliable or flexible.  And blessed means delighted.  And the earth signifies our outer experience.  Inheriting the earth thus means we have control of our outer experiences.
So today, I go with the flow.  I remain supple.  I remain flexible.  And soon, I know that from within this suppleness and flexibility will come that state of being delighted.  Until then, flow.  

Today I pay homage to the great Albert Einstein.  Why?  Because I feel like it, no other reason.  He threw out some gems for us to ponder.  “I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.”  “Love is the greatest force there is.”  And perhaps my favorite:  “You can’t solve a problem with the same consciousness that created it.”  
Quotes such as these have great ramifications for us in our lives, if we choose to ponder them for a while.   
For example, rational thinking has its place in the world.  It probably serves us really well when considering things like schedules.  But there is another kind of thinking that I think opens us up to possibilities, and this is what I believe Einstein was referring to.  He also said that “imagination is more important than knowledge.”  I like to play a game I call “What If?”  In this game, I simply imagine how life would be IF.  It is a form of spiritual practice for me.  What if? This game allows me to imagine possibilities.  And here’s the kicker:  if I can imagine them, they can happen.  My job isn’t to know how they can happen.  My job is simply to know that they can.
And here’s where the next quote comes in handy, my favorite.  This quote has also been attributed as saying that one can’t solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it, but I like consciousness better.  Consciousness goes deeper.  Consciousness is not just our thinking.  It is our feelings, our beliefs, our very sense of who we are and how we show up in the world. Einstein is not the only one who told us that if we want to change our life we need to change our thinking.  “Change your thinking, change your life” is the tag line for Centers for Spiritual Living.  
And change your thinking, change your life is the very foundation of all of my own personal work in the world.  Having problems in your life? Change your thinking.  Feeling like life is unbearable, hopeless, not worth it?  Change your thinking.  Having problems with other people, or with relationships?  Change your thinking.  And then I proceed to provide tools to do exactly that.  And again, it isn’t just about changing the thinking.  It is about changing the consciousness.
This is difficult to describe.  I have a Masters Degree in...wait for it.....wait for it.....Consciousness Studies.  And I still don’t quite know what that is.  What I can tell you is that we studied philosophy, science, religion and psychology.  What I can tell you is that incorporating all of those schools of thought and study into my own life changed my consciousness and produced a person who was different than the one who entered that study.  I changed my thinking, and my life changed.

This is why I like Einstein so much.  This guy was a scientist who knew the power of things like imagination and intuition.  He knew the power of love to solve all problems.  Which brings me to his love quote, “Love is the greatest force there is.”  Never mind that the Bible says love never fails. Never mind that it is said that love is a synonym for God. Yes, those all affirm that love is the greatest force there is.  And if you don’t believe that, allow me to share with you another experiment I’ve played with over and over again, and discovered that it works, every time.
If love is the greatest power there is, then love should be able to solve all problems.  But in order to do so, love needs to have a way to express.  That way is through us.  WE need to be the vehicles through which love moves.  WE need to be love.  WE need to have the consciousness of love.  I began to consider, when contemplating this experiment, what love could/would/should look like in my life.  First of all, it is unconditional.  This means I place no conditions on whether I love someone.  It has no exceptions.  This means I love everyone equally.  I’m an equal opportunity lover!  And what does love feel like?   It feels peaceful.  It feels joyous.  It feels relaxing.  And sometime excited and enthusiastic.  Short version:  love is always positive, never negative.  So I began to consider where I felt negative in my life, and I began to replace that negativity with positivity.  I got so good at it that people were calling me Pollyanna.  I did not care.  I intuitively (thank you again Albert Einstein!) knew I was on the right track.  Am I successful at it all the time?  No, but I strive.  I have used this technique when I was ready to divorce my husband.  I’ve used it when I have felt the weight of the world’s ills on my shoulders.  I’ve used it when there has been an antagonist in my life whose seeming goal seemed to be to cause problems for me.  I have used it when I found myself harshly judging others. I’m still happily married and the antagonists always seem to go away.   The others remain idiots but when I stop harshly judging them, I can sometimes have compassion for them, which is another form of love.  I am not perfect at this.  I haven’t yet solved the world’s problems, but you know what?  Love is the greatest force there is and if enough of us embody it, together we CAN solve the world’s problems.
It is time for me to bring this blog to a conclusion, which is sometimes difficult for me to do, because one thing leads to another which leads to another and I could go on and on.  So I will close with another Einstein quote, “creativity is intelligence having fun.”
In this holiday season, I wish you fun, creativity, changed thinking and most of all, unconditional love!
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Yuletide Greetings, Happy holidays, Joyeux Noël, Feliz Navidad, Seasons Greetings!

Whew! I was telling my mentor yesterday that life has come full circle. She knew what I meant, I did not have to explain it. Suffice to say that the last ten years or so have been fraught with major losses and huge changes. Until about two years ago, when things began to settle down. I’ve done my grief and healing work, and been gentle with myself through all of it. Today, everything that has been lost has been replaced, only it is better! Today, I am a different version of me, and life is good and very good. And through it all, I never lost my faith that all of this stuff was happening as an opportunity to move to my next greatest level of existence.

Tomorrow is Winter Solstice, then we have Christmas, then the New Year. All of them metaphors for new beginnings and new light coming into our world. It is a beautiful time of year and I am enjoying it immensely.

If we wish to have new light and new beginnings in our lives, chances are there is some work to be done. My greatest pleasure in life is to see people move to their next greatest level of existence. So I provide ways to facilitate that: individual coaching services, classes and workshops.

Coming up, I am offering a brand new class. This class is designed to help the student move into a new and greater and better way of living. Basically, if there is one thing (there can be more, but let’s start with one) you wish to change in your life, take this class. In this class you will learn a process that will not only allow you to change that one thing, but you will be able to utilize this process anytime you want to for the rest of your life.

All the details are listed in the storefront. I hope to see you in class!

I’m not strong.
No, really.
I’ve recently had some conversations with a couple of folks that tell me that how people perceive me is not how I feel.
If that makes any sense.
One mentioned to me in an email that it was a good thing I was strong.  The context was that I would need to be strong to handle a project we are both involved in.  While I responded that yes, I had my strong moments, inside I was thinking that strength was not what was needed in this project.
Compassion, unconditional love and firm boundary setting is needed, but not strength.  
Then I was discussing the same project with another person, who asked me, “did it even occur to you to be concerned about driving over the pass in the winter time?”

I paused, smiled, and said, “NO!”
She laughed and I laughed.  Because really, it didn’t.  And she knows me pretty well and respects me enough to ask about things rather than make an inaccurate judgment call.  And several other people have asked me about that as well.  They’ve got an excuse, they just met me.  But I’m puzzled.  I’ve got a 4-wheel drive pickup with snow tires.  And over 30 years experience living in and driving in snow.  Why on earth would I be concerned?
They see it as strength.  I see it as a natural outcome of a strong foundation in spiritual practice.  This practice results in me having an endurable and very capable connection with That Thing that is the true strength, the true power.  
No, I am not strong.  I’m just connected.
I’m not busy either.
I get that a lot.  “You’re so busy!”  The other day someone asked me how I did all the things I do.  I explained to her that I never did anything that wasn’t fun (I do, however, see a lot of things as fun) and never did anything I didn’t want to do.  And that I really wasn’t that busy.
Let’s face it, I get to do a lot of cool stuff.  Both professionally and personally.  I believe life is full and rich and should be experienced to the max.  Lived full on.  I love that Hunter S. Thompson quote: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow!’”
I like to proclaim “wow!” On a regular basis.  And WEEHAW!  And WOOGIE!  Because some years back I made a commitment to myself that I would not argue for my limitations.  This means I refuse to say no if it means experiencing another aspect of living life full on.
Do I have times when I must retreat and hide under the covers and lick my wounds?  You bet.  It’s called grief work.  It’s called forgiveness.  It’s called taking personal responsibility.  It’s called a lot of things and  we all have to do those things or we simply shrivel up into miserable old excuses for humanity.  Hateful, judgmental, suspicious, fearful.  Then we get sick and die.  I don’t want to live like that.  So I take care of my wounds, and then come out, once again living life full on, saying yes to what comes as a result of my spiritual practices.
No, I am not busy.  I’m just connected.  
And I also know that when we label others with descriptions like these, those descriptions speak more to ourselves than the people we are labeling.  
Just sayin’.
So, I do the work that ensures that I stay connected.  Then I say YES to life, and because of that connection, I know that all is well and all will continue to be well and that my YESSES are supported.

Our nos are supported too, by the way, but that’s a topic for another blog post.  

My latest purpose, passion, mission and vision statements. Do you have yours? Do you know what your purpose and mission in life is? Do you know what your passion is?

Today is an anniversary for me. It marks 5 years since becoming a Religious Science minister. They say that in order for something new to be born, one has to make room for it. This is the principle behind the decluttering movement. I always thought that I would be a photographer until the day I died. I’d be chasing babies and pets and families and ladies in white dresses with my camera, even if I had to hire someone to carry the equipment for me to do so. I did not realize it, but my soul was calling me to do and be something entirely different. I fought it. I became a Practitioner and was very happy there, with a teaching and coaching business. But soul said, “It isn’t enough. There is more!” And more stuff happened to make room for the new that wanted to be born. One mentor of mine called it a dismantling. I was not happy with the dismantling and complained and bitched and ranted about it every step of the way. It wasn’t just one loss, it was a series of them, and they kept coming at me over the space of about ten years, and I did the grieving process through out it all, with bargaining (maybe if I tried THIS it will work!), anger (at THEM), no small amount of depression, and finally, acceptance. It was almost impossible for me to deny the cold hard realities of what was happening so I didn’t do much of that. Today I live in a different place, both metaphorically and physically. I make my living in a different way, as a minister. I always thought photography would be my one passion in life, and it still is, but there is another. Did you know that there is always room for more love and passion? That passion is burning hot and strong, and I love it, and I am so grateful that I get to fulfill that passion. Recently I took a class, the first one since I graduated with a Masters Degree in Consciousness studies 5 years ago. In this class we got to do our personal mission and vision statements. I’ve always had a personal mission statement. This process expanded it a bit, and I discovered that my mission statement has changed a bit. Go figure! Life is good and very good and today I am grateful for all that has transpired, including the losses. And I am a glorious embodiment of Spirit, teaching others to be the same!

On this Memorial Day, it is rainy and cloudy and windy outside my home. Most likely snowing at the higher elevations. My cat is vacillating between climbing on me, purring and snuggling, and looking for trouble. He is still very kitten-ish, but beginning to show signs of adulthood with increasing times of purr-in-the-lap snuggles. I am preparing for two upcoming talks and a workshop. And basking in the glow of a great time of fellowship last night. I am now hosting a once a month pot luck in our new home, a practice I used to do when I lived at Tahoe, and last night about 15-20 people showed up with all sorts of wonderful things to eat. And we talked. We indulged in that ancient practice of breaking bread together. There is something magic that happens when we do that. Some sort of bonding, a creation of good relationship. We have only one thing in common, and many things not in common. Yet we break bread together and get along just fine. And I had a chance to practice something new in an interaction with someone. Instead of digging in my heels, claiming my rightness and judging the wrongness of the other person, I took some time to practice what I’ve been preaching for almost two years now. I’ve been preaching that we need a new way to communicate, a way that does not claim a side but instead seeks to find the common ground. A way that does not blame but instead seeks to find a solution to a problem. A way that does not make one of us wrong and one of us right, but instead seeks to find a compassionate way of viewing why the other person might have said or done what they did. I purposely sought all that. I fought through the layers of self righteousness and ego seeking rightness and superiority and anger that makes me feel powerful, but only for a little while before it turns into sickness. And I went deeper, into compassion and a common ground. And discovered that common ground. Turns out the other person wants the same thing I do: inclusion. No exclusion. And together we found a way to implement it. And this brings me to the explanation of my meme, because you know I just can’t post a meme without an explanation, right? One of my upcoming talks is about a deeper sort of prayer, the sort that gets things done. The powerful sort of prayer that all the great sages of the world used to heal, change conditions, and make life bearable. This goes way beyond a beseeching to an outside entity. This is the kind that changes our own minds. This is the kind of prayer that does indeed have the power to move mountains. This is the kind of prayer that has the power to eliminate all the sad, dismaying, hateful, judgmental shit that is going on in this world, and to replace it with love, compassion and hope. And it begins with each of us. It begins when we approach prayer with openmindedness and willingness to have our own minds be changed. To move from our own judgement and rightness and anger and into a way of being that embodies compassionate acceptance, a seeking of common ground and a releasing of that anger. I dream of living in a world that works for everyone. I happen to think it is possible. But only if we change our ways. And it begins inside each and every one of us, with a way of living that embodies a prayer that we be open and compassionate. Become what you wish to see and experience, and you will have learned the secret of powerful prayer.


I believe life was meant to be enjoyed.  You know that phrase in the Bible, where it says to be as a child?  I take that to heart.  No, I am not speaking of hanging on to immaturity.  I am speaking of enjoying life as children do.  They move through their days in awe and wonder and joy.  Sometimes I look at my life and the awe almost brings me to my knees.  I move through the day and appreciate the beauty of whatever is surrounding me.  I feel joy that I can do the things I like to do. A friend told me I could have fun inside a paper bag, and I can.  That is joy.  I have the ability to find the joy in anything because I have cultivated that joy.  But sometimes finding the joy becomes a bit difficult, and that’s what this post is about.  It’s about the reasons why you might also be finding it difficult to find the joy, and what to do about it. 
I know why it is difficult for me right now to feel the joy.  Let me see if I can explain it to you.  It has to do with a phenomenon called group consciousness.  This phenomenon states that since we are all connected, part of a great whole, the trend of our thinking will affect others, and their thinking will affect us.  I learned about this phenomenon while studying a spiritual and philosophical way of life called New Thought, which developed by this very phenomenon of group consciousness back in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  All of a sudden people in separate parts of the world were all speaking and writing about the same concepts without ever connecting with each other. One of the concepts those early New Thought pioneers were speaking and writing about is Oneness.  They were convinced that we are all connected on very deep levels, part of a great One.  Ernest Holmes was one of those pioneers and created a New Thought teaching called Science of Mind.  It is one of several, and it just happens to be the one I follow and teach.  Ernest Holmes is the one who came up with the term group consciousness, but he isn’t the only one who has studied, and strived to prove, the concept.  Science has proved it.  I will never forget the excitement I felt when I took my first quantum physics class in grad school and discovered that what Holmes had been saying had been proven true by science.
Quantum physics is one of those sciences and they have proven it in repeated experiments.  If you don’t believe me, look up the observer effect.
Another item of proof:  you may have heard of the hundredth monkey effect.   Way back in the 1950s some scientists did a study and discovered that if a certain learned behavior reached 100 monkeys, all of a sudden that behavior jumped across the water and monkeys on nearby islands, who never had physical contact with the first group of monkeys, began doing the same behavior.
One more, this one from an author named Terry Patten, in his book called a New Republic of the Heart:  “The popularity of ideas like the “tipping point” or the hundredth-monkey stories are not simply tall tales. As already mentioned, Ken Wilber has pointed to the claim, rooted in the historical evidence of the late 1700s and the American Revolution, that when 10 percent of the population grows into a genuinely higher structure of consciousness, the nature of public agreements and power exchanges can be restructured according to a higher set of (postmonarchical, constitutional, democratic, meritocratic, free-enterprise) rules.”
Unfortunately, that phenomenon works both ways, higher consciousness and lower consciousness.  If 10% of the population is living a lower state of consciousness, guess what?  We are going to experience evidence of that.  Such evidence looks like anger, judgement, close mindedness, rigidity, polarity.
I believe we in America are in a lower state of consciousness right now, and those of us who are aware of such things and believe in group consciousness feel it.  
It may feel like grief.  I’m sure you’ve felt grief before.  All those things you feel when you experience a loss.  Things that Elizabeth Kubler Ross identified as stages of grief:  Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  I know I’ve felt all of these in the last couple of years.  I bounce around these feelings like one of those giant beach balls being tossed about by people who don’t seem to care where the ball lands or what, or who, it bounces off of.  
Now, you may be thinking that this all sounds sort of victimy.  To be subject to the consciousness of the populace?  Yep, victim.  Fortunately, we are at choice as to how to respond to this.  We can choose not to buy into the polarity, the judgement, the rigidity, the anger and the close mindedness.  
If you are anything like me, you might wake up some mornings just feeling wrong.  No apparent reason for it.  Just wrong.  There is a reason, it’s the group consciousness.  Here’s where we can, and should, choose differently. 
I believe we have a responsibility to choose differently.  Because to give in to the group consciousness means to accept the shit that is going on, and that I will not do.  And neither should you.  If you believe that life is meant to be lived in joy, then you will also take responsibility for being one of the hundred monkeys.  Or one of the 10%.  Do not buy into the group consciousness.  Refuse to live from a base of fear.  Instead contemplate what it could be like, feel like, to live a life based in love.  Refuse to wrap yourself in a cocoon of suspicion.  Instead, realize that all that suspicion simply shuts out any possibility of joyful living, and strive to be vulnerable.  Yes, I said vulnerable.  There is a way to be vulnerable without opening ourselves up to harm.  The vulnerability I’m speaking of is a sort of open mindedness.  A willingness to explore a different way to be, so as to experience a better life.   Refuse to judge, condemn, belittle.  Instead cultivate compassion for yourself and others.  Deny the sadness that you feel and replace it with happiness.  Refuse to judge anyone, for anything.  Refuse to shame other people.  Refuse to claim a side.  Refuse to be angry.  Refuse to be close minded.  Instead, cultivate compassion.  Nurture open mindedness.  Actively pursue an attitude of gratitude.  Explore different ways of communicating so that you can have healthy conversations with people who think differently than you do.
If enough of us do these things, we can and will change the world.  

Photo by Karen Linsley

As I anticipate and prepare for consulting with two wedding couples this afternoon, I am contemplating wholeness. The original meaning of the word sin meant to “miss the mark.” It came from archery and simply meant that the archer missed the target. The deep meaning of sin is “we made a mistake.” I like this definition. It holds me accountable and responsible, but does not shame me. When we sin, it means that we are fractured. We are not in touch with our deepest selves, and so we are much more likely to make decisions which do not serve us and take actions which tend to get us in trouble. When we are fractured we are suspicious, negative, fearful, pessimistic. When we are whole we are open-minded, positive, faith or love filled and optimistic. Wholeness essentially means we are in touch with that deepest part of ourselves, our bigger Selves, that place where our own Divinity exists within each and every one of us. When we are feeling whole, we do not sin. We make decisions and take actions which serve us.

I am reminded of that ancient Hindu legend:

“There was once a time when all human beings were gods, but they so abused their divinity that Brahma, the chief god, decided to take it away from them and hide it where it could never be found.

Where to hide their divinity was the question. So Brahma called a council of the gods to help him decide. "Let's bury it deep in the earth," said the gods. But Brahma answered, "No, that will not do because humans will dig into the earth and find it." Then the gods said, "Let's sink it in the deepest ocean." But Brahma said, "No, not there, for they will learn to dive into the ocean and will find it." Then the gods said, "Let's take it to the top of the highest mountain and hide it there." But once again Brahma replied, "No, that will not do either, because they will eventually climb every mountain and once again take up their divinity." Then the gods gave up and said, "We do not know where to hide it, because it seems that there is no place on earth or in the sea that human beings will not eventually reach."

Brahma thought for a long time and then said, "Here is what we will do. We will hide their divinity deep in the center of their own being, for humans will never think to look for it there."

All the gods agreed that this was the perfect hiding place, and the deed was done. And since that time humans have been going up and down the earth, digging, diving, climbing, and exploring--searching for something already within themselves.”

The lesson for us is not to search for wholeness, or god, outside of ourselves, but to instead go within and connect with that divinity within each and every one of us. Wholeness is the result of that connection, and it feels good.

“We find a way to choose life...”. I’m reading a book by Terry Patten called A New Republic of the Heart:  An Ethos for Revolutionaries-A Guide to Inner Work for Holistic Change.  Whew!  That’s a mouthful of a title isn’t it?  

I love the way books come to me.  They get recommended by friends and peers. In this case, this is a book of the month for something called The Global Vision, which is a sort of grass roots conglomeration of many Centers for Spiritual Living across the land, who all address the same topic in their Sunday services.  The idea stems from the fact that we are all part of the One, and from this reality we realize that there is a common consciousness amongst us all.  We are all connected, like a grove of aspen trees.  Did you know that when you see a grove of aspen, the root system is just one root system?  Yep.  The trees are separate and each looks different, might even change colors in the fall at different rates, but they are all part of one root system.  Damage one tree and eventually the entire grove is damaged. We are like that.  Some of us are damaged. And for the rest of us, it is up to us to address that damage and not become damaged ourselves or we risk destroying the entire human race.

Yes, I said that.  I really did.  I had to stop and take a breath after that.  You might want to as well.  

Here’s the deal:  it is time to step up and look within to see how we can assess our own damage, and repair it, not buy into the group damage and add to the overall affliction.  It is time to stop directing our attention outward.  That will not repair the damage, it will make it worse.  What do I mean by directing attention outward?  Blaming others for the mess we are in is one critical aspect of this.  Did you know that when we blame others we are, essentially, victimizing ourselves?  Another aspect of outward thinking is judgement.  This is primarily a Christian world we live in.  If you claim yourself as Christian, what part of “judge not lest ye be judged” do you not get?  Every time we judge another, we harm ourselves.  And we deny that part of us which is crying out for attention.  Think about it.  When you are judging another, you are doing one of two things:  either refusing to look at something going on in your own life, or deflecting attention away from yourself because they are doing the same things you are doing that you dislike about yourself.  Is there something other people do that you intensely hate?  Guess what.  If you spot it you got it.

Harsh words maybe.  So be it.  Folks I work with tell me that they can count on me to be honest with them.  And so can you.  

And when we are grieving life’s shit:  the losses, the changes, the stuff that we simply do not like nor care for, the stuff we really wish would not have happened, it is ever so much easier to deflect our attention outward and blame and judge than to move through the grieving process.  

And yet, when we refuse to do so, when we refuse to allow ourselves to feel the anger, the denial, the bargaining, the depression and finally, the acceptance, we deny ourselves life.  We say no.  We limit ourselves.  And we do more damage, to ourselves and to the group consciousness.  We contribute to the damage of our root system.

And in so doing this, we refuse to take responsibility for our lives.  And in doing that, we are disempowering ourselves.  

It is time to say yes.  It is time to choose life instead of death.  It is time to figure out how we as individuals can praise instead of blame, honor instead of judge, and empower ourselves instead of disempowering ourselves.  

This is not about them.  Period.  

How can we stop doing this?  Well, for starters, stop posting how they are doing it wrong on social media!  Stop posting diatribes and memes about them, whoever them might be.  Whenever you feel a need to do so, just stop.  Pause.  Go within and see what is going on with you that you would want to attack your fellow humans and instead address what needs addressing within you.  Perhaps your mom told you that if you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything.  That’s really good advice.  And while you are squirming and feeling uncomfortable because you aren’t saying anything, take a good look at that feeling of uncomfortability, because within that feeling are answers and solutions for your angst.  There is relief in there, you just have to find it.  And you won’t be able to find it unless you sit with it, allow it and say yes to it.  

Choose life.  Please.  Choose life for yourself, and for the entire human race.