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KAL_2090

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about transformation and change.  The reasons why we change:  is it forced upon us, or do we make a conscious decision to change?  I think it is a little of both.  In this post I am addressing the changes that are seemingly forced upon us.  I say seemingly because I don't think anything is forced upon us.   I can hear the protests rise up in a giant cacophonous  noise even as I write the sentence.  Yes, I know we do  not consciously choose many of the changes that happen in our lives.  I've had many changes happen in my life that I would not have consciously chosen at the time they were happening.  But I stand here today grateful for every thing that has ever happened in my life, and I know that I would not be in the place I am today if it weren't for each and every one of those events.

Did I handle all those changes gracefully?  Did I respond with dignity and move into acceptance with nary a temper tantrum?  No!  I fought, and kicked and screamed and complained and struck back and did all those things that we seem to automatically do when change happens.

Then I learned a few things.  I learned that when I am not accepting change, it is not the situation I have a problem with, it is my feelings about the situation.  And I am the only one responsible for my feelings.  I can accept and feel at peace, or I can fight and be very uncomfortable.

When I stopped fighting, I realized that there was an incredible empowerment in the lack of resistance.  And the transformation that occurred in my life as a result of that has always been of great benefit to me.

What changes are you experiencing in your life?  Are you embracing them, or fighting them?  And what is the result of your reaction to the changes?  I'd love to hear about your experience.

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I am a minister.

That statement has an air of unreality about it today.

I worked for nine years to get to this point.    When I began nine years ago I didn't think I would end up here.  Actually, that's a bit of an understatement. I ABSOLUTELY DID NOT have minister on my list of things to do.  I hated church, disrespected organized religion, and really thought that the entire system of religious authority and religion needed to be overhauled and revised.  I wanted no part of it.  When I began this journey nine year ago, I simply wanted to enlarge my spiritual life.  I was depressed, and not in a very good place.   I'd been sober for over 15 years and I felt a bit stuck.

So I decided to begin taking classes at my local Center for Spiritual Living (CSL).  I'd taken other classes, and they helped, but there was always something about them that ruffled my feathers.  One class was very valuable in teaching me a great form of meditation, but when they began talking about guarding ourselves from all the dangerous influences when we meditated, I was out of there.  I didn't want a lifestyle where I felt I had to be on guard.  CSL seemed to fit perfectly.  It was spirituality without the New Age woo woo trappings, and without the dogma of more traditional religions.  I loved it, and from the first class I knew that I was going to pursue becoming a Practitioner.

Being a Practitioner in CSL means being a type of coach.  The work interested me, and I knew it would help me.  It takes about two years of prerequisite classes to become eligible for Practitioner classes, which is a two year course of study.  That was the first four years of my journey.  I became a Practitoner and was happy as a clam.  I converted a room behind my photography studio into an area to meet clients and started a life coaching business.

Then the calling began.  They say being a minister is a calling, that no one would ever choose such a thing.  I know it's not like that for everyone, but it is for me.  But when the calling begins, that inner nudge that just won't go away, in fact it gets louder and louder, you have to heed it.  Then the outer nudges began.  People began asking me when I was going to begin ministerial school.  My grandmother came right out and told me I had to go, and offered to pay my tuition.  That's a big deal in a Masters Degree program.  So I heeded the inner and outer calls, and I went.

For almost 5 years, I studied, attended classes in person at the Holmes Institute campus in Santa Rosa, attended other classes via phone and video conference, studied a ton of books, wrote a ton of papers, did about 20 internships, went on student retreats, and immersed myself in my studies.  I used mentors and prayer partners and other Practitioners as my coaches, and opened myself up to all that the program had to offer.

It changed me the same way the 12 steps did back in the beginning of my recovery:  at a very deep profound level, from the inside out.

I got my Masters Degree in June, I successfully paneled and received my license as a CSL minister the first week in August, and yesterday, I was unanimously elected to be the new Spiritual Leader of the Center for Spiritual Living Carson City.

As one of my minister friends likes to say, "what a trip."

So off I go on this journey of being a minister.  I'm excited about my counseling practice, since I've graduated I've been blessed to have a whole new batch of wonderful clients.  And this part time job at CSL allows me to do the others things I love to do:  speak and teach.  So, I'm counseling, speaking and teaching, and life is pretty good!

Now, I'm in a position to help you.    Are you getting a nudge to do something different?  Perhaps it's more like a big push?  Or maybe you are ready for a change in your life?  Do you pay attention to those calls when they come?  Or do you simply push them aside?  What is up for you today?

 

I just began writing my first book.

Yeah, that's a big deal.  Writing a book has been on my list of things to do for a very long time, but school, earning a living, play and a multitude of huge changes meant that particular item on the list has gone undone.  Until now.

I've settled in from all the changes, graduated from school, and now have the time to do some of the things on my to do list.

I do not think it is a coincidence that the title of my book will be (tentatively) Courage to Change.  This came to me in a dream a few weeks back.

Since I made the decision, and then began to act on that decision, all sorts of "coincidences" have popped up.  NOT!  There is no such thing as coincidence, but I've discovered that when I make a decision based on love, not fear, and then act immediately on that decision, I am shown very quickly whether it is the right thing to do.  It feels right!  I'm going for it!

So...you can expect to see a lot of blog posts about change as I move through the creation of this book.  Here is a quote I just came across.  It is from Julie Tallard Johnson, writing in The Zero Point Agreement:

"... we have a tendency to respond in a patterned and limited way to our circumstances. Therefore, we often remain blind to the possibilities inherent in the situation. In these impoverished circumstances, blinded by our habitual view, when there is a strawberry or even more to reach for, we still don't see it. This is because our own perspective and history limit us.... Our past agreements and beliefs and our supporting assumptions based on our history prevent us from taking risks, reaching out, and making something remarkable happen."

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KAL_1907

 

What is your definition of success?

Is it wealth?  Or maybe perfect health?  Or maybe a full and fun family life?  Maybe your definition of success is a great career.

Traditional definitions of success say that it is the completion of a goal.  Well...yes, there's that.

But I invite you to consider that all of those things are simply the result of what true success is.

I invite you to consider that true success is, instead, a much deeper thing.  True success is about a deep appreciation for all of life.  I say that success is about being able to appreciate and have gratitude, no matter what.  It is easy to have gratitude for a beautiful sunset.  But is it easy to appreciate that sunset when you have a life threatening illness?  Or when someone in your family does?  Or when  you've just lost your job?

I'm not advocating going into spiritual bypass and ignoring life stuff.  Things happen, and we have a responsibility to take care of them, and if there is a loss involved, to do a grieving process that will serve us and allow us to move on without anger or remorse.

What I'm saying is that success is more about our attitude than anything else.  Yes, take care of business, but have an attitude of gratitude while you are doing it.  Yes, cry if you need to, but maintain that inner feeling of peace while you are doing it.

The Law of Attraction says that we attract what we most think about.  I don't know about you, but I make it a point to think about things that make me feel peaceful inside.  I take care of business:  I cry when I need to, I get angry when I need to, I process my losses and celebrate my gains, but through it all there is an  underlying peace, a deep well of gratitude for what is.

It wasn't always like that.  Life didn't used to be about gratitude, no matter what.  It was about getting, about guarding, about staying safe, about beating the competition, about looking good according to society's definition of good.  That did not feel very successful.

I'm successful now.  Am I independently wealthy?  No.  Do I have perfect health?  No.  Does shit happen?  Yep, in spades.  But through it all, I am grateful, at peace inside, and I have faith.

How did I get there?  I call it spiritual practices.  A combination of meditation, introspection and regular time in nature.  And regular consultations with coaches and mentors.

If you are successful, great!  Whatever your definition of success is.  But if you don't feel like you are successful, you may want to consider making a change in your life.  I can help.  Contact me to schedule a free consultation to find out how.

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