I have two weddings today, with a break in between during which I will do one of my favorite things: have lunch somewhere by myself and read. And this morning I’ve begun the day’s journey with more reading. I love to read. It simultaneously changes my consciousness and gives me ideas. Reading transforms my thinking from doubt, worry, disappointment, dissatisfaction and general malaise to confidence, faith, hope, contentment and general well being. Reading also is part of my research for much of the stuff I get to do in life that pays the bills: the workshops and retreats, and my writing. I take in the wisdom of others, and let it simmer inside of me, like cooking a great meal in a slow cooker, and then, when it is ready, out pops my own unique flavor of wisdom. I have two workshops coming up, one I have designed and completed. It’s actually one I’ve been doing for years, one that was requested. When a workshop I’ve already done has been requested, I simply tweak the workshop to better represent and match the audience. So one workshop is ready to go. The other one is about fear. I only have three hours for this workshop, and fear, well, fear covers a lot of ground. Do we lean into it? Avoid it? Do we believe the teaching that fear and faith or love cannot co-exist at the same time in the same entity? How do we recognize fear in our lives and what does it have to teach us? And what do we do about it when it comes? This promises to be a doozy of a workshop and I am excited to see how it develops. I’ve got a good beginning. I’m also in the midst of creating a series of talks about abundance, and so much of my reading is on that topic. I love the weddings and portrait sessions. When I did that work full time, it not only provided my means to pay the bills, but it fed something within me and I was full up, complete. Now that I do that work part time, it still contributes to paying the bills, but it only feeds part of me. After all the training and schooling, I’ve changed. After all the inner and outer changes in my life, I’ve transformed and thus, how I show up in the world has transformed, and what I need to feel that contentment I spoke of has changed. What really feeds me is the other work: the workshops, the retreats, the teaching. What I have to say to the world is that life truly begins from the inside of us. If we don’t go within, we go without, and everything I do begins within. My life is wonderful, and being able to facilitate this transformation in other people is what truly feeds me now. So on this beautiful fall day I will go off into the world and do some wonderful work, and spend some time preparing to do some other wonderful work. Life is good.
Every week, I create a talk which I deliver at one and sometimes two places. Sometimes I’m a guest speaker at various Centers for Spiritual Living in my area, and every Monday night I do the talk as a prelude to an open discussion. We call these discussions Monday Night Musings, and if you live in the Lake Tahoe, Reno or Carson Valley areas, you are welcome to attend. Every Monday night at 6 PM at A-to-Zen in Carson City. Monday Night Musings are sponsored by the Center for Spiritual Living Carson City and while they are free, love offerings are gratefully accepted. These offerings support the various endeavors of CSL Carson City, which are all in line with the mission of providing spiritual tools to live happier lives. And they are tax deductible!
The process by which I create the talk takes all week. At the beginning of the week, I download the topic outline. Each week’s outline was supplied by a different CSL minister, in a grass roots effort called The Global Vision. What is cool about this is that many Centers all over the world are all following the same topic outlines, so no matter where you go, you will find the same general topic. And the beauty of it is that depending on the minister who is delivering the talk, you will get a different take on the topic! After downloading the outline, I read it, and also read the week’s reading from the Ernest Holmes book Living the Science of Mind. Then I let all that stuff “cook” in my consciousness for a few days. By the time I sit down to write, things usually flow fairly smoothly and out comes a talk!
My take on this topic is life changing. At least it was for me. It reminds me that who I am today, and how I show up in the world today, need not be based on who I was yesterday. It also need not be based on the events of yesterday. This is a powerful way of thinking for those of us who have had unpleasantness occur in our lives. And who hasn’t?
The truth is that we can be limited by basing our current lives on the past, or we can break those bonds and fly free. My choice is to fly free. What is yours?
I've been thinking a lot lately about the equinox coming up, probably because I'll be traveling to Lake Havasu City at the end of this week to do a talk there on this very topic at the Lake Havasu Center for Spiritual Living.
We get an equinox, or solstice, twice a year. Once in the spring around March 20 and once in the fall around September 21. These signify the day when the daylight hours and the night time hours are equal. For the spring solstice, the day light hours then grow at a rate of a few minutes a day, till the fall equinox, when the day light hours then begin to shrink at the same rate.
Traditionally, fall equinox celebrations centered around harvest time, and this makes me think of what I am harvesting. And what I am harvesting today depends on what I have planted yesterday.
Ernest Holmes (founder of Centers for Spiritual Living) tells us that today's outpicturing is the result of yesterday's consciousness. This means that the thoughts and beliefs I held yesterday are what is manifesting in my life today. Is this to be taken literally? Not necessarily. More accurately, it means that the tendency of my thoughts will influence my life in that direction.
So if I have planted good thoughts, thoughts of gratitude and optimism and love, then that is what my life will look like.
Does this mean that shit won't happen? Nope. It does indeed happen, it is part of life. But if my thoughts have been ones of love and acceptance, then I am better able to handle it when it hits the fan. I am not talking about spiritual bypassing either. I'm talking about focusing on what is good while taking responsibility. A good example of this would be the cancer patient who chooses to create humorous situations, all the while going through the medically indicated treatment.
So this is a time to consider what is going on in your life, and consider the seeds you have planted in your consciousness. Do you live in the past, basing your current decisions on what happened when you were a kid? This might be a good time to revisit that and see if a change is indicated. Do you limit your actions based on fear? This might be a good time see what it is you are afraid of, and what is behind the fear. It may no longer be valid.
The equinox means the days will be getting shorter and the flurry of activity that most of us engaged in during the summer will begin to slow down. Fall is a time to regroup, and see if perhaps we want to plant some different seeds.
I'd love to hear about your seeds! What have you planted that is growing in your life right now? What do you want to plant from this point on?
Setting and reaching goals is a bit like searching for and seeing a rainbow: first you have to know the rainbow is there, then you have to do what it necessary to find it. With goals, first you have to explore: what do you want the goal to be? Is is achievable? Is it true for you? Does it exist?
And then, once you find the rainbow (achieve your goal), what next? What's in the pot at the end of the rainbow?
Here's a little primer on setting and achieving goals.
- 1. The first thing to remember is that goals are achieved from the inside out. A good example of this is that New Year's Resolution you set about three months ago. How are you doing on that? If you aren't doing so well, don't worry. Simply setting a resolution rarely works. It's a very shallow inside step, but it doesn't go far enough. Go further by setting your consciousness. What is your ultimate goal? If it is losing weight, for example, don't just set a resolution to lose 30 pounds. First ask why you want to lose 30 pounds. Is it because someone told you to do so? If so, that's not a very effective motivator. Is it because you've been told your entire life that the ideal weight is 100 pounds? Ask yourself if that is really realistic. Search within to find the real motivation for wanting to lose 30 pounds. If you want to lose 30 pounds because that weight is limiting you in some way, or for a legitimate health reason, then go for it. Then go deeper. Going deeper means visualizing what it would mean to lose that 30 pounds. Imagine yourself needing new clothes, because the old ones no longer fit. Imagine yourself having more energy, and moving with greater ease, perhaps breathing a bit better, maybe having lower blood pressure. Imagine how good you will feel weighing 30 pounds less. Imagine enjoying that low fat meal, knowing how much your body loves it. Notice I didn't say to imagine how bad you feel now, or how tight your clothes are now, or how you can't walk up the hill without stopping to rest. Keep it positive. We really are what we think and embody, and we really manifest what we think and embody, so embody positivity, not negativity. Then align your thoughts with that vision. If the thoughts don't match the vision, change the thoughts. If you have a lifetime of thinking a certain way, this won't happen effortlessly, but it can be done. It may be a matter of changing one thought at a time, over and over again.
- Don't let anyone tell you it can't be done, or you aren't doing it right, or you've been 30 pounds overweight your entire life, what makes you think you can do it this time? Or anything else negative. That may be their perspective, but it says more about them than you. Remember the sage advice from Don Miguel Ruiz, in his book The Four Agreements: "don't take anything personally."
- Do find at least one person to support you in your journey. This may be a friend, mentor or coach. Call on them regularly. Set an appointment to talk at least once per week for the duration of your goal achieving journey. Follow through, and let them know how you are doing.
- When discouragement sets in, repeat steps 1 through 3.
When the goal is reached, when you have the pot at the end of the rainbow, celebrate! Give yourself a pat on the back, shout out your achievement, and take a moment to rest in that achievement, just as you would take a moment to simply observe the rainbow.
The bigger the goal, the more you will have to use these tools repeatedly, and the longer you will want to take celebrating the achievement before moving on to the next goal.
What have your experiences been with goal setting? I'd love to hear them!
Christmas is six days away, but it's not too late to get into the Christmas spirit if you haven't already. I've been encountering some folks who are having trouble getting into the spirit this year. Here's a quote from one of my friends which seems to sum up what I've been hearing,
"Of late, I have been dreading the over-commercialism and expected gluttony of consumerism. Avoiding Christmas at best..."
And yet, I'm also noticing that many of these same people who are objecting to the commercialism and crowds are also deciding to do something new.
And I think this is really what Christmas can be about: a rebirth of sorts. We can decide to view things in a different way.
Ernest Holmes says that viewing Christmas as a time for honoring birth is more about "a birth in our consciousness as the realization of love, of truth, of beauty and of power." (from the December issue of Science of Mind magazine, in continuous publication since 1927)
"The new birth comes not by observation nor by loud proclamation, but through an inner sense of reality." Science of Mind textbook, page 472
If you are having trouble enjoying the beauty, love, truth and power of Christmas, maybe it is time to look at changing your perception about it.