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 remember what life used to be like when I did not have a daily practice of going within and connecting. It was like being a dandelion in the wind. I got blown here and there, bits and pieces of me scattered everywhere. I could have been beautiful, but I didn't appreciate myself, and consequently others didn't either. I ended up being a thin little stem, fragile, victim of life, and destined for an early grave. Then a miracle happened. I made a change. A lot of changes actually. But they all stemmed from one series of thoughts: "I don't know what is wrong but something is definitely very wrong. And it has to change, because life wasn't meant to be like this." And I became willing to consider other ways of living. That one moment began what was to become a way of life that today is based in simple inward-focused practices that I do...every day. From that foundation, I have a life of choice, freedom based in personal responsibility, and joy. Much much joy. It's a funny thing about joy: there is the kind that is fleeting, based on outside stuff. That's more like happiness. It comes and goes. This kind of joy is not conditional upon outside stuff, so it is steady. It just is. As a result of fully embracing a life based in spiritual practice, I am now in a position where I can show others how to live such a life. Are you ready? Are you ready to embrace a way of living which will provide you with joy, peace and power? This can be your destiny. This can be a reality for you in the coming year. Set one intention for yourself for the coming year: to spend time every day utilizing one or two of the spiritual practices mentioned in my upcoming new book. There are 12 of them: introspection, connection, day dreaming, mindfulness, gratitude, prayer, treatment, contemplation, journaling, meditation, discipline, helping others, and Forgiveness. Every day. No matter what. And watch your life unfold. Don't let this New Year be like every other one, where you make resolutions that very quickly get set aside due to life and the whim of an undisciplined mind. Let this year be different. I can show you how. Sign up here:
Now, you may be thinking that you don't need someone to show you how to day dream. Well, did you know there are positive ways to day dream, and not so positive ways? You may be thinking that everyone knows how to say thank you. A gratitude practice goes much deeper than that.
Sign up now:
You may be thinking that you can skip the prayer one. What if I told you that there was a different, and more effective, way to pray than beseeching to an outside god whom you may or may not believe in? Or if you do believe in god, perhaps you think It won't hear your prayers? Or that you don't deserve to have them answered? None of those things is true.
Sign up now:
And what about that practice called treatment? What is that? Some sort of medical treatment? Nope. It is a formula, designed to add power to your prayers. It works!
Sign up now:
You may be thinking that there is someone you will never forgive. Check out my previous blog posts on forgiveness and then assess whether or not you want to avail yourself of this extremely powerful practice.
Sign up now for the BEST 2018 EVER!
In the comforting sounds of hearing the rain on the roof of my skylights, I contemplate. Contemplation is such a wonderful thing. I don't know about you but this spiritual practice is the one that allows my mind to wander and consider possibilities. Meditation trains the mind and brings focus, while contemplation seems to want to embrace a bigger picture. I read quotes like this one, and ask myself, am I settling? At times in life, the answer has been yes, I was settling. In my fear of the unknown, I settled for what was known, and it was limiting me. I am not settling now and that is a beautiful thing. For me, not settling means being willing to release the limiting known factors of my life. It means being willing to examine and change limiting beliefs, it means setting boundaries and not allowing people to treat me unkindly just because I want them to like or love me. This means stepping into the unknown, which calls for a certain measure of faith. When my spiritual practice consists of a power pack combo of meditation, contemplation and affirmative knowing, I am able to step into the greatest expression of Life! I hope you are doing the same today. Don't settle. Move into the greatest expression of who and what you are!
Like this? Sign up for email updates and never miss a blog post again. You can sign up in the right hand column.
Thank you to Jeff Anderson for this quote. There are traditional ways to refer to a process which allows us to open up to our highest good. In traditional language, words like powerless and surrender are used. For me, these words evoke a return to victimhood and I do not resonate with them. But the concept is powerful. This quote allows for an opening. To let go of resistance to the total openness of who I am implies that anytime I am feeling resistance, a fight, a nudge that says, "something needs to change here," I can acknowledge that perhaps the way I've been doing and being is no longer working, and then I can contemplate and allow for a new way of being and doing. This is why contemplation is so important in our lives, and this is why I am doing a workshop that will give you some new ideas about incorporating contemplation into your life. Won't you join me on Friday, April 17, at 6 pm, at the Center for Spiritual Living in Carson City, to explore this together?
Are you busier than a cat in a room full of rocking chairs?
I'm writing to you today to tell you about a wonderful new workshop I've created called "Action and Contemplation: A Beautiful Partnership."
I'm really excited about this workshop! Somewhere along the line I learned that contemplation allows for more action, and action creates space for more contemplation. It is a beautiful symbiotic relationship that has allowed me to experience life full on!
I quite frequently hear from people that they think I am very busy. Some think I am too busy! Would you believe it if I told you I was able to enjoy one hour of contemplation every day? It's true!
Would you like to be able to do the same? If so, join me on Friday night, April 17, from 6-8 pm, at the Center for Spiritual Living Carson City, 3579 Highway 50 East, Unit 301. For a cost of $25, you can learn:
- How to accomplish everything you want to accomplish, every day
- How to carve out at least 20 minutes of quiet time, every day
- How to experience that fully alive feeling, every day
Call me at 530-906-9336 for more information, or to sign up.
Every day, as part of my spiritual practice, I read from a couple of different daily readers. Today, both of them are about forgiveness. While some might consider this magical thinking, I've learned not to ignore stuff like this. When I get two readings on the same topic, it allows me to stop and take a closer look and ask myself: is there anything or anyone I need to forgive today in order to provide myself with relief? I spent some time in contemplation this morning and am happy to say that no, no forgiveness is needed today. I have no lingering feelings of resentment that need taken care of. But when I do, I take care of them.
I've learned a few things about forgiveness. When I forgive, it doesn't excuse or condone bad behavior on the part of another. Forgiveness really doesn't have anything to do with anything or anyone else. Rather, forgiveness has to do with myself. Forgiving gives me relief. It frees me from victimhood. Forgiveness feels like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, allowing me to move easier and breathe freer. When I forgive, I must also be willing to give up the payoff that sometimes comes from lack of forgiveness. Have you ever realized that not forgiving gives us a sort of feeling of power? "I am strong! I am NEVER going to allow that other person to think what they did was OK!" Unfortunately, such a sense of power is false and will turn against us, making us sick. And what we do doesn't have any bearing on what another thinks. The real power comes from forgiving and moving on and fully enjoying life.
How about you? Is a lack of forgiveness preventing you from fully experiencing all the joy that life has to offer?