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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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?

 

©Image Angels
© Image Angels

Those clouds in the photo can be a metaphor for the clouds in our lives.  As a photographer, I seek out clouds, for those incredible rays of sun and beautiful sunsets would never happen without them.  In much the same way, our lives would not be happening the way they are without the clouds.  If you acknowledge and express gratitude for the clouds in your life, it can open up a whole new world of gifts, just like the rays of sunshine bursting forth in the photo.

Take a look at the clouds in your life, not with regret, shame or blame, but with gratitude and forgiveness, and you will allow your light to shine in much the same way as the clouds in the photo allow the light to shine.