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Let's face it, life is full of all kinds of stuff:  some we label as good, some we label as bad.  Today I want to talk about what we sometimes label as bad:  change or loss.  Loss happens.  So does change.  Relationships end.  Jobs and careers go away.  Things happen.  So often the tendency is to somehow make the feelings as a result of those losses go away.  We don't want to hurt.  In fact, there is a judgement about the hurting itself, as if there is something shameful or wrong about it.  We tell ourselves we shouldn't hurt, to put our big boy and girl panties on and buck up.  We try to hide it, deny it, medicate it, do anything except feel it.

When we do, all we do is form ugly scar tissue over the break.  We heal it, but we don't cure it.  We don't do our grief work.  Because of this, we are doomed to a life where we may not feel the hurt acutely anymore, but all of our reactions and decisions are consequently based on that one event.  We've got tunnel vision and it is very limiting.

Here are some examples:

  • The relationship ends, and instead of doing our inner work to learn the lesson, we immediately get into another one.
  • We experience a loss, and instead of going through a grieving process, we get a prescription.
  • Something "bad" happens, and instead of working through it, we get so busy that we have no time to thing.

I'd like to propose that there is a different, gentler way to do things, and it is also more rewarding in the long run.

The difference between a broken heart and a broken-open heart is profound.  We all have times and instances in which our hearts get broken.  We hurt.  Eventually we heal, somewhat, but it is never cured.  There is a difference between healing and curing.  Healing is temporary and very shallow. Curing is permanent and goes deep.  Healing only takes care of the surface wounds.  Curing changes us at deep levels, and such change is necessary for us to move into the next greatest expression of being.

A broken-open heart can be the way to a cure.  It is a doorway through which we can live a new and wonderful life.

If your heart is broken, I'd like to suggest that you do not medicate it, jump into another relationship, make yourself so busy you have no time to think, or any of the other things we typically do to make the bad feelings just go away.

Instead, feel them.  Acknowledge the grief and allow the process to happen.  Do the inner work, because a broken-open heart is a doorway into new ways of thinking and perceiving ourselves and life.  Consider getting support and help moving through the process

 

Like many of you, and many of the people I know and love, I woke up Wednesday morning shocked, dismayed, and very very frightened.

I consider myself a fiscal conservative who believes in true equality for all. What that boils down to is I think government needs to get out of our personal lives, and stop enabling people by paying for things that, quite honestly, they should pay for themselves. I believe in lending a helping hand. I've taken advantage of those helping hands at times in my life, but while doing so I also took steps to educate myself, and do my inner work, so that I could once again become responsible for my own life. It is very empowering to do that and I am grateful I had people in my life who refused to enable me. But what I believe in most of all, and this....excuse the language...trumps everything else...is equality. I'm so over racism, and misogyny and bigotry and hateful language which very often results in hateful acts. This is a deep value of mine, and one that takes importance over everything else, so when I vote, I vote equal rights no matter what. No matter whether I agree with the rest of it.

I tell you this because I believe it is important we know what our values are, because all of our thoughts, words and deeds stem from our values. I was frightened post election because I perceived that my country had elected a person who, from his words during the campaign, believed in the opposite of equality for all. Not only that, he seemed to embrace misogyny, hatred, bigotry and racism. I'm frightened of that. To be honest, I did not even investigate policy with him, because I couldn't get past the hateful language.

I also believe that after all I've experienced and done in my life, I am not here to live a fear based life. I believe that we either live a fear based life or a faith based life. Living a fear based life means I believe in us and them. Living a fear based life means I say hateful things, take sides, view others with suspicion, and feel a need to protect myself. It also means I judge others who are not exactly like me. It means I can't make eye contact with people I meet on the street. I can not and will not live like that. I choose to live a faith based life. Living a faith based life means I believe in Oneness, there is no separation between me and you. If I say hateful things to you, I am also saying them to myself. And vice versa. In my faith, I have learned that everything I experience has been for the good. And I've experienced a lot that most "normal" people don't. It has all been for the good. Living a faith based life also means that when I'm experiencing fear, as I was the other day, the call is not to declare sides and lash out in anger and blame others. The call is to go inward and investigate what it is I am afraid of, exactly, and why. And do my inner work so that I can move back into faith. And then make amends if, in my fear, I did any damage.

I've done the inner work. I am now back in faith. I now once again remember that outside appearances have no power to affect me except if I give them that power. I now once again remember that we are all one. I now once again remember that blame only keeps me in the problem. Pointing fingers at others only keeps me in the problem. Focusing on what I am afraid of only keeps me in the problem.

I am not advocating spiritual bypass....which is simply an exotic way of talking about denial. What I am advocating is that we stop contributing to the divisiveness in this world and begin to contribute to peace.

It is time for us to do our inner work, and make amends. I've been reading some interesting articles that basically say that Trump won this election not because of his misogyny, bigotry and racism, but in spite of it. He won because he represented change to a people who are tired of not making enough money, tired of things not working right. I'm tired of that too. I'm tired of people telling me they won't hire me as a photographer or wedding officiant because I charge too much. I'm tired of people who value price over quality. I'm tired of people telling me ministers should do the work they do for free. I'm tired of the government telling me what I can and cannot do in my personal life. Don't EVEN get me started on seat belts. My point is here that those of us who say we believe in tolerance and equality have not listened to the cries from "those other people." We've just judged and separated ourselves from them. Part of my amends is that I will no longer do that.

I've received a few phone calls and emails the past few days from ministers and practitioners (spiritual coaches) who wanted treatment (prayer) and help with the fear they were experiencing. I am also witnessing many who are posting things on Facebook that indicate to me they are still in fear. It is time to move out of our fear folks. It is time to embrace what is. Should we hold Donald Trump accountable? You bet. Do we need to ensure that human rights don't take a step backward? You bet. Should we blame and point fingers and say he isn't our president, when he will be come January? No. That is more separation, more fear based thinking, and it will only keep us in the problem.

One last thing: the good that has come out of this? Ernest Holmes, the founder of what we now call Centers for Spiritual Living, said that healing can only come from revealing. For a long time we've been able to hide the fact that there is racism and misogyny and bigotry in this country. Now it is out in the open. No one can deny it. Now that it is revealed in all its ugly glory, we can heal it. That is my job from this point onward. I don't know how I'm going to do this job, but I know I'm going to do it. Won't you join me?

On Sunday, I will be speaking at the Center for Spiritual Living in Carson City about how to survive....and thrive....in this unsettling time. I hope you will join me. Meditation at 10, service at 10:30. 3579 Highway 50 East in Unit 301. We are in the iStorage Business Park across from Goodwill. Don't use GPS to find us unless you want to take a scenic tour.

Today is a big anniversary day for me. On this day in 1996, three things happened: I closed escrow on my house and moved in, and my divorce was final. Two years later, in 1998, my mother made her transition.

I am reminded of this quote I recently found in a book I am reading: "when transcendence of our personal history takes precedence over intimacy with our personal history, spiritual bypassing is inevitable. To not be intimate with our past-to not be deeply and thoroughly acquainted with our conditioning and its originating factors-keeps it undigested and therefore very much present, regardless of our apparently capacity for rising above it. Instead of trying to get beyond our personal history, we need to learn to relate to it with as much clarity and compassion as possible, so that it serves rather than obstructs our healing and awakening." From the book Spiritual Bypassing, by Robert Augustus Masters.

What this means is that I can look back on all the events in my life, having achieved intimacy with them, and know that they were not something to move beyond, but something to relate to with compassion. In this way, they are the events in my life, but not present in a way that causes me grief or distress. I feel only gratitude for these events.

As a spiritual coach, I was originally taught that, unlike in traditional forms of counseling, the story is irrelevant. Now I know the story is important, but only as a beginning. We must become intimate with our stories in order to release the energy around them. And in order to become intimate with them, we need to explore them with compassion, not blame, shame or guilt. We simply hold a light to them and expose them, thus allowing the healing to begin. Denying them only gives them more power to continue to hurt us. Becoming intimate with them allows us to acknowledge them and then make informed choices: we can either base our current decisions and thought processes on what happened in the past (filtered through a very inaccurate memory bank) or we can base our current decisions and thought processes on who we are today.

I am grateful that today I have become intimate with my past, and that I base today's decisions and thought processes on today, not the past.

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There are laws in our world that tell us that what we see, observe and feel about what is out there is a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves.

There was a time when I would have seen a view like this and thought it was ugly.  Now, I look at this view and admire the serenity, the wide open spaces, and yes, the beauty.

It took some healing to get to this place.  This image is of the Carson Valley, in Nevada.  Nevada is my home state and it was once a place I literally fled from in the middle of the night. Now I once again live here.  The healing took a long time, but I can tell you it feels much better to be able to be here and experience this place with joy and appreciation, rather than fear and all the unpleasant attitudes that go along with that fear.

If you are seeing and experiencing life as anything less than joyful, perhaps some healing is in order.  And if you are reading this post and thinking about it, it might just be a message that it is indeed time to heal.  There are no accidents in life!

Healing is possible, but if you are anything like me, the process is much easier when done with support.  Find a counselor or a  life coach with specific training in this area to help you see the beauty!

 

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