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Michael Singer, in his book the Untethered Soul, prefaces the statement in the meme by saying this, "It’s hard to understand how we decided that avoiding our inner issues is an intelligent thing to do,..."

Some of you reading might want to know what spirituality has to do with our inner issues.

I happen to think it has everything to do with it.

I think we are a bit confused.

I'm a minister.  I'll just come right out and say that.  I spent a total of 9 years in school, the last 4 of them in a Masters Degree program, to be able to get that title. But I do not like nor respect nor appreciate organized religion as it is commonly practiced today.  Go figure.  It helps that I'm a minister in a organization that is open at the top, and pretty much says go for it if it makes you happy.  But what it doesn't say is to worship outside things, which is where my problem with organized religion lies.

I don't care if it is crystals or Jesus, or anything else outside of ourselves, if it is outside of ourselves, it is all the same thing, and it is missing the point.  I'll come right out and say it: if it is outside of ourselves, it is still religion, whether you call it the Universe or Wicca or New Age or Christianity.  Nothing wrong with any of it.  But it isn't spiritual.  Spirituality is inside.

Here's another meme:

The Self within.  THAT is where spirituality lies.

And THAT is also where the power lies.

I work with a lot of folks, and when I explain that they need to learn to rely on something within themselves that is their TRUE self, their capitalized Self, they balk.

In the mix of worshipping outside things we have somehow lost the concept of that inner Self, to the point where most people come right out and say, "I'm not even going to go there.  There is nothing inside of me that I would feel comfortable relying on."  Inside is still a dangerous neighborhood for many.

If I could wave my magic wand, religion would be a gateway drug into the inner world of ourselves, where people would feel free to explore the true power in their lives.  There would be a peaceful co-existence between acknowledging that there is Something out there that is powerful (again, it doesn't matter what you call it) but there is also Something inside each and everyone of us that is just as powerful, perhaps even more so, and it is ok to explore that.  And it is ok to explore the concept that the outer power could not exist without the inner.  In this way, perhaps we could come to terms with this separation that exists in life.  The separation that says that power is only outside of ourselves, and the separation that results from that:  someone out there does something that upsets us, and we then attack, rather than going within to discovery what the gift could be in terms of our own personal awakening.

I've been watching the polarity happening in our country, and I've been exploring what a solution could be.  It is very obvious to me that what we have done up to this point is not working.  Somewhere there is a field that we haven't even explored.  It is in that field that the solution lies.  All this attacking and blaming and shaming and bullying is not working.  Let's come up with something new.  First within ourselves, then out in the world.

I am experiencing, for the first time in several years, seasonal burnout.  On the one hand, I am extremely grateful for the business.  On the other hand, this isn't what I thought I would be doing three years after graduation with a Masters Degree.

I'll get to the seasonal burnout in a minute, but first I want to address disappointment.  I'm disappointed.  See.....I spent 4 years getting a Masters Degree. During that time, I focused on my studies, and not my work as a full time professional photographer.  I figured it like this:  the photography industry is going in a direction I don't wish to follow, so this career change is coming about at the right and perfect time.  I will get my Masters, become a coach/retreat facilitator/workshop queen and release with gratitude that other career that made such a good living for me for 30 years.

So I got my Masters Degree....three years ago.  Promptly began marketing myself and my skills as a coach, designing and holding workshops and doing retreats.  Except, I wasn't getting enough business to pay my bills.  Disappointment.  I wrote a book (www.newthought12steps.com) and published it.  Royalties are....well, not what I expected them to be.  More disappointment.

I figured by this point I would be making a living from almost full time work in my new career, and part time work as a professional photographer.  Instead, it is the other way around.  The gratitude is that I am making enough money to pay my bills, the disappointment is that in spite of marketing my little heart out, my new career seems to be stuck in a rut.

But I know a couple of things about disappointment and while I've been known to furnish my ruts, I also knew a few things about getting out of ruts.  I write this to affirm it for myself, and for you, just in case you might be experiencing the same thing.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in our lives by mistake.  All of it, the good, the bad, the ugly, the awesome, the beautiful, happens because some inner and much greater part of us has called us to make the decisions we make and do the things we do, to get to where that greater inner self wants us to go.  I am not here by mistake and neither are you.

The key is to, as Henry David Thoreau said, advance confidently in the direction of your dreams.  No matter what.  Never lose sight of the dream.  Never stop affirming it.  Never stop taking the action to move towards the direction of your dreams.

That's what I'm doing and that is what I will continue to do.  My dream is to make a full time living helping people achieve their dreams through coaching, workshops and retreats.  Until I can do that, I will continue to earn my keep through professional photography.  Because ironically, the industry seems to be turning around and once again excellence in skill and craftsmanship seems to be making a comeback.  And....I'm doing a retreat..in October.  You should come, it will be awesome.  Here's the info:  http://karenlinsley.com/?p=2508

And in case you are curious, or you need a professionally done business portrait for your business (because having a good head shot means credibility), or a great family portrait, or some wedding photography, check out my photography web site:  www.imageangels.com

Don't ever forget your dream.  If you can dream it, you can do it, and you are worth it.

Oh...and the burnout?  Take a few days off.  I am!

Ok, I admit it.  I officially have short timer's disease.

I graduate in June.

This Masters Degree program I'm in has been wonderful:  4 years of learning, and each class has changed me from the inside out, and given me more skills and more training.  If you are just tuning in, I'm in an accredited Masters Degree program called Consciousness Studies.  (www.holmesinstitute.org)

I have loved every minute of it.

One of the things we teach is that it is counter productive to think in terms of:  when this happens I'll do that, or when that happens I'll be this.  The opposite is actually true:  I'll do that now, and effect this to happen.  Or, more specifically, it is not "when I win the lottery I'll be happy."  It is, "I'll be happy now, and then win the lottery!"

And yet, I have a list of things I want to do when I graduate.  I have dozens of books I want to read!  I want to take a trip.  Not a trip to Santa Rosa for class, but a vacation.  I want to go to the annual photographer's convention that I haven't been to since I began school.  I want to begin working in my new and chosen field.  I want to do workshops....lots and lots of workshops.

I created, before school began, a New Year's Eve workshop.  I happen to think New Year's Eve is the perfect time to plot out how one wants the next year to proceed.  Resolutions don't work, they never have.  But intentions do, especially with a solid plan in place to implement those intentions.  Plus some ritual release of the old.  I was doing this workshop every New Year's Eve and it was fun, successful and well attended.  but school got busier and busier and somehow the last couple of New Year's Eves it just seemed indicated that I should stay at home and be quiet.

Then there is this football thing.  I admit it:  I don't watch football.  I think there are much more productive things to do with one's time.  I also realize that I am out of sync with much of the population  in this.  I'm OK with that.    Last night, while my partner was watching football, I was writing papers for school, and I got a lot done!  But there is still one more game to get through, and I couldn't help but think it would be the perfect time for a workshop for those of us who would rather do just about anything than watch football.

But I have papers to write and finals to study for, so this will be another thing to add to the list of things to do when I graduate.  If you don't like watching football, stay tuned.  There will be a workshop next year!  Maybe even a series of them:  one on every Sunday there is a football game!

 

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