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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 found myself saying this today to someone, "Sometimes the best decisions are the most difficult ones to make."

Today I had a wedding scheduled.  I showed up at the appointed place and time and proceeded to wait for my couple.  A man drove up alone but he waved at me and so I knew it was my groom.  I greeted him with a smile and a question, "what did you do with your lovely bride to be?"

He responded, "We decided not to get married."

Oh.

Dear.

In almost 30 years of doing weddings, this has only happened to me one other time.  It does happen, but rarely.  I shared with this man the story of the other time it had happened, in the hopes that it would allow him to feel a bit better, knowing he wasn't the only one to experience this.  While he wasn't talking much, it was clear to me that he was upset. ...continue reading "Sometimes the Best Decisions are the Most Difficult"

If you read this blog regularly, you know that last weekend I went and participated in a ritual that was a culmination of 9 years of study:  I got a Masters Degree in Consciousness Studies.

Before the graduation ceremony began, we were told by a very wise man that we would wake up the day after the ceremony and everything would be different.

He was right, although it began for me the evening of the graduation.  I feel a need to confess:  I was plagued with waves of total and complete unworthiness.  I do not know if that ever stops, but I do know what to do with it.  Sunday morning I made a phone call, and we stopped that nonsense  right then and there.  (if you've ever doubted the power of spiritual counseling, you can use this as an example)  Today, on Monday, I am filled with excitement for the future.

I was asked on Saturday, what's next?  Well, what's next is I get to dive into it!  I've been wanting to expand my private practice, I've been wanting to design and facilitate more workshops, I've been wanting to speak at more places.

So that's what's next!  I'm excited!  I hope you are too!

 

KAL_1496Mother Nature can serve as an excellent metaphor for us.  I used to sit on the east shore of Lake Tahoe and watch the coming storms.  They always came from the west, and from my perch, I could literally see those big storm clouds approaching.  I knew that when they arrived, they would bring wind, lots of snow, and sometimes changes in the landscape.  One storm brought winds so high that the boulders along the shoreline were budged, many storms meant fallen trees.  No matter what, the storms always passed, and then I would have to clear the snow, wait for the electricity to come back on, and move on.

Our lives operate much the same way.  Storms come, and we are left to either react or respond after they leave.  I choose response rather than reaction today, how about you?

Reaction is that knee jerk, unthinking thing we do as a result of storms.  Reaction is usually not pretty:  it is full of melodrama and frustration.  I call it "banging my spoon on my high chair."

Response, on the other hand, is usually dignified and carries with it a certain strength and power that is unshakable.

How do we get to response rather than reaction?  There are a couple of spiritual practices that I have found invaluable.  One is introspection.  There is a very good reason that every faith and every mystery school and every wisdom tradition and every spiritual path tells us to know ourselves.  It is powerful stuff.  And yes, I do know how scary that can be, to simply go within and sit with yourself and discover.  While today I don't find that journey scary, it was at first and I didn't do it alone.  I had a guide who was very supportive in holding the light while I dug.

The other spiritual practice I have found very helpful is to pause when agitated.  This means that when something happens, I don't say anything, I don't do anything.  Except retreat.  I retreat to my safe place, which now is within me.  I take a look, I grieve the loss, I use my guide to talk it over, then I respond.  You can bet that after doing my own work, my response serves me much better than a reaction.

If you have some clouds in your life, take a step back.  Do the inner work, and be all means use a guide if you need to.  Coaches and mentors are all good for this.  Allow yourself to grieve, take as long of a pause as you need, then respond.

And if you need a guide, call me!

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photo credit:  ISS Expedition 12 Crew, NASA (the photo is of a space suit, filled with old clothes. This image was created in 2006)

"Leap and the net will appear."

This quote by Julia Cameron is one of my favorites.  It reminds me of my own self imposed limitations, and what I have to do to remove those limitations.

You may identify with experiencing road blocks of prevention on your journey.  Perhaps it may seem as if everywhere you turn the answer is no.  Or perhaps it may seem like you just can't get a break.  Or maybe, just maybe, an opportunity for change is being presented to you and you don't want to take it because, well, no one likes change, right?

But I look at these times as times when the net has appeared.  I am being told to leap, to think outside the box, to be and then do something different.

If I am getting a no answer everywhere I turn, then I am asking the wrong questions.  If I'm not getting a break, I may need to look at my right to be a victim.  Harsh words, I know, but when coupled with compassion, they are also very freeing.  And if an opportunity for change is presented, this is the time when I can take a step back and ask why this opportunity has been presented?  Is it really time for a change?  And if so, what will the change look like?

The net comes from my own inner work, specifically that inner work that connects me to a god of my understanding and inner work that allows me to truly know myself.  When I do this inner work, I can trust those calls to change, because I know that on the other side of uncertainty is the wide open vastness of life, catching me in all its beauty.

When I first saw the photo which accompanies this post, I thought "how wonderful that humankind can now do those kinds of things."  Yes, I tend to be a bit naive and trusting at times.  When I read the caption and realized it was a stuffed space suite which burned in the earth's atmosphere, I knew it would be a perfect illustration for this post.  We should never leap without a net.  Yes, it will appear, but only when we do the inner work. There is a power and a force for good that is activated when we do the inner work.  That power and force for good is the net.  Activate it now, and then take your leap.  And let me know where you land!

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Lately I've been hearing SO many people talk about having to reinvent themselves, to think outside the box, to do "whatever it takes to survive."

What if I told you that survival was not only possible, but that life is about much more than survival?  Life is about joy, fun, and what I call THRIVAL!

Ok, so I made the word up, but I like it!  See, for me, it was never an option to simply survive.  It's always been about thriving for me, and when I speak of survival and thriving in the same post, that word THRIVAL comes up.

How do you thrive when you don't know where your next rent or mortgage payment is coming from?  How do you thrive when you have just sustained a loss, like a divorce, death of a loved one, or removal of part of your body due to illness?

I hear stories like these every day, and I have to say that whenever I hear a story like this, I am overjoyed.  Lest you think I'm a compassionate-less ogre, let me explain.  See, I know, both from my education and from personal experience, that when stuff like this happens, it's really a beginning, not an ending.  It's really an opportunity knocking, not a door closing.  It may seem like an ending, and a door closing, and I know that those feelings are very real.  But I also know that if you are anything like me, you won't take a closed door or an ending for an answer.  There has got to be a message there, and that message has got to be a path to something new and greater.

Here are some of the things you can do to move from survival to THRIVAL:

  1. Be gentle with yourself.  Allow yourself to properly grieve the change or the loss.
  2. Spend quiet time with yourself.  Do this daily, without the distraction of tv, radio, busywork or noise.  Just sit quietly, or walk outside alone.  While you are doing this, pay attention to the thoughts and feelings that come up.  There is a lot of useful information there.  It might help to write some of those thoughts of feelings down, especially if they come in the form of sudden Aha or lightbulb moments.  Don't try to think of anything specific during your quiet time, just be fully and mindfully present and see what comes.
  3. Make sure you take good physical care of yourself:  eat right, sleep right, get some exercise.
  4. After you've done the first three for a while, you will begin to feel like it is time to take some action.  You might feel as if you have more energy.  You might feel like it is time to do something.  This is the time to begin setting some goals, and then acting on them.
  5. Set the goals, set some timelines for those goals, and begin.
  6. Keep in mind the 1st suggestion and continue to be gentle with yourself as you navigate your way into THRIVAL.
  7. This process is easier when you get help.  Think seriously about using the services of a mentor, coach or counselor to help you through the process.  In fact, I think it is so important to get help during this process that I'm offering a special.  You can check it out here:  http://karenlinsley.com/?page_id=140

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing from you!

It is New Year's Eve, and I have already begun seeing lots of posts on Facebook and hearing comments from quite a few people that they are saying, "goodbye and good riddance" to 2013.  The general feeling seems to be that 2013 was not a good year.

Really?

I'd like to present a different take on it.  There are more productive ways to ensure success in the New Year.  Here's a few of those ways:

  1. Don't regret the past.  It really is true that what you think creates more of what you are thinking about.  Regretting the past is a real good way to experience more of the same.
  2. If 2013 really wasn't a good year for you, view it as a stepping stone or part of a process to get where you want to go.  Look forward in the direction of your dreams, not behind you.
  3. Do some inner work.  No matter how you are feeling about 2013, doing some inner work will allow you to move into 2014 with enthusiasm.  Ask yourself some tough questions:  why?  how?  what could I do differently? Be gentle with yourself while you are doing this.
  4. Be grateful.  Make a gratitude list of what you are grateful for in 2013.  Did you know that gratitude increases life satisfaction?  If you make a gratitude list every day, you will experience more satisfaction with your life.
  5. Don't do the New Year's Resolutions thing.  They don't work.  Instead, do some visualizaiton.  Picture yourself as how you want to be.  Don't loose sight of that picture.  Think about that picture every day.  As you go about your day, ask yourself if the action you are about to take is a step towards that picture you have in your mind, or a step away from that picture.
  6. And if your life truly isn't the way you want it to be, if you really think 2013 sucked and you just want to move on, consider that if you don't do something differently, 2014 is going to be more of the same.  Harsh language?  Perhaps.  But you are not a victim of circumstances or anything else.  You are an empowered being who may need some help to realize that.   Spiritual counseling can help you navigate your way from  victim to empowerment.

2014 can be the best beginning of the rest of your life!  Happy New Year!

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