Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Simple Practice: Small steps to bring more Love into Your Life Babies radiate love. People gravitate to these beautiful little beings that know only love. We connect with them and want to experience the simple joy of their smiles and giggles. Puppies have the same effect. They automatically love you. You don’t have to do anything to earn their love. It is unconditional and holds no bounds. This is our true state - radiant love without bounds. But what happens to reduce and diminish us to a consciousness of fear and restriction, of distrust and anger. Somehow we forget who we are, our radiance. Instead of expanding our love to include everything and everyone, we start to retract and become selective. That one has contrary beliefs to mine; he looks or acts funny; they are from a different country. You love your ethnic group, family, tribe, and religious sect and close out those who seem unusual. We are afraid of folks who look, dress, or speak in dissimilar dialects. Soon we are retracted into balls of opinions, delusions, judgments, and preferences where before there was radiance. As thinking, rational beings we have the ability to make choices. We can look at the outer shell and project our own insecurities, fear, and unknowing, or we can see the light in each person and recognize that the outer form is just a defense and definition. Inside there is light (love) beaming its boundlessness and desire to share. Holding in love when it needs expression is painful. Why? Because we are going against what we are – our natural state. We are still babies ready to grin, giggle, and share our inner essence. Let’s return to that state of innocence and purity by making it a practice to smile at people. That is what babies do. Tell them (mentally, if you wish) how much you love them. You love their light. You love the purity of their essence. Even if they have lost sight of it themselves,. See it for them. This can be your practice with each person you encounter. See their inner essence of radiant light and love. Bless them with a smile. And, guess what, through the law of cause and effect, what cycles back to you will be love! Take the restraints off and guess what – fear and restriction disappear. It is a choice. Enjoy!! Jean
Rest as Spiritual Practice Rest is a musical term. It is a tiny breather (break) built into the rhythmic structure of your life. It gives the beauty of your song a little space that it might expand in consciousness. Rest, is also a spiritual term. We are told to rest in our faith, rest in Spirit, or rest in the loving arms of Jesus or God. And we are told to “be still and know that I AM God.” We may discern this instruction as “focus.” We are accustomed to thinking of spirituality as hard. Yet the opposite is true. The idea that it may be simple, easy, and flowing is quite foreign to us. Rest in God means stop efforting. It means allow God to be an intimate experience. Stop thinking about God and let God / the Universe to give you some attention. Relax in your quest! Receive! Open yourself to receive the concept of God, the Universe, as a kind, open, loving heart or hearth, a nurturing warmth. Receive the recognition that your spiritual relationship if present without effort. This idea that you don’t have to be active, that being receptive, soft, and open is the only requirement may take getting used to. Animals and babies don’t work to be in relationship with God. It may take some discipline to “not work,” to allow the water level to rise (energy to return) until action again becomes the natural spilling forth of inner fullness. There is a cycle to life, a recognizable on-off rhythm. When we go with this current, we experience a sense of rhythm or rightness – perhaps centeredness. And when we force action, we experience strain and struggle. It is a form of resistance. Yet pushing or forcing action can be more comfortable as it is the familiar thing to do. Ambiguity often will breed a kind of anxiety and this discomfort in turn, catalyzes new ways and new directions. Discipline is required to endure ambiguity. This is a learned skill. Ambiguity passes when it is time to take your new direction. When you are centered (through practice) in Spirit, you sense this timing and you honor it. There are reasons that people avoid meditation. Most think of it as work. They also fear that they won’t do it perfectly. Sometimes they fear what they will discover. Their fear is that they will find out that they are not good. (That never happens.) What if you don’t have to meditate perfectly? What if you find out that you are beautiful? What if you don’t have to do it at all? What if you can rest and let go and God will do the rest? Practicing the Presence of God is just that, experiencing the Presence. You think GOD and that’s it – no other action is necessary. It is a form of remembering. Remember your best friend in grade school. Remember the prom or your first boy (girl) friend. God is like this. God is a Presence, like air. We don’t think about air – we forget about God. When we remember them, they are everywhere. It is ordinary and miraculous at the same time. Another phrase for taking a break is called having quiet time. The only action is to TAKE the time. The quiet does the rest. In the Bible there is a saying, “Come into the Kingdom as children.” It means be open, receptive, and playful. Children rest and play, they don’t work hard. Rest and play can be foreign ideas to most regarding connection and spirituality. However, if we peak at most successful spiritual lives we discover that they are grounded in those principles. Here is the experiment – it is not official! Because we live in a busy, sometimes driven world, spirituality can be conceived of as one more thing to put on the agenda. Yet, being “spiritual” is an attribute to add to the list of “personals,” rather than your TO DO list. We try so hard that it gets in the way. So this week, expand your concept of what spiritual includes….. a little more breathing space, some quiet time. Here are some suggestions to help make it easier: • Instead of listening to a meditation CD, put on a great Broadway musical. • Go to a comedy club or a funny movie instead of seeing something that is educational and politically correct. • Read a great mystery or novel instead of a self-help book. • Instead of getting up an hour earlier, sleep an hour later or go to bed an hour earlier. • Instead of adding more to your TO DO list, try taking some things off it. In other words, tackle less. Lower your standards. • Let God work on you instead of you working on God. PLEASE NOTE: THERE IS NO OFFICIAL EXERCISE! Many blessings, Jean
Finding Your Way during Transition Emily came to me because she was depressed and anxious. She had lost her job (down-sized) and felt like a ship without a rudder or a port. Truthfully, it was not a great job – answering phones, some computer work and record keeping. It wasn’t inspirational or particularly fulfilling, but she did get a paycheck. As I got to know Emily, she admitted that she never had a passion for anything, or a career vision, or something she was driven to do, but she always liked helping people. She also had a strong spiritual connection and found comfort in solitude. Those were the two things we decided to build on…. quiet time and helping others. First to deal with depression, Emily had to come to terms with the idea that losing her unfulfilling job was not a great deficit. Her greater loss, in her estimation, was not having structure in her life. She felt lost without a plan or a place to go to implement it. The disposition of the paycheck was really more about the cultural idea that to be paid money for what you do equates having value. Yet, on investigation, there are other ways to be paid that do not involve money. This is what Emily was about to discover. Thus, Emily started listening to her heart and she took action. She had always enjoyed working at the community food pantry handing out groceries to people in need. And they were so appreciative. So she upped her hours at the food pantry. Then she found another charity that assisted young girls obtain party dresses so that they could attend school dances and proms. She helped this group get organized and devised efficient methods to serve more young ladies. Plus, there was the bookstore that needed help and Emily loved books. It seemed Emily’s niche was in discovering community needs and filling them because next she volunteered at a home for older folks and visited weekly with some of the residents. And they loved that! In a few months Emily’s anxiety about “not working” and her depression over not feeling valued was gone and in its place was a radiant woman with a beautiful smile and a heart filled with joy. The weight she had lost due to worry was being replaced slowly and that was a good thing. Emily knew she had been guided to her new life and the structure she needed was of her own making. Tuesday and Thursday she put smiles on people’s faces as she handed out broccoli and turkey at the pantry; Monday she helped at the “prom dress” charity; Friday she visited the older adults and so on. In the middle of all this, she took up yoga, and spent time in quiet at the local chapel. The last time Emily we visited, Emily beamed brightly, ”I have the best job in the world and my payment is personal fulfillment.”
Monday, January 23, 2017
Recently, a read a story about a couple that was having difficulty conceiving a child. For three years Janet and Stephen Bergman went through fertility treatments in their attempt to bring a child into the world and each month they were left depleted and disappointed as their expectations rose, then plummeted to despair. They were emotionally and spiritually spent. The pain of their “failure” led to angry outbursts, prolonged silence and drinking. Finally Janet and Stephen decided to start a project together in an attempt to rekindle their connection. Since Janet was a psychologist and Stephen, a Psychiatrist, their idea was to work in their area of expertise – the psychology of relationships. Thus they set a goal, which included each expertise. They would write a play about a relationship. (Stephen had some experience with writing scripts.) Janet presented the biographies of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. The topic seemed natural since both of them had worked with alcoholics in their practices. They began by studying the story behind AA. Two men were drinking themselves to death, and by finding each other, coming clean and forming an authentic connection, they came back to life and started a remarkable program for healing. Bill W and Dr. Bob’s story became the subject of the Bergman’s play. Nothing went well. Their working styles were different and they were unable to push aside the deep hurt they each felt. Their thought of working together disintegrated into fights and silence. Then one summer night while on a getaway in the wilds of northern Maine, Janet saw a notice in the newspaper. There was to be a meeting nearby for Alcoholics Anonymous. They decided to go. In the deep woods of Maine, they came upon a one-room schoolhouse packed with people who looked like they had done their share of rough living. The topic of the meeting was forgiveness. Janet and Stephen listened as people told their stories of the pain they had created by their alcoholism and how their diseases isolated them and inflamed their character defects. These folks were working the “tenth step” in their program – taking personal inventory and admitting their wrongs. The raw honesty of the proceedings and the profound wisdom that came from it, touched both of them. Janet and Stephen recognized how they blamed each other for their pain and how resentment had eaten away their relationship and they apologized to each other. As they fell silent in the Maine woods, they were able to connect to what Bill W and Dr. Bob must have felt at their meeting half a century earlier. “It’s as if they are here. I mean the power of what they did. Together,” said Stephen. “Yes,” said Janet, “I know, I can almost hear them telling us, ‘You can’t do it alone. Stay in the we. There’s healing in connection. If we can do it, you can do it.” “ Yes, they are with us, calling us to write their story and pass it on.” And that was the beginning. Janet and Stephen found a power greater than themselves, a power that revived their relationship. A year after that meeting in the woods, the Bergman’s went to China and brought home their beautiful four-month old adopted baby girl. Katie, their daughter, became the light of their lives. As Katie started high school, the Bergman’s brought her to the off-Broadway New World Stages theater for opening night of their play named for the men who changed their lives, Bill W and Dr. Bob.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
There are Heroes Everywhere Einstein’s Unified Field theory states that the Universe is made up of energy. Everything is energy (your body, furniture, books, car, house, ideas, thoughts) and everything is part of the Universe or the Unified Field. All energy equivocates to possibilities. We live in a magnificent field of possibilities. Yes, anything is possible until we create blocks and become resistant. This means we can do or be anything until we hold ourselves in a status quo or negative pattern and refuse to change. People become glued, hypnotized, into a set of possibilities that keeps them in stasis. They repeat the same thing year after year… same thought process, same behaviors, same outcomes. They say this is how it is; this is who I AM. It is their mental hypnosis. Creating just one crack in that veil can open the mind to greater possibilities. To say, Why do I have to do it this way? Why do I have to believe this or accept that? This questioning begins the crack. To stay in a repetitive pattern that does not produce joy, excitement, abundance, love, and clarity is disavowing the field of possibilities. Do something different. If you always vacation in the mountains, go to the beach instead. Or more boldly, leave the country. If you always eat hamburgers and pizza, order squid or Thai food. Jump out of the mold. Shake up your consciousness. Explore your adventurous Self. It is there. Wake up. There is more to life. Right about now the ego is saying, this gal is delusional. I am being practical, living within my means. I am following the rules and being a good person. That is what living the illusion is all about. Doing the same thing year after year and expecting a different result (joy, happiness) is the definition of insanity. Perhaps you have defined yourself into a corner. The corner has no light and no possibilities. Decide! Decide if this is enough. IF IT IS SO BE IT. IF NOT, do something different. Ask to be shown greater possibilities. Be willing to cross the line to an expanded life. The field of possibilities is vast.
There are Heroes Everywhere There really are heroes everywhere, and, each one of us, in our own way, is a hero. Yet, if that is not your belief, and you are looking for heroes, you need look no further than the movies. Currently, there is a movie playing called Hacksaw Ridge. It is a true story about a soldier, Desmond Doss, a pacifist, who personally and under heavy gunfire saved numerous lives. Many of these folks were cruel to him. I would call this movie, Redemption, except I think that name was already used. Doss was a Seventh Day Adventist from Lynchburg, Virginia, who wanted to serve his country as a medic. As a religious person, Doss had strong beliefs about killing. He did not want to do it. In his words, “in the midst of so much being torn apart, what’s wrong with wanting to help patch some of the pieces back together.” Throughout the film, Doss is judged a coward and bullied, threatened, beaten up, and thrown in jail for defying an order to carry a gun. At one point he is arrested for insubordination and put on trial so he could be disposed of and discharged from the Army. In a dramatic moment, his estranged father barges into the courtroom with a letter from his (the father’s) former commanding officer stating that his son’s refusal to carry a firearm is protected by the US Constitution. Needless to say, Desmond Doss stayed in the Army and instead of a gun, carried a medic’s bag when his unit went into battle at Hacksaw Ridge in Okanawa. Because of his bravery and refusal to relinquish to fear, he did not leave when his unit was ordered to pull back. Doss stayed and located dozens of wounded men that he ministered to and then single handedly lowered on ropes over the ridge to safety. They were saved because of his determination to live his faith. This is a powerful story about love, compassion, bravery and dedication to higher values. Throughout Doss is alone in his beliefs in non-violence. Yet he never relinquishes them regardless of the harsh treatment administered by others. This is a film for today. In the world’s transformation from the harsh aggressive values of the past, to the current shift to heart-felt principles of compassion, forgiveness, kindness, and love, it is a story for each of us. The question is who do you identify with in this story? Doss, who refused to relinquish his values; those who judged him without asking him why; his commanding officer who believes everyone must follow a certain code; or the ones who enjoin him to give up the fight? In the end, Doss saved 75 soldiers He kept saying to God, “One more please.” And he would find another wounded soldier and minister to him before lowering him to the ground below the ridge. His own wounds were so severe he was unable to hold a job after the war. In the end, Doss's bravery was honored. He was the first Conscientious Objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor. I am hoping this movie sets a tone for the holidays and for our nation as we move into a new cycle of leadership. Jean Walters email@example.com 314 991 8439 office 314 566 5231 cell
Simple Practice: Bring more love into your life! Babies radiate love. People are drawn to these beautiful little physical beings that know only love. We connect with them and want to experience the simple joy of a baby. Puppies have the same effect. They automatically love you. You don’t have to do anything to earn their love. It is unconditional and holds no bounds. This is our true state - radiant love without bounds. But what happens to reduce and diminish us to a consciousness of fear and restriction, of distrust and anger. Somehow we forget who we are. Instead of expanding our love to include everything and everyone, we start to retract and become selective. You love your ethnic group, family, tribe, your religious sect and close out those who seem different. We are afraid of folks who look, dress, or speak in dissimilar dialects. Soon we are retracted into balls of opinions, delusions, judgments, and preferences where before there was radiance. As thinking, rational beings we have the ability to make choices. We can look at the outer shell and project our own insecurities, fear, and unknowing, or we can see the light in each person and recognize that the outer form is just a defense and definition. Inside there is light (love) beaming its boundlessness and desire to share. Holding in love when it needs expression is painful. Why? Because we are going against who we are – our natural state. We are still babies ready to grin, giggle, and share our inner essence. Let’s return to that state of innocence and purity by making it a practice to smile at people. That is what babies do. Tell them (mentally, if you wish) how much you love them. You love their light. You love the purity of their essence. Even if they have lost sight of it themselves,. See it for them. This can be your practice with each person you encounter. See their inner essence of radiant light and love. Bless them with a smile. And, guess what, through the law of cause and effect, what cycles back to you will be love! Take the restraints off and guess what – fear and restriction disappear. It is a choice firstname.lastname@example.org 314 991 8439 office 314 566 5231 cell