Friday, December 31, 2010

Fare Thee Well 2010

It’s time to bid farewell to 2010, and annually, I take time to reflect on the year’s highlights and lowlights; 2010 was an eleven-page document! No wonder I feel exhausted at this end of this year!

Lowlights included continuing life without my mother who passed in September 2009. While the grief eased considerably with time, it stirred up as the one-year mark of her transition neared. In taking time for myself in the month before the anniversary to heal, I moved through it with greater grace than I expected. Another lowlight was my love life, and its on- and off-again saga. In hindsight, I had no idea the extent of the drama I put myself through: an engagement, a broken engagement, a move into my own place, a “working things out” phase, and the constant harassment I endured after announcing “I’m done with all of this.” And yet even in the last month, I gave one more benefit of the doubt in offering another chance in response to pleas of desperation to turn things around. Thankfully, in a Kamikaze-style (self-sabotage that kills any chances of any future relationship, never mind contact, respect and trust) act on the part of the mastermind that has been the writer, director, and actor in this theater production, the curtain has finally closed. Of course, I recognize and acknowledge my role as co-star in this tragicomedy; now I know I should’ve bowed out after Act One started! But live and learn! While stressful, emotionally challenging, and extremely disappointing to watch someone I love show up less than authentically, even delusional, I am grateful for the learning and growth opportunity. I learned even more deeply the meaning of unconditional love and forgiveness. I also remembered once again that I can only change how I show up, and that I can’t change another, no matter how much I love him.

2010 highlights included the ever-increasing success of my business: Soaring Dove Connection/Healing Life Energy. Starting my business from the ground up in new and foreign territory in February 2010, I am humbled and honored by the amazing support of the spiritual, professional, and business community. I’ve never experienced such amazing generosity and warm welcome upon my arrival. I am blessed with fabulous clients whose spirits I adore, and who I enjoy getting to know better each time we meet. And I’m truly honored and blessed to be living my dream of serving others in my commitment and service to Spirit/God. Another highlight was the launch of the Mentoring program and the opportunity to witness six human beings expand their inner spiritual lights. In working with them, and all my clients, I give thanks daily to have the opportunity to see God’s beauty of each and every person who crosses the threshold of Soaring Dove Connection/Healing Life Energy. Another highlight of 2010 was my training with Healing Touch and the wonderful people I met in St. Louis, Asheville, and Loveland/Cincinnati. I have experienced professional growth as an energy therapist and in 2011, I forge ahead towards certification. I look forward to continued professional and personal growth as I grow as a energy healer, a business woman and a Source of Light on Planet Earth.

Another festive and fun highlight in 2010 was the fun I had with my "Gal-Pal Posse." (pictured here; check out the orb in our pic!) These former classmates and I enjoyed a couple of slumber parties (yes, middle-aged women still know how to have a good time!), several Friday after Five’s in Owensboro, swim parties, and a drive-in excursion, all of which were just what the soul doctor ordered for this woman’s exhausted soul spirit!

And so, we move into 2011; I invite you take some time before popping your champagne cork, and tooting those blow horns at midnight to take stock of your 2010. Doing so is very empowering when you see all the accomplishments and good times that were had. The lowlights don’t seem so bad when you position them against all the good stuff and blessings you enjoyed through the year. And when you see all the good stuff, you are empowered and motivated to want more, to go for more in 2011. After all, we are the Creator of our reality; God gave you and me this gift of Life, Creative Power of Choice, and personally, I’m going to make the most of it so that my choices and actions honor that gift. Won’t you join me? Celebrate 2010 and safely welcome 2011!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Letting Go in Honor of Another's Journey

When we hear about those we care about making choices, demonstrating in ways that trouble us, leave us unsettled, we are impacted by this news. Sometimes, our reaction is judgment, puzzlement, and upset. Sometimes, it’s disappointing, sorrowful and helplessness.

I have a friend whom I care about deeply, but for reasons I won’t get into here, I had to make a choice to “sunset” this relationship in my life. Despite my efforts to support, help and even tolerate with great patience how my friend showed up in our friendship, the impact upon my energy, my sanity and my emotional health required I draw a hard line in the sand around our involvement. It isn’t easy to make such decisions. In my work with clients, I see so much deeper their potential than what they see, know and believe in themselves; yet, I cannot force, coerce or insist upon anyone changing their choices, thinking, believing, and ultimately their way of being. I’m guided and trained to unconditionally love and support the path my clients take, and the pace in which they choose to travel it. But when it comes to loved ones, family members and friends, that task is challenging. We all experience this with sons, daughters, husbands, wives, parents, siblings, mates, lovers and friends. I am no exception in feeling frustration when I see someone I deeply care for show up unproductively, make unproductive choices, or worse, not making choices that can support and heal their hidden wounds and hurts.

I walk a fine line in my professional and personal relationships, and in both, I’ve learned that I cannot make anyone change, and it’s not my place to do so! When we attempt to change another, tell him or her how to live their life, what to do, insist on what they should do, we dishonor his and her own journey. Perhaps my friend is meant to struggle in this lifetime, as a means to understand how that experience feels. Perhaps the struggle is the path to “getting it” spiritually, to heal deep-seeded pride and arrogance, via the process of crashing and burning first. When addicts are ready to ask for help, they usually have to hit rock bottom first; our willingness to ask for help will come when we’ve hit rock bottom in misery, depression, exasperation, and sometimes, realization of the insanity of thinking things will be different when we keep doing the same thing over again.

We have to let go of our loved ones and let them travel their own path. We can be there to offer support, but we must also protect ourselves from that drain when they continuously ask for support, yet take no steps towards making healthy changes in their lives. We can offer them options, choices, and even express what we need in order to stay connected. This is when we must mind our own boundaries; enabling another does not help him or her. Judging choices, giving our opinions or advice is not helpful either. Unsolicited advice is no use to someone who has not requested it. We must trust that whatever our role in one’s life has been, there was a purpose, for both parties, and we did all we could during the time we traveled our paths together. If loved ones are still in our life, we can mind a boundary and offer our unconditional love and support. We can say prayers to guardian angels, and the Higher Power that loved ones are guided to get the help they need, led into the Light of wisdom, and the Love of God to wake up and know their higher truth within.

While I have eliminated contact, I still hold love and light in prayer for my friend. My heart and soul aches for my friend, but, and with difficulty at times, I cannot own responsibility for that life; it’s not mine to live, and it’s not mine to control. Your, my, each of our lives are under our own purview; we can only be responsible for our own choices, how we show up, how we uncover the Spiritual Truth of who we are, and how we live that truth in this life experience. The life experiences of our loved ones are for their own living, learning and self-discovery of a deeper love that is within, of who they spiritually are in the Oneness of Life.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Understanding Conditional Love and Unconditional Love

Are you truly open to forgiveness and healing? I have a friend who, after many efforts to mend the fence with another mutual friend, is continually getting rejected for her efforts, and being accused of being hateful. In the same breath of criticism and judgments, our mutual friend professes “love” for my friend who has repeatedly attempted to extend the olive branch. Now, help me out here: if one truly has love in one’s heart, would one continually respond to efforts of healing with belligerent accusations and a complete unwillingness to accept repeated apologies, therefore, withhold forgiveness? Is this truly an expression of love?

Technically,no. This expression is one of conditional love, upon which one renders love on the condition that another shows up how one wants that person to show up. The Master Teacher taught unconditional love, as well as forgiveness. As Jesus hung on the cross gasping his last breath, he asked of his Maker, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Chewing someone out and in another breath claiming love for that very person you are “putting” into place in the name of self-righteousness, is not Christian, spiritual or unconditional. This proclamation of love is a lie, and setting forth conditions. Holding grudges, hanging on and spewing resentment and grievances does not exemplify any kind of love Jesus taught. It is simply an expression of Human Ego, wounded, self-serving, misery-creating and self-righteous Ego energy.

Refusal to accept another’s apology may not be easy upon first blush; in fact, it is understandable that one may need to “lick the wounds” of hurts inflicted, intentionally or unintentionally, by another. However, when we choose to lick that wound raw, and feed it with growing disdain, resentment and anger towards the other person, and even dragging others into the cause to fuel our “victimization,” this demonstration takes one into the opposite direction of God; some may liken it to the work of the Devil. It is simply the Human Ego, hurt and unhealed from many past hurts, taking over and running the show of one’s life. If misery abounds in one’s life, you can guarantee that Ego is in the driver’s seat, not God. We create our own reality, and it can be created unconsciously or consciously. When the Human Ego is in charge, we are usually living this life unconsciously, not realizing how we are showing up. How are we handling the situation? Are we open to the possibility of healing? To resolving the conflict? Or are we fueling it with our words, unproductive accusations, and falsehoods? Are we lying to ourselves as well as to another? If we can learn to stop, and truly and honestly evaluate how we are behaving, we can begin the process of awakening. If there is any indication of hurt, anger, resentment, even hard feelings in the mildest form, we are in Human Ego, and we are still in need of healing.

The good news is that we do not need the other person with whom we are at odds to do our healing work. If everyone on the planet disappeared tonight, you could still render forgiveness to others as well as to yourself. Not everyone is willing to participate in this healing process; sometimes, we may choose not to involve the other person if it places us at risk of verbal, emotional or physical abuse. But we can find resolve within ourselves and experience a healing process that releases the other person to his or her own journey, however he or she wishes to travel it. Healing begins first and foremost within us, and healing isn’t lip service; it’s that genuine energetic sensation in one’s heart that says, I love you no matter what you say, how you show up. It is unconditional love laced with forgiveness, so that if you ever were to run into that someone again, you can in sincerity and without a bat of the eye say “hello,” and hold him or her in the highest vibration of love, regardless of their response.

If you are bitter towards another, you have not fully rendered forgiveness. If you are still talk smack about someone, lashing out periodically towards him or her because you need to put him or her in his or her place, you are not living in unconditional love and forgiveness. And as such, you have not experienced the true healing, nor practicing that which were the two greatest lessons taught by a Master Teacher who walked upon this Earth.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 9-11

The images.  The panicky voices of news commentators.  The shocked and fearful faces of New Yorkers.  The heartache as reality sets in.  The anxious waiting to hear a cousin at the pentagon is ok.  The eerie sounds of military jets flying over at night in protection of our skies, during a no fly restriction. The pall of the next week as Americans moved through the numbing shock.  The sobs of grief for the thousands who lost their lives and their loved ones left behind.  I remember it as if it were yesterday.  It's forever etched in my heart, my memory and my soul record.  A day to never forget.  A day in Unity that we all held in the name of the One Creator of all, in the name of patriotism.  God bless America, and those who lost loved ones, those who were directly touched by the experience.  Grant us and the world a unifying Peace and Harmony.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I'm a S.H.I.T.

It’s been two months since my last post! Time flies when you’ve been a S.H.I.T. – Spiritual Human in Transition. I learned of this acronym from friends who attended a Coptic ministry conference. I loved it because when we are on the spiritual path, and in energetic shifts of moving from lower vibrational ways of being (angry, upset, drama, etc.) to higher vibrational ways of being (loving, joyous, abundant, etc.), our Human Egos move into turmoil. Its turmoil is that it is no longer in control of us through fear, lack, insecurity, and doubt, and change from what’s comfortable though unproductive choices to those more productive can rock its world.

I have been a major S.H.I.T. off and on through this last year and a half; many of you know this journey, and for those who don’t, look back on posts from the last year and you’ll understand. I’ve been in this transitional space again these last two months, spiritually guided to clear clutter in my life: emotional clutter (relationships/grief), physical clutter (belongings/people), and mental clutter (choices/stinking thinking).

The one year mark of my mom’s transition from this life is this Friday, September 3. The last two months have been a vivid memory bank of emotion, imagery and heartache. These memories support my grieving and healing process. Someone commented on a June post that I will forever carry the sorrow of my mother’s death within me; that it will define me. I know I will carry the memory of my mother and her absence in my life with me, but I am not my sorrow, and I choose not to carry the energy of sorrow as a cross to bear, nor wear it as a badge. To carry such emotion within you is not healing, it is burdensome. Our Great Creator’s intention is for us to experience this lifetime in joy, love, abundance, peace and harmony. Only that part of ourselves called the Human Ego will counter against such a spiritual way, convincing us that our life, perceived through Human Ego eyes, is our burden to bear; it supports us living life as a victim. Our life’s journey is about freedom through healing, and our spiritual path is about freeing ourselves from such imprisonment of self-imposed burdens, and/or those imposed upon us by others.

I’ve also been hanging on with hope to a hopeless relationship; after finally accepting it for what it is, I decided to move on, since hanging on was getting me nowhere. Despite the heartache, I know spiritually this is the highest and best for both parties, though the emotional loss stings nonetheless.

Additionally, I’ve recently decided to face and heal a long standing flaw in my humanness that has existed since I was a teenager in high school: my addiction to food. Through these transitions of late, and through my entire life, I’ve been in an unhealthy relationship with food. Food never lets me down when I’m blue, upset, bored, lonely, happy, etc.; it’s there night and day, thick and thin; the lover (that I’ve not yet experienced in human form) that I can count on anytime, anywhere, 24/7, to be there for me. After decades of “lying to myself” and “turning a blind eye” to this hard reality, I’m facing it head on with professional help, and a humility that surrenders this addiction over to my Higher Power.

Mourning: That’s been the theme of my life this last year: the loss of a mother, what appeared to be a promising future with a romantic partner, and an emotional “lover” that has soothed me throughout the decades. Through these transitions, I’ve reached out for help and support. Our spiritual path is about healing but we can not be so arrogant to believe we can or should do it alone.

We are forever and always in choice around how we choose to move through our human experience. As humans, we will feel the sorrow, the heartache. It is what we were created to experience in the Earth plane; however, as spiritual beings in the human experience, we are created to understand and remember we are God expression, and the Spirit of God expresses not in sorrow, but in joy; not in lack or poverty, but in abundance; not in judgment but in compassion, not in chaos and upset but in peace; not in helplessness, but in personal empowerment; not in discord but in harmony.

We create our own Reality. I’ve allowed myself the human experience of grief and loss through these transitions. I choose not to accept this as my “burden” or way of being in my life, but to rise above the circumstances within it, and view it from a higher perspective; a perspective that is enlightened by the true Spirit of God, and who I Am as God expression.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Loving No Matter What

When people we love hurt us, we naturally feel anger, upset and disappointment. Yet we must understand and recognize that despite how they are showing up, they are doing their very best, the best that they can in these moments and circumstances from which they are living in the human experience. It is in this understanding that we are demonstrating unconditional love, for we accept their best efforts of love, no matter how it shows up.

Unconditional love does not mean that we must endure repeated heartache and disappointment, nor does it mean we must tolerate intolerable behavior, abuse or neglect. We are responsible for setting and honoring our own boundaries around what we deserve in friendships, family, work and romantic, any relationships of any kind. But understanding others through unconditional love, no matter how they show up, allows us our process of healing through forgiveness. Of course, we will be less than perfect at times in our relationships, being angry, hurt, and disappointed, all emotions which we must experience prior to the shift towards forgiveness. Grudges and resentment serves only to hold ourselves hostage in suffering; telling our victimization stories over and over to anyone who will listen, talking “smack” about the other person, and hurtful actions and/or words towards the other person in fear of vunerability, emotional breakdown and insecurity fail to move us forward in healthy healing.

In the grace and generosity of unconditional love, we can become more understanding and honoring of those that hurt us and the path upon which they travel. With conscious effort, we can feel gratitude for the experience, both of the pleasant moments of the relationship, and those less enjoyable that offer valuable teaching opportunities about who we are and how to move forward more productively. This task is challenging for we naturally move towards the negative aspects of the experience, supported by friends and family members who will feed such a perspective. While it is important to express those feelings, it’s also important we not wallow in the upset OR hold ourselves hostage within it. We must keep our heads above the quicksand and pull ourselves out of it so we can move forward with the intention of forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t lip service but genuine energy flow of love for self and the other person despite the circumstances. With time and conscious effort, honest self-evaluation and a willingness to unconditionally honor another’s path, regardless of what we wanted and the resulting circumstances, we can begin the process towards healing in higher love and genuine forgiveness.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An Apology for an Unintentional Insensitivity

In my latest blog post, I wrote: “I’ve lived in homes that have not truly been my own. As this year of upheaval comes full circle, I begin life anew in my own space, with my own belongings, and on my own terms.” I lived in the basement of my parents’ home in Owensboro for several months while my mom went through her dying process. Then I moved to Evansville, into my boyfriend’s place. In my post, I spoke of how I’ve not lived in my own space with my own belongings which have been a part of what makes me feel at home, as I did in Colorado. I know that things aren’t what make a home, but having the familiarity of these personal items offers comfort and some sense of grounding.

Dan invited me to live with him at the end of October, and I accepted as I needed to be closer to Evansville, and I wanted to be closer to him. He opened his home to me and welcomed my two dogs and me, despite his unfamiliarity with pets. He even purchased a cabinet I admired in a local consignment shop and installed it while I was away, as a surprise. Dan rearranged furniture that met some of my space needs and let me rearrange the kitchen completely. I had the privacy during the day while he was at work to grieve the loss of my mom, my job, my life in Colorado AND to figure out “what’s next” in my new life in the Tri-State area. Dan’s generosity was invaluable to me during a difficult time in my life. He opened his home and defined it as “our” home, and for that, I am forever grateful.

In my careless mention of not being in my own home, I was unconscious of my insensitivity to Dan’s gesture and the fact that indeed his home was my home, and for this I am truly sorry. Despite our estranged relationship of late, Dan was a lifeline for me and I didn’t mean to demean our time together in “our” home. Upon my decision to move into my own space, I felt I needed a fresh start and re-establish myself, re-group and re-evaluate who I am in my own place while I move through these latest life transitions. “Living life on my own terms” references my need to build a career of my own design that feeds my heart and soul, allow my dogs the room and yard they deserve to live their final few years out, and having sacred space to do my own spiritual work as well as that in my service to others. My own terms involves living life without the sorrow of losing my mom, and starting life in a new state, town and community that has made me feel welcome from day one.

If we have a reaction to something someone says or writes, it’s important to address it in inquiry, so that we may better understand another’s intention, as well as raise awareness if someone has been insensitive or unintentionally hurtful. In addressing the matter calmly, gently and gracefully, much suffering and brain damage can be eliminated for one or both parties. Simple misunderstandings happen all the time, and making assumptions can be dangerous, and ruin relationships of any kind. Ask questions; communicate without fear, and eliminate the heartache of hurt, disappointment, and upset for yourself, and sometimes, even for others.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Chapter's Close

It's been almost two months since my latest post; it's amazing how time flies. One year can pass quickly and yet be filled with so much. It was approximately one year ago that I prepared to return to Kentucky from Colorado to be with my mom and dad, and support mom through her dying process. It was during this year that I lost my job, ultimately a blessing far beyond the family circumstances, my mom, and came to accept that I would not be returning to my Colorado home and family of ten years so I may be a closer support for my dad. Add to list falling in love, getting engaged then unengaged, starting a new business, as well as a new life in Evansville/Newburgh, IN.

I’ve been a nomad of sorts this last year with my belongings stored in Colorado; I’ve lived in homes that have not truly been my own. As this year of upheaval comes full circle, I begin life anew in my own space, with my own belongings, and on my own terms. Upon return to retrieve my personal items, I’m received by my Colorado family who gather to show their love and support with an official send-off party. I experience mixed emotions for Colorado is my home, yet I’m pulled, called to be in Indiana. For family reasons? Yes, but for some greater purpose which has yet to be revealed.

So for now, I soak in the beautiful Colorado weather, rejuvenate in its higher altitudes and vibrations, and re-energize in the warmth and love of my dear friends, as I prepare for this final phase which closes one chapter before moving into the next. Colorado will always be home sweet home, where my heart truly is. But I surrender and embrace this next leg of my journey with gratitude and grace, trusting the calling of Spirit and my heart.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What Would Buddha Do When a Loved One Dies?

I just sent the April Soaring Dove Connection newsletter that discusses the loss of a loved one and how those of us left behind are left wondering if he or she is okay and how to go on without them. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, or if you do not receive it on a regular basis, please click here. I write this blog as a follow up.

I recently acquired a wonderful book called What Would Buddha Do? An interesting take on the popular “What Would Jesus Do,” it takes the teachings of Buddha and breaks down the many areas of life, such as love, insecurity of self, doing the right thing, walking life’s path, to name but a few, expanding the teaching from a modern perspective. Ironically, I just opened this book to the section of love, and came across the question: “What would Buddha do when a loved one dies?” I wanted to share the teaching through this venue as a follow up to the April issue of Soaring Dove's eNewsletter.

“Not through weeping and grief do we obtain peace of mind. We increase misery; we harm our bodies. We become thin and pale, destroying ourselves by our own power.” Sutta Nipata 584

Buddha doesn’t intend that we as humans are not to mourn our loss through tears, for as humans, our feelings do demand expression, regardless of whether that expression brings embarrassment or tears to us or those who watch. Consider how you feel when you or another is expressing his or her grief. Are you uncomfortable because you have not fully grieved a loss? Are you embarrassed to share your feelings lest you feel vulnerable and weak? Are you in touch with your emotions about the loss or have you steeled yourself against them in order to be strong as our society demands and even expects it?

When life ends, we do need to mourn, but once we have faced and expressed our grief, we have to let it go. This is the challenging part for many of us; we want to hold on to our grief, which means that we are holding on to the one whose loss prompts the grief. After awhile, this emotionally-gripping attachment drains us and prevents the direction of our energy of love to someone or something else and/or new in our life. Grief is indeed a process, but when we hang on to it as the theme for our personal (often unconscious) agenda to unproductively hold us hostage to victimization and self-pity, we then misuse our personal power, and begin that process of self-destruction that Buddha speaks of in the above teaching.

Our letting go of our loved one and moving on with living our life does not dishonor his or her memory, for we forever remain attached to him or her in love through our hearts. In doing so, we honor all that their presence contributed in our journey during which time we mutually shared a path. They continue to live through us and our personal expression of power; sometimes this is expressed positively and/or unproductively. Regardless, when we can heal our hearts, we can begin to understand that we are always and forever One with our loved one who once served, and who continues to serve us as a teacher, even when physically absent in our life.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Lessons of the Dove

Two beautiful doves have set up a nest in an overhang of my back patio. Each morning, Momma Dove is nestled on the nest, while Papa Dove waits patiently on the patio fence or the nearby tree. They call out to each other, in reassurance that one and the other is close and okay. I love listening to them, for their sounds are of peacefulness, calmness, and simple surrender.

When my dear friend Barb named me "Soaring Dove," I was touched though I didn't understand at the time the "why" of the spiritual name. Nonetheless, I embraced it for it was an honor to receive it from someone who I admire and love dearly in my life. The name was the spark for my spiritual business, Soaring Dove Connection, which I've used for the last three years. Only recently have I fully understood the significance of Dove in my life.

Doves always have been around me. As a child, doves were everywhere at our home place, and loved hearing their calls in the quiet stillness of the country dusk and dawn. For my high school graduation, I received a beautiful musical box of two doves, an item I've treasured and cherished with great care for twenty plus years. In my study of the Native American’s animal medicine, it never struck me until recently that the dove is a life lesson animal. The Dove's medicine is feminine energies of peace, maternity and prophecy. As a ground feeder, it reflects my need to keep in contact with Mother Earth, to stay grounded in times of upheaval and change. More interestingly, its sorrowful tones teach me to mourn what has passed and awaken to the promise of my future. Given the nature of the many spiritual deaths and rebirths I've experienced in my lifetime, Dove guides me in these "Between Times" to take heart and see what I can and am able to create in the process of rebirth.

I've mourned a great deal the last year and the Dove calls to me to invoke new waters of life through the rain of my tears. Despite all the changes and transitions life bring, Dove helps us to remember that no matter the conditions of life, new life is always possible. Dove helps me to use these transitional times, the "in between" times to see the creative process active within my own life.

What a blessing to be graced with the honor to witness this teaching firsthand through the nesting process of these two beautiful doves on my back patio area. Their presence really brings this teaching home for me. Whenever I am wondering what lies ahead, and the point of my present experience, Dove calls out to remind me that I am Life, and Life is rebirthing, creating through me, as me, for me. And so as Momma and Papa Dove patiently wait for their new life creations, so do I.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Avatar - A Metaphysically Spiritual Movie on Oneness

I admit I am not one to get caught up in blockbuster crazes. Even as a teen when Star Wars hit the theaters and hours were waited in the hopes of getting a ticket, I just wasn’t that into the hoopla; I bided my time until lines shortened before I saw the movie and became impressed. Not much has changed thirty years; I still don’t get caught up in the blockbuster hoopla and in fact, am usually content to wait until it comes out on Netflix. So when Avatar premiered, I paid little attention to it. I raised an eyebrow when my fifty-something year old gal-pal Jane, who I never thought was a sci-fi film fan said she'd seen it, fell in love with it, raved about it, and encouraged me to see it while in the movie theater. Well, okay then.

That’s been a few months ago, and I just got around to seeing it yesterday. WOW! WOW! And DOUBLE WOW! Aside from the technology used to create the film, and its sheer beauty enhanced through the 3-D experience, the film’s story is powerful! A story about the importance of Oneness, family, belonging to something that is larger than all of us. Surprisingly, Avatar was my kind of film, and I give kudos to James Cameron for producing such a powerful film that delivers a timely and powerful message to us all. The question is: are we getting it?

I imagine I am the last to see this film but just in case, here’s a brief synopsis. A paralyzed young man, Jake Sully, is recruited to take his deceased brother’s place in a science research project on Pandora, in which a human’s Intelligence (mind and soul) can be transported into an alter-ego body of the planet’s humanoid race called the Na'vi. On Pandora, we Earthlings, with little regard or respect to the Na'vi, their planet, or their way of life, are mining for resources beneath a key life foundation; why? Because Earthlings drained Mother Earth dry leaving her barren and lifeless. A military presence is there to protect the miners, and prepare to “remove” by any means the Na'vi out of their way to access the richest source of supply. The Avatar project is a diplomatic effort to negotiate for the resources, in order to facilitate peace and prevent genocide of the Na'vi; however, Sully is recruited by the military to spy and find their “weaknesses” so they can launch an attack to wipe out the Na'vi. But Sully falls in love with their world, their way of life which honors all of Life as One – even in the kill for food, and of course, Neytiri, his female mentor who teaches him the way of her people.

Sound familiar? The parallels are not coincidental as we remember the mass clearing of the Native American population in the late 1800’s; there’s even a General Custer character that fights until the end to win the war of greed, arrogance, and self-righteousness. In the movie, the Na'vi reclaim their planet and send the Earthlings packing. Not as happy an ending in our real world example.

So, how is this metaphysically spiritual? The Na'vi honor their Source, in this case, a feminine energy named Eywa. Oneness and connection of all is demonstrated in ceremonies. A respect for all of life is demonstrated for their planet Pandora, especially nature and the animals, even those that are hunted and killed. There are “spiritual blessings” that grace the Sully, signs from Eywa that encourage the Na'vi to embrace him into their lives and teach them their ways. There is a sacred place of souls that connects to ancestral history, where wisdom and knowledge many be gained through conscious connection and listening. There are so many beautiful reflections of the Universal Truths in this movie, to many to mention here but if you are at all seeking a higher way of living, of being One with all of Life, in showing up for Mother Earth and in our world for the highest and best of all in it, I encourage you to see this film. I’m not a sci-fi fan but this wasn’t about science fiction, it was about Life, and that Source that provides it and in which we are all connected.

I never pay for the same ticket twice to see a movie, but in this case, I will be paying $19 again to see Avatar before it leaves the theaters. I know I missed a great deal of the subtext, the beauty, and little touches that the filmmakers seemed to cover with a fine tooth comb. The magic of seeing this movie on the big screen is worth the ticket price for the at-home experience will never match it. And its messages are powerful, and my hope is that we all sit up and listen to them with great care. I encourage you to go see Avatar, taking your open heart and mind with you, and preparing them both to be touched powerfully like no movie has ever touched you before.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Opening to Inquiry and Understanding

It takes a lot of courage to admit when we’re wrong. Being wrong for the longest time was never my strong suit; in fact, my former Self would fight to the bitter end to be right. Self-righteousness has been one of my most challenging lessons in this lifetime but over the last several years, I’ve learned how to step out of it, and how unproductive it is in my life and relationships.

How does self-righteousness serve you? For many, it’s a security blanket that protects us from our vulnerabilities; exposing and sharing these with others can feel painful. Self-righteousness is often used as a protective shield for our lack of self-confidence and understanding of things outside of our comfort zone. It serves as a firewall for fear, not allowing anyone or anything to reveal or admit underlying fears we hold within about others’ judgment, rejection, or perception, and more specifically, what we think and believe of ourselves. Self-righteousness serves as a cover, a misty haze that hides our deepest uncertainties and self-doubt about who we are, what we believe, and how we feel about ourselves. In this case, we use the energy of self-righteousness as a defense mechanism to hide self-doubts about our own beliefs that we’ve adopted as our truth but aren’t fully resonating within us. Through self-righteousness, we steel ourselves with the very belief we are questioning, heels dug in without open-mindedness or inquiry that can lead to deeper understanding and clarity. In digging in, we stand on the defense when threatened by a new idea or belief to protect ourselves from faltering in our own comfort zone of “what we know.” Finally, self-righteousness can be worn like a badge of “I’m holier than thou.”

The problem is we simply don’t nor can we ever know everything. If we step back and really take a look at what’s going on beneath the stormy surface of self-righteousness, we may reveal a new truth about ourselves, one that presents an opportunity for growth and ironically, an even deeper faith in what we do believe in. A practicing Catholic for most of my life, I remember questioning God and my religious beliefs during difficult times. In one instance, I sought information through participation in a program supporting those seeking conversion to Catholicism. The group was facilitated by an eighty-something year-old Catholic woman who had more energy than I did, and by all appearances was a steady ship of faith and conviction. On a break, I asked her how does she never question her religious belief and the Catholic teachings, to which she responded shamelessly, “Oh, but I do question all the time!” She went on to tell me that it was in the questioning that she became more certain and rooted more deeply in her faith.

Her teaching remains with me thirteen years later as I continuously ask questions not only of my own beliefs, but that of others, seeking a deeper, richer understanding of myself and others. Through this effort, I have moved from the space of self-righteousness into a place of unconditional and respectful acceptance. When I hold confidence in and around my own personal faith and beliefs, I enjoy greater peace and harmony within myself and with others. But those moments around judgment and self-righteousness are faith-deepening opportunities revealed. I lean into these classrooms to further release any fears and feelings of threat that I hold within myself. To release self-righteousness means that we stop “should-ing” on ourselves and others, we cease controlling how people need to believe or show up in a belief or viewpoint. When we focus on others’ beliefs, our own personal and spiritual belief gardens are left unattended and neglected. Share your beliefs with others through how you show up in the world. We can stand firmly within our beliefs without hammering others over the head with them. We can share our beliefs when appropriate without disrespecting another’s through criticism, argumentativeness, dictating how they should think, show up, choose, live and act in their own life. In doing so, we stop robbing ourselves of all the infinite possibilities of rich and meaningful relationships and knowledge available to us; and, we expand our consciousness in our world and its unique God Expression.

No one can take what we believe away from us; the unfortunate events leading to the Holocaust proved this truth especially for the Jewish faith. Only we decide what we believe and don’t believe, whether we seek harmony or judgmental conviction, understanding or ignorance. Trust your own faith system, and if it’s challenging you, open up to exploring that uneasiness you feel when encountering a different belief. You may learn something new and find shared commonalities within the differing beliefs; and, you may affirm more deeply that which you believe personally for yourself. Either way, through the release of self-righteousness, we create a world of greater harmony and peace, one that is inclusive and respectful, one without dictatorial attitudes. Choose understanding over ignorance. Choose inquiry and healthy dialogue over self-righteousness. And choose peace and love over upset and judgment.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Greatest Love of All

Ah, Valentine’s Day, a day for love. Many relish in the romance; others despise it. Personally, I was one who detested it for many years. My ex-husband asked me for a divorce on Valentine’s Day weekend fourteen years ago, thus my feud with February 14th began. I resented my ex and St. Valentine who had nothing to do with it except be guilty by association! I blamed my misery on anything related to the holiday, including those who enjoyed it. I resented the commercialism that took something pure such as love to make a profit while simultaneously “making” me feel less than because I was alone.

For many single men and women, V-Day can feel like D-Day. Hopelessness can overwhelm as we watch others in love coo like doves, relish in chocolate hearts and bling-bling, receive office floral deliveries, and enjoy romantic dinners. But our own misery is by our own design. While the focus is on couples and romance, the bottom line is that Valentine’s celebrates the love of God and for God.

The name "Valentine", derives from valens which means “worthy”; and the feast of St. Valentine was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who included Valentine among those “whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God." Valentine was one of many Christians who were celebrated as a martyr on this feast. But for many lonely singles, we tend to cloak ourselves in martyrdom as we move through this holiday in resentment and bitterness thanks to the “wrongs” done to us by others. We root ourselves in feeling lonely and unwanted, and this space was where I resided energetically for many years hosting my very own Valentine’s Day pity party. Ironically, I, as well as many other singles that still do, missed the point of February 14 – it’s all about love. And while commercialism implies that we need someone in our lives to feel loved, this belief couldn’t be further from the truth!

We are loved!! Our Creator loves us. Our family loves us. Our friends love us. Here’s the big question: Do you love yourself? The Bible speaks of this many times, especially the point of “Love thy neighbor as yourself.” This quote demonstrates how our projection of feelings towards others is truly a mirror reflection of how we feel about ourselves; Luke, Leviticus, Matthew and Mark, to name a few, point this out. “Do onto others as you would have done onto you” is another famous quote that reflects the Law of Circulation: love another and know the love of others as well as for yourself. In this effort, we activate the Law of Attraction to bring greater love into our life. And Genesis 2:27 states that "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Aren’t we worthy of loving ourselves as God loved us enough to create us out of his own Being? As we love ourselves, we love our Creator and its Creation. As we lovingly embrace God Within, we embrace love for ourselves.

After several years of these “pity parties” with only one actual Valentine during that time, I woke up one day and decided what a whiny butt I was being. I was exhausted, drained from the waste of time and energy in my resentment, and I knew I was better than this bitterness – it wasn’t fun or productive. So I took responsibility for my own misery, releasing all who I'd been blaming and became my own Valentine. Starting a new tradition that lasted many years, I prepared elaborate candlelight dinners that made daily frozen dinners pale in comparison; I enjoyed a glass of wine, treated myself to red roses, and listened to romantic music. I simply began a love affair with God. One year I even had flowers from a “secret admirer” sent to myself at my office; that got tongues wagging and it was a thrill and immensely fulfilling that the big secret was they were from the Greatest Love of my life.

For those alone on this day of romance, be your own Valentine! Celebrate love of self; as the word Valentine reflects, you are worthy! And for those with Valentine’s, consider taking it to a richer level that reflects God’s love expressing more fully through you both, everyday beyond this one day of chocolates, bling-bling, and romantic dinners.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fulfilling Life or BUST!

Energies are shifting right now and this is reflected in how we feel. Are you feeling tired and exhausted, more than normal? Having a hard time getting up in the mornings? Are you experiencing a sense of restlessness, or unexplained feelings of anger or irritation?

2009 was a major year for shifting, in which many of us experienced endings which lead us to new beginnings. We witnessed this globally. Some of us fought those endings; some of us didn’t have a choice in the matter. And while the endings took place, how we handled and dealt with them then and now are indicative of our willingness to shift into a higher way of living, a higher way of being.

Old patterns, old habits, old ways of doing things that haven’t served us well in the past may be causing added stress in our lives now. If we keep doing the same thing, and expecting different results each time, we create a cesspool of insanity for ourselves and for those around us. Endings happen for a reason. Regardless of the circumstances, blaming, responsibility, heartache, and the saga itself, our choices now, and before we came into this human experience, supported these endings. Our task in the human experience is to look at these transitions and learn from them: how we could’ve shown up more productively; how we may have chosen differently; what patterns or habits we may need to break; how our choices reflect our sense of self, self respect, and self-love, or worse, our self-righteousness, inner judges, self-loathing, arrogance and pride.

Just as tourist attractions teach history of a particular landmark, endings are the “human” tourist attractions in our journey to teach us about ourselves – at a human and soul level. Unfortunately, many of us just blow by these opportunities, anxious to get to a destination while forgetting we’re on a journey. We fail to realize that the information contained within these endings teach us how to how to create and enjoy a more fulfilling and gratifying journey. When we go from one experience to another without really getting intimate with our heart and soul about what happened, we live an unconscious life – one without inner awareness and self-knowing.

What endings have you dismissed or are you feeling around the bend? What transitions have you yet to fully ponder? In order to shift to a higher way of living, we must know our hearts, and to do this, we must take time to be brutally honest with ourselves and how we show up in our life: through our choices, fear, self-centeredness, actions (or inaction), habits, limiting belief systems, and judgment of self and of others. When we haphazardly move through and from one experience to another, we are simply sleepwalking in our lives. If you are feeling a growing frustration and disappointment, it is your signal to “Wake up!” Know the joy, love, peace, wisdom, abundance and creative power you already have within you to live a more fulfilling life. Know your heart’s desires. Know you are the creator of your own reality. The Great I Am, that presence of God Within, seeks to collaborate with you in your journey, to guide you towards that new experience of living a more conscious life. So let’s go! Let's post a sign on the back of our human vehicle that says "Fulfilling Life or Bust!"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Life by our Design

Can we really design our life? I say YES we can!

I once believed that I was at the mercy of Life. Some of this came from a Catholic upbringing and hearing that as long as I pleased God, I would be rewarded; of course if I didn’t, I would be punished. Well-meaning as this teaching is, I learned that I didn’t deserve the goodness of God unless I proved my worth, my value. I also lived in a place of victimization believing that bad things happening to me was punishment from God. I (and so many of us do) hosted pity parties because my life wasn’t going the way I wanted it, people “did” things to me, and I had no control. I wallowed in this self-pity and placed myself in the category of “helpless.”

But when I came to understand God as a loving Source that desires us to experience all of God’s Goodness, I began to let go of the “stinking thinking” that I did deserved to be in the mess I was in. I made choices that created my mess – choices that didn’t serve me well, and as a result, unconsciously manifested less than desirable results: lack of financial flow, unfulfilling jobs, unhealthy relationships. Unwittingly, I chose to accept these as the “best” that God had to offer me, but in fact, I created these less than desirable circumstances because it is what I believed God believed I was worthy of having.

I couldn’t have been further from the truth and if you are thinking the same way, please stop! God loves us and provides for us, unconditionally. We can drive ourselves to insanity if we keep choosing to live life by what we think God wants us to do. Rather, God wants us to live our life based on what we want to do; there is divine guidance that propels us into a spiritual calling of service in some capacity. Lawyers serve; doctors serve; trash collectors serve. Our contributions, no matter how large or small, significantly contribute. But we are called to expand our willingness to serve in a greater way and more importantly, to receive more of the infinite possibilities of how to live this expanded life of goodness! When we open up to YES in our lives, to receiving more of the infinite abundance God has to offer, we begin to attract that into our experience. But we must open up to it; we must want it and we must believe it is ours to have. If we live from a place of self-pity, helplessness, a belief system of lack, unworthiness or that we’re not good enough in God’s or anyone else’s eyes, we shall forever block the flow God’s Goodness.

After having several unsuccessful relationships over the last eleven years, I began to see my heart’s yearning for true love as a lost cause. Stopping this pity party before it even began, I consciously reviewed these relationships and learned from them – what I wanted, didn’t want and what I knew I deserved. From here, I began creating a relationship with my Beloved by my own design. I affirmed he was out there through affirmative prayer, outlining who he was as an expression of God. I believed this man already in my life, “talking” to him once in a while, feeling him close to me as I lie in bed, and visualizing my day to day activities as if he was by my side. For a full year, I committed to this design I created, believing it and living it within myself. I'd done a great deal of relationship healing prior to this time, but it was through this exercise towards clarity that I was able to identify what I truly wanted. Today my Beloved exists in physical form and I’m starting a wonderful new life with him. I continue to affirm our relationship as perfect expression of God and all that God is – love, joy, harmony, peace, abundance, wisdom. I powerfully manifested him, and I didn’t have to work that hard to find him. He presented himself to me but I took the necessary steps to carry forward this manifestation into reality. And I’ve never been happier, or more in love with anyone in my entire life.

What do you want to design in your life? Believe that you can do this! But be clear on what you want. Without clarity, you will attract and create a whole mess of things if you’re not careful. Believe it or not, we each are very powerful in this ability to manifest that which we desire, in the negative or positive direction. If you’re not sure what you want but that you want something different, get help sorting through all the possibilities so you can clearly define what that is. It was through the support of my Spiritual Life Coach that I was able to recognize that I am employed by God as “God’s Building Contractor” of my Life. I’ve had a few remodels in this lifetime, but let me tell you that with each remodel, God’s House greatly expands to offer more meaningful and greater experiences.

Is your Life due for a remodel?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Reflections in the Silence

I’m currently at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, Kentucky, just outside of Bardstown on a “silent” retreat; I’m unsure if it’s considered truly silent if I am sharing my thoughts through this venue. But in the silence, the opportunity provides one a means in which to get away from the noisy business of everyday life to really listen, to God from Within.

Most of the areas at the Abbey are designated as silent areas, including the Retreat House hallways, rooms, stairwells, dining areas (with the exception of one), library and outdoor areas where marked; retreat guests can not even use their cell phones in their rooms. Guests arrive after 11 a.m. on a Friday or a Monday and stay through the following Monday or Friday, respectively. Meals are provided three times a day, and all of this is offered by the monks for a love offering of whatever means you are able. Additionally, the monks maintain a daily schedule of services, in which they sing, chant and offer the Eucharist, in addition to their other responsibilities. Retreat guests may also enjoy over 2000 acres of walking paths in nature, though I believe this weekend, many of us will not stray too far from the warmth of the Retreat House!

I’d heard many wonderful things about this place, and originally called in late September with the hopes of being able to “get away” shortly after my mother passed. But everyone else must've heard wonderful things too, as the Abbey was booked through 2009 with this weekend of January being the first available to reserve. I trusted the Divine timing, and decided to use this weekend as a time to reflect on 2009, a ritual I do annually in order to truly appreciate all that I accomplished, overcame and learned throughout the year. I usually take time to decide what my new year will look like.

I will most definitely reflect on the year past, and from it glean much appreciation of my courage, strength, authenticity, and perseverance, as well as my successes and my losses. Yes, appreciation in the losses is important to find for it is in the closing of doors that other new opportunities are opened. In honoring those experiences, we open ourselves to receive greater good in our lives. In releasing unproductive energies of anger, resentment, we find peace through forgiveness, not simply of others but also of ourselves for our choices. And if we are all striving for peace on Earth, then let it begin with each of us, right? It’s a simple choice, but one that takes great courage to do.

As for planning 2010, well, I had a plan for 2009 and that really didn't turn out so great. Goes to show that sometimes, God presents detours that take us in a different direction, regardless of our best laid plans. Instead, I will continue living as I have lived the latter half of 2009 - one day at a time and in the moment. I have a sense of my direction - this Guidance has been given to me. But I am stepping back from being attached to how it all needs to look, and what exactly I must be doing to make all that happen. I'm tuned in more than ever to that Divine Guidance and even, sometimes to my Gemini annoyance, when I don't know "what's next," I always know that when it's time to be revealed, I'll get it. I've learned to trust and pay attention to when Divine Clarity is revealed. It's through this surrendering to the flow of the Universe working in my life that leaves me living my life in awe. The power of God working through us is amazing if we can simply let go and let God.

Here's to silence; may we find more of it in our life, if its only for five minutes a day. Let God talk to you. And simply listen.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Out with the Old, In with the New

Happy New Year! I’ve not posted in a while as I’ve hunkered down to get through the holidays. I for one am very excited to say farewell to 2009 – all of it. What a ride! And it sucked many times, and yet, if I stop and REALLY look at it, I can find SO much joy in it too. Don’t stay stuck on what wasn’t great about the year, but look between the illusions and see what good stuff showed up. Despite having lost a parent, a job and a home, I enjoyed quality time with my mom before she passed and the smiles and love she gave me before she left this realm. I reconnected with some old high school friends who awed me with their love, support and their prayers during challenging times. I had beautiful friendship and support from my Colorado peeps that sent their healing love and light to Kentucky. I met and fell in love with a wonderful man who graced my life with patience and insurmountable support during my mother’s illness and after her death. I was given the opportunity to reinvent myself professionally, and am excited to build a practice as a Spiritual Life Coach. I have been blessed with locals who have extended their welcome in a place where I have no close friends, no spiritual community, and no extended support system nearby. I enjoyed a beautiful Kentucky summer and fall and all its Southeast flowers and birds. My family and I enjoyed the amazing support of relatives, friends and neighbors in the way of food, visits, caretaker breaks, and prayers.

I could keep going and if you look closely enough, you could too. There is nothing more thrilling to me than new beginnings; I wonder if I’m not addicted to them having been through so many major transitions in my life! But in welcoming the new, we must honor the old and what it offered in life lessons, abundance and joy, love and wisdom, for through the heartaches and challenges of the year, this is where find them, if we consciously choose to do so. If we do not honor the past year of our life, we minimize this leg of our journey, and all that we’ve come through in its travel.

Happy New Year everyone!