Monday, February 26, 2007

Misery Loves Company

Why do you suppose that so many religions teach that you MUST believe this or that OR ELSE!?

It's sad to me that within just about every religion are people who are so adamant about their beliefs that they don't think others deserve to exist unless they agree.

So many proselytizers speak out of both sides of their mouth. On one side, they proclaim that God is love and out of the other side spew judgment and damnation.

Could it be that somewhere on the subconscious level they are thinking, "These miserable beliefs are true, and if I don't get to have fun and enjoy life...if I have to be miserable, I want everyone else in the same boat."

It must compound misery to see others living a joyful and abundant life.

Well, folks, time has proven that you can't anihilate love, joy, peace or any of God's great gifts. Governments and religious organizations have tried to manipulate beliefs and mandate what people are allowed to believe and experience, but over and over love finds a way to break free of such constraints. God is love and God is infinite. God cannot be contained within the confines of any one religion or set of tenets. God certainly cannot be manipulated by governments or religions.

Man may be able to place certain restrictions on outward behavior but your inner world is yours to direct. God is in your inner world and no one can touch that unless you allow them to.

It's like vampire lore. They can't come in unless you invite them. :-)

Why not put up a "no vacancy" sign and refuse to let in anyone or anything that compromises your experience of a loving, joyful, blissful, ecstatic, passionate life?

Why Do You Believe?

One of the most important parts of my journey to better health was the challenging, and sometimes changing, of my beliefs. What you believe, and consequently what you think, determines your life experience. Even beliefs that result in pain are useful, at least for a while. They teach us what doesn't work. But once they have imparted their lesson, their usefulness has expired, and they become toxic.

I grew up in a religion that teaches unless you believe certain things, you will not get into heaven or God will not be pleased with you. It was considered heretical to believe otherwise. Pardon me, but that's pure BS.

God didn't give us a brain for us to allow others to do our thinking for us. So, when I began to understand that my life wasn't working because I wasn't working it, I paraded my entire belief system before my mind and challenged all of them. I understood that if a belief was worth keeping, it would stand the test.

Some of the beliefs that didn't work for me were there because somebody I trusted had told me they were facts. But why did they believe that what they were telling me was true? Often, because someone else they trusted had told them it was true.

Others were there because of my own experiences and observations. But how could I know they were true? In some cases, I could see that the manifestations of these beliefs and they withstood the challenge. In other cases, I could see that my perception may have been skewed by my own filters and baggage from my childhood when that belief was formed.

Here's the deal. If a belief is serving you and helping you live an abundant, joyful, loving life, then it is worth keeping. If it is destroying you, chipping away at your self-image, keeping you from joy and abundance, get rid of it. Why would you choose to keep drinking poison?

Do you think for one minute that a loving Creator would want you to believe anything that is destructive to you?

I used to believe in a God who was all about keeping certain rules. And I believed it when I was told there is only one right way to come to God. It never made sense, I just believed it because I believed in the people who were telling me it was true.

Now, I believe that our Creator wouldn't create a world full of people and favor certain ones or certain races. I believe that there our differences exist because our Creator is so infinite that there is no way God could be expressed in one or even a few types of people. I believe that there is no way God could ever be fully expressed, because "fully" implies a limit. And I believe that there are infinite ways to experience God, perhaps as many as there are expressions of God.

Many people fear opening their minds because they have been taught that if they don't follow certain beliefs or tenets that they will experience judgment and punishment. My question is, why would you love and serve a god who would give you a brain and then damn you eternally for using it and coming to a different conclusion than the next person?

Far be it from me to tell anyone what to believe. But why not at least test your beliefs to see if they are really true for you or if they are part of the problem in your life rather than the solution? What can it hurt to question a belief? If it is true, it will stand. If it is not, why would you want it to?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Trust Yourself

For much of my life, I have been guided primarily by logic. Now, I am learning to trust my intuition more and more.

When allowed to dominate, the logical mind can be a harsh dictator, ever sucking the joy from life like a ravenous vampire.

Learning to trust my intuition is leading me to delightful possibilities.

Truthfully, some of the things I am being led through are frightening. But I keep finding that just on the other side of fear lies joy, delight, healing, growth, love and all that is good.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Is It Safe to Play It Safe?

Better resolve to win thy heart's desire,
and striving bravely die in the endeavor
than to have the embers of some smothered fire,
lie smoldering in thy saddened soul forever.

I love that! I don't know who wrote it, but I love it.

We think life will be secure if we just play it safe, but will it? There is nothing to guarantee that if we follow all the rules and avoid all risk, we won't lose our job, our lover, or anything else we think we possess.

When we look back on our lives, do we want to say, "I'm glad I did" or "I wish I had"?

Who wants embers? Bring on the flames.

Monday, February 19, 2007

It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint

There are times when I wish it were easier to master certain challenges. You know the ones I mean. The ones that come off in layers, and we begin to wonder if there will ever be an end.

Then I remember that we are here to learn whatever lessons we have chosen. And we have chosen this life as our classroom and lab. What would be the point of continuing this life if we had nothing more to learn?

I am grateful for the journey, and for the "time" it seems to take. I remember how intense some of these lessons have been, and I am grateful that I don't have to experience them all at once.

Some life journeys are a mere sprint. So, if ours is a marathon, let's give thanks.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Do It Anyway

Every now and then a song comes along that really inspires me. Martina McBride's song, Anyway, is one of those. She is one of those artists I love because of her passion. Garth Brooks is another. There is so much passion and many of their songs hold so much meaning for me. My desire is to express as openly and as passionately as they do. These are the lyrics to "Anyway". See if they don't light your fire.

You can spend your whole life building something from nothing
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway
You can chase a dream that seems so out of reach and you know it might not ever come your way
Dream it anyway

God is great, but sometimes life ain't good
And when I pray it doesn't always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway, I do it anyway

This world's gone crazy and it's hard to believe that tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway
You can love someone with all your heart, for all the right reasons, and in a moment they can choose to walk away
Love 'em anyway

You can pour your soul out singing a song you believe in that tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway, sing it anyway

I sing, I dream, I love, anyway

Yeah, baby! That's what I'm talking about.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Baby

I just heard a song I haven't heard in quite a while. It's called "The Baby" and sung by Blake Shelton.

It made me cry because it came out about the time my sister died, and it reminds me of her and her son. It was one of the songs that helped me process my grief after Debbie passed.

Another song that helped me even more was "I Believe", sung by Diamond Rio. Sometimes, I could feel Debbie's presence and hear her voice and even though I was hurting like hell, I knew she was near. Sometimes, I even teased that she had possessed me because I became more assertive after she passed. She never was one to keep her opinion to herself.

It hurts to lose someone, even when you know you'll see them again. Even if they are with you in spirit, I haven't figured out how to hug a spirit yet or call one up on the telephone.

We always had the funniest conversations when we would all get together at our mom's house or at a restaurant. It was better than a comedy club. We haven't done that in a while. Even though we are still a funny bunch, I miss Debbie's contributions to our conversations.

I am reminded of another song that is meaningful to me for the same reason. It's "Who You'd Be Today" by Kenny Chesney. It reads, "It ain't fair. You died too young. Like a story that had just begun but death tore the pages all away."

Thinking about all this takes me back to the anger I felt when she passed. I know anger is one of the stages of grief. I was just so pissed off because I felt she gave up. She was fighting cancer and it was far more advanced and aggressive than I wanted to believe. I refused to believe it could kill her. She was always so strong.

And I was angry that she didn't really get to build her life the way she wanted it. And I was angry because I wanted to call in a Reiki healer, and her husband didn't want that. He thought it was "of the devil". That's such bullshit, but Debbie chose to honor his wishes.

The funny thing about grief is that it has a way of resurfacing. You think you've processed all that you need to, and then it all comes up again, and you have to go through it all again. If you've given yourself the proper space and time to grieve, it's not going to be as intense in the future, but it will still reappear from time to time. It's not something you ever get over. It's just that you set it aside so that you can get on with the business of living.

Then occasionally, like going over old photographs or mementos, the memories return, and you are reminded that who or what you loved is gone. And it still hurts, even though it doesn't occupy all of your resources like it did when you first experienced the loss.

But what I always end up with is this: remembering what Debbie brought to my life, which is a part of me forever. That's why I love her and that's why I miss her so much. But I wouldn't have it any other way. As Garth Brooks said in his song, "The Dance", "I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance."

The dance is worth it all.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Defy Gravity

Sometimes I find myself taking life way too seriously. It's an old habit I fall back into from time to time.

I have to remind myself from time to time to lighten up.

When I worked at La Quinta, I tried to include a little humor in my business e-mails whenever possible. I was surprised at the number of times I got bewildered responses from the recipients. People are in such a habit of taking business too seriously that they are surprised when anyone bucks that trend.

That's too bad. Humor is a natural relaxant and stress reducer. It brings joy and makes life's journey so much more fun.

We don't have to take life too seriously. We can choose to defy gravity.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Wrong Side of the Bed

You know, some days you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed. You just feel kind of blah. Uninspired.

Thank God you don't have to stay there. One of our greatest blessings is the ability to choose our attitude. You just have to find what works to raise your vibration.

Some of the things that work for me include getting out into the sunshine for a few minutes, listening to fun or upbeat songs, listening to some of my affirmation programs, stimulating conversation, looking up funny sites and videos on the internet. I also like to find a park with a swing set and just let go. Oh, and bubbles. I start with a simple child's bubble blowing set and I blow really slowly through the wand to try and make my bubbles as big as possible. Then I just watch them float away. How can you be anxious while watching your bubble creations floating freely through the air?

No wonder kids are so resilient. They only know how to live in the moment.

Many of my most important life lessons I learned from my kids. But that's another post. I'm calling it a night.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I AM Grateful For...

I am grateful for receiving so much assistance from so many people on my journey.

I am grateful for every opportunity to assist others.

I am grateful for being reminded that my feelings are an alert system to let me know when my thoughts are not serving my best interests.

I am grateful that more and more people are raising their consciousness (our consciousness), and that our journey is aligning us with love, joy and bliss more and more.

I am grateful that so many beautiful and varied expressions of God's love are thriving on this planet.

I am grateful that every day, I experience more bliss, more abundance, more joy and more love.

I am grateful that you are here to share this journey with me.

Thanks for being who you are.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

It Works!

This morning, I gave my fifth speech in Toastmasters. I was a little concerned because I didn't feel as prepared or organized as I like to feel.

But I didn't press the organization because I like to speak from my heart more than from a memorized presentation. I decided to surrender and trust the process. And I decided to trust myself. I told myself I am a speaker, the ideas I am presenting are ideas I have thought through. This is significant because while I developed trust in my writing ability long ago, until just a few months ago, I still believed that the neural pathway between my brain and my tongue was difficult terrain, if not impassable.

But I discovered something interesting when I was preparing this speech. I felt that turned-on, energetic feeling I used to get from my job sometimes, and that I often get from writing. I think that energy combined with my passion for the ideas I was expressing may be what touched my listeners. Some told me this was the best speech I had ever given.

This surprised me because, as I said, I didn't feel as organized as usual, and some of the ideas came out in a different order than I had planned. Several people commented about how well organized it was. I suppose that was because the Universe reorganized it as I went along. The ideas we share belong to all of us. We are the instruments expressing the music of an infinite and loving Universe.

Surrender rocks!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

So, That's It...

I've been noticing a lot of internal shifts lately. When fear comes to call, for instance, rather than resisting, I am merely noticing. It is becoming more natural to observe rather than react. It is becoming easier to relax into a feeling rather than fighting it.

It is interesting that I have been reading and hearing of this for several years, but I am just beginning to internalize it. It's the difference between understanding something intellectually and really "getting it".

Isn't it amazing how often we think we understand something without really "getting" it? Then, suddenly we do. The light bulb goes on. We realize how simple it is, and wonder what took us so long.

Maybe it's a matter of readiness. I noticed this when teaching my children. You can try many different ways of teaching a concept to a child, but they will not understand it until they are ready. They may be able to recite the information, perhaps even explain it. It may make perfect sense on an intellectual level, but knowledge and understanding are not the same thing.

I suppose some life lessons could be compared to raising crops. You plant the seed and for a while it appears that nothing is happening. Then, finally the tiny upshoots appear, as if by magic - the promise of the harvest to come.

In any case, it's motivation to keep planting. Even though we may not see our lives change miraculously in a moment, the harvest will come in due season.

Giving and Receiving Love

Lately, I have noticed a direct correlation between my mental focus and my family's emotional response. At one point recently, there were some tense moments related to some of the transitions that are occurring in my life.

I seem to be at an impasse in some ways, feeling the need for certain changes and yet unable or unwilling to move through the pain those changes might cause myself and others.

One day, I just decided to focus on love. If I need to make changes, I will make them when I am ready. But I can love now. There is no viable reason not to.

In the process of changing my focus to love, my life experience improved 100%, maybe more. Perhaps there really is nothing keeping us from our optimal life experience except our mental focus on "what's wrong".

And the good news is our mental focus is completely within our own power. We get to choose what we focus on. Therefore, we get to choose our experience of life.

We can watch the news and the things we see and hear there can lead us to believe that the world is a dangerous and frightening place. But in reality, the greatest part of what is happening in this world is positive and loving. Most people are contributing something to society, taking care of their families, and if not in touch with their loving selves, at least they are not harming others.

So, if we watch and focus on what is being reported on the news broadcasts, our experience of the world can be dark and scary. If we look inside our own hearts, and look around us at all the good that is occurring in the world, our experience of the world can be one of love, joy and light. It seems it really is as simple as a choice of focus.

Monday, February 05, 2007

It's All Good

Yesterday, I awoke feeling poorly. At that time, I still had not recovered healthy sleep patterns after nursing my daughter round-the-clock through her virus.

I didn't begin the day with my usual routine, but I didn't let myself worry too much about it, either. I knew I needed to raise my vibrations, but I decided to begin with surrender. Maybe it was time for a day off, and just to flow with whatever experiences came my way.

Mid-day, we decided to go to lunch at Asian City restaurant in Humble. It is one of those places where you can sit at the grill and they cook your food and entertain you at the same time. I had never been to this restaurant, but I loved the feeling of it. Near the grill, a fountain flowed down the wall of the restaurant. I love fountains and I just opened to the enjoyment and the energy of the flowing water.

I noticed the other people in the restaurant and I opened myself to love. A feeling of utter bliss enveloped me and I felt the joy of connection and the love that I am (we are) fill me to overflowing.

There it is. That is what we are all looking for, is it not? And we don't have to look far, because it is right smack dab within us.

I don't claim to have all the answers, but this seems to be the recipe for a blissful life experience:

Surrender. Flow. Open. Experience the love that you are. Enjoy. Repeat.

Simple enough, though not always easy. We get in the way of our own joy all too often with our "to do" lists, and our "musts" and our "shoulds".

The good news is, we can also choose to get out of our own way, and allow our own joy and love and bliss. Let's do it!