Dec 092011
 

Have you gotten a bit more in touch with your body this past week? I’m happy to report that I have, and my body and spirit are both delighted.

This is the end of Week 2 of the 10 week online course “The Answer is Simple”. Sonia’s topic this week was to  “Welcome Your Spirit” by loving your body as its sacred temple.

Did you?

(If you’re just joining us, the entire course is offered free by Sonia Choquette, and some of us are working it together here with a discussion at the end of each week. Join us!)

Love Your Body

Sonia reminded us to be attentive to our body, to embrace it, and to give it what it needs to thrive.

I took it as a reminder to be more conscious of both my body and my indwelling spirit. For me, being more attentive brought to mind all kinds of ideas and experiences I’d like to share. (But as I started to, I realized that each one is a post in itself. I don’t need to overwhelm you with it all right now. ;-) ) But ultimately, being reminded of all these things helped strengthen my conscious connection between body and spirit.

Her main point, I think, was to appreciate our bodies as the sacred vessels for our life force or spirit. She points out that it’s our body that gives us the ability to “think and choose and move and create”, and that it’s a gift. And she goes on to encourage us to respect and honor it, to love it unconditionally, and then, importantly, to express and act on that.

Your Body as a Manifestation of Spirit

As to the fact that we’re often critical of our bodies, she points out that your body is the perfect one for you, and that it’s a gift. I totally and completely agree. I mean, how blessed are we? Crazy blessed, I’d say!

Like last week, though — and for the sake of our discussion — I would put it a subtly different way.

My own intuitive sense is that your body is the main (although not only) point of manifestation for your being. This is slightly different than the temple idea in that your body doesn’t encompass your being like a temple, since your being is not confined to your body. More accurately, your body is the part of your beingness that is manifesting directly in this 3-D world.

So by necessity and by definition, your body exactly matches who you are in your essence. It’s merely the more dense part of that same pattern which is you.

Do you have any thoughts on this? Or what did this bring up for you this week?

Be Attentive to Your Body

Sonia’s recommendations for putting these ideas into practice this week were:

1. Pay attention to how your body responds to things, e.g. to thoughts, to sound (including how you speak of it). She gave a lot of examples of thanking it out loud.

2. Give it the basics (water, rest and what it needs to get this e.g. pillow, white noise, lotion, foot rub, etc.)

I’d been in the process of some major “maintenance” ;-) , i.e. dental work, routine checkups, therapy on my arm and shoulder (if you’re a blogger or writer, watch your ergonomics!), etc. and have been paying much attention to this area already.

It’s not so much that I’m communing with and loving it in a lovey-dovey way as I’m doing the practical things that it needs.

Still, it does appreciate it, I can tell. :-)

I also intend to keep a good bit of my time free over the holidays so I can tend to my health with some of the many effective holistic practices I enjoy.

3. Speak kindly to and about your body. It hears it. Spirit loves having a body.

Here it’s about loving your body unconditionally.

Sonia says that the more you love it, the more your body will become the body that you idealize. Hmmm, I’d not thought of it that way and haven’t experimented with this yet but I’m going to. Stay tuned for an updated, ravishing me!

She ends this suggestion by recommending you treat your body well and that if you do, you’ll attract all kinds of wonderful things.

4. Don’t let an hour go by that you don’t appreciate it or do something for it.

Wow. I tried this and it’s easy to forget. But it did help bring more body awareness and appreciation into my life this week, both welcome things!

Did you do any or all of these things? Or did you improvise some of your own? What were they and what did you find?

And now … On to week 3! See you again soon!

P.S. Eliza over at Silver & Grace has released an inspiring ebook featuring some talented women writers … plus me. :-) Click on the image to the left to grab a FREE copy, and check out my new guest post as well as her gracious article about me as one of the ebook contributors.


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Aug 042011
 

Are you aware of what a positive effect you can have on yourself, others, and situations when you take a moment to bless them?

“Personality has power to uplift, power to depress, power to curse, and power to bless.

Paul Harris

I grew up thinking only priests could bless things. At the very least I thought I had to invoke God or a saint to do the actual blessing.

Blessings stuck in my throat for awhile, but now I personally believe that the sacred in us, the sacred that we are, the divinity that we are, is perfectly sufficient to bestow a blessing. In fact, it just might be one of our best activities of all; one that we’re made for.

What is a Blessing?

Technically, bless means to invoke divine favor upon, or to pronounce something as holy. Sometimes it’s used to mean the transfer of energy.

To me, it means a good thought or good wishes. It’s a reverence for something and for its existence; an acknowledgement of its preciousness and its sacredness. It’s the decision to see a person or thing in its perfection or wholeness (holy). It can be bestowing “good vibes” on it or giving it your best.

In fact, you can even be a blessing yourself. (In fact, I’m sure you are. ;-) )

Blessings Lead to Blessings

Last week I was on my way to the dentist. I had butterflies and decided to bless his office. I was introduced to the idea of preparing spaces in Reiki, and then again in Matrix Energetics. And I came across a similar idea recently in a home study course.

So I began blessing the dentist’s office.

I blessed the space, then him, then his assistants, and the receptionist whom I’d talked with on the phone. I blessed the whole clinic and then the whole town.

If I choose to bless another person, I will always end up feeling more blessed.

Marianne Williamson

I live in a remote area and it’s a 50 mile drive through the desert to the dentist’s, which is itself in a remote area.

As I drove (and blessed, and drove some more), I couldn’t help but notice the breathtaking scenery and what a pleasant drive it was.

Pretty soon I was blessing and appreciating all kinds of things: my wonderful little car, my nutritious and tasty blackberry smoothie, the gorgeously puffy clouds above the scrubby juniper landscape of the stark desert with its multi-colored mesas. (Oh, I wish I’d had my camera; you’d get to see a photo of it right now.) I blessed my teeth that have done so much for me, and I blessed the feisty little nerve endings that alerted me that something needed to be taken care of. And I couldn’t forget about me. I was also blessing me.

I soon felt so good that I noticed I’d been automatically catapulted into practicing the Law of Attraction, or rather the Law of Allowing. Hmmmm, maybe this dentist visit won’t be so scary after all.

And come to think of it, that was the last of the frayed (or is it ‘fraid?) nerves.

In the end — and what seemed to me a result of the blessing — the whole appointment was a great experience (and yes, there was even drilling involved, eeek). Everyone was super friendly and competent. I liked the dentist a lot.

Can I prove that it’s because of the blessing? No. But come on.

And even if it wasn’t, it just felt so good. And not just to me, but to everyone I came into contact with that day. I’m sure of it.

We can bless everything and anything. So why not do it?

You Can Bless People and Things

Hands-on blessings can be especially powerful. You can bless:

  • Your food (hands hovering just over it)
  • Cards & letters before you send them
  • Gifts before you give them
  • Pets (and I think they bless us at the same time!)
  • Plants (especially effective toward the roots)
  • Yourself (try some hands-on blessing next time you take a shower)

I’ve known people who, as they pay their bills, send a little blessing to the receiver when they lick the envelope or stamp. Or if you pay online, you can do that when you press “make payment”.

Speaking of online, you can send blessings when you:

  • Send an email
  • Publish a post
  • Make a comment or respond to one
  • Thank someone after a webinar

Of course you can always use them in your regular interactive life (you do have one of those, right?) Try it when you:

  • Thank a sales clerk
  • Say goodnight to your loved ones
  • Dial a phone number, or end a call
  • Pass someone on the street
  • Wave at someone

Oh, the list could go on and on.

Essentially, every and any little act, you can consciously add a blessing.

And when you bless someone you’re upset with or resentful of, the blessing can come back to you tenfold. (I’ll write more about this in a separate post. It’s uncanny what happens.)

You Can Bless Places and Spaces

Just like I did with the dentist’s office, you can bless any space whether you’re there or not.

  • Your bedroom before sleep
  • Your home before a party
  • Anywhere you’re going (store, class, etc.)
  • The road you’ll be driving on
  • Your space and your client’s space before a phone or distance session

You Can Bless Past, Present, & Future

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so.

Mary Jean Iron

Another way to bless something is to honor it. Like in this quote, how do we bless this day? By appreciating it to the fullest. By being our best we can be.

You can bless certain time periods or events. You can:

  • Bless this moment
  • Bless forward in your day or week, especially if there’s an event you or your loved ones are participating in
  • Bless the results of an upcoming event, whatever they might be
  • Bless past situations, the “good” and the “bad”

Blessings All Around

So you see, the sky’s the limit.

Next time you feel like sharing the joy, send blessings. And if you feel upset, send blessings! Maybe like when I was on my way to the dentist, you’ll be glad you did.

Thanks for reading today. Bless you!

And now, do you want to bless us with your comment? Do you do blessings? With what? How? What results have you noticed? Or anything else!

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Jun 072011
 

Something about the idea that your life might be snatched from you at any moment makes you consider what it means to you.

A little while back I mentioned I was in the midst of a health scare. Well, I’m thrilled to say I’m fine! Thank-you to those of you who wrote (in the comments and privately) to offer your support. I so much appreciate it!

A Healing Journey

During the past month, while I was in limbo on this subject, I’ve had quite the journey.

And even though I wasn’t ill (as it turns out), I find myself more whole now than I was before.

And I continue to heal, from wounds of all kinds.

I’m eager to tell you about some of what’s transpired and the significant gifts I’ve been given. Because they’re available to you, too, if you decide to accept them.

I’ll do this over a number of posts (and/or maybe an e-booklet, I haven’t decided).

And for now, here’s one of them. Enjoy.

A Moment of Irritation

Last week, my husband made a call to a store to ask about something. The woman transferred his call to a different department. It rang and rang. Eventually she came back on, and he explained that he just had a simple question and wondered if she could help him.

He hears a huge sigh from the other end of the phone. Eventually he got his question answered, but here’s where our story takes off. At the sigh.

It struck me. She’s getting paid to help people. Okay, maybe she has a more defined role within that job description, but when you work with customers, you help people.

Embrace The Moment

What if, instead, she had said/thought “How can I help you?” with a true desire to help and with some amount of enthusiasm? Sincerely shifting her focus to be of help and embracing that new direction as exactly where she was supposed to be in that moment?

I’m not judging her. We’ve all been there, at least I have. Stressed. Behind. Irritated at those things life throws at us that are not on our agendas.

But I’ve got a new appreciation for the saying “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.”

I know she’d have had a much more pleasant moment (and so would my husband and possibly other callers) had she been able to turn on a dime and embrace the moment as it was. Even if she still needed to delegate him off to someone else, it would have a whole different energy than the chore that it seemed to be.

That’s Nice, But…

Probably we’ve all thought about this idea, and even applied it to some degree.

But if you’re like me, you often slip back into old patterns, and before you know it you’re back at your agenda and getting annoyed at anything that pulls you from it.

The difference is that this time I haven’t done that.

Why? Well…

I think it’s because I’ve gained a new appreciation for life. I’ve been reminded in a big way of how precious it is.

And this kind of thing is exactly what life is.

And I love life.

I’m tired of fighting against it in any way, shape, or form. I really don’t want to do that any more. Lord knows I’ve already done my share of it, plus some.

Life Is a Gift

When I was 29, I got clean and sober. I could so easily have died many times over while I was out there using whatever various and sundry drugs came my way. But I didn’t. I don’t know why. It was grace. A gift. A second chance. A third, fourth, and a fifth (pun intended).

My life today is all extra! Free!

And so is yours, if you think about it.

It’s all icing on the cake.

So, I’m done complaining about the icing on my cake.

I don’t care if it’s too sweet, if it’s chocolate ganache when I want vanilla butter-cream, or vanilla when I want chocolate, or whatever. Okay, maybe I do care, but that’s normal. That’s a preference. Preferences are also a delectable part of life.

I am watching myself bid goodbye to the futile exercise of resisting what is.

Resistance feels yukky and I don’t want to waste my life feeling yukky.

We’re alive, for God’s sake! Alive! And Life happens for us, not to us. I mean, what a precious gift to be walking this earth right now.

Seriously.

Rediscover the Joy

Here’s an exercise that can help this way of being become more automatic.

Watch for moments when you find yourself feeling:

  • irritated
  • annoyed
  • impatient
  • stressed
  • angry
  • resentful
  • fed up

(It works with any emotion but these are the easiest to start with.)

When you notice you’re feeling that way, ask yourself:

  1. What if I just wasn’t here (on earth, alive) at all? Which is the better alternative?
  2. What if all this is “extra” life? A bonus? A free gift? (Dessert, if you will ;-) ?)
  3. What if nothing has to be a certain way, and I’m just here to enjoy the experience of it and experience the joy of it?
  4. How would I feel about this situation then?

It doesn’t mean you aren’t supposed to feel how you feel. Feeling is a part of your energy body and is a great indicator of what’s going on at other levels of your being.

And it doesn’t mean that you don’t make note of the discomfort and go about changing the situation if it makes sense to do so.

But if you sincerely ask and answer those questions, you’ll find it much more easy to embrace that situation fully and to move forward from there.

You’ll no longer resist or fight it, but instead, you’ll be in the flow of it. In the flow of your own life as it is.

And then comes the magic.

Your emotion will lose its charge. It will bend and shift a little — or maybe even a lot.

Everything becomes just kind of amazing. Everything.

And you’ll be able to embrace your life as though you had chosen it. (Because, of course, you have.)

You’ll truly enjoy it, all the way down to your toes.

And maybe best of all — at least for us cake lovers? You’ll realize that you do, indeed, get to have your cake and eat it too. And you get to love each and every bite.

Your Turn

Please let me know how this works for you. I’m very curious if I’ve managed to home in on and communicate the mindset that has made such a difference for me.

Or maybe you have variations on these questions or altogether different ones that help you more. Please share!

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Nov 232010
 

We’ve all heard the phrase “count your blessings” and probably most of us do that quite often.

What we don’t always realize is that we’re neglecting to count some of our best ones because they’re tucked away in places we don’t think to consider.

If we take even a few moments to look we can find some of our most precious treasures buried among our discards. We quickly or even unconsciously judge certain things or experiences to be useless, inferior or even bad, and we toss them away, out of sight, out of mind.

We forget to notice the silver lining.

Gifts from Tragedy

Just last night, I heard of the death of a former classmate and old friend. He died of a sudden heart attack. This was sad enough but it came on the heels of the death of another classmate just a few weeks ago. Both cases are sad in their own way, and although I hadn’t seen one of them in many years, I still felt the loss.

Yet right along with the sadness of his death came a deep appreciation for the fact that I get to be alive. I mean, I’m alive! How cool is that?

If not for this tragedy,  I wouldn’t be experiencing my aliveness to the extent that I am this moment. In fact, I probably wouldn’t be thinking about or appreciating it at all.

And so, this new-found appreciation is a gift of this tragedy.

So this was one example, which just happens to be related to someone else’s misfortune. We easily gain new awareness of the blessings in our own lives when we notice how difficult life is for someone else, including many across the world.

More Hidden Gems

But there is also a benefit to considering our own tragedies and our own difficulties.

For hidden within them are deep and precious gifts.

I can say without a doubt that my most profound blessings have been borne of difficulty. And often the most trying situations bear the greatest gifts. They’re not all in the past, either. There are ongoing challenges, too, that are leaving little gifts in their wake, some I’m sure I haven’t even noticed yet.

The Discovery Process

One of the ways to spirit them out so we can avail ourselves of what they have to offer is to consider these questions and see if they reveal themselves. Some, if not most, are gifts not only to us but to others as well.

Here’s an exercise you can do:

Think of one major difficulty you’ve had, or something you’re going through now.

Got it?

Ok, now, go through these questions one by one with that experience in mind.

For any one situation, most of the questions will not apply. When that’s the case, just move on to the next question.

But there will probably be a handful of questions that will give you pause, and you will see that something new and wonderful entered your life when all you saw at the time was something that you just wanted to get rid of.

And if you have the time, take that moment to explore that question further in whatever way makes sense.

And now, may you discover some gems. :-)

  1. What did you learn that you are using to this day? Would you have learned it without that experience?
  2. Did you develop new skills that you benefit from, share, or enjoy?
  3. Did you become a better person? Did you discover or strengthen a part of your character that has been of value?
  4. Did you have to learn to ask for help? Was a new friendship developed because of that?
  5. Did anyone else benefit from what you went through?
  6. Were you able to help others in similar situations because of your experience?
  7. Did you discover new resources? Or friends you didn’t know you had?
  8. Did you let go of something that was not good for you, even if painful or disorienting at the time?
  9. Did you develop a new perspective on what’s good and what’s bad?
  10. Do you have a new set of values that feels better?
  11. Have you gained compassion and/or a more open heart?
  12. Have you learned how to let go of resentments, or to not develop them in the first place?
  13. Did you have the rug pulled out from under you, only to eventually land in a better place?
  14. If this was a loss of some sort, did something new and wonderful move into your life to fill the empty space that wouldn’t have been there otherwise?
  15. Have you learned how to let go of things when called for?
  16. Do you find any benefit to the impermanence of things? Does it give you an appreciation for things in the moment that you might not have had otherwise?
  17. Did you discover a different apparent source, or a new kind of flow? Is there less fear?
  18. Were you disillusioned? Do you have a new clarity about things, a new realism?
  19. Have you had a shift in your reality? A paradigm shift in what’s meaningful?
  20. Did you discover that you are okay no matter what?

You can repeat this as often as you’d like with any difficult situation.

Do you feel a little more blessed than when you started this exercise?

This exercise could easily include more questions. This set is subjective based on my experiences. I’m certain you have your own list and your own unique blessings that have come from your own difficulties as well. You can always add to it or replace questions as you see fit.

And of course, a few of these things may enter our lives even without difficulties, but it’s been my experience that difficulty is a sure catalyst for tremendous growth.

I dare say that without challenges, life wouldn’t be nearly so rich as it is.

Do you have any questions you’d like to add to this list? Or gifts you’ve gained from what felt like an unredeemable situation at the time? We’d love to hear.

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Oct 142010
 

Whatever could toilets and sacred moments possibly have in common, you ask?

A lot, actually, and your day will be all the better for knowing what. I promise!

Have you been appreciating how profoundly precious life is lately? If you’re like me, you forget every now and then.

Well, here’s a beautiful story that might jog your memory periodically, at least for awhile while it’s fresh in your mind. And maybe, like me, for long afterward.

Today I read a post by Kara of Conduit of Joy! that I found very touching. It in turn reminded me of something I’d read by Denise Linn that I still think of often, even though I first read it 8 months ago.

Essentially Denise shares what transpired between her and a friend who had just received the devastating news that she only had about 5 more days to live. (And I think I have problems?!)

I would not be able to do the story justice by piece-mealing it here… I think you would love reading the whole thing yourself (it’s short and quick, and don’t miss her p.s.) But I will share two potent quotes that I’ve taken away from it that enhance my life whenever I am fortunate enough to remember them.

In speaking of her friend:

“She said that she has realized that her entire life she’s been more afraid of living than of dying…”

WOW. Well. I can identify with that one. Can you? But it doesn’t really make sense to live that way, does it?!

And her friend said of knowing she only had a few more days to live:

“It makes every moment precious. When I go to the toilet, I know that there is only a limited number of times that I will be able to do that . . . and it makes it a ’sacred toilet moment’. When I go to sleep, this makes it a ’sacred sleeping moment’. Every bit of food, every conversation, and every moment . . . no matter how seemingly mundane, is precious. I’m cherishing it all. Really we should always be doing this.”

I absolutely, unequivocally loved this! It’s just perfect. Did you know a toilet discussion could be so, well, poignant? Holy? You may beg to differ, but anything that can make such a mundane thing so inspirational is good, grounded spirituality in my book! Gotta love it.

It also makes me aware of how blessed I am to be able to live fairly simply and to have the space and time to experience and appreciate without being overwhelmed. It’s common for me to be in awe of even simple things — which I quickly see are not simple at all, but totally miraculous!

And thanks in part to gentle reminders like these two posts, I get to appreciate yet again just how precious life is.

What is it that prompts you to do that?

Thank you for reading and sharing this virtual space. I guess I can enjoy the sound of one hand clapping, but two is so much more fun. Blessings to you!

[Photo: Egor Gribanov]