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Acceptance -- Ah-Ha!

Posted February 28, 2015

eggs

Last week, I asked what has been on your mind, and the answers came back almost unanimous: acceptance.

Some of you described it as a struggle, but most said acceptance was an ah-ha, a great learning at this stage of life.

I'm paraphrasing:

  • I will never have all the answers, but that's okay. Be still and listen.
  • Why are we here? To seek happiness, awareness and gratitude.
  • Accept and sit with feelings. Notice them without judging them.
  • I am enough, have enough and do enough. I'm not obligated to keep improving! Growth is a choice.
  • I surrender in situations I can't control anyway.
  • I'm more compassionate with myself.

One woman said that after surviving breast cancer 10 years ago, she has become a sounding board for many others. She offers understanding without being so certain anymore of how life should be.

And one man referenced Lady Gaga's “Sound of Music” solo at the Oscars last Sunday. She played it straight. No outrageous costumes or wild dancing. She wore a ball gown and stood there and sang her heart out.

Accept your true self as your best self, he said.

This message of acceptance has been coming at me from every direction lately. I guess it's what I need to learn!

Recently I visited my friend Laura Shepard in Califorinia (you might remember our radio show). Through a series of spiritual experiences, Laura has entered into a consciousness of It's All Perfect.

Not in a flaky way, but with deep knowing.

Yes, she says, we are creating everything in our lives. And, whether we enjoy it or not, everything is perfect.

It's really getting hard to talk to her. I can't complain about anything! Any frustration or fear I express is met with, “Embrace it!”

She means it. We laugh about being on different wavelengths, but she understands something I don't.

So I shouldn't have been surprised when so many of you told me acceptance has been your greatest learning lately.

I want to argue with what is because I think I should be able to create something else. Thoughts have creative power, right? I am the creator of my own experience.

Laura would say whatever I have created is exactly right for me now. Even when life is painful, the creation serves me at the deepest levels of my soul.

I do believe that, for all of us. I just want to complain about it!

So thank you for reinforcing my lessons on acceptance. You are my role models.

And thank you for sharing your spiritual journeys with me. It's an honor.

PS – More ah-ha's to share? I'm always interested. You may add comments below or just email me.

   

Now It's Your Turn

Posted February 21, 2015

hands united


Every week for the past two years, I've been sending out this blog, hoping it will be useful to you.

I just write about whatever has been on my mind. But today I want to ask, what's been on yours?

If you are reading this regularly, you're probably on some kind of spiritual path. Are you struggling with anything? Do the same questions keep coming up over and over?

Or on the flip side: What has been one Ah-Ha! you've had in the past year?

Was there something that shifted the way you think about yourself or your life or your relationship with Spirit?

Or maybe something that made your life easier?

I tell you mine every week – now you tell me yours!

We will all benefit if you are willing to share in the comments below. But if you prefer, you can just email me.

One question, one ah-ha. I'd love to know what's been going on in your life!

   

How Would You Answer This?

Posted February 14, 2015

raised hands


I was interviewed the other day by a ministerial student whose first question was, “So what is God?”

Yikes!

From there, we moved into why— if I believe human beings are inherently good and made in God's image—do they behave so badly, ranging from irritating to evil?

And what should be done about it?

It was a great conversation, although I have no idea what I said.

I've been cogitating ever since on that last question: What is ours to do about the injustices in the world, with its pain, inhumanity and despair?

I won't list all the issues. You need only turn on the news to find examples of outrageous misdeeds. It's not hard to argue the world is going to hell in a hand basket.

I remind myself often that it's all good, in the great cosmic scheme of things.

I believe—do you?—that someday when we have a higher perspective, we'll see that everything was unfolding perfectly, always pushing the planet toward awakening.

But I'm afraid that sounds as if I'm waiting for heaven in the sweet by and by. Or like the dippy spiritual people who chirp, “It's all good,” no matter what happens.

It is all good, in the absolute realm.

But as long as we're here, how much should we try to improve our outer circumstances? To change the world?

At one level, all we can do is tend to our own consciousness. To be the change we wish to see. To be peace, love, joy, fairness, and watch as that shift in more and more people brings about changes on a grand scale.

And yet, if our job is to create heaven on earth, we have a lot of work to do!

The good news? That's exactly what we're doing.

Each of us is working within ourselves toward a more elevated view of life, toward love and peace.

And each of us, I hope, is taking inspired action in the areas that call to us.

  • For some it's cleaning up the environment.
  • For others it's animal rights.
  • For others it's stemming the tide of corporate greed.
  • Or protecting children,
  • Or providing food, education and clean water where needed,
  • Or even exploring galaxies.

There may be no end of harmful mischief going on, but there also is no end to the good we can do in our little pockets of the world.

Good is brought about both through inner consciousness and outer action.

I wish we had someone to lead this conversation for the world. Rather than addressing specific issues, this person in the public eye would ask the big questions:

Who do we want to be, as nations, or even as a species?

How do we want to show up?

What do we want future generations to say about us?

That person probably wouldn't be a political leader, but maybe a religious figure who is tuned into planetary needs. Pope Francis? The Dalai Lama?

What if the Dalai Lama could trade jobs with President Obama for a year? How would the world be different if global decisions were made by someone who says, “My religion is kindness.”

I'm looking for someone to help us integrate our spiritual progress with our public life.

For now, I guess it's up to us.

So I'm curious, what is yours to do? What pocket of the world are you working in to make improvements?

This is the natural outgrowth of inner work. After all the reading and workshops and meditation, eventually we look up and notice we could be doing more. We feel moved to give and serve beyond ourselves.

So how do you want to show up this year? What are you going to do and be?

   

Two Words You Need to Define

Posted February 8, 2015

emerging butterfly


Last week in this space, I wondered why it's so difficult to keep doing the things we know are good for us—diet and exercise, prayer and meditation.

I put it in terms of accomplishment. Why don't we achieve the things we say are important, such as writing a book, starting a business or spending time with family?

At the time, I concluded they're not really important. What matters is your spiritual growth, your rising consciousness.

Having thought about it some more, I want to say: Consciousness trumps action.

I still believe your spiritual fitness is more important than checking off boxes on a list of achievements. But now it occurs to me that consciousness is ideally a catalyst for action.

It's the difference in change and transformation.

On a spiritual path, we expect to become better somehow. But do we change or transform? Are they synonymous? Or is transformation just a more grandiose word? More spiritual-sounding?

I believe they're different.

Change is new behavior at the level of personality. For instance, I might want to be less critical, so I keep my mouth shut when I see people doing things I judge as wrong. Eventually, I might lessen the habit of criticizing so often.

Transformation, on the other hand, is an inner shift. Over time, I begin to see others through a lens of compassion and forgiveness, so I have no impulse to criticize them. The difference is in my consciousness.

Watching from outside, you would only notice that I criticize less often. You wouldn't know whether I had changed or transformed.

But it makes a huge difference to me! I would much rather find myself in a new and better frame of mind than clenching my fists to keep from behaving badly.

Then, too, change can be reversed – think of every time you've fallen off a diet or failed in a New Year's resolution – while transformation is permanent. Once you elevate your consciousness, there's no going back. It defines who you are.

So in an ideal world, transformation comes first. Then change follows naturally.

If this theory is correct, it should work for anything.

Rather than slogging through another diet, a shift in consciousness to self-love would make healthy choices the natural way to go.

Rather than suffering through a family reunion, trying to be nice, a transformation to divine love might make those annoying people seem amusing and lovable.

This is why asking “What Would Jesus Do?” is the wrong question. It's not what he would DO but how he would BE, living from the consciousness of the Christ, the divine essence of all humans.

What Jesus DID came naturally to him – love, forgiveness, compassion, inclusivity – because it reflected his level of consciousness.

Still, transforming to higher consciousness may not be easy on demand!

So I suppose our goal is both/and.

Go ahead and start making changes in behavior, even if transformation takes longer. Make outer changes while you work on inner transformation through spiritual practice. I believe this is called “fake it 'til you make it.”

Then as transformation takes place, change should become easier and even effortless.

One day you'll realize the changes you desired not only have become new habits but are a natural expression of who you are.


PS - We all work to make changes, but what do you do to bring about real transformation? I'd love to know.

   




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