Monday, November 29, 2010

Learning From Our Children

I like to think that I have imparted some important and valued life lessons to my children.  I know that I have, and can think of no accomplishment in my life that is more worthy.

As much as I have taught, I have learned from them as well, and the things they have taught me are valuable beyond measure.  From my daughter, Mara, one of the really wonderful things I have learned is the importance of saying what I mean, and not shying away from speaking my truth.  That’s not to say that I do this all the time, but as someone who’s always been pretty reserved, I’m making good progress.  Mara is a very brave woman, and I admire her very much.

One of the treasured lessons I have received from my daughter, Brittany, is to look for the good.  Brittany is one of the most positive people I know, moving happily and gently through life, seeming to always look for the silver lining in every cloud.  What an amazing gift that is.

The lessons I learned from my children began almost immediately.  They didn’t need to be grown up people to be wise beyond measure.  I remember one night when my son, Eric, was two.  I was tucking him into bed, as I did every night.  I had recently started clairvoyant training, and was experiencing one paradigm shift after another as my awareness was being expanded to a much larger reality than I had previously known. 

I had been doing past life readings at the Institute where I studied, and it was rocking my world, to say the least.  I’d never really thought too much about past lives, or what eternity really meant in terms of a spirit’s expression.   My believing was trying to catch up with what I was “seeing”.

Enter my wise and very verbal two-year-old son, who said that evening out of the blue, “Mommy, do you remember when we were babies together, and we were laying on that blanket on the floor touching each other’s faces?”  There was my sacred lesson and my instant answer, that the past lives I had been seeing were real, and more importantly, that I could trust this new awareness of the clairvoyant space in the center of my head.

I’m happy to say that the lessons from my children continue.  I’ve been struggling with a personal issue, and feeling pretty reactive to it.  This morning I was “chatting” via text message with Eric, who is now almost 21, and he was telling me about how he is doing.  It made me infinitely happy to hear that he “is just very conscious of setting the energy to how I want it to be every morning.” 

His profound and simple words of conscious creativity were just the ones I needed to hear, to remember how to proceed in the face of a challenge.  I helped teach him that, and today I learned it again from him.

We continue to teach, and remind each other, of truth, and of the best in life.  I am deeply honored to know God through her perfect expression as my children.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Gratitude List

A friend of mine explained to me that one of her spiritual practices, each night before bed, is to write a list of everything that she is thankful for. She calls it her "Gratitude List."  I love this idea, and when I practice it my body immediately feels lighter as my awareness expands to include all that is possible.  It is a perfect tool to consider as we celebrate Thanksgiving today in the United States.

The state of being thankful increases our capacity for good things. It allows us to validate the positive and make room for more of it. Studies have shown how gratitude affects our bodies, easing the tension brought on by worry, lowering blood pressure and enhancing our immune system. I have begun talking about a gratitude list as a tool for some of the people I work with around stress-related illness. I notice how quickly their breathing slows and their faces soften, as they realize they can stop fighting what's wrong in their lives and acknowledge that they have a choice about what in their experience they emphasize.

Thankfulness or gratitude is a choice. A person I know who often struggles with not having enough money had been telling me that he was about to be homeless because he couldn't pay the rent. A short time later, he told me about getting some money unexpectedly, so he was able to stay. He then went on to talk about how bad things are for him, barely making it by the skin of his teeth. His thoughts of lack are creating alot of difficulty. What he didn't even see was the tremendous gift he had just been given, in getting the money he needed! What we put our attention on, we cause to grow in our lives.

Our lives are meant to glorify the creator within. Holding on to limiting beliefs does not honor what is most true about us. In any situation of seeming lack, whether it be not enough money, not enough time or love or recognition, we are able to change our perspective and the course of our lives. Cultivating a feeling of gratitude instantly changes our experience from one of disappointment and wanting to one of creativity and abundance.

My gratitude list is long, and tonight I plan to rewrite it. I don't mind that when I rewrite it many of the same things come up each time, because I can appreciate and validate them yet again. In acknowledging the good in my life, I make room for more.

Be thankful for your gifts, large and small. Don't let them go unnoticed. Just behind every belief in lack lies our ability to consciously look for the good. That is our birthright, and worth being thankful about. Through it all, we live. We laugh and cry and strive and wonder. Our hearts beat on, allowing us the miracle of expressing the divine through our own unique humanness.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

(reposted for Thanksgiving)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pulling the Aura In

I was reminded recently about the tool of pulling the aura in.  This tool can make our spirit much more comfortable navigating through the physical body.  Thank Goodness for spiritual tools!

The aura contains one's spiritual energy.  It is often thought of as the part of the spiritual energy that spills over outside of the body.  The aura has seven layers, and each of them corresponds to a chakra, or energy center, in the body.

Our energy centers are sensory in many ways.  Through them we experience feeling emotions, "seeing" energy as colors or pictures, or just "knowing," among other things.

The layers or the aura, and our chakras, can become overwhelmed with information if our aura becomes too big.  In general, keeping the aura pulled in to about 18 inches or so from the outside of the body is comfortable.  Consider the idea that we are affected by all of the energies going on around us to the degree that our aura is "taking it in."  The larger the aura, the more we have to take in, and then manage energetically.

Most of the time we don't recognize that all of the energetic "input" we receive really doesn't have anything to do with us.  We feel or sense something within ourselves, and assume that it must have to do with us.  Often that is not the case.

If we have inadvertently let our aura become as big as a room, or the entire house, we will be affected by all of the energies that are active there.  If someone is feeling frustrated or angry or depressed, we will pick it up and feel as if we need to do something to fix it.  Sometimes it doesn't feel like there's any other choice because we feel those emotions as if they are our own.

That is not to say that we don't want to be sensitive to what others, and our world, are going through.  But there are much more comfortable and healthy ways to heal what is going on around us, if we choose to.

First of all, ground your body and allow yourself to release.  (I wrote a blog called "Releasing" which describes this in detail.)

After you are grounded, allow yourself, in your mind's eye, to see, or with your knowing, to sense, how far out from your body your aura is.  If it encompasses a room, or your neighborhood, or your entire work environment, or someone else's environment, try pulling it in closer around you, so that it is about 18 inches from your body.

After we have pulled the aura in, we can set our intention, and create in any way that works for us.  By doing so we are able to be less affected by the vast barrage of energy that we encounter in a day, and to remain more clear, healthy and grounded as we create in the world.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Blessed Be Your Name

I wrote recently about fighting the good fight, and about faith.  The following beautiful song from Unity seems fitting.  This morning, for me, it's a prayer. . .

Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

Blessed be your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be your name

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

Monday, November 15, 2010


What we think, our bodies perceive as real. What we hold in mind affects the body very directly, on a moment-to-moment basis. We’ve moved beyond the spiritual awareness of a deep connection between mind and body to a point where science is able to confirm what we have known intuitively for some time.

Our thoughts create vibrations of energy within the body which the body immediately responds to. The energy of our thoughts then manifests from the inner universe of our bodies out into the greater physical world around us. In essence, we are what we think.

Consider sitting at home watching a very scary movie on TV. The things we watch on TV create thoughts that gear the body up into fight-or-flight mode, but we’re not really threatened. We’re sitting there safe and comfortable in the living room, where our thoughts alone are creating the dramatic change in our body chemistry, and causing the fearful response.

Our bodies react to our thoughts in this way throughout every moment of our lives. Worry or fear-based thoughts trigger a stress reaction in the body which can have long-lasting effects on our health and well-being. Over time these effects can become chronic.

In the same way, we can use our thoughts to trigger a relaxation response in the body. Our thoughts can actually be a vehicle for health and healing, and for enhancing our quality of life.

One very effective way to use our thoughts to positively affect our bodies is through visualization. When we make a conscious choice to hold in mind thoughts that are peaceful, grateful, joyful, or whatever we want to have in that moment, our bodies respond automatically. When we can add a picture in our imagination to our thinking, the effect on the body is enhanced.

A simple visualization technique is as follows:

1. Sit quietly with eyes closed and begin to focus on your breathing. Take a few minutes to allow your breathing to become comfortable, deep and regular.
2. In your mind’s eye, begin to visualize yourself in a place that is very peaceful and relaxing. It can be a place that you have been before, or some place that you would like to visit someday.
3. See this place in your mind’s eye as if you are there, filling in all of the details that would make it even more relaxing and enjoyable. Notice what is under your feet and above your head, and all around you.
4. Allow your senses to take part, noticing any sounds or smells that are there, or the feel of the wind blowing across your skin if you are outside.
5. Stay there in your mind’s eye for as long as is comfortable, and then open your eyes feeling at peace.

I teach this much-used technique in the stress management class that I lead at work, and also use it myself. Yesterday, as I sat for a time visualizing myself sitting on the shore of a small mountain lake where we backpack in the summer, I found my body responding to the incredibly peaceful feelings I have when we go there.

We are what we think, and we can use the powerful connection between mind and body to create peace in any moment.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fighting the Good Fight

Although this phrase originated as an evangelical call to believe in and spread the Christian faith, I have heard it recently used in a broader spiritual context. There are apparently also Greek, Norse, East Indian and perhaps other viewpoints about the meaning of the phrase.

It led me to wonder what, exactly, fighting the good fight means to me. The original term, fighting the good fight of faith, is fitting, because it can sometimes feel like a fight to remain in faith. Even the most faithful among us encounter times when we question all that we hold true, and those times of doubting everything that we’ve believed about our very existence can leave us deeply shaken. This is as it is meant to be, for in those times we are forced to release our preconceptions and open our hearts even more to the truth of our being.

Fighting the good fight could simply mean holding on to faith, no matter what. It might be a dogged determination, regardless of what’s happening in the world, how capable we’re feeling in the moment, or what others' opinions of us are, to remember God’s light expressing in and through all that we experience.

I read an interesting take on fighting the good fight based on the book Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho, in which Veronica apparently decides to attempt suicide in order to escape a life of every day being the same as the one before. In doing so, she damages her body enough to have only five days left to live, and regrets her decision after realizing that she had never really made any choices to fully live her life. I haven't read the book, but plan to, as I dearly loved his book, The Alchemist.

In this context, fighting the good fight is consciously choosing to fight complacence. It is deciding on a life abundantly lived, in which we accept the added risks of failure and loss in exchange for a bounty of delicious experience.

It makes me think of that fun email that comes around every now and then: “The purpose of life’s journey is not to arrive at the end with a well-preserved body, but rather to slide in sideways, completely used up, yelling, ‘What a ride!’” I like this way of thinking about fighting the good fight!

Fighting the good fight can also simply mean choosing at all times to do our best, whatever that is in the moment. For me, doing my best does include choosing faith in God’s good in all that comes to pass.

It means living in a way that creates few regrets. Fighting the good fight, and doing our best, is being someone who encourages others to do better and be better, and striving to be the kind of person who others are better for having known.

May you always fight your own good fight, and may this tool be a blessing. . .

Monday, November 8, 2010

More Synchronicity

I love the idea that synchronicity is playing out around us all the time, as part of the divine intelligence that moves us ever forward toward our awareness of ourselves as human expressions of God’s perfection.

Synchronicity works through us, and for us, in ways we often don’t even notice. Seemingly unfortunate events lead to unforeseen positive outcomes, and seemingly random events that are really part of a bigger plan connect us with our good.

An auto accident, after all of the inconvenient details of working with insurance companies and searching for a new car are finished, ends up providing us with a nicer, more reliable car. A conversation with an acquaintance we bump into in the supermarket ends up planting a seed in our awareness about how we can move forward with a long-held dream we’ve had.

Many people have read the stories of people who for some reason were supposed to be in the World Trade Center on September 11, but because of a sick child, or even a broken heel on a shoe, were kept away on that day. For those people those simple events were not random, but part of their perfect path in ongoing creation.

Like all things having to do with learning to navigate as spirits through these physical bodies, the more aware we are of the synchronous nature of our universe, the better able we are to harness its power in guiding us to create our best lives.

Listening for the gentle promptings of a perfect universe can be enlivening, and fun! It is at the crux of our connection with the purely creative essence that guides all of life. We have to be sitting squarely in the present moment to even notice synchronicity playing out in our days. And we definitely need to be fully present to be able to hear where divine and perfect order is guiding our next steps.

Some people experience their connection with synchronicity by trusting their sixth sense. With practice, we can become more adept at noticing the subtle messages we receive in our bodies when that six sense seeks to guide us toward our greater good.

In my own life, I’ve experienced synchronicity by heeding a gentle hunch to do something in a different way than I had planned. At those times, it would have been very easy to disregard my quiet intuition in favor of following the track that my much louder thinking was stuck on.

I’ve said before that I write to remember. So today I remember to let my moments unfold one by one. And I will listen for my heart’s quiet direction as I walk my path this day. I will pay attention as my heart says, “no, not that way, go here,” in its soft voice that is almost a whisper, part voice, part feeling. I will listen as my spirit’s voice speaks through the quickened feelings and gentle voice of my heart.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

A little Synchronicity from a Friend

Corine, from Everyday Gyaan, had her own experience with synchronicity and I thought you might like to read about it.  Blessings, Sherry

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I love the statement by Jon Kabat-Zinn in his book, Wherever You Go, There You Are, that “it takes great courage and energy to cultivate non-doing, both in stillness and in activity.” I would add that it also takes lots of practice!

I recognize the gifts inherent in cultivating non-doing, but in our doing-oriented world, it is often difficult to just be. One would think that ceasing doing for awhile would be the easiest thing in the world, a simple choice to make. It is a choice, but one often fraught with repercussions when things are expected of us.

It does take courage to keep reminding ourselves that the panic to get things done is part of the world, but not who we are. And it can feel like a big leap of faith to fully accept things exactly as they are, and with ourselves as we are, trusting that all is as it should be. It always takes courage to place our trust in a higher, unseen truth.

It also takes a lot of energy to stick with it, to be in the world, and immersed in our days, but constantly remembering to reset our reality to one that for the most part doesn’t mesh with what is around us. As Kabat-Zinn says, “The doing mode is usually so strong in us that the cultivation of non-doing ironically takes considerable effort.” Sometimes, rather than going with the flow of life's hectic pace, we need to make a conscious decision to just stop.

When we do choose to stop and just be for a moment, the awareness that nothing else is really needed but our presence in our experience can bring immense joy and clarity. It is a great paradox that we can also choose non-doing in our activity as we take our steps throughout the day, fulfilling our roles and being the people who we are.

According to Kabat-Zinn, “Non-doing doesn’t have to be threatening to people who feel they always need to get things done. They might find they get even more “done”,” and done better, by practicing non-doing.” “Non-doing simply means letting things be and allowing them to unfold in their own way.”

Words to live by!  And I am, as always, grateful for the reminder.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I Am Not I . . .

A beautiful quote, worth sharing, from Juan Ramon Jimenez:

I am not I. . .
I am this one walking beside me whom I do not see.
Whom at times I manage to visit, and at other times I forget.
The one who remains silent when I talk, the one who forgives, sweet, when I hate.
The one who takes a walk when I am indoors.
The one who will remain standing when I die.

May you know the one who walks beside you, and may you be blessed this day.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Being Willing

My husband and I are in the midst of Unity’s yearly fall book study program, spending treasured time once a week with a group of spiritual seekers and kindred spirits.  While willingness isn’t a specific topic in the book we’re studying, the idea of being willing came up last week, and I was grateful for the reminder about this important spiritual tool.

All forms of unforeseen assistance result from a decision to, if nothing else, just be willing.  In life we face many different situations in which we are unsure how to proceed, or are not sure that we know how to accomplish what is expected of us, or what we hope ourselves to be capable of.  There are times when what we envision is so very different from what we’ve known ourselves or the world to be that our seemingly lofty hopes can seem like pipe dreams.  In all of these times, being willing opens our hearts and our minds to divine intelligence that will find a way for good regardless of how things appear on the surface.

The limitless creative potential that exists in each of us is quickened by our willingness.  In those rough times when we feel stuck or lost and can think of no appropriate course of action, being willing to just consider the possibility that there is a perfect answer to our need can allow the universe to work its magic on our behalf. 

Being willing to suspend our judgment and preconceived notions for just a moment makes room for the seeds of a higher reality to take hold.  An example might be feeling deeply unable to forgive someone, even though we might want to.  A decision in that moment to just try to be willing to forgive creates a subtle but vast shift in what we are capable of, and who we know ourselves to be.  We can change the world by just being willing.

In making a decision to be willing, we don’t have to be perfect.  We don’t even have to trust that we will be able to do what we’re hoping to do.  We can be ever so gentle with ourselves, and honor our humanity, by acknowledging that even when things seem the most fraught with limitation, we can stop fighting and surrender to our willingness.

May this tool be a blessing. . .