October 24

So Much Free Stuff, So Little Time to Read it All

 

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The Internet is such an amazing place.  I’ve become so adept at finding resources that help me towards my goals that I am in awe of just how much is out there for free or next to nothing.  Between Kindle e-books and YouTube videos, I can learn how to do just about anything.  BUT, it requires weeding, because there is a lot of crap out there and thus I bump into crux of the issue.  Overwhelm.  It takes patience and persistence to weed through it all and discern what is worth investing energy into and what isn’t.  All of this can be exacerbated by my tendencies to gather resources when I am gearing up for a project. The problem is this:

 too many choices aren’t helpful.

In fact, it can be crippling.  And like all good Americans, I am seduced by “free.”  The result is that I have some 2000+ free e-books.  I mean seriously – I have really just given myself more work to do because now I have to weed through those.  Thank heavens Kindles have a search feature!

Still, I am noticing what while I am consciously unburdening myself of much of my stuff, selling things I don’t need, throwing out the junk, part of me is addicted to exploring what free stuff is available today from the Amazon Bestseller Nonfiction BookstoreAnd even though I recently read that it is inefficient to read more than three books on one subject because there will be very little new information after the third, I still frequently find myself discovering new books that make me so glad I found them.  Some of them are related to technology and those things change quickly, so I am hesitant to relinquish my new pastime.

What I’ve determined is that I need to develop a system and discard all the stuff that isn’t in line with that system.  Not that I am trying to put all my eggs in one basket, most books on generating wealth suggest multiple income streams and I am working towards that, but it helps to eliminate things that are clearly not in line with my goals.  I don’t need to download a book on how to do origami because I’m not interested enough in it at this time to invest any time and energy into it.

And the thing is this:

those resources will be there if I change my mind.

It’s a trust thing.  It’s a sufficiency thing. It’s a priority thing.  And, it’s an individualized thing.  What is important to me, may not be the same thing that is important to you.  We all need to develop our own systems.

Having said that, one of the things I learned studying art in college is that great artists steal.  What I mean by that is that they borrow each other’s ideas; they use each other for inspiration.  They don’t try to reinvent the wheel every time they start a project.  So lately, I look at what other folks are doing and see what it is in their systems that I like.  Then I do the same thing I do when I cook, I take the ingredients that speak to me and I omit the ones that have no appeal, recognizing, of course, that sometimes the ones I want to omit may be crucial components for achieving success so I may need to throw them in after all.

One of the free resources I’ve discovered is FreeMind, which is mind mapping software.  Because. according to one of the free e-books, Brain Focus: Learn Practical Brain Focus Techniques To Develop Unstoppable Mind Focus and Mental Discipline (Brain Training and Mental Focus Book 4) I’ve recently downloaded, part of the reason I go into overwhelm is I’m trying to remember all the billions of things I need to do and I am overburdening my prefrontal cortex.  By the way, classic example that illustrates my point about free resources, this book was published yesterday.  Yesterday it was free.  Today it is $2.99.  (And no, I don’t know the author).

It helps to write it down.  I’m also reading The Practically Magical Use of Lists (Life Transformation System A-Z Book 2).  Again, it was free when I downloaded it; it’s now $9.99.  Same goes for the other five books by this author, all of which I own; none of which cost me a penny.

Perhaps the point of all this is that while it may not be healthy to approach life as if this opportunity isn’t going to last, (a fear-based mentality rooted in the fear of not enough), it’s also not wise to act as if the opportunities will always be there.  Sometimes, “you snooze, you lose,” is very valid advice.  The important piece here, in my estimation, that it helps to have your priories straight.  Downloading my twentieth book on meditation is probably not productive especially when I have not read the first nineteen!   Again, it goes back to trust or faith.  If I have faith in the universe to support me and supply me with everything I need, then I don’t need to freak out and worry about missing out on opportunities.  I can relax and know that I will be divinely guided to do what I need to do, which may be why last night when I settled into my bed to read before going to sleep, I found myself downloading the Brain Focus book when I had had no intention of checking out what free books were available. The other one I downloaded,Brain Training: The Ultimate Brain Training Tips for Mental Focus and Concentration Training (Brain Training, Memory Improvement, Brain Plasticity), which I haven’t started reading yet, is still free, so if you hurry you can take advantage of it.

All I know for certain is that the one resource that really matters to me is A Course in Miracles.  And that is definitely free online.  But I’m not getting rid of my paperback edition anytime soon.

October 23

Loving the One I Have

guest house

THE GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

– Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

The Guest House is one of my favorite poems, a reminder to embracing life, all of it.  It is all there to support me. This morning, there was no sorrow, no dread, even though there were still tasks I’d prefer to shove aside and not face.  My introverted soul has felt a little imposed upon lately and I want to embrace the selfish me that screams for nurturance.  When I remembered this poem, it returned me to the place of gratitude where I feel good about all of it, even while disliking it.

Poetry breeds poetry.  I find it soothing.  It calls to the soul and says, “Come.  Sit with me a while.”  I read and settle into the arena of the divine, where language flows over me and kisses me with passion.  I find myself.  I find peace. Gratitude is peace’s companion.

Awhile back, my friend Brandi shared this poem, Couple’s Therapy, with me:

I love it and yet I had to stop listening to it because something about hovering around this disease didn’t feel healthy for me, like circling around it was inviting in my own demons and I can’t go there.  I can’t go there.  Sure, treat all of it like a welcome house guest, but to stay in gratitude I can’t go to the space where the sorrows are now permanent family members.  I have to stay with love, with the part of me that knows everything is working out, despite appearances and that means that these guests can be shown the door once their welcome has been outworn.

It’s like negative energy.  When I’m around negative people, people who are vibrating at a slower frequency than me, I can only deal with it for an extended period of time if I am helping to raise their vibration.  If I am inspiring them, helping them in some way, it works.  But if their dark demons are sucking me into their dark hole, I can’t stay there.  I have to escape to a place where I can remember the truth of who and what I am.  I have to repeat lines from the Course (which is so poetic!) to myself and remind myself that I am only here to teach love.

I open the Course and find myself staring at the answer.  It is so amazing how that works.

You cannot correct yourself. Is it possible, then, for you to correct another? Yet you can see him truly, because it is possible for you to see yourself truly. It is not up to you to change your brother, but merely to accept him as he is. His errors do not come from the truth that is in him, and only this truth is yours.  His errors cannot change this, and can have no effect at all on the truth in you. To perceive errors in anyone, and to react to them as if they were real, is to make them real to you. You will not escape paying the price for this, not because you are being punished for it, but because you are following the wrong guide and will therefore lose your way.

If I am perceiving negative energy, then I am reacting as if the errors were real and making them real to me.  I am following the wrong guide.  Sometimes I shout out to myself, “You will never lose your way, for God leads you.”  It returns me to remembering.  I cannot follow the dictates of others.  No one else knows what is right for me.  Only me.  The me that remembers to listen to divine guidance.

So this living, this being human, requires balance.  It requires noticing the errors, the fear, the parts that are calling to be healed, but not allowing the illusions to suck me into making them real.  It requires loving all of it, recognizing that all of it is here to support me.  All of it.  And the way out of the seeming hell is to love it all.  Be grateful for it all.  The ones who irritate me because they somehow think that I should be on their timetable and available 24/7, they teach me to set boundaries and lovingly remind them that I am not their property and I get to do my life the way I want.  The ones who have opinions about how I should be spending my time or resources, they get to have their opinions and I get to solidify my own ideas about what is right for me despite those opinions.  I get to learn how to do this without the need to try to make anyone else wrong in the process.  Yes, I get to love it all.  I get to find a way to invite them all in and allow them to clear out my house for me.  And then, when they are done, I get to invite them to leave.  And there is no rule that says that can’t be the last time they visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: ACIM, Life, Peace | LEAVE A COMMENT
October 22

Standing in the River of Flow and Getting Knocked to the Ground

river

 

Flow.  I am stepping into flow and it requires focus.  It requires beginning with the end in mind and a billion other clichés.  Dang.  I just realized why it is challenging for me to begin with the end in mind – because I like things to evolve organically which means that I don’t tell it what to be.  But that can be problematic insomuch as it’s hard to achieve a result when you don’t have any idea what that looks like.  There has to be a balance.  From the Course’s perspective, this means, peace needs to be my goal, but I am not necessarily going to know what that looks like, I’m only going to know what it feels like.

This was part of the decision from last night’s ACIM group meeting.  The line that set things off was, “Vision or judgment is your choice, but never both of these.” Judgment must be suspended to be able to see.  Acceptance of what is means that there is a freedom that emerges.  There is no need to fight whatever is happening, it can be surrendered to in the knowingness that whatever is happening is what needs to happen.  We are no longer trying to make God wrong.

And what that is well and good when I have faith that what is happening is supporting me.  It is another story when I can’t seem to find how it could possibility be benevolent.  This is where those labels of good and bad creep in and I notice I somehow climbed back into bed with judgment.  I mean, I thought I was doing okay with the suspending judgment thing and then I noticed how I didn’t really feel that confident in God’s version of how things should be going down.

I think this is where I sometimes get tripped up, because I am co-creator here and God always says, “yes,”  I forget that my acting as if things aren’t that great makes sure that they aren’t.

Say what????

Me acting like what is happening shouldn’t be happening is the thing that creates hell.  Let’s see if I can unravel this.  I’m going to lay it out in simple terms for myself so I can notice how I mess it up.

I am going somewhere, I’m late (what else is new?).

I feel rushed.  Shit.  “I’m going to be late,” I think.  I start to get stressed out.

At this point, God says, “yes.”  And suddenly there is a traffic jam ahead and this mere idea of feeling as if I’m not being supported, supports that idea.  It creates the very thing I don’t want.  What!!!!  Wait a minute!!!!!  Back up!  Start over.

Okay, I run out the door.  I am late (we aren’t changing the circumstances here, just going with what is).  In this moment, I remember that I am supported and that late is my evaluation of a future event that wasn’t happened yet.  Great.  All well and good, Nanc, but you still need to be someplace that is twenty miles away and you have twenty minutes to get there.  “There is no way you are going to make it on time, girl!”  Okay.  Breathe into acceptance.  No judgment about it.  It is what it is.

I find my happy place that remembers how supported I am by God.  I don’t beat myself up for being late yet again.  I don’t make myself wrong or guilty.  I don’t make anyone else wrong or guilty (“damn it, why does my husband always need to talk to me when I need to get out the door!?!”)  I just go with it.  I remember that I am totally loved and supported at all times.  I take the opportunity at the first traffic light to text my client and let them know I am late.

This has actually happened to me on more than one occasion.  Invariably when I manage to step into the second scenario, I send a text and the response back is, “me, too.”  Generally, traffic opens up, and I get there sooner than I had anticipated and I end up spending five minutes awaiting the arrival of my client.

But it is just as possible that they get there first and are pissed.  Or that I’m late to the doctor’s appointment or whatever.  The point is this, “I do not know what anything is for.”  How am I going to be open to miracles if I have my mind made up that God is wrong and it should be unfolding the way I think it should be unfolding.  And no one ever does anything right and blah, blah, blah.  I am resisting reality.  I have not opened to the possibility of miracles or surprise or anything other than a repeat of what always happens.  When I go in with the attitude that I know how this always goes down, then I am ensuring that the past gets repeated.  I am dragging the past into the present.  “Hello judgment.  Did you come here to mess me up again?”

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This letting go of judgment thing is not always easy.  Oops that was a judgment.  This letting go of judgment thing creates experiences, it creates opportunities for forgiveness.  It creates opportunities to choose again.  And again.  And again.  I do not know what anything is for.  Why do I sometimes think that God is wrong and this shouldn’t be happened and I know you say I am always being supported, but I feel like my life is going to hell in a hand basket and I sure don’t feel supported!

I choose again.  Being attacked by my client or my coworker is in support of my life.  Okay God.  We are going to go with that, but let me take a moment to say, it feels awful to be attacked.  Where’s the love?  Where’s the respect?  “Only what you have not given can be lacking in any situation.”  Why is it always up to me?

poster-karma-dyer

Because there is only one of us here.  We’re all connected.  We are all one.  And if you are not in your right mind and I notice it, then it becomes my responsibility to be the sane one, the one who remembers who we are.  The Course says this:

5 When a brother behaves insanely, you can heal him only by perceiving the sanity in him. If you perceive his errors and accept them, you are accepting yours. If you want to give yours over to the Holy Spirit, you must do this with his. Unless this becomes the one way in which you handle all errors, you cannot understand how all errors are undone. How is this different from telling you that what you teach you learn? Your brother is as right as you are, and if you think he is wrong you are condemning yourself.

Still, there is a part of me that would love to blame the other guy.  I know, ego.  We are trying to heal that here.

And by the way, what does any of this have to do with flow, because I’m pretty sure that is where we started?

It has everything to do with it.  Flow is birthed from focus, knowing what I want the result to be (peace).  And synchronicity happens when I am choosing vision rather than judgment.  In reality, synchronicity is always happening, but when I’ve been giving bad (change that – undesirable) direction – as in “damn it, I’m going to be late!” then I’m not going to notice how things are falling into place because the direction I gave was “I don’t trust things to work out.”  So life is demonstrating to me that I am correct; that it’s not safe to hope for things because they never work out for me.  I am creating the thing I fear.  I hate when that happens.

There is a reason the advice of “act as if” exists.  As Wayne Dyer says, “You’ll see it when you believe it.”  The trick is to keep returning to what my goal is.  Peace.  I said my goal was peace.  And love.  Oh, and a life that I love.  Do you think maybe I should start by loving the one I have?

peace

by danorbit

 

 

 

October 21

Misusing Time and Changing My Mind about It

a course in miracles

This morning, I awoke in a neutral space, but I could feel that nudge of familiarity egging me towards dissatisfaction.  I wasn’t in gratitude.  I wasn’t in joy.  I certainly wasn’t in peace.  Not a good sign.  I reached for the Course and allowed the pages to open randomly to what I needed to know in that moment.  The first words I read were these.  “I seem to have problems only because I am misusing time.”  This is very apparent to me as I find time frittering away and anxiety mounting over what I feel I should be doing but….  Lately, I find myself wondering daily what I can do to squelch the resistance that I keep bumping up against.  As always, the Course leads me to my answers.  I open to Lesson 90, which is a review.  For some reason I read the second part before the first.

(80) Let me recognize my problems have been solved.

I seem to have problems only because I am misusing time. I believe that the problem comes first, and time must elapse before it can be worked out. I do not see the problem and the answer as simultaneous in their occurrence. That is because I do not yet realize that God has placed the answer together with the problem, so that they cannot be separated by time. The Holy Spirit will teach me this, if I will let Him. And I will understand it is impossible that I could have a problem which has not been solved already.

The answer is with the problem, they are not separate.  The problem is the answer.  “The answer to the problem is already given me, if I will accept it.” I notice my resistance to accepting the answer and then return to the beginning of the lesson.

(79) Let me recognize the problem so it can be solved.

Let me realize today that the problem is always some form of grievance that I would cherish. Let me also understand that the solution is always a miracle with which I let the grievance be replaced. Today I would remember the simplicity of salvation by reinforcing the lesson that there is one problem and one solution. The problem is a grievance; the solution is a miracle. And I invite the solution to come to me through my forgiveness of the grievance, and my welcome of the miracle that takes its place.

a course in miracles

“Some sort of grievance I would cherish.”  Ouch.  I don’t think of myself as holding grievances.  What grievance am I holding?  I pause for a moment and scan my mind for the answer.  It is a lack of willingness.  The grievance is that I don’t want to do the things I must.  What that really means, of course, is that I am resisting the miracle.

Wait.  What!!!!

I am resisting the miracle.  Why?  Because some part of me that wants to play small and stay hidden and doesn’t want to have to go there.  I don’t want to grow into a larger version of myself.  I want to hole up and feel sorry for myself and struggle and strive and bitch about it hoping against hope that someone else will do it for me and I won’t have to face myself.

What you seek is seeking you.

~Rumi

I remember my friend Alejandro’s reminder “medicine is the poison, the poison’s the medicine.”  The answer is in the problem.

Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!

I feel like the heroine in a movie when she comes faces to face with the big denouement.  Except, not to jinx myself or anything, but I know my ego is clever enough to suck me back into this forgetfulness.  (Which is why so many of us study the Course for years). The thing I must remember is this:  my lack of willingness is keeping me from the miracle that God would bless me with if I would but allow.  I have been keeping myself from a miracle.

Was hanging on to the grievance so important?  Did I so need someone to take pity on me that I would deprive myself from the joy that God would bathe me in?  Why have I chosen crumbs from the table over the banquet that is mine to have?

I have forgotten who I am.  Today is Tuesday, my night of salvation, the night my Course in Miracles study group meets and I get to remember that truth,  I get to feel how loved I am.  How cherished the space where God would hold me and whisper to me of my guiltlessness.

It is a little strange how we come together and I have these moments where I feel like I get to be a little bit of light for others to learn how to embrace this stuff and yet simultaneously, I recognize how very human I am and how very much I have to learn.  Moments like these, I am glad for others in the group who come to share and open my heart to further understanding.  And indeed, the moments when I come at last to rest awhile with these miracles, I feel my heart open and love rushes in and I know the answer was always here, waiting for me to say hello.  There is no separation.  The problem is the answer.  Miracles have been waiting for me.

May I remember today to let them come.  May I remember who I am.  May I remember who we are.

October 20

Alternate Me

mirror image

by Helga Weber

 

What if I were to spend the day imagining an alternate me?  Some might call it foolishness but in truth everything is born twice – first in the world of imagination and second into form.  Before anything can exist in physical reality, in must first be conceived of in the mind.  Now, having said that, part of the fun of creative endeavors is the spontaneity of following impulse without a clear idea of the result.  It’s catching a glimpse of some half-visible concept forming in the mind’s eye and following it to see where it leads, allowing it to unfold with no clear idea of what comes next..

Any artist knows that art is born of listening to some inner something that tugs and shoves and hardly allows for peace if you ignore it.

Novelists will tell you, the characters develop a reality of their own.  They are the ones directing the story; the novelist is but recording their directives.  And so it is with these alternate me’s.  I can spend time with them; give them names and assignments (you – you’re the successful business person; you – no, that other you! – you’re the kind, wise woman), but ultimately if I allow them to run wild in my brain, they will develop like characters in a novel.  I need only allow them space in my head to play.

I really don’t do that much, but I’m thinking perhaps I should.

After all, the mind doesn’t know the difference between vividly imagining and actually doing.

Although I can’t locate the source of this information, I remember hearing a tape once by Deepak Chopra explaining how they had done an experiment on a group of people for a high school reunion and did a battery of tests on the participants at the beginning of the experiment to measure blood pressure, hearing, eye sight, etc.  They then created an environment where everything was exactly as it had been fifty years earlier and instructed everyone to pretend as if they really were still back in whatever year it was.  At the end of the experiment, they reran all the tests and discovered that the participants were responding as if they were much younger – blood pressure, hearing, sight and other age related ailments all improved.

So I am thinking, I need to spend more time in these alternate realities.  I need to imagine myself thinner, younger, healthier, more well-read.  I’m figuring it can’t hurt and it might just work wonders.

October 19

Tales of a Lying Brain

 

brain

Jumping Brain by Emelio Garcia http://www.flickr.com/photos/10819018@N05/2403693037

Jumping Brain by Emelio Garcia http://www.flickr.com/photos/10819018@N05/2403693037

 

There are some things that my brain lies to me about.  It tells me to hold back, play small – it tries to protect me.  Basically, my brain sometimes acts like this mean babysitter that won’t let me go play and have fun.  So, I forget sometimes, that it is in fact lying to me.  I believe its lies and so I am surprised when I discover the truth.  In this case, the truth is that I really enjoy playing with arts and crafts.  I’d forgotten that.

Yesterday, I spent nearly the whole day over at the home of some friends from church.  They graciously provided the space, some materials and even fed us (well, I might add!) so that our youth could work on arts and crafts for the upcoming 1st Annual Arts and Crafts Fair at church.  We had a blast.  The reason I mention the lying part of my brain is that I seriously didn’t want to go.  I wanted to stay home and do whatever it is I do, but instead I forced myself to go (see yesterday’s post about resistance!).

I made some Day of the Dead stuff, I painted, I decorated a box.  In general, I just let loose.  Is it great art?  Probably not; but it brought me back to my childhood when I would spend hours working on projects, beading, sewing, needlework, making paper flowers, drawing, creating!  And it took me back to some of my favorite times with the kids and grandkids when we set our sights on a project and allowed it to consume us.  It was therapeutic.  It was heaven.

day of the dead

Dead by Brian http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035569931@N01/287471803

 

And it made me wonder, why does my brain lie to me about such things?  What part of me is so consumed with not being revealed that it hides away this creative expression?  Does it matter that it’s not great art?  Is anyone seriously attending an arts and crafts fair in hopes of finding a masterpiece for five bucks?

Our hostess yesterday is an amateur artist.  She loves art, studies it, takes lessons, she even has her own studio.  She showed me around their home, pointing out some paintings along the way, some of which cost her good money.  And what I recognized in that moment is that art is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it; the more people that like it, the more valued it is will be and the higher price it can command, but a lot of that is based on exposure.  If no one knows your stuff exists, then there are fewer people vying for it because fewer people know about it.

How many people have extraordinary talent that few ever find out about because of lack of exposure?

Think Susan Boyle.

One day, a nobody that no one knew could sing, other than perhaps the members of the choir at her local church, the next day an overnight sensation.

The thing that strikes me about Ms. Boyle is that when she walked out on the stage of Britain’s Got Talent she was ready to be seen.  She had silenced the inner critic enough to claim her good, “I want to be a professional singer,” she had the audacity to tell Simon Cowell.

So maybe becoming someone of notice is a matter of decision; it’s a matter of claiming your good and having the pluck to own it.

While painting yesterday, my friend Brandi was working on a painting we all loved.  The depth of the color was amazing, like a spectacular sunset.  But her inner critic wouldn’t allow her to see the good.  “Okay, sure, but nothing to be in awe of.  I’m glad you enjoy it,” was her attitude. It reminded me of a book I had read years ago (I can’t remember the title of it or even the artist it was about) but in the book, the artist was doing a self-portrait and he would make great progress on it, and then there would be something he didn’t like and so he would wipe it out and start over.  This went on for ages, months, maybe even years.  There was no point where he could just live with the imperfection of it.  Maybe that’s a good thing, the striving to be better, to achieve a higher standard, but at what point does it stop being useful?  At what point does it just become self-sabotage?

Sometimes we need the opinions of others to be able to shut the inner critic up.  Sometimes we can’t see our own value because our brains lie to us.  Sometimes ego creeps in and either puffs itself up with grandiosity or crawls under a rock with smallness.  It’s not always easy to distinguish what’s going on.  At what point do we believe in ourselves enough to know we have something to offer without letting it go to our heads?

I know for myself, when I am writing, I often feel there is room for improvement, but I also know when I’m ready to let things go.  As long as I feel movement and a sense of completion over the piece, I’m satisfied.  And, I also know when I think something is good and when I think it is crap.  The trick is learning to shut the inner critic up long enough to get it out there; and to remember that my brain lies to me.  A LOT!  So it’s not really a reliable evaluator. I can’t really trust myself to evaluate myself with any accuracy.  And when I realize that, I am grateful for my spiritual training; I remember that I don’t even need to worry about evaluating, I can just allow.  I can just enjoy having fun without the need to scrutinize.  It just is and often, that is good enough.

 

 

 

 

October 18

The Value of Pushing Through

sisyphus

http://www.flickr.com/photos/38451115@N04/4307189567

Some days I don’t want to.  I don’t want to get up.  I don’t want to do any work.  I don’t want to do one damned thing that is on my list of things to do.  I don’t want to.  What I want to do is crawl inside an ashram, sit cross-legged (although I can’t, but I want to), and meditate for about three days.  I want to just block out the world.  I want to just settle into that quiet space where I can hear myself think (or not think but just be).  That’s what I think I want; except there is this part of me that says that to want that is to oppose what is.  To want that is obviously some ego-based bullshit because I am fighting reality.  I am trying to make God wrong.  I am resisting what is in front of me to do.

This is part of the lesson, the evolution, the thing I’ve been stretching towards.  It is part of the reason I’m here.  It is why I study A Course in Miracles.  It is how I make myself miserable.  It is part of this being human experience.  And I haven’t yet learned how to love it.  I want to but I haven’t.

What I know from studying the Course is that I don’t need to be perfect about it.  It’s okay that I have days like this where I want to rant and rave and scream like a three-year-old in the throes of a tantrum. It’s okay.  It’s fine.  I don’t need to beat myself up over it; in fact beating myself up is just more ego shenanigans.  Beating myself up over it is just a way to keep me stuck, a way to make it that much harder to move past it.

So maybe I don’t yet know how to have such things arise and go immediately into love.  So what?  I don’t yet know how to feel good when a former client contacts me because he got screwed over by the buyer that I found for him.  I know that it’s not my responsibility, but I feel bad.  I feel somehow responsible and I don’t know how to love all of that.  I don’t know how to be in the throes of a bad situation and feel nothing but gratitude.  I’m not that evolved.  I may be a spiritual being having a human experience, but I haven’t reached the point where I have transcended the impulse to allow myself to be pushed around by it. So what?

byron katie

http://www.flickr.com/photos/85608594@N00/12248119753

 

It’s okay.  It’s okay that I am not so evolved that such things no longer push my buttons.  This is where I develop compassion.  This is where I hone my ability to let go of judgment about it all.  I can recognize that I want to do better.  I can notice how much further I have to go.  But I can also let go of thinking I need to be perfect about it now.  I can be gentle with myself.  I can let myself off the hook for having a bad day.

AND, I don’t have to fight what is.  In our ACIM study group last Tuesday, an important point arose – judgment is not necessary.  Judgment is, in fact, the idea that I know best what should be happening.  But the idea is ludicrous on many levels.

“I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality.”

― Byron KatieLoving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life

So recognizing that takes me back to humility.  It takes me out of my indignation over what is happening and allows me to settle into acceptance.  Whatever is happening, is happening and I can either go with it or fight it.  Going with it stirs up rebellion from my ego who wants things to be the way it wants things to be.  But they aren’t that way so, I must be mistaken.

life is simple

Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it… it’s just easier if you do. Byron Katie

So, I’m choosing easy.  I’m choosing to power through my resistance and be gentle with myself.  Because sometimes I have days that my ego wants to label as bad.  But since I’d giving up judgment about such things, maybe it’s just easier to say, some days, I have days that I don’t always like but I always choose to call blessings.  And so it is.

October 17

Following Joy

joyful living[ ATTRIBUTE: Please check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/85608594@N00/14693572104 to find out how to attribute this image ]

 

What if each day you sought joy?  What if your purpose each day was to express joy, to find what makes your heart sing and attend to that?  How would it change your day?  What if that’s what you are supposed to be doing?

I don’t believe we were brought here to be miserable or work hard.  I believe we are here to express God, or as Reverend Patrick used to say, “To show God a good time.”  What if I followed my heart, explored the things that had me happy, devoted time to that?  It’s not that there aren’t things that must be done – if you don’t pay the electric bill they will leave you in the dark – but just as surely there are things that nurture, activities that make the heart happy.

So if you were sent here to do one thing, do you know what it is?  If you don’t, how will you find it if you don’t spend time exploring?  Rumi has much to say about it, though I will not reprint it here.  For today, I just want to consider the possibility, that joy is a compass.  Follow it and see where it leads you.

BOOK REVIEW: The OPA! Way: Finding Joy & Meaning in Everyday Life & Work

This husband and wife duo reminds us of these age-old truths, and prompt us to discover our own path to meaningful and joyful living. This road compels us to look at all areas of our life, to identify what’s truly important, to simplify, to even begin

ChooseWiser

How 2 Advocate 4 Your Own Health: Lessons in Joyful Living’s Kimberly Rinaldi & myself. @Live_Joy_Fully http://t.co/xRV7fgxXaC

Opening Words: Exploring Joy – ~ Tending Joy ~

And I love to make connections between wisdom traditions, listening for what others have said throughout time and around the world. This has become a kind of path for me, and it is the way in which I have been exploring Joy …
October 16

Fishing Lessons: What Do You Want to Catch and Will It Feed You?

“Catch a man to fish, and you can sell it to him.  Teach a man to fish, and you ruin a wonderful business opportunity,”  — Karl Marx

 

fishing

I’m about self-sufficiency.  Always preferred teaching others to fish rather than fostering dependence because as some point, I’m not going to want to be responsible for another person’s ability to eat and I’m going to want to move on to some other venture.  There are seriously not that many things in my life that I want to be forever, so I am definitely of the “teach-a-man to fish” genre.

But what if I am missing a huge business opportunity?  What if the business is teaching fishing?

Lately, I find myself wondering what this blog is for.  It feels like it wants to grow into something bigger than it is.  It feels like I want to post a big sign that says:

“Fishing Lessons Available Here.”

But why would anyone come to me for fishing lessons?  I’m still just making ends meet.  I’m still obviously figuring some of this shit out.

I’ll tell you why — because even though I am still figuring out the money, I know I’m almost there.  I know that so much of it is right at my fingertips and once I have it, watch out!  In fact, one of these days, people will be coming to me to get their arms around the money piece. I’m that close.  And seriously, despite that on paper I am so much less than impressive in terms of my financial worth, I am also a person that has managed to keep a roof over my head, and food on the table and keep reasonably current on my bills.  No repossessions.  I tax my taxes.  And yes, all the bills from back three years ago when we were in the interlock business fell by the wayside and yes, we probably should have filed bankruptcy a long time ago, except that it takes money to do that and I sort of don’t want to anyway and by now, three years later, most of those creditors have pretty much given up.  The bills we have, I pay.  We live frugally, but we also have the luxury of a life that works for us on a lot of levels.  And we are paring it down to what is important.

There is nothing like dire circumstances to define your priorities for you.

I know how to do this.  I know how the principles work and although I get that more and more, the “secret” is not a secret, I know that a lot of folks still don’t really understand how to use these principles themselves.  I’m a Religious Scientist – the reason Ernest Holmes called it “science” is that the principles are repeatable and provable.  The tough part for most of us is that we look as circumstances as the proof that the principles don’t work.  We think that those circumstances proof that Law of Attraction stuff is just plain wishful thinking.

But this is scientific stuff.  There is a reason why Pam Grout’s book E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality is a best-seller.  Because thoughts create reality.  Your experience of the world is directly related to your ideas about it.  This reminds me of the story how friendly a town is.  When asked about how friendly a place is, Wayne Dyer asked that person, “How is the town where you live now?”  If the answer was that the place that they came from an unfriendly place, he would assure them that this town was every bit as unfriendly.  But is they came from a loving, happy town, he would assure them that this place was just as friendly.

The world is our mirror – it shows us what we think.  A Course in Miracles puts it this way, 2 Relationships in this world are the result of how the world is seen. And this depends on which emotion was called on to send its messengers to look upon it, and return with word of what they saw.” If you expect love, you see love.  If you expected to be screwed over, you are rarely disappointed.

But ideas about the world we live in can be changed.  They are in fact, a choice.  It is the decision to be happy, and the decision as to what sort of life you want is the beginning to tapping into that happiness. Before you go fishing, it helps to know what you are fishing for.  If that’s not what you catching, then it may be time to reconsider the bait.

October 15

Journal: Reaching for Happy Dreams

I awoke this morning from vivid disturbing dreams about my son.   I was immediately grateful for the Course and the reminder that “the dark companion, the dark way are all illusions.”

9 You will first dream of peace, and then awaken to it. Your first exchange of what you made for what you want is the exchange of nightmares for the happy dreams of love. In these lie your true perceptions, for the Holy Spirit corrects the world of dreams, where all perception is. Knowledge needs no correction. Yet the dreams of love lead unto knowledge. In them you see nothing fearful, and because of this they are the welcome that you offer knowledge. Love waits on welcome, not on time, and the real world is but your welcome of what always was. Therefore the call of joy is in it, and your glad response is your awakening to what you have not lost.

So, I reach for love.  Even though I feel like someone punched me in the gut, even though the dark companions lurk in the shadows with malice and fear, I will not look to them, for they cannot guide me to the light. I remember I am safe.  I remembered I am loved.

Last night at our ACIM study group we examined the holy week while studying the Course, and during the course of discussion came across this. “You asked this puff of madness for the meaning of your unholy relationship, and adjusted it according to its insane answer.  How happy did it make you?… Ask not the means of its [the holy relationship’s] attainment of the one thing that still would have it be unholy.”  I cannot look on insanity to discover sanity.  It will never lead me to peace, only further down the rabbit hole.

The Course makes it clear: I don’t know what any of this is for.  I bring judgment to it because, as one person pointed out, that’s what we do; it’s like this cultural expectation that we should have opinions about this, as if our duty as human beings is to examine “reality” and make assessments.  But the Course asks, “Does one ask judgment of what is totally bereft of judgment?”

1 Prepare you now for the undoing of what never was. If you already understood the difference between truth and illusion, the Atonement would have no meaning. The holy instant, the holy relationship, the Holy Spirit’s teaching, and all the means by which salvation is accomplished, would have no purpose. For they are all but aspects of the plan to change your dreams of fear to happy dreams, from which you waken easily to knowledge. Put yourself not in charge of this, for you cannot distinguish between advance and retreat. Some of your greatest advances you have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats you have evaluated as success.

My fearful dreams can be made happy.  Many of my “failures” are my greatest advances.  I don’t know what any of this is for.  I do what’s in front of me to do.  I don’t let the nightmares keep me from the truth.  This morning, I posted an ad for my husband’s motorcycle, knowing the sale could be the salvation that keeps takes us through the next month or two while we restructure our lives. Five minutes after I post it, my husband gets a phone call from an interested prospective buyer.

4 A simple question yet remains, and needs an answer. Do you like what you have made?-a world of murder and attack, through which you thread your timid way through constant dangers, alone and frightened, hoping at most that death will wait a little longer before it overtakes you and you disappear. You made this up. It is a picture of what you think you are; of how you see yourself. A murderer is frightened, and those who kill fear death. All these are but the fearful thoughts of those who would adjust themselves to a world made fearful by their adjustments. And they look out in sorrow from what is sad within, and see the sadness there.

I made it up.  I don’t know what any or it is for.  I only know that choosing love feels a lot better than choosing fear, so I’m choosing love.  I’m choosing faith.