Friday, March 25, 2016

The Souls of Animals

When I made the decision to adopt, I knew I wanted a baby girl.  When I got there, I found she had a little brother who was equally adorable.  I held the little girl first and she seemed indifferent.  Then I noticed that the little boy was trying so hard to get my attention by jumping up and down and squealing at me.  It was like he was yelling, “Pick me!  Pick me!”  He melted my heart and I figured if he wanted me that bad, then I would just have to become his new mom; therefore, I chose the little boy and named him Nakia.

Nakia was a Toy Poodle and was about seven weeks old.  It was like we were meant for each other.  He followed me everywhere, slept with me, and didn’t like for me to be out of his site, nor I his.  It was hard for me to leave for work knowing that I couldn’t be with him, but when I got home, his excitement at seeing me and his kisses made my heart sing.  He was literally my child.

My family had all kinds of pets ever since I was a little girl.  When I was younger, they were just pets.  I loved them, but I didn’t have that spiritual soul connection that I have today. 

One experience taught me how connected people could be to animals.  In 1979, I went on a retreat with a church group and several of us rode with a woman in her large RV.  One guy brought his pet monkey with him.  I was amazed when I found that the driver was an animal psychic and could communicate with animals.  As I sat there and listened, she communicated with the monkey and told his owner things that only he and the monkey could have known! 

Years later, I read some books on communicating with animals and found that once I opened my heart and mind to this idea, I found that I had a real sensitivity to all animals.  I couldn’t communicate with them like the woman above, but I could sense what they were feeling, and I still can to this day. 

I think the event that brought it home for me was when I hit a deer back in the late 80’s.  She jumped into my car from the side of the road and landed in the ditch. I never saw her coming.  Hysterical, I petted her stomach while I watched the life drain from her body.  Before she died, she turned her head over her stomach and looked right at me.  I immediately heard the words in my mind, “It’s okay.  I know you didn’t mean to hurt me.  I forgive you.”  It was at that moment that I became a vegetarian because I knew I could no longer eat these magnificent creatures we call animals. 

Over the years, I’ve read many books on the afterlife, and people who have crossed over and come back to life have said that there are animals on the other side.  Psychics/mediums such as John Holland and John Edward use their gifts to not only connect people with their loved ones on the other side, but also connect them with their beloved pets.  There are also many books written about pets going to heaven.

This helps to give me some peace because I miss my kids terribly.  Over the past several years, I lost my precious baby boy, as well as my beloved cat and horse.  Anyone who knows me knows that I call all my pets ‘my kids.’  They’re just as much my children as anyone’s human children are to them.  Some may not understand this connection with our pets, but there are many who do.  When I lose any of my kids, it’s devastating, and the grief I feel is almost unbearable.  I still can’t think of my kids or look at their pictures without breaking down and sobbing. 

Hippocrates said, “The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different.”  And Gary Kowalski, author of ‘The Souls of Animals,’ wrote, “Animals, like us, are living souls.  They are not things.  They are not objects.  Neither are they human.  Yet they mourn.  They love.  They dance.  They suffer.  They know the peaks and chasms of being.”

Animals are special angels on earth and they love us unconditionally.  Pi in the movie ‘The Life of Pi’ said, “Animals have souls.  I have seen it in their eyes.”  When you have that connection to animals, you can feel their souls touching yours, and if you look close enough, you too may also see it in their eyes. 

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper March 25, 2016.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Love Is the Only Answer

“The deepest invitation in any moment is to heal the root of human suffering and celebrate the Spirit in all by opening your heart to its absolute potential.  In a universe of endless questions, love is the only answer.”  Matt Kahn

Most of you who have been reading my articles know that I periodically write about the great spiritual awakening we have been experiencing.  Everything that isn’t working in our world is coming to light so that it can be seen, cleansed, and healed.  The other side of this is when we see so much turmoil happening in the world, especially in our own lives and country, that it can send people into a state of fear, and understandably so.  As humans, we can only see what is before us and it’s hard to wonder how anything will be okay. 

Spiritually, we know that there is a bigger plan and that everything is in Divine Order.  That’s a hard concept to accept or to even understand on a human level.  How can all this chaos be part of Divine Order?  If we didn’t see all the negative energies, the hate, bigotry, ignorance, violence, etc., would we even know that we still have some work to do in healing ourselves, our people, our nation, and our planet?  We’ve come a long way over the years, but underneath, there was still this negative time bomb waiting to go off because so much of it still has not been dealt with or resolved.  In actuality, all this chaos is teaching us to love and it’s reminding us who we really are as children of God and the Universe! 

People are awakening all over the world, each at their own pace.  Matt Kahn wrote a wonderful book titled “Whatever Arises, Love That ~ A Love Revolution That Begins with You” (which I highly recommend reading).  He stated, “Whether the door of awakening has already been opened and you wish to bring this journey full circle or you’re being prepared for the most miraculous adventure you may not understand, each fear, worry, and concern becomes your ongoing invitation to return to love.  No matter your experience, perception, the beliefs you carry, or the identity that is no longer here, each auspicious moment of expansion allows life to be seen through the eyes of the Universe to remember how equally everything matters.”

As your consciousness expands into the awareness that the pure, unconditional perfect love of God (by whatever name or term you use) is really all there is, it changes your perspective on the way you look at yourself, as well as the world.  We see all this nonsense occurring and we know this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.  But rather than ‘fight’ it and add to the dark energies that are being propagated (hate, violence, etc.), we send it love and light.  In other words, you can’t fight fire with fire.  Instead, we try to embrace it with the love of God, which is in everyone and everything.  It’s not easy for sure!

It’s especially hard when it comes to politics and religion in our country because people are so passionate on all sides.  When people are suffering, in a state of fear, or agitated, then they may tend to believe anything whether it’s the truth or not, consequently allowing themselves to be easily manipulated and controlled through fear.  And sadly, they can also be easily motivated to violence, things get out of hand, and people get hurt.

Mother Teresa said, “I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there.”  Unconditional Love is a very powerful force and will overcome all else, but we need to choose the energy of Love, and when we do, then we can move forward in healing and bringing peace to our planet.

Kahn explains that when our own consciousness expands and grows, then we are also helping the planet to be collectively healed, awakened, and loved as we are.  He states, “You are the source of life’s eternal witnessing and the orchestrator ensuring that love always has the final word.  As your evolution is revealed, there are four powerful words to carry with you wherever you go:  ‘whatever arises, love that.’”  He also wrote, “Love is the impulse to embrace the innocence of life that brings spiritual harmony to the forefront of your experiences.  Whenever love is poured into your heart or sent out as blessings to others, the light within all things awakens.”

“The awakening of consciousness is the next evolutionary step for mankind.”  Eckhart Tolle 

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper March 18, 2016.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Lightworkers and Peacekeepers

Weary of all the negativity in the news, especially in the political realm, I went to bed early and fell into a deep sleep.  Soon, a presence appeared to me and woke me up.  What I saw was a beautiful angelic being; not so much beautiful as society considers beautiful, but she radiated so much peace and unconditional love that beautiful can’t even begin to describe her.

Gently, she reached her hand towards me, and as I clasped her soft fingers, we started to rise upward, out of the house, and into the universe.  Suddenly, we stopped and she directed my gaze to the earth.  “What do you see?”  I answered, “I see a beautiful planet we call Mother Earth.  It looks so small, but so absolutely amazing at the same time!”

“What else do you see?”  Looking closer, I saw all these sparkling lights all over the world.  Perplexed, I asked, “What are all those sparkling lights?” 

“Those lights are all the lightworkers and peacekeepers who are working to bring love and peace to your world.  They do so through being of service to humanity, teaching unconditional love for all beings as well as your planet, they take care of others, and they show compassion and kindness to all they meet.  They also hold everyone in loving consciousness or what some may call praying.  They come in all colors, races, religions, cultures, genders, and walks of life.”

As I watched in wonderment, I inquired, “What are the blinking lights?”

“Those are the lightworkers and peacekeepers who are in training so to speak.  They’re trying really hard to hold everyone in love, but sometimes their humanness gets in the way and they struggle.”

“You mean like me?  I’M a blinker!  I’m really trying to stay in love, but it’s hard sometimes when you see so much hate and violence in the world.  I sometimes struggle with not hating the haters or judging the judgers.  I go into fear a lot and get stressed out by what I see and hear.  But my inner voice will give me a talking to and try to guide me back into a state of unconditional love for all.”

“Yes, there are many ‘blinkers’ as you call them, but you are all evolving.  There is much darkness in your world right now, and that’s because in this great spiritual awakening, everything that isn’t working is coming to light so that it can be seen, cleansed, and healed.”

Confused, I continued.  “But if there are so many working to spread the light, then why is there still so much darkness?”

“Darkness is caused by fear.  Fear breeds hate, bigotry, and ignorance.  And when people are in fear, they may choose to follow the darkness.  It’s their choice.  That’s why humans were given the gift of free-will.”

Exasperated, I pleaded, “So what can we do to overcome the darkness?  Especially me, since I’m only one person!?!?”

Tenderly, she replied, “Karen, it only takes one candle to light a dark room.  So imagine when millions of people work at spreading the light.  Your Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’  He couldn’t have said it better.  Think of it this way, Karen.  All this so called hate that you are seeing is actually teaching people to love.  They’re starting to come to the realization that hate isn’t the answer.  It’s not what their spiritual masters of their religions taught.  Remember, too, that God, by whatever name you use, is in everyone and everything.”

“You mean even in the darkness?!?”

“It’s a hard concept to understand, but yes.  The creator made everyone and everything on earth.  Everyone has the light within them, but for whatever reasons, they’ve covered it up because of painful experiences, because of what they learned, or because they believe in their doctrines more than what their spiritual masters have taught.  But the light is there.  That’s the God spark within everyone.  People choose to do evil and that feeds the darkness.  So it will take the lightworkers and peacekeepers to keep doing what they came to do.  What you came to do.  You know many who are also on this path.  Many are your friends. Just continue sending love and light to everyone and everything around you and in the world.  Even when it’s hard.  Bless it all.  By doing so, you ARE making a difference.”

It was only moments later before I awoke from the deep sleep.  I reflected on everything I just experienced, and I found that it gave me the strength and courage to carry on.  This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine! 

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper March 11, 2016.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Amazing Grace

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a soul like me.  I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.”  ‘Amazing Grace’ has always been my all-time favorite gospel song.  My favorite gospel singer was Tennessee Ernie Ford and he could sing that song with so much grace that it would make my heart smile.  

You may have noticed that one word of the lyrics above was changed.  In Unity Churches, we change the word ‘wretch’ to ‘soul’ because we don’t believe that God (by whatever name you use) made any wretches.  (No disrespect to the original lyrics.)  The Bible states that we were made in God’s image, and if we were made in God’s image, then that would be like calling God a wretch!  We are nothing BUT beautiful, wonderful, and magnificent in the eyes of God!  How can we be anything less when we were made by our very Creator?

Many people believe that God gives grace to only certain people or that only certain people deserve God’s grace.  Not so!  We don’t need God’s grace because we ARE God’s grace!  Every single one of us!  We are loved in equal measure no matter who we are, what we do, or what we experience in life. 

And were we ever lost?  Not really.  We were just unaware.  We were unaware of who we really are, and once our eyes are opened to this amazing reality, then we can no longer be blind.  We become aware that we are a part of God and God is a part of us.  We become aware of our connectedness to everyone and everything.  We become aware that we are one with all of life! 

If you took the strongest microscope, and under it you put a sample of every single person and every single thing on this planet, you would see that we’re all made of the exact same stuff.  It doesn’t matter the color of our skin, our nationality, gender, or where we live…we’re all the same.  And would you believe that we are also made of the same stuff as rocks, trees, dirt, grass, and every other thing that you can imagine?  How all those cells can hold together to make seemingly solid forms is beyond me!  Talk about amazing grace!

Humans and animals are living, breathing, walking miracles!  Think about it.  These bodies should not even be working!  The heart beats on its very own!  There are no batteries, there is no electricity, nor are there any other earthly powers that keep it going.  To be honest, it’s beyond my comprehension how the heart can beat for up to over a hundred years without any outside power sources!

Most of us can breathe on our own, we can walk, talk, see, hear, taste, smell, and we get to live these lives that are so amazing to whatever degrees that we are living them!  Of course, many might say that their lives are horrible so how can I call them amazing?  I totally understand!  Sometimes experiences can suck the energy right out of us and we may find ourselves wondering why we even bother.  But don’t you see?  If we can’t be grateful for our life experiences, at least be grateful for the basics that I just mentioned!  We can be amazed at life itself even if we’re not happy with the way our lives are going.  Start with the basics and build from there! 

So how can we even begin to live our lives with amazing grace?  We can start by being loving, kind, and compassionate, not only to others, but to ourselves as well.  Try to find the good in everyone and everything.  I like to shoot Spirit wads of love to people and animals.  When I go for a walk, I’ll tell everything I see that it’s beautiful, including a rusty old mailbox!  When you’re at home and you look in the mirror, tell yourself that you’re beautiful no matter how you look!  Also tell your family and friends!  We can also be of service to others!

Once we make the effort to change our mind-set about life itself, it will start to change the way we see ourselves, those around us, and our world.  When we live with the attitude of amazing grace, we may even find that we can be happy, even when life isn’t so fun! 

Pope Francis said, “Grace is not part of consciousness; it is the amount of light in our souls, not knowledge nor reason.” And Denis Waitley stated, “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.”   

Published in the religion section of the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper March 4, 2016.