Friday, July 28, 2017

I Choose Peace

Not too long ago, I came across a quote from tinybuddha.com that said, “Today I will not stress over things I can’t control.  Today I choose peace.”

At the time I saw it, I was stressed to the gills for various reasons.  I thought that if I didn’t find some peace soon, then something was going to give as it was affecting my health both mentally and physically.  My mind was in constant chaos, it wouldn’t shut up with the negative chattering, and my spiritual life was taking a major hit.  I had given my power over to others, as well as to stressful situations, and I knew that I had to somehow take back my power for my own sanity and sense of well-being.

Then I saw this post.  I choose peace.  Somehow, just that simple phrase calmed me down, quieted my inner pandemonium, and brought tranquility to my inner spirit.  After that, whenever I was feeling overwhelmed, I would take a deep holy breath, close my eyes, and quietly say either out loud or to myself, “I choose peace.”  Every time I did so, I felt a glorious peaceful feeling embrace my whole being…mind, body, and spirit.

How often do we let others or situations control us to the point where we become so stressed that we can hardly function?  We become so engrossed in the drama of everyday life that we forget who we really are.  We forget that we have the power of the Universe within us.  We are directly connected to the God-Universal-Mind (by whatever name you use) and we have everything we need within to handle whatever comes our way.  Our souls have more power that we could ever know because our souls are a part of God and God is a part of us.  Horace Mann said, “The living soul of man, once conscious of its power, cannot be quelled.”  That’s so true!

It’s in those times that we forget who we really are that we let our ‘humanness’ take over, and that’s so easy to do.  I do this way more times than I care to admit.  But when I do remember to let my heart and soul lead, then I can remember to choose peace.  We can remember that no matter what we’re going through or how badly someone is treating us, if we can come from a space of love and peace in our hearts, we can deal with anything.  Too many of us think that only outside circumstances will bring us peace, but real and lasting peace can only come from within. 

So the next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with people, circumstances, or just life in general, stop, take a deep holy breath, say or think “I choose peace,” and say or think it as many times as you need.

“When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.”  Peace Pilgrim  

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper July 28, 2017.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Are You Spiritually Advanced?

Ellen Debenport wrote an excellent article recently titled “Are You Spiritually Advanced?”  As I read it, all I could think was, “Wow!  I really resonate with this!”  (Ms. Debenport works at Unity World Headquarters and is also a speaker and author. Website:  ellendebenport.com/blog.)

The point of this wonderful article is that so many people “are hungry to be fed spiritually, but they don’t know where to look anymore.”  She goes on to say how so many of us have read all the books, have gone to numerous workshops, listened to countless speakers, and yet we still want more.  She goes on to say, “They want to learn something new, go deeper, feel challenged and inspired.  They want a greater awareness of their divine identity.  No, not just awareness, but an experience of, an embodiment of the truth of their being.” 

Many of us just believe whatever anyone tells us to believe, and we’re okay with what we already know and don’t want to go any further. For others, we want that inner knowing; we want to grow beyond the traditional and/or conventional religious/spiritual knowledge to discover the wisdom of the Universe.  We’re having our own inner conversations with God (by whatever name you use) and we’re listening to that inner guidance that’s always based on pure, unconditional, perfect love.  But we want to go further and deeper into a spirituality that goes beyond the ordinary.  To be clear, no matter what path someone is on, it’s all okay.  None are better or worse than the other; it’s just where we are at the time. 

We’re constantly working on ourselves to become better human and spiritual beings and to be the best that we can be.  We understand our connectedness and that what we do to another, we do to ourselves.  We continue to keep an open mind because we never know where or how that wisdom and knowledge may appear to us.  We know that unconditional love for all really is the answer.

Oprah Winfrey once asked actor Sean Penn if he believed in God and he replied, “I’m okay with the mystery of it all.”  I almost envy him with his simple belief.  But I can’t be okay with just the mystery of it all.  I’m spiritually wired to want to know more, I live my spirituality, and I want to continue to learn so that I can help others as well.

Rumi said, “God writes spiritual mysteries on our hearts where they wait silently for discovery.”  And Albert Einstein stated, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.”  

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper July 21, 2017.

Postscript:  I'd like to clarify the "Are You Spiritually Advanced" title of both Ellen's and my post.  I can't speak for Ellen, but for me, it was not meant to mean that anyone was better than anyone else, which I mentioned in my essay above.  And it doesn't necessarily mean that anyone is more 'advanced' in an arrogant 'I know more than you know' kind of way.  The gist of both my and Ellen's articles is that we had come to the point where it seems that everything we read, the workshops we attend, and so on, tend to be the same, but different information, and we really want to go beyond what we have already learned and know.  

As she said in her article, "I hesitate to use the term "advanced" because you've heard me argue there are no advanced spiritual principles.  We just keep using the same ones over and over in new situations." 

If you want to read more from Ellen, please go to:  http://ellendebenport.com/blog.asp.  

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Messages Animals Gift to Us

Those who know me know how much I love animals.  In fact, I call myself an “animaltarian” because I love animals too much to eat them.   

I’m pretty much an empath when it comes to animals (as well as people) in that most times I can sense what the animal is feeling, and on occasion I could sense an illness or pain they were experiencing.  In fact, it’s very hard for me to see dead animals because on some level I can sense the pain and fear they felt right before they died.  I also totally believe that animals have souls and I have an extremely deep spiritual connection with all of them.

Some believe that when animals appear to us out of the norm, they are bringing us messages.  Therefore, when that happens, I always research the spiritual meanings to see if there could be a message for me.  I’ll give a few examples.

Years ago, while working in the yard, a deer in the pasture was trying very hard to get my attention by running around.  As soon as I looked at her, she stopped, looked right at me, and I clearly heard the words, “Lighten up on yourself!”  Then she disappeared.  Deer messages include gentleness, ability to listen, grace, and appreciation for the beauty of balance, power of gratitude and giving, and connection to the woodland goddess.

One time a frog was on my window screen (second floor).  Its spiritual meaning is cleansing, renewal, rebirth, fertility, abundance, transformation, metamorphosis, life mysteries, and ancient wisdom.

Another time, two doves sat in front of my window and sang to me.  Some meanings could be receiving true divine guidance through feelings and intuition, bringer of peace and love, understanding of gentleness, spirit messenger, communication between the two worlds, and prophecy. 

Many times dragonflies will appear to me out of the blue.  Their message could mean carefree, strong imagination, higher aspirations, lightness, joy, transformation, and connection with nature’s spirits and fairy realms.

Hawks tend to surprise me with their appearance.  Their meanings are messenger, intuition, victory, healing, nobility, recollection, cleansing, visionary power, guardianship, take the lead when the time is right, power to see, clear vision, strong connection with spirit, and increased spiritual awareness.

While coming out of the parking lot at a store, a black snake was slithering right towards me.  Snakes represent healing, transformation, life changes, connection to life force, and spiritual guidance

There are numerous websites that can help you find the meanings, but make sure you get a legitimate site.  You can search for these under ‘animals-spiritual-totems-meanings.’  These sites also go into more detail of what these definitions mean.  Make sure the meanings resonate with you and check these meanings with your inner spirit.

Anatole France said, "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."  And Martin Buber stated, “An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.”  I absolutely agree!  

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper July 14, 2017.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Magic of Optimism

Recently I watched the movie “The Celestine Prophecy” based upon a book by James Redfield.  If you haven’t seen the movie or read the book (or its series), I would highly recommend it. 

The movie reminded me to focus on everything that is beautiful in the world.  That doesn’t mean we ignore any of the negative, but we can focus our energies on all that’s beautiful and good, not only in people, but our world and in our lives as well.

We may not be able to do much to change others or the world, but we can change ourselves. And here’s the magic…  When we change ourselves to be positive, optimistic, and loving, and to be the best that we can be, then we can influence and change the world around us.

I’ve included this poem by Christian D. Larson before, but I would like to include it again because I think it is so important. 

“I Promise Myself...  To be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.  To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person I meet.  To make all my friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.  To look at the sunny side of everything and make my optimism come true. To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.  To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.  To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.  To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature I meet.  To give so much time to improving myself that I have no time to criticize others.  To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.  To think well of myself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but in great deeds.  To live in the faith that the whole world is on my side, so long as I am true to the best that is in me.”

And my prayer for all of us…  Great Spirit, Creator of All That Is, please send to us the most positive energy and light possible in this time and space to watch over us and those we share this experience with. Send to us the highest force or forces possible to keep us safe, focused, and positive in our intent. Let your love and light shine upon our path and penetrate our mind, body, and spirit.  We release the negative with love and forgiveness and allow your blessings into our lives. In return we give thanks and gratitude, love and positive light, for the universal good of all. Blessings be upon us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!  And so it is.  

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper July 7, 2017.