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Letting Go of Good to Welcome In Great!

Letting Go of Good to Welcome In Great!

We cannot let our angels go. We do not see that they only go out, that archangels may come in.  Ralph Waldo Emerson

A friend once said to me, “Don’t let your good stand in the way of your great!” What a powerful truth! Often I cling to something I know and settle for that which I have because there’s a little belief back there that says if I let go of this person or relationship that is okay, or even not so great, whatever is on the other side will be worse. Why is that? Why wouldn’t it be better? Why do we think that we won’t have something as good as what we have now?

We live in an abundant, loving, and powerful Universe. As we grow and mature, spiritually deepen and heal, we attract a new life out of our new consciousness. What we attracted before was from the consciousness of what we could accept before. But now as we grow in Spiritual Truth, we expand our consciousness, which will also expand the person, relationship, and love we attract. Clinging to or settling for less simply keeps us from experiencing and expressing the greater Love that we now know we are. Trust that a greater love, more joy, and a fuller, richer life really are waiting on the other side of letting go.

Spiritual Contemplation: Who or what are you clinging to or settling for? What good is standing in the way of your great, in relationships or in life?

Affirmation: I accept my greater good as Spirit flowing into my life. I let go of anything unlike the Love that is Spirit’s presence in my life.

Leap Year Bonus! Every Second Counts in the Present Moment

Leap Year Bonus! Every Second Counts in the Present Moment

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.  Thich Nhat Hanh

If the Divine deposited 86,400 blessed gifts into your life, but at the end of the day none would carry over and all would be deleted, how would you choose to use them? In each of those moments, your life can be either turned around or thrown away. Are you going to withdraw every second from your deposit? What are you going to do with this present moment in time?

There is no going back in the stream of time. We lose what we fail to use. Too many of us take these seconds for granted by not valuing the gift they are. Ask someone who narrowly avoided a car accident or an athlete who won silver in a race at the Olympics the value of a second. Do you want to tell someone that you love them? Do so now while you have a chance. Is there someone who needs your forgiveness . . . how about giving it this day? This Leap Year Day is a present, an extra gift with many possibilities where the magic and wonder of life can emerge. It’s a gift of 86,400 blessed present moments from the Divine. Why wouldn’t you use every single one of them for your greater good rather than have them vanish at the end of the day unused?

Spiritual Contemplation: The gift of this extra day of the year is very special. You are given an additional day of life every four years. What extraordinary occurrences are you going direct with these 86,400 divine moments?

Affirmation: I live every second of this present moment as a gift from Life!

Seeing with the Eyes of Love

Seeing with the Eyes of Love

Love is when you look into someone’s eyes and suddenly you go all the way inside their soul and you both know it.  Unknown

I had to learn to see with the eyes of Love. My father was my greatest teacher. I struggled with my relationship with my father for years. He drank and smoked and cursed life until the day he died; he always needed to be right and have the last word. He was also generous and smart and funny and could tell a story like no one else. Growing up in his presence was not easy but neither was it without some amazingly wonderful times and experiences. But when I started my spiritual journey I needed distance from my whole growing up, so I didn’t speak to him very often. Instead I kept trying to see him as a child of Life and trying to love him from afar.

Then one day I realized that my father acted and loved in the only way he knew how. I began to understand his struggle as an immigrant to the U.S. and his deep desire to care for his family. I discovered a place of compassion within me that allowed me to see his pain, fear, and deep disconnection—and I found those same places within myself. We weren’t so different.

In that moment when I began to see him with the eyes of Love, I could see the truth of who he was. Did this miraculously change him? No. But it changed me. I no longer needed him to be anyone different. Over time our relationship strengthened and softened. I became grateful for all he’d contributed to my life and the ways he’d tried to love me. When I sat by his deathbed, I knew he was returning to the heart of Love. I’m so grateful that I didn’t miss out on the Love he came here to be.

Spiritual Contemplation: Who would benefit from you seeing them through the eyes of love? Can you see that they were or are doing the best they can?

Affirmation: I see everyone from my past with the Loving eyes of Spirit. I know each person is a unique and precious expression of the One Presence.

It’s All How You Look at It – Expanding my Perspective

It’s All How You Look at It – Expanding my Perspective

It’s always our perspective. We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.  Anais Nin

A story is told of a snail that was mugged by a turtle on the streets of New York while he visited the great city. In the courtroom, the judge asked the snail to describe what happened. The snail’s response was brief: “I don’t know, Your Honor. It all just happened so fast.” Life all depends on one’s perspective. One person’s battles may be another person’s ease. Individuals creating a financial flow of seven or eight figures a year may have difficulty grasping the perspective of the layaway plan others use in department stores. Everyone has their own expansive and constrictive perspectives. Your growth comes when you know where yours are, not judging others for the levels in their lives.

Everyone believes their own perspective is the right and sometimes only one, but why would they be called perspectives if there weren’t more than one? Believing what you see is the absolute truth can lead to trouble if not all-out war in the world. As the Course in Miracles asks, “Do you prefer that you be right or happy?” Love is your willingness to feel differently instead of having to say to another, “You are wrong.”

Spiritual Contemplation: Where in your life are you holding too rigidly to a perspective? Where would it be beneficial for you to shift how you perceive? Ask yourself in that particular situation, do you prefer to be right or happy?

Affirmation: My perspective is forever expanding!

Bad Boys and Sassy Girls – Great Spiritual Teachers & Masters

Bad Boys and Sassy Girls – Great Spiritual Teachers & Masters

You’ve got your warm, fuzzy spiritual teachers who are kind, and caring and will love you along the path. And then you’ve got your bad boy or sassy girl spiritual teacher who are annoying, mischievous, and even offensive as they disturb and frighten you into your spiritual realization. They don’t give you syrupy platitudes or sugarcoat their expressions. They’ll scare you to death because the old must die for the new to be born, and sometimes a startling shock is the only thing that can shatter the egoic defense.

A student wanting to impress his Zen Master said, “Everything is empty. I am nothing; there is nothing to be done.” Suddenly the Master hit him on the head with his stick. Angry and about to hit the Master back he asked, “Why did you hit me?” The Master answered, “If everything is empty, nothing . . . so where is your anger coming from?” The student was perplexed and had no answer. The Master laughed and went away.  Zen Story

Waking up is not always a comfortable experience. Sometimes the truth hurts and the consequences can be startling. Sacred cows can’t be slaughtered by niceties, and your very belief system must be challenged. The teacher who wants your praise more than your grief is not the one who is going to push you over the edge. The greater emergence of spirit in your life cannot fit into old familiar patterns of behavior, and sometimes it just might take a bad boy or sassy girl to knock you into Infinity.

Spiritual Contemplation: When have you had a rough teacher shock you into greater awareness? Could you have ever gotten that understanding through sweetness?

Affirmation: I trust the perfect teachers of my spiritual path!

The Trance of Error – the Awareness of Limitation

The Trance of Error – the Awareness of Limitation

Each of us literally chooses, by his way of attending to things (having awareness), what sort of universe he shall appear to himself to inhabit.  William James

Error is a tricky little bugger because it doesn’t arrive with a bell ringing around its neck. There is no “Ta-Da, here I am! Watch out for me, because I’m about to create some doubt in your life.” Alert spiritual practitioners, however, will always catch error appearing as a person, place, thing, or condition because they know that error is never actually any of those things. When you embrace the reality that Spirit is Infinite and is all there is, you know that there’s no ultimate reality to disease, lack, or whatever error is showing up.

You choose which reality you want to live in. If you believe that Spirit is the substance of all, then you must agree that error is an illusion. No doubt every day you face strong materialistic beliefs defended by the world of form. But when you are one with the spiritual consciousness of Spirit, the hypnotic nature of error is irrelevant. Never believe the suggestion of an illusion that has lodged itself in your human consciousness. Instead, go straight to Spiritual consciousness and wake up there knowing you are in full integrity with your truth.

Spiritual Contemplation: What trances of limitation are you caught in? How has erroneous thinking left you believing the challenge in your life is a person, place, thing, or condition? What new awareness do you need to have?

Affirmation: I awaken from the trance of error into the consciousness of Oneness!

Memories – Honoring the Past and the Path of Life

Memories – Honoring the Past and the Path of Life

No memory is ever alone; it’s at the end of a trail of memories, a dozen trails that each have their own associations.  Louis L’Amour

Driving through any rural American landscape you can still find barns with a beauty that comes from having weathered decades of seasons. They’re part of our cultural landscape and heritage and remind us of a time of self-sufficiency, family enterprise, and resiliency. But as family farms disappear and new owners sell off the barn wood for decorative furniture, new buildings made of steel take their place

The landscape of your world will also evolve over a lifetime, with only memories to linger to tell of a time that has passed. What you do with them is your choice. Will they drift into the unkempt realms of decay through forgetfulness or will they be restored through your attention? Will they be abandoned and replaced by the modernization of what seems like better experiences? Or is there a way to preserve your history, honor your past, have it beautified, and make you more intriguing while you continue to progress into the evolving new era?

Spiritual Contemplation: Is there a valuable piece of your past, your memories, no longer honored and that you are leaving behind? What can you do to have it be part of your landscape rather than letting it fade away?

Affirmation: I honor my past and my path to where I am now!

Love Is a Mathematical Equation

Love Is a Mathematical Equation

Love your neighbor as yourself.  Matthew 19:19

A version of “love your neighbor as yourself” can be found in every faith tradition around the globe. It is a powerful spiritual practice of love, yet too often we have taken it to mean love your neighbor more than yourself or before yourself. This teaching has been turned into a practice of sacrificing our sense of self and living as a martyr, with an underlying lack of self-love or even self-loathing.

Yet the statement is actually a mathematical equation of equality. Anytime a statement uses the word “as,” it equates the two things, which is exactly what we learned in eighth grade algebra: the equation always maintains the equality of the two components. Therefore you can’t love your neighbor without also loving yourself.

Love your neighbor as yourself is both a description of how life works as well as a prescription of how we can actually experience more love. Everything I do to you, ultimately I do to me, because we are one! Everything I do to me, I do to you, because ultimately we are one.

Spiritual Contemplation: Spend time contemplating the equality of the two sides of this statement. Which side do you need to spend some love on to bring the equation back into balance?

Affirmation: I love my neighbor as myself. I love myself as my neighbor.

Create Spiritual Partnership in our Relationships

Create Spiritual Partnership in our Relationships

In Spiritual Partnership “we come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” Sam Keen

Love really is everything it’s cracked up to be. You just have to remember it’s not always spiritual peaks: sometimes it means having to clean up the messes. Growing together, developing a more passionate bond of friendship, and continuously falling in love again and again with the same person—this is what defines the truth of love. It’s important for us to connect and talk with our loved ones, letting them know you hear them, see them, and appreciate them in the midst of your daily routines.

When you two have a tussle, attempt to remember that what is coming up for you is something that has been denied within yourself. In Spiritual Partnerships we look within, not without, for the change of heart. If you are unable to find resolve within, it’s futile to pursue the change somewhere else. Mother Teresa said, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” Stop pouting, forgive your loved one and yourself, and get on with loving. Get back to supporting each other’s dreams and bring the spice back into your life.

Spiritual Contemplation: Where have your concepts of love gotten in your way of experiencing love? How can looking within yourself lead you to be a greater lover of life?

Affirmation: I love to love with my partner!

Karma or Dharma? Relationships on Purpose

Karma or Dharma? Relationships on Purpose

Don’t you dare, for one more second, surround yourself with people who are not aware of the greatness that you are. Jo Blackwell-Preston

Karma relationships are those that we call into our lives in order to learn and grow and work out our issues. These are the ones in which we attract someone who is really the opposite of us in some significant way. Initially we love it—eventually it really irritates us. All the arguing and need for them to be different is simply our unwillingness to learn what they are there to teach us. We will be in these relationships over and over again as long as we are unwilling to move into new ways of being. I think of it as our being invited to move toward the middle, toward each other in a way that allows both sides to actually be available to us. When I can speak AND be quiet, for instance, then both are readily available to me to choose from.

As we mature and grow into our greater selves, and when we have released many of our old patterns and unhealed past, we become ready for Dharma relationships. In Dharma relationships we do not face toward each other, but rather we grow and learn side by side. We are mutually supportive of each of us living our purpose. The relationship itself may become a vehicle through which we express and live our purpose. These relationships are truly building Heaven on Earth.

Spiritual Contemplation: Which of my relationships are, or have been, Karma relationships? Which ones are Dharma relationships? Am I ready to move from Karma to Dharma relationships?

Affirmation: I release any unwillingness to learn what you have to teach me. I move toward that which you are inviting me to grow into. I am free to live my purpose!

It Takes Two and the Space Between to create a healthy relationship

It Takes Two and the Space Between to create a healthy relationship

A healthy relationship requires both people to be fully invested in it while not becoming absorbed by it. For if we become completely absorbed by each other, we may begin to think that it’s our partner’s job to make us feel fulfilled. We may also start to resent the time he wants us to spend with him if we’re not taking time for ourselves. Ultimately this sucks the relationship dry because nothing new enters into it.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
– Kahlil Gibran on Marriage

But when we are each active in creating fulfillment in our own lives, the more we have to bring to our relationship. We bring the things we are learning, our need for support, and times for celebration into the space between us. This way our joyous love is nurtured and enlivened by each of our lives. We each bring ourselves to a healthy relationship rather than trying to find ourselves in it.

Spiritual Contemplation: What new things am I bringing to my relationships? Notice where you are absorbed in a relationship and where you are lifted by one.

Affirmation: My relationships are nurtured by my spiritual deepening, personal growth, and creative fulfillment. I have so much to offer to my relationships and I rejoice in what they bring to me.

Snuggle Up Together! Create an Open-Hearted Relationship

Snuggle Up Together! Create an Open-Hearted Relationship

To open your heart to someone in relationship means exposing the scars of the past.  Unknown Author

Let yourself love. There is something so wonderful about having a romantic relationship, if that’s what you want. Of course, it’s not necessary for a fulfilling life, but if you enjoy being in relationship, you have to open yourself up and allow love to flow. This means allowing your heart to be open. It means letting go of protections and barriers that have kept you safe. Yes, we’ve all been hurt, betrayed, and disappointed by people. But you are spiritually maturing now! Your new consciousness will attract someone from a new level of maturity and openness if you will allow it. Strive to be open-hearted.

Allow yourself to be vulnerable and trusting. Strive for deep and radical honesty that is caring of how things are said. See yourself and your beloved as capable of growing into a mature and healthy relationship. Allow yourself to really enjoy all the benefits of being together—snuggling, talking, walking, caring, vacationing. Let go of any need for it to be perfect—just treasure every moment for what it is.

Spiritual Contemplation: Begin by imagining the kind of door you have protecting your heart. Simply become quiet and allow it to reveal itself to you. Notice its texture and size. Begin to imagine it becoming clear and then permeable. You are in charge of what comes in and out of it, so it can be anything you want to imagine.

Affirmation: I fling open the door to my heart. I no longer need to protect myself. Spirit’s Love is all the protection I need. I allow Love to flow freely in and out.

Understanding and Vulnerability Creates Love

Understanding and Vulnerability Creates Love

When we talk about understanding, surely it takes place only when the mind listens completely —the mind being your heart, your nerves, your ears—when you give your whole attention to it.  Jiddu Krishnamurti

Have you recently sat with the one you love, held their hand, looked them in the eyes and asked, “Do I understand you enough? Is there anything you’d like me to understand more? Is there a way you would like me to love you better?” You must sincerely and continuously delve into the soul of your beloved, for people grow and evolve and the person you loved yesterday is not quite the same today. There have been challenges and blessings on their path that added to their complexity. Just sharing space and successfully maintaining the routine aren’t what build intimacy. How do you know how their dreams have morphed, what wounds have been opened or hurts inflicted, if you don’t check in with them? What are their desires of this day rather than of days past? Are you loving someone from the past who lives in the same body?

True love requires understanding. If you are not willing to sit with the mystery to explore the realms beyond the surface you’ll never discover the unspoken realms from the soul of your loved one. It takes time to communicate and understand. It can be uncomfortable and exciting, revealing and impactful. But how can you fully love if you don’t know the truth, and how can you be loved if you aren’t truly known? With understanding, true love will surely grow.

Spiritual Contemplation: Create a safe environment where you won’t be interrupted and when your heart can hear without judgment or defense, then take the hand of your loved one and ask if there is anything you need to know to love them better. Seek to understand

Affirmation: I allow myself to be vulnerable to love by seeking to understand in a deeper way!

Being a Doormat in Relationships

Being a Doormat in Relationships

You teach people how to treat you in all your relationships.  Dr. Phil

Unconditional love is a powerful acceptance of others’ beingness and the unique way they show up in the world. We see through the behaviors that are merely the expression of past experience and false beliefs to the essential reality of another. Unconditional Love does not need people to be different from what they are, but this doesn’t mean that we have to accept everything they do or say. Being a doormat and enduring behavior that is not acceptable in a relationship is not unconditionally loving either another or oneself.

Learning to separate the behavior from the person frees us from needing people to be different in our relationships. This means we don’t blame, or point fingers, or try to fix them. It also means we take ownership of our reactions, trigger points, and old patterns in our relationships. We share our feelings, needs, and requests in a loving manner. Others are free to try to understand and respond in a way that is supportive. They are also free not to. Allowing them the freedom to respond or not also allows us that same freedom. This is all about compatible behavior, mutual values and needs, and learning to get along. It is possible love someone unconditionally without wanting to hang out with him or be in his life.

Spiritual Contemplation: Do I confuse tolerance of unacceptable behavior in a relationship with unconditional love? Can I feel unconditional love while still asking for what I need and want?

Affirmation: I ask for my needs to be met without making someone else wrong. I no longer accept unacceptable behavior in my life!

Splitting Your Focus Defeats Manifestation

Splitting Your Focus Defeats Manifestation

And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. Mark 3:25

Where in your life do you find yourself divided? What are you straddling and not fully committing to? A martial arts student approached his teacher with a question. “I’d like to improve my knowledge of the martial arts. In addition to learning from you, I’d like to study with another teacher in order to learn another style. What do you think of this idea?” “The hunter who chases two rabbits,” answered the master, “catches neither one.”

There are all sorts of clichés written about the lack of commitment: Either get on the boat or stay on the dock; you’ll fall in the water if you keep straddling the decision. You have to go deep if you want to find the gems in life. You can’t run around digging a dozen shallow holes if you want a deep well to bring forth the spring water. Fish or cut bait.

Spiritual Contemplation: Where and how are you splitting your energies in life? What’s keeping you from being able to commit and go deeper in the experience?

Affirmation: I focus with ease and go deep into all my experience!