I Want My Thanksgiving Back!

Thanksgiving hijacked!Are you tired of your Thanksgiving being hijacked by Christmas retail hysteria? I sure am.

Seems that from October 31st on (and sometimes even before) everywhere you go, you could swear it was already Christmas.  There are Christmas lights and decorations already up on city lamp posts and in every store you walk into.  Drug stores are switching out Halloween candy for red and green M&Ms.  Television is overloaded with holiday specials and ads promoting Christmas discounts. But perhaps the most offensive…Christmas music is piped into retail stores on the 1st of November!

What ever happened to Thanksgiving?  Remember that time of year when you could take a breath and relax with your family and friends, and perhaps even think about all the blessings in your life?  Now, Thanksgiving is just a prelude to “Black Friday” – a term that was used ago only  internally just a few years ago and referred to the time of year retailer’s financial sheets began to show a profit.  Now, the term is as ubiquitous as Santa Claus….and used to promote Christmas shopping just as successfully.

No one I know likes what’s happening here. I hear people complain about it all the time. Let’s stop complaining and start doing something about it.  Let’s take Thanksgiving back from the retailers and marketers!

How?  First of all, don’t go out on Thanksgiving evening to shop for Christmas.  Resist the temptation to even shop online on Thursday.  Keep the day inviolate.  If you will be with relatives and / or friends, really be with them.  Connect.  Here’s a bold conversation starter – ask each person what they are most grateful for in their life.  That will get the crankiest of relatives to start thinking in a new direction.

Other ideas

  • First thing in the morning, write a list of 50 things you are grateful for.  Ambitious? Go for 100.
  • Take your kids to a food bank or homeless shelter and be of service to those folks.  Nothing will open your eyes to the blessings you have in your life more than serving those less fortunate.  Don’t have kids?  Take a friend and go.
  • If you are having guests at your house, have slips of paper and pens at the front door and have them write one thing they are grateful for as soon as they walk in.  Then, put them all in a bowl and have guests pull one out to read at the dinner table (the idea is to read someone else’s.)
  • Start a “gratitude bowl” and have beads in one bowl labeled “take beads from here” and one empty bowl labeled “place beads here.”  Invite your guests to take the beads from the one bowl and focus on that for which they are grateful (one bead for each gratitude) and place them in the empty bowl.  Kids love doing this too.
  • Create a “gratitude daisy chain.”  Again, use slips of paper and have everyone write paper chain one gratitude on each slip of paper, then read their own at the dinner table.  After dinner, create a daisy chain using the slips of paper, fastening them with tape.  Then, drape around a window, mantle or door frame.

 

We can do this people!  We can take Thanksgiving back and reserve this day for focusing on the many blessings in our lives and expressing our heart-felt gratitude to our family, friends, neighbors, communities and God (or Universal Intelligence if you prefer.)

If you’re with me on this, please forward this post to everyone you know.  Let’s start a movement!  Let’s let the retailers know they can no longer hijack what is important to us.

I am grateful for you!

Gratitude is the Language of the Authentic Self

One of the first things we are asked to do in any personal growth or New Thought teaching is to take our minds off autopilot and start paying attention to the thoughts that run through our minds all day…what we are saying about ourselves, about others, and about the world.   And when we do this…if we’re honest about it…we are often shocked at how much of the time is consumed by egoic thinking, critical, judgmental, fearful, negative thinking.   And how little time we spend actually thinking from our heart.

That egoic, critical fearful voice is the voice of, what I like to call the the false self, or the shadow self. This is the self that feels separate…separate from Source and separate from each other.  It’s the self that sometimes causes us to feel we are a victim, and other times tries to control others and manipulate situations.  It judges others and our self…harshly. And it often sabotages our well-intentioned efforts.

This self is unfortunately the one most people are familiar with because this is the world in which we were raised. We’re raised with the predominate belief in separation…that we’re separate from God, separate from each other and separate from our good.  Our world tells us that our good is outside of us, and we must struggle and compete to get ahead and there’s not enough to go around.  It also tell us that we’re not good enough…unless we buy whatever product they’re selling.  It’s how the world is set up.

There is another self – our Higher Self, or our Authentic Self that speaks a whole different language.  This is our true self and it’s always with us, but its voice has been drowned out for so long it’s not easy to hear it anymore.  but this is the self we start to get familiar with as we step onto a spiritual path…any spiritual path really.  Most religious paths…particularly the more mystical aspect of them…have, as an overall goal, the awakening to our higher self.  Everyone calls it something different, but it’s more of less the same thing.  Whether it’s called our soul, or our compassionate nature, or the spirit within, or the Christ within, the Oversoul, our God-self, or our angelic nature…the point is to call upon it, to connect with it!

The first step in the process of connecting with it is to become very aware of when we’re not.  We want to become really conscious of what voice we’re allowing to “run our program” because most the time it’s unconscious. And if we allow the voice of the false self to run our program for too long it will cause a whole host of problems.  It can rob us of our health and wellbeing, ruin friendships, undermine our self-worth and sabotage the fulfillment of our vision.  In short, causing us a great amount of unhappiness.

So it would behoove us to catch the false self as soon as possible and stop it in its tracks.   And the best way to do that is to become aware…not just your thoughts, but also begin to notice how you feel…and how you behave…when you are “under the influence of your false self.”

So if you notice you are feeling confused, or you are worrying a lot, or are feeling anxious, that might be a clue the false self is running your program.  If you notice you are judging yourself harshly or you are comparing yourself to others or maybe even questioning your own worth, you can be certain your false self is in charge. And if the vision that came from your heart which you were in the process of joyously bringing forth is suddenly brought into question…if you get easily side-tracked, or you hear yourself saying, “What was I thinking, I can’t do that?” you might be under the influence of the false self.

So the more familiar you are with your thoughts, feelings and behaviors when you are being influenced by the false self, the easier it will be to shift your energy and bring yourself back into alignment with your true Authentic Self.

And one of the best ways I know to make this shift into the Authentic Self is to focus on something…anything…for which you are grateful.  Bring to your mind something in your life you consider a blessing. Generate some enthusiasm and excitement for that particular thing or experience and let to vibrate within your being.

Or, perhaps you could focus on the beauty of nature and let the gratitude for that amazing expression of the Divine to sink deep into your heart.

Either way there is no quicker way to completely shift your thinking, your energy and your level of happiness than to implement the proven technique of gratitude.

Our higher Authentic Self is the place of real power within us.  It knows how to bring forth our vision easily and harmoniously.  It is in alignment with the flow of Divine Life Energy.  It is where we are connected with Divine wisdom and guidance and it can guide us in moving us forward on purpose and in the direction of our dreams…where synchronous events are commonplace.   This is the place where we realize we are blessed and we see everyone else the same way.  It is powerfully loving, confident, creative, inspired and inspiring.

The more we consciously align ourselves with this Higher Self the more we live, “with the license of a higher order of beings” as Thoreau wrote about.

For more tips on how to shift into the living from the awareness of our Authentic Self download my complete transformational program, Conscious Co-Creating. Click here to learn more about that. 

 

Living Your Purpose

living on purposeOne of my favorite sayings from one of my favorite poet and philosophers, Dr. Seuss, is:  “You have brains in your head…and feet on your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”

This of course affirms our co-creative ability which we’ve been talking a lot about recently. But the question you might find yourself asking is…where is that?  What direction am I choosing to go in?  And will I be happy when I get there?  Will it be all I hope it will be?

Some people have a really clear idea about where they are going and are firmly on the path.  They know beyond a shadow of a doubt that to which their lives are committed.  Others don’t have a clue.  Some keep switching paths.  Still others are just going along for the ride, wherever it takes them.  Many of us have been in each of these places in our lives.

But the only way we’ll know what direction we are moving in…and if we want to continue in that direction or begin a whole new path…is to get really familiar with who we are now…what drives us…what really makes us happy.  To do that we must first connect with our inner wisdom.  That’s what we started doing last week with discovering our own worldview…and really what this whole series is about.  Getting to know who we really are and what we truly want.  And allow that to emerge.

Now, not a lot of people can tell you what they really want and what direction they are headed.  However most can very easily tell you what they don’t want!  Most folks can share in detail about they don’t want this illness in their body, or their how others are mistreating them, or the lack of money to do what they want to do, or their frustrations with an unfulfilling job, or the negative people in their life.  And this is all accompanied by lots of emotion.

But that’s allowing ourselves to be “pushed by the pain.”  Which, sometimes can serve us…if we really know we’re done with that experience.  There’s value in stating, “This really sucks, and I am so done with it!”  But most the time, dwelling on what’s going wrong in our life actually serves to keep us stuck in it.

Instead we want to learn to be pulled by a vision.   A vision of a life where we are fulfilled….where we are expressing our full potential.

Abraham Maslow talked about the fulfillment of one’s life purpose as a “need” not just a desire.  “Self-actualization” as he called it, is living a life where we are expressing our full potential.

And what shape that takes is unique to each one of us.  That’s what makes life so interesting.  We all have unique gifts and talents, which when those things are in service to a higher vision…God’s vision for our life…not only makes us happier than we could ever imagine, but also we become a beautiful and essential piece in the cosmic puzzle that fits together with others…in ways we can’t even know…for, I believe, the ultimate purpose of healing the world.

Myrtle Fillmore talked about this in one of her healing letters:

“God has much to be done, and He will reveal the plan to those who seek it, and will open the way of progress and success to those who are willing to give up preconceived opinions and to grasp the Truth as the Holy Spirit reveals it….work is for the purpose of expressing God-given faculties and powers and loving service in the way that is truly beneficial.”

Jesus said it quite strongly according to the Gospel of Thomas, “If you do not bring forth what is within you, what is within you will destroy you.”

I’m sure we’ve all seen how bitter some people are at the end of their life when they have spent their whole life living someone else’s vision. When maybe they’ve worked in a profession, not because they loved it, but because that’s what their father did, or what their parents or spouses drove them to do.  All the while they were ignoring what made their heart sing.

Living our purpose doesn’t necessarily have to do with our career (it’s nice when it does.)  I know some here are post-career, but none of you are post vision.  The important thing is find what that unique vision is within us that wants to emerge…and bring it forth.  We’re never too old for that!

Discovering what it is within us that is our unique expression and bringing it forth into the world is vital to us and to the world…and it is 2nd skill in Spiritual Intelligence: Awareness of our Life’s Purpose.

All the leaders we’ve been talking about these last couple of week…Gandhi, Mother Teresa, MLK, Mandela, Jesus…these leaders we all admire could easily tell you what their life’s mission was.  Everyone else knew it too.  They made choices and moved into action from that awareness.  And ultimately they were steadfast in that mission even when faced with great challenges.

Now our mission may not be as grand as Ganhi’s but it is no less important.  We all have an essential role to play!  When we discover it…and begin to live it….we will be living in alignment with Spirit.  We will blossom and life will open up to us. We’ll find our genius.  And there’ll be nothing than can stop us! And our lives will have blessed the world!

Laurie Beth Jones says in her book, The Path: “A personal mission statement acts as both a harness and a sword – harnessing you to what is true about your life, and cutting away all that is false.”  I would add to that, harnessing the power of your Higher Self…and cutting away all the things that waste our time or prevent us from expressing our magnificence.

She also said: “It is highly probable that you are already living your mission at some level. The goal is to increase that awareness, so that you can live your mission to its fullest extent, rather than halfway.”

So let’s explore how we can open to discovering what our life’s purpose or mission is, and…what we can do to help bring it about…to live it!

And the good news for those of you who believe in planetary alignment and that kind of thing, we are supposed to be in a time this month, around the lunar eclipse (which happened on Wednesday) where celestial bodies are aligning in such a way that portals are opening up allowing frequencies that connect us with a deeper expression of our truth, and our purpose.

So we are being supported by the heavens right now for our true purpose to emerge.   Following are some guides that may be helpful to you in discovering…and living…your life’s purpose.

  1. Identify: What are my gifts, talents and abilities.  This is only a clue for some.  Eleanor Roosevelt didn’t know what her talents and skills were until she followed her heart into service.
  2. Pay attention to what makes you feel “in the flow”.  What gives you a feeling of aliveness?
  3. Listen to the still, small voice.  You’ve got to get quiet enough to hear it.  Either through meditation or maybe walking the labyrinth or other sacred spaces.  Open and listen.  Then, when you feel connected to that presence of peace and wisdom within, ask this question:  “What is it that is seeking to emerge through me and into the world?” Or, “What is God’s vision for my life?”  Open and listen.  Keep listening.  You might want to pose this to your inner self:  “At the very end of my life, I want to look back on my life and feel good about (fill in the blank.)
  4. When you receive something, write it down in your journal.  It very often becomes clearer as we write.
  5. When your mission, or purpose begins to get clear enough…Formulate a mission statement (refer them to The Path).  Keep it simple and memorable.  Memorize it.  Tell others about it.  For example, mine is “To awaken in this lifetime and to help others awaken to their Spiritual Truth.”  It’s broad enough to include many different ways I can do that, but it’s the basic principle that fuels me.
  6. Finally, keep referring back to your mission before you make any big, or even any little, decision.  Let all your actions in life be informed by your mission.  The real test comes, of course, when faced with challenges.  Let your answers come from your life’s purpose. 

Gratitude Remove the Filters from our Eyes

Imagine you and a friend are standing side-by-side looking at a beautiful vista.  You have on rose colored glasses and your friend is sporting glasses with blue-tinted lenses. Your vista looks bright and rosy,  But your friend’s vista appears awash in blue.

Now image that these glasses were permanently affixed to your face.  You would always be seeing the world through rose colored lenses and would swear that the world was rose-colored. Your friend would always see the through the blue tinted glasses and would swear that “No, the world is bluish!”   And actually neither one of you is correct.

In a sense this is what we do every day.  Not the color of the world, but how we “color” reality.  We don’t really see the world as it is…we see our unique version of reality.  And everyone has a different, unique version of reality.

Remember the scene in Snow White (the original Disney movie) where she is banished into the forest and evening turns into night.  She’s so fearful, and alone.  Her entire world has suddenly turned against her.  All the branches start looking like witches arms reaching out to grab her.  All the trees have menacing eyes, like demons.  It’s not really true, but that’s how she sees it because she’s so frightened.  Then the morning comes and she begins to see things a little more clearly.  She notices that the eyes she thought were demons actually belonged to owls and squirrels and raccoons who all become her friends.  Then the birds land on her arms and all is cheery and light.  Same forest, different outlook.

Well a similar thing happens to us when we’re fearful or believe that life is against us, or we’re somehow at a disadvantage.  Our world looks a lot like our beliefs. Things look scarier, or more alienating. And living a joyous, fulfilling, successful life seems out of our reach.  Our experience is one of “Life is tough”.  Also…When we’re angry, we see the world…and everyone in it…as either annoying, or as an obstacle to getting what we want.

On the other hand, when we’re full of joy and hope, our world looks open to us and we find the joy and love that’s actually there. We find people are cooperative and generous.

I’ve found that the best way to lift the filter of fear or anger from our eyes…and begin to see the world as it really is…is to practice Proactive Gratitude.  When we see the world, and each other, through the eyes of gratitude, we are truly seeing clearly.  Gratitude lifts our gaze upward, clears the gunk from our eye so that we can see the love, beauty and abundance that is either right in front of us, or is hidden within a challenge.  Gratitude is powerful at helping us see the blessing in any challenge and then begin to call forth that blessing.

Try if for yourself…right now.  Do a little assessment of how you are feeling right now.  What have been the thoughts that have occupied your mind this morning?

Now, think of five things for which you are grateful.  Really allow that gratitude to flood your entire body.  In your mind, celebrate those those blessings.

Now, how are you feeling?  And…how are you viewing the world?  Is is scary and alienating?  Does your good seem out of reach?  Or, do you feel that the good in life is open and available to you?

This is an experiment Try it and reply here with your results.

Many blessings!

Living From the Inside Out

My guess is that if you have found your way to this blogsite and are reading this post, then you are on a spiritual path of some sort.   Perhaps you’ve been on that path for some time now.

The interesting thing about a spiritual path is that it has lots of twists and turns…some clear open lovely spaces, and some long, dark, narrow passages.

And very often, the realizations we had yesterday that were so clear, so true, today we’ve completely forgotten.  We wake up, and then fall back to sleep.  Wake up again and fall back to sleep….and dream.

We dream a dream of separation…separation from our wholeness.  Maybe we’ve fallen asleep and have dreamt that, if we can just manipulate the world in the right way we’ll be happy.  If we can just make a lot of money we’ll be safe.  If we can just find the right mate, our life will be complete.  Or, if that “certain person” disappeared from our life, we’d finally be okay.  Or we dream that if “they” would just give us a chance, give us a break, or if our career happened the way we think it should, our lives would transform;  We’re dreaming of a world works from the outside it, rather than inside out.

Why can’t we seem to stay awake, and live the life we know in our heart is true? Here’s why: Because the voice of the world is so loud!  The voice of the ego is so insistent. The voice of illusion is so damn hypnotizing.  And the voice of the inner presence…that still, small voice is so still and so small.  Why can’t it be the other way around, right? Humanity would have woken up long ago if that were the case.  It seems to be the nature of things that the most important things in life are subtle…not always easy to grasp, but the unimportant things are in our face daily.

So our focus today is on adjusting our hearing, as it were, so that we can better hear that still, small voice and be able to distinguish it from the voice of the ego…and the voice of the world.  

We also need to learn to develop an ear for the Universe…which is constantly providing feedback through our relationships, the circumstances in our lives, and our bodies.  We listen to the feedback and we make adjustments as we go.  Listen and adjust.  We must, however do this with as much compassion, and self-love as possible. That is key!

When we can do this, we will be truly living our lives from the inside out …and as a result…experience living successfully in all areas of our lives.

In working from the inside out we are not trying to force a change to our behavior or to “be good” to even to “improve” our lives. NO.  We are seeking to transform our understanding of who and what we are, and our relationship to the whole.  We are seeking to allow for a fuller expression of our Authentic Self…where our actions are naturally in alignment with Divine Love.

The good news is that the Universe always supports our efforts to awaken and evolve our understanding.  It is where we are all headed anyway.  And we…who are already on a spiritual path…have already gotten the call.  We’re just supporting each other in remembering that.

A good place to start is to think about the times in your life when you have been able to hear that still, small voice.  When have you sensed God’s presence guiding you or supporting you?  What practices have you done, or do you do now that engages that presence…that allows you to hear the Divine within?  As Leonard Felder (The Ten Challenges) says, “Each of us has to find our own individual way of opening up to our particular spark of the Divine Presence.”

And there might be two categories here that can help you think about that.  One place to look might be practices you may do by yourself…usually in the silence.  The other place to look is activities you may do with others, or in community, that opens you up to that Divine Presence.  Very often we experience it both ways.

Below is a sample of activities or practices that you do on your own in the silence.  Make a note of which one of these things helps you hear that still, small voice.

  • Meditation
  • Contemplative Prayer
  • Affirmative prayer
  • Journaling
  • Proactive Gratitude Pratice
  • Yoga
  • Heart Math
  • Present moment awareness/ working with the breath.
  • Walking or being in nature.
  • Walking the labyrinth or Medicine wheel
  • Listening to “Spirit-filled” music
  • Or, __________________________________________(fill in the blank)

 

The section below lists a sample of activities you may do with others, or in community, that connect you with that still, small voice:

  • Attending service at your spiritual community.
  • Participating in a Healing Service
  • Serving others in some capacity.  (Name one or two ways you serve_________________________)
  • Group ecstatic experience (dances, drumming, chanting)
  • Ritual or ceremonial experience
  • A class on some aspect of spirituality
  • Spending time with someone with whom you have a deep connection.
  • Group meditation or channeling
  • Or, __________________________________________(fill in the blank)

 

I invite you to share your list with us here at The Gratitude Experiment…particularly if there are spiritual practices you do that I haven’t listed here.

Now that you have your list, the question becomes, how do we stay committed to doing these activities on a regular basis so that we don’t fall back to sleep?  So that we stay awake more often to that place where “God’s Spirit dwells and the great encounter takes place?”

And making a commitment to daily practice takes a certain amount of discipline. We don’t always feel like doing it, or feel that we don’t have time to do it. So we want to acknowledge our feelings, embrace them, and at the same time love ourselves into remembering that we’ve made a commitment to connect with and reveal our Divine Self.

We all know how sometimes even the idea of discipline can cause a certain amount of resistance in us.  It can bring out our rebellious inner teenager. We may also associate discipline with punishment…or some sort of self-control we think we don’t have. That’s why l love Rev. Michael Beckwith’s interpretation of itHe calls discipline, “blissipline.” And it’s true that after practicing for a while, it gives us such deep satisfaction and peace we find we don’t want to miss it…we don’t want to go a day without it.  He says, “Discipline is a practice of self-love, self-respect and surrender that results in freedom.”

So I invite you to look at this list this week and make a commitment to doing something every day.  And we’re going to love ourselves into daily practice.  We’re going to support each other in daily practice…and we’re going to remind ourselves what we are really doing is nurturing that still, small voice which helps us stay awake to the Divine Presence within…thereby living our lives from the inside out.

Here’s a good affirmation to repeat daily:

Affirmation:
“I open my heart daily to hear the still, small voice within.  With intention I free myself from the voice of the ego, and of illusion, and I make space for the Divine to shine Its light through and as me.”  And so it is!

Connect In Guided Meditations

Starting today, and continuing every Wednesday, I will be posting a guided meditation on my YouTube page and link it here.  I’m calling it “Connect In.”   meditation hands

The purpose of “Connect In” is to provide support for your meditation practice.  In addition to daily gratitude practice, daily meditation helps us connect with the Source of all good…the Divine within us.  By quieting our mind and focusing our attention on our heart center, we allow for that connection.

Please enjoy the video as you make yourself comfortable in a quiet “meditation place” which can be your home office, living room, bedroom…anywhere you will not be disturbed for 8 to 10 minutes.

When the meditation is complete you will return to your day refreshed, centered, and radiating love to those around you.   You will also be more aligned with your inner Divine Guidance and feel it lead your thoughts and decisions throughout the day.

Peace & Blessings.

Gratitude and the Gap

Mind the GapIf you’ve ever been in England you’ve seen this expression “Mind the Gap” posted in the underground stations, to alert you to pay attention to the space between the platform and the train. It’s a valid warning, you don’t want to get your foot stuck in the space between, or drop anything down in there…you’ll never see it again.

In Eastern thought, though, the gap is a much desired place to be.  The gap is the space between your thoughts…usually referring to the practice of meditation.  Mystics and yogi’s recognize that no one can simply stop their thoughts, or “will themselves” to quiet their mind.  What we can do though is to widen the distance between our thoughts and cultivate an awareness of that space — to be mindful of the gap and to encourage it.  When we do this, we are rewarded with peace of mind and increasing our ability to hear the voice of the Divine within us, among other things.  The gap is the golden place, where transformation occurs.

The gap that I am thinking about today is also something to be mindful of – and it has the potential of being a golden, transformational time.  It’s a the place we sometimes find ourselves in that’s between no longer accepting an old way of perceiving ourselves and the world — and not yet experiencing the fullness of what we now know to be true.

It’s that place between “no longer” and “not yet”.

For example:  Maybe you no longer accept the idea that you are a victim of circumstance.  Maybe you used to believe that outside circumstances or situations controlled your experience in life.  Perhaps you used to accept that your employment was dependent on a specific company or individual.  Or that your experience of prosperity was determined by your employer.  Maybe you once believed that your ability to love was dependent on another person.   Or that your body is subject to the diseases of old age.  Whenever we have repeated experiences in our lives or an ongoing challenge, we know it is a direct result of what we believe to be true about ourselves.  It’s first a thought… which if continued, becomes a belief, which then becomes our experience.  This is the Law of Cause and Effect, or the Law of Attraction, or the Law of Manifestation.  Whatever you want to call it, it’s exacting.

Anyway, your old ideas about your limited self are now in the past.  You no longer accept that nonsense.  You know that you are a powerful co-creator in life and all that you have ever needed is within you.  You know that the Source of all your good is the Infinite, limitless, unbounded.  This is the Source of all…which created you out of Itself. You are an expression of It, therefore you are already whole and complete, abundant, love-filled, joyous, fulfilled and all of your needs are met now.  You know this in your heart of hearts.  However, you are not yet experiencing that truth in your life.    You are in the gap.

So, what is the “gap” and why is it that we don’t manifest our new consciousness immediately in our lives?  Why do we have to be in a “gap?”

Well first of all, it’s a good thing that ideas in our consciousness do NOT manifest immediately. Think about it.  Think about all the fearful fantasies you have had.  The nightmare scenarios you have imagined for yourself such as, “That bump on my skin is cancer, I know it!” or if you have kids and you temporarily can’t find them, you think, “They’ve been kidnapped!” or perhaps your fearful thoughts about the world, “We’re all gonna die in a nuclear blast!” etc.  Thank God there is a time gap between the thoughts we hold in our minds and what actually manifests — so that we can review it all and make sure that’s what we really want to create.  Most the time we come to our senses and remind ourselves that ultimately, all is well.

So, the buffer zone of the gap gives us a chance to re-examine our beliefs.

Secondly there is the natural order of growth from the formless to the form in this dense, physical universe.  Ernest Holmes once wrote:  ”The Truth is instantaneous in its demonstration, taking only such time in Its unfoldment as is inherent in the law of logical and sequential evolution.”

So, then the question becomes:  ”Well, what do I do while in the gap?  Is there anything beneficial I can do?”  And, that’s a good question! It’s actually vital.  Because many of us, when we don’t realize we’re in the gap…when we don’t see an immediate response to our prayers, or to our new consciousness…we think that it doesn’t work, and we begin to doubt and fall back into our fears and our negative thinking patterns.  And that just negates the new awareness we’d developed.  It’s like taking one step forward and one step back. Ever have that experience?

So, we want to nurture the environment of the gap while we are in it in order to allow for our new consciousness to emerge from that fertile time.  And we can do that best by practicing proactive gratitude. Here’s what I mean…

You know when you plant seeds in the soil, it takes some time before you see anything happen.  From the surface it looks like nothing is happening.  But, under the surface, a tremendous amount of energy is being expended to release the hidden potential within that seed, to push through the hard shell and then through the soil. That’s the gap experience.   If we water the soil where the seeds are planted we will create a nourishing environment for the seeds to grow.  That’s what gratitude does – it nurtures the environment in the gap that allows for your new consciousness to emerge into experience.

So, looking for things to be grateful for and focusing on those things, and celebrating those things, creates the energetic current that allows for the manifestation.  This is an important, golden time where you want to reaffirm the realizations you have come to regarding your limitless nature and your worthiness of all the good you can imagine for yourself.  You want to water that soil with as much positivity and affirmation as you can.  Practicing proactive gratitude does that.  It gets you to a place where you realize, “yeah…there is a lot of good in my life – look at all this good!  Look at that beautiful sunrise. Look at the abundance all around me.  I’m so grateful for my health…for the things that do work well in my body.  I’m so grateful for my wonderful, supportive friends, and my spiritual community that nurtures and supports my growing awareness.  God must love me…the universe must indeed be for me!”  So you get to a place where an abundance of good just feels natural to you.  And when that happens, the manifestation of your new consciousness is immanent.  It’s a heartbeat away.

Secondly, a very important thing we want to do while in the gap is to surround ourselves with positive people…life-affirming folks who are themselves on a path of spiritual growth.  This is a sensitive time.  We can so easily be influenced by others’ energetic vibrations during this time.  So negative, doubt-filled people are not the ones we want to be hangin’ with when we’re in the gap.  We want to surround ourselves with only those who will affirm our growing awareness with us and can help us see the good that’s in process of manifesting.

So practice proactive gratitude daily, choose who you hang with carefully and remember that this is a fertile time. If you tend to it wisely, you will reap the rich harvest of your new expanded awareness.

Be mindful while in the gap!

Mindfulness and Gratitude

You know when something reaches the cover of TIME magazine, it’s has entered the public collective consciousness.  The February 3rd copy of TIME, featured a cover with TIMEa woman apparently in rapturous meditation.  The headline: The Mindful Revolution. The Science of Finding Focus in a Stressed-Out Multitasking Culture.  

The interesting thing is that Jon Kabat-Zinn (an MIT-educated scientist) developed Mindfulness Based Stress-Reduction (or MBSR) in 1979, and it is only now that it is taking off…and in a big way.   Maybe it’s in response to our overstimulating multitasking, always-on-call, digital culture.  Or, maybe it’s a result of conscious evolution – we’re finally ready for it.  Whatever the reason for its popularity, it’s definitely a good thing.

And while Mindfulness is inherently a Buddhist concept, Kabat-Zinn keeps any reference to spirituality out of it.  This secular approach seems to have helped the movement expand – in particular, some of its biggest proponents, are (ironically) Silicon Valley execs, from Google, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – yes, the very companies that have created the multitasking, always-on-call digital culture.  Apparently, according to the article, “it helps them free up mental space for creativity and big thinking.”  Who knows, maybe they’ll create something that will actually help us become fully present in the moment and alert to the blessings all around us.  One can hope.

The downside of leaving spirituality out of this approach to Mindfulness is that it limits its transformational ability.  But, that’s where we can choose to add it back in.

Briefly, mindfulness trains our mind to pay exquisite attention to what’s happening in the moment. All our senses become alert to what’s going on in our body, our mind and our environment.

This is great training for living in the present moment and appreciating fully what is in the present moment.  It helps us discover what is, and then accept what is…just as it is.  With the benefits being that we become more peaceful, less stressed people who are more self-aware and more likely to accept ourselves…exactly as we are.  That’s huge!

And, we can take this deeper.  When we connect with our heart, and bring our spiritual awareness into the practice of mindfulness, we can take our practice…and our spiritual growth…to the next level.

For example, once we train ourselves to become aware of all the sounds, and sights around us, we can take the next step and choose to view it as one Divine Life-essence expressing in a myriad of ways.  This helps us develop a deep sense of gratitude for it all.  How miraculous all of nature really is!  How miraculous the world is!  We can choose to see ourselves as “one with it all”….the same Life-essence that “runs through the world, runs through my veins night and day and dances in rhythmic measure,” as Tagore wrote. We can begin to feel the rhythm of our bodies and know that it’s all God.  And if something is out of rhythm we catch it early and follow Divine Guidance to make whatever changes we might need to make to restore that rhythm.

Once we become aware of our thoughts, we can take the next step and begin to distinguish the different between our ego-mind and the voice of our Higher Self…and then encourage the voice of the Divine to speak more substantially than our ego.  When we acknowledge and appreciate all the moments in our lives when our inner wisdom guides us to say the right thing, or take appropriate action, we develop a deep and abiding relationship with the Divine within us.  When we do, our lives radiate harmony and blessings in every area.

Bring your heart to your practice of mindfulness and begin to take it to the next level…and watch your life transform!

 

Gratitude Grows Joy in our Life

Cultivating gratitude nourishes the seeds of joy in our life. Many people have transformed their lives just by the practice of gratitude alone.  Here’s why: the practice of gratitude rewires us from deep inside.  Where before we were wired to pay attention only to what wasn’t working, to what was wrong, what was missing, we are now wired to notice all the beauty and abundance all around us. We notice all that is right with our lives and all the little miracles that happen every day. We spend more time living in the present moment, appreciating our life. It’s a huge shift in our energy…our vibration is raised and we connect with our inner joy.

That seed is nourished and it grows and begins to bear the fruit of joyful abundance, love, success and fulfillment.

 

What are You Hoping For?

I hope I get the job.  I hope it all works out for you.   I hope my proposal is accepted. I hope you are feeling better.  I hope they’ll like me.  I’m hopeful that things will turn around for us. I hope humanity will wake up and realize we are all One.  Hope. Hope. Hope.  When we use the word hope in this way, it’s a pretty wimpy form of expressing our desire or our intention, isn’t it?  It’s like passive wishing.  It has no power.  Ernest Holmes calls hope “a subtle illusion.”

And the truth is, that’s where a lot of us are with hope. In fact, when we express the idea of “hope” in this fashion we’re kind of excusing ourselves from actually doing anything to positively affect the outcome, aren’t we?  It sounds like we’re being positive and practicing positive thinking.  But we’re really not. Of course it’s better than saying, I’m sure I won’t get the job, or I’m afraid they won’t like me, or I’m not feeling good that it will work out for you. Hope is actually one step above that.  It’s not destructive. But it’s not creative either.  And remember we are creative beings, we’re creating all the time…not just with our words but with the energy behind the words.

There is another way, though, of approaching the idea of hope that can be creative.  It’s about shifting our understanding of hope and holding it as an energy that opens up possibility. If we can approach hope in this way, then hope can be a powerful key that unlocks potential for us and others.  It can be that essential shift from not seeing an answer, not seeing any possibility, to accepting a larger Truth that harmony, wellbeing and abundance are what the Universe has in fact already given us…and our hope becomes…expectation that opens a way for its realization.

In fact expectation is hope amplified.  Expectation carries a feeling of some certainty about it.  You prepare…you make way…you actively get ready to receive.

Every woman who has had a baby knows exactly what this is about.  When you are in that last trimester of pregnancy, there’s no doubt a baby is coming in a few weeks.  No doubt there will be another little life joining your family…and that that little one is going to need your round the clock attention.  You may not have realized it early on in the pregnancy. Early on, the focus was on staying healthy and maybe starting to think about what having a baby will mean for you and your partner.

But in that last trimester, you prepare.  You make the necessary adjustments in your family — arranging for maternity, or paternity leave if you are fortunate enough to have that.  You get the baby’s room painted and decorated.  You set up the crib and changing table.  You buy and install the baby seat in your car.  You’ve had your baby shower and have put away all those adorable, expensive, little outfits that your baby will either permanently soil immediately, or outgrow before he or she get a chance to wear it more than once. :-)

So, expectation (which remember is hope amplified) leads us to take the appropriate action to prepare for its coming.  Can you say the same for the things you are hoping for?  Are you preparing just as robustly for your new job coming, or your proposal being accepted, or your health returning fully, or your perfect mate coming into your life?  Are you preparing for a world that works for everyone? In other words…heaven on earth?

If so, then you have amplified hope to the next level and are living in joyous expectation. You are open to the possibilities.  You have cleared a path for your good to make its way to you.  And one of the best ways to activate this energy of amplified hope…of ensuring a positive outcome is to cultivate a gratitude practice.

Practicing proactive gratitude helps us to see that we are already blessed, therefore we must be worthy of a fulfilling and joyous life.  We begin to accept that the universe does indeed work together for our good, and that things naturally work out for us.  Therefore, cultivating a gratitude practice is connects us with the fulfillment of the thing or experience we are hoping for.  We rest in joyful expectancy and are lead to take the appropriate action in order to help facilitate the realization of our desired good.  As co-creators, our participation is an essential part of the process.

I have amplified hope you will commit to a practice of proactive gratitude and all that you are hoping for this holiday season, and in the new year, is already coming into your life!