How Gratitude Increases our Blessings

freedom

“Sorry folks, but it’s no longer valid to see ourselves as mere onlookers. It is one of the deep, happy mysteries that, at all times, we interact with, and influence the world we observe.” -Princeton Physics professor, John Wheeler

We influence the world we observe simply by the way we are observing it. That’s the new physics.  Every time we perceive our world as either supporting us lovingly, or as a hostile place that we need to struggle through to get what we want, we are shaping that reality for ourselves. Every belief, every worry, every condemnation, every prayer, every time we are immersed in gratitude…everything we do internally…has a definite effect on our environment.

Long gone is this idea that we separate from our environment, victims of fate, powerless over circumstances.  Nothing is done to us, it’s either attracted to us or repelled from us. Here’s why…

We divinely-human being are all basically energy – vibrating atoms focused together in a specific expression.  And that energy extends out from us in all directions.  It doesn’t stop at our body Our bodies actually exist in an energy field that is very much affected by the quality of our thoughts, attitudes, states of mind, etc. And that energy field is an attractive energy that is pulling in experiences that match it vibrationally.  For example, if I’m in a bad mood, and am consumed with judgments of others, or of myself, or I am frustrated with life in general, my energy field is vibrating with that – it’s on an invisible level at first, but if I continue with that frame of mind, it will begin to take form and shape and show up in my life as maybe some physical issue, or a lack of harmony in some area, or as relationship difficulties, or as things just not working out.

However, if I’m in a grateful state of mind, focused on all my blessings, joyful for simply being alive on this magnificent planet, my energy field will be vibrating with that – on an invisible level first – but if I keep it up, it will begin to show up in my life as vibrant health, loving relationships, increased prosperity, things lining up for me.

So establishing a regular proactive practice of gratitude — where you consistently look for several things for which to be grateful, then allowing the joy of that gratitude to resonate throughout your entire being — ensures your energy is vibrating at the level necessary to attract more and more blessings into your life.

To learn more about how this works, and how to consciously shift your energy, click here: Conscious Co-Creating

You Are Enough

Wayne Dyer

 

The nature of gratitude helps dispel the idea that we do not have enough, that we will never have enough, and that we ourselves are not enough.”
-Wayne Dyer

The beloved late Dr. Wayne Dyer knew a thing or two about the power of gratitude.  And this is one aspect of gratitude that we don’t usually consider, but it can make a huge difference in our lives.  Practicing proactive gratitude can actually help us see and experience that we are enough exactly as we are.  It can counteract the messages that our society thrives on giving us that we are not enough.  It tells us that we aren’t thin enough, smart enough, pretty enough, together enough, sexy enough, rich enough or up-to-date with our gadgets enough.

These messages become embedded in our consciousness at a young age and they tend to stay there until we do something proactive to reverse them.  The thing is, most of us are unaware they’re there.  So they act as a force pushing us into an endless loop of trying to fix ourselves.  We try one diet after another, one shampoo after another, one teeth whitening paste after another, one self-help book after another, one self-improvement course after another, one new gadget after another.  And still it’s not enough.  It leaves us feeling that we will never be enough.

Now, some people might think that’s a good thing.  “Striving for perfection is part of human evolution,” some might feel.  But it isn’t really.  Striving for excellence is a positive endeavor, but constantly striving for perfection just reinforces that message that we are not enough now and we will never really be enough, because perfection doesn’t really exist.

And that constant rumbling in the back of our minds that we are not enough the way we are now, and that our lives are not perfect the way they are now, effects the way we feel about ourselves — and that’s the source of all the trouble.  Believing at our core that we are not good enough causes us to feel that we don’t deserve to be loved; that we don’t deserve to be well-paid; that we don’t deserve to have what we truly desire; that we don’t deserve to be truly happy.  And so we unconsciously repel those good things when they come our way.

For example, let’s say that I am looking for a new job (perhaps, in part, because I feel my current job is not good enough) and I’m looking online at various listings.  I may completely skip right over several that might well be a good fit for me, but in looking at the qualifications I notice that I don’t have everything they’re looking for…whether that’s education or experience or skill sets.  I automatically reject them before I even discover that  I could develop those skills quickly on the job, or maybe having a doctorate is actually not that important to them after all.  But I’ll never know that if I don’t apply. Then, when I show up for an interview at the one job for which I do completely qualify, I still feel somehow inadequate and deep down that I don’t deserve to have something really good in my life. Or, I somehow feel compelled to tell them that I have a hard time with follow-through (or whatever I feel my weakness is.)

When we feel, at our core, that we don’t have enough, or that we are not enough, it shows up in every aspect of our lives — in our relationships, in our ability to finish projects, in our ability enjoy the things we do have, and in our ability to make good decisions about important things.

So, how does something as simple as practicing gratitude help change this whole dynamic? Well, when I make a conscious effort to notice and be grateful for specific good that’s in my life on a daily basis, I eventually begin to believe that my life is pretty darn good right now.  When I am grateful for all that I have, I begin, over time, to feel abundant. That feeling of being abundant leads me to places and experiences where that abundance can grow. When I train myself to notice and be grateful for all of my gifts and talents, it eventually leads me to believe that I am pretty awesome.  When I feel I am pretty awesome I believe that there is nothing I can’t do.

And if there are areas where I can improve, I now believe that I have the power to actually do it…from staying with an exercise program to getting an advance degree.  And as I express my gratitude to the universe for the guidance, wisdom, opportunity and strength I have been given it carries me every step of the way.

You have enough right now. You are enough right now.  Open your vision to see the blessings all around you and the greatness within you.  Focus on it.  Be grateful for it daily and before you know it, that old core belief that you are not enough will disappear; and in its place will be an amazing you living an abundant life.

 

The Rebirth of Joy

John Lennon once wrote, “When I went to school they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down ‘happy.’  They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

dancing babyHere’s the truth: Joy is our natural state.  In fact, the more fun we have, the better life works for us.  This is the premise of the first experiment in Pam’s Grout’s book E3 and it’s a great way to cultivate spiritual growth.

So, let’s get ready to generate some awesome joy!

Now, I realize that it’s easier to know that joy is your natural state when you’re on vacation, or when you feel well and things are going great with your work, or with your significant other. But let’s be honest.  When your alarm goes off Monday morning and you’ve got a day jam-packed with things you’ve got to get done…are you generally filled with vibrantly joyful energy first thing when you wake up?   Do you bounce out of bed and shout “Halleluia, I’m glad to be alive and so grateful for another opportunity to shine my light and spread my joy into the world.  Let me get to it!!”   Probably not.  But I’d be willing to bet you used to feel like that.

One of the most delightful memories of my twins when they were really little is the experience of watching them wake up and embrace a new day.  Even when they woke me up at the crack of dawn, their joyful energy was so infectious that pretty soon I was joining them in “the adventure of a new day.”  If you’ve raised kids, you know this.  Little kids are so excited to experience all the joys of a brand new day.   Olivia, in particular, would take my hand and lead me downstairs, “come on momma, let’s go visit the toys!” Or, “Come on, let’s go walk outside and say hi to doggie next door” or “Let’s go make waffle!”

Children just naturally assume that wonders await them with every new day…and everything is a wonder when they’re little. Discovering what things are is a wonder.  I remember my other daughter, Juliet would wake up, stand up in her crib (she couldn’t have been older than 11 months) and point to everything in their room with such wonder and joy and ask “whassat?  Whassat?” She was always such an enthusiastically joyful child.

Most little kids are like this in the beginning.  That’s why I know that joy is our natural state.  Then, life sets in.  They get older and begin to experience pain of a friend being mean to them, or the loss of a grandparent, or disappointment, then later homework…and life becomes not so joyful anymore.  It happens to all of us.  That pain we experience is actually the pain of separation from our Source.  We forget our oneness with God and with each other and begin to believe joy is outside of us.  So we do everything we can to capture the joy that’s “out there.” And then, we hang onto it for dear life.  But of course, anything outside of us that we think will bring us joy, is only temporary.   Even my kids as joyful, enthusiastic little girls…temporary.

The thing is, I think we all know, deep down, that joy is within us, but we forget and continue to fool ourselves by thinking “oh, I’ll be happy when I get married (then later, “when I get this person out of my life!”)  Or, “I’ll be happy when I get that job (or, “when I get some time off.”) Or, “I’ll be happy when I have kids (or, “when the kids grow up and finally leave the house!”)  It’s an endless cycle of thinking we’ll finally find happiness when things “out there” change.

So we end up focusing on what’s missing in our lives, rather than enjoying what we have.  We find things to worry about and complain about and we trudge through the business of our day, ticking things off our never-ending “to do” list….creating an energy completely devoid of joy…which becomes the default position for many people.  How many people do you see walking down the street grinning from ear to ear, whistling a happy tune…visibly joyful?

We forget that we are vibrational beings and our default attitude affects our energy, our vibration.  We forget we live in a vibrational universe that receives the energy we’re sending out and reflects back to us a lot more to complain about.

But anyone can change their default position. We can change our default position.  Thanks to the neuroplasticity in our brains we can intentionally create new neural pathways, and rewire our brains to set joy as our new default position.  We can completely up-level our vibration to the tone of inner happiness.  Then, the vibrational universe reflects that back to us as more to rejoice about…as an expansive life, a fulfilling career, as loving, satisfying relationships.  All of that comes as a result of first connecting with our inner joy.

A great way to shift our energy and get it vibrating to implement Pam’s “experiment” which consists of three parts (well, really 2 parts, with one extra credit.)  Here is my modification of that experiment:

So the first part of it is the “boogie-woogie” aspect.  This shifts your energy faster than anything I know.  You are going to pick a song, either from one of those listed below, or choose one of your own.  (It needs to be an upbeat “celebrate life” kind of song.)

You are then going to play that song first thing in the morning, and while it’s playing…you will either pump your fists in the air, or dance with abandon, or maybe you’d like to loudly exclaim to the universe, “Yes! Thank you God for another amazing day!  I am so grateful to be alive and to have another day to enjoy life!”   Do one of those things to get the energy moving in your body.

You can start right now by clicking on this link.  (You’ll get some great examples too!)

Now, check how you’re feeling.  Imagine starting the day with that!  This one activity will instantly shift your energy and set you up for a day of joy.  You will be ready to face anything.  And it will be easier to do the second part of this experiment.

Which is…

You’re going to say “thank you” to the universe for everything that happens.  Be grateful for everything…and I mean everything.  From a cup of really good coffee to…oops!…the stain it just made on your favorite sweater.  From finding a parking spot right in front of wherever you’re going, to someone swooping in and stealing that parking spot. From finding exactly what you needed in the grocery store to the long line you have to stand in to check out.  From successfully completing a difficult report at work, to your boss then criticizing it.

Feel free to make up a story about all of these things that might tempt you to get bummed.  The stain on your sweater might mean you now have permission to go buy something new!  The spot that was stolen right from under your nose and forced you to park far away helped you to get closer to you goal of 10,000 steps a day. The long line in the grocery store gave you an opportunity to talk to the person behind you and make a connection with someone you have a lot in common with.  The boss criticizing your report forced you to…maybe find a new program that will save you time in the future?

Saying “thank you” to everything forces you to find the blessing in everything….which ultimately resets your default position to joy!

Okay, extra credit now…

Take this joyous, positive energy to the streets.  Be joyful in public and see if it might rub off on other people. Pretend you are Patch Adams.  Remember him? He’s the doctor who wore the big red rubber nose during rounds and made his patients laugh, which caused them to get better faster.  He actually participating in many other public displays of joy and silliness. This was a practice that actually saved his life (he was once suicidally depressed.)  He made an art of making others happy.  And there is nothing like making others happy to really up-level our vibration.

Use your imagination.  You could try wearing a red, rubber nose while driving your car, and see what others do when you pull up to light.  Pam mentions carrying a super large teddy bear around.  That just makes people smile.  Sing or dance in the middle of Trader Joes. You’ll fit right in with the employees there!  When someone says, “have a nice day,” respond jubilantly with, “oh yes, it is a wonderful day!  I wish you a joy-filled day as well.”

So, that’s the basic experiment. Pam recommends you do it for 3 days.  But my feeling is that this is a legitimate spiritual practice and one that’s easy to do…and amazingly rewarding.  So, incorporate it into your daily routine and watch your whole approach to life shift. And then, watch the vibrational universe reflect that back to you in amazing and miraculous ways.

Okay…on your mark, get set, go Boogie-Woogie!

 

Cultivating a Grateful Heart

grateful heart 2If you’ve spent any length of time in personal development, spiritual community or New Thought, you know the importance of eliminating…as much as possible…negative thinking, limiting beliefs, self-defeating self-talk, or…as some refer to it, “stinkin’ thinkin”…and to instead embrace more positive, possibility thinking.

Why?  Because our thoughts…or more accurately our energy (which is by and large created by our thoughts) tends to create our experience in life.  If informs how we react to situations and…to a large degree…in creating those very situation.  This is, of course, basic New Thought 101

In practice though, we often find it’s not so easy to control our thinking and to consciously shift those limited, negative thoughts and to instead think positive, life affirming one.  Particularly when situations are challenging.

In a talk I gave the Sunday before Thanksgiving I reveal a much easier, and much more effective way to approach it.  It’s what Spiritual Economics author and legendary Unity minister, Eric Butterworth, calls cultivating a grateful heart.

Click here to watch that talk now.  And please leave your feedback.

Abundant blessings!

Gratitude Connects us with the Possibilities

possibilities quote dickensonOne of the most tangible ways in which the practice of gratitude can transform our lives is by opening our eyes to the possibilities and opportunities that are all around us…opportunities and possibilities that we did not see before because we were focused on what wasn’t working, on what wrong with everyone and everything.   It’s as if we’ve had blinders on, and the practice of gratitude gently pulls them off. We begin to see a beautiful world full of possibilities.  We begin to see the potential within us.  We begin in see the connectedness of everything, and how everything is working together for our good…if we will but recognize it!

Let’s take a few obvious examples, just to illustrate the point.  Say I was unemployed and couldn’t find a job to save my life.  Now, rather than constantly bemoan my circumstance and blame the government for my predicament I’m practicing gratitude.  I’m thinking about all the things I have to be grateful for as I’m driving down the road.  Suddenly I realize I’m lost.  I find myself on a new street and again, rather than falling prey to anger and blame, I notice what beautiful trees are lining this street. I’m suddenly grateful that I took a wrong turn.  Then I notice that behind the beautiful trees, which I’m grateful for, is a building I never noticed before.  “Oh look, it Burt’s Bees.  Hmmmm, I didn’t know they were headquartered here.  Gee, I wonder if they’re hiring.”  I go in, submit my resume, and in a few days I have a job at the company I’ve always admired.

Or, say I find myself in a coffee house. It’s very busy and I have to wait in a long line.  Rather than bemoan the inconvenience and stress about how late I am, I silently express my gratitude for the opportunity to have coffee, for soy milk so that lactose intolerant folks like me can still enjoy lattes, for the creative way the place is decorated, for the people around me.  Then, the cute guy in front of me remarks about the weather, or the song they’re playing, and we start up a conversation…which either leads to romance and a relationship or a business opportunity.

Or, I’ve taken my kids to the library to pick out some fun books to read at bedtime. I’m grateful for my children and for this time I get to spend with them. I’m grateful for this library and the people who work here.  As we’re walking through the isles on the way to check out, a self-help book catches my eye.  I pick it up and check it out.  It turns out to be a book that has a significant impact on my life.

I can think of many for examples, and so can you. In fact, if you’d like to share an example from your own life in the comment section below, we’d love to hear it.

We are all deeply connected to possibilities that can turn our lives around in ways we can’t even imagine.  But we’ll miss them all if we’re focused on what’s not working, and who’s to blame.  Gratitude opens our eyes to the connectedness of all things and the abundance of opportunities all around us.

Experiencing True Inner Peace

peaceful stepsThich Nhat Hanh’s book  “Peace is Every Step” begins with an invitation to open to the opportunities present in every day – every 24 hour period.  “What a precious gift!” he says.  “We have the capacity to live in a way that these twenty-four hours will bring peace, joy and happiness to ourselves and others.”

And although it seems that some people are able to find more joy a day than others, the truth is that everyone has the same 24 hours…and every morning we wake up we have another opportunity to choose how we want to spend it.  Now I know some of you might be saying, “Well I don’t have a choice I have to work at this job I really don’t like.  Or,  “I have to get up early and make my kids breakfast and pack a lunch and drive them to school, then come back home and do loads of laundry.  I have to do that, that’s not my choice.”  Or is it?

In New Thought we know that on some level every circumstance in our life is our choice.  And certainly how we experience those conditions /situations is most definitely our choice.  We can either choose to be miserable, frustrated, board, unhappy, etc.  Or, we can choose something else.  In this post we’re going to explore that “something else.”  We’re going to explore how we can all choose to participate in the abundance of joy, peace and love that is all around us right now and within us right now…no matter the circumstances of our lives.  And when we can do that…the circumstances begin to shift and take on the shape of our new-found joy.

We, as a culture, spend a great deal of time planning for the future, or working toward some goal that we think will give us a better experience in the future.  But we don’t spend much time in the now, enjoying life right now in this present moment.  You know, when we get to that future that we had planned and worked so hard to have, do we enjoy it as much as we thought we would?  Do we ever finally “arrive”?

So, below are some ways we can really grab life for all it has to offer, and share with life all we have to offer, and live fully as we do…to live from a place of amazing joy and extraordinary peace!

  • The first way we might accomplish that is to start the day with gratitude.  This means that before you get out of bed in the morning, think of one thing…just one thing…you are grateful for.  It could be as simple as the sun streaming in your window, the fact that you had a good rest, or even that you’re alive…you woke up!  Then, as you’re getting ready for the day, continue to think of things to be grateful for…a fresh cup of coffee…clean clothes to put on…indoor plumbing…a warm shower, etc.  When you start your day this way it reminds you that you are truly blessed…that you do indeed live in a friendly universe.
    And really celebrating those things….not just “oh that’s nice”…but feel every fiber of your being celebrating that warm shower, the beautiful songs of the birds outside your window.  Let that gratitude vibrate to your core.  You can’t help but smile.  And the smile sends waves of relaxation throughout your body and sends healing hormones into all your organs.  Having a regular proactive gratitude practice has been proven over and over to have a ton of physiological benefits, from an analgesic effect on the body stimulating the release of the brain’s own morphine-like substances, to better heart functioning, to better sleep, to less depression, to increasing the antibodies in our nose & mouth – which are our first line of defense.Perhaps more importantly though, practicing proactive gratitude shifts our perception – how we look at the world.  We begin to live joyously and open-heartedly and in the present moment.  And that shift can change everything.
  • Another way we can begin to live more fully and become more peace-filled individuals is to engage in what I call “Conscious Living.”  This begins with becoming more conscious of our breathing.  Breathing more slowly, more deeply and more consciously helps us to be in the present moment…fully.  The breath connects us with our heart and with that place within us where we are connected with the Infinite…where the Divine breathes forth life through us and as us.  That one Divine Breath (in Aramaic it’s referred to as Ruha) is the same one we share with everyone else and with everything else on this planet.Now, let’s take that idea a step further and combine our breath with our footsteps as Thich Nhat Hanh suggests in his writings.  “Although we walk all the time, our walking is usually more like running. When we walk like that, we print anxiety and sorrow on the earth. We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth…We walk a little slower than our normal pace, and we coordinate our breathing with our steps. For example, we may take three steps with each in-breath and three steps with each out-breath.”This is a great tool to use and a great image to keep in mind as you walk really anywhere in your daily life.  Our walking to our car in the parking lot has the potential to become a meditation.  So does our walking to the mailbox, or from our car to any destination.  If we consciously coordinate our breath with our steps that will pull us into the now moment…into the peace of the now moment.  It will also help us to feel that connection with Mother Earth.  And our every step can be as a “kiss upon the Earth.”

    Another way we can become more fully present and hence more peace-filled people during our everyday lives is to eat more consciously.  Most of us, when we eat, most of the time we’re either chatting with others while we eat or watching TV or working (I’m guilty) and we so we don’t even taste the food we’re eating.  So we get to the end of a meal and we’re not satisfied.  Well then we need to have desert – maybe that intense load of sugar will get our attention.  We are a multi-tasking culture.  I’m not against multi-tasking per se.  Sometimes (particularly if you are a mom) you need to do it.  Isn’t that what MOM stands for?  Master of Multi-tasking.  But what if we just took one thing and brought our full attention to that thing?  What if we slowed down and were really present to what we’re eating?  Well, we’d develop a healthier relationship with food, that’s for sure.  And we’d be spending a good chunk of time in the present moment – fully enjoying our life.

    In fact, you can have an experience of that right now.  Take a grape.  One grape is all you need for this exercise (make sure it’s a good one and not a squishy one J).   And hold that grape in your hand.  Close your eyes and think about the vine the brought that grape to fruition.  In your mind’s eye see the vine growing from a little sprout to a full grown vine.  See all the cycles that contributed to the growth of that vine: the days of sun and the days the rain came to nurture that plant and bring it to fruition.  See now tiny little buds beginning to sprout.  Again the days of sun and rain help to ripen and sweeten the fruit until it is finally ready for picking.

    Think about who picks those grapes for a moment – probably migrant farm workers. They work so very hard to support their families.  You may want to send a silent blessing to them right now.

    Now, place the grape in your mouth and, before you bite into it, feel the roundness of the fruit in your mouth…the smoothness of the skin. Now bite into it and feel the juice being released.  Is it sweet?  Is it tart? What is the ratio of sweetness to tartness?  Feel the difference in texture between the skin and the inside.  How does it feel going down your throat?

    Okay open your eyes.  But a grape never tasted so good! Now, no one would ever have the time to do this with every morsel of food they eat obviously.  But it does give you an idea of how you can slow down, appreciate the food you are eating and be present to it all when you eat.

  •  The 3rd way we can live more fully and be more peace-filled people is to open to the Infinite Peace within us and give it to others.  If you are a unique emanation of the Infinite One (which you are,) and this Infinite One is the essence of Peace (which it is,) then you are, in fact, Infinite Peace in expression.  It is your very essence.  You may not be experiencing it right now, or at other times during the day, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t what you are.  It means you’re just not connected with it at that moment. The quality of Divine Peace is at your core and the more you connect with it through Spiritual Practice the more often you will experience it in your day to day life.  The more that peace will carry you through difficult times.  Then, when you’ve established a connection with that Peace the charge is to live it – share it with others. To “be” that peace for others.  We must establish it within ourselves first and “be it for others.”  Be a loving, peaceful presence for others.  We do that by consciously connecting with it and through setting our intention to be that.  Set your intention to actually peace the presence of peace for others.
  • That intention will undoubtedly lead you to being of service to others in some way.  And as you are of service to others you want to remember to do it from a place of inner peace.  You want to serve from an awareness that the Infinite Peace of the Universe flows through you in order to share with the world.  It starts at your center and spirals out to others and the world around you.  In this way, you can experience peace in your every step and truly become a “Peace-makers.”

Try some of these ideas for a week. Really integrate them into your daily life.  You will begin to see some very real shifts that originate in your inner being and then out into your experience.

But How Can I Feel Grateful When…

Have you ever asked yourself this question?  How can I focus on the blessings in my life angel tearswhen the events in the world are so sad and the prospects for change seem so bleak?  You may have asked yourself this question upon hearing of the tragic news in Charleston, South Carolina last week when a young white man walked into the Emanuel AME church, was welcomed into the Bible study group, spent an hour with those folks and then proceeded to shoot them all dead.  Yet another racially motivated hate crime.  Yet another angry, mentally deranged young man allowed to have a gun.

Last week I asked myself that question.

I asked myself that question when I heard that a friend was just placed in hospice care after battling stage 4 colon cancer. She’s barely forty years old and has a young child. After raising and spending billions of dollars in cancer research, lives are still cut short by this scourge.

And then, I remember.  Tragedies like these break our hearts…and break them open.  We feel immense compassion and the love in our hearts literally goes out to those affected.  Devastating events like the one in Charleston unite us as a people.  Skin color doesn’t determine how much love we feel for the families.  Our own religious affiliation doesn’t dictate the level of our compassion.  Suddenly we are all one people.   And our nation is, once again, actively debating the issue of gun violence.

When someone close to us is in the process of dying, family and friends draw closer. Suddenly old squabbles, past resentments melt away.  Only the love survives.  What’s ultimately important in life…sharing our love and light…comes to the forefront.  It’s all that matters.

Love unites.  Love heals.  And love is what finds a solution to the world’s problems.

And for that I feel extremely grateful!

Stepping Out in Faith

leap of faith

The last few posts have been all about expanding our idea of what we think is possible for ourselves and the world.  We’ve explored these limitless possibilities, and then worked to become a vibrational match to those qualities or experiences we want to grow in our lives.  I’ve talked about the power of our thoughts and beliefs – because knowledge is power, and the more you understand how powerful you really are the more you can use that power consciously to create your experience in life and to become a light for others.

So today we’ll complete this cycle of ideas of growing our good by talking about how to step out in faith.

One of my favorite Biblical passages is in Hebrews: “For faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  (Hebrews 11:1)  This passage describes exactly the process I’m talking about.  Everything is created out of an invisible infinite possibility.  New Thought pioneers referred to it as this Infinite Invisible Substance that is all around us (the substance of things hoped for…the evidence of things not seen.)  And what causes the invisible substance, the infinite possibility, to come into form and experience?

Intention…intention infused with faith.

Faith is more than a thought.  It’s more than an acknowledged desire.  It’s more than an affirmation.  It’s more than a vision board.  It’s more than prayer.  All these things can get us there.  In fact, that’s the point of affirmation, prayer, vision boards, white stones, etc…the point of them is to get us to a place of faith…that state of being wherein when we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that our good – the good we want to bring into experience in our lives – is already ours.  It’s a certainty.  No doubt about it. We can then act on that faith from a place of knowing that it will show up as we move forward into life.

Do you remember the movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade?  There is a part of the movie where Indiana finds himself in a situation that, in order to save his father’s life, he must successfully navigate through the 3 very difficult trials – a misstep in any of them and he’s a dead man.  He does have an ancient guide with him that gives him these obscure clues, which he has to figure out quickly in order to survive, and to save his father’s life.  The last one finds him running through a tunnel…which ends abruptly as he finds himself standing on the edge of a deep abyss.  The ancient text tells him to “step from the head of the lion.”  Here’s a link to that exact scene.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFntFdEGgws

Indiana Leap of Faith

I love this film because it’s literally about stepping out on faith.  That out of the invisible substance, through faith, something solid emerges that is the answer to our heart’s desires.  For Indiana, that’s saving his father’s life.  And in this scene in particular, he has to connect to his heart – which is our connection with the Divine within. Then only after he’s done that, does he take action.

This is not a bad model for us.

Have you heard the saying: The Divine can work for us only as It works through us.  We must first be a willing vessel for Divine wisdom to direct our action.  We must then be willing to take that action…regardless of any resistance, fear, or discomfort.  In growing our good we will no doubt experience one or all of that.  But we must be willing anyway.

So let’s break it down and make it doable for ourselves.

Connecting with and listening to our Divine Wisdom.  That’s something most of us on a spiritual path strive to do.  Because we know that living our lives….making decisions…moving in the world….making changes in our lives…from our heads…from our own “self-initiated plans” as the Course in Miracles refers to it, will only serve to make us unhappy.  We’ll end up doing a lot of running around, working really hard, but not really getting anywhere.  It’s also coming from the smallest part of ourselves.  Our very small human dimension.

When we connect with the Divine Wisdom within and allow that to guide us, we are coming from a larger place…the place where we are connected with Source energy, and where we are connected with everyone and everything else.  When we move into action this way, things begin to line up for us.  This is when synchronicity happens.  We move out into the world on purpose and tend to achieve far more in less time.  We can be assured that our Divine Wisdom will always move us in the direction of our highest purpose unfolding and what we create will be deeply fulfilling, add joy to our lives, and even offer healing to the world.

Get comfortable with discomfort.  Following Divine Guidance isn’t always easy, or pain-free, or fear-free.  No, in fact moving out into action following Divine Guidance often pushes us against our “growing edge” and that’s usually uncomfortable.  That’s why it’s helpful to have support.  And it’s important to remember that every time we feel that fear as we’re taking that leap of faith…we want to connect with our heart (as Indiana did) remind ourselves of our true purpose, and remind ourselves that the fear is simply shedding old skin…allowing us to grow into the magnificent beings we are meant to be.

My daughter, Olivia, just auditioned for The Voice in February.  She’s unusual in kids her age as she knew early on what she wanted to be when she grows up.  She always wanted to be a singer and performer.  She started singing when she was about five.  She has been wanting to audition for one of these televised singing contests for a while now.  As she’ll be turning 16 by the time the show airs she was finally allowed to audition.  Olivia worked on her audition song night and day and envisioned herself at least getting through to the next level where she would be on the show.  So she made the argument for taking us to NYC where the auditions where held.  Didn’t take much to convince me as I preach “going for your dreams” (saying no to her would be hypocritical of me.)

So we went through the grueling process of lining up outside in 10 degree weather in New York City…and waiting and waiting and waiting.  Olivia was one of the youngest to audition that I could see.  Most where 17 or 18 and above.  As we got closer Olivia started to get really nervous.  In fact she was literally shaking all over.  Fortunately I was there to help her breathe deeply and affirm her talent and ability.  By the time she got into the room to audition she had calmed down a bit and had centered herself.  Well she sang really strong – the best I’d heard her.

What happened?  Out of the 10 people who auditioned in the room with her, only 1 was selected to go on to the next level and it was not Olivia.  It was a duo who were amazing, and who had performed professionally around town.

Now some people might take this experience as the universe saying – you’re not good enough and you shouldn’t have even tried this…particularly at such a young age.   But not Olivia.  She sees it as now knowing how high the bar is and how hard she will have to work to get there, as well as what to work on.  So for that, it was an invaluable experience and totally following Divine Guidance and moving out into action in spite of the fear.  Feeling the fear and doing an excellent job anyway is golden experience.

So know that it doesn’t always show up the way you imagined it would, and it often feels uncomfortable.  But it’s all growth and moving one step closer to the realization of your dreams.

We have all been given unique skills, talents and abilities which the Universe uses to give of Itself to the world.   Each one’s true unique abilities, properly aligned with Divine purpose, is extremely valuable and essential to the healing of the world.

The place to begin is to first connect with inner Divine Wisdom and then…follow that wisdom!  Here are some steps to assist you in your journey.

  1. Connect in.  Get into some form of meditation…whatever helps you transcend the chatter of the ego so that you can hear your inner wisdom (click here for a guided meditation).  When you are there, begin listen for the wisdom of your Higher Self.  Some people feel the connection with their inner wisdom in their bodies.  So search your body and see if something feels different, or more peaceful somehow.  You could even ask for a signal from your Higher Self to let you know you are connected with and hearing Divine Wisdom. Ask for a signal and you’ll receive one.  It’s usually very subtle so be alert to any small changes.  For other people it’s just a deep knowing.
  2. Ask. Once you’re there, ask this question of your Inner Wisdom.  “How am I to step out in the world to facilitate the growth of my dream this year?”
  3. Listen.  Your answer could appear as a stream of consciousness, a seemingly unrelated explosion of ideas.  It could be a general direction to move in.  It could be an image, or several images. It could even appear as a well-organized “to-do” list.  It’s all good.
  4. Write it down.  Now…allow your inner wisdom to guide your thoughts, and your hand, in writing down Spirit’s ideas using the space provided in your handout.  Writing it down often clarifies ideas.
  5. Move into action.  Once you’ve received guidance, even if it doesn’t seem to make sense at the moment, or fit into your other plans, or relate to anything you’ve ever done before – you must act upon it.  Even if it brings up your fear, move into action.  You must trust enough to take the first step.  When you do, you will be sending the Universe a message that you are taking this seriously. The Universe will then continue to support your intention.

As you continue this process one step at a time, listening, following…listening, following, etc, it will really begin to flow and before you know it you’re walking on a clearly marked path, your fulfillment plainly in view.

This is how you cultivate a relationship with your inner wisdom.  It will not fail.

Be grateful for the guidance and celebrate each step of the way.  Even if your taken action doesn’t seem to be getting you anywhere, know that you are learning and developing essential skills when it does arrive (think of Olivia’s experience.)

When you combine cultivating the Divine Wisdom within in the silence with inspired activity, you are integrating the energy of both dimensions of your being…the spiritual and the physical…and you will experience both spiritual and tangible fulfillment.

 

 

New Sister Blog!

Hi all Gratitude Experiment readers!  I wanted you to know that I now have a sister blog where I am writing ideas, tips, sharing video and guided exercises all based on the concept of conscious co-creating — how to work with the creative laws of universe to create our lives consciously!  Click here for the sister blog. The Gratitude Experiment will house blogs based solely on the idea that practicing proactive gratitude transforms our experience in life.

Aren’t these concepts closely related?  Yes, they absolutely are!  In fact, one of the most important practices in conscious co-creating is gratitude.  When we practice proactive gratitude (in other words, not waiting for something wonderful to happen, then expressing our gratitude about it, but rather actively searching for the good in our lives and celebrating it) we raise our vibration to a higher level that, in turn, attracts to us more and more blessings.

However, the art of conscious co-creating takes a more wholistic approach as we listen for a Divinely inspired vision of our lives and then learn to work with ALL the Laws of the Universe to bring that vision to fruition.  Another important component in the process is to fully embrace our true self-worth…deeply accepting the joyous, fulfilling, successful, love-filled and abundant life we were meant to life.

So again, check out our sister site and join in the conversation there and here at the Gratitude Experiment!  I am grateful for all of you!

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Your Divine Design Emerging

As I write this it is March 1st, but here on the East Coast it feels like we are in the depths of winter.  And even so, we are actually at the turning point of the winter season.  Even though everything outside appears frozen and barren, under the surface, there are millions of miracles occurring…millions of seeds are actively germinating.  In ancient Celtic traditions, and other “Earth-based” traditions this time is revered.  It’s sometimes called Imbolc, and sometimes called St. Briget’s Day. And it has a definite feminine, womb-like feel to it.

If we follow nature’s cue, for us it can be a time of of preparation.  A time of new beginnings.  A time to begin to break out of the hardness of winter and to open to the increasing light…and allow it to encourage the emergence of our true essence.

I’ve always felt that all we need to know about how to live a joyful, fulfilling life and to reach our full Divine potential we can find by looking to nurture.  Thoreau taught us this.  He wrote: Nature is full of genius, full of divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.

Looking at nature, we can see that within an acorn there is the perfect Divine Design Angel Oak Treethat…giving the right conditions…will emerge into a magnificent oak tree.  The oak tree is all already there, complete, in the seed.  The only thing it needs is to break out of the hard shell that encases and protects it. Thanks to the magic of time-lapse photography, you can see the process happen right now in just a few minutes.  Click here to watch this miraculous video now:

The thing about an acorn is that is has a really hard shell.  How acorndo squirrels do it?  Really sharp teeth I guess.  But, on its own, it is the will of the life inside the acorn needing to grow and become what it is meant to be.  The will of that life needing to express it full potential. That’s what pushes against and breaks through that hard shell and casts it aside. And it can really do that only when is it sufficiently nurtured.  In other words, when the seed is deep within moist, nurturing soil.  Only then does it feel safe enough to burst out of its hard, protective shell and emerge as the oak tree it was designed to become.

You can probably see where I’m going with this…

The same is true for us.  At the core of our being – since the moment we were born (and probably even before) there is a beautiful and perfect pattern for a glorious, successful life where we are expressing our unique talents and abilities, where we are loving and giving, where we are loved and nurtured, where we are abundantly provided for, where we are expressing our beauty and wholeness. That’s in our “acorn”.  It’s coded in our DNA.  And everything we need to live a fulfilling, joyful life is within us right there at the beginning…day one.

But, in order for us to experience this glorious life, we must break out of the hard, protective shell that is trapping our magnificence.  Because we can’t experience any of it while we’re encased in the shell. So, here’s how to break free:

A moment ago I mentioned “will”…that it’s the will of the life inside the acorn to become what it is meant to be. Will is one of the Power Centers located in our energetic body.  Will is located in the forehead and is our power to choose, decide, direct, and determine.  Now, the power of Will used by the ego creates someone who is bossy, obstinate, inflexible, selfish, etc.  But Will in the hands of our Authentic Self is our power of intention inspired by the Divine; and our power to move forward.   It’s the activating power!

So the first thing we need in order to do break through that hard shell and to fully blossom into a more expansive experience of life is to draw from the inspiration of our innate Divine pattern and decide to activate it!  That’s Step 1. I’ve written about and talked about this process quite a bit, so I’m not going to focus on this step today.  Instead…I want to focus on the shell.

Each of us has a “shell” that takes a different form for each person. However there are common themes.

For some, the shell is a defense mechanism…the ego that tries to protect us and keep us safe (and by doing so prevents our true self from emerging.)  Perhaps we’ve been profoundly hurt before when we tried to break free and love with abandon.  So our defensive shell insures that doesn’t happen again!

For others this shell is an unwillingness to try something new, to break out of old habits…old ways of doing things…old routines.  Or it’s something we’ve been holding onto for far too long.

For some of us this shell is our fear….our fear, based on ignorance or a false belief…an old story we’ve told ourselves that we don’t have anything to offer, or we’re not good enough. We might have a lack of belief in ourselves overall, or a lack of trust that we’ll be okay. Or, we have a false belief that the world does not value what we have to offer, or that the world won’t accept us in some way.

That shell is different for all of us.  But one thing is for sure…it’s gotta go if we want to grow!  If we want to express our potential and have a full, love-filled, joyous life. It’s gotta go.

That’s Step Two.  Identifying what that shell is for you.

Step Three is the process by which we break of out of that hard shell.  New Thought pioneer, Ernest Holmes, points us toward this one in the following statement:

“[One’s] entire “treatment” (which is what he called affirmative prayer) is based on the assumption that there is a spiritual pattern at the center of everything.  The perfect was always there, it was implanted by the Spirit.  The imperfect has been added by the human mind.  What the human mind has put there, it can take away.  What the Divine has implanted cannot be uprooted; it can only appear to be covered up.  Spiritual practice is an uncovering of the Divine Nature.”

The Divine didn’t put the shell of fear, defense, unwillingness there.  We did. What we put there, we can remove.  It’s simply covering up our innate Divine Nature, preventing our “oak tree” from fully emerging.  And we do that with Spiritual Practice.

Here us another time lapse photography of seeds germinating which can give us another clue.  https://vimeo.com/30074251

You see how the first thing this seed has to do before it can fully emerge from the shell is to send down roots deep into the soil.   That’s where its strength comes from and where it is sufficiently nurtured.  The same is true for us.  We need to send our roots deep into a nurturing environment.  That nurturing environment takes two different forms for us — one interior and the other exterior.

The first, interior, is about regular, daily connecting deeply with Spirit.  Meditation is how many of us achieve that.  For other’s it’s walking a Labyrinth, or chanting, or some other meditative practice. But it’s where we connect with Source…and are nurtured by that Source.  Having a regular, daily proactive gratitude process is another very important part of this.

The Exterior form of a nurturing environment is about immersing ourselves into, and being nurtured by, spiritual community.  That spiritual community may be for you a church, synagogue or a temple.  For others it may be a study group, spiritual reading group or service group. Whatever it is…dive in.  Send your roots deeply in.  Participate. Take classes. Be of service.  And let yourself be nurtured by that environment. Surround yourself with positive, heart-centered, life affirming people. Open yourself to the spiritual support that’s available in your community.

These two practices…interior and exterior…are how we immerse ourselves in a nurturing environment, build strength, get nurtured — which eventually allows us to break free of the old shell much more easily and quickly.

If you look, you will begin to see that there is a direct connection between individuals who are experiencing their Divine Potential emerging and regular spiritual practice combined with immersing themselves in a nurturing supportive environment.  And if you have been doing regular daily spiritual practice and participating in your spiritual community but you haven’t seen “results” yet – then just trust that you will see it soon.  Like the seed germinating – there’s an amazing miracle happening just under the surface.  On the surface you may not be able to see anything yet.  But it’s happening. Trust the process. Connect with the energy of this season and trust.  And get ready for some amazing blossoming in your life soon!

If you want to get a jump start on this, I’ve recorded a guided meditation to help get your roots firmly planted in nurturing soil.  Leave reply below with your email address and I’ll be happy to send it to you free of charge.