Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Why I Finally Embraced Listening

Listening.  It's something I thought I did very well.  And, last week, while on vacation in Lake Tahoe, I set the intention to really up-level my listening.  Not just when people were talking to me but when other conversations were happening around me that I was not even a part of.

The results?  Not only did I find I listened with the intent to shift the conversation onto a topic more interesting for me, but I found I listened with the purpose of inserting my opinion into the 'conversation' before the other person was done talking.

Ugh!  Why is it such a challenge to keep my mouth shut and my mind focused?

I also noticed the negative self-talk going on around me.  "I'm so chubby, no one will ever dance with me."  "I'm never lucky at these games."  "I'll probably get sick after being in such a crowded, smoky place."

What?  Did they not understand how they were setting the stage for their future life with those words?

Not being one to shy away from self-improvement, I decided to take action.  All week, when in a conversation, if I found I was starting to think of my response instead of listening to what the other person had to say, I took a breath and re-focused my attention.  After a few times, I noticed I was much more calm and relaxed in a simple exchange of thoughts and commentary.

And, if I heard someone talking about themselves in a negative way, I changed the wording into a powerful affirmation and held the space for them in that moment.

While I'll never be sure if I impacted the other people's lives in a positive way, for me it felt great.  I feel a renewed sense of enthusiasm for creating something out of this practice that is proving to be life-changing.

Listening is a gift I and I'm enjoying unwrapping it, one conversation at a time.

Today, I set the intention to listen wholly and completely when in conversation with another person, grateful for the opportunity to share in other's lives at a deeper level than before.

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, 
a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, 
all of which have the potential to turn a life around." 

Affirmative Prayer:
Taking a breath and going within, there is the stirring of the Presence of Spirit; a light as bright as the sun on a beautiful winter morning.  This One Creative Intelligence is felt in each life-sustaining breath and with each beat of the heart - all love, all joy, all power, all peace.

Smiling at this thought, happiness overtakes me as I realize that this Presence lives within me and that I can never be separate.  I am a unique expression of the Infinite Intelligence that I call God, unfolding and revealing a glorious, magnificent life right here, right now.

Tuning into the calling of my soul, I welcome the opportunity to be in relationship with others, listening attentively and allowing for conversations that go beyond a surface level.  I accept the beautiful transformation that unfolds as I hold the space for other's negative self-talk and turn it around into something positive.  With each breath I take, there is a bliss that is revealed with the simple exchange of a smile.  I rejoice in the happiness that spills over each day as I see more good revealed in every area of my life.

Filled with joy, I give thanks that my unique gifts and talents shine through as I make time to be fully present in all of my conversations.  I am filled with gratitude for the aliveness that flows through me from the simple act of listening.  And I say Thank You, Sweet Spirit, that peace and happiness are right where I am as I up-level my spiritual practice of being present in each moment.

From this place of deep gratitude, I release my prayer to the Law of Mind, knowing it is done.  I let go and let God.  And so it is.  Amen.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Sjolund/Flickr

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Have A Wonderful Weekend

We are off to Lake Tahoe for the week.  It should be a great time of year for hiking and walking around the town.  I'm really looking forward to taking a break to recharge and just going where the day takes me.  Hope you have a good weekend and here are some fun and inspirational links from around the web....

TEDx: The fear of being found out

How to make life's challenges count for something good

10 signs you don't love yourself enough (and what to do about it)

15 signs you are doing well in life even though you don't think so

These sound like the ultimate vacation

Take time to treat yourself kindly

Why celebrate success?

14 morning mantras that will calm your restless mind

Trust is the key ingredient to miracles

You won't believe #13

And, something to contemplate this weekend from Georg Hegel, "Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion."  Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of m01229/Flickr

Thursday, October 15, 2015

What Are You The Best At?

Nurturing the creative side of me has always seemed like good advice to take.  Allowing for creativity is supposed to use a different part of the brain and sharpen our mental acuity.  So, I've pulled out my flute to begin playing again.  And, I've taken dance classes to get my body moving.   I've also explored writing, painting, cooking and singing.

In reading quite a bit of spiritual literature, a common theme seems to be that we are each here to share our unique gifts and talents.

I thought if I explored a few options, one or two of my creative explorations would lead to finding the ONE that resonated deeply.  I was sure I would suddenly be caught spending all hours of the day following this compelling urge to excel at my gift.

I could see myself moving mountains to play the piano until I mastered the skill with ease and a natural flow.

I felt confident it would be clear that I was meant to sing the lead in The Phantom of the Opera with a voice that made the audience come alive.

Instead, I feel like I'm still standing on the sidelines, waiting for the coach to put me in the game.

So, I'm left asking, what is it that I am the best at?  What is it that I can do that no one else can do quite like me?  The answer that comes back to me is to keep searching until what I am seeking finds me too.

And with that, today I set the intention to continue fostering my creative talents until I discover the one that I am the best at, allowing my life to thrive in new and meaningful ways.

"As you shift and change your own experience, the experience of 
the whole human race begins to shift and change as well."  

Affirmative Prayer:
Taking a breath and turning my attention within, there is a sweetness that is the all-good of Spirit.  It is a Divine Intelligence that is more beauty, more joy, more love than can even be imagined.  It is seen in the smile on a child's face and is felt in the softness of a caress.

I am an expression of this Divine Intelligence, being lifted into a greater version of myself in unique and beautiful ways.  I am the vehicle for the One Life to shine here in this moment and every moment going forward.  My heart and my mind remain open to the possibilities being created as I allow the strength and wisdom of Source Energy to sustain and support me.

In this moment, I accept the magnificence that is seeking to express through me.  My unique gifts and talents begin to reveal themselves as I step out and try new creative ventures.  Whether it is singing or dancing or playing music, there is a genius within that is unfolding beautifully and perfectly.  I am raised to my highest expression of the One Life as I embrace the many different choices of creative opportunities.  I welcome the journey of discovery and know that what I am seeking is also seeking me.  And, I affirm that the Universe is supporting me in this journey of discovery with a love beyond explanation.

Accepting my good, my heart is filled with gratitude that there is so much Life still to discover.  I give thanks for my unique gifts and talents that touch and bless not only myself but others around me.  And I say Thank You, Sweet Spirit, for a life that is thriving, filled with huge abundant prosperity and abundance in health, wealth and happiness.

Breathing in the gratitude, I release this prayer to the Law of Mind, knowing God's got this and it is done.  Joy fills this moment.  And I say Amen.  Alleluia.  And so it is.

Photo my own

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Bite My Tongue

Every relationship has some things that work and some things that don't work.  Our spiritual practice has helped Kevin and I to enjoy what is working and to recognize what isn't working, and to adjust to what is not working long before it becomes a real issue.

The one area I've noticed that I'm still challenged in is speaking before I think.  When my buttons are pushed, only recently have I learned to take a deep breath, and rather than my normal knee jerk reaction to the situation, I bite my tongue - mostly.

At this new level in our relationship, it's not so important for me to be right or to make the other person wrong.  Instead, there is an acknowledgement of the difference and, if it's needed, we can set a time to discuss the issue when neither of us is so heated about the situation.

When we do sit to down to talk about the problem, we've also set a guideline to start with something positive about the other person. It's amazing to see our conversation unfold when we've acknowledged some small thing about the other person that makes us happy.

Ultimately, we've come out of this feeling closer in our marriage.  Neither of us is perfect.  We're doing the best we can.  But, we're doing it together and that keeps us moving forward.

So, today I set the intention to recognize its not so important for ME to be right, but to accept my part in making my relationship the thing that is right.

"Courage means to keep working a relationship, to continue seeking solutions 
to difficult problems, and to stay focused during stressful periods." 

Affirmative prayer:
Taking a breath and moving into this moment now, there is the recognition of the all-good that is God.  It is the sense of peace that flows through the stillness.  It is the feeling of love that surrounds all that is.

This Divine Presence flows through me, speaking as my soul's desire.  I am a unique expression of Spirit, revealing the highest and best good for myself and for others I meet during my day.

Focusing on my heart's desire, I am led into a closer relationship with my husband, with family and with friends.  I welcome the closeness in my marriage as I practice thinking before I speak.  I accept the growing sense of peace and love that fills me as I remain mindful in my conversations with friends and family.  I embrace the beautiful truth that something within me keeps me balanced in all of my relationships at work and at home.  And I affirm that as I give my attention to the good I see in other's relationships and communication, that same good is revealed in the words and body language I use in my conversations.

I am so grateful for the awareness that Spirit lifts me into a greater expression of what is possible each and every day.  I am thankful that I am free to shine in my relationships, allowing my personality to shine.  And I say Thank You, Sweet Spirit, for all this good and so much more.

From this place of deep gratitude, I release my prayer to the Law of Mind, knowing it is already done.  I experience peace and joy in this release and I celebrate the good I witness.  And I let it be so.  Amen.  Alleluia.  And so it is.

Photo: my own

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hello, Healthy Living

I've been spending more and more time with the fitness apps on my phone recently.  For some reason, it's become fascinating to open my health app and see how many steps I've gone or how many stairs I've climbed in a day.  And, my Nike app tracks my route so I can see all the zigs and zags I've taken on my walks.

It started about a year ago when I read somewhere that we should take a break every hour to stand for 10 minutes.  So, I set a timer on my phone and followed it pretty religiously.  Every time the chime toned, I would stand.

Recently, I've read that it's now every 30 minutes that we should stand for 10 minutes.  After adjusting my timer to go off more frequently, I started watching the trends on my health app.  That's when my competitive nature kicked in.

I felt compelled to up my game and, before I knew it, I was taking more steps and climbing more stairs than before.  But, on Fridays, I took a big dip for some reason.  So, I pushed a little harder on Fridays and walked around the block every 30 minutes.  And, up went my trend line.

Then, Kevin and I took up hiking on weekends.  Wow! My steps and stairs number took a big jump.  But, on Mondays, I would be back down to my previous normal pattern of exercise.

I noticed two things.  I was a little disappointed in myself when I took that big dip during the week.  At the same time, I started pushing a little more to get in a 10-minute walk so I could beat what I did the day before.

I'm not sure of the psychology behind my feelings of wanting to push more to beat my former limits, and I'm not sure how healthy it is to give in to this driving need to beat my own previous achievements.  I do know that I have been spending time in the stillness 'talking' to my body and feeling grateful for how healthy it is.

So, is the outcome of pushing to do more coming from the Universe?  In which case, I have to believe the Universe would also help me to set my limits through some gentle reminder.

What I AM sure about is, for right now, it's fun to see if I can beat my health statistics from the previous day.  And, I'm guessing if it feels fun, it must have some essence of the Goodness of Spirit that is directing my life.

By they way, I've lost 10 pounds over the last six weeks, and that is answered prayer, definitely!

So, today I set the intention to remain steady in my exercise, even if it's only standing for 10 minutes, knowing I am always at choice to decide if its become too much.

"Your body is a living organism that hears and believes every thought you think
 and every word you speak.  What do you believe about your body? And what thoughts
 are you feeding yourself consciously and unconsciously?"  

Affirmative Prayer:
Taking a deep breath, I feel the energy of my heart expand with love.  It is the love of the One Infinite Presence that is hope and grace.  It is the place where Spirit and Soul meet.

Looking beyond this moment, there is the sense of that Presence which is greater than me and yet, flows through me and around me.  I am supported by the arms of a powerful Divine Intelligence that expresses as me.  And I am strengthened in the knowing that I am loved beyond measure, wanting for nothing.

Reveling in the magnificence of this moment, I accept every ounce of good that flows to me.  It is the good of a healthy body fueled by delicious foods that I can easily afford.  I welcome the blessings that flow to support me as I honor my body temple.  I stand in awe of the ease with which I make exercise choices that serve me well.  As I learn what works for me and what doesn't work, I am reminded of my Divine essence that knows exactly what I need to experience my highest and best.

I am so grateful for the love and caring of Spirit that tells me I can never be separate from the One.  I give thanks for the clear thinking that my body is responding to.  And I am filled with gratitude for the amazing health that allows my life to thrive.

Leaning into the feeling of connection and being lifted up, I release my prayer to the One Divine Mind, knowing it is done.  What I focus on moves from the unseen into the seen in this moment now.  And I say Amen.  Alleluia.  And so it is.

Photo courtesy of Nick Harris/Flickr