Friday, August 30, 2013

2 Great Spiritual Practices

As I try to balance working a full-time job with practitioner studies, it seems that layer upon layer of responsibilities and tasks keep getting piled on.  On top of that, there are my chores at home - shopping for dinner, cooking meals, walking the dog, exercise.  And, I have to fit time in for my daily spiritual practices - meditation, journaling, visualization.

Talk about overwhelm!

To be honest, most days I manage quite nicely.  But - I can also count on disruptions and distractions to throw a wrench in my plans for the day.  And that's when I believe the Universe is telling me to have faith in the process.   My ego, however, doesn't always listen.

My ego LOVES distractions so that I can complain about what's not working and how it's someone else's fault.  My ego ENJOYS when I am disrupted so I am forced to worry and fret over the state of my finances, my relationships, my family and on and on.

And - if I let myself get buried in those feelings of anger or lack, my ego is SAFE, remaining right in my old, comfortable self.

As I grow into becoming the "real" me, ready to play bigger than I what I have settled for, I am learning to get back into the flow of who I truly am much more quickly.  I am able to turn away from what my ego would like and follow my heart.

There are two things that have really helped me make progress in this area.  First, any time I start to feel that my world may be turning upside down, I take my big tasks and break them down into simple steps.  That is just plain, practical advice - nothing new.

What IS new is I will stop and turn inward for guidance on my next best action.  When I simply make a list from what I think needs to be done, it is still my ego directing the show.  When I hand this over to the Universe, to Spirit, to show me the next step and then, the next step - there is almost an ease that arises from the process.

It is a tangible feeling of peace that I am learning to trust.  No one is out to get me or trying to make me fail.  The Universe has my back and I am co-creating a life of less "blah" and more bliss.

Second, I come back into the moment and I am grateful.  Even if I only have a minute or two, I will stop and take a breath and with each breath, say Thank You.  I may even break it down into what I am grateful for.  Just one or two words.

Breathe.  Good Health.  Breathe.  Sunshine.  Breathe.  Eyesight.  Breathe.

When I pay attention to my breath and focus on gratitude, I can see immediately what's going right in my life.  davidji put it beautifully on his radio show on Wednesday, "In paying special attention to each breath, you let the Universe kiss your soul."

In every moment of my life, I can choose to let ego keep me stagnant or I can choose to live a life from my deepest desires.  So, today, I set the intention to trust the process and take guided action, remembering to be grateful for all of it.

"Like all explorers, we are drawn to discover what's out there
without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it."

Affirmative Prayer:
Infinite Intelligence exists here and now in the consciousness of the One, the Power  that flows and supports the all-good of Life.  It is Divine Abundance and Overflowing Prosperity, healing and restoring everything in its path.  

Knowing the truth that this Power and Intelligence exists within me, I stand strong as I surrender to the joy and to the peace that flows through and around me.  I surrender to the true Self, revealing Itself as an expression through me.  I surrender to a life well-lived, fully present in each and every moment.

And in this moment, I have faith and trust that I am on the path for my highest and best expression of Spirit as Sandy.  Grace guides my step and I need only to stop and turn within to clearly hear and see each next action to take on my journey.  Courage to say Yes! springs forth and I easily and effortlessly connect with the people and the events that allow my light to shine.  Releasing any thoughts of fear or lack, I affirm how truly blessed I am in every area of my life.  I can do everything I am called to do, confident in my gifts and talents.  Anything is possible.

I am so thankful for the way that is made out of no way in loving and beautiful forms.  And, I am grateful for knowing the truth of who I am.  Thank you, God, for the passion and purpose that exists within me.  I am perfect, whole and complete in every moment and it is with gratitude that I recognize a Strength moves in and as me in amazing ways.

Knowing only good is exploding into my life, I release my word to the action of the Law.  It is done in the One Mind and I give thanks and say Amen.  And I let it be so.   And so it is!

Photo by Joana Kruse

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Balancing Leniency With Standards

My "job" description as a parent is evolving as my children start to move out into the world.  No longer am I needed to wipe runny noses, taxi kids around, or help with homework.  But, with my 20-year-old daughter still living at home, I am striving to balance the demands of being her mother versus bonding with her more as an adult.

Some days are beautiful and others seem like one step forward, two steps back.  And this makes me wonder if I have been too soft with her.

It's been a journey raising three kids, each having their own personalities and traveling their own path.  With Haley, the middle child, I find that I am challenged by how easily I fall back into doing things for her rather than empowering her to do them herself.

When she needs clean clothes for work, I rush to the rescue and throw her laundry in with mine.  If she's working late, I always make her a plate to eat when she gets home.    Sometimes I even catch myself wandering into her bedroom to grab her towel and hang it back up in the bathroom.

It's amazing how those old patterns trip me up every time!

Maybe I'm not doing what's best for her, or myself, by jumping in to help.  But, I find a certain joy in what feels like a service out of love.   Still, she is a strong person and fully capable of more independence than I am giving her.

I should also make it clear that she is no slouch.  She works 30 hours a week and is starting back to Community College part time as well.  I would simply like her to step it up when she's at home.

Thinking about this, I've decided to approach our current relationship like an investment - setting a few standards jut like I would with any other activity I put effort into.  And if this means she struggles a bit, I have to let it be okay.  We are both building new habits and it takes time.

First on my list for Haley is that she help out with dinner at least one night a week.    I'm asking her to plan the meal, go to the store, buy the items and cook for the four of us.  

Last night was our first attempt and we decided on steak fajitas.  Agreeing to go to the store with her, we purchased the usual items PLUS the red and green bell peppers she loves (not my favorite!)   We worked together in the kitchen, and she took over the sauteing of the meat and peppers.  We chatted while we cooked, carrying the conversation over into dinner and it was WONDERFUL.

Dinner was delicious, clean up was easy and when she left to watch the VMA's in her room, it was a smooth transition.  Not bad for the first attempt.

I'm certain there will be some bumps as we keep up the new weekly task and add more to the list.  I'm also sure that we are both starting to honor who we are as individuals.

Now we are free to explore our new relationship as it develops.  And I can let go of blaming myself for being too lenient and bring more love back into spending time with my daughter.

So, today, I set the intention to drop the Super Mom act and to be more authentic in my relationship with my children.

"A relationship is more of an assignment than a choice.
We can walk away from the assignment, but we cannot walk away
from the lessons it presents.  We stay with a relationship
until a lesson is learned, or we simply learn it another way."

"When you practice unbending intent, you match up with the intent
of the all-creative universal mind.  So keep a solid picture of the task 
you want to accomplish in your mind, and refuse to let that
intention disappear."
Affirmative Prayer:
Entering into a consciousness of joy and happiness, there is a knowing that there is only One - One Source, One Presence - creating and sustaining an all-expansive experience of life.   This Presence brings thought into form, nourishing all action with love and with peace.

Declaring that this Presence exists within me, never separate, I am free to allow an outpouring of love to all that I do and to everyone I meet.  It is a maturing love that embraces the truth of who I am - a Spiritual being having a human experience.  

Nothing I do will change the fact that I am loved.  And I can move through my day in confidence that my relationships with others are gifts to be opened and to be experienced in all the ways that they show up.  My beliefs and values are shared with my children and they, in turn, mold and shape their own beliefs and values, all held in the presence of Grace.  At each stage of our relationship, we learn and we change and hold to our vision of how our life should be.  We are respectful of each other's space and encourage the faith and the hope that continues to propel us down our path.   In times of need, we are there for each other and when we disagree, there is still a love that exists, always present and always available.  We share our unique gifts and talents and lift each other up if we stumble on our journey.

I am so grateful for my relationship with the Universe, knowing that as I think, it is done unto me.  And I am thankful for the Divine presence within all of my relationships.  It is all God and it is all good.  Thank you, Spirit, for the blessings and the love that flow effortlessly through and around me.

Knowing that my highest good is here now, I release my word to the Divine action of the Law.  All is well.  And I let it be so.  And so it is.  Amen.

My daughter, Haley

Friday, August 23, 2013

Designed To Live My Dreams

"It's easy to find "reasons" to turn away from your dreams.  But reasons are still no match for truth.  No matter what you tell yourself, you still want what you want.  You are designed to live your dreams.  And no amount of reason can really convince you otherwise."  ~Tama J. Kieves

I read this post by Tama on Facebook yesterday and it stuck with me all morning.  My heart sincerely yearns to be my own boss, to write more, and to somehow combine both with a touch of spirituality.  This is what I want but reason always pokes its nose in.

You need a "job" to make money OR my current work is not that bad, I should suck it up OR maybe being my own boss is not for me.

I absolutely feel I've been given a purpose and a vision by the Universe.  I make time each day to get quiet and do some life visioning.  I listen to my intuition and take action when I feel called in a certain direction.  In fact, that's how I ended up going down the path of Practitioner Studies.  And yet, I'm still drawn back to the same sales-type jobs that I've held for a LONG time.

So, I have to let go of where I think I should be and BE right where I am.  Somewhere inside of me there is a wisdom and if I stick with my transformative practices, I have faith that my vision is going to manifest in perfect ways for me.

I trust I will be shown the old habits and limiting beliefs that I need to release to step into my greatness.  And, I continue to fall more in love with the person I am becoming, even in the moments when all I see is an awkward mess.

I AM designed to live my dreams and Spirit is walking beside me, encouraging me to express my gifts and my talents.  So today, I set the intention to lean into my dreams and hold to the vision of what I want.

"Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul; the blueprints of your ultimate achievements."

"Each of us has an inner dream that we can unfold if we will just have the courage to admit what it is, and the faith to trust our own admission.  The admitting is often very difficult."

Affirmative Prayer:
In the journey and unfoldment of life, there is only One.  One Mind, One Heart, One Indwelling Spirit.  This One showers grace and light in beautiful ways, making Heaven on Earth flow like a clear stream of water.  

This Indwelling Spirit that I call Mother/Father God circulates around and in and through me.  I am moved with ease and grace and dignity as I stand with the stream of life, potent and powerful.  This is my truth!

Affirming this truth, I declare that all of my needs are met.  I am embraced by the Universe as I see my dreams unfold in ways beyond what I can imagine.  I celebrate the vision I have for my life, knowing it is my soul's call to express and to expand my gifts and talents.  I accept that right where I am today is exactly where I am meant to be to live the best life ever.   And I am humbled by the blessings and miracles that seem to jump out at me where ever I am.  

I am so thankful for the good of the Universe that lights my path.  And I am grateful for the joy that sweeps me off my feet.  My life is changed and made new every day and I say Thank You, Spirit, for your presence within.  

Declaring I am available to more good and more joy and more success, I release my word to the Divine action of the Law.  I let go and I let God.  And I am uplifted, knowing it is already done.   I let it be so.  And so it is!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Midas Touch

Work, work, work.  I cannot believe how busy I have been.  It started last week with customer meetings throughout Northern California and it's continuing this week with conference calls and emails and price quotes.  It's a bit crazy!

It feels like invisible hands are driving a lot of this activity and so I trust and hold the intention that as I continue to work, success will be the end result.  In fact, today I had a little fun and pretended that I had the Midas touch - that everything I touched was turned to gold.

Not only was it fun but it left me feeling powerful.  Not powerful in a holier than thou sense but powerful in that I had the freedom and was at choice to look at everything and smile.  I waved my imaginary wand over whatever and whoever, holding uplifting thoughts of prosperity and abundance in perfect and wonderful ways.

I waved my wand over my work and the people I spoke with.  I waved my wand over the Starbucks barista who made my drink.  I waved my wand over the young homeless man who had a sad story to tell.

What I saw reflected back to me were people who started smiling as though it was the best day ever.  As I walked down the street to the grocery store, totally random people were saying hello and it was suddenly like we were children on a playground, enjoying the swings and the slides and sharing our space with no concerns over life responsibilities.

Even my phone calls and emails were mirroring back a general tone of friendliness and success.   Frankly, it gave me goosebumps.

It makes me wonder if I have been underestimating myself and underestimating the energy that is moving around each of us as we interact.  I've read and studied so much about how we are co-creating our reality but to see it in action in the community as though we truly are part of the One Mind is still a little stunning and amazing and profound to me.

I am left feeling emboldened to get really creative, to spread my wings and fly!  There is so much more to come and it might get messy but I also know it will be more valuable than I can even imagine.

"So when we hear you say, 'I'm wanting to romp more with my Inner Being.  
I'm wanting to know more what that's like', we say...your Inner Being
 is an unlimited friend who is always fun and always feels good.  And you
 are wanting to be as much in sync with that good friend as you possibly could be"

Affirmative Prayer:
In the waves of the ocean and the sands of the desert, there is a Presence that surrounds all that is seen and all that is unseen.  It is an incredible force and a striking illumination that shines and reveals the all-good of Spirit, of Source Energy, of God.

Knowing this force has Its being in me, I can feel a stirring deep down that guides my actions.  I am never separate from the joy and beauty and riches of Spirit as I step out into the world and live my life.

My steps are guided as I move through my day and my relationships with others are driven by Divine grace.  We support each other as we share our gifts and talents and I am lifted into success with each interaction.  Money flows so easily as I circulate and see the impact that combined energy has in the community.   My work is fulfilling and I am served by being of value to others.  I know this for me and I know this for those I meet each day - it hardly seems like work and we each realize success that seems miraculous.  There is a happiness that permeates and I smile as I walk down the street, seeing that smile reflected back to me in waves of joy.

I am so thankful for the light of Spirit that shines through me and I am grateful that my actions are empowered by Divine energy.  My life is blessed and it is with gratitude that I feel humbled that I only need ask and it is given.  It is finally starting to sink in as I realize how much I am loved.

Releasing my word to the Divine action of the Law, I know it is already done in the One Mind, the One Heart, the One Spirit.  Results are happening, shifts are occurring and I am free.  And I let it be so.  And so it is!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Inspiration in Financial Decisions

Financial decisions can be a challenge for me.  I don't know why, exactly, but they just are.  I love to shop and enjoy dining out, especially if it's something fun like a wine bar or live music is playing.  And, I can still enjoy these things while sticking to my budget.

I do have to admit, though, I have wine tastes on a beer budget.

So, it raises feelings of lack when I see others with no seeming concern over the cost of a night on the town.  Somehow, the freedom and the flow of money they enjoy seems to escape me.

I'm certain at some level, I have some lessons to learn.  And, I'm definitely on my way.  My husband has done a great job at working with me to make wise choices around where and how I spend my money.

I also know that God is my source.  I'm not really lacking for anything.  That said, I'd like to up it a notch!  Rather than the $10 bottle of wine, I'd like the freedom and funds to buy the $20 bottle, especially if it's a wine I really enjoy.

That goes for good food too.   A nice steak or a platter of oysters makes my mouth water.  But, I find that I have to choose things from the menu that fit my budget.  And clothing - what girl doesn't like a nice pair of designer jeans.

Since the Universe likes action, I've decided to take a closer look at where I'm spending my money.  I'm making a pros and cons list for items that might be considered a luxury or a comfort purchase.

As I go through the list, I'm counting on some guidance from Spirit to show me where the cost of what I'm paying versus the benefit I receive is out of whack.

Deep down, I know I am deserving of ALL good things.   What's interesting is my comfort level when I actually receive those good things.  I feel that I have to pay for the expensive things to enjoy them.

I have a circle of friends and acquaintances who give me opportunities to enjoy quality dining and drinking.  They are more than gracious and comfortable when it comes to picking up the tab.

So, do I just continue to allow the Universe to provide for me through my friends?  I do reciprocate when I have a chance  - treat a friend to a coffee or to lunch.   Is this just my ego showing up and I am being asked to release judgements around how my abundance is manifesting?

I'm sure as I continue with my list, my answer to theses questions will become self-evident.  In the meantime, I do the best I can from exactly where I am at right now.

Day 20 of my 21-Day Inspiration Challenge and I am inspired by the courage to make good financial decisions.

Counting on Divine Guidance, today I set the intention to open up to greater economic flow, even if that means giving up something I currently don't think I can live without. 

"If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego 
and the internal dialogue.  Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, 
the need to be approved, and the need to judge.  Those are the
three things the ego is doing all the time. It's very important to be
aware of them every time they come up."

Affirmative Prayer:
One Power, One Presence, One Source, filled with goodness and beauty and truth.  It is the Living Spirit that illuminates the way and makes clear the path in each new day.   Knowing this, an awareness stirs from within that Heaven is here on Earth and I consciously become aware of the goodness and beauty and truth that rains down on me, through me and as me.

Affirming that I am always supported by this Power and Presence, I release that which no longer serves me.  And, I open up to the possibility of going from good to great.  Greater abundance and prosperity in every area of my life is my Divine birthright.  It is always available and I simply need claim it.  Knowing that God is my Source, I trust that it is grace that oversees my finances, guiding me to make wise choices.  And in this wisdom, as I circulate within my current means, the flow returns back to me multiplied 10 x 10 x 10 times.  Financial gain pours over me and I freely share that which I have been given.  

Thank you, God, for Your fullness that supports and sustains my abundance.  I am grateful for the prosperity that flows so easily through all that is and I sit expectantly, unable to control the feelings of joy and happiness that fill my heart.  I am thankful for the blessings that shower down and around, affirming it is even better than I can imagine.

And I release my word to the Divine action of the Law, knowing it is already done.  It is already so in the One Mind.  All is well.  And so it is.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Inspiration in Relationships

As of next Saturday, I will be married for 11 years.  And - I am still in love with my husband.

Yes, it sounds obvious but, for me, it still feels a bit like the young love I experienced when we first started dating.  If you listen to race consciousness, you would think the wonder and freshness might have left the relationship.  Instead, I feel that I am on a journey of discovery.

Maybe that's why my marriage is still exciting for me - it's all about the journey.  Every day is an opportunity to express how I feel and rather than blame or judge, I have learned to choose to see the strength and the love instead.

So many of us hold out for that perfect dream man or woman.  They have to look a certain way, have a certain color hair, certain height, weight - and on and on.  While I agree that when you're searching for a relationship it's good to have an idea of the characteristics you find attractive, there is something in exploring the way you want to feel in the relationship.

And, that's when I say, don't be practical.  We all want to be loved but I'm holding out each day for the big, crazy, sexy, hairy, audacious love.

Love that is passionate.  Love that is empowering.  Love that is silly and filled with kisses.

The trick, I believe, is that I have to mirror that back.  First, I have to love myself enough to see that I deserve a relationship filled with the impractical possibilities I desire.  And, I have to FEEL it.

Then, I must ACT.  I have to open up and be silly and be passionate and maybe even a little reckless in how I express my love.  I'm not saying I want to be Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction but I love running and jumping into my husband's arms when he walks through the door.

I must also TRUST.  Every time I do something impulsive to show my love, I trust that my husband will accept and receive.  I'm never rejected nor made fun of nor told to stop.

The more I demonstrate my love for him, the more I am receiving back.  The more I accept and allow my husband's expressions of love, the more I am given.

That's the beauty of YOU being the person you want to be in relationship with.  Your partner will show up in those same amazing ways, reflecting back your thoughts and feelings.

My husband and I are connected on this journey.  We are creating a relationship that works.  And we both know, it's starts with us.

So, today, I set the intention to remain invigorated with my marriage and to fully express - no holds-barred - my love for my partner.

And I am loving my 21-Day Inspiration Challenge!

"We must be our own before we can be another's."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love.
It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.
~W. Somerset Maugham

Affirmative Prayer:
One life, One mind, One heart, revealing the perfect, whole and complete truth as Source Energy.  As this presence of Source radiates out, every atom, every cell, every tissue, every bone is touched and renewed in a beautiful circle of expression.

This expression has always been and will always be.  It is unlimited and moves through and as me in every stitch of my body and every pathway in my mind.  It moves the blood through my veins and pulsates with a life force that knows every aspect of me deeply.  It reveals the truth of who I am - a beloved child of the Universe, of Spirit, of God.  God in me and God as me - complete and harmonious.

Knowing how deeply I am loved, I reflect that love back in all of my relationships. I stand in awe and amazement as I see the God presence in all of my friends and acquaintances.  My children are gifts in my life and, as they move through the world as their own unique expression of Source, it is humbling and awe-inspiring at the same time.   

And, I jump for joy when I am with my husband.  My marriage is a true partnership filled with love and silliness, with passion and humor, with tenderness and joy and I am over-the-moon when I am near my husband.  There is a freedom to share and to touch and to giggle and grin, just like when we first met.  Butterflies move through my stomach at the thought of his touch and I am blown away as these feelings continue day in and day out.

I am so grateful for the goodness that I call God - grateful for the presence of Spirit in every fiber of my being.  Thank you, Universe, for the grace that moves through each and every one I see.  I am filled with gratitude that I get to be in relationship with others on this journey.  And I am thankful for the special relationship with my husband.  It moves me in beautiful and wonderful ways.

Resting in this truth, I release my word to the action of the Law, knowing it is already done in the One Mind.  It is revealed to me as my life unfolds and it is all just as it should be.  And I let it be so.  And so it is.  Amen.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Inspiration in Procrastination

Procrastination - why does it get such a bad rap?  "Don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today."  And my counter to that is, "Why not?"

Effort and striving have their time and place, and yet, there is also something to be said for jumping into the stream of life and floating on the raft for awhile.   If we're always pushing for that next big thing, how can we see the miracle of where we're at right now?

Sure, my bathrooms may need to be cleaned and my kitchen could use a good scrub, however, if I can let go of those things sometimes and choose instead to spend a few hours with my daughters, take the dog to the park, or enjoy the sunset with my husband, there is magic in enjoying those moments.

And, if I've set an intention to let Spirit guide me to the people I need to meet and the places I need to be to reach my greatest potential, it's in these times that I DO meet the people and I AM in the places - through no effort on my part other than following my intuition and being open to the moment.

Yesterday, I was watching the movie, Cars, and it reminded me of the progress of the roadways and what that has meant for the small towns that used to thrive from the motorists passing through.  We have been blessed with an abundant, prosperous countryside but when we rush to get to from A to Z, we miss the majestic mountains and the sparkling blue lakes and the people who are part of our heritage.

Maybe it's cliche and trite but, for me, it served as a reminder to slow down and take my time.  The unmade bed will still be there tomorrow.

I'll also be the first to admit, I am impatient.  I'd like to get quick results in everything I do.  All the great motivational leaders will tell you, you only get results by working diligently and steadfastly.  Action, action, action.

I disagree.  Sometimes, the beauty of life and the expansion we seek is not in setting goals and ticking off things on our to-do list but in letting things flow as they will.    The Universe is trying to support me beyond what I may think is possible but if I always have my nose to the grindstone, how will I see the big picture.

Lastly, it also seems to me that when we're working so hard to achieve our goals, it may be that we're running away from past decisions - decisions that may have taken us down a road that held heartaches and bankruptcies and addictions.  Those decisions, while they may have held challenges, have also gotten us to where we are now.

Do I really need to understand what brought me to where I am?  Do I need to keep rehashing my story to move beyond it?   I say, NO.  I believe I need to trust the process, be grateful for ALL of it and go from there.

I certainly don't want to repeat past mistakes but it can be exhausting going over and over and over why it wasn't my fault, why I had no choice, why I'm always the one to suffer.

So, back to procrastination.  It's frightening to let go of control, to shred our to-do lists, to believe we need to work Monday-Friday, 9-5 to have a good life.  But, there's a part of me that thinks it's refreshing to cruise the backroads and let myself be inspired by taking some time to play.

This is Day 13 of my 21-Day Inspiration Challenge and I am feeling a shift in my consciousness.  With my focus on looking for something to be inspired by each day, I'm starting to see things in a fresh, new way.  I wonder if that is reflected back to others, if I seem new to those who have known me for a while.

And, does that even matter, really?

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.

Being relaxed, at peace with yourself,
confident, emotionally neutral, loose, and
free-floating - these are the keys to
successful performance in almost
everything you do.
~Dr. Wayne Dyer

Affirmative Prayer:
In the morning light, there is a radiant beauty that glows and brings joy to the daily events of life.  This light that is everywhere, energizing all daily events, is Source Energy, moving and breathing and having its Being in all that is.

Knowing the lightness of Source Energy is also moving through me, I affirm that all things are working together for my good.  My every need is met and I am provided for abundantly in every area of my life.  And I need not strive nor stress nor force it to happen - I simply need to be still and know.  I go with the flow, trusting that God is guiding the river to lead me to my greatest potential.  I relax and allow the goodness to amaze and astonish me with the Universe's prosperity that exists on the back roads and in the road less traveled.  And I look within and realize I am surrounded by the gift of love with every step I take.

I am so grateful for this love that supports me as I go through this human incarnation.  It is beautiful and I give great thanks for this feeling of joy that overwhelms and takes my breathe away.  Spirit moves, I follow and it is all good.

Affirming and remembering the truth of who I am, I release my word to the Divine action of the Law, knowing it is already done.  The people and the places are laid out and I receive all of it as it shows up.  And I let it be so.  And so it is.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Inspiration in the Process

Just about everything we undertake has a process - going from A to B to get to the end result.  As I work on my fitness and health, I find that I get an urge to push forward and move faster and faster to reach my goal - more sets of push-ups and sit-ups, longer bike rides, paring back my diet.  Not only that but I am looking for immediate results.  I want what I want and I want it NOW.

So, now that I have spiraled down into my inner spoiled child, I can step back and take a closer look at why I want to rush through the events of my life.  Why is it such a challenge to be present and see the value in each action I take during the process?

For me, I think there is some fear underlying the process.  If I don't do everything *right now* and do it faster, better and stronger, I might be seduced into slipping backward.  It would be so easy to sleep in for another hour rather than get up and run six miles.  And, it would definitely be cheaper to eat less-than healthy foods ($.99 Big Mac anyone?)

My other challenge is that I am always comparing myself to others.  I have spent a long time trying to conform to a standard or ideal that, quite frankly, might be unattainable.

Both of these start to make exercise and eating healthy feel like a burden.  And that's when I start to recognize I am out of alignment and letting my ego run the show.

Now is the time to ask the Universe, "how can I see this differently?" (I love this question from A Course In Miracles.)

 Mastin Kipp wrote recently on his Daily Love blog, "We are growing daily; let us love the process instead of trying to only love a specific outcome that may or may not be for our greatest good."

When I am not so focused on the outcome of being a certain weight, I really, really enjoy riding my bike.  I have a favorite trail that I ride in the South Bay that lets me feel connected to nature at the same time I'm exercising.  I would even go so far as to say it's a form of meditation for me.

When I am coming from that space - finding pleasure and joy in the daily actions - that is when I am open to inspiration and when I am open to loving myself exactly as I am in each moment. (Day 8 of my 21-Day Inspiration Challenge)

So, today, I set the intention to be in the moment and find joy in the process.

"Who do I now choose to be?  This is the only question that matters, and this is what your soul is using your life to decide, every moment.  Life is not a process of discovery; it is a process of creation.
~ Neale Donald Walsch

Affirmative Prayer:
Going within, there is a radiant energy that shines as the Source of all things - a Power and a Presence that illuminates every aspect of life.  It shines clearly and brightly through me and around me and as me.  This Source is seeking to express itself in all that I do as I move through my day with a joy that allows me to give up control and allow things to flow.

I clear the space and I embrace the truth of who I am, surrendering to the present moment.  I laugh and I love and allow the All-Good Presence of God to guide my steps.  I trust the process of life, basking in the prosperity and abundance that surrounds me.  I go out for a run or for a bike ride or take the dog for a walk and I let myself savor the experience.  There is no need to hurry or rush - I have all the time I need to enjoy being in nature, being in community with others who share my experience of being in the moment.  I am fully present to the gift of creation and my heart is overflowing with a peace beyond measure.

Thank you, Life, for shining a light to show the way.  Thank you, Spirit, for being the Joy within me.  I am so grateful for knowing I can trust the process to work out for my greatest good, to work out for the greatest good there has ever been.

Accepting and jumping into the flow with both feet, I release my word to the action of the Law.  It is already done in the One Mind in beautiful and joyful ways and it is filled with grace.  And I let it be so.  And so it is!

  Photo by Sandra Kuch

Monday, August 5, 2013

Inspiration in Pausing and Assessing

I love my dog, Cody.  He's a Parson Russell Terrier and is super smart, making it easy - mostly - for my husband and I to train him.  One of the best "tricks" he's learned has been to "leave it."

Cody is *extremely* food motivated, however, when we put some food in front of him and tell him to leave it, he will.  What's interesting to watch is how he approaches it.  He will become still and assess what is in front of him before doing anything else.  He'll then watch us for his cue that will release him to eat the food.

He does not pace back and forth, he does not whine or moan - he sits and trusts that at some point, he WILL be released and receive his treat.

I'm on Day Six of my 21-Day Inspiration Challenge.  I was inspired by a few things over the weekend including the movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  Today, I am inspired by my dog's ability to stop and assess.

It's fascinating, when I look at how I handle many situations, I notice that I am a "knee-jerk" response person.  I hear one side of a story and I'm ready to rally the troops into action.  My daughter tells me about a situation at work and I am immediately impassioned to defend her after jumping to all the wrong conclusions.  If I have an issue where something has gone wrong, I can panic and go into despair.

What that sometimes results in is I become a bull in a china shop, thrashing about and creating chaos, especially for those around me.  Just ask my husband!

To be fair, that knee-jerk response is not always a bad thing.  If there is a crisis situation, I'm typically able to get a handle on things pretty quickly.   So the question becomes, how can I take my natural reactions - my trigger responses - and learn to be more like my dog?

How can I learn to assess the situation, then sit and look at the big picture first, trusting that the result will be for my benefit?

I believe that if I can surrender to the moment, asking the Universe to give me a small reminder that every situation has the possibility of a "treat", I can be taught to sit and assess before charging ahead.  The more often I practice this, the faster I get at stopping the bullish behavior.

AND, when I can pause to take stock of my options, THEN I open the door for miracles to happen.  So it is my intention, today, to remember to pause.

"What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself."

Affirmative Prayer:
In the midst of the actions of daily life - work, play, home, fun - there is a Presence that is absolute and perfect.  This Divine Presence that is Source guides my every action as it moves through, around and as me.  As I am guided, I see reflected back my perfection as I remember who I am.  My heart and mind are filled with the knowing that I am complete in every moment.  I am a Divine spark in the One Mind.

Knowing I am here to experience and to expand, I also remember to slow my movements and to pause before taking action.  I look within and listen for direction when I am tempted to jump first.  I take one step at a time and affirm, there is nothing to fix, only actions to take that are Divinely inspired and always result in my highest and best outcome.  God is good all of the time - crazy good!  So I surrender to the Universe with a trust and faith as I travel my path.

And I give great thanks for the goodness of God.  I am grateful for the guidance and the wisdom that move through and around me, supporting me in all that I do.  I need only to stop and listen and know that I am beloved. 

Releasing my word to the action of the Law, I feel a power move me with the knowledge that it is already done.  And I feel a peace envelop me with a huge hug.  And I let it be so.  And so it is!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Inspiration in a Penny

I'm into Day 3 of my Inspirational Challenge and I realize that I have a pretty good life.  *Well, most of the time I realize it.*   Sometimes, I get caught up in "poor me, why do I have to stick to a budget?"  or "I wish I had a new car like that Lexus over there."

As I go down that path, It's usually about then that I stumble on something that reminds me of how much I really do have.  Often, its when I have not been as diligent as I should in some of my spiritual practices.

This morning I was reminded about gratitude by a TED Talk.  I've included it here and it truly was the best five minutes I've spent this week.  I especially love the story of Scarlett, the dog that was rescued from being used as bait at dog fights.  She is grateful every time her water bowl is filled.

If I can stop and remember moments like that, I believe the Universe will rush up to meet me and give me even more to be grateful for.

So, my intention for today is to remember to be grateful for everything in my life.

Affirmative Prayer:
God, Source, Universe - all are the Indwelling Presence that moves through and surrounds each and every thing - the trees, the flowers, the sun, the moon, the stars.  This Presence that sings over all that is, also sings over me and every person who shares this planet.  It is a beautiful, sweet voice of joy and love, of harmony and grace.  It reverberates and echoes like the strains of a symphonic orchestra, each note and instrument in perfect alignment.

As I am filled with the passion of the symphony of music playing over me, I realize I have so much to be grateful for.  Each morning, I wake and am aware of my breath, my heartbeat, my vision - all working with no effort required by me.  There is a plentitude of water and food, of warm blankets and a soft bed.  Knowing there is abundance even in the small things, I remember to be grateful when I find a penny on the street or a friend makes me laugh at her jokes.  

Thank you, Father/Mother God, for guiding me and guarding me.  I am grateful for the gentle corrections that allow me to shine brighter.  Affirming it's all good, I release my Word to the action of the Law, knowing that God's got it!  And I let it be so.  And so it is.

My dog, Cody...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Inspiration in a Palm Tree

As I continue with my 21-day inspiration challenge, today I find I am inspired by palm trees.  I'm sure there are metaphysical reasons why the palm tree is significant (palm trees providing shade and rest while traveling through the desert, Palm Sunday, etc.)  And it might turn out down the road there is a reason I noticed them, however, right now it is a very simply put feeling that emerged for me - flexibility.

Yesterday, my husband and I decided it was a great evening to barbeque hamburgers for dinner.  We packed up everything we would need, including the dog, and walked over to the park across the street to enjoy a casual, outdoor meal.

I didn't realize how windy it was until I tried keeping the picnic tablecloth on the table. Pretty quickly, our condiments became tablecloth holders and it worked well enough so that we didn't have to sit on top of it to keep it in place.  With that done, I was able to sit and chill and notice my surroundings.

What I noticed were the palm trees swaying effortlessly as the wind kicked up.  It is amazing how far the trees can bend and move with the wind without toppling over.  In fact, I've often seen palm trees being blown about when the news shows big storms like hurricanes.   They're always still standing once the big storm is over.

Navigating day to day life can sometimes leave me feeling blown about.  What I'm coming to believe is the more I am flexible and go with the flow - with the way the winds blows - the more I benefit from these events.

It's when I fight and rail against circumstances that it gets harder to move through them.

So, I am grateful for the inspiration I find in the palm trees.  I've noticed more and more of the trees in my neighborhood and I've decided to say a soft "thank you" when I see one.  I'll use it as a reminder to relax and move effortlessly with the breeze.

(taken from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho)

"Continue in the direction of the Pyramids", said the alchemist.  "And continue to pay heed to the omens.  Your heart is still capable of showing you where the treasure is."

"Is that the one thing I still need to know?"

"No", the alchemist answered.  "What you still need to know if this:  before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way.  It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we've learned as we've moved toward that dream.  That's the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one 'dies of thirst just before the palm trees appear on the horizon.' 

"Every search begins with beginner's luck.  And every search ends with the victors being severely tested."