“God is always for us and never against us.” Dr. Michael Beckwith."
My “kid” mind also believed that God was an old man with a white beard looking down on me from the sky. That’s where Heaven is, isn’t it? Up in the sky? Up there, where it’s all rainbows and unicorns. And Hell is down somewhere, maybe in the center of the earth?
I believed if I was good and followed the rules then I would go to Heaven with all of the good people. And if I was bad and broke the rules I would go to Hell where it’s really hot and I would burn and be miserable forever.
Of course my “kid” mind decided that I definitely wanted to go to Heaven. I love rainbows and unicorns, burning in fire, not so much.
As I got older, I wanted to learn more about the white-bearded man in the sky.
I’ve read numerous books by well known spiritual teachers such as Eckhart Tolle, Neal Donald Walsh, Rob Bell and Marianne Williamson. I’ve taken numerous Bible study classes and have had and listened to many hours of conversations with spiritual and Biblical scholars and teachers.
After all of the research and time I have spent pondering the tough questions, I have come to believe one thing for sure. God is NOT a white-bearded man that sits in the clouds and judges every little thing I do.
I don’t remember exactly when I first considered the idea of God not being a figure in the sky. I do know this concept through me for a loop. Everything I had believed as a child was suddenly being questioned. On the other hand, it felt right and I thirsted to learn more.
I can’t tell you who or what God is. I am still on my quest. But I will tell you that I believe my journey is about creating a relationship with God. And I don’t believe it will be complete in my lifetime.
Take a look at your “kid” mind beliefs. Do they still ring true for you today? Do your own research. Talk to people you trust and admire. Read books. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should believe. Use YOUR wisdom. TRUST that still small voice inside.
I know that if we continue to look for God, we will find Him… or Her. I invite you to join me on this journey. May we travel with love, open hearts and patience as we uncover our way to God.
"Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it."
I was diagnosed with shingles around Thanksgiving. While the blisters have long since gone, it is taking longer for the pain to completely dissipate. My doctor informed me that I could have residual pain for up to a year. (For more information about shingles go to http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/shingles/shingles-topic-overview)
While I would not wish this illness on anyone, it brought some lessons that have been life changing.
Because I had shingles over the holidays, I told myself that I would hunker down and take good care of myself. My plan was that when the first week in January came, I would get back to work and my normal routine. However, my body had something else in mind.
I found that even though the pain had lessened and I was able to take less pain medication, my stamina was low. I was fatigued by 3pm and even if I took a nap, I was exhausted by 7pm.
I was frustrated and wondered what was wrong with me. After all, I “should” be better by now because I had taken good care of myself. Right?
My mind was full of useless internal (and some external) whining. I was thinking about how this wasn’t fair… I was afraid because I needed to get back to work because money doesn’t grow on trees… I began thinking that my family probably thinks I’m a slacker and I just need to suck it up…yada, yada, yada…
Suddenly I could hear Eckhart Tolle’s words ringing in my ears. What if I totally accepted how I felt each moment, no stories, no pity party, no internal dialogue? What if there was no place I needed to be? What if I was exactly where I “should” be?
For that day, I decided to clear my head of all the “shoulds” and judgments. I simply did what I could and what felt right.
And here’s what happened, I connected with a colleague and a friend on the phone, created a good portion of a workshop, ate a delicious and nourishing breakfast and lunch, washed, folded and put away a load of laundry, dusted and vacuumed the living room, showered and wrote this.
As soon as the pressure to be somewhere else was gone, I was free to be exactly where I was. I realized that a lot of my fatigue was caused by me not accepting how I was feeling.
I also realized this is how I do life, I fight it. I worry about what others think. I’m always trying to figure out what will make those around me happy. I battle between what I want to do and what I feel I “should” do. It’s a constant fight, no wonder I’m tired.
By accepting what is, there is nothing to push against. And by listening to my own inner wisdom, I empower myself and rely less on the approval of others. As a consequence, it frees up a lot of mental and physical energy.
Needless to say, this feels great. And this way of being has to be more conducive to healing.
It’s clear this is something that’s simple and powerful but not always easy. And I will continue to practice.
What is love really? We talk about it as a noun, a thing. Or it can be a verb, you know, to be “in love.”
But most people think of love as a feeling. This can be tricky because we don’t always “feel” like we love someone, even someone that we know deep down we do, like our parents, siblings, spouse or our children.
I remember as a kid hating it when my parents were angry with me. I interpreted their anger as they didn’t love me. Primarily because when I was angry, I couldn’t “feel” the love for that person. It was confusing for me.
This effected how I dealt with my children. If you ask them even now, they both would tell you that when I would get angry, I would say, “even though I’m angry with you I still love you.”
As a human, I have a tough time with love because it may be a noun but I can’t touch, taste, smell or see it. So I’m stuck with my own interpretation.
The Bible says that God is love. The Course In Miracles says that the only thing that is real is love.
God is the embodiment of pure love and is not human. It is virtually impossible for us as humans to comprehend that love. I believe when we access that part of ourselves that is willing to sacrifice our happiness, comfort, safety and ultimately our lives for someone else, that’s the closest we come to understanding that divine love.
I believe that love is an energy to which we are all connected. We get to choose, however, whether to tap into it. I have experienced this.
There was once someone that I just did not feel like I loved them. I remember that it caused me pain because I thought that I should love this person because it was someone I was very close to. I remember getting down on my knees and praying every morning pretending to lift this person up to God. I knew that God loved them even when I couldn’t. Then I would pray to have my heart open so that I could see that person as God sees them and love them as God loves them.
I don’t remember exactly how long it took but I suddenly noticed that I was enjoying being around them and one day, I truly “felt” love for them. I argue that the love was always there, I just had some ego and fear in the way.
This brings me back to my core value of heart. What it means to me is that from a business standpoint whoever does business with my company will be accepted and loved; the good, the bad and the ugly. That doesn’t mean I will choose to work with everyone however it does mean that everyone will be treated as what they are: divine love.
I believe each of us is this divine love. There are some of us that reflect that love back to us more readily. Those are the ones we love easily. I believe those we have a hard time being with are also divine love, we just have a harder time seeing it because there are egos and/or fear in the way (both theirs and ours). With those, we have the power to stop there or we can keep going, get down on our knees and ask for divine love to heal the relationship.
If we are truly all divine love, it means we are all one. What would the world be like if we were all willing to see and accept each other for the love we are even if our hearts didn’t “feel” it? If I do it for you, will you do it for me? Maybe this is what “heaven” is all about.
I felt moved to pick up my Course in Miracles book recently and "happened" to open to this passage."Nothing can hurt me unless I give it the power to do so. For I give power as the laws of this world interpret giving-as I give I lose. It is not up to me to give power at all. Power is of God, given by Him & reawakened by the Holy Spirit, Who knows that as I give I gain. He gives no power to sin, &
therefore it has none; nor to its results as this world sees them-sickness & death & misery & pain." ~ A Course in Miracles P. 408
Recently, I viewed someone in my life as a bully and made them wrong for how they were treating me. I made them into a bad person and I wanted someone to come and rescue me.
What I couldn’t see is that I handed over my power. After reading this passage, I understand that my interpretation of the situation was completely untrue. And that this pattern of giving my power away to others has been going on for years.
Everyday I see many people deal with “sickness & death & misery & pain.” And everyday, I see many who choose to receive the power that is “of God.” From that connection to God (or insert your word for the Divine; Life, Universe, Spirit etc), sickness, misery, death and pain have no power and cannot hurt us.
When we realize this, we then live our lives from our true power and usually end up inspiring others to do the same. Robin Roberts is a wonderful example of this. And so are many of you!
Let’s practice accepting and living our true power!
During my coach training, the leaders of our program urged us to say the thing that will get us fired. When I first heard this, I was horrified. You see, I was always the “nice” one. I prided myself that no one could get to me. No matter how anyone reacted, whether it be anger or arrogance, I would be “nice.”
Then it was pointed out that my “niceness” was simply a manipulation. At first, I became incredulous. How could they say such a thing?! Me, manipulative?! Never!
Once I calmed down and took a look, I realized they were right. I used my “niceness” to get what I wanted and to make myself feel better than those who couldn’t control their egos or their temper. Wow, was that a wake up call!
From that one powerful reflection, I also realized that if I was always “nice” with my clients, I wouldn’t be providing them with the best coaching I could offer. I would only be getting my need to be liked met.
I began practicing saying the bold thing everywhere.
I recently had a friend call me out of the blue and tell me that she needed me to come and be with her because she could not breathe. I immediately suggested we call 911 but she was resistant. She finally agreed and I met the ambulance at her house.
It turned out that she was having a panic attack and from what I understand, they really can make you feel like you’re going to die. I ended up taking her to be checked out by her doctor and they said that she was physically okay.
My friend, Kelly (not her real name), had been self destructive in the past and had cut herself off from her friends, me included. I always told her that I would be there if she needed me. And that morning, I had been. And Kelly was extremely grateful.
However, I found myself telling her that she got lucky that morning. I travel for work and am out of town on occasion and I sometimes have early morning client calls. I told her that I am not always able to drop everything to come and be with her.
I reflected her self destructive pattern and I told her that I cannot make her live. I told her that I would be heartbroken, that I would carry my love for her in my heart forever should she die but my life will go on. I couldn’t believe these words were coming out of my mouth.
Her reaction was to give me the biggest bear hug and thank me. She said she felt free in that moment because of my honesty.
We met a couple of weeks later and Kelly thanked me again. She said she finally realized that it was up to her whether she lived or died and it was her choice what kind of life she lived. She thanked me for my boldness because she said it saved her life!
So consider the practice of saying the bold thing. Yes, you may have to apologize and clean things up with some. With others, you may change their life forever. And who knows, you may even save a life!