Tag Archive: meditation


Experience

Experience (Photo credit: djniks)

When someone else speaks their truth and it hurts or makes me furious, I find it is time to go be alone.  It is best not to react in front of that person, but to get by myself and then vent my feelings.  After venting, I need to ask myself what I can learn from this experience.  I can always learn something.  God does not send me experiences, especially painful ones, unless I can learn from them.  Sometimes the experience is only a marker to show me how much I have grown so that I can practice gratitude for prior lessons.  Sometimes it is a warning to show me what could happen if I make certain choices in life.  Sometimes, and I find these lessons the hardest, it is a mirror to show me something about myself of which I may not even be aware, which really wounds or infuriates me when I am on the receiving end.  By being willing to look in this mirror, I will receive the most beneficial instruction because I can truly see where I need to grow the most.

Log jam in Craighall. An old dead tree has cre...

Log jam in Craighall. An old dead tree has created a natural log jam on the Craighall burn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These insights are my greatest life opportunities.  I can choose to humbly accept them and work out a plan to improve myself or I can hide from them in fear.  But letting fear win only hides these problems from myself.  They remain glaringly obvious to everyone around me.  I am finding it is far better to admit my issues and move forward than to hide from them and stagnate.  Stagnation works like a log-jam.  Everything builds up behind it until even the water cannot flow.  It will eventually become a dam in my life, preventing anything from flowing forward or backward.  Since a characteristic of life is change, building a dam is a form of spiritual death.

The good news is all death is but the changing point, not the ending point.  The bad news is it is possible to get side-tracked or lost in a change-point for a long time.  When something stagnates for long enough, it begins to rot and stink.  When we stagnate, our lives begin to rot and stink.  We become polluted, sick, dying.

Clearing the jam is the only way to renew ourselves.  Fortunately, many have paved the way through this dam before us and we can walk in their footsteps.  We are never alone on our journey.  While each path is individual, all paths are made of experiences we share in common with our fellow humanity.  There is no single way to clear this jam.  It is up to each of us to find our own best way that works for us.   I have heard some say we need to confront the past.  Some say going over the past just reinforces it.  I think it depends on the person and the issues.  Whatever gets you moving forward, free of burdens, is right for you.   I have struggled a long time with this issue personally and have found, for me, it is usually a matter of learning to love myself more.  The more I love myself, the more I seem able to inherently make the right decisions for myself and the more free I become of the past.  The more I love myself now; the less the past matters.  The more I love myself; the higher my self-esteem.  The higher my self-esteem; the easier it is to examine myself for things I may want to change, or release comments that might hurt me or make me angry because I have examined them and determined they just don’t apply.  When that happens, my next question is am I sending signals I don’t want to send or is this person’s judgement just way off-base in this circumstance?  Loving myself helps me realize that it isn’t always me!  It also helps me forgive someone else when they are wrong.  Including myself.  So, how do I learn to truly love myself?

That, my friends, is another post.  But first I would really like to hear from you.  How do you build a loving relationship with yourself?  I am looking forward to reading all of your responses!

Storm in Pacifica, California

I have fallen in love with the sea.  No man or woman has ever loved or felt more passion for anyone or anything.  Every time I am with her I think she is more beautiful than ever before.  She amazes me with her complexity, never the same twice.  One day, she is sunny and tranquil, glittering as a king’s ransom in jewels, another, she is raging, banging against constraints, crashing in turmoil and passion.  This day, she is gray and mysterious, cloaking her secrets in a shroud of fog.  Hoarding all her wealth, then carelessly tossing away treasures from deep within her, leaving them discarded in her retreating wake.  Uncontrollable power rising up, increasing, speeding, rolling to me, undulating in her seductive dance,  indifferently shattering, pummeling against me, then reluctantly, caressingly retreating.  I am awed, drawn beyond my power to resist.  She is my muse, my lover, my religion.  There is nothing I have ever known more like God:  vast, timeless, power beyond conceptualization.  Her waters cleanse my soul, renew my spirit.  There is no problem I have brought to her which she cannot shrink to nothingness next to her ancient, endless, fathomless magnificence.

Give me four sticks with a canvas sheet stretched between and I would live beneath it just to gaze at her in all her ever-changing beauty.  How humbling to see, hear, smell, taste, feel the magnificence of the Creator‘s artistry!  I am face-down in holy worship when I think how He could even conceive the idea of the universal sea composed of all this world’s waters.  Waters washing into one another, touching every life on this planet that has ever or will ever be; swirling, dancing around, over, under every continent, island, iceberg; covering massive colonies of life, mountains, deep abysses, hidden depths we have yet to plummet; and all the while kissing, blending, one with the endless sky.  My God!  I am overwhelmed to tears at the limitless gift of beauty you have given me!  Oh, Lord, I sing your praises with every cell of my being for your great love in giving me the sea.  If I never am with her again, I still will never have enough moments in eternity to express my gratitude for this chance to know and love her.   And through her, to know and love you!  I have seen your face reflected in the sea, magnificent, endless, containing more than my mind can grasp.  And new every day.  And new every day.

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus' description of himself "I am the Good Shepherd" (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: "To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs." (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article is from the March/April 2009 issue of Unity Magazine.One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves is “What am I?” The answer determines our self-concept, which influences the boundaries of our personal growth and development.

Those who have embraced ancient wisdom teachings, such as Unity, accept that who and what we are is more than what can be seen with our physical eyes or described through the five senses. There is a part of us that can never be endangered or destroyed and is our true nature and being. It transcends our history, human lineage, and false concepts that we have accepted for ourselves. When we live from that awareness, we fulfill the life that God sees when God sees us. It is a life that reflects our divine purpose, in which we contribute our unique gifts and talents to our world.

One person who fully contributed his gift to the world and arguably fulfilled his divine purpose like no other before or since is Jesus the Christ. Yet we are reminded by the apostle Paul that if the Spirit that dwells in Christ Jesus is in you, you too will be lifted up (Rom. 8:11).

We drop the if off the statement because the Spirit that dwelled in Jesus or in any avatar throughout history does indeed dwell in us. We don’t just worship and believe in Jesus, we believe what he says—you are the light, and the kingdom of God is within. When we fully embody that truth, we will be lifted above any circumstance we may face or experience.

Death does not have the final word
The Easter story demonstrates that there is something within us that was here before we incarnated and remains after seeming death. Death is not the end of life, rather the continuation of the life process. Jesus proved this in the great demonstrations known as the resurrection and the ascension. Jesus’ essence was so spiritualized that he was able to say “the Father and I are one.” He was serving as a reminder that there is no separation between us and Spirit. It is the recognition that there is only God; all else is just an illusion.

Resurrection follows crucifixion. No life escapes this process. The Easter story is about an old way being crucifiedso something new can be born. This is not a

Jesus Christ Crucifix

Jesus Christ Crucifix (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

once-in-a-lifetime event. When someone experiences a divorce, the death of a partner, loses a job, or experiences a shift in external circumstances, an old identity dies so a new one can be born.

We look to Jesus as a model for how to resurrect from our own crucifixion experiences. The Easter story is a reminder that no matter what seems to happen to us, it does not have the final word. We can look beyond appearances and recognize that there is a divine plan unfolding. Our task is to hold on to that vision until our life bears witness to truth that liberates us and sets us free.

Accessing the eternal dimension
In the Easter story, Jesus gives us clues on how to access this eternal dimension and spiritualize all aspects of our life. To help us with this process, we ask, What did he do? What was he thinking? What was his way of being in the world?

We start with the realization that he prayed all the time. He often stole away from the masses to keep his communion with Spirit high. He did this as a way of life and not just in an emergency. Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say, “There was an emergency and Jesus went to the mountain and prayed.” No. He prayed all the time and, as a result, when the big moments came, was “prayed up.”

Since he was in constant communion with the presence of God, when seeming betrayal in the form of Judas took place, Jesus was ready. Note: it was a seeming betrayal. Judas is often unjustly maligned. But without Judas sacrificing himself, Jesus would not be remembered today. Sacrifice means to

"The Judas Kiss", (Mark 14:45) by Gu...

"The Judas Kiss", (Mark 14:45) by Gustave Doré. Judas kisses Jesus in order to betray him to the guards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

make sacred. Judas is often condemned as the one who loved Jesus the least. In fact, he may have been one who loved him more than anyone. He served as the catalyst for the glad surprise of the resurrection to take place.

For this purpose I was born
The King James Version of the Bible quotes Jesus as saying during the crucifixion experience, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” However, the Lamsa Bible translation suggests that the original Aramaic language does not say that. In the Lamsa Bible, Jesus says “It is for this purpose that I was born.” This suggests that Jesus was fully aware that this was his great moment. It was the moment he was waiting and preparing for all his life.

It’s like an Olympic champion who has prepared and trained for years to reach the final race and, just before the event, is asked, “How does it feel to be getting ready to perform before thousands of people in the stadium and millions watching on television?” And the athlete responds by saying, “This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. I was doing all the things I needed to do to prepare for this moment—waking up and going to bed early, eating nutritious foods, practicing, lifting weights. All of that was for this moment.”

This was the case for Jesus and is the case in every moment of our life, when we realize that whatever we’re going through, we are not to shirk from any situation or circumstance that seems to overwhelm us. It is in such moments we are to remember who we are spiritually—we are spiritually made in the image and likeness and out of God. When we see from this vantage point, we will stand and say “For this purpose we were born.”

In other words, we can say this situation is an opportunity to go beyond our self-imposed boundaries. This opportunity is calling for the highest and best within us to shine as never before.

So we see the seeming betrayals in life from that vantage point and begin to practice a new way of being in the world. We no longer see ourselves as victims but as the vehicles of pure Spirit.

Resurrection follows forgiveness
Any resurrection is built on the consciousness of forgiveness. Only then can we see the gift in the seeming betrayals in life. When people or situations betray the pictures that we have in our mind of how things should be, that is when we must invoke the consciousness of forgiveness.

So we hear Jesus saying “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” and examine its meaning. Perhaps surface mind is saying “Please, they knew exactly what they were doing.” Now I’m going to try to forgive them anyway because it’s the right thing to do. However, I’m not going to ever believe they didn’t know what they were doing (whoever they might be).

We can see the Jesus statement of “forgive them for they know not what they do” from a different perspective. Our critics or so-called enemies are really our best friends in disguise. Such people push us to new levels of being and make us do things we wouldn’t likely do without their assistance. Such people make us pray when we don’t want to or when we don’t have the spiritual discipline to do it on our own.

An angel comforting Jesus before his arrest in...

An angel comforting Jesus before his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At such moments, those people who seem to be against us don’t know what they’re doing. They’re actually making us become so large for God and access dimensions of our being that we would not be able to touch without their help. In fact, if they really knew how it was going to be so good for us, they wouldn’t do it. So we forgive them, for they didn’t really know what they were doing. They are supporting our own resurrection process and helping our life become fully supported by Spirit. We realize there is only God, and we don’t need anything else.

The now moment is what counts
To further augment our own resurrection and ascension process, there are additional things Jesus the Christ said on the cross. There were two thieves on either side of him, who represent the past and the future. One thief is living in the past when he says to Jesus, “I know I deserve what I’m getting because I know I’ve done a lot of negative things. However, you don’t deserve this, Jesus.” He identified with all the negative things he had done in the past. The other thief said to Jesus, “What’s going to happen to us after this experience?” This thief was lost in the future

However, Jesus being between the two thieves represents the vortex of creativity where heaven is revealed on earth. It represents the here and now. Jesus said “Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise.”

Jesus is saying a couple of things to us. First, it is not the past that determines our current experience; it is our thought about the past determining our current experience. That’s because a thought cannot be in the past. If we have any thoughts moving through our mind—and we constantly do—they are right now affecting every aspect of our being—physically, mentally, and emotionally. Right now we’re either getting younger or aging, depending on what we’re giving our attention to. It’s not the past doing this; it’s our present thinking about the past that is affecting our life. Because we have the ability to name things, we can name it all good, even if we cannot see the good in it right now. When we do that, our life begins to immediately change because as withinso without.

Crosses above Lee Abbey The crosses (represent...

Crosses above Lee Abbey The crosses (representing the crucifixion of Jesus and the two thieves) are used by the Lee Abbey community that owns the land for their Good Friday drama, but they appear to be left in place throughout the year. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then there are those who hang out in the future worrying about what’s going to happen. They’re concerned about whether their plans are going to work out and projecting their thoughts about the future. But that thought of worry and doubt is in the now moment and becomes the experience they’d been worried about. Our present thinking is simply a sneak preview of our upcoming experiences. If we want to get an idea of what life is going be like, we simply have to look at what we’re thinking about right now.

By saying, “Now thou shalt be with me in paradise,” Jesus is seeking to bring our attention to the present moment. It is in the present moment that the Christ presence returns. When we realize that the Christ is not a person, but that part of God in all of us, we become fully aware that Jesus, the man, is not coming back.  The Christ presence is within us and returns when we allow it to be the activity of our awareness. When we do, we live with awareness: That which is within us is greater than that which is in the world.

Pontius Pilate as a symbol of external circumstances
In the Easter story, Jesus and his experience with Pontius Pilate has a very symbolic meaning for us. When we read about the characters in the Bible, they represent something in or about us. The greatest value of the story is its spiritual rather than its historical significance—although there is history in it.

Pontius Pilate symbolizes the external circumstances that at times seem to be overwhelming. Pilate thinks he has power over Jesus and asks him several

An original card from the tarot deck of Jean D...

An original card from the tarot deck of Jean Dodal of Lyon, a classic "Marseilles" deck. The deck dates from 1701-1715. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

questions. However, Jesus’ response is essentially that the power does not lie with Pontius Pilate, but with God. It didn’t matter what Pontius Pilate did, and ultimately he decided he didn’t want to be bothered, so washed his hands of the whole deal. Jesus in that moment was demonstrating that no situation, circumstance, or external authority figures had any power over him.

In your own life, you may be facing some kind of Pontius Pilate. There may be someone in your life who thinks they can control or manipulate you. You may have a boss who thinks he or she has the final say-so about your prosperity or happiness. People think that if they are in or out of your life, your joy is dependent upon them. You may have allowed them to think that. There may be all kinds of Pontius Pilates running around thinking that they have the final word on your life.

But having fully devoted yourself to God, you’ll say and do what you will; it does not matter. Whatever happens will pull the highest and best out of me because I’m going to sacrifice my littleness so my authentic Self will come through. A new birth is about to take place.

The message for our time
The entire universe is asking that we be our true selves. To do so, we must go within to that which is real, indestructible, has never been born, and can never die. Jesus talked about that when he said “call no one on earth your father.” There is but one Presence, and that Presence is within you. When our attention is on it, it begins to express as our life—our real life.

When we look at our world, we see the seeming betrayals. They are the modern-day crucifixion experiences—man’s inhumanity to man, wars and rumors of war, economic breakdowns, and the challenges we face across the planet. At times we may think it’s beyond hope and it will never get better.

However, it was for this purpose we were born. God transforms our world a little at a time by means of us. God needs us to shine God’s light to make this world a better place. When we let our light shine, we will rise above any crucifixion experience and the entire world will celebrate the Easter of our hearts and we will rise.

Easter is not merely the celebration of the life of Jesus. He reminds us that we are capable of doing even greater things than he did. We love and celebrate the master teacher by practicing his principles, living his teachings, and following his example. When we do, our life shines and glorifies the power, the presence, and the love of God. All of us emanate from that loving presence. When that is our self-concept, we will be able to say as Jesus did, “When you see me, you see the presence that sent me,” and you will experience Easter every day of your life.

Easter eggs

Easter eggs (Photo credit: StSaling)

James Trapp is President and CEO of Unity Worldwide Ministries.

Crystal Room

Crystal Room (Photo credit: waving at you)

Sitting in my Crystal Room, I gaze about me trying to focus.  Sometimes it seems that the world can skew my inner vision more than my outer.  My “Spirit Vision” becomes blurry and I forget exactly what I am.  Spending time in my Crystal Room helps me remember.  I find a clear crystal and as I gaze into it, my reflection gazes back at me.  But this is not the ordinary reflection I see in my bathroom mirror:   the reflection colored often by my own insecurities and the lies I tell myself when I view the world with my pessimistic lenses over my eyes.  No, this reflection is true, eternal, and an accurate view of who I was created to be:  who God sees when He looks at me.

god

god (Photo credit: the|G|™)

I am a breathtaking creature of Light!  Being created in the image of God, being filled with His Spirit, I possess all the qualities of my Creator, just as Christ does.  I am Divine Love, Divine Joy, Divine Peace.  I am kindness, patience, understanding, wisdom.  I am good.  My unique personality is filled with the many gifts God placed within me.  To deny these gifts as I often did in the past, is to deny God.  Scripture tells me God places gifts in all his children.  Including me.  To refuse to acknowledge my gifts is to refuse to be who I am.  My light cannot shine if I continue to cover it in shame or false modesty.  God is so generous.  He has blessed me so richly with such amazing and wonderful gifts.  How can I use them for the good of mankind if I won’t allow myself to even acknowledge I have them in some misguided notion of false modesty?

When I study the scriptures and other holy texts, I can search and get an accurate picture of just who God sees when He looks at me.  The bible tells me I am the apple of God’s eye, God’s jewel, the fragrance of Christ.   I am His special treasure, a crown of glory, a Prince’s daughter, Christ’s ambassador,  a royal priest, more than a conqueror.  I have eyes like doves, enchanting tresses, am fair as the moon and clear as the sun.  I am a new creation, the beloved, a garden enclosed.  I am the perfection of beauty!

Yeah.  I especially like that last one too.   Wow.  That is exactly how God sees each and every one of us.  And not only is this how I should view myself, it is how I should view others.  It is how we should view one another.   Look at the people around you.  Look at your loved ones.  Look at the ones you struggle to love.  Look at the ones you struggle not to hate and the ones you are secretly or unashamedly glad to hate.  Now realize that they are the perfection of beauty to God.  The apple of His eye.  A royal priest.  Can we shave away all the junk and gunk from this world, clear away all that occludes their inner, hidden light to see that reality of what God made them to be?  God will give us those innocent dove-eyes to do so.  When we can look in the mirror and recognize the crystal-clear reality of who we, ourselves, are, we can begin to let go of others.  Let them walk their path without our input or judgement.  God is taking care of that stuff.  And let’s face it:  it is going to take all our energy to be our own lover.  Yes.  You read that right.  We need to be the lover we dream of someone else being– to ourselves!  We need to value, appreciate, nurture, and care for ourselves as we wish someone else would do.  That is truly loving ourselves.  And who better to love me than me?  I know my innermost needs and wants as no one else ever will.  Who better to love you than you?   When we can meet our own needs we no longer pressure others to do so and they are then free to be themselves.  Then we can truly learn to love and appreciate them for exactly who God made them to be instead of who we need them to be.  It is ageless wisdom that tells us that we can never truly love another until we have learned to love ourselves.  Unloved, we become desperate to find someone to meet our needs, constantly pressuring others to conform to our idea of who they should be.  Constantly demanding that they give to us what we should be giving to ourselves.  How did our vision ever become so skewed as to think it is wrong to care for our own needs?

Two mice; the mouse on the left has more fat s...

Two mice; the mouse on the left has more fat stores than the mouse on the right. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Learning who and what I am, knowing what sustains me, fulfills me, delights me, fills me with joy–and nurturing myself in a healthy, happy fashion sheds the weight from my soul.  As I have allowed myself to love myself–I find my appetites and cravings have changed.  I no longer cram myself with senseless, unneeded excesses.  I don’t have to stuff myself with addictive properties like food, sex, alcohol–whatever.  There is no longer an empty gnawing space driving me to shove anything into it just to fill it.  The sheer weight of that empty space was such a burden!  The only thing big enough,sufficient enough to fill it once and for all is love.  Real unconditional love that only I can truly show myself.  When I filled that space up properly, I sealed that gaping hole and the weight dropped from my soul.  Then it ironically dropped from my body, too.  I have lost over 160 pounds in the last year.  I believe I have been on just about every diet known to man.  I can look at a plate and calculate the calories, diabetic exchanges, grams of protein, carbs, fat, etc.  I know about brown fat and yellow fat and resting metabolism and cardiac exercise and toning exercise.  I have even had a gastric bypass.  Nothing worked.  Now, when I finally accepted the outside and turned my attention inward, I discovered my outside was only a reflection of the weight I had been carrying around in my soul.  I have discovered that, for me, the key was to lose weight from the inside out.

I have also discovered that the more I learn to love myself, the more I become the person I have always truly wanted to be.  And guess what??  Turns out that the person I have really always wanted to be is pretty much the person I have always been underneath the dirt and garbage of this world all along.  My true inner being of light.  I am the perfection of beauty!  And so are you.  If you don’t know that yet, it is time for you to spend some time in your own crystal room gazing into a clear crystal until your own image becomes crystal-clear.  Look in that mirror until you see the perfection of beauty, then turn those dove-eyes out upon a whole new world!

unconditional.

unconditional. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

30 Gifts to Give Yourself

The following article was adapted from the original which can be found on the web at :

Marc and Angel Hack Life
in Practical Tips for Productive Living,
30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself.



When you allow yourself to take care of you, loving yourself as much as anyone else, being good to yourself, and approaching life from a positive perspective, you will find peace and joy that last through any circumstances.  A sense of humor helps, too.

As Maria Robinson once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Nothing could be closer to truth. As you begin this process of transformation the following road map may help. The following ideas are not intended to be used as New Year’s resolutions, for once a resolution is broken it is gone.  Rather these are goals at which to aim.  Track your progress and let that be your success.

Gift List to Yourself:

1. Only spend time with people who build the positive in you and you will improve your self-esteem.

Life is too short, so spend time with people who energize and increase the happiness in you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot. So make sure you are spending your time with  someone who continuously appreciates your worth. Spending time with people who don’t appreciate you will eventually lower your self-esteem.   Remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.  (And if your true friends have seen you at your worst and accepted you, there is just no sense in scaring everybody else.)


2. Face your fears and you will grow your personal power.

There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them. We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems. That’s not how we’re made. In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall. Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time. This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.  So, face your fears head on. No, it won’t be easy. But when you don’t face them, you give them power and when you do face them, you take that power back for yourself.  (That monster under your bed turned out to be just a dirty sock anyway, didn’t it?)

3. Be honest with yourself so and you will be able to change anything .

You can lie to anyone else in the world, but be honest with yourself. Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves. You cannot begin to improve your reality unless you see it for what it is right now.  You have to see the path to follow it to the end.   Read The Road Less Traveled.   (Besides, if you never look in the mirror, you can never tell if you have mustard on your chin.)

4. Take care of your own needs and  you will contribute your best to the world.

 The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too. Yes, help others; but help yourself too. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now. (If everyone loses themselves, there will be no one left to look for us.)

5. Be yourself and you will fulfill the purpose for which you were designed.

 One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you just like everyone else. Someone will always be prettier.  Someone will always be smarter.  Someone will always be younger, but they will never be you.  Don’t change so people will like you.  Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.  (Anyway, bricks can’t be used as vegetables, and you can’t be used as something you’re not, either.  Besides, someone will break a tooth!)

6. Stay in the present and you will live without regrets or worries, helping rid yourself of depression and anxiety.

 You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.  Joy comes in the moment, not in the memory or the imagination.  (When you get old and can’t stay in the moment,

people think you’re senile.  Better to practice mindfulness now than spend your retirement eating pureed steak in a nursing home.)


7. Count mistakes as learning instead of failure and you will gain confidence.

Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing. Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success. You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.  Anyway, trying always comes before succeeding.  We are given new days to remind us to just start over.  (Don’t you hate it when a pencil comes without an eraser, anyway?)

8. Forgive yourself and you will become more accepting of others.

We may think we love the wrong person or that we cry about the wrong things.  Yet one thing is for sure:   accepting our mistakes will help us find the people and things that are right for us. We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future. Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come. (Besides, beating up on yourself sucks all the good energy out that you could be using to do more important things like eating chocolate.  ; )

9. Focus on love, laughter, and pursuing your passion and you will achieve real lasting happiness.

 Many of the things we desire are may be expensive.  But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions. (Plus, you’ll have more money left to buy presents for someone like, well, say, someone like me.)

10. Look within yourself for true happiness because it is the only place where you will find it.

When you are happy with who you are on the inside, you will  be happy in a long-term relationship with someone else.  You have to create stability in your own life first before you can share it with someone else.  Read Stumbling on Happiness.  (Have you ever been really happy when eating a carton of icecream, but then you finish it and all your artificially flavored and sweetened happiness comes to a screeching halt?)

11. Trust your decisions and act on them and you will build a sense of accomplishment.

 Evaluate situations and take decisive action.   Once you take action, let it go.   Making progress involves moving forward.  You  have to take your foot off first base to make it to second! (And you have to fall down to slide into home.)


12. Take risks and you will build trust in yourself!

Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones. Comfort grows with familiarity.  Learn to appreciate the butterflies in your stomach by realizing they are the product of metamorphosis—yours!  (Jack never would have gotten to go up that hill with Jill if he hadn’t jumped over that candlestick first.)

13. Value yourself in relationships and life and you will teach others to value you, too.

Relationships must be chosen wisely. It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company. There’s no need to rush. If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.  Fill your life with service and purpose.  As you learn to love yourself and send it into the world, it will come back to you 100-fold.  (Get a dog as a pet before you get one as a mate.)

14. Keep open to receive love and you will get it.

In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you. But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you.  Each person is unique even when they possess similarities to someone else.  Each person deserves to be evaluated on their own merit, not your memories.  When you close a door, nothing can get past:  not the bad stuff,  but not the good stuff, either.  (If you keep hiding your pistachio icecream under your spinach just because they are both green, you’ll never like either one.  Unless you’re pregnant.)

15. Compete only against yourself and you will be a winner.

 Concentrate on beating your own records every day. Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only.   Don’t worry about what others are doing better than you.  ( Just remember “Bad, bad Leroy Brown.)

16. Count your own blessings instead of everyone else’s and you will always be prosperous.

Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own. Ask yourself this: “What’s something I have that everyone else wants?”  (Addition is always easier than division.  Especially long division.)


17. Be positive and SMILE and you will be filled with and radiate joy!

Life’s curveballs are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you. You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, which can  make it  tough.  However, when you reflect back on those negative curveballs thrown at you in the past, you’ll often see that eventually they led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation.  So smile!  Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday– and you will be. (If you lean in and get hit by one of those curveballs, the umpire of life has to let you walk to first base.)

18. Forgive. Let go. Find peace and you will see peace on earth.

Truly live by releasing hate and grudges from your heart.  You will keep from hurting yourself more. Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.” It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.” Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself! And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too.  Forgive yourself so you can move on and do better next time.  (It is really embarrassing when you realize you’ve been screaming for someone to let you out and the key is in your pocket.)

19. Fly above the crowds and be the example! Or, as Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see!”  and you will change the world.

When you set the standard, you are never lowered to someone else’s level.  (If your elevator doesn’t go to the top floor, you know what everyone will think.)

20. Let go of the need to explain or justify yourself and you will develop faith.

Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway.  Just do what you know in your heart is right.  (And you know when you start explaining it will feel all awkward and just keep going on and on and you’ll never be really sure how much explanation is enough so you just sort of start to ramble in one gigantic, run-on sentence.)

21. Take breaks and you will get there faster and better.

The time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it. Breathe in the universe’s unlimited resources and refill your tanks.   If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.  Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly. (Running out of gas can mean pushing  your car.  You could get a hernia.  That means surgery and medical bills and boarding your Yorkshire terrier.  Well, it could get quite complicated.)


22. Stop and smell the roses and you will learn to appreciate the many exquisite gifts you might otherwise overlook!

Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things. The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.  (And those things that seem like big things might just turn into Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons and float off into the distance, or worse yet, deflate on you.)

23. Celebrate imperfection and you will reach your goals. 

The real world doesn’t always reward perfectionists,but  it always rewards people who get things done. Learn when “good enough” is enough and let it go.  Then you can concentrate more time on the things that do need to be perfected.   Read Getting Things Done.  (Did you ever go into one of those superstores when you were really tired and you forgot your list and you just wonder around forever trying to remember what you need but when you get home, there is always something you forgot?  Yeah.  You know just what I mean.)

24. Aim for the sky and you will learn to fly.

Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile.  Don’t take the easy way out.  Do something extraordinary. You can only reach as high as your target.  Aim low and that is all you will ever achieve.  Aim high, and even if you don’t reach all the way to your goal, you’ll fly higher than before. (It is a lot more difficult to water ski when you don’t stand up.)

25. Express your emotions and you will have room to grow.

It’s okay to fall apart for a little while. You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well.  You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears. The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.  When we bottle up our emotions instead of releasing them, we allow them to grow out of our control.  Releasing and expressing them brings them down to a size that we can manage. (You must know what happens if you just keep stuffing too much inside.  Remember last Thanksgiving?)

26. Take responsibility for your own stuff. (But not anyone else’s) and you will have power to do anything .

The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life. When you blame others for what you’re going through and you deny responsibility – you give others power over that part of your life.  When you take on responsibility for

others, not only do you deny them their opportunities to grow as a person, you cripple your own soul under a burden you were never intended to bear. (Did you ever get really annoyed with someone else’s behavior only to realize you do the same thing?  No.  Okay then.  Me neither.)

27. Let the universe run by itself and you will set yourself free.

You are not equipped to run the show and are not built to handle the burden.   But making one person smile CAN change the universe.  Maybe not the whole universe, but their universe.  So focus on what is before you to do and not on anyone else’s purpose.  (If you go to do the laundry allow yourself to be distracted by the dirty floor, you are going to be wearing dirty underwear.  Trust me on this one.)

28. Allow your Creator to  sweat the details. Trust and you will rid yourself of anxiety.

Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy. One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time? Three years? Five years?” If not, then it’s not worth worrying about. Another way is to ask, “What outcome really matters to me?  What do I really want?”  Then drop everything extra.  (If it is too heavy to carry, do not pack it in your suitcase.  Put it in your brother’s when he isn’t looking.  Then you can tease him about being such a wimp. Good times.)

29. Expect wonderful and you will get wonderful.
Focus on what you do want to happen. Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story. If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.  (If you wake up expecting me to have come over and cleaned your house for you while you slept, fat chance.)


30. Live your life from gratitude; all the rest will follow from this one virtue.

No matter how good or bad you think have it, wake up each day thankful for your life. Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for their own.  Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have.  Prosperity can never be realized  if you miss out on the  riches you already have by focusing on what you don’t have and getting what you want will never be enough if you cannot learn to appreciate what you possess right now.  (I hope you are grateful you invested the time to read this article.  I know I am.)

That is the list. 30 gifts that will change your life.  30 guidelines that will make this the best year of your life.  Focus on one or two at a time until they are habit. By the end of 2012, you won’t believe how far you have come.  And if you can learn  to appreciate my sense of humor, then anything is possible.

May joy, peace, love, prosperity and all good gifts manifest in each of us. Blessings.
Jodiebeth Jackson

                                                                                                           

Colors of Angels

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Well, here I am.

Please bear with me as I learn all this new technology.  My teenagers can only spare me so much of their valuable time to explain how to use new-fangled ‘quipment!

Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”  What a difficult goal this one sometimes is!  Here in my Crystal Room I ponder how often I allow myself to be bullied by my own inhibitions and ideas of what someone else might think.  And I consider myself one of the more open people I know!  But if I am truly a child of God with His Divine Spirit dwelling within me, what am I so afraid of?  I think the greatest gift we can give to the world is to be just who God created us to be.  How can we possibly fulfill our purpose if we don’t step up to the plate of our own identity?  Just a thought.

So, if, as I believe, writing is a huge part of my divine purpose, won’t I serve humanity better by embracing who I really am?  I think of the most natural people I have known–you know the ones–no pretensions.  They might swear in church if they spilled red cool-aid on the choir director’s white robe.  They are just who they are.  And what a gift they have been to me!  These are the souls towards which I am intrinsically drawn.  As I am writing, here, and in my novels, I believe my writing will benefit from concentrating less on what Sister Bertha-Better-Than-Me (thank you, Ray Stevens) is thinking about me because of what I’ve written, and more on truth.  Truth for myself as I understand it today, and truth for my characters.

On another topic, I have been walking this past week through what I have always called:  The Valley of the Shadow of Death.  This is not a new place for me.  I have been here many times.  Sometimes it feels it gets harder with each loss or possible loss.  But, apologies to King David, I think the semantics have done me a disservice.   Death and loss pile up until I am drowning beneath my own thoughts.  Sometimes I have to be reminded to take a deep breath, let it out, and on the next inhale, breathe in a different perspective.  I have decided from now on I am going to call this valley:  the valley of the shadow of transitions.  Death is forever.  Human souls are eternal.  Those I love do not die; they walk through a door I will one day walk through myself.  This door never closes.  Too much traffic, maybe.  But even though I can’t walk through that door myself, yet, I can certainly meet those on the other side at the threshold!  I am not losing.  They are not dying.  We are just going through life’s changes.  Now, there’s that new breath in and I find it much easier to breathe.  Now I have that peace that passes understanding.  I am getting it.  You probably already had it, but now we can share!

Does this mean I don’t weep or feel sorrow?  Remember that bit about being my true self?  I have been created a feeling, thinking, acting, spiritual being.  I need to fire on all cylinders to be me.  Jesus wept at the grave of his friend, Lazarus, and on the night before he was seized and put to death.  Think not?  I cannot imagine, “sweating as if it were great drops of his blood,”  not invoking weeping.  I’m sure there were many other times, too.  But I have learned that I can weep and still be at peace.  Imagine that!  I’ve experienced it lately and I still can’t believe it!  Feeling bereft because of change and the possibility of someone who makes my days so much brighter not being in that dearly loved vessel of clay where I can reach out and touch and hug makes me weep.  Knowing life is eternal–really spending time in silence with God and knowing it–that makes me weep also.  In gratitude and joy.  How wondrously we are made!  What phenomenal craftsmanship!  And each of us truly unique–no wonder we feel loss at the idea of losing such a one-of-a-kind miracle from our fleshly circle.   Well, that’s the first installment from my crystal room.  See you tomorrow.  And thanks for coming to visit!

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