Monday, November 24, 2014
Do you have a “Cardinal Rule?” I do and I broke mine today. How? I went to the mall.
You see, it’s the week before Thanksgiving. That means it’s after October 15, my “drop-dead-last-day-in-a-mall-before-Christmas” Cardinal Rule.
I don’t do last-minute Christmas shopping. I shop a great deal online, which means much of my shopping is done before fall begins. We also frequent craft shows,antique stores and festivals, all of which are in abundance in south central Pennsylvania. Plus, we celebrate “Boxing Day” (December 26) thanks to my fiancé’s Anglophile perspective on life. Shopping for all sorts of presents begins the day after Christmas. You should only HOPE to get the deals we get!
So why did I chose to title this week’s blog, “Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding?” You have endured my three paragraph, “get-to-the-point, Terry!” set-up – a minimum requirement I’ve set when I’m sleep-deprived, had too much caffeine and some ADHD has kicked in – so you deserve the answer! Two words:
Really? November 20th and the bell ringers have to be out already? I mean the mall isn’t even decorated for Christmas yet. Seriously?
ARGHHH … another Christmas holiday has arrived, regardless of what the calendar says, and “BINGO!” – all the things I still need and want to do before the holiday arrives comes flooding into my little brain, causing me a mini-minor scheduling meltdown.
Do you ever feel that way? You’re cruising along in life, having a delightful day, feeling like you have the tiger by the tail and the world is your oyster, and THEN it happens! You remember you were supposed to do something (like write a major article whose deadline is ten days away); you’re having guests for dinner and the food you were supposed to lay out to thaw is still in the deep freeze; or, you answer a call to find out that a friend has been waiting for the last hour for you to show up for lunch. You get the idea.
I don’t know what might cause you to have these “Shut-The-Front-Door” moments, but I can tell you how it usually is for me. Normally when stuff like this happens I find that I have scheduled so many things to do, or that I am so overwhelmed with worry about a situation, that my mind just plain stops working.
I can’t find my keys – probably a good idea since the last place I should be at a time like that is behind the wheel of a vehicle. I forget to feed the fish. I forget to feed Terry. I simply stop remembering what I’m supposed to be doing and find my mind off on an Australian-style walkabout. While amusing to others it can be most annoying to me.
There is another reason I felt the way I did earlier today with the bell ringer. It’s completely and totally ego-related. I don’t recall giving my consent for the Salvation Army to set up this week (not that they’ve asked in the past, mind you), and since they did so without any warning (HOW RUDE!), I was literally forced into the realization that Christmas is closer than I thought.
Now isn’t that just silly? I mean it’s not like it’s Easter or Hanukah that changes every year according to the lunar calendar. There it is, right there, smack dab on December 25, every year, year after year. Amazing how that works, non?
I hope you’re relating to this. Quite frankly, I’d hate to think I was the only person in the world who has ever has this type of thing happen to them. The way I deal with ego meltdowns is to laugh. That probably annoys the dickens out of my ego, but I’m not going to lose sleep over that. If you find you are a little surprised by events, the actions of others, or just something that doesn’t fit your pictures, might you be willing to try that? Just laugh. I mean have a good, old fashioned belly laugh. You’d be amazed at how well this works.
I mean, compared to world peace, how important are our problems or upsets anyway?
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness (and laughter!)
Monday, November 10, 2014
Do you like it when people pigeon-hole you into category assigned you a label? I sure don’t. Human beings are multi-faceted creatures. To make situations easier for ourselves we frequently place each other into convenient categories. All too often these labels fall far short of describing who we are as individuals.
Psychologist Dr. Dan Gottlieb reported working with a young woman who told him: “I feel like my soul is a prism, but everybody just sees one color. Nobody sees the prism.”
What would it be like if we could actually see the prism of the soul of other people around us? How would our lives be different if we allowed those we love to see all spectrums of who we are?
Think about meeting someone for the first time. Do we ask what their hopes and dreams are for the future? Do we inquire about their deepest fears or greatest joys? No. Usually we want to know if they are married or single; gay or straight; what political party they support; where they went to school; what they do for a living; what kind of car they drive; and, what socioeconomic status they have achieved.
Then, armed with the information, we use a mental check list to arrive at our decision about how to label the person. Judgment, prejudice, slant and bias are often attached to labels. We see only one color, not the full spectrum of visible light or the thousands of shades and tints of their brilliance.
The prism of our soul is all the colors or nuances of our personality that make up who we are. Add to that all the bands of light invisible to the naked eye, both above and below our spectrum of recognition. These unseen energies represent the subconscious or subjective aspects of our personalities; some perhaps not even known to us let alone anyone else.
Be willing to take a step or two back this week from your preconceived ideas about the people in your life. What positive qualities do they possess that you may have overlooked? Then, open up to others fully and confidently in being all you can be by showing a willingness to share your hidden colors with them as well.
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Monday, November 03, 2014
There WILL be a spiritual component to this writing … I promise … but you need a little “set-up” for it.
So … I'm off to my “day job” as a flight attendant, going through the "Known Crew Member (KCM)" security check at BWI last Monday morning at 4:35am for my 5:00am sign-in.
I hand my passport to the TSA agent, scan my KCM badge, then hold my airline ID badge for her to compare my ID, passport and the photo of me on the monitor.
She looks at my passport.
She looks at my badge.
She waits for the photo to come up on the screen.
Her eyebrows raise, ever so slightly.
She looks at my passport again, then at my ID and the back at the screen.
Then, she looks up at me.
Her left eyebrow raises in a more pronounced manner.
She looks back at the passport, issued in 2006.
She looks back at me.
THEN she says it:
“WOW! You sure have aged!”
I’m barely standing up straight, managing on 4.5 hours of sleep, a two-hour drive to the airport in the middle of the night and it’s now 4:36am.
I am NOT in the mood.
I honestly didn’t have one – don’t ask me to be witty before coffee. I did manage my best flight attendant fake smile (you know, the one that looks nice and really means, “Drop dead”), accompanied by a slight raise of MY left eyebrow.
I stopped short of saying something about one of the worst hair weaves in the greater Baltimore/Washington DC area and that “someone” likes the McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts just down the corridor a little more than is prudent. I’ve learned to NEVER push a TSA agent, particularly one that obviously takes great pride reveling in perhaps the only part of her life in which she feels she has complete and utter control.
So what is the spiritual side of all this? This amazing light being with bad hair and a penchant toward hypertensive heart disease was scheduled at exactly the right time and on the precise day that I would come up to her desk for her to be able to deliver a message from Spirit that I did not want to hear: “Terry, We believe you are a “bit” more concerned about turning 60 next year than you might want to admit. Jus’ sayin’. Thanks, The Universe.”
Like a lot of people, I’ve been known occasionally to believe denial of the facts will encourage the manifestation
of what we imagine to be eternal truth. The Truth is, however, denial doesn’t do anything for us, except perhaps make us uncomfortable because we’re lying to ourselves and everyone around us. What we can deny is the necessity of our situation and then turn to knowing the Truth.
We forget that the “facts” are not the Truth. It isn’t turning 60, or having a few pounds after we gave birth to our third child, or finding hair growing in places we didn’t know hair would grow, or not fitting into our favorite skinny jeans. It’s what meaning we assign to those facts that change our attitude and our experience in life.
What facts have you been denying in your life? Would you be willing to admit what you don’t want to think about? Admitting the facts doesn’t mean we forget the Truth. It’s the first step to our healing. In the words of my friend, Arleen, “You’ve suffered long enough. Are you willing to try something else?”
So, are you? Willing to try something else? And, FYI? My birthday is May 23. I expect cards. LOTS of cards. Jus’ sayin’….
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Monday, October 27, 2014
Do you ever create a “To Do” list, or what I like to call my “Accomplishment List,” only to find it screaming at you later in the day? I am often asked how I keep all the different parts of my life organized. Granted, using Evernote on my mobile devices and desktop has become an indispensable tool. But there is another reason. I see my life and all that I do, both what others call my ministry and what I call my life, as One.
There was a time when I was a man of many masks – not faces, masks. I was a completely different person depending on where I was and with whom. Sure, I still use what my partners call my “flight attendant voice” at times, but today pretty much what you see is what you get. We cannot be authentic if we are always being what other people expect us to be, or changing our persona to fit the circumstance. Frankly, if I can’t be myself where I am then I have to question why I’m there in the first place.
There’s a term I think about when life gets a little crazy at times: Methodical madness! I heard that term on NPR a while back referring to someone who has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). I have learned to enjoy the madness of my tendency toward ADD to accomplish more than I ever thought possible.
My partners tell me that what I really suffer from is “AD...OSO,” or “Attention Deficit….OH! SHINY OBJECT!” Kidding aside, I do not suffer from ADD or anything else. I am not willing to claim it. Remember in the Bible when God brought the animals to Adam? Scripture says that Adam named them and he received dominion over them. It is a wonderful metaphysical lesson: Name it and it’s yours, only in this case what we name gains dominion over us.
I call it a “tendency toward ADD” and not my my ADD. When we own a disease, condition, person or situation it becomes a noose around our neck. Sometimes it becomes a life sentence. Recognizing the areas in our lives that are out of balance and taking responsibility is one thing; allowing something to run or ruin our life is another thing entirely.
Is there something in your life that is stopping you from living life to the fullest? If so, ask yourself why you continue to put up with it, work around it, or allow it to force you to live a life that is less than stellar. I love to see people make decisions to thinking differently about physical or psychological issues. We can affect change and create lives truly worth living instead of “just getting by.”
Let me help you with some problem that’s been nagging you for longer than you’d like! Call, email, or make an appointment to spend some time together to get to the bottom of the problem and move beyond! We are all One Mind – within YOU is the Knower that knows the answer to any challenge you face.
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Monday, October 20, 2014
My First Guest Blogger!
Do I like introducing one friend to another? I love doing that! It's especially fun when people are from different backgrounds and organizations. I get to do that for you today!
I was privileged to be the spiritual leader at a Unity church for about a year and a half. One of the best parts about that experience was meeting some amazing ministers in that denomination. Today I get to introduce a woman to you who I count as both a colleague in ministry and a trusted friend, Ellen Debenport.
Ellen is a celebrated author and speaker. Her book, The Five Principles, is a sophisticated but clear explanation of the universal spiritual laws that are the foundation of human living. While it's discussing Unity principles I tell people it's also one of the clearest explanations of our Science of Mind(R) principles around! She is currently minister at Unity of Wimberley near Austin, TX.
The Creative Impulse
Several people have asked me lately where I get ideas for this blog or for the talks I give.
When I'm honest, I tell them the idea is usually dredged from somewhere in the back of my mind at the last minute.
I envy those people who bubble with ideas all the time, who have so many ideas they don't know which ones to pursue, or fear they won't have time for all of them.
Even so, I wonder how many of us would describe ourselves as creative.
Creativity is more than just talent with words or art or music.
- It's a chef, an entrepreneur, an event planner, a gardener.
- It's a parent making a long car trip fun for the kids.
- It's a teacher finding just the right stories and pictures to explain a new concept, whether for first graders learning arithmetic or rocket scientists reviewing a launch sequence.
I don't actually know many rocket scientists, but I know creativity doesn't have to be loopy and right-brained. It can be methodical and disciplined. Think of what it takes to design software for a video game. That's creative!
Romantic love inspires creativity, of course. You know you're in love when all the songs on the radio make sense. Now marriage proposals have become an art form.
I believe creativity is our most divine expression.
So why is it ever hard? Why do we not recognize it in ourselves more often? Why do we not cultivate it every day? And why do we procrastinate?
I admire a young woman in Canada, Samantha Reynolds, who noticed her life was being consumed as a new mother and vowed to write and post a poem every day just to keep her creative juices flowing.
Since her second baby, the poems are no longer daily, but she still sees through a poet's eyes. And, she noticed recently, so does her little boy.
If we are made in God's image as creators, if creativity is a child's natural approach to the world, then why is the inner critic so vocal when we attempt something new?
God created the earth and saw that it was good.
Whereas many of us look at our creations and say:
This is awful.
Everyone's going to hate it.
I'm too embarrassed to put this out into the world.
Maybe I should just start over.
When did we lose the joy in creativity? (I would say it was the first time we were graded, but that's another soapbox.)
I know so many people now who are working to recapture their creative joy, and – like children – they are less concerned with whether they have natural talent than with expressing themselves.
Good for them.
The focus required for creativity may be the best way we have to stay in the present moment. It's a spiritual practice.
Even better, many of us know divine help is available for these endeavors.
You've heard the story that every blade of grass has an angel bending over it, whispering, “Grow, grow.”
So do you.
I'm teaching a class right now based on a little book called Hiring the Heavens, about creating angel committees to help with any project. It's a fun way to organize the divine power of good in the universe.
And personally, I imagine angels – or whatever forms the Source of Creative Imagination takes – are cheering us on.
So, back to the original question -- where do my ideas come from? I ask for them.
Most weeks, I tell the angels that I absolutely, positively have to have a new topic, overnight. And it's nearly always there in the morning, popping into my mind while I'm still half-asleep, just in the nick of time.
Of course inspiration can be triggered from outside as well – books, speakers, a walk.
The fact is, we are creators every second of the day, creating events and experiences with our deepest thoughts whether we know it or not.
Even at the conscious levels of personality, we are composing our lives – where to live, which jobs to accept, whom to marry, whether to have children – and choosing our reactions with each new encounter.
We can't NOT create.
Wouldn't it be more fun to claim it? To think of ourselves as brimming with creativity and turn ourselves loose on the world?
If you could create anything right now, what would it be?
Monday, October 13, 2014
Have you ever noticed just how quickly our moods can change? For example, what happens to your outlook when you think of a tragic event in your life or in the life of someone else? Immediately our minds focus on the details, perhaps imagining the experience worse than it was.
I had a lucid dream at some point last night. If you’re not familiar with the term “lucid dream” it means that you realize in your dream that you are dreaming. Dream Views describes it as a person realizing they are in a dream after experiencing something and then stopping to question their reality.
In my dream I experienced something unpleasant having to do with an organization in which I have had conflict in the past. I knew very well it was a dream, but the experience was such that it perfectly scripted a hidden fear about confrontation in general. All-in-all it was most unpleasant.
I awoke completely focused on the dream that had gotten me so upset. I “forgot” to do my morning stretches before getting up and also neglected my meditation work that follows. I put too much milk in my coffee and found myself totally annoyed about it. Fortunately my higher self slapped me back into reality. I often hear the “still small voice” of intuition, but additionally I seem to have a “slap-Terry-up-side-the-head” spiritual connection that lets me know when I’m out of sync! It’s annoying, but helpful.
There was a time in my life that I would have allowed that dream to ruin my whole day, have been a complete grouch, and probably gotten into an argument with a lover, co-worker or unsuspecting clerk at a store. I give thanks for my teachers and daily spiritual practice that allows me to focus on what I want, instead of what I don’t want, which results in a happier life. But, it was a stark reminder for me that my thoughts definitely control my life and my attitude. As Mike Dooley says, “Thoughts become things – Choose the good ones!”
What are you focusing on right now? Is it what you want to happen? If not, why give it any more of your time? Unhealthy, unproductive thoughts that live rent-free in our mind don’t do us or anyone else any good. This probably isn’t news to you, but if you’re like me it’s a good idea to remind yourself. Commit right now to focus on what you want. Let go of the fear and uncertainty of worrying about your future or fretting about the past. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow will be the experience you create today!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Monday, October 06, 2014
Are you one of these persons that everyone calls in a crisis? Do you know just what to say and when? Have been there to take charge and calm the mob from burning the town?
Perhaps not the later, though if you’ve done that do email me the details – I’d love to know about it! But if you’re reading this the rest of previous paragraph probably describes you. I know it clearer speaks about many of my readers who I know personally. The question is, To whom do you turn to when times get tough?
It can be a difficult question to answer, particularly if you are a leader, a minister, a supervisor, or just that one particular person everyone thinks has it all together all the time. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I will. I’ve been seen that way since I was 17 years old. At the time I had a real problem that finally came to light. The people who helped me had no idea anything was wrong. “We thought you had the world by the tail,” I was told.
I didn’t. I couldn’t find my own tail let alone anyone else’s. I was fortunate and blessed to have people who cared enough about me to intervene in my life and stop what was fast becoming a downward spiral. The fact is, however, it doesn’t have to get that bad to be dangerous.
Is there something in your life that you keep putting on hold? Something that bothers you, that you know you ought to take care of, yet something you never seem to have the time or strength to address? If so, I encourage you to reach out today for some kind of support to get you through whatever the issue is. It may be contacting a counselor or minister for guidance. I might just be coffee with a friend. Whatever it is for you, please take the time to take care of yourself.
I can’t force you to do this, but would you be willing this week to do just one simple, loving thing that is just for you? In other words, take some time to bask in a completely selfish act of some kind that nurtures, revitalizes and pleases you. If it’s something you’d like to share, skip down to the bottom and leave a comment. Who knows, perhaps that one thing you do this week will be just what someone else is looking for to help themselves! Have a great week!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Are you able to experience gratitude on a daily basis? I’m not just talking about appreciating someone opening a door for you when your hands are full. I’m talking about a deep resonance within your heart, not just once in a while, but throughout the day, but just how blessed you are.
I felt that for four days recently on a humanitarian mission to Bogotá, Colombia. As a member of Airline Ambassadors International, I accompanied over a dozen other volunteers as we visited and supported the children of Orphanage Rompiendo Cadenas. This facility houses about 75 children from toddlers to young adults. Adoption is impossible since their parents are still on the street or in jail, many who are prostitutes and/or drug addicts.
While the living conditions at the orphanage are far below our American standards, the consistent and heartfelt joy shown by the kids in helping one another is beyond belief. Do they ever fight or disagree? Sure. They’re kids! But most of the time they are looking out for one another. They are a very large family that works together and shares of their limited resources.
|Carolyn and Terry reading to Nicole|
This week’s writing is not about how much we have here in the States and how we should feel guilty if we complain about our life. It’s also not about helping people overseas when we have plenty to do to address starvation and poverty in our own country. What this writing is about is how we can train ourselves to appreciate what we have.
Is it wrong to want more, or have more, when people around the world or in your town are in lack? No, it is not. Denying ourselves our blessings does no one else any good here or abroad. We live in an abundant universe, one ready to support us in more ways than we can believe possible at times. But we have to be the ones to reach out. We have to open our consciousness and our hearts to accept our good.
The way to start that process is to begin appreciating what we have. Take nothing in your life for granted. Be grateful for all those who bless you throughout today. We get precious little support in the media for doing good deeds for others. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do something on our own. It’s like the argument against recycling that goes along the line of “recycling just one can or envelope is not going to save the planet.” No, it won’t. But if 100,000 of us each recycled a can or envelope it can certainly reduce our carbon footprint on Mother Earth.
Perhaps that’s the crux of my thoughts this week. It’s not whether or not we can fly around the world helping people with less than us, or recycling everything in sight. It’s about doing those seemingly small random acts of kinds, those little gestures of love and appreciation that bring us closer to creating a world where peace and abundance are the norm.
If you feel so inclined, take a look at the link above to the orphanage. It will take you to a video of a past humanitarian mission. I guarantee your perception of your day will change. Whether or not you do click on the link, I hope you’ll take a few moments today to find the blessings in your life. And, in that deep appreciation and grateful feeling, how will you reach out to others in your own life? We do not give to receive, but in the giving we receive back more than we can imagine.
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,Terry
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
This week I want to chat with you about how scented balls led to a change in my thinking and attitude. Now you might be wondering exactly what those are and how they might enrich your life. Or, you might be taken aback by what fear could turn into a very different discussion. Either way I can safely say that you probably have a smile on your face.
Or not. I hope so, though! The scented balls I’m talking about are those gel-like, round beads that you may have seen in a candle store. They scent rooms or your car with a far lighter scent than a candle or incense. My partner got one for me and it fits perfectly in the backseat cup holder in my car.
But after a couple of weeks of summer heat, all that was left of the puffed up nodules were some very small hard, seed-like looking grains. The scent still lingered, but what to do? Just for fun I filled the jar halfway with warm water. In less than 30 minutes I had a jar full of those gel-like beads again, as well as a more pronounced scent for my car!
I marveled at how quickly and easily they transformed back to their intended appearance and function. (Side note: I’ve done this process again at least twice with the same result!) It occurred to me that sometimes I feel just like those dried out scented balls. My heart becomes hard and feels like it’s going to crack in half. Then someone smiles or is kind to me when I’m out running errands. Or, I may read something funny online that makes me question my sadness or anger. My heart softens and the world no longer looks so cruel and cold.
How quickly that can happen! In an instant – far less than 30 minutes! – we can be transformed. Our lives become immediately happier and we don’t feel as alone. I don’t know what the triggers are for you, either for feeling down or rejuvenating yourself to the person you love to be. But I do know it’s important that we all find what it is we do to change our attitude. For me it’s a Beach Boys album or a Cher disco CD. (Give me a break here? I grew up on the Southern California coast and came out in the late 1970s!)
Find something you know will make you happy. Perhaps it’s a reading, a place, some music or the kindness of a friend. Keep that action on mental speed dial. Our spirit may be eternal, but our lives in these bodies have a very limited time on the planet. Take advantage of every second of every day!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
When you think back on the past what comes to mind? Good memories? Painful ones? Today is Patriot Day in the United States. It’s observed on September 11 to mark the anniversary of terrorist attacks in 2001. (Side point? It’s “Patriot Day,” NOT “Patriot’s Day!” Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Being in a relationship with a historian has its perks.)
Patriot Day. On September 11, 2001, at least 2,996 people lost their lives. Thousands of people knew someone who died that day. Thousands more know someone who lost a loved one. But what will we remember?
That day is an intensely personal memory for most of us in this country. The day is still fraught with loss, with sadness and with anger. Our nation lost a big chunk of our innocence; America had to admit she was no longer safe from modern-day terrorism on her own soil.
Many of us got angry – really angry. A lot of people still are. People wanted then and still want today to have one particular individual or group to blame. The situation is too complex for that to happen. Unfortunately, much of the anger has been waged against innocent Muslims. The great majority of Muslims decry the attacks to our country even more than some Christians and Jews, because these senseless acts of violence desecrate Islam and her principles. Yet, those people continue to bear the brunt of ignorance and senseless violence.
There is, perhaps, a greater question than, “What do you remember?” The more productive and telling question is, “How does remembering what you experienced serve you?” Whether it’s observing the anniversary of 9/11 or the memory of a nasty divorce, what emotions do we want to stir up when recalling the past?
I don’t suggest forgetting painful memories or missing loved ones no longer with us, but I conversely I don’t recommend dwelling on those thoughts to our physical, emotion and spiritual detriment either. Just like a physical wound creates scar tissue, our emotional wounds can create something similar in our consciousness. We are stronger for what we move through and beyond.
But like that scar tissue, going back and picking off the emotional scar tissue, digging open the wound and then dredging up blame and anger doesn’t help us heal. Some reading this will say, “But I DESERVE to be angry!” Perhaps you do. If that is your need then you will have that experience and all the consequences that accompany your emotions. I believe what we deserve is peace of mind, self-respect and unshakeable faith in the power of love.
If there is some event in your life – 9/11 or something else – would you be willing to remember the experience from a place of observation instead of re-enactment? On Patriot Day we can honor our fallen heroes through working for peace instead of seeking to further destroy. We can seek to understand, instead of demanding to be understood. We can listen with the intent of healing, instead of waiting for a break in the conversation to interject snarky retorts.
The common slogan from that day 13 years ago is, “We will never forget.” I’ve more often used my own slogan, “We will always remember.” The question is, How will my memories aid in creating a better life for myself and others? What can I take away from the experience to move forward into the future, learning from the past instead of being stuck in it?
With blessings and love for all the people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, and for their families and friends who still miss them,
Wednesday, September 03, 2014
Do you believe you only live once? When I was a child I was taught there was no life before this one. It was drilled into me that if I died before Judgment Day there would be no life after death, unless I had been really, really … I mean REALLY … good and did all the things I was taught on Sunday and throughout the week.
As I grew older I came to believe that life is eternal and, though we may have different bodies or expression through time, there is no end to the life energy within each of us. I developed a strong conviction that I had lived lives before this one and that my spirit will go on to live after my body dies, either on this plane of existence or others.
But Warren Buffet changed my mind last week. (I’ll bet in a thousand years you did NOT see that coming!) John G. Taft, the author of “Stewardship: Lessons learned from the lost culture of Wall Street,” recently wrote about the greatest sayings of Buffett. In the article he refers to the “punch card analogy” Buffett uses in the context of investment and finance. Taft suggests that it can apply to life in general as well.
Briefly, this punch card idea states that we have a limited number of key decision-making events that occur in our lives. If your “life card” has twenty places to punch on it, once you make one of those choices you have only nineteen left. Think about the old amusement parks rides that took a different number of tickets for each ride. When your roll of tickets was gone you went home. “What?” you say? “Talk of limitation from a religious science minister who believes in our unlimited potential?” Yes, in a way, so mark this down as one of those times.
This idea goes quite well with the belief that we have freedom of choice, but not of consequence. Choosing a drama over a comedy at the theater or pasta instead of salad for dinner probably isn’t going result in some earth-shattering or otherwise monumental change. If I choose the comedy film followed by the pasta it’s probably not going to be something memorable ten years from now unless, of course, that cute Italian waiter is my next ex-husband.
Narrowing our choices and choosing wisely can have a tremendous impact on our overall happiness and satisfaction with life. Too many choices of anything can stop us from moving forward – ask any couple who had to decide on what color(s) to paint the bathroom. Conversely, only one or two choices can feel like it’s “damned-if-I-do-damned-if-I-don’t,” which for me translates into “I’m powerless and a victim.”
The danger here is taking an attitude of “I don’t care” on one end of the spectrum and “I have to do this” on the other. Very few of our daily decisions fall soundly on either end. Most are in the middle. The rest lean more toward one side or the other.
Our job is to decide just how much energy we want to put into our decisions. To assist with decision making think about this: How important will this decision be in five years? In ten years? Or, If I had been given only one more year to live, what different choices would I make?
I suggest to you that there will never, ever be another unique person exactly like you through whom God (Spirit, if you prefer) can experience life. Be confident in your decisions. Choose wisely. And, above all, make sure God’s having a good time in the process, since you are that which God is!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Have you ever read an account of the past that sounded like someone “re-wrote history?” This discussion has come up more than once in our household, but then I live with a historian who is a scholar and expert on the United States Civil War, as well as Presidents Jefferson and Lincoln.
I suggested to him the other day that history was just creative writing. What I meant, whether we want to admit it or not, was that very little writing, is completely free of slant or bias. I expected an argument (friendly, of course!) as our family members often goad another on topics near and dear to our hearts. It keeps us on our toes.
To my surprise he quickly agreed without even pausing the DVR’d program we were watching. I must be losing my touch or six years together has caused us to become more similar than either of us wants to admit! Perhaps it has something to do with a recent discussion how the educational system of one particularly large (VERY large) southern state has an interesting take on the history of slavery in this country. But I digress …
No matter what we read in historical accounts, it behooves us to remember who is writing the story. If the writing is recent, is the information based on primary documents from the time period? Or, are the suppositions presented to us based on secondary and tertiary documents, or in some cases, merely hearsay?
How does this apply to our daily lives? Well, we all have history. In the telling of that history we attach biased or slanted meanings that may or may not provide a clear picture of what really happened. Did daddy “abandon” me, or did he just “leave?” Was I “denied” the right to a higher education, or at some point along the line did I just decide complaining was easier than just doing something about my situation?
There are two schools of thought on whether or not we can really “re-write” our personal history, but we can most definitely do something. What is that? We can re-frame our history to allow our past to be experiential and instructive, not tragic and destructive. Ask yourself, What story about my past have I been telling that no longer serves me?
An honest answer to that question just might open a door of opportunity for clarity and healing you may have been missing. We can continue to honor the past by learning from it, not by allowing it to control, mold and determine our present…or our future.
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Thursday, August 21, 2014
How do you know when you’ve “arrived?” What I’m asking is, How do you know when you’ve accomplished what you set out to accomplish, or that you have the life you want?
With some things, like taking a plane from one city to another, you know exactly when you’ve arrived. The aircraft stops, you get off the plane and you go about your business. But life is not always that cut and dry.
I suggest to you that too often we wait to do what we want to do, or experience what we desire to accomplish, because we are waiting for some power outside ourselves. We delay our joy and happiness by making the assumption that to achieve our goals we must go through a pre-determined set of mile markers. For example, “I can’t get a good job until I get my bachelors, masters or doctoral degree.” Therefore, no job or career, until the achievement of one or all of those goals, will ever be good enough to be “good.”
Here’s how I started thinking about this last week. As you may or may not know I’m in the process of completely re-designing my ministry and how I serve others. There are, of course, some components I will keep that have worked well for me and benefited those whom I have served over the past two decades. But other projects and opportunities I have in mind are brand new areas for me, a few using cutting-edge technology which I have yet to learn!
I’ll be 60 next year. I actually started thinking that with this new ministry I’ll be able to enjoy the life I want in another ten or twenty years. I got stuck for a moment in the shoulda/couldas. (NOTE: Please read the rest of this paragraph with a whiny voice.) “I shoulda done this twenty years ago. I coulda moved forward before now. Now because I delayed I won’t be able to enjoy the life I want for some time.”
WRONG! I know exactly what kind of life I want to have and – drum roll – are you ready? – I’m already living it! There isn’t anything I’ll be doing in twenty years that I don’t already do now. We have this idea in the U.S. that we have to work a long time to create the life we want and, in the back of our minds, feel like we might be too old or too feeble to enjoy it once we get there. Here’s a quote I love to remind myself of from time-to-time:
The world knows you in terms of your history,
but the universe knows you in terms of how you
are knowing yourself at this present moment.
but the universe knows you in terms of how you
are knowing yourself at this present moment.
Michael Hyatt writes an amazing blog. This week his topic is, “Why Retirement is a Dirty Word.” I re-tweeted a quote from him that speaks directly to what I’m writing about here: “If you’re doing meaningful work you enjoy, why would you ever want to quit?” This is exactly how I’m living my life, helping others to have the life they envision for themselves – not twenty or thirty years from today, but starting right now.
Let go of the past! Forget about what was and concentrate on what “is.” We do not have to wait for anything to enjoy the life we desire. We are only a thought away from changing our attitude and our outlook by simply changing our perception of what’s happening in front of our faces.
What has to happen before you will have the life you want? Do you feel something stands in the way of your happiness or a change needs to occur before you can be satisfied? Would you be willing to ask yourself if that is really true? We human beings are spectacular at convincing ourselves of what we can’t have. The magical answer to obtaining our desires is that we can just as well convince ourselves that we can have the life we want.
The universe is here to lovingly and rapidly rush to our aid. It is conspiring to give us what we want. The key is that we have to be willing to allow this to happen. What are you waiting for? Go for it!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
P.S. To read Michael’s full posting, click here!
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Are you thinking about the death of Robin Williams today? With all the news channels reporting it, Twitter feeds going wild and the many photos on Facebook it’s pretty hard not to think about it.
I’m publishing this week’s message early, unedited, unproofed and completely raw form. Why? Because that’s what many of us are feeling right now: raw emotions. We’re feeling sadness at how much we’ll miss his humor and crazy antics. We’re experiencing rage or anger that he died. Why didn’t someone see this coming, or why didn’t his family or friends do something?
As a minister, and also a licensed social worker I’m well aware of the truth of just how much depression and anxiety permeate our society. Studies indicate around 16 million Americans suffer from some form of depression and most of those cases go either undiagnosed or untreated. A psychiatrist one said, because he’s a medical doctor, that a death from suicide to him is no different than any other death. How can that be? Isn’t that callous? He explained that the reason he felt that way is that it is still a death from the disease of depression. In that light, it is no different to him than the death of a person from the disease of kidney failure, heart failure or a brain tumor.
Ponder that a moment. Do you see depression as the dis-ease it is? It is a condition that is treatable through many methods, including medication, behavioral therapy and the complimentary treatments of affirmative prayer, meditation, movement, exercise and massage, to name a few. I have used all of those for my clients. But, more importantly, I’ve use them for myself as well.
I’ve dealt with, and at times suffered from, chronic depression from the time I was a child. I’m 59 and I’ve allowed this condition to affect me in various forms for about 55 of those years. I’m no longer ashamed to say so, any more than I would be “ashamed” to be dealing with diabetes, lung cancer, HIV/AIDS or any other physical disease. Just as these other physical ailments can be treated through Spirit, mind and body, so can depression. At the time I’m writing this we’re hearing that William’s death was a suicide. I don’t know that for sure. What I know is an incredibly talented man, one who made so many of us laugh, cry and ponder ideas, is gone.
We can’t bring him back. What we can do in this country and abroad is stop vilifying people who are experiencing depression and anxiety like they are some kind of weaklings. It’s a disease and it’s highly treatable. Wouldn’t you rather be the catalysts to someone getting help with their depression, rather than being yet another nail in the coffin by saying things like, “Just pull yourself up from your boot straps,” “Get a grip!.” Or “Man up, you pathetic substitute for a man?”
If you know someone with depression, reach out to them. If you are depressed for more than a few days without have recently experienced tremendous loss, reach out for help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 and their website is http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org where you can find links to local organizations. Reach out to a spiritual counselor who can help you deal knowing you’re not alone, and then refer you to a licensed social worker, licensed professional counselor or other mental health professional.
No, this isn’t my normal happy-peppy column. Being a spiritual being having a human experience means we must deal with all the human experience – all of it – even the parts we don’t want to talk about. You are not alone. There is a Power within us that is greater than us that knows exactly how to move forward in life. Open up to that Power within and allow it to guide you to the perfect person or right action to face whatever is standing in the way of your happiness. As always,
With Spirit, Joy and Playfulness …. And my love,
"Genie, You're Free"
R.I.P. Robin Williams