Then I come down from the mountain and go to work. When I awake in the early morning to the scent of my wife, the sounds of the birds, and the hush of the leaves in the trees, I am reminded how love from within me and from outside me guides me to a place of peace. When I'm feeling disconnected from myself, I gravitate to the kitchen. Comparing inspiring recipes to available ingredients gets me back in touch, and I begin to hum old hymns as the cooking process begins. I make lots of two or three different dishes, enough for my family and a few neighbors who may be more stressed out than I am.
Then I call and say I'll deliver or they can pick up something hot and savory in time for dinner. Once a week I meet with friends to drum, which loosens up all sorts of insights for all of us. I go to a conventional church in our rural area, but consider Tuesday-morning drumming to be my real church. It is one time during the week when I can believe I live in a sane world. Whenever I hear my daughter sing or my son laugh, I stop and thank God for my children, their safety, and God's guidance to me and their father for raising them.
I remember that soon I'll be looking back on these days, perhaps with longing, and that I must treat my children as dear guests who are about to leave. On the back of our bedroom door I've collected a little rogues' gallery of mugshots of friends who have died, old pals whom I still love, who look at me as knowledgeably and encouragingly as they ever did, quietly urging me to die wisely.
I feel connected still -- and hope somehow I am. After my mother died, I needed to clear out her closet. What got me through was the repetition of a hymn I sang. I am no singer, but those words had deep meaning for me at that time and whenever I hear it or read the passage in the Bible, memories flood back of how good God is.
When I begin to feel disconnected, I walk and type more slowly, and pay close attention to my task, rather than allowing my mind to whirl around. I practice deep gratefulness during those few moments, whether it is for the green pepper I'm cutting up, the shape of the clouds outside my car window, or the smell of the tea brewing.
Stroking my cat several times a day has a calming and soothing effect on me. When she comes up to me, I stop what I'm doing to rub her silky coat and speak to her. She is my reality check, when the world gets crazy, and her soft purr reminds me that I am serenely blessed. Paul's Chapel, two blocks from Ground Zero, opened shortly after the World Trade Center attack as a place of rest and nourishment for the emergency workers. It has remained open around the clock through the efforts of a legion of volunteers. One very cold night, a volunteer -- a guy about 6' 3"-- told me that he had gone around and put blankets on people.
I was so grateful to him for teaching me that. Haven't we all been almost asleep but too cold, not wanting to make the effort to get a blanket? And if someone covers you, aren't you in heaven? Later, as I followed his example, one sacred and tender moment followed another. Gwyneth MacKenzie Murphy, a St. When the world seems chaotic and I feel myself falling into despair and helplessness, I remember something I do control: So the more frightening the news, the more nurturing I make my home: If I can find peace at home, it stands to reason that I can send it like a beacon of light into the world.
After my father died of colon cancer, I knew I needed to have a colonoscopy and be screened for colon cancer. It wasn't something I looked forward to. But when I thought of it as an act of self-nurture, I dreaded it less. It truly was an act of self-nurture because knowing that I'm cancer-free gives me a sense of relief every time I think of it.
I choose my reading carefully. I choose what will open my heart and open my mind -- developments in science, the spirituality of many religions, health, nature, and philosophy. I read poetry, essays, and stories that open my eyes to wisdom and experience. If I can read on a garden bench in good weather or with a cup of tea beside a wide window in winter, then my soul is nourished indeed. I spent years trying to feel better by using food. I have learned, instead of overeating, to feed my soul. I've created a CD of my favorite feel-good music to listen to when my spirit is in need.
Taking a walk by the lake or in the woods fills me up. So does working in my garden or giving someone I love a phone call or email. By the way, I have lost over 40 pounds and kept it off for two years! I start my day from a "heavenly" perspective by visiting a website that posts photographs of the cosmos: Each day a different image or photograph is featured with an explanation written by a professional astronomer.
When I gaze at the galaxies pictured there, at first I feel small and inconsequential. Then I begin to feel immensely privileged to be part of such a magnificent universe. My "problems" -- really challenges and growth areas -- seem manageable, and I'm eager to live my life to the fullest and to contribute something of significance to the lives of others. I need to balance Mary's contemplation with Martha's action, so the balance is sweet without excess in either direction or in chocolate.
I have kitty cats and each has its own song with its name in it. Olio's song goes to the tune of "Baby Face": You are the cutest little O-lee-ooohh You are my kitty and I love you soo They come tiptoeing in from wherever they are. Pretty soon I feel little lumps of fur snuggling in until I'm surrounded by a purring cat-blanket and we all doze off into dreamland together. Every night before retiring, I step outside on my back patio, reach up to the sky, and thank God and the universe for this day and this life.
I also keep a gratitude journal and write down at least five things I am grateful for at the end of each day. Instead of dreading paying my bills, I am grateful for all that those bills represent. I give thanks out loud as I write each check, for such blessings as electricity, heat, water, my mortgage, gasoline for the car, etc. I bless all the workers for those companies who provide those goods and services, and remember to be grateful for the money to pay those bills.
Before I put them in the mail, I hold the envelopes in my hand one final time and send love and light out with them. I don't live close to the water as I once did, and I missed watching the sunrise behind Mt. Rainier and the sunset behind the Olympics across Puget Sound. I needed a new way to refresh my spirit daily with nature's blessings, so I started a patio garden with a San Diego hibiscus that has new blossoms every day. First thing in the morning I look at my "sunrise" of fresh flowers to start the day.
I nourish my soul by watching my three-year-old daughter eat. When something she's eating is delicious, my heart actually quivers. Her enthusiasm for life and sustenance is contagious. I have a small rock imprinted with the seven-circuit labyrinth. On days when I need a boost, I carry it in my pocket to remind me that life's path is often circular, and the center of my Being remains whether I am near to it or more on the fringe. Last year I was runner-up in a national contest for the world's busiest family. Every morning, though, I rise earlier than the others, make a cup of my favorite tea, light my candle, sit in front of the window that looks out over the pond and gardens and write down questions or thoughts that may be troubling me.
I listen quietly for the answers and write them as well. It is in the stillness of daybreak where I feel God whispers to each of us. Chemotherapy has given me an unexpected gift. I find that I must go within and connect with my soul on a daily basis. It has brought me closer to myself. I am more aware of the rhythms of daily life. I am more reliant on my faith and spiritual practices. Every morning when I begin chemo, I say a prayer and light a candle. Many of my friends around the country do the same thing for me at the same time.
Then, in the evening, I light my candle again, turn off the television, and turn on soothing music. I say another prayer and praise God for the day. Even it if was a very bad day, I praise God that I was here to experience it and perhaps help someone else. Something I heard from an old Dakota Sioux holy man: Take a moment to relax after a busy day. Find a nice quiet place, close your eyes, and imagine a warm white light of God shining on you from the heavens.
That will chase all negative thoughts and replace them with comfort, peace, and joy. Friday is my Sabbath time of recreation. Slowly winding our pendulum clock on this day is one way I honor the sacred in ordinary time. My clock-winding prayer is the Psalm line "My time is in your hands, O God.
A friend designed and gave me a beautiful framed mirror only big enough for me to see my eyes. Each morning before I dress I look in the mirror and say an affirmation for the day, and every time I pass a window or mirror I meditate on the affirmation and know that God loves me.
A good friend and I make time once or twice a month for a Girls' Night Out. It's never anything elaborate, perhaps some shopping, or an evening class we took line dancing together last spring , and dinner at an inexpensive restaurant. Just a few hours to connect with each other, away from our family obligations, makes a world of difference! I have been going through a difficult separation from my husband. A friend asked me, "How do you do it? I put the list on my refrigerator for a daily reminder of these irreplaceable supports.
Three years ago my husband and I purchased a vacant lot, and I planted it in the pattern of the Chartres labyrinth. A walking meditation tool. Surprisingly, my nourishment from this project came not in the form of walking the path myself, but in sharing it with others. As I walk down city streets or the corridors of my office building alone, I softly whistle whatever tune is in my head. It makes me happy and seems to make others smile. Not for Domestic Workers. Ai-jen Poo Demands Justice. How I Became a "Spiritual Activist". How can I get my husband to follow my spiritual path?
In Defense of Hands-On Adjustments. A Practice to Tap into Creativity with the 2nd Chakra. Find us on instagram SpiritHealthMag. Each issue provides inspiration for conscious living, healthy diet and lifestyle, social action, spiritual wisdom and sustainability. We see things as we are. More often than not, I could not imagine that I had much of anything to be grateful for. It took me many years to learn that I could change my life and that I had a choice in whether my thoughts would be primarily negative or positive.
This finally happened in , when I realized that the garden of my own life was in serious need of attention! Since I had been attending church regularly for the previous five years and was heavily involved, I had thought that at least my spiritual life was on track and that my relationship with God was a good one. I had no idea at the time that my financial struggles mirrored a crisis in my spiritual net worth and that I had actually been living a self-imposed separation from God.
But then I went through a seven-month period of darkness, the culmination of years of self-neglect and denial. And during this time, God spoke to me through a series of synchronistic situations, letting me know that I was not on the right path and that He had been trying to reach me for months, if not years. Because I had not heard Him, He turned up the volume as only God can. I felt as though God was speaking directly to me through this song, especially the lines: So I began to listen— really listen —to the words.
And as I did, I began to notice how really disconnected I was from God and from life. I became convinced deep down that God wanted me to learn how to have a better life, the kind of life that I could have if I learned to live with gratitude, forgiveness, and unconditional love. I continued this practice for quite some time. Eventually, I discovered that when all else fails, I could still be grateful! After I had been expressing gratitude for a while, my life started to change. I noticed that the emotional connection to my expression of gratitude was shifting.
Being truly grateful opened a window of opportunity for God to begin working in my life. My prayer time began to be more meaningful. God spoke to me and guided me. He led me to a knowing of my need to pray for others, for their happiness and well-being. Up until then, I mostly prayed for myself and my own situation. I started to pray not just for family and friends but also for strangers and for those whom I no longer considered friends. God showed me that I needed to pray for those who had hurt me—even those who had hurt me the most.
As you can imagine, this was not easy! But this new step in my journey brought me through a very natural progression from gratitude to forgiveness. I knew I was on to something when the way I reacted to stress began to shift. I learned that we all have a choice in the way we react to every situation and that I could choose to react more calmly.
At first, I saw a change in small things like how I reacted to traffic jams or interacted with store clerks. Not only was I calmer, but I also had a peace about me while the situation was unfolding. Even bigger evidence came when I was able to remain calm in situations with family members that used to frustrate, irritate, and anger me. Prayers of gratitude and forgiveness are certainly important ways I was learning to feed and nurture my garden of life. But as any gardener can tell you, weeding is also vital for tending any healthy garden. We weed our gardens when we dissolve relationships or situations that do not serve us or others so that we can truly flourish.
I discovered that this required the next step in my spiritual progression—learning to love unconditionally. Unconditional love knows no judgment and has no limits. With unconditional love, we can love someone regardless of the pain they may have caused, and then we can learn to let that pain go. The letting go gives us freedom, lifting our burdens, which helps us to live the life God wants us to live—the life we so richly deserve! This has certainly been my experience. Difficult people and recurring challenging situations that used to exhaust and frustrate me have become much more manageable when I remember to approach them with unconditional love.
I have often used this famous quote: Refusing to forgive does nothing to those who hurt me! I now practice forgiveness as well as gratitude daily. And I know how it feels to live my life expressing unconditional love. I have forgiven injustices, including abuse and neglect.
I can also say that my connection to my divine source is stronger than ever before. With my garden well-tended and the weeds cut down, I am able to ask for guidance and can be still enough to hear the guidance when it comes. My life has changed for the better, and doors are opening. I am still far from perfect, but like any gardener, I just keep tending my garden the best way I know how. We are all on a journey, and we learn from other travelers. Our focus at Tupperware is to enlighten, educate, and empower women around the world. I have traveled to remote areas and shared principles of leadership with those from a wide variety of cultures and religions.
This is what I love about Unity churches I have attended over the years: I can bring anybody from any faith, and they feel connected. At Tupperware, we are all about people , regardless of their background or where they live. We are dedicated to helping others express their full potential. Some of the things I share in leadership meetings may seem simplistic, but they work for me.
I value good language and use other ways to express my feelings. I often tell people about affirmations, and resources such as Daily Word. Another principle is to always be kind—let your words and actions be gentle. In the end, the love you give is equal to the love you receive. I also talk about the value of good health. Every other day, I work out for an hour.
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I have been doing this for years. Maintaining my weight—keeping physically fit—is important to me. I was at the fitness center at six-thirty this morning. It was pretty empty, but the restaurant was full. If it is important to them, they add physical fitness to their personal formula. But these ideas are pointing in the right direction. You will discover the rest as you travel your own special journey in life.
He and his wife, Susan Porcaro Goings, are recognized for empowering women around the world. If you are not happy with the things that are repeatedly happening in your life, or with the direction in which you seem to be moving, you can turn it around. But first you must understand that it is your life, that you live in a world of your own thoughts, and that you can change your life by altering your thoughts whenever you really want to do so.
This is not to say it is easy, but it is possible. You stand where you do today, wherever that is, because of your consciousness. And there is only one way you can come to stand anywhere else—by changing your consciousness. If you wish to go up higher, you can do so, and there is no limit to the heights to which you can climb. There is a level of life where states of consciousness give rise to limited conditions, and where a cycle of causation flows in a kind of negative momentum.
You may pray for work and get another job, but unless you have reversed the patterns of consciousness that led to unemployment, you have only temporarily solved the problem. If you are unemployed, get the feeling that you are ready for work. Think movement, activity, work, service. A man on welfare for 10 years, discovering that the experience crippled him in terms of his self-worth, volunteered in a special program of community service. It could be the means of turning his life around, for in the process of work, even without pay, he will open up within him the flow of creativity.
Countless human lives could well be salvaged if his example were followed. If you are not satisfied with the direction your life has taken, or with the experiences that continually manifest, you can change by getting into the kind of attitudes and feelings that you assume you would have if you were now experiencing the desired conditions. You are not your feelings. You have feelings, and the you that has feelings can control them and reverse them. It is never too late to turn your life around, to break the patterns of negativity that keep manifesting themselves as age and deterioration, as inharmony and loneliness, as illness and physical discomfort, and as financial insecurity and lack.
Wake up from your self-limiting thought to self-releasing vertical thought, and you will experience the ceaseless flow of your own good. Butterworth's life was dedicated to helping people to help themselves. This excerpt is from his book Celebrate Yourself! Your dreams are placed in your soul as a pathway to releasing your potential and awakening your purpose for being. Shortly after graduating from Morehouse College, one of my boldest dreams introduced itself to me. I leaped up and immediately circled the dates on my calendar.
That summer, I volunteered with Dr. Colemon, who needed me to organize of all things a Prayer Breakfast for a delegation of local ministers who were attending the Parliament in South Africa. I eagerly organized the breakfast and added myself to the program to give the closing prayer.
In the audience was the President of the Parliament, Dirk Ficca, who was so impressed with the prayer and my young age that he extended to me an all-expense-paid trip to attend as a youth delegate to the Parliament! He lit up the room. We all instantly assembled as he walked to each one of us, shook our hands, and exchanged pleasantries.
When it was my turn, I grasped his hand and received a surge. I looked into his eyes. Time stood still, and I realized that I was standing there holding hands with history, while living my boldest dream. It was absolutely thrilling. My intention for sharing this is to encourage you to respond to the prompting to fulfill the boldest dream in your heart.
However, remember in your pursuit, you are not alone because you have the bold partnership of your Source. So whether your dream is to build your own home, run for President, find a cure for cancer, or complete a triathlon, go for it with reckless abandon. Garrett Sullivan, integrative medicine M. He brings a whole holy healing method of allowing the body to heal while supporting what it needs. I always look forward to Saturday morning bike rides in Winter Park, Florida. Just seeing the ease and flow of their movements is meditative. More and more people are awakening to the benefits of tai chi, and science is supporting the long-standing claims of health benefits.
Douglas says when he began learning about tai chi 30 years ago, the practice was fairly unheard of in the West. Indeed, classes are beginning to appear on the calendars of Unity spiritual communities throughout the country. Leddy Hammock is a devotee of this Taoist practice. I think this is true basically because tai chi, although involved in outward discipline of postures and movements, is also very much an inner discipline. It is the practice of mind and body working in harmony with breath and flowing movements to cultivate chi energy for overall health and balance.
We want to be peaceful warriors, able to withstand the stresses of life with poise and resilience.
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Balance is the key to physical stability and also to peace of mind. A couple seated next to me told me each week they attend several different tai chi classes in the area, and spoke of its many benefits for improving agility and stiff ness. Yee, an acupuncturist, has been certified to teach tai chi chuan since This will allow the spirit Shen to be strong.
A unity is created of the three entities, becoming one. We began class with a hand massage to prepare and warm up the circulation of energy in our bodies before we began practicing. In addition to chi, traditional Chinese medicine recognizes a subtle energy system that circulates energy through the body. This transportation system is referred to as the channels, or meridians. There are 12 main meridians in the body, six yin and six yang, and each relates to an organ. The thumb corresponds to the lungs. The index finger corresponds to the large intestine; the middle finger corresponds to the heart.
The fourth finger corresponds to the triple heater, which has three sections: The upper section is in the head and neck area, the middle section is in the chest area and the bottom section is in the navel area. The pinky finger corresponds to the heart and small intestine. As we stood and moved to the center of the room, I felt lighter and more at peace. Within yin, there is yang. Within yang, there is yin. This helps us maintain a sense of balance. There are 64 movements to this form, and we went through nine in this first session.
I definitely felt a sense of inner calm and balance, and I slept very well that evening. Days later, I decided to visit a continuous flow class at the Taoist tai chi center in Dunedin, Florida. This international group has centers in several countries, including many in the United States. There were nearly 30 people in the room, mostly baby boomers and seniors, quietly floating through movements that make up this method developed by Master Moy Lin-shin. The students I spoke with after class mentioned improved circulation, better balance, increased strength especially in the thighs , less stress, less pain and noticeable expansion in flexibility.
The more you practice, the deeper you go and the more plentiful the benefits. Blood pressure was lowered, arthritis pain was eased, and anxiety of daily living diminished. Again, I fell easily into the flow, paying a bit more attention to the cues this time and becoming more aligned with the correct form. Stretching occurs with almost every move and extends from the heel of the foot through the tips of the fingers. It is combined with a swaying, turning movement. It is this rotational movement that makes this form of exercise so unique. And it happens organically. As you turn your hips, your legs turn, your spine turns, your arms and upper body turn, effortlessly.
There is also the concept of expansion and contraction. In the beginning, you feel this in your muscles and this awareness eventually moves into the joints. But it truly must be experienced. Sara Koron, acupuncturist and specialist in Chinese medicine, demonstrates acupressure steps that can be used at home or in the office for relieving pain or calming the nerves.
Raw food diets have become trendy in recent years, with hip raw cafes opening up in stylish neighborhoods all across the country and the rest of the world too. If you just think of early man foraging for raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, you can easily understand how our bodies originally evolved with a diet that was totally unprocessed and uncooked. Today, raw diets are often of the vegan variety, although not exclusively.
Some raw dieters also eat unpasteurized dairy foods and even raw eggs, meat, and fish. She taught me that a diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables promoted radiant health, and she also encouraged me to avoid meat and animal products, which I have done for decades. The basic idea behind eating a raw foods diet is that cooking destroys natural enzymes complex proteins as well as many of the nutrients found in foods, particularly vitamins B and C. Cooked spinach, for example, has only one-third the vitamin C raw spinach has. Overall, though, more is lost than gained through cooking.
Enzymes come in three categories: Insufficient dietary or digestive enzymes may lead to reduced availability of metabolic enzymes, setting the stage for chronic inflammation, compromised immunity, and gastrointestinal problems. Raw foods are also loaded with phytochemicals—chemical compounds naturally found in plants—and fiber, which mops up toxins and waste products in the digestive tract for healthy elimination. Numerous studies have shown that consuming abundant fruits and vegetables is associated with lower risks of cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Unfortunately, scientific literature on the health benefits of a strictly raw, plant-based diet is rather limited. Few studies have examined the long-term effects of the diet, and the ones published primarily come from Europe. Yet the data we do have is fairly positive and certainly worth noting. A study done in Finland showed people following a raw vegan diet consumed significantly higher amounts of dietary antioxidants than a comparison group following a cooked, omnivorous diet. Compared with omnivores, the raw vegans had significantly higher blood concentrations of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
This more favorable antioxidant profile is significant, given that antioxidants protect cells from oxidative damage, provide immune support, and benefit the eyes, heart, prostate, and more. In a study of more than people who followed a raw food diet for nearly four years, researchers found the more raw foods the subject ate, the more their body weight decreased. While this is good news for many of us, already-thin women do need to be aware this can increase their risk of amenorrhea—the abnormal absence of menstrual periods.
In one study, 30 percent of women under age 45 who were on a long-term raw vegan diet had partial to complete amenorrhea. Still, more studies show a raw foods diet can lower diastolic blood pressure, improve fibromyalgia symptoms including pain, joint stiffness, and quality of sleep , and lower levels of both total cholesterol and sodium. Raw vegan adherents are more at risk for dental erosion—from chewing so much raw produce!
We know premature aging is related to inflammation in the body, which causes free radical damage to skin cells. It stands to reason, then, that a diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables—which fight inflammation thanks to their higher antioxidant levels—would go a long way toward helping retain radiant, youthful skin. In addition, cooking methods such as broiling, frying, hot-oven roasting, grilling, and barbecuing can lead to the formation of glycotoxins—which increase inflammation—in certain foods.
This happens with proteins, fats, and foods high in fructose that are cooked, heated, or processed at temperatures higher than degrees. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, raw nuts, and other unprocessed, unrefined foods have low levels of glycotoxins. For those who are trying it for the first time, making a raw foods diet consistently appealing may be a challenge. Sprouting seeds, germinating nuts, and dehydrating and fermenting vegetables—all popular in raw food diets—can be a time-intensive proposition.
My best suggestion for beating the raw food doldrums is using a juicer or blender to make smoothies containing fruits, greens, nut butters, herbs, and other ingredients like flax or chia seeds. This makes an easy, delicious, and portable meal. You might even think of this as a cleanse since many cleanse programs are based on eating raw foods. The aim of detox diets is to take a break from the overload of fats, sugars, and toxins rampant in the standard omnivorous American diet.
It gives your digestive system and filtering organs—the kidneys and liver—a much-needed break. After a few days or weeks on a raw vegan detox diet, you may be feeling good enough that you decide to make it more than just a temporary way of eating. There is much to learn in life, but it is best to learn how to live. When we are young, we have little doubt that life holds great promise. We have things to accomplish, places to visit, and people to love. However, it is the rare young person who puts these compelling issues in perspective.
For most of us, the importance of spiritual principles and a relationship with God is a realization that occurs much later in life. By this time, we may be somewhat bruised by our experiences, but we need not be embittered, for we can live the simple life. When life is simple, our awareness of God is as central to life as the air we breathe. For instance, when the body is sick, we want to be healed; but when life is simple, there is a greater goal: When resentment and anger hound us daily, the issue is not the other person and what he or she has done to us, but our willingness to let God show us the way of love.
This is the foundation of the simple life. It is God we want, and when we find our Creator, we find joy and contentment. The things that happen to us, our memories, and our possessions are significant, but nothing is as important as our relationship with God. When the simple life is lived, the earthly experience flows from our oneness with God.
The divine Fountainhead is the source of life and its many experiences. The simple life is a life of prayer—more listening and waiting than speaking and asking. We seek the kingdom by seeking an awareness of God, for we know this consciousness is the fountain of life and the answer to any human need. We can think of prayer as a meeting between God and ourselves. God, of course, knows us well, but we know little about our Creator. There arc times when we speak, but we do not let our every word be about our needs and what is happening in our world.
Friendships do not develop when one person does all the talking and is constantly asking for assistance. Powerful relationships unfold when we listen. When we are in pain or fearful or concerned about loved ones or ourselves, it may be difficult to listen and to wait. As we wait and listen, the mind may wander. This is when we speak—not to tell an all-knowing God about our situation, but to affirm our faith in the Almighty and to gently, bring our minds back to God.
If we have a healing need, our prayer might be: I am made in the image of God. I am one with the pure life God is. There is no sickness in me. We speak in this fashion, and then we wait for God to reveal our wholeness. It is important to understand that in the simple life, the focus of prayer is the kingdom of God.
When our reason for asking, seeking, and knocking is for a relationship with God, we receive in ways that transcend our earthly desires. The simple life is a life of letting, for letting is God's way. To beg, bribe, cajole, manipulate, and use logic or guilt is to try to get our way.
Life is too mysterious and all-encompassing for these methods to bring happiness. When knowing God is our purpose and prayer is our method, we can let go and let God be God in our lives. We make ourselves available to God. We can be assured that when our awareness of God is made manifest in our world, it will bless us and those around us.
Ordained a Unity minister in , Rev. I was coaching a woman who was stuck in the process of getting her website posted. I feel encumbered by self-doubts and self-judgments. During our coaching session she realized that she needed to communicate with her father and heal their relationship. A website or any new profession, relationship, or step ahead in life is an excellent projective test for where your consciousness lives at the moment.
Body, Mind, Spirit
A woman phoned in to my radio show hayhouseradio. I asked her when the weight had come on, and she answered that it had started when she had gotten divorced a few years earlier. If, on some level, you have chosen the weight for a reason, what would that reason be? I thanked her for her honesty and then asked her if she would consider simply making the choice to not be with a man for now without needing to use the weight as a protective mechanism.
She liked that idea and we explored ways she could claim her power and her choices by making clear statements. The conversation ended on a high note. So the weight was not the problem. It was the symptom. More deeply it was a directional signal to look deeper.
In my life coach training program I teach the students to distinguish between presenting issues and core issues. The issue presented is rarely the one that needs to be addressed. When you look under the table and see the hand that is holding the magnet—and recognize it to be your own—you are free to move the pieces where you would. The obvious reality is but relatively real. The spiritual reality is ultimately real. If you truly seek reality, look deeper. Life seems to be one thing, when it is really another.
Yet we can use appearances, especially troubling ones, to follow the trail of bread crumbs to the source of causation, which is always mind, belief, attitude, and expectation. Building a website is the new Rorschach projective test. Ink blots have given way to pixels. I sometimes fantasize about developing a coaching practice in which I ask clients to build a website, and then process with them what comes up along the way.
Every day at work, every relationship, every time you look in the mirror, every time you look at your bank balance, you have a golden opportunity to pierce to the jewel in the lotus. Every moment in your earthly journey is an expression of your consciousness.
We are not here to manipulate events. We are here to elevate consciousness. When we do so, the events of our lives flow naturally and well. Then all of our daily activities become fuel for spiritual growth, and we are well on our way to mastery. Alan Cohen is the author of numerous inspirational books and CDs. To learn more, visit alancohen. Life can seemingly have its way with us. It can hypnotize us into believing Spirit could not be in every situation, particularly a healing challenge.
But there is only One God, One Spirit. There is nowhere God is not! That is why speaking words of Truth and love to your mind and body help you to awaken and recognize the voice of God resonating through those reminders. It can be fearful when you or a loved one face challenges of the mind and body.
Fifty Ways to Nourish Your Soul
You have within you the strength to face your fears. This is a three-step process:. No one would plant a new garden without clearing out the old. One of my favorite affirmations is: Reveal what needs to be revealed, and heal what needs to be healed. Deep listening is required to do this. Ironically, you might find that there was not a deep root after all. Instead this may be just an old thought you had been carrying around, much like a weed that pulls up easily once the soil is loosened.
Science suggests that we have muscle memory, meaning if you have exercised your body in the past, your muscles will rebuild faster. We have spiritual muscle memory as well. If in the past you have prayed, meditated and worked on listening deeply but have gotten away from it due to myriad reasons, your spiritual muscle is just waiting for you to begin again. Remember, you are blessed and loved! And before too long you feel that spiritual muscle strengthening. Temple Hayes, special guest Elaine R.
I spent an hour this morning watching deer. I wish I could say that I sat still and watched them meander, simply eating grass, but no, I got the camera out. I think you need a deep love of the camera to understand what I mean about finding something new through the lens, or even finding yourself through it. As the camera slowly comes up to my eye, my breath catches for just a moment—I wonder what will emerge as I look through it. The anticipation of the unknown awakens the senses. I see the interconnectedness of all the elements. I not only see through what is there, I see beyond it.
I spent an hour this morning watching the deer eat, roam and play. It was very funny watching them, these teenage boys wrestling about. I imagine if they could have, they would have been rolling around in the grass. I was sitting by myself laughing out loud and Murray, my cat, was looking at me wondering what was so funny. I bet he wished he had a camera too. With that realization a wave of sadness washed over my heart, simply because it was clear that I needed to play, to celebrate, to have a smile spread so big across my face that I would see the tops of my cheeks.
I followed the thread of sadness to see where it would lead and found myself seeing through the deer playing. There was nothing exciting or miraculous about it, they do this many mornings outside my window. But I slowly began to see beyond the antics of running around, bleating, and head butting and nipping at each other. Playing is a spiritual practice for humans to disengage the brain, to abandon what we know and just roll around in the grass. Seeing beyond what is there is like reading the Sunday comics and finding the essence of yourself.
This was a practice in my home growing up, my mother would ask us on Sunday afternoons where we found ourselves in the comics that day. The ordinary is depicted as the extraordinary, the banal becomes comical, and the secular becomes sacred. Play is the joyful expression of my being. It is at the heart of my creativity and my most carefree and compassionate moments of devotion. It helps me live with absurdity, paradox, sadness, awe and mystery.
It feeds my joy and wonder. It keeps my search for meaning down to earth, rolling around in the grass. Certified master nutrition therapist Barb Hamilton takes us shopping at a farmers market, giving tips for shopping for fresh veggies and introducing her favorite detox salad recipe. In a large bowl, combine beets, beans, apples, walnuts, oil, and vinegar. Toss gently to mix. Spoon mixture onto a bed of greens. I was so impressed with the sincerity and consistency of her response that one day, I asked her about it. I immediately thought of the connection between mantras and the third Unity principle: Some religious traditions use prayer beads to mark the repetitions of prayers or chants.
But these days, the term mantra can also refer to a form of self-talk we use to achieve a goal or bring about change. Other mantras can help you maintain an exercise program or achieve other health-related goals, such as controlling blood pressure, pain, and depression. As a special education teacher, I used mantras to help my students achieve academic, social, and behavioral goals.
I designed specific self-talk scripts to walk my students through a task they were expected to complete. Look at the context. Think about what makes sense. The use of mantras as a religious practice has a long history, starting with Hindus in India, who were probably using mantras more than 3, years ago. Today, the followers of Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity also use some form of mantras to deepen spirituality. Buddhists use mantras in conjunction with prayer and meditation as a way to focus the mind and lead to enlightenment. Different mantras have different purposes.
For example, one mantra might be used for overcoming obstacles or hindrances while a different mantra might be used for generating peace and compassion. In addition, some Buddhist principles or truths can be used as mantras to support and guide spiritual development. I find that repeating this simple and uncomplicated mantra to myself, when faced with uncertainty and loss, helps me maintain a sense of equanimity and hope. Judaic teachings include precepts about how to treat one another and how to care for the world and all life around us.
Judaism, however, is more than guidelines or commandments. The Jewish religion is also based on the principles of gratitude and thanksgiving. These prayers are often said or sung as a group during religious services, but are also used for individual prayer. The Rosary—a Catholic version of prayer beads—involves the repetition of six different prayers. We certainly have a right to use any form of self-talk we choose, although some forms are more productive than others in helping us live a more meaningful and satisfying life.
Others may get stuck in negative thinking about society, continually thinking to themselves, Nobody cares , People are basically mean and selfish , or No one will support that idea. For me, mantras are guides for living. They help me stay focused on what I want my life to be all about. While some of the mantras I use come from different faith traditions, I also find mantras in poems and essays. A few have even come from bumper stickers! I write my chosen mantras on index cards and keep them on my desk where I can refer to them frequently.
I sometimes even use the cards as bookmarks. While mindfulness can be defined in different ways, I like the Buddhist understanding of the term. Mantras also relate to the fourth Unity principle: We often think of sacred spaces as existing outside ourselves. In a community, these spaces might be churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, or kivas. In our home, we may have an altar or meditation room, and in our yard, a Zen garden. We also have a mind and soul.
For me, these are sacred spaces I find within myself. I know how I nurture my mind and soul is, in large part, how they will grow. Just as I know I should be careful about what I put in my body to keep it healthy, I have also come to understand the same is true of what I put in my mind. Ruth Wilson worked for more than 30 years as an educator and now devotes her time to writing and consulting. The focus of her work is on education, the environment, and spirituality. Ruth lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she enjoys hiking and bike riding.
The first step in spiritual healing is to recognize our own needs for healing. With physical illness these needs may seem obvious.
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In other situations the needs may not be so obvious. Some conditions of suffering seem to involve other persons or external circumstances. If we are blaming other persons or circumstances for our suffering, then we are not seeing the need for our own spiritual healing. It will not occur if we want others to change or if we want circumstances to change, but are not willing to change ourselves.
Other people in our lives may need healing as much as we do, but we will never become whole if we focus on their need for healing instead of our own. We turn to God first because our original nature is spiritual. As spiritual beings, we are expressions of God, never separated from our Source. Turning to God for help does not necessarily mean that we avoid human assistance. It does not mean that we refuse to change harmful conditions in our lives.
We may need to turn to God for help and move our feet. God works through us but not for us. God is not a giant in the sky who will solve our problems for us, but God is that Giant within us who will guide us to right understanding and to right action. Any condition of suffering—physical, mental, emotional or spiritual—is a condition of disease dis-ease. The next step is to look at our responses to the experience of disease.
We usually view our suffering as something that happens to us. It may appear that we've become victims of some unwanted force disrupting our lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness. We are conditioned to believe that we are in control of our lives. If you should find yourself responding in this way, do not become self-critical. That will only increase your suffering.
Responding to a major disease with denial, anger or guilt is very common. These responses are ways that we defend ourselves against the more vulnerable feelings of intense fear or grief. We need to recognize and honestly acknowledge our responses to the condition without guilt or apology. We must have compassion for ourselves or else we add to our suffering. Spiritual healing begins when we are willing to see our suffering as a stepping-stone rather than as a stumbling block. Healing begins when we can open ourselves to the possibility of a hidden gift within the suffering.
There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. An oyster's first experience of a pearl is that of an irritating grain of sand that shouldn't be there. Just as the pearl forms from an irritant in the oyster, we can discover great pearls of wisdom from those conditions that irritate us.
Empowering Quotes from Enlightened Women
The potential wisdom is already within us, but it may take an irritant to bring it forth. In dealing with our irritants skillfully, we discover something within us that we never before could see. Who would believe that the lowly oyster could produce such a great prize as the pearl?
We can't taste them, touch them, or see them, but thoughts are things. Although they originate in the brain, they are much more far-reaching than that. Thoughts are actually body-wide events! For example, let's consider for a moment what happens to the body when we think a fear thought. Asleep in our bed we're awakened by a strange noise downstairs. The brain shouts "fear! Large amounts of adrenalin are released, the heart rate increases, significant quantities of blood are diverted to the large muscles, digestion slows down, and pupils dilate, as the body prepares for "fight or flight.
Or how about a joyful thought? Changes also take place in the body with joy-filled thoughts. In this case, body chemistry creates healthful physiological responses. Every cell of the body is connected either by nerves or by an intricate highway of blood to the brain. When we think a though—any thought—electrical impulses travel through the nerves and affect body cells. Also, our thoughts trigger chemicals that are released in the brain and distributed through the blood vessels and the hundreds of miles of capillaries.
Quite a communication system! When we realize that virtually every cell of the body is connected either directly or indirectly to the brain, we can easily understand how our thoughts can affect our physical health. How can they not? And if we think, "Nice job, I'm proud of myself," we are creating healthful 'Tm-proud-of-myself" chemistry in our bodies. It's as simple as that. Thoughts translate into body chemistry and affect us physically. Whenever we think a thought. It's the largest audience in the world.