Friday, January 19, 2018

Cleaning Out the Closets of Our Minds

In her book, You Can Heal Your Life, Louise Hay states that the most common false belief is that we are not good enough. She asks the readers to relax and think about the negative  messages we got from our parents. Make a list to identify them. She goes on to broaden the list to include negative messages that were given to us by our teachers, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, school, and church.

Sometimes it was not a direct message of "you are not good enough" or capable or talented. I can't remember either Mom or Dad, in my formative years saying anything like that to me. They did not belittle us. If anything their message was silently "Don't let us down." "Don't do something that would embarrass us or bring us shame.

What I do vividly remember was what my mom would say about herself. She did this on many occasions. As she was getting ready to go out and putting a dash of lipstick on her lips or powder on her nose, she would look into the mirror and say with disgust and resignation, "Well, you can't make a sow's ear into a silk purse." At first I didn't understand the statement. I just knew that it meant something really negative about herself.

When I was a very small child, the neighbors would call me "Little Lela" -- my mother's name. So inadvertently, without any malicious intent, she was teaching me to dislike what I looked like; to feel that I was not good enough.

One of the points Louise makes in her book, is that we cannot blame our parents for our present thoughts and beliefs. The original thought may have come from the authority figures in our lives, but a belief is only a thought and a thought can be changed. But it can only be changed by the thinker -- me or you.

We are to notice when we are blaming our current thoughts on a person long gone.

The point of power is in the present moment. Go to a mirror and look deep unto your own eyes. See the beauty of the innocent child you were and the truth of the adult you are now today. Now tell yourself that you approve of yourself.

Say it two ways: Your name, I approve of you. Then say, I approve of myself. Say it 200 times every day. For example. "Heather, I approve of you." Then, "I approve of myself."

It is a way to un-clutter your mind from false beliefs. You do not have to struggle. You do not have to procrastinate.  Think of it as cleaning out the trash or the fridge. Do it now. You will be so happy you did. You can turn those negative false beliefs into something beautiful, new and creative. You CAN MAKE A SOW'S EAR INTO A SILK PURSE. That is if you want to make it into a silk purse. Or you might just awaken to realize your unique beauty even if it is a sow's ear.
December 31, 2015
Sister  Kathy, my niece Heather , Mom and me
The Clark Silk Purses

Friday, January 12, 2018

Living the Life You Love

What inspires you?
What motivates you to make changes in your life?
Do you know what you would love in your life? This is the key!
I believe that most of us want to lead happy, healthy, wealthy lives, but we may be living lives of "quiet desperation." If that is you, you can change the trajectory of your life here and now.
A place to start is by asking yourself what you would really love in terms of each of the major areas of life?
 
Relationships:What would you love your relationships with your friends to be?  Are you connecting with them as often as you would like? Are they relationships that are based on common interests and values? Do you communicate well? Do you fight well? (Meaning are you free to disagree with each other and still retain the friendship?) Do you feel seen, heard and valued in your relationships? Do you laugh and play together often? Do your friends inspire you? Are your friends trust-worthy of your confidences? Do you feel loved and valued in their presence?

Career:What would you love in terms of your work?  Are you using your talents and abilities in your work? Are you contributing to the world around you? Are you making  a difference? Is your workplace respectful and connecting? Is it safe for you to bring your best ideas to it? Do you feel relaxed and confident at work or do you feel stressed and in a hurry?

Health: What would you love in terms of your health? What would you love your weight to be? What would you love your shape to be? What would you love in terms of energy? What physical activities would bring you the most joy? what activities have you never tried but have wanted to learn? Would you love to swim with the dolphins or go helicopter skiing? 

Time and money Freedom: What would you love to be able to do that you haven't had the time or money to do? Are there destinations that appeal to you to visit? Would you love to take the whole family on vacation somewhere? Would you love to learn something new? If time and money were not considerations, what would you choose to bring into your life?

Are you living the best possible life? 

Are the life-changing experiences in your life, ones of pain or ones of pleasure? 
Are you a person who is pulled by a vision or are you a person who is pushed by pain?
For most of us, it is a little of both. We are pulled by a vision, to the degree that it is vivid and compelling and we are also pushed by pain, especially if it feels devastating or heartbreaking.

What a great time of year to contemplate what you would really LOVE! That is the first step in the creative process and creating a compelling vision uniquely yours. The second step is to write an affirmation for one or two things that you would really love.  An affirmation is a positive statement of what you do want, spoken or written, in the present tense. An example would be: "I see and connect with my close friends every week." or "I give and receive beautiful and extravagant gifts of love and friendship." The next step is to commit to reading this list every morning and every evening.

If you commit to do so, you will begin to notice that you are living the life you love and loving the life you live!
A Beautiful Gift of Friendship

Friday, January 5, 2018

What Good Emerges From Awakened Awareness

Calm at Sunset

I have  a new app on my phone called Calm. It has a short sweet meditation for the morning and  a bedtime story for the evening. I was doubtful about listening to a story to help go to sleep but it seems to work for me. ( I admit I was skeptical. My usual experience of watching or listening to a story would be one of being more fully engaged -- definitely not getting ready to drift off to dreamland.) However, it worked for me. The stories have been mostly descriptions and the readers' voices have been calming. This morning I discovered another part to the app called a Masterclass. It is taught by Judson Brewer, a psychiatrist from the University of Massachusetts and Director of the Center for Mindfulness. (I think he created this app.) Listening to the Masterclass on Breaking Habits was an  informative start to my day.  Although Dr. Brewer was not talking about anything brand new to me, he used intriguing language and examples that caused me to pay close attention.

The principles he was teaching were basic meditation techniques, but because I was hearing it from a different angle, I heard different possibilities. 

Some of the ideas that inspired me include : being curious, observing what you are thinking and feeling, stepping out of fear-based behaviors, noticing body sensations, and becoming disenchanted with the unhealthy behaviors.

In the past few days I have been preparing to teach a class based on Louise Hay's book You Can Heal Your Life.  Louise uses similar techniques to help people heal their bodies, relationships, prosperity and careers. She instructs her readers to be kind to themselves and to ask questions about where their unhealthy beliefs have come from. She also instructs the readers to examine their beliefs and let go of those that are no longer useful

Do you have something that you have been praying for that has not yet appeared?  Most people have. And most of us have many strategies, usually unconscious to us, to keep us from changing our minds. It could be an unhealthy habit. Sometimes we think that change is difficult  and uncomfortable, so we don't really try.

My guess is that we would discover goldmines of possibilities if we would be loving  and kind toward ourselves and curious about our thoughts, habits and feelings.

Dr. Brewer is an addiction specialist. He says that using mindfulness techniques to quit smoking is statistically more effective than any other method. The other benefit is that by becoming more aware, clients have actually lost weight in process of quitting.

I am very curious about that. As many of my readers know, my encounter with God, 35 years ago, caused me to release any need for nicotine. 

Of course, God is always present, whether or not we acknowledge the Presence. The Law of God is always at work. It is done unto us as we believe.

But it made me wonder if we used curiosity and being present to everything that is, in our study of the Science of Mind, would we have more rapid,deeper, more meaningful demonstrations? I intend to find out.  Anyone who enrolls in You Can Heal Your life will be encouraged to do their work gently, consistently and with great curiosity. 

Awareness is the first step to meaningful meditation. Affirmation and prayer emerging from our awakened awareness is potent. Our good is at hand now. 

If you would like to enroll in the class, please call the Center for Spiritual Living Capistrano Valley. or sign up on the kiosk. The class is being offered on a love offering basis. We have not made arrangements for the class to be taken online.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Reflections

What a year 2017 has been!

It has been a year of endings for some of us, beginnings for others.

I am reminded of a song, "Everything Must Change."  If things don't change there would be stagnation and death. Intellectually, this is not a difficult idea to grasp, but emotionally it is hard for most of us, especially if those changes were unexpected or not according to our preferences.Often when there are changes in our relationships, our finances, our careers or our health, the changes are generally regarded as losses. (We often don't even notice the positive changes!)

It feels tough to lose a friend... or to end a relationship... or to be downsized out of a job... or to be replaced by a younger, prettier, more-desirable model in any area of life.

At this time of year, I am reminded that in nature there are answers. The changes of the seasons are more subtle here in southern California, but they are there. The deciduous trees have lost their leaves or the leaves have become brittle and dried up on the branches.  Some of those leaves remind me of the part of myself that resists change. They just won't let go. Gardeners cleaning up the soil are really preparing for lush new growth in spring. Winters  do not last forever.

The poet Percy Shelly wrote: "If winter comes, can spring be far behind?"

This is such a great reminder that everything must change and ultimately everything is for the betterment  and greater expression of life. 

As spiritual seekers, we are called to view everything, expected and unexpected, as the evidence of the presence of God. We are called to trust that some greater good is always becoming known and present. Even the great good that we are experiencing is ushering in newness. Can we be observers of our lives with joyful anticipation? Can we notice the changes without judging them as unsatisfactory? 

We recently experienced Christmas and many of us gave and received gifts. Part of my joy in giving, is seeing the receiver's pleasure! I can imagine the angels clapping their hands in delight at my unconditional acceptance of what is.

When you give up your good for the greater good, you are proving your trust in the Divine Mind, the unconditional love.


This is a great time of year to consciously choose how you are going to view your life no matter what, as a brand new year is just days away. My intentions are: 

  • to say "yes" to life no matter what
  • to be rigorously honest and persistently kind toward myself and others
  • to look for the good and praise it
  • to take full and complete responsibility for my life just the way it is
  • to stop whining, explaining or justifying
  • to quit pining for what is not and what will not be
  • to consistently and joyfully plant seeds of greater good for my body, mind and spirit
  • to recognize that God is the Source of all good and that good is at hand
What are your intentions for the new year?