Saturday, March 30, 2013

Brave Enough to Surrender


Are you brave enough to surrender?  At first this seems like an oxymoron like adult children or barely dressed. But taking a deeper look, we can see that it takes real courage to let go and let God, to surrender to a greater ideal.

We celebrate Palm Sunday using the genius of Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice's Jesus Christ Superstar" to help take  a closer look at the activities of Holy Week.

Easter is a day when even unbelievers come to church. They come for a variety of reasons but at the center of it, is a message of eternal life, or hope that never dies. Not as many are faithful to attending Palm Sunday. When we can see how that story is being re-enacted in our own lives, may give it more consideration. Sacred scripture is just as relevant today as it was when it was first written. Sometimes we need to look for the relevance.

Our spiritual journey is about discovering the power and presence of God in our lives. So we examine with love the characters in the story, and similar to dream interpretation, we come to understand that each character has something to teach us. Judas, who betrayed his friend; Mary, who loved him; Pilate, who had  a premonition; Herod, who used ridicule to manipulate and Jesus who asked his friends to stay with him while he prayed; each story is our story, universal and powerful. Most importantly Jesus struggle to stay the course knowing how it would end.

Imagine knowing that soon you would be betrayed by your good friend, that leaders of your faith would persecute you, your friends would deny knowing you, and that you would be barbarically executed. Jesus would have know being omniscient.

We read in scripture  Luke 22:44, " And being in agony he prayed more earnestly."

Jesus had a human side, too. He admonished money changers, he was reluctant to perform his first miracle. Rice pens evocative lyrics in his prayer in Gethsemane,

"If there is a way,Take this cup away from me.For I don't want to taste his poison,Feel it burn me,I have changed,I'm not as sure as when I started.Then I was inspired.Now I'm sad and tired.Listen surely I've exceeded expectations,Tried for three years, seems like thirty,Could you ask as much from any other man?"

How often have you been guided by God to do something but it turned out to be harder than you thought it would be? Rice helps us relate to Jesus at the heart level, to feel compassion for him and perhaps for ourselves. have you ever had a good or even brilliant idea that turned out to be an albatross around your neck?

When we are spiritually guided, we know that we are being guided toward our highest good. Often it is impossible to see that good. I think Jesus was in the same spot. He knew what was coming but from the human level couldn't see the big picture to see that it was all going to be worthwhile. It is about doing the right thing, but I think it is more than that. It is about trusting a power greater than your individual awareness. I have often seen it in relationships. A person is guided to offer her guest room to her father so he can get back on his feet after a long illness, but he is rude to her and her family. A mother gives her daughter a chance to break the grip of addiction, and the daughter leaves the program to get high and dies. Or a person is diagnosed with a debilitating illness and still has young children to raise. And in each case, something worthwhile, something precious emerges such as patience, compassion, insight and faith. In each of these scenarios, one's prayers are likely to be, "Please take this cup of poison from me. I want to do God's will but it feels too hard."

It reminds me of a story of the man who fell down a mountain, stopped his fall by grasping a branch of a tree growing out of the side of a cliff. He could not see the landing below him. It might have been a few feet or it might have been thousands. The man cried out to God, "Dear God, if you can shear me, please help." A deep voice answered, "I can see you. Let go of the branch." The man thought about for a moment and then shouted, "Is there anybody else up there?"

Sometimes we know what we must do in order to take the next right step spiritually. Jesus wanted to know that if he cooperated with the plan that it would be worthwhile. Here's what I know, "It is done unto us as we believe."  Therefore, if we have confidence in our relationship with Source and are creating what we really want, it will be worthwhile.

It is up to each individual. I know that we are all parts of the story and every character in it. I trust that not only on Palm Sunday but every day, we are brave enough to surrender. When we come true, so do our dreams.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Self-Talk = Your Performance

self-esteem cycle
Self-Esteem Cycle

In our "Beyond Limits" class, we learned an interesting cycle to be aware of.

The cycle starts with our self-esteem.  Take an honest look at yours and continue on....

Your self-esteem determines your performance.  How you do one thing is how you do most things and that is determined by your own self-esteem.

Do you constantly sabotage yourself or do you give yourself the gift of inspired action?

Your answer will be a direct reflection of your personal self-esteem.

Your performance then leads to your self-talk.

Is it, "I'm an inspired person ready to live my greatest life?"

Or is it, "I'm so stupid.  I never finish anything I set out to do?"

Your answer will determine your self-esteem.

See the cycle?  

Awareness of your self-esteem cycle will allow you to DECIDE to change it if it needs to be revised.

Be aware of your self-esteem.  It will lead to inspired performance...or not...which will then lead to your self-talk.

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged on how to change your self-talk.  If it needs some work, start the affirmations I provided.

Your Self Worth Affirmed

Love what you learned?  This is all valuable content that we learn in classes at CSLCV.  Join us for a new set of classes starting now!  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

How my middle school daughter found her way back to church


How my middle school daughter found her way back to church
My daughter now finds joy, friendship and connection at the Center thanks to the Middle School Group meetings.

I began attending the Center for Spiritual Living when my oldest daughter was just starting first grade and my middle daughter was in preschool. They loved coming to see Rev. Pattie every Sunday. In fact, they asked almost daily, "Are we going to church today?"

Imagine my dismay when my middle daughter, now a preteen, said, "Can I just stay home from church today?"

"NO!" I said in complete shock.

I believe that at least once a week my girls need to connect with our spiritual center and that was non-negotiable. I am the parent so I set the rules, right? Well, she challenged and I explained my decision week after week, until I finally talked to Rev. Pattie. Yes, I called in the big guns!

Rev. Pattie listened. She considered my struggle. Then, she went to the source. She called several middle schoolers together to uncover the problem. You see, my preteen wasn't the only one expressing discontent. I wasn't the only parent battling the dragging feet.

In her wisdom and armed with information, Rev. Pattie concluded that what our preteens really wanted was greater connection. She explained, "Once a week isn't enough time to build connections."

The next week, Rev. Pattie started the Middle School Group on Tuesday afternoons. The first Tuesday four girls attended. Then they invited a few friends. And they invited more friends. Soon, the Middle School Group grew to 10 to 12 preteens, laughing, playing, building connection.

When I asked my daughter why she likes Middle School Group she says, "Because it's fun." Then, I questioned, "Why do you like hanging out with Rev. Pattie?" The answer..."Because she's fun." Hummm...I'm seeing a trend, aren't you?

I recognized right away the wisdom in Pattie's solution. We all need to feel connected. We all want a sense of belonging and to know that when we show up we will be greeted by people we know and like. And, I think the preteen insecurities only magnify that longing. When we only show up on Sunday, the process takes longer. But, if we get an opportunity to be social, well, those friendships just bloom.

Is it easier to get my daughter to church on Sunday now? Yep! Has our preteen room grown in attendance? You bet. Is Rev. Pattie one of the wisest women on the planet? Um...like Yeah!

If you have a sixth or seventh grader, stop by the Center's Middle School Group on Tuesdays between 4 and 5:30 to check it out. Everyone is welcome!


Everyone Is Welcome!

Rev. Pattie creates connections with preteens.
At a recent meeting, the Middle School Group created outdoor sculptures with Charlie, a local artist and volunteer.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Change In Energy

Superstar: A Metaphysical Interpretation of Jesus Christ Superstar
The symbolic language of the crucifixion is the death of the old paradigm;
resurrection is a leap into a whole new way of thinking.
-Deepak Chopra-


Last Sunday, during the service, the Center for Spiritual Living, Capistrano Valley gave their annual rendition of Superstar- a metaphysical interpretation of the Broadway musical, Jesus Christ Superstar.  The performances were so compelling, a physical and emotional transformation started to take shape within me.  I felt as if I was on an emotional rollercoaster and my physical body was reaping the effects.  The anger within "Judas" stirred up inside my stomach and brought a tensing of my neck & shoulder muscles.  "Mary Magdalene’s" soothing words and caressing touch moved me to a space of ease and grace.  Then, when "Jesus" started in, all broke loose.  The distress within my body manifested into full blown pain.  At one point I felt as if I had to leave the space, however, I remained and allowed the energy to flow.  Why was I so affected by this performance?  What happened that made me so uncomfortable?  What I realized is that I'm going through some sort of transformation myself.  Movement within me has been stirring for some time.   I really don't know the duration of time this transformation will take.  I just know in the midst of all of it God Is.  The realization of the significance of the timing was profound.  The celebration of Easter, this coming Sunday, is a time for transformation, starting anew.  I welcome this transformation and know that wherever this leads, It Is All Good because It Is All God.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Mirroring Mind by Jason Silva



We are self-perceiving, self-creating, locked in mirages.
We are miracles of self-reference. ~ Douglas Hofstadter


I am

Each one of us is an outlet to God 
& an inlet to God. ~ Ernest Holmes

Monday, March 25, 2013

When I Grow Up......

                           
When I Grow Up......
When I Grow Up......

                               Last week my Grandmother turned 90 years young. Our family was not in the least bit surprised that she would celebrate this milestone birthday. Let me tell you why.

                               Born on a farm in a small town in Texas, Mary Fallwell was the second youngest in a family of six children. She had three brothers and two sisters. Her nickname was Babe. She grew up tough and learned to climb trees and anything else the boys could do.

                                Not only did Babe grow up tough but apparently she took after her Mama, as everyone called her, and has a big heart that has room for everyone. I've never seen anyone give such unconditional love to every single person she meets. Her enthusiasm for life has always been contagious. She also has quite a zest for exercise. As a teenager I loved to spend weekends at my grandparent's house. My Gran would wake me early to join her on her 2 mile power walks and honestly I could never keep up!

                               My Gran taught me some important life lessons that I will never forget.
                                Here are a few I would like to share.


  •    Always give to others with no expectation back.
  •    Be a gracious receiver
  •    Always forgive
                               And without having to say anything she taught by modeling. She and my Grandfather enjoyed a 57 year love affaire. They definitely would have made it to 60 years but my equally amazing grandfather made his transition before that could happen.

                              She had endless patience with all of her grandchildren. I watched her joy through the years in her community service and her deep devotion to her faith and church.

                              One of my best memories out of many, with my grandmother was when we spent six weeks travelling in South Africa together. She even woke up at 4 am with me and our game guide to go trekking in the waist high bush to look for rhino. After two hours of hiking we never saw one and she never complained. Only remarking on all the beauty that surrounded us.

                              If you ever have the great fortune to meet Mary Smith you will know right away this is the woman i've been describing. She will charm you with her wide beautiful smile. And totally disarm you with the twinkle in her stunning pale blue eyes. She will make you feel like you are the most important person in the world.

                             When I grow up I want to be just like my grandmother!                

                         

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Teaching our children is a blessing and humbling experience.

Teaching our children is a blessing and humbling experience.
Teaching our children is a blessing and humbling experience. 
Planning and presenting the lessons for the youth of our center is a powerful and humbling experience. Each week, children from infancy to 12, come for an hour of their precious weekend to learn about God, affirmations, prayer, universal laws and all the reasons why they can and do use them. They come for connection, inspiration and because they know they are important to our extended spiritual family. Well, I like to think that is why they are coming. And some are! In reality, I know some are dragged by their parent-- "you will learn to be spiritual", some are coming for the promise of the donut after the service, and some are coming to see their friends and maybe get a chance to speak into the microphone on the platform. Whatever their reason, I and our teaching team, are ready to receive them with discussions, activities, spiritual practices, crafts and most importantly our love and to listen. We listen to the stories; the desires of the heart of a four year old who wants to play with the trains and the ten year old who wants to fit in at school. We take that lesson that we have spent hours on and adapt, tweak and shift it up to meet the needs and desires of the kids who have shown up. I often wonder if the kids show up because of the lesson that has been created in Mind, or does the lesson show up for the kids. Of course, it is both. Sometimes, as I am planning a lesson, a particular child will be on my mind and I am never surprised to see them, but I am always left with the humbling thought that they are responding to the same inspiration that I am. That we have connected at deeper place that brought us to share this lesson.

This week we have been planning our Palm Sunday lesson. For more than ten years this has been my favorite lesson. I know it has been at least ten years because my children who are now young adults participated as children in this lesson with me. The lesson, has evolved and grown over the years.  I can't remember how it started that we re-enact the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  Like so many inspirations it is timeless and continues to give year after year. In this lesson, together we create the road lined with flowers, covered with palms and beautiful fabric that symbolizes the cloaks of the people.  We ask, What must that have been like to have the road lined with people who adore you? Singing your praises and laying down palms and cloaks for you to walk upon. The only similarity in our lives is when the winning team of the World Series returns home and gets a parade of adoring fans. Is that as close as we can get I wonder.  I wonder if those athletes who are being greeted by adoring fans realize the magnitude of their words and their actions. Surely this is a great moment in life.  Knowing who we are matters, what we think, say and do makes a difference. This is our Palm Sunday lesson As we re-enact the event from two thousand years ago we recognize that the great teacher Jesus owned his power. He owned it with all of his being. He didn't say well sometimes I'm pretty good like if I'm with good friends and if the stars and moons are aligned I can do great things. He owned it all the time. So we learn to own our power, to share our gifts, our talents with the awareness that we glorify God by shining our light.  And, here is the great part of our lesson: Jesus knew that the same divine potential that he owned so completely in himself was and is in every person. In this lesson we explore what it is to have the courage of Jesus to let our light shine, be great in all that we do and the awesome humility of knowing that that great light is God and is everyone. Not just some, not just a few special ones, but everyone. We learn to let our light shine with courage and to recognize that light in ourselves and everyone around us as the light of God.








Like I said, creating and presenting the youth lessons at our center is an awesome experience. I know that what I am doing is making a difference. I know that the children I am sharing these lessons with are making a profound difference in my life. Finally, I am blessed in knowing that our spiritual community is a place to learn about Life, about Love, and about the awesome Power that each of us has.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Finding Our Place in Life



Many years ago, when I taught elementary school, I loved to teach easy, fun, joy-filled songs. One of my favorites was "All God's Creatures Got a Place in the Choir." Recently I found two video versions that tickled my heart. I am going to share them with you because they reminded me of a simple rule of life. 

That rule is everybody belongs here. I also think it reminds me that wherever I am, I am home. It is a feeling of belonging, of being comfortable not only in my skin but also being comfortable giving the gifts that are mine to give. 

I have a place in the choir of life and so do you. It doesn't matter whether or not you can carry a tune, whether or not you read music, whether or not you have had special training, you are here on purpose. You are here to individualize the Infinite Creativity that flows through you. 

You are here to be the sacred space of the Divine and to live fully awake and awakened to your inner strengths. Sometimes we don't give our gifts because we compare ourselves to others and decide that their gifts are better than ours! This is a lie! No one has your gift to give except you. 

Great thinkers have looked at nature to remind us that comparison is foolish. They remind us that the rose doesn't stop blooming because there is another rose beside her. Ralph waldo Emerson wrote: "Envy is ignorance, imitation is suicide." I believe he is right. When we envy what someone else has or does, what we are telling the Creative Process within us, is that we can not have or do that thing. The spiritual truth is that life is a wholeness and all of us are necessary to its ultimate expression and unfoldment. As the song says, "All God's creatures got a place in the choir." Enjoy!

 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Get into the Rhythm with Everything is Sound!


Get into the Rhythm with Everything is Sound!
I discovered that family tensions seemed to run higher in the late afternoon during dinner preparations and homework.
At this month's Parent Forum, Rev. Pattie brought up the topic of creating a daily family  rhythm. Initially, I was resistant to the idea confusing rhythm with forcing a family of individuals into a set and rigid schedule. The last thing I needed was another hassle or argument trying to get the whole family to do something that wasn't necessarily required. 

But the more I sat with the idea, the more I realized what she actually meant by rhythm and really it only required me to cooperate. You see, I needed to find a daily rhythm. And when I set my own pace, swaying and moving with each little bump and bobble, I'm more at peace and centered. And, when I'm more at peace and centered, everyone around me feels it and acts accordingly. It reminds me of that saying, "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." I realized that living to my own beat creates internal contentment which then manifests in the external world. 

And the beautiful thing about setting your own rhythm, it doesn't require any great, earth-shattering changes. I found my rhythm in a song.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed with life, then played a great song in the car or house and within seconds everything looked better, more manageable? 

Listening to Jason Mraz's music from the Love is a Four Letter Word CD provides me with a vacation from the daily ups and downs, resets my thinking and raises my vibration to joy! I found that one song in particular,  "Everything is Sound," refreshes my mind like a beautiful California spring day when you roll down the car windows, drive along the coast with music blasting and sing like no one is watching. 

In contemplating our family's need for rhythm, I discovered that tensions seem to run highest in the late afternoon and early evening when the kids are hungry waiting for dinner, stressed out over homework and overtired from a busy day. To counter the tension, I decided to put Love is a Four Letter Word on the CD player in the kitchen while I make dinner. It makes me happy. I sing, dance a little, and smile. I feel more relaxed and guess what!?! The whole atmosphere changes. Joy returns to the home. Yes, there is still homework questions and requests for a snack, but I handle them with more grace and ease. I am more present in the family dynamic and there is a whole lot less yelling. 

In the lyrics of "Everything is Sound," Mraz sings, "You don't need a vacation, when there is nothing to escape from." Isn't that so true? When we find our own rhythm and live at that tempo every moment is a song! Hallelujah!

Experience "Everything is Sound" for yourself. The lyrics are in the video so you can sing along then let me know by commenting if you feel lighter and refreshed. 

Let's All Sing...




Thursday, March 21, 2013

Submerged in Light

Submerged in Light
Submerged in Light
   Every morning(on the way to school), I listen to music. It calms me. It doesn't have to be spiritual or meditative music and usually isn't, but something I feel peaceful listening to. And, I usually do this whilst staring out the window, observing the landscape whizzing past me in a blur of dull, gray road, the occasional garden, and a flash of golden, morning light bursting through silver clouds. It is truly my relaxing way to spend the twenty to twenty-five minute drive to school. As you can see, above there is a picture of a double rainbow. The picture above was taken on one damp, cold October morning on my phone while I sat in the front seat of the car, rocking out to some tunes. I remember the morning vaguely, but I can recall the exact song I was listening to while this photo was captured. The song was Vanilla Twilight, written by none other than Owl City, and in that moment when the song came on, I watched as this beautiful manifestation shot out before me in a beam of brilliance.   

"When violet eyes get brighter/
And heavy wings grow lighter/
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again/
And I'll forget the world that I knew/
But I swear I won't forget you."

 There are many days and occasions when I remind myself that the light is always there, and Spirit is always expressing as me and in the beauty I experience or encounter. But, sometimes it really takes that extra unf to truly see it for myself. And those moments, when you realize you are supported by the Universe, or loved unconditionally, or in my case that the Light is always there, are so important. Those moments express the Universe reacting to your thoughts and needs. And in that moment of pure bliss when you relax into the realization and know that you are encompassed by the Universe's gifts, as when the sky's magnificence exploded around me and the music was in perfect alignment that day, it can leave you in awe(it raised the hairs on the nape of my neck) and leave a positive impression on you as does a hand print in the sand. 
   Every morning when being driven to school(during this season), the sun is hidden behind the thick, wet fog, and it leaves me wondering when the sun will come out. It drops me into a state of cloudy thoughts and a misty, negative mind set. But, when the sun peaks through the clouds, I remember that no matter how thick the fog is, the sun is always there just behind it waiting to shine its light upon me. That is a comforting thought. So, while writing an entry in my journal the other day, I wrote this down and thought it matched perfectly with what this week has consisted of: reminding myself-that the light is always there, and love is ever-expanding. 

"Even though our doubts and fears fill our throats with silence and a throbbing starts in our chests, the fog will always lift up. It seems like basic knowledge when you’re done experiencing it, but while you stare up into the endless hidden sky, it seems as if you know nothing but the lingering cloud mass engulfing the world around you. And, once the sun shines through and relief catches your breath, you realize in the end that no matter how thick or dark it may seem, the fog will always find a reason to leave." 


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Overview Effect



What kind of world do you want? History starts now!

Are we ready to take the leap into the realm of complete and total Unity with 7 billion people?  Can we envision Earth as a space ship where we are all astronauts who work together for a collective good?  In the documentary, The Overview Effect, the journey takes us to space through the lives of astronauts' profound experience of complete Oneness with our Planet Earth and all of Life.

The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, was written in 1987 by Frank White.  He coined the term and concept to explain the experience of the astronauts who traveled through space and spent time reflecting back on our planet.  Thanks to the Planetary Collective, the concept was brought to film and released in December 2012.

Upon entering into Space, astronauts are task-driven.  They are not instructed in soul-searching, an understanding of the meaning of life, the complete and total immersion of Mind, Body & Spirit.  So when an experience what set upon them that had all the makings of a shift in Consciousness, something they were totally unprepared for, they became profoundly changed.

Apollo 14 astronaut, Edgar Mitchell, was led on a search for an explanation of how to describe his experience of seeing the Earth from space.  He was introduced to Savikalpa Samadhi, which, he was told, “means that you see things as you see them with your eyes, but you experience them emotionally and viscerally, as with ecstasy, and a sense of total Unity and Oneness.”  In Savikalpa Samadhi the mind is conscious only of the Spirit within; it is not conscious of the exterior world. The body is in a trancelike state, but the consciousness is fully perceptive of its blissful experience within.

Astronaut, Ron Garan, the Director of The Overview Effect, Guy Reid, and Frank White were present at a screening of the film at one of Harvard's Freethink presentations.

Moderator, Frank White explains, "It is not about me....it's about all of us."

Ron states that he, "has a responsibility to share and do something with the experience." His idea of the Oneness of all life led him to a path of conflict.  Upon seeing Earth he understood that we are all One, however, his knowledge of what is occurring on Earth led him to question why are we not working together for the common good of man and our planet.  He states it is, "Our inability to effectively collaborate on a global scale, our inability to set aside our differences for our common goals."  He sees our future as collaborative and explains, "Open transparent collaboration is going to be an economic engine, it's going to be something that fuels tremendous economic growth, helps save the planet and solve a lot of the problems we're facing.  People who are engaging in unhealthy competition, corruption and the like are going to see themselves being left behind and take on a collaborative mindset to keep up, and that age is just starting to dawn."

Director, Guy Reid says, "The Overview Effect is accessible to everyone, pointing to something far profound.  Human beings have the capacity to directly perceive this non-apparent reality of our radical interdependence.  Not just with each other but with our living earth, our mother, and the cosmos itself."



For the rest of us on the planet, who may never have the opportunity to venture into space, a visit to the California Science Center in Los Angeles will bring a view of the Space Shuttle Discovery up close.  After knowing of The Overview Effect it may appear in a different light. Afterward, visit the IMAX theater to view Hubble 3D.  To witness the images of space on a grand scale may leave you with a sense of wonderment, awe, and an almost incomprehensible sense of magnificence. www.imax.com/hubble/

As for metaphysicians, the understanding of Oneness is already here, that cognitive shift to the Awareness of Collective Consciousness has already been established.  Through prayer and meditation the attainment to Savikalpa Samadhi may have already been reached.  And for those still on the cusp of Awareness, History starts NOW!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"This Way To The Gift Shop"

"This Way To The Gift Shop"
"This Way To The Gift Shop"

Thoughts are things, and all the things in one's life
have a thought that precedes them. - Ernest Holmes


Monday, March 18, 2013

Life Lessons from Triathlon


Have you ever been so terrified that you wanted to cry and vomit at the same time? You shake uncontrollably? Your fight or flight area of your brain has been activated and screams, "Run for the hills!" But your bowels protest screaming, "Run for the porta potty instead!"

Welcome to triathlon my friend. Defined, triathlon is a swim followed by a bike followed by a run. All in one day.

I read somewhere that triathletes are classified as narcissists and masochists rolled into one crazy little package. Anybody not associated with this sport can't imagine why anyone in their right mind would ever want to do such a thing.

My journey into this insanity began 6 years ago. It changed my life and how I look at it forever.

I joined an all women's triathlon team. The voice inside my head told me I didn't measure up to these elite athletes. I had absolutely no business even thinking about it! What I actually experienced was quite different. These women came in all shapes and sizes. Varying fitness levels and ages that spanned across the board. Lots of professional women and busy moms just like me. Hallelujah! We all had similar fears and some negative self talk. We were all here for many different reasons. However we all shared one common goal. To see what our glorias bodies were made of. And how far we could mentally be pushed. Most of these women had accomplished so much in their lives and were still looking for something more.

For the last 6 years we've trained together miraculous things started happening. Our bodies were going from soft and weak to fit and strong. We were getting faster in all three sports. Mentally when you didn't think you had anymore to give there would be our coach screaming at us,"Yes, I know you have more in you now give it to me!!" And some how we did have more to give.

We spent many training sessions scared out of our wits to enter the 60 degree ocean with large rumbling waves for our mile swim. Our backs screaming in agony after a 70 mile ride only to end with a mind numbing 6 mile run. We cried and laughed and cheered together. Always pushing each other to be the best we could possibly be.

We travelled long distances to races together. Packed 6 girls in one hotel room with all our bikes because we were afraid someone would steal them before the race.

Always on race day the mood was somber. Supporting those of us having per race jitters or a panic attack or just an old fashioned nervous breakdown. We talk about forbidden subjects such as gastro intestinal problems and other unmentionable bodily functions. If one of our girls went down during a race we stopped no question about it.

The most magical part of the race is the finish line. Making your way down the finishers shoot toward the finish line and seeing all your teammates there cheering you on. It's an out of body experience. In a flash it all comes down to this glorious moment that is all about you. All the months of blood, sweat  and tears have brought you to this point. All the joys and agony you have shared with with these women. It's absolutely pure unconditional love for each other. You are forever bonded by this experience. As you cross the finish line with the crowd cheering you on like a rockstar, suddenly you know why you do this and what it took to get you there.

These are all the reasons I do triathlon and why it's changed my life forever. I now have the confidence to approach any situation in my life, not with fear but a good training plan. I know I can do anything. It probably won't be as scary either!

Edwine Gains says, "You must do one thing a year that scares the s...t out of you!" Well Edwine, Accomplished!

As far as the beautiful women who are my team mates go I couldn't and wouldn't do this crazy sport without them. We are like sisters now. These women are all angels in disguises of workout clothes, tennis shoes and bike helmets. Every now and then you can catch a glimpse of a wing sticking out of the back of their team jersey as they race past you.

I am the luckiest crazy person in the UNIVERSE!! Please come and join us one day. We are always looking for new angels to add to the team.




Sunday, March 17, 2013

Affirmation -- Permission to Shine


I remember that I am made in the image and likeness of God: 
brave, beautiful and brilliant. 
I release any belief in rejection or limitation 
and give myself permission to shine more brightly than the sun, 
filling the world with my magnificence.



Saturday, March 16, 2013

Self Care Mary Oliver



One night this week, I was awake most of the night with what felt like glass shards in my lower abdomen. After my 8 AM conference call, I decided to go back to bed and get some more sleep. I slept until 2:30 PM, then took the rest of the day off. The next morning I was talking to a wise woman who praised me for this action. She asked me, "Do you make self-care your highest priority?" She admonished me that as a care-giver, it was really important to look after myself.

When you travel by plane, the flight attendant always reminds the passengers, "Put on your own oxygen mask first, then look after the others in your care. Indeed it makes sense for a mother travelling with small children AND it makes sense for every one of us. If we don't learn to take care of our own needs, what will we have to give? I have been a minister for a long time. I know the Principles of life really well but sometimes I don't practice as well as I could.

Maybe we all need a reminder, a cheat sheet for self care. The spiritual essentials are; prayer, meditation, tithing, serving, and learning. So do you make your spiritual time a priority? Do you love yourself enough to give yourself the first hour in every day to connect with Source? Do you take time to do things that make your heart sing? Do you know when you are depleting yourself and when you are refueling?

I know that there are ways to refuel for me. Reading a poem by Hafiz, Rumi, David Whyte or Mary Oliver will often do it for me. Listening to really beautiful music or being in the mountains will also inspire me. Relaxing in a spa also feels seductive.

When you look after your Soul, you are paying homage to the presence of God within. Do it. Plan to do it today. When you love yourself, you live in grace.

And So It Is
And So It Is 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Your Self Worth Affirmed

What do you "say" to yourself everyday.

Are you affirming your worth, or are you affirming thoughts that do not serve you?

When you become aware of your thoughts about yourself, you may notice some damaging thoughts.

There is much power in your words....and thoughts.

They become reality.

If you have damaging thoughts about yourself, how does that show up in your physical reality?

In our "Beyond Limits" class last week, we learned some easy, simple affirmations that allow us to start to re-program our self-talk to affirmative, joyful thoughts.

Use these to change your self-talk and to change your reality quite simply:

I am worthy.

I am enough.

I am beautiful.

I am powerful.

I am gifted.

I am loved.

Happy talking.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spiritual Parenting: Magic in the Ordinary



St. Patrick's Day always reminds me to bring a little more magic to the ordinary. 

Children are so open, ready and willing to believe in the invisible. They have unwavering faith that magic exists and find joy in looking for fairies in the flowers and leprechauns in the clovers. The young know, without a doubt, that gold is waiting at the end of the rainbow. Do you have that much faith in things you can't see? Do you believe with all your heart that your prayers are answered and God hears your call?

When my older daughter was small, she experienced anxiety at bedtime. While tucking her in, I created a magic bubble and in it I sprinkled all sorts of good thoughts: cotton candy, tree houses, butterflies, cuddly kittens, play dates and cupcakes. She would fall asleep feeling snuggled in all the goodness life has to offer. And, on St. Patrick's Day morning she, and years later her sisters, woke up to green toilet bowls and emerald milk, a sure sign of the leprechaun's visit. Some years, we created traps for those tricky leprechauns. We spent time painting rocks gold and hiding them under a tricky trap. We never caught one, but she never stopped trying. Now as a teen, she easily manifests her dreams and quickly demonstrates her prayers. She continues to believe with child-like faith.

Mimi Doe, author of 10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting, lists "Add Magic to the Ordinary" as Principle Number 6. She says:

We can "catch" some of the magic from our children and reignite our own souls. Parenting becomes a magical journey when we allow enchantment to infuse us. Use whatever fills your heart with harmony, for it's hard to "make" magic for others when we don't experience it ourselves.

How could you add enchantment to St. Patrick's Day weekend for yourself and your children? Here are some ideas:


  • Gather rocks, shells, doll furniture or recycled materials and create a fairy garden in the back yard or a planter. Read The Borrowers by Mary Norton for inspiration.
  • Put chairs upside down, add green food coloring to the milk and toilet water, or move furniture around the night before St. Patrick's Day. When the kids wake up, blame the mischief on leprechauns.
  • Stop at McDonald's for a green Shamrock Shake and don't forget to buy one for yourself.
  • Create an all green dinner menu with your kids...maybe even green eggs and ham.
  • Buy potted shamrocks from the nursery and look for leprechauns hiding among the leaves or search for the magical four-leaf clover.
  • Paint rocks gold and hide them around the yard for a gold hunt. Let the kids trade their gold in for a treat or money for their piggy banks.
  • Read Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig with your kids. You can find it at the library. Then, go to the beach to look for your own magic pebble. Create a story with your kids about all the things your magic pebble can do and then find a special place to keep it.

Let your imagination guide you. I guarantee years from now your children will look back on St. Patrick's Day and remember the magic. And, by keeping magic alive, you will nurture the whole family's faith and joy.  



Wednesday, March 13, 2013

No one mourns the wicked

No one mourns the wicked.
No one mourns the wicked.

Yes, Goodness knows
The Wicked's lives are lonely
Goodness knows
The Wicked cry alone
Nothing grows for the Wicked
They reap only
What they sow
-Stephen Schwartz -


Upon viewing the performance of Wicked in Los Angeles about 4 years ago, I remember noticing the metaphysical connections in the lyrics.  Upon viewing the performance for the second time last night in Orange County, I was reminded how it is a great story of the mass consciousness of good and evil.  I liken it to the Taoist parable:"Who knows what is good and what is bad."  In it a farmer has events occur in his life where a neighbor labels "bad", only to realize a fortunate outcome.  All along the farmer is stating, "Who knows what is good and what is bad."

In the lyrics above, the citizens have a collective agreement (mass consciousness) the witch is wicked and lonely, she is "bad" and she gets what she deserves.  They are not able to see the underlying goodness she has done.  They refuse to see it and they have no capacity to accept her goodness.  It's a classic example of duality, that good and evil exists. The witch's actions have always been about doing good, righting wrongs, and fighting for a cause but the citizens only see her as "bad."

Because she is blamed, discouraged or shunned, at one point the witch is in agreement with the citizens singing, "No good deed goes unpunished, all helpful urges should be circumvented."  Deep in her heart she knows her Truth; however, she enters into the mass consciousness of duality.

Then, in the end, the strength of her Truth prevails.  The citizens believe she has died.  She collaborated, with her love, to fake her own death.  Her love, who she turned into a scarecrow to save him from a human death, reunites with her.  The scarecrow and the witch leave the land of OZ together with the decision to not tell anyone, even their friend, the good witch.  They know the citizens wouldn't have the capacity to know the wicked witch still exists.

A line in the lyrics, "Are people born wicked? Or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?" brings up a topic of who we truly are and who we become.  We are all born Good.  Throughout our development we may have entered into an agreement of not being so.  If this is the case, it's time to come back home to the Truth, the knowingness that It's All Good. In the Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes writes, "We experience good and evil because we perceive a presence of duality rather than unity." "The time must come when we shall have left the apparent evil behind; when it shall be rolled up like a scroll and numbered with the things which were once thought to be." Mourning the wicked ("bad") thoughts makes way for a better sense of clarity, an understanding of Universal Principles (we are all One) and the Law of Attraction (reap what you sow). 

Today see only the Goodness of God.

Free Your Mind



A couple of years ago, a good friend introduced me to a little book called The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. After reading it, I bought copies for every member of my family because I loved the message so much. I must admit, even though I loved the concepts in the book, I found it difficult to actually execute them. I had so many questions:

  • If I don't listen to that voice will I miss something important or cause harm to myself? 
  • How can I ignore years of experience? 
  • That voice is only trying to protect me, how can it be all bad?

Recently, Michael Singer made his first television appearance on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. The broadcast was so enlightening for me. Hearing Michael explain the concepts in person, made so much sense. Immediately, I went and found my copy of The Untethered Soul and began to re-read it. I quickly realized that I am a different person reading this book again. I'm seeing things more clearly and understanding the concepts on a new level.

In Chapter 2, Your Inner Roommate, Michael challenges the reader to do an experiment. He suggests we don't try to stop the voice in our head from talking, but rather externalize the voice. Imagine the voice with a body and likeness living outside your head. "Let it be a person who says on the outside exactly what the voice says on the inside. Now make that person your best friend." He goes on to explain, eventually you will see how annoying, mean, unreasonable, whinny and neurotic that voice can be. Michael contends that you wouldn't let a real person get away with saying to you the things that your inner voice says.

So, I tried it. This morning in the shower, Jason Mraz's song Living in the Moment was running through my head. I pictured Jason standing just outside the shower with his guitar singing to me. Hilarious!! I actually laughed out loud. Now, I know I need to continue the experiment with other voices in my head, but this one silly moment illustrated just how ridiculous living in our heads can be.

In that moment, I declared: It's time to move out! I'm ready for a little peace.

Watch the little snippet from Super Soul Sunday with Michael Singer and see if you are ready to evict the roommate in your head and free your mind.

Namaste


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

One River, Many Wells ~ Matthew Fox


“Creation is all things and us. It is us in relationship with all things. All things, the ones we see and the ones we do not; the whirling galaxies and the wild suns, the black holes and the microorganisms, the trees and the stars, the fish and the whales - the molten lava and the towering snow-capped mountains, the children we give birth to and their children, and theirs, and theirs, and theirs.” ~ Matthew Fox

Ecuminism
Ecuminism

Monday, March 11, 2013

Learning Forgiveness

Learning Forgiveness

Forgiveness. This word carries so much weight and meaning. It's said that forgiveness is one of the hardest lessons for human beings to learn. And one of the most important lessons as well.

I thought I knew all about forgiveness. All you have to do is pick out all the character flaws and shortcomings of the wrongdoer. Once accomplished, you feel so sorry for the individual with all these pathetic shortcomings you take pity and forgive them. After all, you are nothing like them so its a good thing you've drop kicked them out of your life. Right?! Isn't that the way it's supposed to work?

The old me would've stood up and screamed, "that's right sister!"

Alas, the new me has become enlightened on such self serving notions. It's challenging and freeing all at the same time. The challenge being I now have to look at every person in my life and how they mirror back to me. Whoa this is scary stuff! However, freeing because now I'm learning how to break the bonds of fear and anger which contribute to unforgiveness.

I'm learning  how to avoid judging other people because what I'm really doing is judging myself.

I'll leave you to contemplate this powerful quote from Lewis B. Smedes. I read it daily.

               " The only way to heal the pain that will not heal itself is to forgive the person who hurt you. Forgiving stops the reruns of pain. Forgiving heals your memory as you change the memory's vision. When you release the wrongdoer from the wrong, you cut a malignant tumor out of your inner life. You set a prisoner free, but you discover that the real prisoner was yourself."

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Our Sacred Covenant

Our Sacred Covenant
Today is the annual meeting at our spiritual center. It has become one of the most meaningful days of the year for me as we join together to look back at the previous year and align in consciousness with the vision cast by our Spiritual Director, Dr. Heather Clark. Whether you attend in person today or not I invite you to remember your connection with this center, to know that who you are matters, and that you are loved beyond measure. 

This year marks the 45th year of our center. I am thrilled to call it my home and to know that we are doing great work. Below is the sacred covenant that was created by our board of Trustees in 2012. Each day, when I read this I am reminded of this great work and of my many partners in living my highest expression. I invite you to join in aligning with this sacred covenant. 


SACRED COVENANT

There is only One Life!  This Life is Good!  This Life is God!  This Life is my Life now! In knowing that I am one with this Life that is God… I therefore know that I am one with each and every one of Its blessed expressions, which includes this beloved revelation called

The Center for Spiritual Living Capistrano Valley

Because I know that the highest Purpose of this Center is to glorify God, I therefore know that this Center is a revelation of God as Unity.

As I stand alone in the High Altar of Consciousness, I see this Center revealed before me as a connected growing community.

I participate in the Center in full cooperation and agreement with my beloved partners, knowing the Truth about myself for:

I am honoring the Divine in myself and all others.

I am speaking and listening as Love.

I am experiencing the value of my work.

I am knowing the joy of service.

I am staying spiritually renewed.

I am being fully supported and abundantly prospered in the fulfillment of these intentions.

I know that this Center is fully supported by the Word of God, for it is written:

“Love is a cosmic force whose sweep is irresistible.”
--- Ernest  Holmes

As I now accept the highest expression of this Center into my life, I know that it is revealed in a way that glorifies God and serves the highest and greatest good of all who are touched by its unfoldment.  I am grateful God is gracious.
So be it now!  Amen

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Red Leather Guilt Trip



On Sunday I will be speaking about boundaries and borders. It brought to mind a visceral  memory  illustrates the body-mind connection. Many years ago, long before I had a cell phone, while still living in Edmonton, Canada, I traveled to Southern California to attend a work-related conference.

One of the days of the conference was free time including time to go on a bus tour of Tijuana. I was agog over all the bright colors and wonderful bargains! I bought a few inexpensive souvenirs and a beautiful red leather jacket and a purse to match for much less than I would have paid in Canada. I loved that jacket and the purse; the jacket was stylish and fit me perfectly; the purse was large and roomy. The purse may have been a tad large for someone my size, a petit  five foot two. I started wearing the jacket and using the purse immediately.

A few days later I was returning from Los Angeles to Edmonton via Vancouver. I had arranged for an overnight with my friend who was going to pick me up at the airport. All travelers fill out a customs declaration upon entering the country. All countries have rules about the value of merchandise that is allowed. I was wearing my new jacket and carrying my purse which I failed to declare. ( If I had declared them I would have been "over" the allowed limit.) So I conveniently "forgot" them. This was not the brightest idea since the leather still smelled brand new!

Upon entering Canada, I was detained and interrogated by the customs officers for over two hours. It was awful! I was called a smuggler! The officer called me a smuggler, a liar, and a dishonest person! The more she attacked me, the worse I felt about myself. When she went through my wallet, she found my membership card from my spiritual center. She actually attended the sister center on Vancouver Island, and started being somewhat kinder. However, the damage had been done. I now agreed with her that I was a terrible person who really didn't have any ethics or morals! I started to sweat. My stomach started to heave.  I was feeling GUILTY! I have always known that there is a mind-body connection, and I experienced it in spades that evening.

By the time I was released, my friend had given up on me, thought I had missed the flight, and gone home to bed! All hotel rooms around the Vancouver airport were booked. I finally found one but had to take a taxi to it. It was more expensive than I would have normally paid. It was a beautiful room but I didn't enjoy it much, since I spent most of the night in the bathroom. I was very sick for the next three days.

So what happens when a person wants to bring more merchandise into the country than she is allowed? Is she imprisoned? Does she have to send the goods back or leave them in the airport? Nothing like that! After being dragged through the wringer, I found out that if I had made an honest declaration, I would have been charged a tax on the excess. It isn't even much unless they catch you smuggling! Then it is an exorbitant tax. But honestly, the Canadian customs didn't have to punish me, I was doing a great job punishing myself.

 So from a practical point of view, not only did I not get a good bargain on my new jacket and purse, which ended up costing me, three times what I would have paid in Canada, but also I missed three days of work due to illness, missed a visit with a friend and inconvenienced her, and felt like HELL!

Whenever I travel my new motto is to declare every penny. I feel so much better. I like myself! Here is the greatest part: even when I am over the limit, I don't get charged. It actually does pay to be honest!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Affirmation: Boundaries without Borders




I give myself permission 
to say no to the things or requests that don’t serve my highest calling, 
acknowledging it as an act of self love. 

And I know 
the simple act of setting boundaries 
does not sever or limit my good, 
but rather enhances it 
and allows my authentic self to shine. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Spiritual Parenting

Feeling isolated, my teen needed a centered parent who understood.
This week tensions ran higher than usual with my kids. I have three daughters: a teen, a preteen and a preschooler. The developmental stage for all  of these ages focuses on detaching from parents, finding individuality and hanging out with friends. Ugh! It creates a family life with everyone wanting to go in different directions.

As a parent, it's challenging sometimes to peacefully manage every one's needs and expectations. Often, I feel overwhelmed, frustrated and misunderstood. For example, the other day my teen accused me of favoritism and being too permissive with her younger sister. Initially, I felt hurt and checked in with myself to see if her accusations had merit. When I got quiet and released my defensiveness, I realized her outburst wasn't about me. She was feeling unhappy and disconnected from her friends. I didn't quite see it at first, then I realized she wanted a different life experience and was expressing it. I was the safe place to voice her discontent.  

Mimi Doe, one of my favorite New Thought parenting experts and author of 10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting, writes in the chapter called Release the Struggle:

Next time you are locked in conflict or can't find your way out of a problem, take a deep breath and say, "I let go of my struggle to make things happen and I surrender to the intuitive voice within me to reveal the answers for my greatest good." Then wait with faith that divine order is at work and answers will come. Let's admit to ourselves that we are not perfect parents and allow God in to help.

Those beautiful words perfectly expressed what happened for me in that interaction. Instead of trying to fix myself or my daughter's unhappiness, I simply opened up to God's grace and received clarity. For me, seeing the conversation clearly allowed me to release my emotional attachment to our heated discussion and find peace, love and understanding. From that place, I smiled and nodded with wisdom. I could now know for my daughter that she would find abundant opportunities to connect with friends outside of the classroom. 

Two days later, a friend called and invited her to attend the high school's afternoon soccer game. My teen's joy and enthusiasm after the soccer game made me smile. Happiness returned. She was in alignment with her good.

This demonstration reminds me why I meditate in the morning. Meditating keeps me open and receptive to God's grace, so when the teenage, preteen and preschool emotions overflow, I can be the wise, centered parent who is ready and willing to hold a safe and loving space.

If you are looking for spiritual parenting insight and support, join Rev. Pattie Mercado and other spiritually enlightened parents today, 11:30 a.m., at the Center for the monthly Parent Forum. The Parent Forum meets on the first Thursday of every month from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Center. Email Rev. Pattie at pattiem@cslcv.org for more information.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Let go and Let God.


Do you feel as if you are doing it all yourself?  Are you the one responsible for making it all happen? When those "doing it all" feelings arise, take it as a clue or signal.  At this moment in time, stop and recognize what it really is.  It's time to release, to let go. 

Sometimes we get caught up in our day-to-day living, time goes by and we wonder how a day, week, month or even a year just flew by.  We reflect on what has transpired in that timeframe, only to realize that it's hard to remember what happened.

If this is happening, you are truly doing it all.  If this is the case, there is no room for anyone else to contribute.  What if you let it all go?

Some may feel scared to let it all go and Let God.  Do you really want to give all your power away? What would happen if you do?  You may ask, "Where will God take me? What will God make me?"

If a true Spiritual journey is your desire, your heart may be pulling you to change.  As Reverend Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith of Agape International Spiritual Center states, "This is not a feel good religion."  Sometimes your journey can have grit and sometimes can be smooth as silk.  It really depends on how much change is required to get you to the next level.  If your Soul is pulling to stretch, pain may be a necessary physical byproduct.

Are you ready to level up?

Let go and Let God.


I Feel Like Letting Go
by
Rickie Byars Beckwith

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Authenticity & Connection

January and February are past, but their themes, Authenticity and Connection, are still very much with me. The more I reflect on these two the more inextricably linked they become … truly the proverbial chicken and the egg.

Connection is why we are here. I heard that loud and clear from a multitude of sources this past month. And Authenticity, that desire to live as our true selves, resonates which each of us. We instinctively know we have gifts that only we can give. We know this.

“In order to experience connection we need to allow ourselves to be seen … really seen.” Authenticity at it’s finest.

So what gets in our way of experiencing these blissful states?

Fear & Shame
Shame is described by Brene Brown in the TedTalk below, “Shame is the fear of disconnection. Is there something about me that if other people know it or see it that I won’t be worthy of connection?”

I don’t like vulnerability.
I don’t like fear.
And I feel shame at the drop of a hat.

It’s something that makes me feel more fragile than a porcelain doll. And I will push away anyone who makes me feel this way, either that or indulge in my version of “a couple beers and a banana nut muffin.”

I just need that cushy bubble between me and the rest of the world.

But at the same time I am painfully aware of what Brene shared “you can’t selectively numb emotion.” You numb out vulnerability, grief, shame, fear, disappointment and you also numb out joy, gratitude, happiness, and creativity.”

The antidotes she discovered in her research:
  • to let ourselves be seen 
  • to love with our whole hearts 
  • to practice gratitude and joy 
  • to know I am enough 

And so I will be on the lookout for “Tools for Transformation” in these areas.