Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black Friday or National Listening Day

One of our members called me on Thanksgiving to let me know that Black Friday is designated as National Listening Day. I don't know if there is an obvious connection but clearly the connection with inner Wisdom is unmistakable! We are being called to live an awakened life right now. Today!  Not in the future but today. What that means is that we trust that we live in abundant universe where no one and nothing can get what belongs to me in consciousness. Furthermore it means to listen to that inner Wisdom and spend what is in your budget and not a penny more.

In my past life, I wanted to please those I loved so much that I would often spend more than what I could afford to please them. I no longer do that. I know that the gifts that I give from the heart, no matter what their cost or form, are more than sufficient. It is difficult for anyone to set a budget with boundaries yet may be the very best thing to do.

I once knew a woman who was very good with her money although she did not earn a top salary. On payday she would cash her check, pay her rent and then put the rest of her money in baggies for the various other things she might buy in a month such as entertainment, gas, groceries and savings. She grew her savings intentionally.

I know another wise couple who have been practicing the 80-10-10 rule for years. They live on 80% of their income; they tithe 10% and they save 10%. I admire them so much for having this discipline.

Lately I have been listening to my inner wisdom regarding finances and looking after myself with love. For many years I thought that meant to buy whatever my whims guided me to. Now I see it differently. I see that self love is also about looking after your future self, too.

I did not participate in Black Friday shopping this year. I think the economy is fine without my dollars. I will be doing a lot of my Christmas shopping at the Holiday Boutique on Sunday afternoon. Living in the present moment includes bringing all your wisdom with you in every moment.

How do you look after yourself? 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Eve Service

For we walk by faith, not by sight. Corinthians 5.7

I Got Nothing: Getting nothing from Meditation

What if you got nothing from meditation?

When we think about meditation, we tend to think of getting something from it. Yes, it is true one may get something out of meditation. The real question to ask is if one is getting nothing from meditation.  After all, isn't meditation a practice where one is to silence one's mind/ thoughts to a space of nothingness?

Some meditations can take you on a journey, like in guided meditation. These are very helpful in uncovering a thought process, or receiving an answer from a long sought after yearning. 

We have meditations which use sound to center our thoughts. Mantras or chants can bring one to space of reverence with just the tone.  

We have walking meditation where we use the sense of sight to assist on our journey.  We walk in the Oneness of all living things. 

In silent meditation a mind can become completely still and enter into the nothingness of All Things. 

Close your eyes, start to remove yourself from all attachments to all senses. Start to imagine yourself deeper into the nothingness. Continue to imagine yourself in a deeper space of nothingness. Continue this process where your thoughts are no longer competing for attention. Feel the nothingness in the cells of the body.  Continue to imagine yourself even deeper into the nothingness. This is the space where one completely lets go of everything, a place where the Oneness of the Nothingness is sensed. Try to reside there for as much time as you feel pulled to. Know that after a certain amount of time your Self will guide you back to your body to come back to the present. 

Today I center myself in the Nothingness of life. I am completely immersed in the Nothingness, and I move from this space to experience Peace.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Guided Meditation Awakening The Mind

How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself as anything less than a god. ~ Alan Watts

I stumbled across Alan Watts when I was a "neon tubebender" being that my craft involved playing with fire and glass I liked to start my day around 2am, the radio my constant companion, KPFK would play his talks and I would listen and learn. Mindfulness is living in the Now. Enjoy.

Guided Meditation Awakening The Mind
And So It Is!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Meditation, Purpose & Emerson

Talega golf course
What is your plot of land?
This Sunday was our final week in our month on meditation. Rev. Dr. Heather Clark talked about using meditation as a tool to connect with the very essence of who we are and to ask how to manifest our good in the world. To ask "What is trying to manifest through me?"

I can't think of a more practical role for meditation.

I've always wondered if a strong life's purpose was innate in some people or was it something developed, something nutured and encouraged to grow until it then took on a life of its own. I remember watching the movie "The Secret," and when Neal Donal Walsch said that there is nothing declaring what you have to do or be, I felt a great sense relief. But while I desire freedom of choice there is a longing to have a strong sense of purpose, a strong sense of your plot of land.

I say "plot of land" because Sunday's talk from Rev. Dr. Heather made me think of Emerson's essay "Self-Reliance." Whether our true calling is predetermined or self chosen it doesn't matter as long as we know how to find it.

Because ultimately I know that no one is going to tell me what color my parachute is. Because ultimately I know that every answer in a multiple choice quiz is a compromise of who I am. Because ultiimately I know that it's even more than taking your "own counsel" ... it's tapping into who you truly are for the answers that truly matter.

I'm going to share a couple paragraphs of Emerson's "Self-Reliance"
There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better for worse as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. Not for nothing one face, one character, one fact, makes much impression on him, and another none. This sculpture in the memory is not without preestablished harmony. The eye was placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray. We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents. It may be safely trusted as proportionate and of good issues, so it be faithfully imparted, but God will not have his work made manifest by cowards. A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise shall give him no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver. In the attempt his genius deserts him; no muse befriends; no invention, no hope.

Answering that question of "what is my work" or "what is my purpose" is the stuff that builds lives and the satisfaction and happiness that comes when one works in harmony with their true nature and gifts. And as Rev. Dr. Heather Clark pointed to the not so subtle shift between "How do I draw abundance into my life?" as "What is it that wants to be created through me?" The second question draws you into alignment with your greatest good, your greatest expression and therefore your greatest gift.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Listen to the Answer

Listen to the Answer
most people like to talk

Today I had inspiration from one of my favorite people, my hair stylist. She is a talented stylist but what makes her very special is that she is a great listener. She skillfully asks open-ended questions and then truly listens to the answer. (She proves the listening because she asks follow-up questions at the time and even months later.) Today I asked her how she became such a great listener and she said that her clients have interesting lives, and that most people like to talk.

Since I will be speaking about this subject on Sunday, I thought about my relationship with God. I thought that God, as my Divine Guide probably likes to talk too. In fact, I think that Divine Mind is broadcasting 24 hours a day seven days a week. Sometimes I don't get still enough to listen to the answer.

Have you ever asked a question and then not listened to the answer? The truth is most of us have done that at one time or another. I am curious about the reasons one would not listen.

Perhaps we are afraid of the answer. Maybe it will be too hard. Maybe it requires us to do something we are not emotionally, mentally or financially ready to do.

Maybe we have listened to the answer but didn't understand it. Real listening requires comprehension, understanding, awareness. If I asked a question of a

Have you ever asked a question and proceeded to answer it? Sometimes the question is only rhetorical.

I wonder if the same thing happens in meditation. Maybe we have prayed for guidance and then we begin a meditation. The answer is constantly being broadcast but sometimes we make our requests to Divine Mind, simply rhetorical. We don't really expect an answer. Sometimes we get busy and try to fix the thing. Sometimes we simply know what the Divine Mind will say so we either move in that direction or we try something else.

So the answer is to really LISTEN to the answer! And to get clarity if you don't understand fully.

One of my favorite scriptures is1 Corinthians 13:12, King James Version (KJV)

" For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."

What this means to me is that now we see our lives in a distorted way, like looking in a defective mirror, but when we are enlightened we shall see face-to-face. One couldn't have greater clarity than a person-to-person conversation.

It may also be true that we listen with poor reception, but then we will hear exactly what the Universe is saying. Now is the time to really listen to what the Universe is saying. It is leading you home to yourself with love and wisdom. Take your times. get your inner Mr. Fix-it to take a hike. Come with a beginners mind, a fresh mind. Ask for specific answers that cannot be mistaken for something else. Then get still! And listen, really listen for the answer.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sometimes to Open Your Eyes, You Must Close them

Did you enjoy the video? Don't forget to share your thoughts on meditation, life or whatever is on your mind!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I Can't Hear Myself Think

When I was growing up my mom used to say, "It's so loud in here, I can't hear myself think." As a child I thought, "Whatever." Now, as a parent, I totally understand what she was saying.

There are moments, more often than I like, that the noise and busyness of family life are so loud that I can't keep my train of thought. After one particularly noisy trip to the grocery store with all three of my daughters vying for my attention and requesting sweet treats and other extras, I called my mom and told her my tale of woe. I felt on edge and worn out. My mom, in her wisdom and probably remembering similar moments in her parenting experience said, "I'm going to send you a check and I want you to download these meditations. I think they will really help. They have helped me." In her wisdom, my mom was suggesting meditation as a coping strategy and it works! Now I get up every day before every one else to have my 15 minutes of meditation and, on most days, I can, more clearly, "hear myself think."

Funny enough, I'm also a preteen teacher in the Youth Center. I had the opportunity to enlighten the preteens about meditation. Remembering my own preteen "whatever" reaction to my mom's comment about hearing herself think, I asked the kids what they thought when they heard the word "meditation." They responded with:

  • boring
  • sitting still for a long time 
  • eyes closed
  • not fun
  • something adults do 

I told them about Thich Nhat Hanh and his ideas about meditation. In his book "Present Moment, Wonderful Moment," he suggests meditation can be done while walking, washing your hands, driving a car, picking a flower, cleaning the bathroom, and hearing a bell. All we need to do is use the activity to bring our awareness back to the present moment. To pay attention to how the water feels on our hands or the bell sounds in our ears. And, most importantly, to breathe. Meditation can be as simple as one mindful breath.

So, what do you do when life gets so loud that you can't hear yourself think? For families, Thich Nhat Hanh suggests having a bell in a central location in the house. When someone in the family feels like things are getting a little too noisy or chaotic, he or she rings the bell. Upon hearing the sound of the bell, every family member is reminded to stop and take three mindful breaths. Can you spare 30 seconds for three mindful breaths? If that's too hard or you don't think your family would play along, what about three mindful breaths at every red light or when your phone announces a text message has arrived? How could our lives be different if we embraced the concepts of meditation and incorporated them into our everyday moments?

How and when do you practice meditation? What have you noticed? Share your answers with me in the comments!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tibetan Singing bowls: Dharma goes to the west.

Mindfulness through the sound of bells. 

Singing bells have come to the west to be appreciated as a tool of Mindfulness.  Allowing the sound of the bell to fully complete into the silence can center one's thoughts.  This is tool used for many centuries by Tibetan Monks.  Thich Nhat Hanh travels around the world to introduce the bell teaching to the world.  At Deerpark Monastery in Escondido, California, they practice in the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. The following video introduces these teachings of the bells. 

In an 1986 interview with Lama Lobsang Leshe, a Tibet Monk born in Lhasa, Rain Gray, a Tibetan Musicologist, received this answer regarding the West's role in singing bowls. 

Rain Gray: "At this time I'm wondering what is the significance that this singing bowl and this sound is going to the West.  Padmasambhava said that 'When the iron bird flies, the Dharma will be spread to the West.'  So, I've been feeling for many years now that somehow this sound is important for the world because the sound is the sound of the Dharma.  And it carries the Dharma, whether people realize it or not, because in my experience with many types of people, whether Buddhists or non-Buddhists, young people and very old people, everybody is attracted to this sound.  And specifically, they can't exactly say why, but they like to hear this sound.  So this is very appreciated in the Western world. Now that the Dharma is becoming so strong in the Western world my intuitive feeling is that, somehow, this sound has some importance for the world today.

Lobsang Leshe: "Yes, if so Dharma goes to the West, Guru Padmasambhava said that 'Dharma goes to West' means that definitely they have seeds.  Of course, you know, all sentient beings have enlightened beings seeds, nature of Dharma, of Buddha, you know, really.  So, before all teaching is Asia, most teachings in Asia.  So, actually, yes, yes.  Also, Buddha is not in the world now, this world. So many other worlds his presentation now, he's giving teaching.  So, Buddha is not here, but his Dharma is here.  So, singing bowl can give teaching to someone who has the seeds of Dharma.  Each sentient being has many different natures, many different 'ears'.  That's why, yes of course, singing bowl can give you Dharma.  Really have that connection of that Buddha or Shambhala, same you know, really connection of singing bowl or those sounds connection to the Shambhala.  Means singing bowl sound gives you teaching then you can go to Shambhala. That is really the connection.

Connect to your heart through the sound of the bell. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Meditation The Art Of Inner Listening

All of the great world religions contain a mystical or meditative tradition. This tradition emphasizes the importance of daily reflection as a direct method for realizing an unmediated experience of the true nature of existence.

In Buddhism meditation is viewed as the central spiritual practice,   Please meditate on this video by one of my favorite teachers, Jack Kornfield.

Today, I take the time to listen to my inner voice. - Namaste.

Meditation The Art Of Inner Listening
And So It Is! 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Words, Intentions and Transitive Verbs

Set your intention.
All the World's a Stage. You write the text. You pick your transitive verbs.
Words are powerful. We talk about that all the time. The Intention behind our words is just as powerful, maybe more so.

At the Center for Spiritual Living we talk a lot about “Tools for Transformation.” In fact this month is dedicated to Meditation, a primary tool for transformation.

Many moons ago I studied Method Acting both in Seattle and Los Angeles. These were small studios which were experimental in nature and very ‘craft driven.” We were expected to describe and share our techniques.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the use of “transitive verbs.” I think if used properly Transitive Verbs could qualify as a Tool for Transformation.

A Transitive Verb is

“is an action verb that has an object to receive that action.

An example will make this more clear.

Transitive verbs could be:
  • to share good news
  • to correct a mistake
  • to teach a lesson

Now remember we were using these to create drama and conflict. Even comedy is about conflict. I am a bit out of practice now but we used to really have fun crafting especially meaty phrases that appealed to us emotionally.
  • to expose the lie
  • to shame an inferior
  • to incite jealousy [in the other player]

It has to be "doable" and there has to be a direct object, something or someone (usually the other player in the scene) to receive the action. The actor "doing" the action "to" the other character also is looking to see if their action has been fulfilled. The actor is taking on the actions of the character but his "reaction" is an authentic emtional response to fulfilling or not fulfilling an emotionally charged intention.

The goal with this technique is to create an authentic emotional experience.

All of these actions or transitive verbs could be put behind almost any text. Just think about the simple exchange of “thank you” and your imagination will start to think of all that could be put into those words.

The words you choose are not the end all of your communication.
You choose what you do with your words.

Transitive Verbs could be a Tool for Transformation
  • to speak my truth with joy
  • to gently caress a heart that's hurting
  • to share a friend's joy

You can uplift, you can inspire, you can challenge, you can shame, you can celebrate, you can do all these things.

Set your intention? Speak with Care.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

KGOD - Tuning In To The Absolute

I know the Universe is constantly transmitting love, guidance and wisdom. Being receptive and open, I listen and discover all the messages right and perfect for me to align my experience and my expression with Good. And So It Is!

One year ago in October, our Center returned to San Clemente, the city of its birth 45 years ago, with the purchase of a building at the corner of Pico and Vista Hermosa. On Sunday, November 17, at noon we will honor our building donors with the unveiling and dedication of a mural art piece.

Champagne and Hors d'oeuvres will be served, and there will be music. Come celebrate this amazing triple milestone on Sunday, November 17.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Practice Living From Cause and Not Reacting to Effects

This month we are exploring theme of Meditation: The Inner Journey. On Sundays I have shared some techniques and some thoughts about it. As I was contemplating my talk for this Sunday, KGOD, Tuning in to the Infinite, it occurred to me to see what our founder, Ernest Holmes, had to say about meditation.

Dr. Holmes explained how to use the short meditations he wrote which are found in the back of the Science of Mind text. He said, "First, decide which meditation you wish to use; then become quiet and composed. Then carefully read the meditation several times. phrase by phrase, endeavoring to realize the meaning of the words and trying to enter into the atmosphere of the thought. After having done this, meditate upon the words, following that meditation until you feel a sense of realization."

One of the greatest enemies of faith is doubt. I have noticed that when life gets really challenging, some times we doubt the Principle Itself. One of the great early ministers in the Science of Mind movement, Dr. Robert Bitzer, said, "Never abandon Principle, even on a special occasion!" What this means to me, is even when life feels disappointing, disheartening, or disastrous use your mental faculty of will to stay the course. Practice knowing that the Universe is Good and Good only. Practice living from Cause and not reacting to effects.

I would like to share one of Ernest Holmes' meditations.

"Cast Aside All Doubt
Cast aside all doubt, O Soul of mins, and be unafraid, for Thy power is from On High.
He Who sitteth in the heavens shall be Thy champion.
Thou need not fear; Come forth, O Spirit, from within and express Thyself through me and let not my doubts hinder Thy approach. 
My faith shall go forth to meet Thee, and my confidence shall embrace Thee.
My waiting thought shall bid Thee welcome to my house of Love,
And Joy shall accompany us through the ages yet to come.
I lay aside all fear and doubt."

Ernest Holmes
And So It Is

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tips for Making Meditation a Daily Habit

Meditation can often help one see the light through the trees!

So this month our focus is meditation... 

With all of the attention being given to the benefits of this ancient practice, I am reminded how much I enjoy it, and how good I feel when I make the time to do it - which isn't as often as I'd like... I can rattle off a list of excuses about my children's busy schedules and my hours of volunteer work, but that's what they would be: excuses. Interestingly, it's the same list I pull out every time my husband asks me about the gym membership I don't seem to use. 

Thinking of those excuses gave me a bit of an epiphany about meditation and exercise. Beyond being good for my mind, body and spirit, they also represent the idea of ME taking time for ME! I could say that I avoided the gym because of parking hassles, lines for machines, smelly, sweaty people everywhere, blah, blah, blah... but meditation doesn't have any of that. It is easy - I barely have to get out of bed to do it! I had to ask myself what message was I sending if I couldn't even commit to that? Couldn't give myself ten minutes per day? 

So I resolved, for the month of November, to make meditation a daily habit. I listened to Deepak Chopra's video tips, and have been carving out ten minutes each day. I want to tell you that it has been easy, but I will tell you that it has been worth it. I feel so much more centered.

If you haven't made meditation a daily habit, I encourage you to do so. Here are a few tips that might help you:

- Do it first thing in the morning. Set your alarm a few minutes early and start your day with a few minutes of mindful meditation. You will be glad you did! (I tend to be a night person, so I was really surprised by how effective this strategy was for me - it works!)

- Commit to eleven days. Research from Lift, the habit-forming app folks, says that 90% people trying to build the daily meditation habit are likely to be successful if they can manage eleven consecutive days of meditating.

- Just do it! It might feel a little weird at first. Especially for those of us who tend to be - oh I'll just say it: control freaks, ruler-followers, have to do everything just right, over-achievers! That's okay, that's why we're here. There are so many different types of meditation, and different ways to do it, but the whole idea of getting quiet and just sitting runs so counter to our American lifestyle, that it does take some getting used to. So, just tell yourself right now, that it's supposed to feel weird at first, and get comfortable with the silence. Pretty soon, you'll find that the silence is amazing!

- There's an app for that. If you're really struggling with getting comfortable with meditation, or you're brand new to it, it might be helpful to use a guided meditation. You can download files from the internet, or find apps for your phone. There are also some handy apps to help you time your meditation - for $1.99 you can even signal the start and end of your session with Tibetan singing bowls! Of course, you can also use the timer the comes with your phone, for free... 

- Start small. If ten minutes of sitting in silence seems like an eternity, it's okay to start with five (or even two) minutes. What matters is that you start. (If this is the case for you, the guided meditations will really help.)

Here is a great guided meditation from Deepak Chopra on mindfulness to whet your appetite and get you started:

Thanks for reading and Namaste!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sacred space: setting a Spiritual tone.

A sacred space created for meditation.

Completely surrendering in meditation is to become absolutely vulnerable to Spirit.  Many of us have a fear of losing control of our lives; we always want to be in control.  We want to know what to expect out of situations we enter into.  For many of us, being vulnerable can be a cause for anxiety. The unknown can be scary if we are not prepped in advanced.

Liken it, for a moment, to going to a movie.  Many of us are already prepped beforehand, by seeing the trailers, or reading the user comments from movie websites.  We know if it is "worth" seeing based on the reviews.  We go into the theater and expect to see the comedy, drama, or romance that we chose.  We enter the theater, are familiar with the dim lights, the stadium seating, and the comfortability of strangers, all entering this space with a collective thought.  We are in this together.

In meditation, one is to completely surrender thoughts, and allow the stillness to be evoked.  It is a space where the still small voice becomes in tune with the beat of one's heart, with the inhale and exhale of one's breath, and the natural rhythm of one's body.  It is a space where a loss of control is the freedom to one's Soul.  Meditation is a deeply personal experience while entering in a collective Consciousness.  An opening of one's heart so wide, to the vulnerability, where listening is not just about hearing it's about feeling answers. It is a whole body shift, where each cell is affected if one allows themselves to delve deep enough into Spirit.

Being that vulnerable can cause some a sense of resistance.  If one has ever been rejected by another in love, they may be hesitant to be that vulnerable again.  In meditation, vulnerability has no path to rejection.  It only has a path to enlightenment.  If you find yourself in a place of resistance toward meditation, set your mood, create a space for it.  This not only means selecting a space in one's home, with a carefully selected chair, cushion, or alter; it is also to create a space in one's heart for it.  Set the tone, be vulnerable, and just show up to see what happens.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Reframe: Seeing Is A Selective Choice. ~ Chris Orwig

“Sometimes I arrive just when God's ready to have someone click the shutter.” ― Ansel Adams

Photography used to be an elective or a hobby that some of us pursued. Yet, the tide has changed and we are all photographers. Photography isn't optional. Yet, getting good at photography is a choice. And it's an endeavor that is worth pursuing with determination and force.

Because getting better at photography can further your creative output and growth in your work and personal life. In other words, the better photographs you capture, the more you thrive.

Watch the above video on why photography matters and how you can improve your own craft.

Sun, December 8, 3:30pm – 5:30pm Click to sign up!  

Now that you have watched Chris Orwig and his almost metaphysical take on photography I hope that it inspires you to come out and take part in our next installment of San Clemente Connected PhotoWalks

We thought it would be a nice time of year to practice our portraiture skills, so come dressed for the season, be ready to have your picture taken, and to take seasonal pictures of everyone else! (Sunset at 4:42pm)

The Featured photographer this month is San Clemente Pier Bowl local, professional portrait photographer and our Center's very own Juli Isola.  Walk with us and learn some of her great tips to use along the way!

“There are no bad pictures; that's just how your face looks sometimes.”  ― Abraham Lincoln

Monday, November 11, 2013

Namaste Consciousness in San Clemente

We all hold the entire universe within our soul.
Namaste is more than just a greeting we use in yoga class.
Namaste consciousness, a feeling of oneness with all of creation is listed as a side effect of the practice of meditation. Deepak Chopra discusses this quality in Meditation Techniques Demonstrated.

How would your day look different if you set your intention to honor the light, love, truth, beauty and peace of the entire universe in each person you met?

Unification, or Recognition, is the first step in affirmative prayer. "The stronger your statement of recognition the more powerful your treatment will be" shares Dr. John Waterhouse in his book An Introduction to Spiritual Mind Treatment 5 Steps to Freedom   I've come to understand the the Unification step as the motor of affirmative prayer, this is where the muscle is.

Dropping the illusion of separateness brings a new healing consciousness to ourselves and to the entire world. Recognition of the power that runs in us, though us and as us ... and it's not "our thoughts" that gets us there but rather our silence.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Be Still And Know Sunday Service

The Divine calls me daily to come and sit awhile. To listen with an open heart and to know the Presence. Our time together is sacred and necessary. From this perspective of love and peace, my life blooms with infinite possibilities.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

What inspires you?

Recently I was told that our Sunday service no longer inspired some people. That saddens me more than I can say. So I have been thinking about inspiration. I have been thinking that what inspires me may not inspire others. We all have different tastes; we may come from different cultures.

And I continue to think about it. Talent inspires me. Sundays our musicians dish up the best of the best and open our hearts and minds. Tonight I attended Michael Paul Smith's concert. I am inspired. The music inspired me because it was pitch perfect, powerful and passionate. The story of Paul Robeson, so beautifully told by Michael Paul, inspires me. Robeson was one-of-a-kind talent. He lived an amazing life, accomplishing more than any one person could possibly do. Then he was persecuted for saying that he liked Russia. He liked Russia because the Russian people didn't see a black man, they saw an incredible talent! He told the truth about his feelings about Russia when it was unwise for an American to speak favorably about anything Russian. There are a couple of other things that inspire me -- honesty and courage.

Whenever someone overcomes fear to speak what is true for themselves, I am inspired. Thich Nhat Hahn inspires me. Nhat Hahn is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who urged the Vietnamese people to stop the war and get along together. He did so with gentleness and compassion for all the suffering. His country exiled him for many years. I think that is an example of both courage and honesty.

Tonight, our friends, Michael and Joan Evans Fay were bubbling with excitement. Joan has just been accepted into medical school at the All Saints University in the Commonwealth of the Dominica in the Carribbean. Michael says he is excited about a new adventure! Joan says she happy to know her life's path. Congratulations! I am inspired that these two beautiful beings are ready to follow their dreams!

So what inspires me is Spirit. Beauty. Truth. Courage. Peace. Transformation. Love. Life. People Inspire Me.

What inspires you?

Manifesting Stress

Arriving at LAX for our flight
I'm SO tired, I thought, my schedule sucks this week!

As I drove all over God's creation doing last-minute errands, shuffling my kids to T-Ball and soccer, making sure our clothes were clean for our trip to Holland, I was plum-tuckered out...and stressed out. 

My husband had to go out of town for business up until the day we left for Holland. 

Here I was, racing around town "getting things done" for this amazing trip our family manifested, yet, I was cranky with all the things that had to get done before we left.  

What happened to the excitement and gratitude I had only days prior when we miraculously manifested the trip?

What I became aware of was that I had celebrated this manifestation for about five minutes and then I allowed myself to sink into the stress of the tasks that had to get done before we left, rather than staying within the feeling of gratitude....

....and that choice caught up with me in the form of stress.

I chose stress for myself and that energy showed up in my day.

I chose a line at Walmart, which ended up not being the line one would want to be in.  The lady needed a price check. The wait got longer.

I hit every red light in the town of Laguna Niguel.

I ran behind in picking my kids up at school and felt myself sweating as I ran up the hill hoping their teachers were running late in letting them out of the classroom.

My stress created more stressful circumstances in my day.

I came to this awareness and did the one thing that melts it all away....

...I took a breath.

I realized my actions and went to back to gratitude.

I reminded myself that the busyness I was experiencing came from an amazing miracle in my life.

I decided to go back to the gratitude of that miracle.

I remembered the feeling of when it manifested in my life.  

I remembered the excitement.  The laughter.  The genuine gratitude I felt to Spirit for working out the
details of this trip to Holland...

...and then another miracle happened....

....the stress melted away.  

A smile reappeared on my face.

The sweat went away...

...and joy came back into my day.

The miracle of choice was evident again.

I chose joy and then another miracle...

....everything got done.  A miracle, indeed, and then...

....we landed in Holland one hour ahead of schedule (when does that happen in travel now-a-days?)

It does when one chooses joy and allows Spirit to  lead the way.

Today, I choose joy and give thanks for all the ways it shows up.  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Let Your Light Shine!

Have you ever been afraid of your greatness? Of taking the next great step in your career, your creative expression, in love, or the place in your life where your heart is yearning to express? I have. I often marvel at the courage of myself and others when I really do get out of my own way and let my light shine. Let the Holy Spirit shine through me.  For years I had the quote below on my refrigerator so that everyday I would be reminded that maybe my fear wasn't of failure, but of success. I love the idea that I was born to make manifest the glory of God that is within me. To me this means that I glorify God by letting my light shine - by being Me! And, so does everyone else. 

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear
               our presence automatically liberates others.

-Marianne Williamson as quoted by Nelson Mandela in his 1994 Inaugural Speech)

When you let your light shine, you change the world. You make it a better place for yourself and everyone else. So go ahead, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Gayatri Mantra: Sacred Chants

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Mantra Meditation Journey

I was first introduced to the music of Deva Premal and Miten at Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City, California. The melodic sounds were so sacred and inviting, the music definitely had the presence of Spirit. 

Recently, Deval Premal and Miten have taken to social media to introduce 21 day mantra meditation journeys. After the first journey was was so successful in April 2013, they introduced another in September 2013. The mantra chants are sanskrit chants that are steeped in such a devotion, just speaking the chants aloud, without knowing the meaning shifts Consciousness. Once the understanding of the meanings of the words are revealed, an even deeper shift can occur. 

The Gayatri Mantra is a devotional Hindu prayer. According to, "If you are new to Hinduism and want to know at least one prayer, this is the prayer you should learn."

Om Bhur Buvaha Suvaha

Thath Savithur Varenyam

Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi

Dhiyo Yonaha Prachodayath

"The Gayatri mantra (Vedic prayer to illuminate the intelligence) is a sacred mantra that demonstrates the unity that underlies manifoldness in creation. It is through the recognition of this unity that we can understand the multiplicity".

"The Gayatri Mantra is said to be the oldest and most powerful of mantras, being thousands of years old. It purifies the person chanting it as well as the listener as it creates a tangible sense of well being in whoever comes across it. Translated, it means "May all beings on earth reach enlightenment," but as with all mantras, the meaning of the Sanskrit words isn't as important as the effect the vibrations of the words have on the body and energy centers."

Deva states, "My father has been on the spiritual path since the 50's, studying Yoga, spiritual scriptures and whatever books were available then, making it his daily discipline to meditate every morning between 3 and 5 a.m. He taught himself Sanskrit and began chanting mantras. When my mother was pregnant with me, their welcome was to sing the Gayatri Mantra throughout the pregnancy.
As I grew up we continued to chant the Gayatri Mantra together regularly before sleep. I didn't really know what I was singing... and why. I just did it because I was told to. It wasn't until much later that I came to appreciate these precious times."
In 2005, Deva's father made his transition at the age of 83, and accompanied by the Gayatri Mantra

Deva writes:"I feel so grateful that I could be there until the moment of his death. We were singing the Gayatri Mantra to him until the end and so the circle is complete: He accompanied the beginning of my life with it and I the ending of his. I am also very touched by my they were all joining Miten and I with the singing for him and how we are totally in tune with each other about how to deal with everything now..."

Enjoy your meditation today accompanied by the Gayatri Mantra


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What Peaceful Coexistence Means

We can make clear what peaceful coexistence means. It means living in peace and friendship with another kind of society--a fully integrated society where the people control their destinies, where poverty and illiteracy have been eliminated, and where new kinds of human beings develop in the framework of a new level of social living. ~ Paul Robeson
Paul Robeson
Paul Robeson
Paul Robeson, with his rich, resonant bass-baritone voice, is one of the most well-known and well-loved vocalists and actors of the 20th century. Among his famous performances are Shenandoah, Goin' Home, Goin' Home, and Ol' Man River.

But perhaps more fascinating are the man's accomplishments. Born in 1898, the son of former slaves, Robeson won an academic scholarship to Rutgers University, where he became an All-American football player and class valedictorian. He earned his law degree from Columbia University while playing professional football.

Michael Paul Smith
Michael Paul Smith
Michael Paul Smith has toured throughout the United States, Germany, Italy, Austria, Japan and China. His musical biography is eclectic, and includes spirituals, rhythm and blues, musical theater and opera. Smith has performed as Papageno in Mozart's Magic Flute, Sharpless in Puccini's Madama Butterfly, and Porgy in Gershwin's Porgy and Bess.

Michael Paul Smith - A Tribute to Paul Robeson November 8, 7:30 - 9:30 p.m.
He has been performing and crafting A Tribute to Paul Robeson for a number of years.
This performance will include music and spoken word from throughout Robeson's life.
Cost: Love offering donation; Child care available
Information: 949.240.6463

Monday, November 4, 2013

Meditation: Am I doing this right?

Could 20 minutes a day change your life? This Sunday Rev. Ann Ronan shared that a Buddhist nun who was also a Physicist shared with her that 20 minutes of meditation a day could transform a life. Rev. Ann never forgot that.

November begins our theme of Meditation.

I am a fairly recent convert to the practice of meditation and I must admit that I am always wondering if I am "doing it right." I also sometimes wonder if I "should" be doing it ... after all there's work to be done, kids to keep track of, laundry to do and the never ending list of things that need cleaning.

I've heard that Ghandi would meditate extra on busy days ... then I muse that Ghandi didn't have a two year old ... and I'm no Ghandi afterall.

So when Meditation Techniques Demonstrated by Deepak Chopra was shared at our service yesterday I was all ears. I came home and replayed the video to absorb even more.

What is Meditation?
Is it to handle stress? Is is to tune out? Is it to get away from it all? Deepak has a way of clarifying these seemingly esoteric ideas for us.

Deepak shares that meditation is to tune in, to get in touch with yourself, not to just destress but to find peace within yourself. To get into the space between your thoughts.

To get into the space between my thoughts?

"according to wisdom traditions this space between thoughts is the window, is the corridor, is the vortex to the Infinite Mind, The Mystery, that some people call it The Spirit of God ... it's your core consciousness." 

What does Deepak think I am going to find 
in the space between by thoughts?

  1. a field of Infinte Possiblities
  2. that Everything is connected to everything else
  3. Infinite Creativity & Infinite Imagination
  4. Observer Effect or the Power of Intension
He basically says that meditation is where we connect with God, where we connect with our own spirit, our own potential.

Directions for a Healing Meditation or How to Cure a Migraine

Sit comfortably on a chair or couch, sit up, no slouching, support your posture with a pillow if necessary, don't cross your legs and leave your hands in a receptive position. 

Deepak goes on to ask that you say out loud "I AM ... I AM ... I AM" This is a mantra. It is a tool, a tool to connect with yourself and to displace the thoughts that crowd your mind, to draw you back to your center when that monkey mind starts in. Then you bring the mantra into your inner voice.

I encourage you to listen to the entire video. I did the healing meditation at our Sunday service and I actually did feel a huge improvement in my lower back following the meditation. Deepak shared that this technique can also head off a migraine. How wonderful is that!

The Power of Intension or 
Meditation and The Law of Attraction

"Intention in this space is very powerful and orchestrates it's own fulfillment."

Deepak clarifies that "positive thinking" will cause stress if you're trying to force it. He says "It's more important to quiet your mind and see your intensions." 

Fill your heart with gratitude and ask your heart "What is it that I want?"

And listen for the answers. I can do that.