A is for the A’s

Lately, others have invited me to participate in some interesting blogging challenges. This week was no different. For the next 26 weeks, I will be blogging my way through the alphabet. When I asked some of our Facebook and Twitter followers for some A words as inspiration for this week’s blog, you offered me appreciation, awareness, agreements, attitude, asparagus, and anchovies, in no specific order. While the last two might seem a stretch in terms of this particular reflection, the more I thought about these letter words, the more I realize that they were, in their own unique way, related. One of our followers suggested the word appreciation because she said she appreciated everything Inspiritual does for our readers, members, and followers. While we too appreciated the feedback, I realized that being able to be grateful and appreciate someone else’s actions, words, or behaviors was in part about awareness and attitude. If one is not have an attitude of gratitude about the blessings in one’s life, then one cannot appreciate the fullness and richness of those blessings.
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Transformation Lessons

The other morning our love and inspiration group had a powerful conversation about how prayers are answered. In the midst of sharing stories, I was reminded of how the universe directs energy where our attention and intention goes. The universe has a way of helping us tap into the power and gifts we already have in an interesting way. Let me explain. About ten years ago, shortly after I had started seminary, I was praying God would help me become a more forgiving person. I had always thought I was forgiving, but about that time I had come to realize there were a few people, one in particular, I was not quite able to forgive. I had said I wanted to forgive them, but never seemed to get to the space I could forgive this individual. A few days later, a fellow student at the seminary asked if he could borrow my car. To make a long story short, he wound up “renting” my car for drug money.
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Judging Others is Judging Self

I have been rereading sections of a book from last month’s Spirituality Book Club called Dancing with your Dragon by Shaeri Richards. One section made me realize that when I judge others I am really judging myself. Shaeri shares the story about how she could have so easily gotten into an argument with her husband over whether or not her butt was looking too big. As she wrote about it, this was a no win situation for him, because no matter what he said it was not going to be what she needed to hear. Even if he said of course not dear, she would not believe him. How she heard how he answered this question was all about her, and had very little to do with him.
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What are you aligned with?

Michael Beckwith once wrote, “The daily headlines describe a global culture that has been cur off from the soul.” One need not look farther then the headlines on any form of news media for stories about violence, whether it is overt, subtle, verbal, physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual. We manifest violence through our words, actions, and thoughts. Violence is associated with power, either the misuse of the power one has or an attempt to feel powerful in a world where they have felt disempowered. Violence can be individual or structural. We hear about individual violence in stories of wars, abuse, neglect, murders, rapes, bombings, terrorism, etc.
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To agree or not agree, that is the question.

So here is my question for this week? What are you choosing to agree to and what are you choosing not to agree to any more? I have been spending a lot of time the last several months, well maybe years now, reflecting on what I agree to and what I use to agree to and no longer do and what I don’t agree with. Perhaps what got me thinking about this recently are conversations with my students, who even at the beginning of the semester, are comparing themselves to others in the class and assuming that they are inferior to their peers. What I have been saying, well actually typing, as this is an online class, is that you have to agree you are less and that someone else is more to feel inferior. Others may treat you as if you are inferior, but unless you agree that you are inferior, you are not. How many times in your life have others tried to make you feel inferior? Ok, now how many times have you agreed with them in your mind? How many times have you told yourself that you are not enough of something or too much of something?
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No more erasing.

It was late last night, well maybe not so late, when I saw this commercial on television for this new erase stick (really not so new), which is supposed to erase all the “imperfections” from under and around women’s (not men’s) eyes and make women look years younger and healthier. I remember trying those “erase sticks” when I was younger and they never quite “erased” your “imperfections.” What makes them “imperfections” anyway? That is another reflection. However, watching the commercial made me think about how so often when we want to evolve spiritually and transform our lives, we are looking for the “erase stick,” which we can run over those aspects of our life and somehow make them invisible and make us appear as if we are spiritually healthier then we really are.
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Commercials, Wolves, and The Four Agreements.

A week or so ago, I got an email from someone who asked me if I really practiced what I teach. Yes! So I thought I would share one of those moments with you. If you have been around me for any length of time, you know there are a few things I ask or say. One phrase is make it a commercial, not a documentary. Another is which wolf are you feeding? Does this fit with the four agreements? For those of you who are wondering what I am talking about, here is my cheat sheet. The Four Agreements is a book by Don Miguel Ruiz and the agreements in a nutshell are this: 1. be impeccable with your words – do not say anything negative about yourself or others 2. Don't take anything personally. – It’s only about you if you make it about you. 3. Don't make assumptions. – seek clarification and make sure you both understand each other. 4. Always do your best. YOUR best, not what I think is your best, but your best at any moment, knowing your best can change from moment to moment.
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“Word” and “word”

The first agreement in Miguel don Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements, is to be impeccable with your words. It took me a few reads of his book, to notice this, but he uses both the word “word” and “Word.” For me, there is a real difference between being impeccable with my Word and being impeccable with my words. My words are what I say. They are the things that come out of mouth when I am speaking to others or myself. They can be also be words that I write, or probably more accurately these days, type. They come together to form sentences, paragraphs, and pages. They are what I use to express my opinion, to comment on a situation, to express what is going on in my mind, and to communicate to my students what it is that I want them to accomplish in a course. Sometimes, I use my words to come together in writing of poetry. I make up words such as sistahpastahhomegurl, which worked well in a poem I wrote for a friend and colleague of mine a few years ago.
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Becoming the artist of my life.

One day, on my Facebook page, I wrote, “we are the artists of our lives. If we do not like the way our creation is coming together, we have the power to change it. Each artist must find their own way, their own medium, their own tools, and their own inspiration.” This post generated an interesting discussion with a few people regarding being an artist, awareness, and perfection.
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