Testify!

There are those moments in time which stay with you and inspire you throughout your life. One of those moments for me was the day I first heard the song Testify to Love by Avalon. I was watching an episode of Touched by an Angel about a young boy who was dying and his last wish was that his mom would finish a song she had started writing. She finished the night he died. The lyrics to this song always remind me of the importance of giving thanks for all the goodness in our loves. Whether it is, as the song says, the colors of the rainbow, the voices of the wind, or the simple acts of mercy, it is important to give thanks.
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Have you broke free?

When you look back across time, one finds a trail of people who have broke loose from the shackles that were on their body, mind, and soul. They broke loose from society’s expectations of them and societal norms. They had a vision of what they were to do, took a leap of faith, and have contributed to the change they wanted to see in the world. They did as Ghandi had suggested and became the change they wanted to see in the world.
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Loving my “enemies”

Most people I know, when they think about their “enemies,” do not talk about loving them. What if we did though? What if we put our “enemies” on the top of our prayer list and blessed them? Why is it that every faith tradition in the world teaches one to love their “enemies”? Is there even an “enemy?” Iyanla Vanzant once wrote about being grateful for those who got on your last nerve. I could not agree more. I have learned so much from those I had once considered my “enemies.”
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Re-spect Yourself!

It is funny how things from different aspects of your life lead you to the same place in different ways. For example, I was looking at a friend’s facebook page and she had a link to Aretha Franklin singing respect. I was enjoying her sing this song and remembering when she first recorded it. While I could not remember any of the other lyrics, I could remember her singing RESPECT find out what it means to me. I have always thought of the word respect as it has been traditionally defined. I had been taught that when you hold someone in esteem or honor, then you are respecting him or her. Sometimes we can use the word to talk about how we show regard or consideration for someone’s rights. If I asked most people to define respect, my guess is that is how they would define or think about that term.
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Satyagraha

Recently, someone told me they had read something I had written a few years ago asking people to talk or write about what they believe. They said they had never read my what I believe statement. While I have written it out before, what I believe is ever evolving as I evolve. Over the course of my life, I have come to develop some fairly simple, but powerful beliefs that guide my life. What I believe has been influenced by what I learned while attending Hebrew School, growing up in a Jewish home, my study of scripture, and my readings. Probably most influential in my life has been the writings of a diversity of sacred texts, Ghandi, and don Miguel Ruiz.
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Removing the ASS before U and ME.

Growing up I remember hearing my parents and other adults say “When you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME.” For the last 18 months, I have been working on no longer making assumptions in my life. I am not even sure that in the beginning I realized how often I made assumptions. I knew that I like so many people made assumptions. However, it was not until I consciously began to work on not making them that I realized how often I did. I began to realize how many times I made assumptions about the little things in people’s lives. It really hit me one day when I was having coffee with a few of my students and they began talking about a couple at a table near us and creating this whole life about them just by looking at them.
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Which way are you leaning?

Several decades ago, a 5-year-old boy named Mikey taught me a very important lesson about emotions. It is one of those lessons, which keeps being brought back to me. I have been reminded of it a number of books that I have read and then again today as I was reading my selection in Denise Linn’s Soul Coaching. The lesson is to lean into the experience, not lean away from it. See all too often when we are going through a challenging time, or a situation that is difficult or causing us discomfort, we tend to lean away from our feelings and emotions. We try to move away from what we are feeling. We try to move away from the pain, the anger, the fear, the discomfort. So rather then feel these emotions, we try to move away from them into a place of constructed neutrality and calm
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Want to lose weight?

There is hardly a person I talk to these days who does not think about their weight. How can you not? On the one hand, we have all these food shows (which I love btw) that tell you to stay hungry and keep cooking and diet commercials that try to sell you THE diet to follow to maintain that perfect figure while they even cook for you. As a result the diet industry in our country is growing at an exponential rate even in what we have been told is a struggling economy. Yet, how many of us are carrying around excess emotional and spiritual poundage and do not ever consider taking some of that weight off.
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I do more then get by with a little help for my friends.

Recently someone asked me if I had a favorite scripture in the Old or New Testament. I remember feeling this smile creep on my face because I do. It is from Romans 12:2 – “do not conform to the ways of this world, but be transformed in it through the renewing of your mind.” It is so easy to conform to the ways of this world. It seems like everything we are taught from the moment we are born is about helping us to conform to the ways of this world. However, all the ancient wisdom texts I have read, including the New Testament have told me to be counter cultural. The message that has come to me repeatedly is transform; do not conform. This is so much easier said then done.
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Staying Conscious

The other day, someone said “this spiritual evolution stuff is hard work. Sometimes I just want to go back to the way I was, it was so much easier.” I had to giggle because I totally agreed with her. It is so easy to just go through life and not think about what we say or do or why. I remember the days when I did not worry about what I did or said and didn’t think about what I really meant by that or the message I was giving off. Or the days when I was not thinking about what emotion was ruling my response? Or whether I was responding or reacting? But then I stop and think about how unhappy I was, how messed up my life appeared to be, how I felt as if I were on an emotional roller coaster. There were times I felt as if I was trapped on one of those revolving doors. No matter how much I said things were going to be different, I found myself doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results. Oh wait, isn’t that what Einstein called insanityJ. Evolving spiritually means that we cannot zone out through life. We cannot hit the snooze alarm on our lives. We have to remain awake and conscious. When we are conscious, we can listen to our intuition.
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Courage’s friend: Compassion

If courage were a person, how would you describe them? Ruth Gendler described courage as having “roots. She sleeps on a futon on the floor and lives close to the ground. Courage looks you straight in the eye. She is not impressed with powertrippers and she knows first aid. Courage is not afraid to weep and she is not afraid to pray, even when she is not sure who she is praying to. When Courage walks it is clear that she has made the journey from loneliness to solitude. The people who told me she is stern were not lying, they just forgot to mention that she is kind. Courage is what was hiding inside the king/queen of the forest and what lives inside each of us.
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It’s pay attention time!

When I was pastoring, I always found it difficult to get people to pay attention to the announcements. I think most pastors would tend to agree with me. One day, when I was trying to read the announcements, one of the young visitors to our church stood up and told the adults it was pay attention time. Two things about that morning have stayed with me. One was the effect of those words on the congregation that morning; people actually focused their attention on the announcements that day. The other was the power of that young woman who reminded us all that we have to pay attention to everything, including the announcements. The last several months, I have remembered how important it to pay attention to everything in my life. By paying attention to my feelings, especially my reactions, I can see where I have grown and where I still need to evolve spiritually.
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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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Stop Snoozing

A few days ago, I received an email from someone thanking me for my last post. This individual needed the reminder that we have the power to make changes in our life. As I thought about this email, it made me think about what keeps us from making those changes. It seems that so many of us know what we want or need to change in our lives. Most of us even know how to make that change happen in our lives. Yet despite all this, we make excuses as to why we cannot make those changes now or make the decision we will make that change in three days. The only problem was that often times those three days turn into three decades.
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