One thing begets another. Fear begets fear. Love begets love. Hate begets hate. Hope begets hope. Sometimes we get so caught up in the process of begetting fear that we forget we have the power to beget hope. Then something will happen and we will be able to find our way back to being hopeful and being able to give hope to others. This is the lesson behind a story I read in a book by R. Wayne Willis called Hope Notes.
"There's an old Egyptian story about a little boy named Miobi who came to a village where the people were very strange Read More
As many of you know, the theme for March has been about being present and the theme for April is about compassion. This week, I decided to talk about something which blends these two spiritual practices together. Being still is about being present and sometimes being present means that we have to be compassionate with ourselves as well as others.
Those who know me, know that being still is not something I do easily. I am generally always doing something. However, I am intentional about taking time in the morning to meditate, sit, and be still! Read More
About this time last year, I was reminded of a story I had heard once about how the difference between evolving and revolving is an R. When we keep doing or believing the same thing repeatedly, then we are not evolving. It is as if we are trapped in one of those revolving doors, which we often see in department stores. We are just revolving through life and not evolving.
Part of this revolving is our inability to put closure to things in our life. Whether it is putting closure to an old job or an old relationship, if we do not put closure to the feelings and situation, then it follows us with us into the next situation or relationship. Sometimes we need to put closure to some of the beliefs we grew up with in our lives. As we grow and evolve, what we believe also changes. These beliefs only have power over us as long as we agree they are true and give them power in our lives. When we realize they no longer need to reside in our minds, we can say to them, “you are no longer true” and put closure to that part of our belief system. Read More
When I was intentionally beginning my personal healing work, the writer my therapist was using and encouraging all clients to read was the work of John Bradshaw, author of Home Coming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child. This book discusses how the process of healing your wounded inner child is one of grief, and it involves these six steps. The first of these six steps is trust.
The person we most need to trust in our lives is ourselves. In order for us to begin our own healing process (emotionally, mentally, physically, or spiritually); we must begin by trusting ourselves. For many people, our wounded inner child is in hiding. That wounded part does not trust others and to some extent does not even trust the older version of who we are. To keep themselves safe, they learned to hide until they could find someone who would be a supportive and non-shaming ally. Read More
Forgiving others is one thing. Forgiving ourselves is another. It seems as if every day I become mindful of yet another piece of poison, as Don Miguel Ruiz would call them, that I somehow internalized as a child and have been living with for decades. The lies were all a part of my domestication to the planet. As we evolve and grow, we become mindful of those lies which we no longer agree to and which we must replace in our lives.
Removing them from our lives is one part of the process of healing and evolving. The other part is forgiving ourselves for internalizing them in the first place. Most of these lies, we may not have even realized were lies when we first internalized them. We just ate them because we were told they were good for us. Read More
As I look around the world I see so many people in need, but unable to ask for help. I also have become aware that I have gone through phases in my life when I have had trouble asking for help. There seems to be two reasons people have a hard time accepting help. One is that they think it is going to make them look week or vulnerable. The other is the illusion that people who appear to be successful in what they do, never ask for help.
Asking for help does not make one appear weak. Asking for help creates an atmosphere of environment. Asking for help not only creates an opportunity for others to feel blessed, but for people to empower themselves. Read More
Someone I know once told me they would rather be in a relationship, which was abusive and miserable, then be alone. The other day someone told me how being alone was the scariest time in their life. Increasingly, I am encountering people who would rather be around people who they do not like, then be alone. So what has made being alone such a thing to be feared? The question I asked both of them was what is it that you see in yourself when you are alone that makes it feel better to be treated badly by someone else? What they both said was that it was not about them, but that they did not want to be alone. What I have come to realize over the course of my life is that until we can be alone with ourselves, we cannot be present with anyone else.
There is a difference between desiring someone to cuddle with at night. There is nothing wrong with wanting to share a meal or talk with someone over a glass of wine or cup of coffee. Part of who we are as human beings is the desire to commune with others, to communicate and seek companionship and camaraderie. However, it can be unhealthy to avoid the sacred nature of being alone because one is scared to spend time communing with one’s self. Read More
Everything we say and do in our lives is about choice. Our thoughts, words, and behaviors are all actions. It is through these actions that we create our stories, our belief systems, our perceptions of others, and contribute to others engagement in our dream and the dream of the planet, as don Miguel Ruiz argues. . The dream of the planet is “What Toltecs call the combined energetic structure of beliefs, rules and concepts that all the humans on our planet simultaneously dream and project onto our conjoined reality.” (Rosenthal, 2005, p. 321) Read More
I have long believed that the opposite of love is fear and as a friend once told me fear is false evidence appearing real. Love is real, fear is not. Fear just appears real. Yet fear is like a self propagating weed which seems to take over an entire yard. It continues to keep coming back until you are able to dig them up by their roots and permanently remove them.
The soil in which our fear is planted is in our mind. Our mind is like fertile ground where these weeds exist until we have stalked them down to their roots and removed them. We have a choice as to whether we plants weeds of fear or seeds of love in our minds. When we are impeccable with our word, which is the first agreement in Toltec Wisdom, then our mind is no longer fertile ground for weeds of fear; it is only fertile for seeds of love. Read More
finally reached the last three letters of the alphabet, X, Y, and Z. there are
probably less words beginning with the letter X then any other letter in the
alphabet. However, the word, which seemed to grasp my attention this week, was
xenophobia: According to the Merriam Webster dictionary,
xenophobia is “the fear
and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.” Read More
As human beings, we are all prone to struggle with things; most of our struggles are of our own making. We are prisoners to a whole host of things but the source of our struggles is closer than many of us would like to admit. For many of us our prison cells contain bars of fear, doubt, worry, and lack. We constantly worry about what somebody might say, might do, what might happen. We let our fears about the unknown, the uncertain rule our lives. We doubt whether we are good enough for someone or something, if we have what it takes to do what we feel called to do, doubt that we know what it is that the Infinite wants us to do, doubt whether or not the Creator loves us just as we are, doubt that there would be room for us at the inn. We worry about all kinds of things, we worry about our bodies, how we look in our clothes, if people are going to like us, if we going to be able to pay our bills this month, how we are going to get someplace, car issues, job issues, health issues, and relationship issues Read More
This may not be about what you are thinking, but only you will know that as I have no idea what you are thinking. That is the very kind of ghost I am talking about. I can think I know what you are thinking, but what I think only exists in my mind. What you think I am thinking only exists in your mind. It is as if we are surrounded by beings, which exist as we create them to exist. They play a role and function in our minds. How I think about them, and how I relate to them, is about me. How they exist or do not exist in your mind is about you. Don Miguel Ruiz talked about these beings as ghosts that exist in our mind; it is as if there is a ghost town, which lives in our minds. Read More
Perhaps one of the most important qualities in spiritual growth is courage. Courage is what enables us to move through our fears rather then cover them up. Michael Kimmel, a sociologist and leader in Men’s Studies, illustrated one way even our youth have learned to cover up their fears. He said the easiest way to start a fight is to walk on to a playground and ask which one of the kids playing is gay. The fear of anyone thinking you are gay is enough to provoke an all out effort to prove their masculinity, and to demasculate others. There are aspects of our personality, which we are supposed to cover up. We are not supposed to show weakness, especially men. “Are you a baby?” Read More
During our love and inspiration gathering on Sunday, April 1st one of the women in our gathering suggested that on the 8th (Easter Sunday for those who celebrate Easter) we have a dinner instead of our morning gathering. With the group’s enthusiastic approval, as well as my wife’s endorsement pending my willingness to make my baked ham and seven cheese mac and cheese, we agreed to do so. Shortly after some of our guests arrived and the abundance of food was on the table, one of our guests received a call from a family member in crisis and she needed to call 911. Our guests responded in different ways. One woman asked me for assistance with 911. Another began crying because it stimulated some of her past behavior. A third one felt helpless because she was not sure how to help her niece. Read More
This past week, I have had a chance to talk with a wide diversity of people with differing attitudes about life. Some of them seem to be living in a garden where life is blooming and others seem to be living in a minefield where they are waiting for the next bomb in life to go off. So where are you living? Are you living in a garden, a minefield, or a prison?
Minefields are loaded with bombs hidden under the terrain. When one steps on a mine, you can be blown up by bombs of worry, doubt, fear, lack, and limitation. Read More
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. Read More
For the last few weeks, I have been reading Pema Chodron’s book Taking the Leap. It is about releasing old habits and fears. There is a section in her book when she talks about unconditional friendliness with ourselves. it is about changing the way we think about things. rather then seeing things as a burden, we need to see them as a gift. Rather then punishing ourselves for something that has happened in our lives, we can begin to focus on the lessons learned. Are we looking at the negative aspect of a situation or the positive. it is amazing how we keep ourselves living in a state of suffering and drama rather then choosing a mindset that allows us to live in a state of evolution and grace.
Her reflection on developing a deeper relationship with one’s self reminded me of an epiphany I had once while reading Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements. Read More
During Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first inaugural address, we made a statement that many people still remember today. He said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” It would be nice if I could say that one could go through one’s life without ever experiencing fear. However, that would not be realistic. What is important to remember is that we can use fear as a way of evolving. Read More