Looking at the title of my blog for today, some of you might be thinking it looks like a mathematical formula. Let me see if I can walk us through this mathematical expression. Metamorphosis is the transformation that occurs in some animals as they move from one state of being to another, like from a caterpillar to a butterfly. Over the course of our lives, we have been in the process of our own transformation, physically and spiritually.
There is a scripture in the New Testament Book of Romans which tells us quite simply do not conform to this world, but be transformed in it by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect. Paul’s words challenge us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Read More
What a difference an R can make. It made me think about the story I was once told 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 have often seen in a department store. We are just revolving through life and not evolving.
It is reassuring to remember we do not have to believe in or agree to the same things for our entire lives. As we grow and evolve, what we believe should also change. What we believe is in our minds. Those beliefs only have power over us as long as we agree that they are true and give them power in our lives. When we realize they no longer need to reside in our mind, then we can say to them, “you are no longer true” and release them from our Book of Law. Read More
My wife and I have several restoration projects that have been on our things to do list for a long time, some of them years. It is not that we do not have the dream of restoring them, we just have not begun the work of doing so. As I have been thinking about the process of transformation, it dawned on me it was like getting to those projects we have not tackled yet.
The hardest part is getting started and saying today we ARE going to begin work on this project. Our friends have told us the first thing we need to do is strip all the layers of paint and coatings off of the piece we want to refinish. We need to strip it down to the bare wood. We are going to have to strip away all the years of dirt, layers of pain, varnish and anything else that might be on it. Doing so is a lot of work, so we need to really think about how seriously we want to do this. Once we start, then we have to be intentional about getting rid of all the layers and getting to the solid wood that is underneath all these layers. Read More
I had been sitting here all week thinking about what to write about love and then my friend Eileen Hooper McConville posted something on Facebook that took me back to a song about love that has lived in my heart for about 14 years. I remember the first day I heard this song. I was sitting at home curled up in front of my television, well actually a friends, watching an episode of Touched by an Angel. It was an episode where a young boy Petey was working through his bucket list so that he could die in peace. The last thing on his list was a wish that his mother finish a song she had started when he was born. In the episode, she called it Psalm 151. Avalon, who recorded it, called it Testify to Love.
Here are the lyrics and the video to the song Read More
Recently, a friend shared a song called Secrets with me. It is sung by Mary Lambert. She begins the song by acknowledging some of her secrets, some of what some might call her dark side. The parts of ourselves that we do not always want to like or own. As Lambert says,
“They tell us from the time we're young
To hide the things that we don't like about ourselves
We are all aware of our dark side. We know when we have had dark thoughts, dark actions, or dark behaviors. I can remember in my own life thoughts, actions, and behaviors that I am not proud of. Like Lambert sings, I was taught to hide those secrets inside myself.” Hiding our secrets, our shadows, our dark aspects only strengthens the power of the darkness in our life. Read More
Have you ever had the privilege of watching something transform before your eyes. Perhaps you did not see this transformation immediately, but slowly and over time. This morning, I was reading a selection from Mark Neepo’s book The Book of Awakening. In his reflection for today, he wrote:
I recently learned that the first form of pencil was a ball of lead. Having discovered that lead, if scratched, would leave markings, people then wrestled with large chunks of the stuff in an attempt to write. Through the work of many, the chunks were eventually shaped into a useable form that could fit the hand. The discovery became a tool.
I am humbled to confess after a lifetime of relationship that love is no different. Be it a lover or a friend or a family member, the discovery of closeness appears in our life like a ball of lead – something that is wrestled with, will leave markings by which we can understand each other.
But this is only the beginning. The work of love is to shape the stuff of relationships into a tool that fits our hands. With each hardship faced, with each illusion confirmed, with each trespass looked at and owned, another piece of the chunk is whittled and love begins to become a sacred tool.
When truth is held in compassionate hands, the sharpness of love becomes clear and not hurtful.
I have a dear friend, who I may never meet, who lives in
Australia. I love Jane because it seems as if whenever I am thinking about her
I get an email from her. The other day was no different. I was thinking about
what I wanted to share about empowerment and how you can empower yourself, when
up pops an email from Jane. She was at fair where her daughter-in-law had a
booth when she came upon a booth “run by Ben Lee. He is a very famous
Australian musician but resides in the US.” Ben’s booth was about Handmade
Postcard Making: The purpose of this booth was to help “combat spiritual
amnesia. Send yourself an important truth that you forget too often. A friendly
reminder from your Self to your self.” He invited people “to take stock, think
about your truth and what needs some work? Whatever it is, own it. Write it
down. Make a postcard and send it to yourself as a reminder of what you have
decided to let go of.” She thought this sounded like me and something we could
do here at Inspiritual. Read More
For the last several months, in our newsletter, I have been writing about the metamorphosis type transitions we undergo when we are faced with a major life transition. Metamorphosis is not easy, not simple, and the process is filled with challenges. Metamorphosis is the process a caterpillar undergoes, as it becomes a butterfly. Metamorphosis is not about being a caterpillar or a butterfly, but the journey from caterpillar to butterfly. Metamorphosis brings about a dramatic change in character or appearance of those who go through it. Metamorphosis is about evolution. It is about rebirth. It is about transformation. It is about conversion. It is about making corrections at any point in time in your life. It is about remolding, realigning, and readjusting to what the Divine is calling you to become next in your life. It is about the willingness to take quantum leaps in your life and make total changes, often times radical and sudden. Are you ready? Read More
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. Read More
When I taught Sunday School to youth, which now seeks multiple reiterations of my life ago, I talked with the children about being a FROG. This was an acronym for being Fully Reliant On God. So often, even as adults, we need to be reminded of the need to be receptive each moment to our connection to the Divine. Amazing things happen in our lives when we stay Fully Reliant on the Divine/God/Higher Power.
As a child, we used to play Leap Frog. Sometimes we would leap forward in baby leaps. Read More
Are you ready to activate your DNA? When I ask about activating your DNA, I am not asking about your genetic DNA, but your spiritual DNA. We are far more then our genetic coding. Our genetic coding also contains spiritual coding from the Divine buried within us, like a treasure in a clay jar. It has always been there waiting for us to choose to connect with it, cultivate it, activate it, and express it in our lives. While our genetic DNA makes us candidates for all kinds of traits in our lives, our spiritual DNA makes a perfect candidate for enlightenment and transformation. Those qualities and traits will lay dormant in us until we choose to activate them. We are the ones who have to choose to engage in a spiritual journey. Until we do, our spiritual DNA lies dormant. Read More
It is funny how the universe confirms things for you. I woke up the other morning with this song by Avalon in my heart, called “New Day.” Over the next two days, the conversations between friends and I, and friends and others were all about how today is a new day. The reality is that today is a new day and each moment is a new moment. Each second is a new second. As Alice Walker once wrote, “we are never the same river twice.” Each moment in our lives is a new moment and each day is a new day. The chorus to Avalon’s song says,
It's a new day
Oh, it's a new time
And there's a new way
I'm gonna live my life
All the old has, passed away
And the new has come
Thank God, It's a brand new day Read More
Yesterday, I was challenged to do something I had not done in a while and that was to be mindful of what I said and what I thought. Denise Linn calls this being a sacred observer. Miguel don Ruiz uses a similar exercise in which he has you write down all those thoughts that float through your head. So often, we are not aware of the language of our thoughts. Even when we do not speak language that is disempowering, we may think it. It is a humbling experience when you observe your speech and thought patterns.
One of the things I wrote about in my process journal about being a sacred observer yesterday was how even others conversations can bring up disempowering and negative thoughts in our minds, especially when they trigger unhealed wounds. Read More
It really doesn’t matter what faith tradition you explore. When I look across ancient wisdom writings and contemporary writings on spirituality, I find myself coming across some very basic and simple teachings about loving one’s self. Over the last few years, I have been making notes about things I have learned to do and am working on doing in my life to bring myself to that place of unconditional self-love. The other day, I started organizing some of my notes, part of my spring cleaning ritual, and realized I had a whole list of lessons I had learned about how to be more loving of myself. I could probably write a whole book on this, so I thought I would share a few of the highlights J Read More
Each of us in our own ways, consciously or unconsciously, has voluntarily played roles in our lives. Some of us have gotten so good at playing our roles that we no longer hear the Infinite Presence calling us to step out of the roles the world has cast us in, and step into the role of the true and authentic self. Some of us have chosen to conform to this world, not be transformed in it.
Some of us have been performing our roles for so long; we no longer realize we are still in character. It is as though in many respects the world has tamed us, domesticated us, and taught us how to conform to the ways of the world. We do so many things without even thinking about them, just because that is how we have been taught to do them Read More
Teaching courses, such as the one I do at SUNY Brockport, means that I have the opportunity to interact with people from a wide diversity of belief systems. It is always amazing to me how a group of people can have such diverse perspectives and beliefs on everything. One of the things we have been discussing all semester is how beliefs and knowledge are socially constructed and so deeply embedded in our culture and our way of life that rarely do we think about or acknowledge that these are belief systems or that there are other ways of being in the world. One of the things a few of my students were discussing recently were those things they lost and unlearned as they have grown up. Don Miguel Ruiz talks about this as the domestication of the planet in his book The Four Agreements. Read More
Last week, I talked about how the simple act of breathing can put the emotional brakes on our shenpa. Dr. Andrew Weil, a physician specializing in integrative medicine, said the “The single most effective relaxation technique I know is conscious regulation of breath.” Breathing is not just a sign that we are still alive and functioning. Breathing is a spiritual act, which bridges the mind and the body. If you pay close attention to your breathing, you will notice that there is this gap between your inhale and your exhale. This gap is said to be the movement of spirit within and through us. In many early languages, the words for spirit and breath are the same. Thus, breathing is not just necessary for our health and wellness, but it is the process through which we stay connected to the Creator.
Remembering to breathe allows us to relax, align our responses to anything out of love, and not fear. When we learn how to breathe, just breathe, we can begin to improve our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. When we work at being conscious of our breathing, we can begin to take advantage of the blessings and gifts that come with the simple act of breathing. Just breathe. Read More
When I was in seminary, I remember taking a class called Intro to Preaching with Dr. Gail Ricciuti. Gail is one of my favorite professors and now a dear friend. In the early weeks of this class, she laid out this multi step rigorous plan for writing a well-constructed sermon. I remember the first time I wrote a sermon using her steps, I was able to get through the first few steps, and then I had to lie down and take a nap. What I realized is that each time I woke up I had my sermon in my head. To this day, whether I am writing a sermon, which I rarely do any more, or writing a reflection, which I now do quite often, I follow the same steps that I followed back then; when in doubt take a nap. Unsure of what I was to write about this week, feeling tired, stiff, and whiny (sure sign I am tired or sick), 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