How often do you feel connected to your Spirit or Higher Self? Feeling connected is key to feeling more joy, peace and happiness. Feeling these good emotions are within our control but sometimes it takes practice. The more you do it the easier it is. Start with the intention to make the connection and breath deeply. Listed below are two of my favorite ways to build and strenthen this connection:
1. Take some deep breaths and visualize a white light entering the crown of your head. As the white light enters your head let it flow down your body. As the white light flows into yo
u let any tension or negative feels flow out. Let your body fill with white light…when your body is filled feel yourself glow with light resulting in feeling vitality and peace.
2. Take a few deep breaths and sitting quietly imagine that you are unconditional love, infinite intelligence and all knowing wisdom looking out through your eyes. Sense the part of you that is pure awareness. Clear your mind and feel being centered and still.
What does it mean to live in the present moment?….With our busy, do..do..do lives I think it is hard to live in the present. How often do you realize that you have been busy and there has been no satisfaction and it has been mostly frustration and overwhelm? Other times do you find that you are thinking about the past and how you coulda, shoulda, woulda or how the present is not nearly as good. Even if you are experiencing a good time it is in the past…done. Another avenue is the time and thought we spend planning the future…anticipating or dreading what might happen. This can result in worry, fretting and stress.
Louise Hay says, “The point of Power is always in the present moment.” When I first heard this I didn’t get it. What is she talking about? I think the point is that there only is the present. The past is history and the future is mystery. Every connection, experience, feeling, etc. is only in the right here, right now. Only by being aware can we actually be in the present moment and be open to life. Each moment we can choose what we experience.
Only by being in the present can we experience joy, love, excitement, etc.. When we are experiencing a negative emotion (sadness, fear, frustration) it is only by staying in the present moment that we can release these emotions and move through them. If you try to ignore or suppress them they will only last longer…What you resists..persists. And by being open to the present moment is when you can delight in what you see, appreciate what is happening and have that delicious connection with someone.
So, how do we stay present and aware? It starts with the breath. Breathing consciously will center and ground you enabling you to be present. In a future blog I will share some other strategies.
Traditionally, religion and spirituality were synonymous. We went to church, believed the doctrines and participated in the rites and rituals. The intention of the services and traditions was to provide ways for us to connect with God and feel our spiritual natures. The ideal of religion is good but I believe its implementation in the hands of man has let people down and led to disillusionment. Today one can find their connection to Spirit in many different ways.
The New Age Spirituality movement was a result of the disillusionment. Wikkepedia says “The New Age aims to create “a spirituality without borders or confining dogmas” that is inclusive and pluralistic. It holds to “a holistic worldview”, emphasizing that the Mind, Body, and Spirit are interrelated and that there is a form of monism and unity throughout the universe.” The movement gives us permission to find our spirituality in our own way. And presents the idea that there is one spirit and and the world is connected.
Ram Dass answers the question Are religion and spirituality the same thing? very eloquently, “Spirituality is about finding God within you and developing compassion and love and freedom from the mind. Religion is a way of worshiping together through institutional rites and traditions.” I really like these definitions of religion and spirituality. Spirituality is a personal preference and seeking of your own connection to spirit while religion is a way to worship with others. Religion can be used to help you find your spirituality, as spiritual practice or as a way to connect with others. Spirituality is about our personal journey to find God and Spirit.
What do you believe about yourself and your life? Did you know that your beliefs are critical to how you your experience the world?
Harry Palmer, author of the Avatar Materials says, ” What we believe and how we believe determine our reality. When you change your beliefs, your experiences will change.”
There are two key points being made here. First that your beliefs determine your reality…your world, views, thoughts, habits, experiences, etc. The second is that by changing your beliefs you can change your reality, what you experience and who you are.
Buddha’s perspective reinforces the idea that our thinking creates who we are when he said, ” The mind is everything. What you think you become.” So what are you thinking about yourself and your life? Is it positive, supportive and encouraging? Or do you criticize, complain and harp on what’s wrong with yourself and your life. Do you believe that the universe is benign or that it is out to get you? What do you believe about people? Do you believe that they are basiclly good and honest or corrupt and dishonest?
Your beliefs create the viewpoints (lens) through which you view the world and predisposes us to seeing what we expect. It is interesting that these lens create expectations and filters that result in us getting what we expect. So, if you believe that people are honest you will primarily see people as honest versus dishonest. So, let’s take an example and say you are short changed by a clerk in a store. If you see people as honest you will think they just make a mistake. If you view people as bad or corrupt you will assume that they were trying to cheat you.
Which do you think will make your life easier? You will collect evidence for whatever believes you hold.
How do you want to live? Positively or negatively. You get to decide and choose your beliefs. What do you want to become?
I wrote about abundance and then started thinking about prosperity. I took a telecourse called Core Prosperity Relief. In the course James Mellon (a Spiritual Living minister) talks about how prosperity is our inherent condition and that we are blocking it by what we are thinking or expecting?. And that our thoughts come from what we believe. He challenged us with questions like:
What are your EXPECTATIONS?
What are you “Ordering Up” with your beliefs?
Are you paying ATTENTION to what’s going through your mind?”
Where are you RESISTING your Good?
The idea is to identify what the beliefs that getting in the way of prosperity and abundance. He then challenges us to take responsibility for what you are thinking. He says, “Remember: You are the BELIEVER! OWN YOUR MIND!”
If we believe that what we believe determines what we experience in our lives; then, if we are not experiencing the prosperity or abundance that we want then there are beliefs and/or thoughts that are preventing our prosperity. Beliefs like, “I don’t deserve prosperity.” “You have to work hard to make money.” “There’s never enough money.” “It takes money to make money.” “I can’t afford that!” What is(are) your limiting belief(s)?
Another clue as to what your level of prosperity is…what you are currently experiencing. What do you say that you are or aren’t buying (for business or personal)? What do say you can’t afford? Do you feel you can’t buy something because you don’t have enough money?
Kimberly Sheridan, Money Breakthrough Coach says, “The truth is … you’re already creating your income. Your current income is a direct result of your current beliefs, mindset, patterns, habits & behaviors. So by changing how you think about money, feel about money & act around money, your income can be virtually limitless.”
Interesting…she reinforces James Mellon’s ideas of we are the owners of our experience of prosperity/abundance. And what we think and believe determines our experience.
Eric Butterworth said, “There is only one way by which you can achieve prosperity. It is to take charge of your mind.”
So, are you in charge of your mind or is your mind in charge of you?
Do you have the courage to change? To explore your beliefs and let go of those that are hindering you? To use the power of your mind to create what you want?
Do you have an attitude of gratitude? According to Gary Ryan Blair an Attitude of Gratitude heightens awareness and expands your interaction in the world and is required for a successful life. When we are feeling gratitude we are blessing everything and appreciating life. When we are feeling gratitude we are not feeling worry or fear. An attitude of gratitude is a choice to have a positive outlook on life. Are you grateful for all your blessings both good and bad? Do you regularly list, journal or think about what you are grateful for your in life?
Adopting a gratitude practice or an attitude of gratitude can create a better, balanced and happier you. There is an amazing and growing body of research on gratitude. These studies show us that practicing gratitude can improve our sense of well-being, our sociability, goal achievement, enthusiasm and energy, resulting in a more positive outlook on life. Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism, and lower levels of depression and suicide.
A gratitude practice is choosing to looking at everything and finding a way to appreciate it. It is about blessing everything. It is easy to feel grateful for the good things in our lives: a new client, a vacation, our children, a party, a successful project, etc. The challenge and the biggest benefit can be being grateful for our challenges and problems. For example, a bout of the flu can make one grateful for health, a power outage…the value of electricity, a sprained ankle…appreciate walking, I want to share a poem that expresses the concepts.
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.
~ Author Unknown ~
Practicing gratitude will have a positive effect on you physical and mental well being. And the more gratitude you express the more you will find to be grateful for. Even those challenges and “negative experiences”. May gratitude fill your life with joy and a positive outlook.
Do you appreciate the beauty in your life? Or are you so busy doing that you forget to “stop and smell the roses”? How often do you take the time to recognize and value the beauty in the world? I walk my dog first in the morning every day. Some days I get back from the walk and realize that I have seen nothing. My mind was busy thinking about what I have to do during the day, solving some problem or ruminating about the past or future. There are other days when I see the beauty in the world…I see the flowers, the newly formed buds, the clouds in the sky, how graceful a tree is or notice the raindrops hanging from the branches of a bush. On these days I return relaxed and centered. Jesse Jennings Minister at the Creative Life Spiritual Center in Houston says, “We help heal the world by having the courage to name the beauty in it and call it out into full splendor”. I love the idea by appreciating the beauty I am calling it into full splendor and that it helps to heal the world. I believe that when we are relaxed and centered and in appreciation we are putting positive energy into the world which helps to heal the world.
How can we apply this to our lives? What could I heal if I look at my life, call out the full splendor and identify it as beautiful? For example, yesterday we took my mother to brunch at a great place where an old church had been converted into a coffee house/restaurant. There was a jazz band. The whole experience was really beautiful…the ambiance, the food, the music and the conversation. Could we take any experience and call out the splendor of it? How about the meeting that went perfectly with lots of good decisions being made? What about the wonderful conversation with a friend that was uplifting and satisfying? By appreciating these experiences we are valuing ourselves and our lives putting out positive energy which contributes to healing the world. Are you helping to heal the world today?
How do you handle change? In my 30 years in corporate America there was a lot of change. As I think back….there were times when I and my fellow employees would resist it. We would gather and grouse about how it wasn’t right and they didn’t care what we thought. Then, there were the times when we would grudgingly accept it because it was going to happen anyway and we might as well accept it. I think when we resisted or denied the change most vehenmently were when we feared it. We intuitively knew that the change was going to be big and have lot of impact on our lives. There were a few times when we embraced change…like when we start a new job or project or a boss we disliked left. These were changes that we reacted to positively.
I believe we can draw similiar parallels to changes in our personal lives. When we get married, get a new friend move to a great new house we usually we jump in eagerly anticipating how wonderful it will be. But, how about those changes that were not happy, losing a loved one, divorce, getting fired, or having a friend reject us. These usually result in us feeling sorrow, disappointment, anger, etc (the negative emotions).
The real point is that change is going to happen no matter what. Our reaction is not going to make the change go away. So, what does matter and how can we handle change more easily? First, recognizing that change is happening and that we can choose our reaction. Then, look at the change and if it one we are resisting or causes us pain…see if we can some positive aspects or identify what we can learn from it. Finally, knowing that all is well and everything is OK from a bigger, more spiritual viewpoint we can realize that this too shall pass.
So, how do you handle change? What can you learn from change?
What is Abundance? Usually when we think about abundance we are thinking about how much money or wealth we have. But, abundance is so much more. It is about having satisfying relationships, successful careers, health, happiness, freedom….everthing that makes up our lives. It is about how you feel about your life. Do you feel abundant or lack? It is Interesting to observe that how we feel about our abundance is based on our perspective. There are people who have a great deal but they feel lack, causing them to be dissatisfied, striving and struggling. Then there are people without a lot of money but great relationships, families, hobbies, jobs and are very happy. These people appreciate what they have and feel abundance. I believe feeling abundance is the key to having a great life.
Rev Dr Patrick Cameron, Spiritual Director for Spiritual Living Edmonton in Alberta, says, “Abundance is about having combined with gratitude for what we do have.” I like this perspective because it recognizes that abundance is about having and focuses on the appreciation of our having it. How often do we take what we have for granted? When you receive something do you really appreciate it or do you complain about why it wasn’t sooner or bigger or ?? Cameron’s quote reminds us to appreciate having just because we have it. The beauty of this is that the law of attraction says that the more we appreciate and think positively about something we will attract more of it. Certainly, a great approach to having more abundance.
May you have and feel Abundance in all aspects of your life.
Guest blog by Nancy Monson www.nancymonsoncoaching.com
Our power comes from living a life in alignment with our values.
When you think of a genuinely powerful leader, what comes to mind? Probably someone whose presence and voice are consistent. There’s no question about her authenticity and the conviction of her message – what she says is what she does. Her actions are in alignment with her core values—the qualities and beliefs that she holds as the uncompromising tenants of her life.
When a leader is clear on her core values, they become an inner compass helping her to navigate her life. She must choose either to uphold her values or to ignore them. Ignoring our values diminishes our power. Acting and speaking in opposition to our inner truth creates an inner conflict that affects how we present ourselves to the world.
Just remember how it felt when instead of holding your ground, you squelched your values in favor of the office politics, the demands of your boss or the company line. To live in alignment with our values, we must know them. When we are happy and feel powerful, we are living in alignment with our values. When we are angry our values are being violated. Spend some time off in a favorite quiet place to reflect on circumstances that evoke strong emotions – deep happiness or overpowering anger. List the values or qualities connected with those emotions. Typical values are love, contribution, achievement, family, health, friendship, compassion, learning and growth. Don’t expect this process to be quick; it will take time to identify your core values. Once identified, your values will be a compass to guide your life and your decisions.
Living in alignment with your values will help you be a truly powerful leader.
I challenge you to try it!
For more information on living a values-driven life, contact Nancy Monson at firstname.lastname@example.org.