Yesterday, I hosted a large event where the CEO of my company was the keynote speaker. She praised me and I was embarrassed and tried minimize it. My team called me on it and I wondered at my unwillingness to graciously accept it. How many times have we gotten a compliment on our clothes or appearance and deflected it with ..”this dress is so old” or “it’s nothing” rather than just saying “Thank you”? Why do we do this?
The rest of the day I received many complements, praise and appreciation for the event. I graciously accepted them just saying thank you or I am so glad you enjoyed it. Affirming the praise rather than deflecting it. But I noticed when it made me uncomfortable. Do we not accept them because we don’t want to own our success, self worth or value? Is it because we want to appear humble and modest? Do we not accept them because we don’t want to feel like we will owe them something? I read somewhere that not accepting people’s compliments denies them of the satisfaction of giving it. That we are being selfish by deflecting or denying them. Therefore we should accept them graciously because it allows the other person to give something to us.
There is the spiritual Law of Circulation – Flow of Giving and Receiving. The idea that everything in the universe is constantly flowing and expanding. Applying to giving and receiving this says there is a continous flow of giving and receiving…compliments, gifts, love, etc and when you refuse or deflect them then you are impeding this flow. Without flow there is stagnation. According to Mindreality.com “When you refuse a gift from anyone, you are not only blocking the flow of abundance in your life, but you are also blocking the flow of abundance in the giver’s life.” This says by not accepting a gift or compliment you are not only hurting ourselves but the giver.
The bottom line to remember is for every giver there is a receiver and that we should strive for a balance between giving and receiving.
Albert Einstein said “The most important question a person can ask is, “Is the Universe a friendly place?” I saw this quote in an article last week and since that time have been thinking about the implications.
If you believe that the universe is unfriendly then your mindset will lead you to be defensive, fearful and ready for the worst. You would expect to be used, abused and have to be careful. This feels like a really bad way to live.
If you believe that the universe is neither friendly nor unfriendly this implies that the universe is just random chaos which puts you at the effect of it. It is essentially saying God is playing “dice with the universe”. I believe there are laws and consequences and that there is purpose and meaning.
If you believe that the universe is friendly then you will feel supported and loved. This says that the universe wants you to have what you want, be healthy, vibrant and fully enlightened. I believe that the universe is friendly although occasionally I forget it especially when I experience something that I don’t like or someone who is not nice. However, if you believe in the idea that in order to know what you want you need to experience contrast (what you don’t want) then it can make sense.
What do you believe? Is the Universe a friendly place?
Last week I was on a blog radio program with Kathryn Yarborough, creator of Flowing with Change www.flowingwithchange.com and we talked about some simple techniques and tips on how we include more spirituality in our daily lives.
The first area is your daily chores. Kathryn loves to cook mindfully. For example when she is cutting vegetables she notices the colors, textures, smell and how the knife feels in her hand and then deliberately cuts the vegetables really appreciating the process. I tried this the other day and it was fun and interesting. One of my tips is to wash the dishes mindfully. As you are washing the dishes or pans notice the soap bubbles, the water, the feeling of the dishes in your hands. It makes doing this chore so much easier and faster. The other day I was surprised when I done. Kathryn also folds laundry mindfully. Any simple, daily chore can be turned into a meditative task by being mindful while doing it.
Another technique Kathryn shared is to look at something and say “This too is God.” (or Source or Goddess) This is amazing in how it can shift how you feel about something. For me it enable me to appreciate the object just as it is and realize it’s perfection. It can also make me appreciate where the object came from and how many people touched it for it to get to me. For example, I was looking at my printer and said “This too is God“. I appreciated the job it does for me, how it came to me and I consider how it was invented. The complexity is amazing and awe inspiring.
Finally, daily meditation. Kathryn actually leads daily meditation practices so that she will do the practice. When you commit to someone else you have to show up. This is why accountability partners works. I sign up for Kathryn’s meditation practice so I will do it. It doesn’t take long and having to show up helps me to integrate it into my life.
I hope you will try some of these and let me know your experience.
“Wholeness is the embrace of ourselves just as we are, with nothing added or subtracted.” This quote is from Jesse Jennings, founding minister of Creative Life Spiritual Center in Houston from an article titled, The Trip to Wholeness: What to Pack, What to Expect. When I read it I was struck with the power of this statement. It means we are complete and perfect right now in this moment. As I have contemplated it over the weeks since I first read I have gotten more insights. First, I had to reconcile the striving to be better. Jesse suggests that we all can be better and that it is easier to do it from a place of wholeness rather than from a place of lack. We should be wanting to grow as guided from our spirit rather than from our ego. And Jesse says if we grow from this place we will become more integrated, “meaning that inwardly, everything meshes as move forward-thoughts surround feelings to form beliefs, beliefs inform words and actions, and the self stays in conscious contact with this process as it unfolds from the inside out.” This makes senses.
The next thought is if I am whole and complete than there is no way that I am in anyway inadequate or have limitations. Wow! no limitations. I want to believe it but to tell you the truth I am still struggling with the idea. Jesse says, “If we think we can’t allow this [wholesness] without something or because we are challenged in some area, we are free to realize that whatever we seem to need is not only available but omnipresent, including the development of compensations fro any apparent lack.” I love the idea of compensations for any lack. This is empowering since it means if I feel I lack something then I have something that helps me cope with whatever I feel I lack. Although…it is interesting in that he used the word “apparent” to modify our lack. In other words there really is no lack only our perception of it. I question the idea of anything I need being “not only available but omnipresent”. Omnipresent means abundant and everywhere. Is what I need really abundance and everywhere? What do you think?
One of the aspects in the Wikkepedia definition of Spirituality was the idea that there is a spiritual path to enlightenment. M. Scott Peck says. “The great awareness comes slowly, piece by piece. The path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong learning. The experience of spiritual power is basically a joyful one.” I like this idea that the path is joyful however the idea of it being lifelong says we can never reach it. There will always be another level and if you believe in reincarnation there will be another life!
Abraham is an entity channeled by Ester Hicks who has a little different perspective on enlightenment. He says, “Enlightenment means literally aligning to the Energy of my Source….Physical humans often want to make enlightenment about finding some process and moving through the process that has been pre-described. But true enlightenment is moving to the rhythm of the internal inspiration that is coming in response to the individual desire. Enlightenment is about allowing my connection to the Source that is me for the fulfillment of the things that I have individually defined here in my time/space reality.” He is saying that enlightenment is about knowing and trusting yourself and using your connection to spirit to determine what you do in your life…in the current time and place. This says the more we can allow ourselves to be happy and connected to source the more fulfilling our life will and that is enlightenment.
Another spiritual teacher, Harry Palmer, author of the Avatar Materials, says that there are three stages of a spiritual path:
- Awakening – realizing we are spiritual beings and taking personal responsibility for our lives.
- Doing the practice – living a life that reflects our spiritual values
- Serving humanity – giving back in way that is meaningful to us
So What is a Spiritual Path? And how do you know if you are on it. I am not sure I know. What I believe is that we are all on a spiritual path whether we know it or not. The question is how aware we are and specifically how aware are we about where we are on our path. Each person’s path is unique. You can’t get it wrong. Where ever you are is perfect for you. I believe the message is enjoy and appreciate where you are.
In the last blog I introduced the idea: How you live your life is your spiritual practive. I have continued to think about this concept. And today on a blog radio show with Flowing with Change founder Kathryn Yarborough, we explored this idea as well as some specific ideas on how to get more meditation time in your life. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/kathryn-yarborough/2013/02/20/positive-about-change
Let’s consider…if in lives we rush around busy…busy what does this say about our spiritual practice. That we are busy…hardly the centered, peaceful person we all strive for. We talked about how if we are rude to the drivers around us that we are not expressing our value of being kind and compassionate. Kathryn said that she hardly ever sees rude drivers and is never rude herself. She feels that how she is inside reflections her outer world. This is a concept that I agree with.
We went on to talk about how living our lives should reflect our spiritual values. I mentioned a few of the values that think are key which include honesty, integrity, kindess, compassion and loving yourself. When we are not living in a way that reflects our values or in other words are not living in alignment with our values we feel bad about ourselves. So, if one of you values (conscious or subconscious) is being kind and you are rude you feel bad. If you value integrity and you make a agreement to yourself or someone else to do something and you don’t do it…you are going to feel bad (guilty, unreliable, yucky).
I believe this is why it is sometimes so hard to love ourselves. We are not living in integrity with ourselves. We say let’s together for lunch or I’ll call you and then never do resulting in broken agreements. These agreements then eat at us making it hard to love ourselves. And loving ourselves is so important to being able to love other people. The solution is to forgive ourselves and strive to do better. (Watch for more on forgiving in future blogs.)
Today is my first work day back after being at a personal empowerment/spiritual growth course for the last two weeks (Avatar Wizards). I am still integrating and processing what I learned and how it will impact my life. I believe this is good because…how many times have we been to a course and when we return home get swept back into our lives and forget we were gone and what we learned? I know that I have. And the fact that I am still processing means that I have an opportunity to really make a difference in my life. Now, the question is what to do with it.
One of the key tenants of the course is that each of us is in complete control of our lives. It is a message of personal responsibility. We are responsible for what we do, what happens to us, how we react, our relationships, etc. A good portion of the course is focused on developing tools that enable us to control our minds. By controlling our minds we can affect our lives, relationships, and actions. How well are you controlling your mind?
Another interesting tenant is how you live your life is your spiritual practice. Let’s consider this for a minute. Does it mean that how you are living reflects your values? Does it mean that what you do reflects who you are a spiritual being? What are your spiritual beliefs and principles? Does how you are living your life reflect them?
One of my spiritual values is being kind and compassionate to others. As I contemplate do I live my everyday life being kind and compassionate…I am contrite. Because I remember… how many times I have cut people off in traffic, been rude to telephone solicitors, talked unkindly about someone behind their back, not picked up my husband’s plate from the table when I am taking mine, etc. So, if I want to live this spiritual value I have some work to change my behavior or be a hypocrite. The really scary part is how many other spiritual values am not living!?!
What spiritual principles are you living as reflected by how you are living your life?
In my welcome to Spirituality for Every day, I said we would discuss what spirituality is, why it’s important and ways to easily include spirituality in our lives every day.
There are two concepts I want to highlight. The first is that including more spirituality in our lives must be easy. If it’s not easy we will not do it. Easy means it should be simple and not hard or difficult. Whatever we must be able to be integrated into our lives without extensive time or effort. This will be different for different people. You may be able to modify something you already do to make it more spiritually satisfying. For example, I take my dog for a walk every day. I have a practice of noticing my surroundings as I walk and appreciating them.
The second is the idea of every day. Every day can mean ordinary as in every day china (vs our guest china which we only use on special occasions). Spirituality is never ordinary but we can accept it into our every lives so that it is always there and take it out of being an occasional or once a week activity.
I think the idea that spirituality as a once a week activity (separate from our every day lives) resulted from the commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” This rule said that we needed to have one day a week when we should pause in our work and our lives and connect with God. I believe that when we did this we then could say I have done my duty and honored God on his requested one day. This enabled us to disconnect from spirituality…letting us off the hook to do more.
Unfortunately as our lives have gotten busy even the Sabbath has been forgotten. Stores are open on Sundays, kids have sports, long to do lists. The result has been even more separation of our spirituality from our everyday lives. I would advocate that we need to pay more attention to our spirituality.
Since the title is Spirituality for Every day you might be thinking she is going to recommend a daily practice or habit which we do every day. It is not necessary to have a daily practice to include more spirituality in your life. However, things we can include in our everyday (not necessarily daily) lives to connect us to spirit will be the focus..such as mindfulness, gratitude, prayer, meditation, etc.
Before we can define Spirituality I think we need to say what spirituality is not. It is not religion. There are religious people who live their spirituality but there are many people who are religious who are not spiritual. These people go to church..spout a doctrine…appear devout…but do not live or practice the spiritual basis of their religion. An example would be a devout Christian church goer who leaves the parking lot of the church and pulls into traffic, rudely cutting someone off and then throws them the finger when they honk at him for cutting him off. Hardly…exhibiting the spirit of being a Christian and honoring the Golden rule “do unto others at you have them do unto you”.
And there are spiritual people who are not religious. Yes, I know lots of people who never go to church or subscribe to any particular religion who I would describe as a very spiritual.
or example there is a guy who goes to my church who I would describe as spiritual and even though he goes to the church he does not subscribe to any religion and is not religious. We are defining religious as being part of a religion. I consider Mother Teresa a very spiritual person and not particularly religious. Now, I also consider the Dalai Lama a very spiritual person and a religion person (Buddhist)So, what is a spiritual person? A spiritual person is someone who lives their spirituality.
Which brings us back to our original question…what is spirituality? The simplest dictionary definition says it is the quality or state of being spiritual. Spiritual is defined as of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit : incorporeal 2a: of or relating to sacred matters b: ecclesiastical rather than lay or temporal 3: concerned with religious values. Rather dry definitions are not particularly satisfying or present a clear picture .A much more interesting definition is from Wikkepedia: Spirituality is “the concept of an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live. There are several concepts and ideas in this definition. First, the idea of a path to spiritual enlightenment. The second is the discovering your essence or “who you really are”. The third is that spirituality is about the values and principles people live by.
Spirituality is really about each person living and expressing their connection to their spirit by being, and living their values and principles.
Welcome to Spirituality for Every day. Do you wish for more spiritual connection? Are you looking for ways to feel more centered and peaceful? Or do you just know that if you regularly did some spiritual practice you would feel better and enjoy life more? Are you feeling that more spiritual awareness or would be good for you? If you answered YES to any of these questions you are in the right place.
At Spirituality for Every Day we will explore the idea that connecting to our spirit is important to us and makes a difference in how we show up in the world, how we feel and our personal growth. We will consider the idea that spirituality is all around us and what we do expresses and reflects our spirituality. We will discuss what spirituality is, why it’s important and ways to easily include spirituality in our lives every day.