Today I’m thinking of the joy of living. What makes it possible for us to live joyfully? And what do we do when things would attempt to get in the way of joyful living?
Ernest Holmes says in his book called 365 Science of Mind: “I know that in my true self I am joy, for I am God-Life.“
So joy isn’t something we experience. Joy is something we ARE. And yes, we know we are joy when we have that feeling of experiencing it.
But Holmes tells us that we can only receive as much as we will allow, and we can’t be joy unless we allow it. The truth is that we are joy all the time, we just allow life stuff to get in the way of that knowingness sometimes.
So if we aren’t feeling the joy, what do we do about it? I believe a clue exists in what Holmes said, we ARE joy. So if we are joy but are not feeling it, then maybe the place to begin is in knowingness. In believing that what he said is true. The we are inherently joy. Then the task becomes to go within and examine what within us is getting in the way of that. If it is physical, perhaps a lifestyle change is in order, in what we eat or how much we exercise. If it is in relations with another human, since we cannot do anything about them and their behavior, we look within to our own stuff and examine what within us is asking for change? If the block to joy is in a lack of faith, a lack of knowingness, if we simply do not believe that we are joy, then the invitation is to examine that. If we aren’t joy, then what are we?
As for me, today, I needed to remind myself of joy and the reminders showed up freely in my life. This morning I got to see the sky change color as the earth tilted to allow the sun to greet us. It’s a beautiful warm spring day here in Northern Nevada and after the long challenging winter, that right there is enough to allow me to experience joy. And when I get right down to it, I need no outer “joy fixes” because I do believe that I am joy. There is simply no other way to be. The outer joy fixes are simply evidence of that, because I would not be able to see and appreciate them if that quality were not already inside of me.
So today, I affirm: Today, I am joy. I know this because I see it and I feel it and I would not be able to do so if it weren’t already inside of me.
About the photo: this is a cell phone shot of the inside of a tulip. I found this little guy nestled in a perfect place, open shade, with light bouncing off the wall to give it “pop.” It was growing at a friend’s house and I was filled with joy to see these tulips lining the walkway to her front door. I did a bit of editing and cropping in photoshop to focus on the details of the inside of the flower. Sometimes mother nature’s intricacy fills me with awe. As well as with joy. Feel free to share the meme, but please do not alter it in any way.
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day so I thought I would offer up a suggestion. Whether you are in partnership or not, I think this time is an excellent time to refresh, renew, power up or begin a self compassion regime. This is the ultimate in self care. Be nice to you. Don’t say mean things to yourself. Don’t belittle yourself. Be kind to yourself. And most of all, honor your feelings. Even the yucky ones.
Recently, I’ve come to the realization that I’ve had a bit of a dark night of the soul. Perhaps you have too. After all, it hasn’t been easy to live in a world filled with dissension, strife, violence and covid. At least it hasn’t for me. If you have a self awareness practice, you may be aware of this. Furthermore, you may also be aware that there have been some feelings cropping up that maybe, just maybe, you’ve been fighting. There might be some self judgement, some shoulding, some resistance to what you are feeling.
Today I am here to say don’t fight it. The way out is through. Those dark feelings won’t hurt you. But fighting them only makes them stronger. Just allow them. Throw a hissy fit if you have to. Have a good cry session. Just take some time to honor what is going on inside of you with kindness and love and compassion.
I recently published a podcast about this, and I hope you will listen in.
Be nice to you on this Valentine’s Day. And if you are in partnership, be nice to them as well. I hope you have a wonderful day!
Let’s talk self care shall we? There are many different forms of self care but the one I want to discuss today is based on a quote by anonymous that I just came across: “Be prepared for rejection if you refuse to be manipulated.” So much packed into this one little sentence! First of all, refusing to be manipulated implies that one knows what manipulation looks like. I will admit, it took me years to learn the various ways that people in my life had manipulated me. When I finally figured it out, I got sad with that new awareness. For a while. Then I moved out of victim mode and empowered myself by setting boundaries. And refused to allow those people to manipulate me anymore. And yeah, there was rejection. But good self care begins with us knowing that we deserve good in life, we deserve to treat ourselves well and we deserve for others to treat us well. It begins with learning to recognize manipulation. I began to learn what manipulation looked like from my mentors. So really the first step begins with getting good mentors. Start there. Find someone you admire, someone who lives the kind of life you strive for. Find someone you can talk with. Then ask. It is really that simple. Just ask. All they can do is say no, and if they do, move on. Remember that there is a Thing Within Us that knows a bigger picture, and you can trust that with that guidance of the Spirit within you, the right person will show up. And then begin to talk with them. REALLY talk. Start small, but talk. This person won’t try and “fix” you because you don’t need fixing. They won’t try and hold you accountable because you are a big boy or girl and perfectly capable of holding yourself accountable. Good mentors are people who listen with a compassionate heart, and then offer their own perspective on what is going on in your life. Such perspective comes from their own experience and wisdom. They might guide you to a book, or a spiritual practice. As the relationship builds, it will morph into something very valuable to the both of you.
Your affirmation: Today I do good self care, because I deserve it.
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Which immediately reminded me of that old saying, something about if wishes were fishes. So I googled it. (Don’t you just love google?). Here’s what came up: “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride" is a proverb and nursery rhyme, first recorded about 1628 in a collection of Scottish proverbs, which suggests if wishing could make things happen, then even the most destitute people would have everything they wanted.” And then this was also there: “K.C. Jones says when someone would wish for something, it used to be cute to reply: ‘And if wishes were fishes we'd have some fried; And if wishes were horses, beggars might ride.’ "
And this led me to a story I would like to share with you.
First of all, a bit of history: my mom was the one who taught me about the wishbone in the turkey. She would clean those wishbones and stash them someplace until they dried out, then proudly produce one, ask me to pull one end while she held the other end, and if it broke off in my favor, I got to make a wish. Somehow she managed to arrange it so that it always broke off in my favor. At least that’s the way I remember it.
Anyway, today is the day after thanksgiving and I am now prepping for annual round of turkey soup and turkey noodle casserole and of course, turkey sandwiches. And I found the wishbone.
I also had a question posed to me a few days ago by a wise friend, upon learning that it was my birthday. He asked, “so what are your intentions for this next trip around the sun?”
Now, my wise friend is a Science of Mind minister, like me, so I knew precisely what he was asking. Because in our world, we know that a setting of an intention is actually an affirmative prayer. And as I voiced to him my intentions, which I had previously voiced to no one else, I asked myself if I was really ready for this? Because in my world, this setting of intentions stuff is powerful. And the answer came back, yeah, I’m ready. Also in our world: our prayers tend to be of the affirmation type, not the beseeching type. In other words, we don’t ask a god or the universe or whatever outside of ourselves to please do this for us. We instead know that as we are, as Ernest Holmes put it, unique and individualized manifestations of god, we can simply speak our word and know.
We actually have a formulaic 5 step prayer for this stuff. Yep, an affirmative prayer.
Not a wish. Not a goal. Not a resolution. But an intention. There are very real differences between these things, which, by the way, is why I don’t do new year’s resolutions.
Back to the prayer:
Here’s that 5 step affirmative prayer in a nutshell: God is, I Am, It is done, Thanks, Bye!
Now, because I’ve been doing affirmative prayer since god was a child, I can do the shortened version of this thing and put feeling behind it and know.
But let me break it down a bit.
In Science of Mind classes, we are given an acronym for this formula. By the way, this is basic foundational Science of Mind stuff and it is taught in all beginning classes, because everything else basically builds upon affirmative prayer. Oh, and while I’m here, we sometimes call affirmative prayer “treatment.” So if you ever experience a Science of Mind person asking you if you have a treatment request, what they are really asking you is if you have an affirmative prayer request.
So here we go:
R U R T R?
Are You Ready to Receive?
The first one is Recognition. I recognize God. Now, you can flesh out this step in whatever way appeals to you. The key here is to move into a feeling space with it. This isn’t just intellectual heady stuff. Thought plus feeling equals power and when we do an affirmative prayer, we begin with this first step recognizing the existence of a god in whatever form, and we begin to feel stuff by doing that. I tend to flesh out this step with things like God is all good, all the time. I might add some qualities of spirit as we like to call them. God is love, god is power, god is peace, god is joy. And for good measure, I usually add that god is everywhere present.
Which leads me to the next step: Unification. God and I, we are one. Oneness. No separation between me and god. I usually have some fun with this step. I am a godling. A little godling running around on this earth. Notice the first person singular by the way. And if you don’t know what that is, review your grammar class but basically we do this stuff in I statements. Not you and not we. There’s reasons for this which could get me way off track so I won’t go into them now. Just speak in I statements. If you are curious and want more, take the Foundations class. Let me know. I can offer that one. Anyway, back to the unification: I am a unique and individualized manifestation of spirit. (That’s from Ernest Holmes by the way). God is living and moving and breathing as and in and through me. And one of my other favorites, I am a drop in the ocean, god is the ocean. The key is to realize here that there is no separation between us. There isn’t a god out there. Only in here.
Next step: Realization. This is a fun one. I love love love this step. Because in this step I get to affirm and know and feel as if it is already true. So we state this step in the present tense (see comment about grammar), as if it is already happening. And we get to state how we are feeling about this event. So we don’t necessarily affirm the event, we affirm the feelings we will have when the event comes true. As an example, I’m going to out myself here and give you one of the intentions I stated to my friend when he asked. You are the second to hear my intention for this next year. My intention this year is to manifest a healthy, equal, romantic relationship with a wonderful partner who is open, loving, kind and has similar beliefs to me. Now, that’s pretty specific. And no, I don’t and won’t outline that in my prayer. But I do have it mind because those things lead me to the feelings I will get when this comes true: peace, joy, a sense of companionship, intimacy. So in reality I am affirming those feelings. My prayer is for those feelings to manifest within me. The rest of it, the manifestation of the perfect guy in my life at the perfect time, well let’s just say I am now in partnership with a Law that always says yes to my word. How I get there isn’t entirely up to me, although I do have some footwork to do. Like BE the partner I wish to attract. Which means I get to also BE open, loving, kind. And I get to really know what my beliefs are. So when I BE these things, I activate the law of attraction that Ernest Holmes speaks of in an ENTIRE CHAPTER in the Science of Mind textbook. So, I affirm the feelings. I BE the qualities. Notice there is no other action that needs to be taken. Although I will freely admit that sometimes I do find it necessary to do some footwork. For example, I need to work on just how open and loving I really am. Yeah, when we affirm this stuff, the first thing that usually happens is that opportunities will arise for us to take care of our own shit. Which is why I asked myself if I was truly ready to affirm this intention. I knew what I was setting myself up for. It’s good. It’s ok. I’m ready.
Then I give thanks. Express my gratitude. Because it is already done in the Law, that delights in doing precisely what I affirm, every single time.
Then I release into that Law, which basically means I let it go. It is done. I need do nothing more with it. As Eddie Watkins Jr. sings in one of his songs, you don’t bury a seed then dig it up again to see if it is sprouting. I leave it be.
And anchor: and so it is!
That’s the story of how I got from a wishbone to an affirmative prayer.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to go see the immersive Van Gogh exhibit. It made a huge impact on me. I am still in awe. I’m in awe at the artist himself, and I am in awe at the technology it took to put together such an exhibit. At the beginning of the exhibit there was mention of the merging of the digital and the classical to merge with the work, to “vibrate with it.” That happened for me.
Van Gogh not only left us a huge body of work, he left us lessons. Here was a man who knew what he was and how he wished to express it, and he did, no matter what. In the exhibit, it said that he wished to communicate with his fellow humans, and he used painting to do it. He paid some heavy prices, but he never stopped painting. As I stood in that exhibit and experienced his work, I felt that communication. I felt life, in all it’s forms. I felt beauty. I felt awe. I felt despair. I felt discouragement. I felt joy. At one point I said to my friend who came with me, “do you feel the ‘awe energy’ in the room?” And she said, “yes.”
There are great examples of what it means to live Fearlessly Feral, and Van Gogh is one of them. He exemplified what I envision for people: to know who and what we are, and to live that. To express it. To do it. To BE it, no matter what.
This is the first day of a new month. It is the perfect time to contemplate such questions as who and what we are and how we wish to express that. Are we living our truth? Are we expressing that truth in ways that serve us and the rest of the world? Or are we simply showing up day after day, not even knowing what our truth is? Or maybe we have lived our truth for a long time, but now, perhaps who and what we are has changed and it is time to be and do something else. That happens you know.
I believe we are here to express as Spirit in the physical. As such, and by extension, I also believe that we have a responsibility to ourselves and to the world to really know who and what we are, and to live that and express that fully and completely. No matter what. Just like Van Gogh did.
My ortho doc asked me to write a review, which I did as a gesture of gratitude for him. But I don’t really believe much in reviews because I know that any review speaks more to the reviewer than it does the reviewee. Really. What we see out there in the world is a direct reflection of who we are. What we see in others we have in ourselves. This can work to our advantage. For example, we can’t see beauty unless we have that beauty in ourselves, even if we have hidden it under layers of low self esteem. I remember once seeing such talent and skill and other good yummy stuff in some of my peers, while simultaneously feeling a bit less than. And a mentor pointed out to me that I wouldn’t be able to see that in them unless I had it in myself, and that my job was to reveal that part of me, to bring it out into the light so that it would illuminate that shadow of feeling less than. This is a law, this thing that says what we see in others we have within ourselves. And it also works to our advantage because if we are looking out at the world with suspicion, anger, bitterness or hatred, guess what? We have it within ourselves and if we can acknowledge this, we can bring all those negative feelings to the light of day and heal them, replacing them with trust, acceptance, sweetness and love. Why would we want to? Because I don’t know about you, but I don’t like feeling that way. My teaching says that heaven and hell are states of mind and I can tell you from personal experience that living in suspicion and anger is living in a state of hell. I’d much rather live in a state of heaven. Another reason for changing those feelings is because those negative feelings will make us sick. They turn inward and cause all sorts of havoc in the body.
Our consciousness is a holistic system that consists of our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual selves. In other words, all those pieces of us co-exist together. If one part of us is experiencing a malady, the entire system experiences it. So if we are feeling those feelings of anger or hatred, sooner or later the body will express those feelings. And because we ourselves are simply a small part of a whole, what we think and feel and believe does indeed have an effect on the whole of humanity. So not only do we have a responsibility to ourselves to heal ourselves and replace those feelings of anger, bitterness and suspicion with acceptance, sweetness and love, when we do so we contribute to the goodness of all of humanity. It’s a win win!
Self awareness is a spiritual practice that can and will allow us to reveal that which wants to be healed. So today I look at the ways in which I view the world, and I ask myself if it is good for me to view the world in the ways I view it, and change my views, my thoughts, my feelings and my beliefs if necessary.
I remember the aha moment I had when Kim Kaiser, then Dean of Holmes Institute, said this to me. I had been reporting to him all the losses I had experienced, and how well I was coping with them. And he said, “Karen, metaphysics does not operate at the level of making lemonade out of lemons.” And for the first time ever, I realized that I did not need to lemons to get the lemonade. I didn’t need loss and change and icky stuff in order to experience good in my life. I could just, simply, willy nilly, experience the good! What a concept! Except it wasn’t that simple. Because in order for me to do that I had to have an inner shift in consciousness. I had to change my belief that one succeeded in life due to how well one coped with loss and change. I had to change my belief that I really wasn’t worthy of simply experiencing my good, just because. So I went to work on changing that belief. Today, I know and feel I can just simply experience my good. But once in a while a reminder is good.
Hot off the press! A BRAND NEW daily reading, written just this morning! WEEHAW! And a first: for the FIRST TIME EVER I had to resort to pulling a photo off a royalty free photo site to use for my meme. Up to this point, all the photos I’ve used for my memes are mine. But I’ve never taken a photo of grapes, believe it or not. So I had to go find one. I like this one and it illustrates my point nicely.
Here’s the reading, I hope you enjoy it:
Ernest Holmes: “It has been said that we can know God only in so far as we can become God.” Gary Zukav, from Seat of the Soul: “ It is impossible for you to come full circle in this way of empowerment without prayer. It is not enough to want or to intend or to meditate. You must pray. You must talk. You must ask. You must believe. That is partnership.”
Gratitude Relaxation Altitude Peace Excellence
Eat your grapes today!
I just had a conversation with my prayer partner, during which I was voicing to her to qualities of spirit I wished to embody for today. And we realized we had the beginnings of an acronym! So we went with it and came up with GRAPE!
Now, if you remember our wonderful form of prayer called treatment, or affirmative prayer, then you might also remember that while it is perfectly ok to pray for outside stuff, my personal preference is to go within and pray to embody qualities of spirit, which then create the outside stuff.
So today I am embodying gratitude. Gratitude for all that is. For the miracle of modern medicine. For the miracle of the power of our minds to create our reality. For my surroundings, my life, my beingness. And I further embody relaxation, simply being still, and knowing. And I also reach high, into great altitude, knowing that there is always something greater in store for me. Always higher. And I feel that grand glorious sense of peace flowing through me. And I know excellence. Excellence in living through and because of spiritual principle. Excellence in embodying those qualities of spirit I just mentioned. Excellence in living. Period.
I have a bit of a routine in the mornings after I feed the critters. It always begins with meditation, then a period of self inquiry and contemplation. Lately I’ve been noticing that during my self inquiry there are a lot of teary type emotions. I’m concerned and sad about the events of the day. A peer shared that whenever another mass shooting happens, he goes into a period of reflection, rather than immediately reacting. That seemed like a good idea to me, so I did that. And I came up with a couple of ideas that I am still kicking around, as to how I want to respond, but in the meantime, I wanted to discuss this thoughts and prayers thing. Yeah, people are tired of it. As they should be. But I want to propose that perhaps it isn’t the thoughts and prayers that we are tired of, but the ways in which we think and pray. Sending thoughts and prayers is really just a bandaid, designed to temporarily make the person sending them feel better in a horrible situation. The problem is, like most bandaids, they only work for a little while and do little to address true healing. I believe that if we keep thinking in the ways we have always thought, we will keep getting what we’ve been getting. We need to change our thinking, both as individuals and in society as a whole. And I believe prayer is something entirely different than asking for something from something outside of ourselves, in other words a beseeching to an outside entity, and when viewed the way I am going to propose, this type of prayer can lead to healing and action, which is what is needed. So, prayer, I propose, is not a beseeching to an outside entity. I believe in, and teach, New Thought, which teaches that prayer changes the mind of the one doing the praying, and that if we can change our thinking, we change our lives. This. This is what thoughts and prayers are about, or could be about. Prayers are affirmations, not asks. Furthermore, they are never directed outward. In other words, I don’t pray to crystals and candles, the great spirit out there, the guy in the sky, the universe or any other outside thing. Yes, I love my candles. I use them a lot to set the tone for things, or change the ambiance of a room. I almost always have a rock in my pocket because they remind me of wonderful things. But I never think that rock, crystal or candle or universe or great spirit or universe is going to do something because I ask it. That is not what prayer is for. Prayer is me affirming that I change my thinking so that I can better deal with what life is presenting to me. Because that is really, in the overall scheme of things, the only thing I can change. Once I change that, then I can venture out into the world and take action in the areas in which I wish to take action. Whether it is to work to educate people about racism and misogyny or host a talking circle or do a workshop or a retreat. Life happens from the inside out, always. So I go within first, get in touch with what I am really feeling on any given day and proceed from there. Sometimes I need to allow the sadness, the grief, the anger. We cannot go into spiritual bypass with that stuff, for it gets locked up inside and festers and then pops out in inelegant and sometimes ugly ways. But I’ve learned those kinds of feelings will not kill me. Once I am through those feelings, then I can inquire of myself, asking what in my thinking wants or needs to be different so that I can live even more successfully than I already do? And I always have to add this, because for some strange reason when I’m speaking to people about this, 99% of the time they go to a place of shame behind what was. No. What was worked, there is nothing wrong with it. But life is always for expansion and growth, and the only way we can do that is to change our thinking. No shame, no blame, just ever expanding and changing thinking to accommodate life’s desire to be more. So, prayer changes the mind of the one doing the praying. Today I joyfully affirm that I am always using life’s events to go within and change my thinking in the ways that result in my expansion. And I affirm that for you too.
Today I am thinking about more. One of my favorite expressions is, “but wait, there’s MORE!” Always more. More life. More wisdom. More good yummy stuff. Because I believe there is always more, I am always striving. Always driven to BE the more. This is the way I have set up my life, purposely. For me, this is the way to nirvana. Enlightenment. Peace. Prosperity. I am always striving to reach that, and yet I’ve already reached it. Yes, it is a paradox of sorts. Like the commercials where the sales person lays out all these wonderful benefits you will get if you buy the product, then says, “wait! There’s MORE!” There is nothing wrong with the product. There’s just more. There’s nothing wrong with my life. But there is always more. I am always amazed at the thinking that seems to say that if one strives for more it means that whatever is going on now is somehow deficient. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Nothing is wrong. It’s just that there is more. When I am thinking in terms of more, I’m not thinking that what has passed before in my life is wrong or bad or shameful. Just that there is more. There is an inner calling that I feel strongly. An invitation. Some folks call it a whack with a two by four upside the head. And yes, if I ignore that calling it does get stronger and stronger. Because there is something within each one of us inviting us to more. Loss is ultimately about more. Change is ultimately about more. Even without loss and change, I would strive for more. Because I believe that each of us is a manifestation of Spirit, and each of us is the way that Spirit experiences the physical. Each of us in our human form is a little Godling, strutting around on this earth. If this is true, then yes, there is always more. That is why we are here. Not to do more, but to BE more. To shine our light greater than ever. To show up in our own unique and wonderful ways. To dye our hair all the colors of the rainbow if that’s what we are called to do. To create a niche for ourselves to earn a living in a way that no one else has ever done before, if that is what we are called to do. What on earth is that inner calling for, if not for us to honor it? Society says we can’t do that. I say, go ahead and do it. Society says we can’t BE that. I say go ahead and BE it. Then society judges us. I say that judgement says more about the folks doing the judging than it does about us. Ignore the naysayers. Ignore the judgers. Go within, connect with that inner calling, that inner invitation, and honor it. Accept the invitation. BE MORE.