Alan Watts: “If we cling to a belief in god, we cannot likewise have faith, since faith is not clinging but letting go.”
Joseph Campbell: “… to worship a god, you must become that god. No matter what you call the god or think it is, the god you worship is the one you are capable of becoming. The power of a deity is that it personifies a power that is in Nature and in your nature. When you find that level, then you are in play. That is the work of art in general, because art really is a worship.”
Me, yesterday, in conversation with a friend: “instead of going with the flow, I want to take it deeper. I want to TRUST the flow.” Because trusting the flow means I can truly let go. Sometimes, when I’m just going with the flow, I’m still attempting to control or manipulate it. Truly letting go takes trust. Which then means I must explore what it is I am trusting.
Then there is this, from Obi Wan Kenobi: “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.”
The Force is, for me, what god is.
And lest you scoff at me quoting fictional movie characters, I’ll just say that the creator of Star Wars, George Lucas, studied Science of Mind. It is my personal opinion that the concepts in the Star Wars movies are great illustrations of this wonderful teaching that has so effectively allowed me to live an even greater life than I ever imagined.
So here I am, trusting, embodying, having faith instead of belief. Asking myself, what does that look like in every day life? It is an interesting exercise in self reflection. If I trust, then I must also accept. Oh, and here’s another comment, made by me when asked by my horse trainer/equine therapist, as she does after every lesson “what did you learn today?”: “allow but continue on.”
This means I must allow what is happening (which for me means I don’t resist it, judge it, try to manipulate it, or attempt to control it) but also continue on with my mission in life. Whether that mission is to continue the horse back ride or to continue doing my minister work in the world or continue doing the laundry or continue to know the good for myself and others. I must allow but also continue on. And that takes trust, and embodying, and having faith.
Such are my thoughts today as I move out into the world to get a massage and do a wedding. And see the completion of the derockifying of my riding trail. WEEHAW! Can’t wait to ride on it!
Today I trust, embody the good, and have faith. Oh, and I play today. And because I also want to play a bit, because play is always a part of things in my life, I’m going to include an oldie but a goodie meme I made three years ago. Because it takes trust, embodiment and faith to do things that are considered crazy, delusional and ambitious. And that, my friends, is what a life looks like when one lives in trust, embodiment and faith.
Jeff Anderson: "It's the nature of things to orbit!" Ernest Holmes: "Every person should take time for this inner communion…"
I believe there are stages in life, and I also believe that we need to honor those stages. In doing so, we honor ourselves. I used to be a highly social person…I fed off of social situations and enjoyed them immensely. I was ok being alone, but given a choice of a night with people, no matter what we were doing, or a night at home alone, I chose to be with people. Now….given that same choice, I will usually choose to be at home alone. I still enjoy social situations, and I work with the public and love them believe it or not. But I have these urges that say, "let's just stay home." I believe this to be a stage. I don't know how long it will last, nor do I care. What I do know is that my job is to listen to my inner callings, and honor them. In doing so, I respect and honor my personal journey through life. I am not recommending that you stay home and sleep or eat junk food, especially if you are in a depression. What I am recommending is more of a personal self awareness practice so that you can know your own truth and honor it. Be kind to yourself. Above all, be kind to yourself. You are the one who gets to determine whether being kind to yourself means staying home, or going out. Know thyself is the message of today's reading. What do you do to know thyself?
Affirmation: Today I take time to know myself, and to honor and respect myself.
We may be presented with a health challenge. Or our spouse asks for a divorce. Or we experience a loss. Or we switch jobs. Or some person place or thing really just pisses us off, on a regular basis, and a pattern emerges.
These are all calls for change. These are all nature demanding that we change in order that we may advance.
The reason for the call then becomes irrelevant. The story: the health challenge, the divorce, the loss, the job switch, or whatever is pissing us off, it is all irrelevant. What is important is the call for change resulting from those things. What is important is that we heed that call. It isn’t an invitation. It is, as Holmes calls it, a demand.
In heeding the call, we do what is necessary to change our own thinking, our own beliefs. The action will then seamlessly follow. And healing will occur. And then we will become grateful for the call to change.
This is how life works. It has been proven to me over and over again.
So when I read words of wisdom such as these, from Ernest Holmes, found of Centers for Spiritual Living, I take comfort for I know that I have taken advantage of all the calls to change, and I have. I hope you have as well.
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.
A cell phone capture of people enjoying the immersive Van Gogh exhibit in Reno, Nevada as part of an affirmation meme illustrating today’s post.
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.