Dig a Little Deeper

I used to do this Insanity workout with Shawn T and anytime there was a grueling part of the workout he’d encourage us to not give up and dig deep. I was reminded of this yesterday when reading Dr. Dyer’s admonitions on generosity. Whenever you feel the impulse to give, ask yourself if you could give a little more for you can never give yourself poor.

This principle has universal application. If someone is driving you crazy and you think you can’t stand their insanity one moment longer, Dig Deep. Take a breath–or two–and dig a little deeper. Hold your tongue, your smile, and your loved ones just a little longer. You can always give a little more. Remember, it’s impossible to give yourself poor. The universe rewards those who share their stores.

Definitions and Limits

Tonight for FHE we watched two TEDx talks. The first one was by Sean Stephenson, author and therapist, entitled The Prison of Your Mind.  

The second talk was by Lizzie Velasquez called What Defines You?

Both talks were inspiring for each believed their conditions did not define, limit nor handicap them.

Lizzie closed her talk by asking the audience, “What defines you?”

I think most of us would answer that our positions, possessions, and abilities define us. Or perhaps our physical abilities, mental capacities, friends, family, and opportunities. But Sean would argue that we define ourselves. And that far too many of us sell ourselves short by putting bars and limiting beliefs around what we can and can’t do. We handicap our possibilities by living in the prison of our own minds.

 

I agree with Sean and Lizzie. Far too many allow others to define them while others sell themselves short by defining themselves.

We define ourselves.

What a scary and empowering thought.

Don’t like how you’ve been defined?

Re-define yourself.

There are no limits!

Anniversary Numerology

Today is my 2 year anniversary. I cannot believe it has already been 2 years and yet I feel like we’ve always been together.

So far, it’s been an incredible ride! My eyes have been opened and I’ve realized that there is more than one way to skin a cat.  The things I’ve learned from my relationship with my new husband has impacted my parenting, my ideologies, and how I interact with the world at large. He is a great teacher, and I hope the lessons are not yet finished for I feel I still have so much to learn.

Something funny is that Matt and I picked our marriage date because of numerology. I was originally planning on 10-10-2015. I was first drawn to this date because it was a Saturday and because I LOVE double digits–they’re lucky. However, Grant, my future father-in-law, suggested we should get married on his birthdate which is 10-8. Debbie explained that 10-8 is a very lucky day because it contains the numbers 1-0-8. According to numerologists, this is the perfect and most beautiful sequence because it stands for one thing (1), nothing (0), and everything (8 turned sideways is the infinity sign).

I thought that was the coolest thing I’d ever heard so we readily assented. We booked the Ogden Temple for Thursday, October 8th.

2 years ago I knew relatively nothing about numerology. Who knew that it would now fascinate me beyond measure? There are certainly no coincidences. I was married in a 3 personal year and Matt was married in 11/2. Both very good numbers for a happy, fulfilling marriage. We are just now coming out of an 8 anniversary year which is one full of business and financial success, and we are now entering a 9 anniversary year which is a time of endings and completions. It will be interesting to see which projects we bring to a close in 2018 and what we give birth to in 2019. These are definitely exciting times!

I’m grateful for a relationship that began as one thing, sometimes feels like nothing, and still has the potential to become everything. If I had to pick again, I’d still choose him!

Inert Objects Don’t Progress

I love when I wake up from a dream cycle with a quote coursing through my mind. This morning I awoke as I was writing this thought down:

Inert objects don’t progress

I quickly looked up the definition to make sure I captured the full meaning of my dream quote and every definition resonated with events occurring in my life right now and in my dream last night:

1lacking the power to move
2very slow to move or act sluggish
3deficient in active properties; especially lacking a usual or anticipated chemical or biological action
There has been a lot of change the past few months in my business and personal life. Yesterday I was consulting with a large neutraceutical company and a full-time position, very attractive, was suggested. I can’t stop thinking about it and what it could mean.
Additionally, change is something I’ve come to expect and accept. Rather than fear it, I try to enjoy and embrace it for the opportunity it is. Like I penned the other day in my Observations post: the more scenes we get to observe the better, right?
In my dream, an office worker was upset over a job she had applied for that she was certain she would not get. I told her that if she didn’t get it something else would come along. I shared all the best of my Zen, Toltec, and Stoic wisdom:
When one door closes another one opens.
God will provide and the universe will supply.
Everything you need is already on its way.
Remember the power of intent. You can manifest your desires and all your wishes can be fulfilled.
I assured the woman that since she was honest, kind, and hardworking she would always find success–so chin up and keep doing your best! She smiled through her tears and thanked me for my words. Everyone in the office who heard my speech was equally inspired. I walked to the back room wherein sat Oprah Winfrey. I was moving around some of her O Magazines and I wondered if she heard my speech for she was smiling kindly upon me. I figured she would want to make me a regular on her talk show. Haha. . . seems my subconscious is keenly aware of who the Gods of this world are and why the “philosophies of men” were rining so powerfully true to my “worldly” co-workers. I must be “of this world” for I–like them–have found these “philosophies” mighty inspiring, impactful, and true. They’ve not only helped me in my personal life, but I’ve witnessed how my sharing of these truths with others has helped them too. This phenomenon was illustrated further in my subsequent dream scene:
I was in a car and an old gentleman was curled up in the back seat. It was apparent he was sad from the recent passing of his wife. His feet were wooden blocks which symbolize to me his inertia or inability to handle the change and move on. His wooden “soles” also symbolized the fact that his soul was deadwood. I began pouring a pitcher of water (symbolizing the “living water”) slowly onto the back seat of the floor of the car. Matt was watching me administer this healing balm, however, I felt that it wasn’t working as the man curled up tighter into a ball, retreating further in distraught.
Recognizing that my actions were not resonating, I set the pitcher aside and instead picked up some of the man’s personal belongings. One of which was his golf pants. They were nice slacks with tiny white polka dots. I folded them for him and complimented him on his nice pants. As I began to ask him all about his pants and his life, he came alive. He moved to the front seat and began telling me about his business and the hard decisions he was facing as he had to decide whether or not to close down one of his departments. I told him that whatever he decided to do he would be fine so long as he did it in love. The man, with my words of wisdom, was able to accept and embrace the change for the growth opportunity it was. He, like the office woman in my previous dream scene, simply needed perspective and help from someone with greater wisdom and vision.
These dreams from last night reminded me of the many changes that have occurred recently in my life, personally and professionally. Change is good for inert objects don’t progress. 
My key takeaways:
Choose that which is best for you. When you are doing what you love and were meant to do, you are able to bring the most good and love to others because  you are living inspired (aka in spirit).
Everything is always an upgrade if you let the change or challenge teach and change you (oooh this topic is worthy of a post or book in and of itself “Changing through the Change” or “Changing through the Challenge” or “Change through Challenge” “Challenged to Change”)
Inert objects don’t progress. 

Flexibility, Resistance, and Strength

I purchased a yoga bundle by Dylan Werner that is going to increase my flexibility and strength. I started the training this weekend and was able to complete the first 7 classes. His movements are amazing and time again he has stressed that it isn’t our muscles that give us proprioception stability, control, and strength, but it’s our flexibility. When we increase our range of motion we decrease resistance, and resistance is what weakens us and makes it difficult for us to move our bodies with ease. Only when we eliminate resistance can we really progress to the advanced, fun, and exciting yoga poses.

Resistance doesn’t just make advanced yoga positions impossible. Flexibility is a truth with universal application. Whenever we are fixed, rigid, close-minded–essentially full of resistance–we cannot move gracefully through life with ease. We inhibit our natural strength and prevent the growth that would come through the stretching and the expanding of our minds, emotions, and faculties.

In life, not just yoga, we should seek to eliminate resistance. We conquer resistance through increased flexibility. When we are flexible we are strong. I want to be more flexible by remembering to just allow. Allow others to be and love them for who they are and what they have the potential to become, and give myself the same space and respect I give others.

Wonder Women

I bought Page the Wonder Woman movie for her birthday and tonight we all watched the 2+ hours of bonus content. I had no idea the director of the film was a woman. In fact, the whole team was full of Wonder Women. Gal Gadot is incredible! The costume designer was incredible. Everyone was so fun to watch in action. Especially the director, Patty Jenkins. Did you know that she was the first woman to be awarded a movie with a budget over $100 million dollars?

As I was watched the behind the scenes footage, I couldn’t help but wonder how much the attention to detail must have cost. I googled it to discover that Wonder Woman cost $150 million. I wondered with that high production cost, could the movie have even turned a profit? Well, my question was answered in the next paragraph where I learned that the movie has grossed over $820 million since its release.

I paused a moment to consider the colossal budget and whether I felt it was a waste of resources to spend so much money on a film. I thought of all the suffering $150 million could eliminate. Think of how much food we could buy for the hungry, how many homes we could build for the homeless, how much education and training we could provide for the unfortunate. Now, I’m not against entertainment, I just had a moment where I wondered if we spend more on recreation and entertainment than we do on tithing and charity? Personally, I know that the 10+% we pay in tithes and offerings to our church far outweighs the $60 we spent taking our kiddos to see Wonder Woman. So I guess I won’t worry too much about it, especially because it was so fun to watch all these amazing people come together to use their skills, talents, and passion to create such a compelling story.

Overall, I’m glad this movie was made. I’m glad it featured powerful women on the screen and behind the scenes. I love that my daughters got to see it. I love that women everywhere are finding more freedom to pursue their passions. Wonder Women through the ages have made it all possible. I hope to also be a wonder woman, and like all the great women who have fought so bravely for equal rights, carry the torch that will continue to light the way for future generations of women.

Spirit Connections, Energy, and Allowing

I promised to write more about what I learned last night at the John Edward event. There were many takeaways, but tonight I’ll write my insights surrounding spirit connections, energy, and allowing.

John allowed the audience to ask some questions at both the beginning and the end of the event. One lady said her sister was driving her crazy insisting that their dead mother was always with them. She said she can’t believe her mom is literally “always with her.” John’s reply was brilliantly insightful.

“Do you have Facebook?”

“Yes,” she replied.

Are your friends always with you?

“Well, no.”

But you are still connected, right?

John picked up the chair that was sitting on the stage and carried it around with him as he talked.

Just like your facebook friends are always connected to you even though they aren’t sitting right here by your side tonight, so are those that have crossed over to the other side. So, like your facebook friends, your mother is still connected to you.

And if you think about it, just as we can easily access those connected FB friends via our phones that we always carry with us, so too, can we access our loved ones who have crossed over to the other side.

John talked a lot about energy and how he carefully protects himself from negative energy. He explained that we all emit energy and told us to think of ourselves as a giant broadcasting station emitting energy waves as we walk around. The type of energy we emit determines the type of energy we invite back into our lives.

This concept wasn’t new to me as I have always believed that light attracts light, and negativity attracts negativity. etc.  But I had never applied the concept to challenging relationships. Basically, he was giving a woman–who had just come out of a bad relationship and had once again attracted a similar doof into her life–some advice. John explained that until she did the work to heal herself and let go of old baggage–particularly her inability to trust, be vulnerable, and let go–she would continue to attract broken men who could not be trusted. He said we all continue to attract into our lives those individuals and situations that will teach us what we still have failed to learn.

I made a mental note to carefully examine any drama in my life to see if I could determine the lesson I was still in need of learning. Recognizing the lesson that still needed learning is the only way to cut the drama.

The last energy teaching he imparted came at the closing. Right before we all left, he invited us to place our feet flat on the floor and rub our hands rapidly together. We were then instructed to place our left palm up and our right palm down and notice the energy. It was tangible. Next, he had us shake out our hands, rub them quickly together, and do the same thing, but this time we were to hover our hands over our neighbors. The energy force was easily doubled. He talked about energy, love and connection, and how it is the greatest force for good in the world. It was a touching reminder that everyone here on planet earth–and inside that hotel room–were my divine brothers and sisters with infinite potential. I felt the oneness, energy, beauty, and power of it all.

Finally, I loved when John talked about “allowing.” He feels one of the greatest gifts we can give is allowance. Allow others the freedom to be who they are. Focus on love. I love that word. . . ALLOW.  I’m going to allow others their beliefs, their journey, their path. I’ll focus on the little I can control and the rest I will allow to unfold. Thanks again Mr. Edward for the wonderful insights surrounding spirit connections, energy, and allowing.

Every Angle

One of my favorite things to do with life and ideas is to come at it from every angle. What I mean by that is nothing is ever as it seems. I was listening to a podcast today between Tim Ferris and Ryan Holiday and I was intrigued with Ryan’s answer to Tim’s question:

If you could meet with any person (dead or alive) and ask them for guidance or direction, who would it be?

Ryan’s reply was pretty cool. He said he didn’t think asking someone who wasn’t intimately familiar with him and his likes, dislikes, proclivities, talents, and abilities would be as helpful as seeking guidance and advice from someone like his wife or friends who knew him well.

I was impressed with Ryan’s wisdom as the minute I heard Tim’s question, I began making a mental list of the people I’d love to ask for guidance, direction, and wisdom. I brought the subject up with my husband and as usual, he added yet another angle for me to consider. He liked Ryan’s insight and thought it was valid, but wondered whether those closest to us are sometimes biased. He feared that many times it takes an outsider to see undeveloped potential or skills, talents and abilities that those who already perceive us in their day to day manner, cannot see.

So me making a mental list of mentors I’d love to consult was not wrong or right neither was Ryan’s reply about wanting to seek advice from those who knew him best. Both have their pros and their cons, and it’s probably best to do both.

Anyhow, the whole conversation and situation reminded me once again that nothing is ever black and white, or simply this or that. Everything is a mashed up amalgamation. Hence, the need to study subjects, ideas, and beliefs from every angle–or else we run the risk of going through life with limited, tunnel vision.

Perspective

I know I’ve written on perspective before, but I want to write upon the topic again. I came across this quote today and I LOVE it:

when we change the way we look at things, the way things look change.

I like to look for the good in every situation. It’s more fun and rewarding than beholding the bad (not to be confused with the beauty of beholding the bad as discussed here). I believe that humans are innately good. I believe that God is good. I believe that all things work together for our eventual good. I choose to see the good and when I forget and look amiss, the bad downright depresses me and things start to look dark, dismal and depressing. Till I remember to flip the switch. Nothing is either all good or all bad. That is why perspective is so important. We get to choose how we see the world. If you don’t like what you are seeing, change the way you are looking at the situation. Trying times shape our souls. Rather than wish away our trials and adversities, we should embrace their valuable lessons.

I am learning so much right now. I’ve learned that I can run a business without my right-hand man. I’m learning that I don’t hate numbers and spreadsheets as much as I thought I did. I’m learning I hate HR, but I can do it anyway. I’m learning that I need to just turn the computer off and be done for the day for the workload never goes away. I’m learning that none of this really even matters anyway. And I’m learning what I’ve always known, that God is ultimately at the helm and will continue to supply my every need.  I see Him moving in His majesty daily. I love that I can place my trust in Him, and I love that He trusts me. I’m grateful for the way I have learned to look at things. I’m grateful for divine and eternal perspective.

Meeting of the Minds

Today at quarter past noon, I meet with my Bishop for what I’m calling a meeting of the minds.

Last week, after I told the Sunday School President that I could no longer teach the Temple Class, the Bishop’s secretary texted me asking me to come meet with the Bishop.

A few days before our meeting, the Bishop emailed me two talks and asked me to read them prior to Sunday. The talks were about accepting and magnifying callings.

I re-read the talks as they were ones I was already familiar with as I had heard them both during the April 2017 General Conference of the Church. Elder Clayton and Elder Bednar both spoke about the importance of accepting and magnifying callings. The Bishop must have been under the impression that I simply didn’t like my calling and wanted a new one. That, however, was not the case. And the Bishop clearly had no idea concerning my situation.

Before I begin recounting the details of our conversation, allow me to say that I do love my Bishop. He’s a really great guy with a heart as good as gold. I’m sure there are a million other things he’d rather be doing in his spare time than being a Bishop of a Mormon congregation. What a service and what a sacrifice.

Okay, so to our meeting. It went well. Bishop began by asking me what I thought of the talks. I told him I thought they were great, but that the reason I had told the Sunday School President I could no longer teach the Temple class wasn’t because I didn’t like my calling and wanted a different one, but was because I didn’t believe what I was teaching and that I personally could not stand before others and teach something I did not believe in.

He didn’t act shocked. In fact, I was surprised at how well he handled the revelation. I told him that what I was about to summarize in 30 seconds was something I had been struggling with for quite some time and something that I felt I could no longer suppress. I told him I didn’t believe our church to be the only true church upon the earth.

I shared my vehicle analogy. The one wherein I compare institutionalized religions to vehicles making their way back to God. I explained that I believe God doesn’t much care whether you are driving a Ford or a Honda–He cares that you are moving toward Him, essentially striving to make your way back to Him and help others along the way.

In fact, He doesn’t even care if you travel the highway of life in a vehicle. If you want or need the pre-packaged, ready made meal institutionalized religion provides in order to worship and serve God–then pick the meal you feel will most please your palate and dig in.

And if ready made meals aren’t your style and you feel like footin’ it back to God rather than driving, lace up your shoes and run with it! Not everyone requires–nor desires–the scaffolding organized religion provides. Not everyone needs ready made programs, rites, and rituals in order to lead spiritual, God-like lives.

Next, I told Him how I feel about temple worship, ordinances, polygamy, gays and transgenders, and the former church policies about race and the priesthood. Honestly, I didn’t do much talking. He did. He testified and shared his beliefs with me. He confessed to a lot of “I don’t know,” and then we talked about how the men who lead the church are not perfect and make mistakes. In fact, the Bishop works for the church as a facilities manager and he shared a story about when President Monson called him up and chewed him out for not having hot water. He said he knew in that moment that Thomas S. Monson was acting as a man and not as a prophet.

The Bishop didn’t have any new insights or information I hadn’t already considered. In fact, listening to him share his beliefs and contradict himself in many ways made me realize what I already knew to be true–we all have our own beliefs. He asked me if I knew what his personal belief on polygamy was? I said no. He asked me if I knew what his personal belief on blacks and the priesthood is? I said no. He said, “See, you don’t need to know what I personally believe, but I come here and worship the same.” For me, that wasn’t a compelling argument. It just made me feel like we are all a bunch of disingenuous persons pretending to subscribe to doctrines and beliefs that we don’t really personally believe.

To me, that isn’t living with integrity. I want to worship with people that I can share my beliefs with. And when I say “share” I don’t mean that we both have to hold the same beliefs. What I mean is that I want to be able to speak freely about what I believe and not worry about whether expressing my beliefs will cause you doubt or destroy your faith. Likewise, I want others to be able to freely share what they personally believe. Yes, I would have rather heard what my Bishop personally believed about polygamy and blacks and the priesthood than to just hear him insinuate that he doesn’t agree with them either.  For me, walking around keeping my mouth shut for fear that what I say may cause someone else to doubt what their organized religion or faith culture teaches is not an option. I am a teacher. God planted that seed in my soul. Therefore, I have a burning desire to teach that which I’m studying or coming to know.

I cannot include all of our conversation simply because I want to go eat dinner. But another thing he did say that I want to mention is how he spoke of there being no church in heaven. I really liked that because I feel it supports my belief that we don’t really need one true church here either. What we really do need is more love, compassion, and service–more love for God and our fellow man. Churches can help people do that, but many times, especially when they focus on preaching that they are the only true church, it causes more division and dissension than it does love and unity.

I agree with the Dahli Llama who said if we took all children at the age of 5 years old and had them meditate for one hour on compassion, we would eliminate in just one generation all violence, hate, and injustice. Peace would prevail by simply teaching children how to love one another. Compassion meditations can be done by anyone. Man and Woman alike. Not one above the other. No need for priestly robes and vestitures, or ordinances, covenants or crusades.

I concluded the meeting by asking if he would like me to turn in my temple recommend. He said I could keep it because he didn’t see that I was doing anything wrong. He blessed me in my quest for truth and told me that he trusted me to know whether I could or should use it. I told him it expired in Oct anyway and that at this time I didn’t feel I would be coming back in to renew it as I couldn’t pass the question about whether I believed this to be the only true church on the earth. I also told him that I was living all the other commandments as I felt they were a great way to live. I didn’t say that I may start paying 10% elsewhere simply because right now I don’t have the time to investigate other good causes to give 10% of my income to and I believe 100% in the law of tithing. So for now, I’ll continue to pay my tithing to the LDS organization.

The Bishop didn’t say whether he would release me. I think he thinks I’m going to get some answers in the next week or two. I told him I’m totally open to being wrong and having the Lord correct me. I explained that I pray every day to be led in truth and light as it’s my greatest desire. But I also confessed that the more I study other religions, the more I realize I don’t really even like the Mormon version of Heaven. I said I had no desire to be a plural wife of a man in Heaven and to birth babies to populate worlds wherein I do temple work all day. I said I’d rather be in Hell than a harem. 🙂

It was a lovely day. A weight has been lifted off my heart. I feel square before God, but now I face another conundrum. What do I tell everyone else when they ask me about my class and my calling? I left after sacrament because I cannot tell a lie. If anyone were to ask me I would simply reply, “I am no longer teaching that class because I don’t believe it.” See, that’s not good either. I don’t know what to do. And the other problem I see is that if I teach others what I believe about organized religion and start openly sharing my beliefs, I could be excommunicated. I guess I shouldn’t care if I don’t believe it, but I want to be able to sit with my family at church on Sunday. But I guess I can get over that too.

I’ll write later about the great conversations I’ve had with the kids as I explained to them my situation and why I was meeting with the Bishop. Stay tuned and later I promise to share our family meeting of the minds.