Personal Prayer

I’ve been thinking a lot about my post yesterday because as I was teaching my kids about how prayer for me now is, I realized that I needed to expound upon some principles of personal prayer lest they think I no longer want to pray aloud. Currently, we pray as a family in the morning, at night, and over our food. And, of course, we keep a prayer in our hearts always. But how do we keep our family prayers from feeling like a perfunctory performance or some meaningless rote recitation?

Two instances particularly caused my serious prayer reflection. First, I noticed how much unnecessary niceties individuals employ in their public prayers. Seems that many have a tendency to wax eloquent and speak verbosely in front of their peers as they pray publicly. It doesn’t feel like a heartfelt expression to their God whom they revere, but more like a public exhibition of their piety. Not my fav.

Second, I noticed my children during our family prayers. I can see them glancing around as they pray, wiggling all about, and pretty much doing everything but communing.  What is the point of all this?

So last night I clarified my precepts surrounding prayer. I explained that I’m not a fan of the way we and others have been publicly praying. I told my children that I felt prayer should be a time where they commune with the divine and where they feel a connection with a higher power. Words don’t have to be spoken aloud as there is something stirring about simply sitting in silence with spirit. I explained that I am game to continue praying as a family, but perhaps we all should just get on the same page as to why we are praying. If we want to bless Lindsay, Tyler, and Sharee, then let’s discuss our desire to send loving, healing thoughts their way and then concentrate our thoughts toward that end as we pray. It’s not like God possesses that power and is withholding the healing effect. Love and healing is an energy that we can send from our spirit to theirs and that is divine.

I feel like a family chat about together about our intentions and desires is a cool way to pray. Then we can all sit there in silence as we meditate upon that which we discussed. We can visualize our intentions manifesting instead of rotely reciting perfunctory prayers. I’m confident that this approach will not only improve the quality of our family prayer but will have an ameliorating effect on our personal prayer as well.

Prayer for Me

Prayer for me has changed recently. I no longer view prayer as a form of work wherein I petition God for blessings I need for me, my friends, or my family. I don’t believe God reserves special blessings, gifts, or healings for those who are bold enough to ask, or for those who obediently keep his commands.

Furthermore, I don’t believe that the righteous are entitled to more blessings than the wicked. Primarily because I do not believe children of God can be wicked for I believe we are all divine beings with infinite possibilities. Yes, there are evil acts, but children of God are not evil. Individuals who commit evil acts are hurting and hurting people hurt others in attempts to meet their unmet needs. Children of God who are hurting need help and lots of love. Punishment doesn’t rehabilitate for hate cannot drive out hate, only love and light can do that. And God, like the sun, does not withhold his love and light from any of his children. Some may choose to live in a cave and claim that the world is a cold, dark place, but their reality isn’t God’s reality for God happily shines his love and light down upon all his creations. We are free to live in or out of the cave. Honoring the Divine is a gift we give ourselves, but to think that God’s goodness is conditional upon our behavior is to make God ungracious. My God blesses all because of who He is not because of who we are. His benevolence isn’t based upon our actions.

But I digress, back to prayer. Prayer for me now is silent communion. As I sit silently, I rarely feel the need to speak, primarily because I no longer see God as a great genie in the sky who simply exists to grant my every wish. Additionally, I no longer view God as the Great dispenser of death, punishment, and doom. For me, God is a power that I can always access. When I am connected with God all things are possible for God is all powerful. When I am disconnected from God I feel weak and powerless. Yes, I fear and I doubt when I disconnect from the divine.

This belief about God means that there is nothing that I need that He hasn’t already granted, and everything else that I feel I need is already on its way. Prayer for me consists of reminding myself of this realization. When I pray in this way, I no longer feel the need to ask for gifts, blessings, healings, or miracles for me, my family, or my friends. Instead, I sit quietly and go within for it is within this silent stillness that I touch the infinite and receive the calm assurance that everything will be all right. I feel powerful and at peace. Words, in such a setting, are unnecessary, and frankly, feel quite trite. Instead of speaking, I open my heart and allow the gratitude to gush. Sometimes it spills out in audible gasps of adoration, joy, and awe. And, oftentimes, this silent stirring of my soul causes the tears to flow.

As you can see, prayer for me is a private communion. I am finding it particularly painful to pray publicly. It doesn’t feel like prayer. It feels exhibitionist–a pointless perfunctory performance.  If God is not a genie in the sky, who exists to fulfill our every wish, then why do we continually go before him petitioning that he “bestow his spirit with us,” or that he “bless us with health,” or that he “help us go throughout our various activities in safety?” God is already doing all these things. By asking him to do it aren’t we backhandedly suggesting that he is somehow some miserly withholder? Do you really believe that God only blesses you with safety if you petition him for it? I don’t. Do you really believe that God will allow Lindsay to die from cancer if we don’t pray fervently? I don’t. Do you really believe that God will withhold peace, happiness, and joy if we don’t ask him to bless us with it? I don’t. And that is why I find it completely unfitting to beg God for blessings.

Come out of your cave dear one. Come sit silently in the sun and bask in the peace, graciousness, and goodness of God for he is shining it down upon His inhabitants in great abundance. Go within and you will find the divine. You will find that all you seek has already been given and already exists within. You are divine. You are connected to God and because of your connection you already have everything you need–and anything you feel is lacking is always already on its way. This, my friends, is prayer for me now!

Heartspace™

Today was awesome! I was able to spend the entire day in Kamas with Stephen Palmer learning Heartspace™.  It was an intimate gathering at Ann Webb’s home. If I had to sum up Heartspace™ in a tidy little sentence I’d say it’s a system for owning your emotions and sitting with them in self-compassion.  Understanding your emotions, triggers, and learning to sit with your feelings instead of running from them or covering them up with unhealthy behaviors is the key to living a life free of suffering. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. We are all broken–life breaks all of us. Heartspace™ teaches you how to acknowledge your imperfections and the imperfections of others and how to interact from a safe place–the heart. Heartspace™ is all about getting out of your logical head where you seek to blame and into your heart where you can uncover your core wounds and emotional triggers.

There are five steps in moving from headspace to Heartspace™:

Step 1) Separate suffering from pain

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Learn to make observations and refrain from interpretations for it is in the stories we tell that suffering is born. For example, your dad may have spanked you with a belt. That’s an observation and it could have caused physical pain. BUT, telling yourself a story about how your dad doesn’t love you and shouldn’t have spanked you with a belt, blah blah blah, is adding insult to injury. Your interpretation of the events leads you into the suffering swamp. Don’t go there. are you experiencing pain or suffering

Step 2) Take responsibility for your suffering

Once you realize that your interpretation is causing unnecessary suffering, STOP the story making! 

Your dad spanked you with a belt. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. It doesn’t say one thing about you or him. You can’t even know what it means. It just is. He spanked you.

Step 3) Trace your headspace symptoms back to the original pain

Release the hardness of headspace and move into the vulnerability of heartspace™

What happened to you as a child or what is your core wound that is causing an emotional trigger in you as an adult?

In our group, a gentleman shared how he feels like his wife doesn’t love him because she never expresses appreciation. Because she doesn’t affirm him he’s always feeling like he isn’t good enough. The feeling “I’m not good enough” goes all the way back to his days as a missionary when his girlfriend chose someone else over him to marry. He carries that wound into his marriage and anytime he feels “unappreciated” it triggers his core wound of “I’m not good enough.”

Step 4) Move into your pain by saying the thing that is hardest to say

open your heart to vulnerability

you know you’ve touched it when it makes you cry

say what’s causing the pain “I feel unsafe,” and then state the need “I need to be safe.”

For the gentleman in our class, he realized that he doesn’t feel good enough. He thought his wife didn’t love him, but not feeling loved is not an emotion so he had to dig deeper. Just like peeling layers from an onion, the gentleman was able to discover that he really was carrying the core wound of “Not good enough.” Realizing this empowered him and his wife. He can now own his emotional pain and not keep blaming his wife for not making him feel appreciated.

Step 5) Hold your pain in self-compassion

STAY don’t move away from the pain—move into it and embrace it

The gentleman in our gathering was able to sit with this “painful” realization that his girlfriend (over 40 years ago) choosing someone else, had left him broken and was causing emotional triggers with his wife. This newfound awareness brought him to tears. All these years he has been blaming his wife for not making him feel loved and appreciated when in reality he had a core wound of not feeling good enough. Without acknowledging that core wound and holding his hand to the flame so to speak was he able to take back his power. Now he has the insight to improve his relationship with himself and his wife.

Sit and cry when you find that pain. Hold it in self-compassion. For some reason, our culture has taught us that crying, sadness, etc. are weak and should be avoided. Not so. Face the feelings and they will eventually pass. Suppress them, run from them, project them and you will stay stuck in suffering.

Finally, how do you interact with someone who is in pain? Well, you don’t need to try to fix it. There is nothing “wrong” with pain. I really liked the idea of simply expressing love and letting them know you are there for them if they want or need you.

A simple statement such as:

“Dear one, I am here for you”

says it all.

Heartspace™

I love it. Creating space in your heart to hold your pain in self-compassion. Allowing others the space they need to process their pain. Seeing each other’s hearts. Allowing and loving. Letting go of judgment. Allowing pain to create space in your heart–space that can be filled with joy and love.

I loved being with these enlightened beings. I can hardly wait to see how our paths continue together.

p.s. today we bought a cow and named it Heartspace™ It will go to a widow in Africa and it will allow her to feed her family and put her children through college. That’s amazing!

You Give What You Are

I came across a powerful thought today shared by Dr. Dyer:

You cannot give away that which you do not have

I firmly believe you can’t love others if you don’t love yourself, but for some reason when I read that quote today I thought in reverse. The thought that you cannot give away that which you do not have made me think that you radiate or emit that which you are.

If you hate yourself, you will radiate hate. If you are judgemental you will give others judgment.

So how do we cultivate that which we lack? How can one who has no love create it? The answer seems simple with regards to love. There is no creation or cultivation needed for LOVE already exists. Love is all there is. It is the only power on earth. To feel love all you need to do is sit still and sit in it. It surrounds us all the time. I guess you need to be open to receiving love. I feel love the most when I’m in nature. When I count my blessings. When I’m still. When I’m with people who are loving.

I believe in love. I have a huge desire to give all my love away. Which is another incredible realization. Love is like the cruse of oil that never wastes. Love grows in the sharing. It’s replenished or returned in the moment you give it away. It’s like a circular force or a magnetic draw. Actually, as I try to explain it my mind just expanded so that I can see clearly that the amount of love that exists never changes it. It is an energy that surrounds us. . . . like oxygen. When we give love away, we are opening ourselves up to receive the loving abundance that surrounds us. Giving love is like opening up laden arms so that they are now empty and free to receive the surrounding love. It is in the sharing that we open ourselves to the return. Gosh, I stink at explaining this. I feel like I could illustrate it better. Essentially, just take my word for it and open yourself to love by giving away your love. For in the giving of your love you will receive love so much that you won’t have room enough to store it all. . . you’ll be forced to give away the extra in a vicious awesome cycle of love.

Remember, you give what you are. You are love. Give love. And prepare to be overwhelmed by love.

Instrument of Peace

I’ve been thinking a lot about the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. It begins with Lord make me an instrument of your peace.

Last night I was not an instrument of peace. I allowed someone to elicit from me a less than harmonious response. I want to be the kind of person that doesn’t allow others, or circumstances, to disturb my peace. I want my outer body to be an impenetrable armor to my spirit–for my spirit is where my peace resides.

I’m reflecting now on what it was that caused me to lose my peace as the person who I allowed to steal my peace is someone I love very much and I’m intent to learn from the experience so that in the future I respond differently.

When I try to get to the bottom of the problem it seems that it was all a misunderstanding. There were, in fact, a series of misunderstandings:

  1. original desires
  2. division of labors
  3. financial interests

I’m realizing right now that when you boil down any altercation what remains is simply a misunderstanding. Communication is so crucial. And if, after your altercation, you don’t identify the misunderstanding, you will have “missed” understanding each other, and you will have missed the opportunity to lay a foundation of correct “understanding.” Interesting how similar the meanings of “foundation” and “understanding.” Solid foundations allow us to build sturdy buildings. Correct understandings help us build solid relationships. Both supply something solid to build or stand upon.

What I learned from last night:

  1. My antagonist and I need to come to an understanding about our desires moving forward.
  2. My antagonist and I need to come to an understanding about our division of labors.
  3. My antagonist and I need to come to an understanding about our financial interests.

Something I learned about myself last night is that while I am getting better at communicating my feelings (I have a tendency to keep what I’m feeling inside for I hate conflict and confrontation), I still need to work on communicating what I’m feeling dispassionately. Essentially, when I’m feeling frustrated and upset, I would like to convey those feelings in a neutral manner. I do believe it is possible to communicate my frustration without becoming frustrated. Last night, however, was not one of those moments. So I will do better next time because I want to be an instrument of peace. I cannot allow others to disrupt my peace. I could have listend to the other person’s concerns without judging their concerns as complaints and personal attacks. I could have realized that what that person was saying revealed more about them than it did about me. I could have chosen not to take it personally. Had I had the insight I now possess, I could have looked for the underlying misunderstanding(s) so we could correct our foundation and build something solid to stand upon. I would not have “missed’ understanding each other.

I’m also reminding myself to look within for I’m finding it easy to identify all the things “wrong” with the other person, but remembering that others are our greatest teachers, and applying the principle of the light of vexation, I’m humbled by the remaining self work I have to do.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.

Dream Work

This Thursday I’ll be speaking to a bunch of entrepreneur majors at Weber State University about Dream Work. I presented at the same Nye Lecture Series last year and my presentation covered some foundational principles for success. This year, I was asked to speak again and was given the deadline of August for my topic submission. I hate supplying presentation topics so far in advance because I dislike being beholden to a topic that I may no longer feel passionate about or find relevant when presentation time rolls around. I purposely selected Dream Work as my topic as I felt it was broad enough to not box me in.

I’d love to start my presentation by asking the students what comes to mind when they hear the phrase “Dream Work?” I’m guessing the answers will include things such as:

Working a job that you love

Landing your dream job

Working toward your dreams

And while I intend to discuss those items, I also want to talk about the importance of doing dream work. I want to show them what I’ve done with my dreams and how I’m literally working them. I want to discuss the following:

  • Working–Here’s a quote I think I created: “Everything works out for those who don’t quit working.”

This principle has proved true for me. I always get on my knees as if everything depends on God and then get up on my feet and go to work as if everything depends on me. Things have always worked out for me and I think it is because I never give up. The obstacle becomes the way for me for in seeking to move it, go around it, or climb over it, I grow, learn, and ultimately, become.

  • Dreaming–Don’t stop believing! I think that is a song by Journey haha. But truly, I want to tell them that they can be and do anything they set their minds to. The universe conspires with those who take bold, persuasive action. We just must simply begin. I believe that each of us was born with music inside. We can’t let it die inside! We must play it! I want to encourage each of them to figure out what moves them. Find out what brings you joy and then do more of it! There is no excuse for mediocrity and to not do what you love. Life is too short. YOLO. Tony Hawk made a living doing something he loved, so did Michelangelo. What do you love to do? As Nike would say, Just Do It!
  • Be a Dream Worker. What does a dream worker do?
    • Dream workers ask, “How may I serve?” not “What’s in it for me?” When we go through life with an attitude of helping others to get what they want, the universe reciprocates by helping us get whatever we want. Yes, serve others, and the universe serves you. We live in an abundant universe. I want to emphasize to the students the power of operating from an abundance mindset and not a scarcity mindset. When we realize that there is enough and to spare, we can give of our time and resources abundantly for we know there will be enough and more to come. We will resist the small-minded manner of hoarding and competing. We will work to unite and share. We will build rather than tear down.
    • Dream workers work their dreams. Working your dreams means working on yourself. Our dreams increase self-awareness. We should stop sleeping through our dreams. I intend to teach the students about the importance of dream recall and recording. I will share with them my Dream Eye Fly journey and what our dreams can teach us. I will encourage them to start remembering and recording their dreams so that they can improve their waking life. I will close with the following:

Dream On. Work Your Dreams. Never Stop Dreaming.

And yah, I’m glad I chose Dream Work back in August for it’s still a relevant topic I’m highly passionate about. Should be good. Wish I had more time to prepare, but honestly, my time is highly occupied by other matters right now.

The Purpose of Paradox

I originally wrote this post and titled it “Hurt so Good.” I was interrupted prior to publishing and as I revisited it, I decided to change the title to “The Purpose of Paradox.” The evolution needs no explaining, simply commence your read.

Hurt so Good? Sounds like a paradox, doesn’t it? I mean, how can something that hurts, feel good? Well, that is what happens at Structura. I had a deep fascia massage and everything about it was intense! There were parts that hurt SO bad, and the only thing that made it bearable was that I knew it was doing me good.  I told myself the sensations were not pain. I told my body that the sensations were AMAZING, and producing results. Whenever the sensations became abominably uncomfortable, I focused on the fact that training my fascia would help me achieve my pistol squats, along with a few other moves I cannot yet do because of mobility restrictions.

Visualizing myself able to achieve these advanced yoga positions made it possible for me to endure the torture. In fact, the future realization made the hurt so good.

I am particularly fond of paradoxes. In fact, I wrote about another paradox the other night Giving up for Gain   And tonight I came across another one I liked:

Infinite Patience Produces Immediate Results

I find it fascinating that contradictions can help us see more clearly. Seems like I’ve stumbled upon another paradox–contradiction clarity.

No Problems

I’ve been reading a really good book called There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem. Dr. Dyer believes that there are no problems, just problematic thinking. We can overcome any problem by simply changing the way we think.

Dr. Dyer believes that the moment we succumb to worry, fear, anxiety, stress, etc. we cut ourselves off from our higher source. God is love, peace, and joy. Anytime we are feeling anything less than this, means we are out of touch with spirit. The key to finding solutions and eliminating problems lies in staying connected to God. No God= No good.

The moment you recognize a negative thought, change it. We get what we want. Conversely, we get what we don’t want. So the key is to focus your thoughts on what it is you want to have happen and don’t waste any precious energy on that which you don’t want to happen.

Case in point, today I caught an Uber ride to the airport. We were already cutting it close as our meeting went long. My flight was scheduled to leave Tampa at 6:45 pm. We left for the airport at 5 pm and hit rush hour. To make matters worse, the GPS took us to downtown. When we finally realized the mistake (I had a new Uber driver who had just moved to Tampa a few weeks ago so had no idea where he was going either), it was 5:45 and we still had 30 minutes to the airport. I felt a slight panic rise in my chest as I realized we had a serious problem. I was going to miss my flight. In that moment, I remembered Dr. Dyer’s teachings and instead of seeing this as a problem, I instead chose to focus on the fact that God was with me and if I needed to miss this flight I would, conversely, if I needed to make it I would. Instead of thinking, “I’m not going to make my flight,” I started thinking, “I’m going to make my flight.” I went from panic to peace in less than 10 seconds. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that everything would work out. I didn’t have a problem at all. What I did have was an opportunity to realize that missing my flight was no big deal. I’d get a hotel, stay another night and find another flight. I’d also probably make my flight too if I really needed too. Cuz that is how the Universe works.

I was able to enjoy the remainder of my drive with my Uber man and didn’t create any unnecessary stress for either of us. It was truly pleasant. I was really grateful for the concepts I had been studying and that I had a chance to apply them so soon after learning them. The early application has cemented the no problems perspective clearly in my quiver. And no, I don’t have a problem with that metaphor as I know exactly what it means. 🙂

Giving Up for Gain

I just came across this killer quote:

One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up, instead of what they have to gain.

I’m going to summarize this principle as Giving Up for Gain. It is something I have come to appreciate a lot lately as I’ve walked a more Zen and Buddha path. Detaching from outcomes, freeing yourself from the good opinion of others, accepting reality, allowing people to be as they are, all of these true principles perfectly illustrate Giving Up for Gain.

When you are able to give up your need to control others and simply allow them to be as they are, you are gaining peace of mind and improving your relationship with that person. When you are able to detach from outcomes you are giving up your need for control and gaining serenity and trust. The universe smiles kindly upon those who allow it to do its work. No one likes a meddler yah?

When you give up your need to be right, or your need to be liked, you are gaining personal freedom to be who and what you are. Following your own life path is one of the most rewarding, joyful, fulfilling journeys you can make. I cannot imagine traveling my life path any other way. And I love that I have discovered we all have our own unique life paths. There is no “one” right way to do anything. There are many ways and you should do whatever feels right for you.

I gave up my business, I literally just walked away and gave it to one of my epic employees. I have gained peace of mind, more time, and an incredible new career. I am feeling so grateful for all the personal growth I’ve experienced. I’m grateful for my life path that is teaching me everything I need to know as I need to know it. I love people. I love my life. I love my family. I love my husband. I love God, Universe, Spirit, and the eternal soul. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

I wonder where else I can apply the principle Giving Up for Gain?

Working it Out

For a long time, I have been saying “things will work; they always do.” I do believe that things will work out and that everything is always as it should be. I wonder, however, if things really do just work out or if things have a way of working out as we go to work working it out?”

I have always loved the quote:

Pray as if it all depends upon God

and go to work as if it all depends upon you.

and Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.

I feel that when we are men and women of action, good things happen. Things always do work out for those who go about working it out.