Haggai

I found this quote in the Butterworth book, Spiritual Economics.

“You have sown much, and harvested little; you eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages earns wages to put them into a bag with holes.”  Haggai 1:6

What’s Missing?

This week I read the book Spiritual Economics by Eric Butterworth.  I’m currently in the middle of the last chapter and have to say it is a very powerful book.  In it, Butterworth debunks a lot of false ideas and (for me) shined a light on how we got to where we are.

I do believe that, in America, we are currently watching the tower crumble.  At some point in history there was a shift from giving to getting, from country and community to me and mine.  My entire life has been one immersed in consumerism and materialism (not by my parents but by media and society in general).  As a kid I remember watching Saturday morning cartoons and getting as excited about the toy and cereal commercials as I did the shows.  I’d beg my mother for those items I saw on TV.  At Christmas time I’d take the Sears catalog and circle everything I wanted from Santa.  I’d say my generation grew up with the “collect them all” mindset.

So now we are all grown up and out in the world searching for MORE MORE MORE.  A few years ago I decided I wanted a bigger house.  It wasn’t a logical desire considering we are a one income family, but I wanted it.  I thought that more space would make me happier, and I knew people who were living in 3000+ square feet houses, so why couldn’t I?  We started going to Open Houses and shopping around.  It was the peak of the market here in Florida.  Most of the 4 bedroom homes were not within our budget.  But still we took the next step and interviewed a couple of real estate agents.  It was only then that reality hit me and I realized I didn’t want to leave the small home that I love.  Since then, I’ve embarked on this spiritual journey and have realized what that “more ” is I was searching for.  I know that I wouldn’t have found it in a bigger house.  And nearly everyday it crosses my mind how grateful I am for my great neighborhood and my home, even it’s smallness.

And that brings me to the answer to the title question.  From what I’ve learned of our history, I’m pretty sure that in the beginning America was a nation founded on gratitude.  People who came here were so happy to be free from the hardships they left behind.  They were thankful for the opportunities to build a life.  The American dream was raised on people everywhere saying thank you, thank you, thank you.  I am so blessed to be here.  It is wonderful that I have this home, freedom, opportunity, and abundance (not in terms of things either).  The “God” that blessed America in the beginning was the Grateful attitude of the people.

But over time, as the nation prospered and life became easier, people stopped saying thank you.  I think that some people began to feel resentment and some gained an attitude of entitlement.  And from that was born the mindset of competition and getting ahead at all costs.  So for a long time now, we’ve been “keeping up with the Jone’s” by spending money we don’t have and running our businesses without ethics.  We do it because we are supposed to have the American dream.  It was promised to us by all those folks that were grateful!

Currently, tons and tons of oil is making it’s way to our shores, men and women are dying in battles in other countries, people everywhere are losing their jobs and homes, animals are being brutally slaughtered, our roads and bridges are weakening, and many of our once thriving communities have turned into ghost towns or war zones.  I can’t help but wonder if we’d be in this position if we hadn’t stopped saying thank you or if we could turn it all around by starting now to live with an attitude of gratitude….

The following video is pretty interesting and speaks to what I talked about when referring to my own childhood.

Attraction

The issue of attraction is something I think about from time to time.  I believe when someone who is meant to help us, guide us, or teach us arrives in our lives our souls know.  In a response to what we know within the fabric of our being we feel a human level attraction.  The more intense of an attraction the more impact someone will have on our lives.  What I think happens next is we label these feelings.  We decide we have found a new best friend or a new lover.  We dive head first into making the relationship work.  Sometimes it works beautifully and lasts a lifetime, but sometimes it fails miserably and you are left hurt, broken and asking why.

I have two examples I’d like to share.

In college I was friends with a guy named B.  We got along great and could talk and drink beer together for hours.  One night we kissed and there was this spark.  I decided I was in love.  We had been friends for months and I genuinely knew and liked him.  It was easy.  For the next three weeks we were together constantly.  I took him home to meet my parents (although I think he only met my dad) and let him drive my car.  In the evenings he and I did what we did best…drink lots of beer.  Then one night  he went to a party without me and didn’t come over to my place afterward.  Turns out he’d met another girl and went home with her instead.  I was devastated!  For a while I moped around, drank a lot, and cornered him on a few occasions in the hopes of winning him back.  Ultimately, I hit a wall.  I had to change.  I let him go.  I stopped drinking.  I started going to church (logically seeking a spiritual answer that I didn’t actually get at that time).  Within a few months I reached a breaking point with my roommates and moved out of my apartment and the detrimental living situation I was in.  It was a life-altering period in my life that happened all because I fell in love with B.  The path I was on during that time was all wrong and the love and subsequent broken heart I experienced put me back on track.  Years later, I think of him and there is not the remotest twinge of love (despite how madly in love I thought I was at the time).  I wasn’t meant to be with him or even love him, he was put on my path to save me!  I am grateful for the experience.

About five years ago I met another stay-at-home mom who I felt an instant attraction to.  I thought she was the coolest ever and wanted to be her friend.  We did become friends and for a while I considered her one of my closest local friends.    After I read the book “The Law of Attraction: The Teachings of Abraham” I bought her a copy.  She read it,  invited me to her Unity Church and lent me books by Eric Butterworth, Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, and Eckhart Tolle.  In essence she completely changed my life.  She didn’t push me onto my spiritual path, she picked me up and threw me like an Olympian.  I have learned and grown so much because of the ideas and principles that SHE introduced me to.  That was two years ago.  A lot has changed in our lives.  To be honest, I don’t think we are really friends anymore.  It’s sad and I miss her at times, but I am very aware of WHY she came into my life and I most definitely understand the reason that I felt such a HUGE attraction to her.

The important thing about attractions is that we enjoy the feelings and listen to our intuitions when making decisions.  We may find ourselves soaring in a new relationship or we may just crash and burn.  Either way, try to stay positive and ask what you have learned and gained from the relationship.  I guarantee you can come up with a lesson or two!

“Stop This Train”

Two years ago I was in a book group discussing Eric Butterworth’s book “Discover the Power Within You.”  There was a lady in the group who spoke with a Jamaican accent (which is important so that when I quote her in a second you can imagine how she sounded).  She was an interesting woman and contributed so much to the group.  I remember one night she said “you know sometimes I just feel like I want to stop this train.”  She went on to talk about how hard life can be.  She is a single mother and also a social worker, so stress was a plenty in her life.  But her faith was strong and during the weeks we met she always supplied stories of small miracles taking place in her life.

On New Year’s Day I attended a workshop conducted by Elizabeth Barbour where we created vision boards for 2009.  We cut out pictures from magazines representing what we want in 2009.  Elizabeth reminded us that we may be drawn to cut out pictures that we can’t really explain.  We might put something on the board that means nothing to us at that moment but will mean a great deal later.  For me it was a picture of a train going down a mountain.  I have no idea why I cut it out and pasted it on, but I did.  I look at the vision board every day when I am in and out of my room.  There was a day when I was stuck in my head, thinking about my life and wondering where it is taking me and I looked at that train.  I knew then what that picture meant.  I am on this amazing ride, sometimes it slows down and sometimes it is full speed ahead, but it is most definitely a ride that I don’t want to stop.  So I’ll stay on the train and go where it takes me, knowing that the conductor has my best interests at heart.

Here is a song by John Mayer that I just love.  I think of Yolanda every time I hear it!

Are You Full?

Yesterday I introduced you to my experience with meditation.  And like I said yesterday, when I go within I often receive guidance.  The guidance usually comes by way of the “still small voice” (calm and quiet instructions) but sometimes it comes in the form of a vision.  I’m in a book group with my friend and meditation teacher, Rob.  We have been reading a book by Joel S. Goldsmith.  Goldsmith was a great healer, spiritual teacher, and mystic who lived from 1892-1964.  His message is as relevant today as it was in the 1950’s when he was speaking to groups all over the world.  Meditation is a huge part of Joel’s teachings and he has written at least one book entirely about the subject. So, in the last meeting of the Goldsmith book group we found ourselves in meditation for over one hour.  It was really an amazing meditation and I wanted to share with you the message I received because I think it is relevant not just for me, but for everyone.

At one point during the meditation I saw myself in an ocean, my arms hanging over a surf board as I floated gently on the waves.  I heard a voice behind me ask “Are you full of life?”  I didn’t answer the question, but looked behind me to see an unbelievably enormous wave forming.  I’m not a surfer, so you can imagine that I didn’t feel too confident about what I saw coming towards me.  At that point the voice said “GET ON!” and a huge hand smacked the board.  The sound of the hand hitting the board was enough to startle me out of the vision, but I knew immediately what the message was.

One of my favorite images (that I first read in Eric Butterworth’s book “Discover the Power Within You”) is that of us being waves in the ocean.  God is the ocean and our lives are the waves.  We are always a part of God but it is up to us to recognize that.  It is also up to us to be present and live life to the fullest.  I believe that huge wave in the vision represents my life and I have two choices.  I can sit here and let it pummel me or I can jump on that board and ride it all the way.