According to You…

This morning my inner critic came knocking.  Usually I send her quickly to the corner and replace her scathing remarks with loving affirmations.  Today, I said “Screw it!” and just let her talk.  Let me tell you she was relentless.  I was at the gym when she started in on me and in the middle of her rant the song “According to You” came on the radio.  She preceded to steal some of the lyrics and spew them at me too.

Of course I couldn’t help myself and took some of the song and looked at it as a metaphorical example of my inward battle.  The YOU in the song could be that little me, big ego, and inner critic that likes to keep me locked in fear and self-doubt.  The HIM in the song could be the divinity within me reminding me that I am loved, perfect, and always welcome into his embrace.  It’s up to me to choose who I give my power to.

Here’s the song by Orianthi.  It is really just a song about two guys, but for me this morning it was a lot more.  Oh, and this woman is pretty badass…talk about girl power!

What Worked

I took the time to sit and meditate for 20 minutes this morning.  What came to me in meditation was a reminder of what worked for me in the past.  The other day I wrote that post titled “Healing” and mentioned how in 2008 I was more intuitive then I am now.  I wasn’t really asking why that was.  At some level I know and just haven’t said it out loud.  What came to me in meditation inspired me to put the answer out here.

When I first started down this path I did two very important things.  I read The Law of Attraction: The Teachings of Abraham by Jerry and Esther Hicks and I took a meditation course.  It was around that time that I was manifesting a level of success and peace I’d never seen before in my life.  In that time I decided to write a novel after 12 years of not writing at all.  I’m sure the idea sounded crazy to everyone around me.  Most people didn’t even know I could write.  But I set the intention with absolutely no plans of failing.  I also just wanted to create a better me and a more joyful life.

I started meditating 2 times a day for 20 minutes at each sitting.  The girls were very young at that time.  Looking back on it I don’t see how I even thought it was possible, but I did and it became possible.  I was disciplined and it worked.  It changed me forever.  I also started visualizing my day on paper every morning and reading a daily devotional.  I would write out the way my day would look, filling the page with affirmations about peace, love, and joy.

When the idea for my first novel came to me I made a writing schedule.  I’d write three pages of my novel every evening NO MATTER WHAT.  I took my lap top and wrote when we were on vacation.  I wrote when a friend came to visit from out of town.  I stayed up late and wrote if necessary, but I always finished those three pages and often wrote more.  Before each writing session I’d write my intentions and affirmations about what would be achieved in the session then I’d say a prayer.

I finished that book in 3 and a half months.  It ended up being 100,000 words which is almost twice as long as the second novel that I spent over a year writing.  That first one is raw and amateurish, but it is also intense and powerful. I was truly tuned into God when I wrote that book.  Often times I’d go back and read in disbelief that the words had come from me.

I continued some of those practices long after the book was finished.  It was at least 2 years before I missed a meditation session and I planned my day on paper for about a year.

At some point though, I got overconfident or lazy.  I thought I’d reached a point where I didn’t need to “plan” my day or meditate as often.  I allowed myself to get busy or slack.  So I made those quantum leaps of progress a few years ago and am no where near where I thought I’d be by 2011.  Without a doubt I took 3 steps forward and 2 steps back.  I can never go back completely, but right now I’m close enough.

So I’m examining what worked for me before and I am setting the intention to embrace something that works for me again.  I do so want to be an instrument for the Divine and not a slave to my Ego.  To take an idea from Wayne Dyer…I’ve had enough of this Edging God Out.

Judgment Day

We’ve all heard the story before.  When you die, you’ll go up to the pearly gates and God (or somebody) will discuss your life with you.  You’ll look at the good deeds and bad as well as the various religious decisions you made.  At the end you’ll be given your sentence: Heaven or Hell.  OK, so I don’t know if this is how it really goes.  I suppose it’s in The Bible somewhere but I’ll admit to never actually reading about it, that I can remember.  I’m sure there is some variation of this story in each religion.  I mean without Judgment Day how in the world will we control the masses?  Of course I also think it has to be more than just an issue of control.  If so many people and organizations believe some version of it, then some version of it is probably true.

Today, I’m going to share with you my version.  Over the years I’ve read a lot of spiritual and woo-woo books that have helped me formulate this idea.  I do believe there is a Judgment Day, but the person doing the judging is us or rather the divine part of us.  I believe that before entering our bodies and lives we create a contract.  We have various challenges we must work through and qualities we must work with.  I think we make pacts with other souls to help us meet our goals.  If there is someone in your life who presses your buttons, you better believe it’s in their contract to do that.

With that being said I believe that when we die our souls leave our body and ascend to the other side (Heaven if you’d like).  Once there we are greeted by a soulmate-spirit guide, angel, or deceased loved one-who leads us to our life review.  During this life review we see and experience everything we did in our human life at a whole other level.  (Does the phrase “my life flashed before my eyes” ring a bell?)   We feel the pain we caused others as well as the joy.  We understand at a deep level what affect our decisions had on the world around us.

When the review is over we evaluate ourselves and how successful we were at achieving the goals set forth in our contract.  In some cases we may have reached the level intended and can ascend to the next Heavenly stage.  In other cases we see that we still have much to learn and after some rest we get started on planning another life on Earth-which some might consider Hell.

What I believe is that our souls are of God.  That is the image and likeness within us.  When we emerge into life it is God’s wish to experience the realm of humanity.  The devil we encounter in this human world is that of free will or ego.  It is the gift we are given by God to learn,  make choices, and live.  We cannot truly experience anything unless we have felt it’s polar opposite.  So we are both God (soul) and the Devil (ego, free will).

At the end of our life we will be judged, but not by any man in the sky.  We will experience and judge our own experiences, based on what God intended for us to give and take from this life.  The only Hell we can possibly experience is that of leaving Heaven and our limitless form to return to a body on Earth.

So, that’s my take on Judgment Day.  If it feels good to you take it as your own, if not please leave it behind and find what feels like truth to you.  We are all on our own paths and must search within ourselves for the answers to these questions.  This is just an answer that makes sense to me.

 

Spirit-Led

The month of December is here.  Another year is winding to a close.  Crazy!  Time is moving so fast these days, my brain can barely keep up.  2010 did not bring big changes the way 2009 did.  I think that is for the best.  There is only so much a girl can handle.

My 2010 vision board was filled with spiritual pictures representing prayer, meditation, and contemplation.  My 2010 tarot card was The Hierophant which to me represented a spiritual teacher (whether finding one or being one).  I found a teacher in my friend, Mildred and I did become a teacher to the kids at church.  To an extent though, I let my ego take the wheel back this year.

I meditated less this year then I have in the last three.  What had been a disciplined twice-a-day-every-day practice became a sometimes event.  I let anxiety creep back in at a level I haven’t felt in years.  I spent a lot more time with my thoughts on the future or the past then on the present moment.  Basically, I lost sight of the most important resolution I made last year.

In the coming weeks, I should receive in the mail the letter I wrote to God last year at church.  We do this every year so that we can see what our intentions were and whether or not we allowed them to manifest through us.  I’m pretty sure my intention was to simply let God lead the way.  I wanted to surrender fully and become an instrument.  It’s the same request I made and released into the fire at the Goddess weekend back in June.

Ever since my busy summer, I’ve found that things have been too noisy inside my head to hear that still small voice of God.  I get ideas and I don’t know where they’re coming from.  Is it my ego trying to make something happen or God encouraging me to let something happen?  I really can’t tell!  There was a time when I wrote so assuredly about listening to inner wisdom and knowing the right thing to do.  These days, I don’t seem to know anything.

At the beginning of this week I sat down to meditate.  These days when I do that a thousand thoughts bombard me, but in this particular session I found ample silence to hear something.  It was a pretty clear message that I should have written down because right now I can’t quite recall it.  The gist is that I have tuned God out lately and it’s time to tune back in.  I need to listen with my whole being in each and every moment.

Committing to a spirit-led life isn’t a one time promise you make, it is a daily, hour to hour, minute to minute practice you engage in.  At the end of this year it is ever clear to me that I must re-engage!

Missed Opportunities

After my trip I have been thinking a lot about “callings” and purpose.  I still believe that our highest purpose is to connect with God.  Beyond that though, we have contributions that only we can make.  I wonder how often we miss these opportunities because we are trying to label ourselves or fit into a box.

The last few days I’ve been thinking of my passions, or the things that light me up when I think about them.  I get really excited about the lessons I plan for the kids at church.  I’m not incredibly organized and struggle a bit with putting them together in a lesson format, but the ideas bring me to life.  In December, we’re going to discuss the metaphysical symbolism in the Christmas story.  In January we’ll be doing the metaphysics in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  After that I’m going to create my own unit on the red letters (the words in the bible supposedly spoken by Jesus).

But here’s where the label comes in.  Because I find myself drawn to the teaching idea again I am trying to make a predictable path for myself.  I’m scared to let God lead me so my ego is butting in.  Yesterday I came up with a plan.  I’d go back to school, get that History degree I’m only 3 classes shy of, and teach middle school Social Studies.  Luckily I know how to listen to my body these days and couldn’t ignore the sick feeling in my tummy when I visualized that plan.

I wonder how many people ignore their guts, go against their dreams, and choose the “sure thing” path?  I wonder how often opportunities for finding your purpose and embracing your calling are missed because money, stability, power, or reputation seem better?

Renee’s Click

This is the second time Renee has written a “click” for me.  The first one was a fictionalized click. I introduced you to her last Wednesday so the only thing I’ll repeat here is her blog which you can find by clicking here.

I’m generally not the type to dwell on the past or even think too much about what’s happening at any one particular moment. I go with the flow and deal with things as they come, my mind quickly racing through ways to solve specific problems and come out on the other side with my life intact.

So when Leslee asked me last week to write a Click Story for her blog, it wasn’t easy to come up with an idea. I racked my brain trying to think of a moment in my life where I suddenly realized something profound, a moment that maybe changed my life – for good or bad. I couldn’t think of anything for a couple of days.

And then it came to me … the perfect “Click” moment for a blog about finding one’s spiritual path. In fact, there are two of them and they are both connected, so I chose to write for Leslee about the moments I discovered who I am as a spiritual being, what I believe and why.

My mother grew up Catholic and my father Jewish. Neither was or is especially religious, but I learned about Jesus and heaven and hell and all of those things. We lit Chanukah candles and exchanged Christmas presents under a decorated tree. I even went to church or synagogue every once in a while. In fact, I still do all of those things, but they have different meaning for me now.

Like many, I grew up with a belief that there was a God in heaven and He was a man and that all things Judeo-Christian were, without question, the Truth. It’s in our American culture, so unless a person either thinks more profoundly than a teenager usually does or is brought up in a home with an alternate religion, one tends to blindly accept these things.

I had friends who were Hindu or Buddhist, but never really thought much about that. Religion was religion. My mother told me once that no matter what religion a person is, there is still only one God and everyone worships Him in his or her own way.

But then I grew up. I went to college. I started thinking more deeply.

I took astronomy.

To pass my class, I had to go to the community college’s observatory a few times and look out at the heavens and write a report about what I saw. I went at a time when a local astronomy club met so they could help me with using the telescope: the general mechanics as well as finding specific stars, asteroids, comets, the moon, whatever.

As I peered through the telescope at the millions – billions! – of stars and planets in the sky, I had an epiphany (a Click moment): we are not alone in this universe.

I’m not a person who necessarily believes extraterrestrials visit Earth and probe people. I’m not sure it’s possible to ever travel that distance in a lifetime. But I do know that in a space as large and endless as this universe is, there’s no way that we are all there is.

When one looks at most religions, especially Judeo-Christian religions, they are very Earth-centered. God created the Earth and all the beings on it and he watches to make sure we don’t swear or have sex with someone to whom we aren’t married. And if we mess up a little bit, fire and brimstone await us in hell. But why, with all that’s out there, does He care about those things? He must have more important things to worry about, right?

And then I started thinking about how life comes to be. No man or woman alone can create a child. Some asexual organisms can, but with both male and female anatomy only. Even with cloning and in-vitro fertilization, one needs male and female elements. So how can one, single, male god create so much life without a feminine partner? The laws of Nature are against that scenario. Therefore, in my reasoning, if there is a god, there must also be a goddess.

And that was the moment I realized I am not Christian and I don’t want to be. It’s a lovely religion at its most pure, but to me, there isn’t much sense to it. There’s some, but as a whole it’s not something I can buy into.

But what now? I’m not Christian or Jewish. I’m not Buddhist, Muslim or Hindu. What am I?

It would be several years before I’d have that answer, my second Click moment. It came about two months ago when, out of curiosity, I attended a gathering of pagans. We went around the room introducing ourselves and stating what pagan path we each were on.

I didn’t have an answer. I didn’t really know enough to say. I still don’t know for sure, but one man’s answer hit me hard where it counts. He said, “I am a religious eclectic.”

And that is exactly what I am.

I Am The Way

The following post is written in response to a request from a friend.

I think that at our core we all have the same purpose in this life.  We know we have a purpose and we think it’s a number of things.  We go to school, get training or education, we find jobs, get into relationships and marry or co-habitat with those partners, we have children, we buy houses and cars, travel and take up causes.  Sometimes we are lucky enough to do everything we wanted to do and yet we find ourselves still feeling like we haven’t achieved our purpose.  That’s because we probably haven’t.  What I believe we were put here to do is to know and experience God, which is the underlying love and order behind everything in this world.

That brings me to the title of this post.  Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  Where does that statement fit in with my belief that we were all put here to experience God (again as the underlying love and order behind everything).  I know a lot of people who would say that they are experiencing God by accepting Jesus as their savior and worshiping him.  To me that’s just a less devious way of breaking the first commandment.  Jesus was a son of God just as I am a daughter of God.  He was not God, but he did what most of us will never do and that is came to fully know and experience God.

All true mystics and spiritual teachers, no matter what religion they label themselves, will agree that Jesus was one of the most God realized individuals.  He reached the level where he was living from that place within himself that is Divine.  The human Jesus was cast aside when he reached enlightenment.  So there are two ideas as to what he meant when he said “I am the way.”

The first is that he was speaking not as Jesus, but as the Christ.  Perhaps he had his hand over his heart as he spoke and was emphasizing that the path to God is found within the heart.  Maybe if we’d been seated at his feet he would have reached down and touched our hearts.  I imagine Jesus as a very humble man, I can’t imagine him standing on a pedestal and insisting that the only way to meet God is to come to him first.

The other idea which was presented in Paul Ferrini’s series is that Jesus wasn’t saying come to me, but instead he was saying to follow my lead.  Do as I do, live the way you see me living, practice forgiveness, keep an open heart, and love even your enemies.  The more you live from that heart space, where love and forgiveness preside, the more you are living as God.  The “way” is not to come to Jesus and hope that he will do something for you, but allow his actions and words to lead you to do something for yourself.

My spiritual journey is all about seeking the God experience.  And to me that experience is felt as love and comfort.  When I can shift an angry reaction to a loving one, I am connecting with God.  Jesus paved a pathway that I can walk along.  I can seek his guidance through books and meditation.  I can do the same with other mystics and spiritual teachers that are no longer here in human form.

Ultimately it is all about what makes each of us individually experience the love (God) which is present in us and all around us all the time.  If believing Jesus is God allows that love to fill you up than that is your truth and your way.  For me, I am comforted to know that following the example Jesus set will bring me closer to knowing God from the inside out.