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!

The Ways We Are Spoken To

Over a week ago, I was on my way to meet my spiritual mommy, Mildred.  I had myself completely wrapped in negativity as I drove to the coffee shop.  I was thinking about how I hadn’t been meditating and doing my spiritual “work.”  I was thinking that I didn’t deserve the time, love, and energy Mildred gives to me.  I was thinking of how unmotivated and flakey I’ve been for too many months now.  I was thinking of how idiotic it was of me to ever think that I was special and had any sort of divine purpose here.  I was doubting my talents…thinking of the many others who are more talented and more importantly – more disciplined.

I’ve read and written about being the watcher.  I know that I am not the egoic monkey mind that squalks like a madman.  The truth of me is that I am the one behind all that who sees it, hears it, and knows better than to listen.  Sometimes that part of me can stop the madness and bring me back to truth.  But on this day I really couldn’t.  Something else had to do that for me.

When Mildred and I sat down with our coffees, she pulled out a little book called “Creative Thought” (another Daily Word type thing).  She opened it up and handed it to me.  She said that she’d read it that morning and thought of me.  Within the passage she had highlighted the following two phrases:

That which may have restricted my freedom to unfold is now released.

I declare I can be all I choose to be.

Another phrase that jumped out at me was:

My destiny is Divine.

Spirit chose to set me straight that day by using my sweet friend Mildred.  For the rest of that day, my monkey mind shut up.  I was once again reminded of the many ways God speaks to us.  If our ego is too loud to hear the still small voice Spirit will send us a voice we simply can’t deny!

I’ll leave you with one more message I got this week through my sister’s Facebook page.

An Ego Named Charlie

I am back from an amazing weekend at the Amrit Yoga Institute.  It was everything I hoped it would be and possibly a little more.  I’m not sure how much of it I will share.  I made a beautiful (in my eyes) painting and an amazing “goddess” sculpture.  I do want to write about and share a picture of the sculpture at some point when I get the photos taken and downloaded.   I may keep the painting just for myself this time and only share it with those who happen to come into my bedroom to sneak a peek of it hanging on the wall.  I did want to share an activity we did today because it might be helpful, or at least entertaining.

We were told to pick an animal to represent our ego.  Once we had the animal we were to name it.  The first animal that popped into my head was my dachshund, Lilly.  I resisted this at first but nothing else came to me.  I thought of Lilly’s neediness, the way she growls a little when she wants to be petted and barks constantly at your feet when you are looking out the window in the hopes that you will lift her up and let her see too.    But Lilly is tough, she sticks up for herself when her brother, Oscar, is bugging her.  She has a huge voice for her little body and could rally a whole stadium full of doggies.  Lilly didn’t exactly fit my ego.  But I decided the dachshund was a good representative.  I thought of how we keep our dogs crated when we are away or sleeping.  They put up a fuss when we close the crate door, but we know if we left them unattended and gave them free reign of the house they would piss on everything and get into all sorts of mischief.  Yep, that sounded a lot like an ego…

Next was the name.  Charlie popped into my head.  When I was a kid on occasion we’d go to Charlie’s Here, which was a convenient store up the street.  We’d get candy and sodas to carry along on an outing.  I’d usually wolf my treats down, never stopping to savor them.  I was always left wanting more and wishing I’d taken the time to enjoy what I had.

So there I had it.  My ego is a Dachshund named Charlie.

We were then asked to think of a question we have about our life.  My question was “What should I focus on in my life right now?”  We were told to close our eyes and inwardly ask our animal.  I was a little unsure on this one, but I did as I was told and to my surprise I received an answer.

Charlie said as he eagerly hopped around: “Make them love you, make them love you, make them love you.”  And with that I was shown a few of the ways I could do more or change to make the people around me love me more.  Yep, sounds about right.

We were then told to close our eyes and ask the same question, only this time direct it to Spirit.  I closed my eyes and did as I was told.  Spirit immediately said:

LOVE YOURSELF!!!

And with that the floodgates opened and tears poured from my eyes.  It was true.  I can’t make anyone else love me or love me more, all I can do is love myself and from there it will grow in my life and in the lives of those around me.

Dolls

I have been thinking about this post for five days.  I haven’t sat down to write it because for me it was a huge click, one I’m not sure I can put into words or really explain.  I’m sitting here now, my hands on the keys, sort of hoping it will write itself.

Through the internet I’ve met some great people.  They are people I’d never come face to face with or have the opportunity to get to know otherwise.  One of those people I’ve mentioned before and you met last week through his click story.  I knew the first time I read Opinionated Gift’s blog that he was going to be one of my teachers.  I did not, however, think it would be through his fascination with a TV program.  So I’d like to dedicate this post to him and thank him for my most recent spiritual click that came b/c I watched the first season of his favorite show.

As you know one of the great spiritual teachers that I study, read and feel guided by is Joel S. Goldsmith.  I’ve been reading his books for over a year now and in nearly everyone of them he talks about Reality.  He says that the only thing that is REAL is God.  And God is not some outside force looking down upon us and intervening in our lives on occasion to either punish or reward us.  He tells us God is the moving force in everything, that the very core of our being is God.  We are an extension of God.  We are God in expression.  That is what is real about us.  When our bodies die, that part of our being lives on.  Our very essence is God and God is eternal.

As he delves further into this idea he says that everything else is more or less hypnotism.  It’s real to us only because we believe in it.  We are programed to believe that we are people with bodies and brains and problems to solve.  We have created this illusory life with people who love us and hate us, help us or make our lives more complicated.  But if a bomb dropped on our heads tomorrow all of that would be gone.  But would we be gone?  Some people say yes, if a bomb drops on my head life stops…the end.  But Joel (and me) say no!  In that moment the veil is lifted and we are infinitely aware of the hypnotism we have been released from.  In that moment we see and become the Reality which is Spirit.  It is the very definition of Omnipresent and Omnipotent.

So I’ve been reading this and intellectually buying it for over a year now.  Yet, I had no way of illustrating why I believe it or why it makes sense to me.  That is until I started watching OG’s favorite show, Dollhouse.  In this show there is a large corporations that offers people the opportunity to make lots of money and escape from the pasts that are haunting them.  They sign a contract and the company erases their memories and life.  Once they have signed themselves over and become “actives” they are rented by ultra-wealthy clients to play roles in their lives.  In some instances it is prostitution, in others it is something completely different.  But the clients “order” their perfect “Doll” and the scientist in charge fills the order and programs the person with a whole new identity.  When the “actives” wake up they really believe they are this new person.  In between gigs they are wiped clean and walk around like pleasant zombies not really feeling or expressing anything.

In a lot of ways this is how we are in our lives.  We define who we are by what we tell ourselves and what loved ones and society tells us.  We believe we are stuck in these roles and this is what life is.  The catch is we can change our lives and the fastest way to do that is to connect with what is REAL.  We don’t have to die to understand our eternal nature.  If we are quiet and attentive enough we can hear the small voice and acknowledge the intuitive tugs.  If we stop being so busy and take the time to listen we can be “in this world but not of it.”

Again, Dollhouse has done an excellent job of illustrating another point.  Echo is the main character and is, of course, an “active.”  The difference with Echo is that the hypnotism hasn’t fully worked on her.  The part of her that is REAL sends her flashes of memories and insights.  She uses this information for good in her roles.  She evolves in a way that none of the other “actives” evolve.  She is connected and in touch with her essence.  I haven’t watched the whole series but it seems that she has a big destiny and a crucial role.  Her intuition, soul, or spirit within is leading her down the right path and she is following without truly knowing why.

Our lives on this earth are programs.  I think a lot of it comes with us before we are born.  I like to believe that we are given the opportunity to create the program before we enter.  Once we are born the programming comes from a lot of different places.  Our families, schools, media, laws, history, friends, and governments add to our programming.  None of it is set in stone though.  If we seek the inner voice and quiet the outer voices we may find a destiny that we couldn’t quite imagine.  If we are brave enough to put the programming aside and follow the guidance, even without definitive answers, we may create a better or more positive life experience.

*I haven’t seen season 2 of Dollhouse.  I let another Dollhouse fan and friend read this and although he didn’t give me any clues as to what happens to Echo in season 2, it is possible I am completely wrong about her.  So if you’re reading this and you know that, please no spoilers.  In either case, my interpretation of Echo helped me better understand Joel’s teachings.

Licia’s Click

I met Licia on New Year’s Day 2010 at the “Begin Again” retreat I attended.  I really enjoyed her leadership at the retreat that day.  She is a healer, intuitive, teacher, artist, and writer among her many other roles.  At the retreat in January she talked about coming back after a sabbatical.  When I asked her to write a click for me, I requested she write about the sabbatical.  She answered my request just beautifully.  If you would like to learn more about Licia visit her website here and her blog here.

A Larger Logic

By Licia Berry

May 17, 2010

When I heard the word “sabbatical” in my inner guidance time, I was delighted.  Oh, I get some time off?  Goody, maybe I can read all of those books on my night stand I’ve been meaning to get to!

Indeed, initially the idea of a “sabbatical” brings to mind some time away, a respite from the usual life, maybe even a bit of rest.  I also had vague connotations of taking leave to learn something, to dig deeper into one’s studies, to expand one’s awareness in the world. This is always an intriguing idea for me, since I love to learn and enjoy a break in routine…it keeps me interested!

Here’s what it really means:

Sabbatical- any extended period of leave from one’s customary work, esp. for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc.

1605–15; < Gk sabbatikós (sábbat(on) Sabbath + -ikos -ic) + -al

Notice that the root of the word sabbatical is in the greek “sabbatikos”, meaning “on the Sabbath”.  How interesting that there is a spiritual context for taking leave of absence from one’s usual life in order to grow!

Accustomed to moving on my inner guidance, I asked some questions.  What should I do with my thriving website and readership around the world?  What about my client practice?  How long?  I didn’t hear a clear response on that last question.  The assumption I made was that it would be a short time away from my usual work life; when that assumption was severely challenged, no one was more surprised than me.

I was guided to stop writing for the website (I was allowed a “goodbye” letter), and my client practice dried up within a week.  Astonishing; okay the universe really means it.  As things got quieter and quieter in my work world, I waited.  What was the reason for my sabbatical?  Would I know when it was over?  When could I get back to work?

After 6 weeks of watching the numbers dwindle on my website readership and doing absolutely NO client work, I was very antsy.  Can I come back to work yet?  I have spent a few years building this business…Can I please step in and save the sinking ship now? My fears turned into resistance quickly, and I jumped in on my website to try to revive the numbers.  All to no avail….Spirit was not going to cooperate.

It was then that I was shown a chrysalis, or cocoon, in my inner vision.  I was told that I was undergoing a major metamorphosis, and that I may as well let it happen because it was going to whether I cooperated or not.  I was also shown that my work in the world was going to change somewhat…I was close in many ways to authentic expression, but there were a few faulty ideas I was carrying around that were impacting my ability to be truly expressive of my unique soul and viewpoint.

And so I backed away again….and left my beautiful website and business to erode with time.  As my resistance gave way to acceptance, my life became fuller with my family and my own process.  I started to see things in my life that didn’t match with my heartfelt convictions, noticed beliefs I had tried on that no longer fit.  I had been a bit heavy on the intellectual side prior to this enforced time off.  I got in touch with my feelings, my body, my heart.  I saw I had been building my business persona on an imperfect foundation.  Thank goodness I was stopped before it got too big.  It was a great cleansing process, and a refining of who I truly was.

My sabbatical wound up lasting a year and a half.  Over that time, I changed drastically in some ways, but not really so much in some others.  I am still an alternative practitioner (healing/intuitive) and artist/writer, but I am more clear about how I am delivering those services now.  They radiate from a more healed center, a wholeness that I have not experienced before.   I am much more grounded in my life and connected to all of the various facets of it, which helps me keep them in balance.

I came out of the starting gate with flying colors on January 1st of 2010…after the official word from my infamous inner guidance!  And the super cool part was that I felt it was the right time.  It wasn’t forced, it just was the natural emergence of the real Licia Berry.  I had come out of my cocoon and beautiful butterfly.

And my business?  It is going gangbusters!  After only 5 months back in the work world, I am doing better than I ever did in my previous work life, and it is building fast with a momentum and support from the universe that I have not experienced prior.  I lost some folks from my email lists, but many more stayed on.  My understanding is that this is the way it works when we get clearer about who we are….there is a natural erosion of all that doesn’t fit anymore, and what is left is the good stuff.  The REAL stuff.

So, I am an advocate for following that nudge from Spirit to take the time off, whether you can hear it intuitively like I can, or whether it shows up in evidence like losing your job, ending a relationship, being diagnosed with an illness, or some other major course correction in your life.  If we can overcome the fear and uncertainty and simply trust that there is a larger logic involved, it makes room for amazing, magical things to happen, and we are happier for it.

Prayers

If you’d asked me years ago what it meant to pray, I would have answered that it is simply asking God for something for yourself or others.  I didn’t pray unless I was scared or desperate.  If Mark was late or on a trip, I’d pray for his safe return to me.  If we lost power on a really hot evening, I’d pray for the electricity to be restored.  If I was forced to drive in bad weather, I’d pray to make it unharmed to my destination.  If a loved one was sick or having surgery, I’d pray for their health.  I pleaded with God to do this one thing for me.  Sometimes I’d make promises that I would pray more often.  I probably even promised to go to church a time or two.  That’s what I thought it was all about.

These days I have a different definition of prayer.  I believe that prayer is being mindful of your thoughts and emotions and listening for inspiration and guidance.  I would like to say I “pray without ceasing” as this is a goal of mine.  I want to be present and attentive to the thoughts that enter my mind.  If I get an idea to call someone I want to act on that guidance, assuming that perhaps it was a message from spirit that would make someone’s day brighter.  The act of listening is one of my methods of prayer and the messages I receive are the answers.  If I ask to be shown the way I need to pay attention to what doors open before me.

I believe that everyone’s core beliefs create their lives.  What you accept and tell yourself everyday goes out to the Universe like a prayer.  Although you may lie down at night and go through a list of rote requests, it is the thoughts you have that are fueled by feelings that are answered.  You may have a number of people to pray for, but unless you take the time to really feel something for each person, it is no different than singing the alphabet song.  It is not the words or the thoughts that create the prayer, but the emotions that carry the energy to make change happen.

Last week in my book group the topic of praying for others came up.  This is something that I, at times, feel guilty about.  You see I don’t have a daily session where I send prayers up for people in my life.  A lot of the people in my life are right where they want and need to be.  Like I said on Monday change comes from the inside.  Even if things aren’t ideal for them, change will not come until they are ready to embrace it.  I think about my friends and family through out the day.  I often feel love and gratitude while having those thoughts.  That, I believe, is also prayer.  When I read a story and feel empathetic and deeply hope for healing and recovery, that is a prayer.  When someone asks me to pray for them, I take the energy of that request into meditation and wait for it to be acknowledged by spirit.  That is how I pray.

So if anyone were to ever ask me who I pray for.  I’d answer whoever I am made aware of.  If something sparks love in my heart for you than you are receiving my prayers.   And I truly hope that one day I can say that I move through this world in a constant state of prayer, because that will mean I am sending and spreading love with every breath I take!

Rise (A Poem)

Rise (4-2-10)

Inside me is a spirit

It whispers

gently, gently

calls me to rise

Step into the moment

acknowledge who I am

I answer the voice

with slow, steady movements

a yes spoken so quietly

the spirit builds a ladder

I am meant to climb

reach heights I’d never

imagined

surrounded by loving souls

lifting me onto that ladder

standing with outstretched arms

to catch me if I fall

the quiet yes

turns to conscious  steps

I’m climbing

and ready

to rise….