Listen Up Kids!

A friend has invited me to help her write an article for a local publication.  The theme is nurturing your children’s spiritual life.  We talked last night about choosing three points to make that would be most valuable in the lives of our kids.  The first thing that popped into my head is the importance of intuition and listening to yourself.

I have a terrible, terrible memory so it may be that I just don’t remember BUT I don’t think I was ever told to listen to myself and the feelings that rise from within me.  I knew to listen to my teachers, my parents, other adults in my life, and even my friends.  It never occurred to me to listen to ME.  In fact, I’d say I was often even afraid to listen to myself.  When I knew the answers to questions in class I was terrified to raise my hand and respond for fear I’d be wrong and look stupid.  I remember times when I went with the pack and joined in on not so nice behavior b/c following others was easier than not.  I’m sure there was a little voice or a tug at my heart reminding me to do no harm, but I ignored that voice until the deed was done.  Then I had to deal with the consequences of either getting in trouble, losing a friend, or feeling guilty.

I believe that teaching our children to stay connected and listen to the voice within is vital to their emotional health.  I caught a few seconds of an Oprah episode yesterday.  It was long enough to hear Oprah speak to this idea.  The show topic must have been sexual abuse.  She said that our kids need to pay attention to those “this doesn’t seem right” feelings and speak up when they have them.  Too many kids stay silent when they are being hurt because somewhere along the line they’ve learned that they should listen to everyone else but themselves.  We are wired with this protective instinct for a reason.  We know when something isn’t right.  Instead of listening to the outside pressure, whether from peers or “trusted” adults, our kids ought to be encouraged to listen to the quiet inner voice or feeling that is saying no, no, no.

So if I had any parenting advice for myself and others I would say to teach our children that they have an inner compass and how best to use it.

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.

Resolutions?

I don’t really believe in making resolutions.  I’ve only ever been successful at keeping a resolution once and that was about 9 years ago.  But if I was going to make them, here are some of the things I’d like to do/be/achieve this year.

1.  Lose 20 pounds by eating healthy and exercising every day.  (Even if I don’t lose the 20, I still want to eat healthy and exercise daily because I just feel better and my body works better when I do.)

2.  Meditate twice a day totalling at least 40 minutes every day no matter what!

3.  Read from the Bible (thanks Heather), A Course in Miracles, or Joel S. Goldsmith for at least 10 or 20 minutes a day.

4.  Start volunteering once a month with a friend from church at The Shelter feeding a meal to the homeless.

5.  Write a novel!

6.  Continue to post on the blog daily.

7.  Journal each day especially about all that I am grateful for.

8.  Keep in touch with people.

9.  Keep the house clean and clutter-free.

10.  Practice yoga at least 3 times a week.

11.  Set a schedule for internet “checks” and stick with it!

12.  Last but absolutely MOST IMPORTANT is to spend more quality time with the girls and Mark!!!!

So now that I’ve made the list, I am surrendering it!  Some of it will happen because it is meant to and some of it will not.  As long as I am aware enough to hear the still small voice and to pay attention to the signals my body sends me, I should be just fine.  I have a good feeling about 2010, that is for sure.  2009 was a year for change and rebirth, 2010 will be the year for me to discover who I am and what I’m capable of now!

Wild and Unruly

My very favorite Dixie Chicks song is “Cowboy, Take Me Away.”  I used to think it was about a real cowboy and I’d imagine what he looked like as he swooped in on his white horse and carried Natalie away to some field where they’d lay holding hands among the blue bonnets.  Then one day I was listening with new ears and suddenly chills went up and down my arms as I realized that they aren’t singing about some ordinary cowboy, they’re singing about God.  Once I realized that the song became even more beautiful.

My very favorite verse is:

“I said wanna touch the earth.  I wanna break it in my hands.  I wanna grow something wild and unruly.”

I’m pretty sure that one of the ways God connects with us is by giving us seeds.  Those seeds might come through watching a TV show or movie, reading a book, conversing with a friend, hearing the still small voice within during a quiet moment, or they spring forth like a phoenix rising from the ashes after a tragedy.  These seeds are inspired ideas that make us feel ALIVE.  They are the ideas that make you think this is it…this could change everything.  Once we get the seeds it is up to us to plant them.  I think when we decide to plant the seeds we must be fearless because there is a pretty good chance we will grow something wild and unruly.  But if we look at our history, at the people and ideas that had the most positive impact on our society, we will see that so much of it was (at times) wild and unruly.  I think God works like that.  It’s about having the faith and courage to stick with it and see it through to the end.  It’s not as easy as growing a garden.  With a garden, you buy the seeds and the package (or salesman) provides you with the answers at the time of purchase.  You know what will grow and how long it will take.  When God gives you seeds there are no immediate answers, the planting is a leap of faith.  But if you take that leap, no matter how wild and unruly it seems to be, you will end up closer to heaven and closer to him!

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.

Two Years on Meds

As of Memorial Day weekend, it has officially been two years since I took my friend, Rob’s Mantra Meditation class.  Since then, I have meditated almost everyday, twice a day for 20 minutes.  Meditation has had an enormous affect on my life.

Physically, I am healthier than I have ever been.  I have lost twenty pounds since I started and have kept it off.  I credit my weight loss to meditation because I was a stress eater.  Obviously my stress level is down so I have no desire to go to the fridge because I am anxious and worried.  And since I’m not running for snacks because I am stressed, I tend not to eat more than I should anymore.  I feel confident I will not have to struggle with this problem again in the future. I plan to be a lifelong meditator and will always have a solution to any stressful habits I may stumble on.

Emotionally, I am in balance.  Like I mentioned in a previous post, I think that memories come to us for a reason.  Over the past two years, I have had a lot of stuff come up during meditation.  I’ve remembered certain things and people from my past that have brought up unresolved emotions.  I’ve been able to let go of guilt and become more accepting of myself.  Meditating also helps me settle down when my “monkey mind” is getting the best of me.

Creatively, I am more receptive to inspiration than I have ever been.  Taking the time to meditate daily keeps the channels open, so that my mind is quiet and calm enough to get ideas for my writing.  Almost every great line I came up with in my two novels came to me during meditation.  And at least half of these blog ideas have sprang forth during my meditation time.

But to me, the most important benefit I have achieved from meditation is becoming spiritually aware.  Through meditation I have opened myself up to the “still small voice” within.  I am learning that the best answers for my own life come from within me.  I call it my connection with God.  It is what Jesus was talking about in Luke 17:21, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”  When I go within I get answers.  When I go within I get directions.  When I go within I find my way.  I don’t try to make things happen in my life, instead I surrender and wait to be asked.

With the help of meditation I am becoming the person I was meant to be.  It is the best medicine that I have found.