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This week I worked with two different people who experienced difficult love relationship issues.  While the equally painful circumstances were unique to each person the responses were quite different.

One person chose to focus on the hurt while the other chose to bless the situation with love and forgiveness.

The angry person relived the experience over and over.  Thoughts of who did what to who kept feeding the anger and turned to deep inner hurt, pain and despair.

Having traveled the path of the angry person more than once in her life the other person knew it would lead her right back into illness and depression.  She was not willing to allow the experience to rob her of her new-found life filled with love, peace and joy.

Determined to find her way back to joy she chose to forgive herself and the other person.  She offered prayers of blessing for the other person.  And, she congratulated herself for seeing the truth and making the choice to love herself no matter what was happening in her life.

As I reflected on the atmosphere of both discussions I was reminded of how simple it is to change our life in a single moment.

We can choose to look at what we label as “bad” and dredge up memories of the past that support our view.  The painful emotions follow and we find ourselves in a state of self-imposed punishment.

Or, we can choose to examine this mess we find ourselves in and look for the “good”.  Focus on the parts of the mess that are better than the last time we created one and love and bless ourselves for having grown.  Then, focus all our thoughts and attention on being grateful for anything and everything we can think of that we love about our life now.

A simple shift in focus can bring us out of the past and future into the love, joy and peace of the present moment.

Is your focus on loving yourself or hurting yourself?  You have the power to choose right now.  What are you choosing?

I spent many years looking for the answers to everything in my life through the experiences of others.  I let my mind trick me into believing everyone else knew this big secret to life but it was just out of my reach.

What I have come to realize is the truth lies inside each and every person.  We were born with that truth inside us.  We have just forgotten how to access it.

Our inner spirit would love to reveal our truth to us if we will just learn to listen.  So how do we listen?

One way is to pay attention to what happens in your heart.

For example, if you are faced with a decision ask your spirit to tell you the truth.  Then ask your spirit “what would it be like if I did choice number one?”

Be still and focus on your heart.  Pay attention to what happens there.

Is your heart closing down?  Is it getting tight, closing up?  Then that is your spirit telling you this is not right for you.

Is your heart opening up?  Do you feel a warm loving pulsing energy in your heart?  Does it feel good?  Then it is right for you.

Now, do the same thing with your second choice.  Which one feels better?  Which one opens up your heart?

Learning to listen to the guidance from your heart takes practice.  If this idea is new to you I recommend taking time several times during your day to practice listening to your heart.

The old saying “follow your heart” is absolutely true.  Following the guidance you receive from your heart will make all the difference in your life.

A large portion of my energy the past two weeks has gone toward my blessing bowl business.  The leather  bowls are always teaching me life lessons and these past two weeks were no exception.  The newest lesson had to do with what I think I am worth.

My art business has grown along with me since 2003.  It suffered a little this past summer when I felt it necessary to work a part-time job that turned into more of a full-time job.

This winter I decided to work on my art business.  I experimented with color stains, new designs and expanded my offerings to appeal to a broader market.  I created a place online for potential galleries to view the range of my work as well as tell the story of my blessing bowls.  And, I improved the appearance and offerings in my online shop.

Satisfied with my newly created inventory I turned my focus to marketing efforts and attracted two new galleries in one week.  The first one asked for the information I had to date not taken the time to create, like a biography of myself.  That task alone took me two days.

I did notice it was easier to create than if I had attempted the task two years ago.  I felt a sense of pride as I shared my story and accomplishments.

Then came the task of pricing my new works.  The owner of the first gallery had very clear ideas about what she wanted.  To my delight she appreciated the one-of-a-kind free form style pieces.  Creating these brings me the most amount of joy.  Yet, when it comes to pricing them it brings up all those thoughts about whether or not I deserve what I want.

Recognizing my dilemma my husband sat down with me to work out a systematic formula that would price the piece by the square foot for materials.  Then all I had to do was add my hourly wage to the material cost, double it and there was the retail cost.

When we got to the hourly wage my husband pointed out the amount I was currently charging less taxes meant I was barely breaking even.  I had been feeling uncomfortable about pricing for a long time.  I knew it would force me to acknowledge my worth.

The exercise helped me see I was making progress.  I had graduated from a gift shop to high-end galleries.  I was recognized as a professional artist.   I no longer needed to be concerned with how much a gift shop customer would spend.  I could ask for what my time was worth and know I would be honored and supported by the decision.

The two new galleries were already planning marketing efforts for my works and I had not even shipped them.  I was providing professional marketing materials and photographs to facilitate greater exposure and the potential for increased sales.  I was acting like a professional and being treated like one.

When I decided to give myself a well deserved raise I felt a deep sense of peace.  It was my spirit’s way of letting me know what I was doing and thinking was good.  It feels good to know I am finally beginning to believe I am good enough.

What do you think you are worth?  I can tell you the real truth.

The truth is you are worth far more than you think.

Body Awareness

For some time now I have practiced ways to keep myself focused in the present moment.  Yesterday I noticed something different and want to share it with you.

I was taking a few deep breaths trying to relax the tightness in my shoulders.   As I felt the shoulders relax I noticed  another part of my body was also tight.

When I finally felt my entire body relax…a thought drifted in and captured my attention.   Immediately my shoulders resumed the same raised and tightened place they were in when I started.

After some time of working and observing it became clear the tightness was the result of fear.  I was afraid of what might happen in the future and that fear was keeping my body in a state of stress and dis-ease.

I turned my thoughts to the things I love and appreciate about myself.  I noticed and gave thanks for the things I am grateful are in my life this very moment.

As quickly as my body had become tense it became relaxed.  I was experiencing joy and peace in the place of fear and worry.

It is no wonder we have so many physical problems.  We rarely experience our natural state of simply being.

Living fully focused in the present moment is where we find our health, peace, joy and abundance.

I plan to check in with my body more often to see how I am doing at keeping my thoughts focused in the present moment.

Are your shoulders tight?

Are your hands clenched?

Are you tapping  your feet?

What is your body doing to get  your attention?

A simple change in focus can change your life right this very moment.

Appreciate Yourself

My expectations of myself have always been higher than most people.  I thought I had done a pretty good job of changing that pattern until this week.

I put together a very impressive “to do” list for myself.  It involves tasks related to seven projects I am working on in addition to self, home and family.

I started thinking I should do more and do it faster. Thoughts of self-doubt and criticism began shutting down my productivity.

Fortunately, I recognized what was happening and began to stop the old pattern before it drained my life force completely.

Since my focus was on what I was not doing, I started writing down all the things I do in a day.  The friend who introduced me to this idea called it a “done list”.  She suggested I put everything I do on the list. This included letting the cat in and out, cooking, laundry, email, paying bills, etc.

List in hand, I congratulated myself for all the things I had accomplished.  I told myself how much I appreciate all the things I do.

I offered prayers of thanksgiving for the things I love about working from home.  Like preparing healthy meals for me and my husband.  And, the freedom to work with my creative energy spurts without punching a time clock.

As I offered myself, love, appreciation and respect I could feel the energy begin to flow again.

Just like the healthy food our body needs to work properly, our spirit responds better to a healthy dose of love and appreciation.

Today I added a permanent item to the top of my “to do” list:

Feed Penny love and appreciation now.  She deserves it.”

What are you feeding your spirit?

Let Go

The past few days I have not felt quite right.  Aware my energy level was low I began trying to figure out what to do to change things. The more I tried to figure things out the more out of control my thoughts became.

The usual tasks demanded my attention as well as some I had put off addressing for several months.  Unable to muster the energy to tackle them I finally reached the breaking point this morning in my quiet time.

Unable to figure it all out or know what to do about what felt like a mess I had created I just let go.  I prayed a prayer of total surrender and opened the flood gate of pent-up emotions.

There was an amazing release as I let go my own desires and expectations of myself and what I thought my life should look like.  I let go and let my inner spirit work it out for me.

I remembered the point along my journey when my retina detached.  Prior to that event I had worked out the perfect plan to face my fear of surgery, have the cataracts removed and get on with my life.  When I returned to work my retina detached and my sight changed drastically in a matter of moments.

Intuitively I knew it was bad.  I had no idea what was ahead.  I had come up against a situation beyond my ability to handle.  This was too big for me.  I had to surrender control of my life.

I asked my husband to take me to the river.  Once there I sat down on a rock and closed my eyes.  I could hear the rushing sound of the water as the river flowed past me.

In my mind’s eye I saw myself wrapped in a blanket much like a newborn.  Arms tucked inside I looked like a helpless baby.  I was laying inside the boat floating down the river.

At that moment I prayed a similar prayer of surrender.  I asked God to take care of me and take me wherever I needed to go.  I let go of my will and became one with the perfect will.

I am still in that boat, but occasionally I find myself trying to guide it.  That is when I feel resistance and all sorts of feelings that gently tell me to “let go“.

When I let go and all that stuff I have hung on to rushes out, my spirit fills me back up with healing love.  My energy returns.  I see things more clearly.  I begin to see that where I am and what I am doing now is perfect.  Because, I am in the center of the divine plan for my life.

What do you need to let go of today?

It is so much easier to allow the river of life to lead  you.  Then  you get to enjoy the scenery and not struggle with how to guide the boat.

“If Jesus were here would you ask him to heal you?” my husband asked after spending three hours trying to help me sort through the thoughts that were causing me such agony.  I wanted desperately to experience faith healing again without the need for eye surgery. The emotional turmoil caused by the inner battle was devastating.  But, that one question stopped the madness and opened the way for me to see the truth.

Not only could I not ask for healing, I could not even look Jesus in the face.  I carried so much guilt over things I thought I had done wrong.  Things, in my mind that could never be forgiven.  I believed I was an awful person who deserved punishment.

That is when I began in sincere earnest to learn how to love and forgive myself.

What do you believe about yourself?

You are perfect love.

If you think thoughts about yourself that do not support that truth and choose to believe them it is time to give them up.

You are the divine expression of pure Love in the world.

Do not accept any thought that would lead you to believe that is not true.

You have the power to choose which thoughts to believe. Begin today to focus on the good thoughts about yourself.

Affirm those good thoughts over and over. One day you will begin to believe them instead of the lies you have told yourself for so long.

That is what has happened for me.  I spent many years telling myself I was not good enough.  I heard those thoughts so often I came to accept them as my truth.

Once I understood what I was doing I made myself a promise that I would do whatever it took to change.  I began to tell myself the truth.  I denied the old lies and affirmed the truth.

Over time my mind began to accept and believe the truth that I am the divine and perfect expression of Love.

You are that same perfect expression of divine Love.  Embrace it and believe it.  It’s true.