Spiritually Speaking Blog

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My Way?

Most of us aspire to Frank Sinatra’s hit song, “My Way”. Yes, in spite of all the difficulties I did it MY WAY. If we hold this ideal we maybe on the wrong track. Lately I’ve been sharing the prayers of children on my two Facebook Pages, (“Patty Kogutek – Author” and” Finding Your Joy”. These innocent prayers bring many smiles and also remind us of important messages. Here’s a sample: “Dear God, Thank you for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy. Joyce” After a good laugh we have to examine the message. We have to praise this child, Joyce’s, ability and desire to honestly reach out to God in prayer. She expresses her gratitude for the new baby, but goes on to “remind” God that the baby brother was not what she prayed for! How often do we feel that we have to give a gentle nudge to God to answer our prayer OUR way? In our prayers we must start with the basic belief of trusting God. We trust God enough to let go and look through his eyes – the eyes of a wise Father. If we approach prayer with that frame of mind our hearts will be open and we will begin to see what God sees and hope for what God hopes. We’ll begin to want what God wants, and do what God does. That’s what praying in faith does inside us. It slowly reshapes our ideas and desires to match God’s. We change our perspective to shift our wants and needs from our values and expectations of life... read more

Living In AWE

Are you caught up in the mundane of the every day? Do you miss the song that you are meant to sing? Do you miss the joyful symphony that others bring to you? Inside of each of us is the potential to create something beautiful. We don’t have to erect an award-winning masterpiece. We merely must enjoy the person who we are, who we are meant to be and anticipate the beauty and excitement that others bring to us. Simply listen to the birds singing, circling around being themselves, ordinary birds. Hear the music they bring and the joy they create fluttering to and fro. Or experience the joy that happiness passed on to you by the smile of another person. Just imagine what our world would be like if we, like the birds, lived the life that is in us expressing who we are and loving what others “bring to our party.”  Just imagine what our world would be like if we brought that expectation to all that we met. That’s what I mean by living in AWE – Living Amid Wonderful Expectations or Awaiting Wondrous Events…. We would go through our humdrum days expecting miracles, looking the beauty and unique gifts that surround us. Each of us has his/her own song to sing and wings to flutter. “Never forget that anticipation is an important part of life. Work’s important, family’s important, but without excitement, you have nothing. You’re cheating yourself if you refuse to enjoy what’s coming.” – Nicholas Sparks You’ve seen the bumper sticker, “Expect a miracle”; let’s live it. Our minds and hearts must be... read more

Get the Aerial View

In life we are given many choices along our journey affecting our happiness. We can take the low road or choose the high road. It’s up to each of us. On the lower road we see beauty – towering trees, colorful flowers, and manicured lawns. Single isolated dabs of color and loveliness. All wonderful in themselves. But on the higher road, the view widens with perspective allowing for the vistas of spectacular. Not only do we see the trees and the streets, but we also get to see how they all work together; how they are interconnected designed to make communities and neighborhoods. The aerial view gives us the Bigger Picture. So too in life, we can choose to react to situations presented to us in a normal ordinary way. We can view situations, events and occurrences as single happenings, lone snapshots. We wonder “why did this happen to me?” It’s as if we walk through our daily lives with a myopic human everyday lens on the low road. On the other hand, on the higher road, we can see the event acting as a part of the Bigger Picture. We envision how it works into our life’s calling and life lessons, interconnected. We see things in the larger perspective. No incident is a coincidence! So if we find ourselves in various predicaments, not knowing the why behind them, seek out the view from above. Look for the connection and the inter dynamics. Trust in the higher good. Trust in God’s providence. Trust the Bigger Aerial View! So don’t go through life signing up for the “single shot” view. Grab... read more

Are You a Superhero?

There are people we meet in life that make everything seem magical. To me they are personal Superheroes! You know the ones I’m talking about. When you see their caller ID on your phone and you look forward to answering. The one who walks into the room and you just know it’s going to be a great meeting or party. Or the person who causes your shoulders to drop in relaxation, no pretense needed. They come into our lives to nourish our souls, support our efforts, and encourage our journey. These special people are our Light sources sharing their positivity. They help make any day or situation a little brighter. And in their own special way, these Superheroes urge us to be better in so many ways. What a gift to be able to see the beauty, humor, or meaning in daily routine and frustrations. Hopefully we can surround ourselves with Superheroes soaking up their positive energy propelling us to be the same for others. That’s really what we are called to be for one another. That’s our life’s work, no matter what professions we have undertaken. We are meant to help each other interpret life as it was meant to be. We are transformers and superheroes amid the daily grind. Recognize who these people are. Cherish them. Be grateful for them. Pray for them. Call them. Eat with them. Laugh with them. Cry with them. And above all, learn from them. Be one of them! Alan Watts, an English philosopher and expert in comparative religions stated that, “The whole art of life is knowing how to transform anxiety... read more

What’s Your “Go-To”?

We all have “go-to” places, clothes, and patterns. We keep these comfortable, reliable, and proven routines and places for “ready referrals” in times of stress or question. We surround ourselves with habits that we are accustomed to because we know they are reliable and we know what to expect. No surprises! What’s your “go-to” restaurant for Italian food? What’s your “go-to” place to buy birthday cards? What comfy clothes do you don on a rainy day? Groceries? We all have our everyday references to make our daily lives easier, but how about your spiritual “go-tos”? What are your favorite rituals, prayers, and hymns that bring you the needed comfort and Divine connection that we all seek? Years ago I read this prayer and I can’t even remember where I got it, but it’s my “go-to” morning prayer starting my day off with 3 imperative attitudes. Try this prayer to begin with a glorious, faith-filled and hope-filled day: “Perfect God. Perfect God within me. Perfect life within me, which is God. Come into that which is me. Lead me to the path of perfection and cause me to see only the good.” (Usually I add one of my favorite psalm verses: “Only good and kindness will follow me all the days of my life.” (Psalm 23) These 3 attitudes are essential  for any day: – God is Perfect….Praise – God is with me, in me, leading me through to my soul’s mission. Faith – All that happens is for the best. – Hope Remember that prayer is not to pellet God with what WE want but to get our lives more “in... read more

Why Wait to Be Happy?

I’ll let you in on a little secret. “Happiness is not a gift, it’s a skill.” (Secret #7 from “A Change of Habit”). We know that we cannot change what happens to us. The only thing we do have control over is our ATTITUDE toward the situation. Choose happiness, but how? One key to being able to opt for happiness entails “being in the present” or practicing “mindfulness” throughout each day. Walt Whitman penned, “Not in another place…not for another hour, but this hour.” This powerful thought centers on our being in the present moment where the happiness is. The “now” situation may not be perfect; the weather could have been sunnier, the meal could have been tastier, or the game could have been won. If you are waiting for the PERFECT service, or events to turn out the way you envisioned them, then you are missing the happiness offered to you at that moment. Actually the moment was perfect all along, we just miss it looking for something “better”. We all need to appreciate what we get in this life, after all, “it’s the best we’ll ever get!!” Alfred D. Souza shares his “aha” moment, “For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life”. We waste so much time and energy wishing, desiring, and... read more

The Holy Itch

Life does not tell us what to do. We are not born with a road map showing us the way. But life does give us hints clueing us in, pulling us to our destiny. In a recent discussion, a spiritual director called these inklings the “Holy Itch”. (I loved that very descriptive term) An itch is one of the most common irritating problems. Whatever the cause provoking that uncomfortable feeling, it must be taken care of. This annoying itch cries out for relief through the attention of scratching. The cure comes with attention to the proper treatment. God uses similar tactics to get our attention, nudging us in the right direction to learn the lessons fulfilling our life’s mission. Events will happen in our life. These repercussions may be God’s Holy Itch. These prickles, stings, and irritations may be standing in the way of your true happiness. These annoyances may come from people that we need to set boundaries with, or perhaps there is an old belief that needs to be rethought. Is there an attitude putting up barriers of communication? Do we begrudgingly hoard our material possessions? Do we have to be in total control? Whatever the symptoms, we need to remove the itch, the obstacle that prevents us from attaining personal growth and strengthening our Divine connection. Just like a physical itch developing into a rash if not attended to, these symptoms will get worse until properly taken care of. Intense discomfort maybe a symptom of a more serious problem both physical, emotional, spiritual. God will get our attention one way or another. If we do not... read more

Tag…You’re It.

Remember the childhood game of tag, running to touch your friend, yelling “tag”. The tagged person being the new designated runner to go find someone else to “tag”. News flash: We did not leave this game in our childhood days. God plays this game with us every day. Each and every morning God touches our souls divinely calling out “tag” you’re it, now go spread the love. Kind of like the idea of “Pay it forward”. You’ve heard of the generous person in the drive through lane paying for the order of the person in the car behind him. Although this surprise gift is picking up the tab behind, it actually keeps the “game of giving” going forward. “A purposeful act or extension of kindness to another is never wasted, for it always resides in the hearts of all involved in a chain of love.”― Molly Friedenfeld, The Book of Simple Human Truths Cultivating this attitude is an important part of being human. We need to realize that life is much more than a strict accounting of situations where you pay me and I pay you back. Much more than “an eye for an eye”. Learning to pay it forward adds a Divine connection, meaning and dignity to our lives. Experience the joy in giving knowing that it feels good to give to others, whether we get back or not. We are happy connecting to our higher calling. There are always opportunities in our everyday lives to help. We just need to be aware. There’s the elderly person who needs help crossing the street, the person in front of... read more

God Always Comes Back!

Enjoying the warm sunshine, I sat poolside enjoying my latest read as I couldn’t help but listen in to the interactions of the nearby family. Approaching lunchtime mother announced that she was going to get some lunch for them. As mom started to leave her small daughter began to cry, “Don’t leave!” As a good mother who’s heard this before, she comforted her little girl, “Mommy always comes back.” The muffled sobs continued and so did mom. The concerned mother repeated these same words ever so slowing and more intently, “MOMMY ALWAYS COMES BACK!” The tears ceased as the import of her mother’s words sank in. Mom is merely going away temporarily. Although there may be some time alone. Mom ALWAYS comes back. The fear of separation and abandonment will now be put on “hold” with the reaffirmation that mom’s love and presence will indeed be there, if not in sight. How much are we like this small fearful child when, at times we may feel isolated….isolated from each other and isolated from God? We are communal creatures meant for interaction, communication, and love with each other and with our creator. And when this Presence is threatened we may feel abandoned, lonely, and frightened. We may even feel terrified that this loneliness is a permanent situation. But that is not the case. We have reassurances through the years from those that have gone before us. From the Old Testament, the ancient psalm 73 reminds us, “Yet I am always with you….” And in the New Testament, Matthew, chapter 28, Jesus instructs his disciples, “And remember, I am with you... read more