Spiritually Speaking Blog

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Don’t Resist What Is!

We start out in life with high hopes, even higher expectations, and the knowledge that everything in life will go as planned. We make decisions based on our hopes and dreams around our lifetime goals – schools, spouses, employment, and retirement.   But somehow life has a way of dashing our game plan. Education may not be what we thought it would be. Marriages, fail. Jobs come and go. And retirement somehow wasn’t the cruise we signed up for…but it IS the ship we’re on! Don’t let disappointments pollute your mind. We must be aware that our outside circumstances have nothing to do with our inside happiness – what really matters. Our happiness is not a goal, attained once and for all. Happiness is finding that joy in the present situation on our journey to fulfillment. There is no one way to happiness. Sometimes we put off happiness until…until we are out of school, until we are married, until we have children, until the children leave, until the divorce is final, until you pay off the house, until you get a promotion, until you retire… Alfred D. Souza put it in perspective, “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.” These situations, for better or worse, are the building blocks of our lives. And as... read more

Give Me A Break!

In the maze at the DMV to apply for the new driver’s license, I was sent to desk number 5. Before I sat down I noticed this sign on my clerk’s desk, reading, “Please be patient, I am Training”. With patience being on my short list, I took heed especially in this stressful process of slow moving office workers shuffling mounds of paper amidst throngs of dazed driver applicants. You know the drill… How wise of the “new guy” to post this reminder to all of us. Maybe we should all post this on our foreheads. Be patient, we are ALL in training for our life’s work. Our mission in life is growing into the likeness of God, taking on his inner disposition being transformed to shine our Divine nature. Being patient, kind, forgiving, tolerant, honest, grateful, charitable, humble, compassionate and resilient! That’s a tall order, not only for a morning spent at the DMV, but for every day, every occasion.   We have all made our fair share of wrong turns and spent more than enough time on dead-end streets. None of those mistakes is any surprise to God. After all, as our maker, God knows we are slow learners. All that God asks is that we not look backward but get up and try again. We cannot be afraid of these “failures”. This give-and-take, the falling-down and getting-up, the forgiving and being forgiven in our daily lives will allow us to grow into our best selves. The fabric of greatness of goodness is woven out of ordinary thread.  It is woven very slowly and always by hand. ... read more

What Are the Best Doctors in the World?

In his last year on this earth, Steve Jobs reflected on life. “The best six doctors in the world are sunlight, rest, exercise, diet, self-confidence and friends.” As smart as Steve Jobs may have been, I think he missed a most significant power.  Although those six are important forces in any life, I would have to add “faith” to that list. With faith being just as strong and just as consistent, it can be a life-changer reducing stress and worry.  Faith is so powerful they even say, “Faith can move mountains.” Your faith is power pulling peace out of conflict, abundance out of lack, meaning out of sorrow, and peace of mind out of doubt. Faith can comfort you with peace in the midst of conflict.When the chaos and stress of daily living weigh you down you can go deep inside of your soul, finding peace in your Divine connection, your Rock. “Come to me, all of you that are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Faith can discover abundance in lack. The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything that they do have. Jobs, money and position don’t ensure happiness nor do they ensure true abundance. “My cup runneth over.” (Psalm 23:5) Faith can give you meaning in the midst of sorrow. God did not promise us an easy journey breezing through life. But he did promise a safe return. Earth is a Life School teaching us valuable lessons for our personal growth and good.  “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,... read more

Ignite Your Passion!

Most young men probably don’t aspire to being a parking valet. But Jay does…with gusto! When Jay goes to retrieve our car, he runs all out, dashes like his pants are on fire. Returning with the car, Jay hands you your keys huffing and puffing smiling all the while.  Trying to reassure him, I said, “Jay, you don’t have to put out like that, we are in no hurry.” He beamed, “I want to.” His response surprised me.  “Why, I questioned, “ Do you want to tear at breakneck speed?” He explained, “When I was in high school I spent most of my time in a wheel chair with a bone disease watching others running, playing sports and having a good time.  Now that I can run, I do. Each step I take is with joy and thanksgiving for the ability that I now have.” Wow, what a powerful lesson on how to share your gifts with enthusiasm: Love What You Do, and Do What You Love! Jay has this passion for life that makes life worth living, finding joy and meaning in even the smallest of activities.  I hope his enthusiasm is contagious. We all need a dose of high energy and positivity. The dictionary defines enthusiasm as having “intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval for something.” This powerful resource of enthusiasm, injected into daily life will overcome obstacles, adding significance to EVERYTHING we do. Enthusiasm, optimism and interest can free us from being weighed down with negativity and chaos. As the years roll by, gravity seems to take over. It physically drags our face into wrinkles and... read more

Find the Power in Gratitude

If you have strengths such as love, kindness, hope, creativity and 20 other positive powerhouses, you will still be missing the single best predictor of good relationships and emotional well being as reported in the Scientific American journal….that being GRATITUDE.  We did not create ourselves, or our world. We did not get where we are today all alone on our own. So living in gratitude reveals our truth. It’s living honestly giving credit where credit is due. “Gratitude is a way of seeing that alters our gaze.”– Robert A. Emmons Living in gratitude means that we take nothing for granted. Life owes us nothing as we acknowledge all good that we have has been given. Our good gifts have been given to us on loan one day at a time by a very generous God. We haven’t earned them. They’re not owed to us. We have no title to them. They are simply gifts, given not because of our goodness but because God is a father who wants the best for his children. So how can we not be grateful? How can we stop gratitude from welling up inside us? We must give thanks. Our heart insists on it. How do we thank a father who already has everything? Pretty words won’t do it and we can’t send flowers! All we have are his gifts, and that’s our clue. The only thanks that God really wants is that we use our gifts well, and share them with one another as generously as God shared them with us. Thankfulness is ever so much more than just words. It’s a whole way of living,... read more

Ring For Service

Wouldn’t it be nice to just ring the bell to request anything that would satisfy our every whim? We’d have no worries, no pain, no sorrows, and anything to make our lives easier, more pleasant and more enjoyable. Buzz….buzzz In actuality we have something, Someone, much better. We don’t even have to push a buzzer to be cared for. God is at our beck and call to hear, responding with an answer to our every prayer. He hears every whimper from our hearts. He is aware of each thought tucked away in our brains. He celebrates every success with us and he is there to wipe away every tear falling from our eyes. The Lord makes sure we have everything we need for our earthly journey to fulfill our “mission”, our reason for being here. God would not commission us to this life without equipping us for the onslaught! When we need courage, faith, peace of mind, patience, tolerance, acceptance, honesty and love….ASK HIM….RING… And the Lord will provide us with what we need when we need it. Never fret because your buzzing seems to go unanswered. God works on DST (Divine Standard Time) while we are glued to our earthly clocks. God has our front and backsides covered as we walk with him in an untimely fashion. God’s time is not our time.  God loves us so much that he will withhold absolutely nothing from us. No matter what, God will always be there for us, with ALL his love and power, comfort and grace. Have faith! There ARE no limits to God’s commitment to us, none at... read more

Find Your Brave

After being “held up” by Krazy Ani, on the Heber Train ride through the Provo Canyon, this guitar -strumming-train-robber entertained us.   She amused us with her “train songs” but it was her original song that spoke to me. We listened to her new song, “My Brave”, as we chugged along. As her musical story unfolded, it resonated with us all. The lyrics, “Braver than I thought I was” and, “Meet the brave within,” melodiously reminded us of how life brings situations that call forth our fortitude and strength within. Sometimes to our own surprise! Fear, anxiety, anger, and doubt play far too large a role in all of our lives, and sometimes they kill us. But finding our buried “Brave” summons our strength from our Divine nature. Sometimes we can’t do it on our own, but have to discover the God, our power within. We are more than we think we are. Psalm 91 is the antidote to the poison of our unhealthy fears, angers, and doubts. God is reassuring us that his has sent his angels to keep us safe in all situations, even when they seem insurmountable.  “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flies by day. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” Psalm 91 resounds as a psalm of protection. (And who doesn’t need that?) People of the Old Testament invoked this prayer during hardship. (And who is free of that?) So as we journey through this school called Life, let us remember that our trials and hardships... read more

The Call to Serve

It’s not WHERE you live; it’s HOW you live. It’s not WHAT you have; it’s HOW you use it. We are all called to be of service, to serve one another.  Throughout the ages, wise sages from all walks of life remind us of this important message of service.  The Buddha relates: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things, which renew humanity. John F. Kennedy reminded us that it’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. Jesus preached whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave. (Matthew 20:26-28) Saint Mother Teresa warned that, “A life not lived for others is not a life.” How do we answer this call to serve one another?  The call to service begins as an everyday occurrence. It is woven into our daily activities. A smile to a passerby, a phone call, a remembrance, a reaching out, an inclusion of all in our circle of caring and love.  This awareness of serving others can ripple into wider circles…getting involved in charitable work, volunteering, and offering one’s services without being asked, without invitation or payment.  When we look around and see the many in need of our friends, families and communities, it may seem like we are swimming upstream, weighed down with a huge burden. It seems overwhelming. But Mother Teresa offers some advice:  “Never worry about numbers, Help one person at a time and start with the person nearest you.” Remember: “A little kindness makes... read more

Life is a Beautiful Thing!

“Life is a beautiful thing. Pack a bag, make a playlist. Watch the world. Don’t speak. Just listen.”- John Mayer Life is a beautiful thing, but sometimes we miss it. This call, to “don’t speak, just listen,” is consistently challenged in our daily lives. We can get caught up in the noise of daily life. This busyness of our world works to disrupt our spiritual connection. These distractions pull us outward rather than inward. The inside of things is what you need to see and respond to. Look and listen to each person, each creature, and each thing that crosses your path. Each has a message for us and it’s always the same. The silent message that the Lord is asking us to hear is “I am God’s good creation. Take good care of me.” If we listen with our hearts to the inside of each of God’s creature, we’ll always know how to respond to them, and will have the heart to respond with reverence, care, and graciousness. A rabbi once spoke, “We know that night has ended and day has begun when we look into the face of a stranger next to us and recognize he is our brother.” God, with gracious hospitality, has welcomed every single one of us inside a circle of love and left no one outside.  God is asking us to do the same, to make the habit of hospitality the foundation of our lives. How different every part of our lives could be if we refused to label anyone as “stranger”. When we respond with care to the situations in our lives,... read more