Spiritually Speaking Blog

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Are You a Perfect “10”?

The crossword clue read, three-letter word meaning, “be human”, the answer: “err”. Making mistakes, missteps and errors comes with being human. Then why do we subscribe to the idea of perfectionism in so many aspects of our lives? Our culture subscribes to being the “ideal family”, having a figure rating, a score of “10”, and the man that has it all, Mr. Perfect.  Schools promote perfect attendance, restaurants and hotels are rated by counting stars and religion sometimes places a priority on saintly behavior. (We have confession for those who “err”.) Wherever we look, we are being rated and judged to a certain standard of behavior. Often times we strive and measure ourselves against the ideal of perfectionism.  But at what price? Perfectionism is a personal self-judgment. It can lead to destructive and addictive belief systems. We seek to avoid criticism, judgment and blame. We try to fit in looking perfect. Brene Brown compares this ideal of being perfect to a 20-ton shield that we lug around to protect us, but in reality it’s the one thing that prevents us from taking flight. So rather than striving for perfection we should seek progress. Not that we don’t try to be the best that we can, but when we do err, we need to put the behavior in it’s place of learning the lesson, practice radical self acceptance and move on in a positive manner. In the 1970’s there was an article in Cosmopolitan entitled, “What’s Right With Mr. Wrong.” At that time if you were not married to Mr. Perfect, raising 2 ideal children in a home surrounded by a... read more

Life – the Balancing Act

Life is a balancing act. While I subscribe to the philosophy of squeezing all the juice out of life that I can, I realize that in some situations that I have no control whatsoever.   There are times when I have to throw my spiritual arms up in the air in surrender. I’ve said my prayers and waited for the answer, then waited some more. God seems to turning a deaf ear to my needs. After pelting God with all my pleas the answer is not what I expect. C’mon, God. It is exactly at these times that I remind myself that God ALWAYS answers our prayers. God replies in one of three ways:  1) God can say, “YES.”  This is the answer that we all are looking for! 2) God can answer “Not yet.” We have to remember that God does not deal on our time. God works on DST – Divine Standard Time. Our prayers will be answered sooner or later in God’s good time. 3) God can say, “ I have something better in mind.”This response is the tough one, calling into action our faith, trust and help. God knows exactly what we need and when we need it. God know our destiny and the lessons that we are here on earth to learn. With this knowledge and faith that my prayers will be answered, we need to shift to a different type of prayer. I call this the “Prayer of Surrender.” This Prayer of Surrender is based on four-evers: whatever, however, whenever, and forever. Whatever:Lord, your wish is my command. Whatever you want me to... read more

Squeeze the Juice Out of Life

“The purpose of life is to live it, to take experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for a newer and richer experience.” Eleanor Roosevelt Yes, this is not a dress rehearsal. I’ve always said that we are not here for a long time, but a good time. We are here to delight in the world finding joy in daily life, no matter what it brings. With darts of negativity being hurled at us from all sides, oftentimes it’s difficult to live that “juicy” life.  Gravity through the years not only works physically but emotionally as well. We need to surround ourselves with positive energy providing a platform for optimism, squeezing the juice out of life. Mother Teresa gives us some wise words to remember: Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is life, fight for it. Use this prayer to keep that joyful focus:  Dear Lord, Let me delight in your world finding the joy in my daily life. Let my spirit dance all the way to heaven for the eternal celebration. I know you will provide me with all I need so there’s no need for me to worry. Thank you.... read more

Follow Your Bliss

Joe and I recently celebrated our 26thwedding anniversary! It was just like the storybook: “love at first sight.” It’s when the heart and soul scream, “Yes, he’s the one!” This phenomenon brings feelings of emotional intensity. It’s like your own cosmic attraction. So too, this feeling of bliss comes when you discover your destiny – deep down in your soul you understand how and why you are here on this earth. Your soul gushes, “Yes, this is why I’m here!” The recognition of purpose brings sheer contentment, blissful joy, and a relaxed peacefulness. It comes with the strength of conviction that we have chosen the right track, in spite of earthly setbacks. This feeling of being in the right place, at the right time and doing the right thing brings peace to the soul. Restlessness inside subsides. When we recognize our purpose, we seem to be in syncopation with the universe, effortlessly breathing in and breathing out, gliding through life. Similar to love at first sight, we don’t have to strain, worry, or stress to make things work. We are in an energetic field of joyful motion knowing that we have found our place and why. Our cups overflow, as the Bible says. Our hearts float, and our souls sing. There we find happiness. There we find God. But God didn’t promise us a rose garden. We are all to familiar with the pain and suffering found in our everyday lives. So how do we grasp this joy in the midst of heartache and tribulations? A truly joyful person has perspective, assimilating the world and its happenings according to... read more

Can Life Be Simple?

“You’re going to do what?” my sister cried through the phone when I told her that we were moving from the beach in Del Mar CA to the mountains of Whitefish MT. She finished urging, “Don’t tell anybody because they will lock you up as a crazy person!” Twenty years ago, my husband, Joe and I, had heard “adventure” calling us to break out of our predictable life leaving 4 million of our closest friends on the clogged freeways in CA to discover the “simple life” in MT. The simple life is one of authenticity. As I was born and raised, I developed into a “guilt sponge” absorbing all the “shoulds” and expectations of others. There are some tell tale signs that you are not living the “simple life”. As a “guilt sponge”, I felt I had to pleaseothers, be perfect, andperformas expected.  And in order to measure up to high “guilt sponge” standards, I found myself pretendingsituations weren’t so, and procrastinatingthe difficult decisions. Sound familiar? With the focus on pleasing others, we build prison walls around ourselves. The walls limit our gain of personal freedom and happiness, living for others and thus losing all one’s authenticity. I guess the pull that I felt to move to the “simple life” was the call to be brave, courageous and authentic. “The greatest challenge in life is to be our own person and accept that being different is a blessing and not a curse. A person who knows who they are lives a simple life by eliminating from their orbit anything that does not align with his or her overriding purpose... read more

Don’t Settle

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.”  (Matthew 5:9) Don’t settle for a false peace. Very often what we call peace is just a cover-up, a lie.  Oftentimes, we put forth a false front so others won’t think badly of us. God urges us to face it all- the good, bad and the ugly. Not only in ourselves, but also in surroundings. God urges us to face up to the reality of old conflicts, and old sinfulness, and the old lack of at-oneness that already exits inside us and in our relations with others. If our friendships and marriages, our families and communities are to live up to our high hopes, and if our life’s work is to be worthy of us, then we have to let the Lord set us on fire with the energy we call “grace” – which is one part courage and one part love. With that holy fire warming and strengthening our hearts, there is no part of ourselves that we cannot confront; no sin in us that we cannot face; no failure in us that we cannot deal with. God’s love for us is unconditional. God loves us no matter what we have done or have failed to do. With God’s grace, we can now give the truth as a gift, sharing God’s love for us.   As we learn to speak the truth in love – first inside us and then outside – and as we accept the challenge first of changing ourselves and then of helping others to change, the peace that God desires for us will... read more

Pay Attention!

“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats….” –Iris Murdoch When I read this I was struck by the word “small”. We usually wait for things to get easier, simpler, bigger or better before we take action or appreciate them. We tend to procrastinate, putting off action for “a better” time. We sacrifice small treats biding our time for bigger successes. But we need to remember that success comes one day at a time with small wins. How easily we lose sight of what we have before us. We slip from savoring the present moment filled with awe to merely surviving through another day. While waiting for the bigger and better, we might be missing out on the best right before us. Happiness builds on being attuned to the gifts of the present moment rather than looking backward or forward. Nostalgia for the way things used to be robs of us time. Mulling on things we once could do, or carefree days of youth only keep our heads turned backward. Similarly, dreaming of what we can do in the future if only a few things would fall into place lures us away from the gift of the present moment – filled with opportunities, no matter how small. Enjoy the small things in life, right now, because when you look back, they are really the big building blocks of our journeys. At the end, our lives are made up of small moments, enjoying a lunch with a friend, a shared moment of laughter with family, or a morning walk watching the sunrise. Don’t miss out waiting... read more

All Is Well

As we are preparing for the upcoming celebration of Easter it’s easy to get caught up in the traditions of hidden baskets, colorful eggs and joyous celebrations with family and friends. But in all the festivities, don’t miss the central meaning our faith –All Will Be Well We know that seasons are a part of our lives – our earthly life and spiritual life. The book of Ecclesiastes reminds us, “To every thing there is a season, a time to every purpose under heaven.” Just living day to day we witness these “seasons”… The Calm always follows the Storm. The Light always follows the Darkness. Spring always follows the Winter. Spiritually speaking: Our faith tells us the Life will follow death. Even Dolly Parton adds a more colorful take: “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” The rain, the storm, the darkness, and the winter may represent our fondest hopes getting dashed, our best ideas coming to nothing, the best we have wearing out and falling apart. We get sick and grow old, fall apart and die. It seems that the dark voice must be right. But there is another voice within us that says, “Not so. There’s more.” This is a faith-filled voice breaking through the darkness reminding us of the message, “It’s not over yet. All is not in vain. Easter always follows Good Friday. God didn’t make us for pain and suffering, for sadness and dying, but for life – enjoying this life and the exciting, eternal life. So as we prepare to celebrate the upcoming... read more

Two Sides of the Same Coin

The Chinese word for “crisis” is composed of two characters. One of these notions represents danger. The other represents opportunity. – John F. Kennedy God tosses us a few coins.What do we do with them? They say that when God closes one door he opens a window. Yes, but we have to get through that door of crisis of danger, silencing the din of doubt and loss of faith, to be able to see the window of opportunity. We may have to live through the pain of divorce to find the happiness of a more fulfilling relationship. We may have to panic at the loss of a job in order to find a more satisfying line of work. We may have to suffer through a serious illness to enjoy a healthier life style and appreciate the support of friends and family. It’s not our problems that determine our lives. It’s how we deal with these problems that make all the difference. It’s all in our perspective and how we deal with the situation. It’s not the cards we are dealt with, but how we play them. We can lay down in self-pity, wallowing in our poor luck. Or we can see the situation as the opportunity that it really is. We look around our world and see terrible situations thinking, “how can they possibility live like that”, or “I couldn’t possibly do that”. But look at the resilience of our fellow man, taking on the challenges dealt to them. It is vital to be able to “rise to the occasion”, to see the other side of the coin, flipping... read more