Spiritually Speaking Blog

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God, Where Are You?

One more mass shooting, one more hurricane and we are crying, “God, where are you?” These are not just setbacks. These are not merely bumps in the road. These are full-blown, world altering tragedies bringing devastation to property and personal lives. As we’ve so sadly witnessed recently on so many fronts that life can turn in a second, unannounced. One doctor’s diagnosis, one storm, one missed red light, one frantic phone call, or one beat of the heart. Sometimes we get so caught up in our day-to-day living that we take our life for granted. We fall into the trap of thinking that this human condition is forever. Our lives consist of a collage of all these precious TEMPORARY years, days and minutes that we are on this earth – for better or worse. Often it takes the jolt of a tragedy to look to God for meaning. We need to remind ourselves that God is with us, and speaking to us through ANY situation. When the world seems to fall apart and the bottom drops out of our lives, we need to see past the ugliness and through the pain to the ultimate reality of things – which is – despite all appearances, God is still in charge, still cares, still has the power to make all things right, and still intends to do just that – in good time!  What enables us to see all that so clearly when disaster has struck so hard? Faith! Even in the thick of turmoil, the Shared Presence of God can be felt. One phone call, one friend, one act of patience, one... read more

How Do You Talk To God?

How would you answer this 4-letter crossword clue: “Appeal to God”? Of course the answer is “pray”, but prayer is so much more than that. This divine connection, prayer requires more than just pelting God with our earthly needs. Similar to our earthy conversations, talking and listening, we need the same manners in our relationship with God. Just like nourishing relationships with friends and family members, we develop the same “manners” to cultivate prayer connecting to our Creator. We all enjoy learning about our families’ and friend’s life, but no one likes people who monopolize the conversations. In order to engage with others we also need to listen. We can share our desires, with God, but then we need to listen in order to hear his answer. We need to be silent. Surprisingly, the words “silent” and “listen” use the same letters. Listening requires silence. This strong connection with our God, both talking (prayer) and listening (meditation) will enhance our personal relationship with the divine. We are all pretty experienced with the “talking part” but our listening skills sometimes get shelved due to so many reasons. Here are a few suggestions to help you incorporate the meditative aspect of your prayers, taking your time and lifestyle in consideration. Of course, there is traditional meditation(a structured method quieting your mind), but also you can “listen” to God with-meditative walking  (outdoors with trees, foliage, meadows, birds or water), -listening to music (don’t forget about the Beach Boys hit, “God Only Knows” works for me!), -guided meditations (recordings can direct you efforts), -yoga (part exercise and part meditation connecting body and soul), and -labyrinths (meditative... read more

 Baptism By Fire

Sometimes life, like the ocean, can come crashing in with the strong undertow literally pulling the legs out from under us. When this happens we have two options. We can scream, “This is not fair”, negatively affecting all aspects of our life. Or we can embrace this hardship (fair or unfair) learning from it as we develop personally and spiritually. Adversity works as a giant stepping-stone in our spiritual growth. You’ve heard the phrase “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Most likely overcoming difficulties won’t kill you, but undoubtedly it will wield its longs arms around you with far reaching effects. Positively or Negatively. This adversity can act as a personal transformation if we let it. (But during these difficult times are never seen as such a positive influence.) We call this “baptism by fire”. Baptism by fire serves a purification process. This is God refining his gems, us! I like to think of it similar to the petroleum refining process. Refineries take crude oil and through multiple steps it becomes useful products such as gasoline, etc. God works with each of us in the same manner. Through hardship God invites us to become a “new person”, maybe someone more compassionate, more hopeful, more faith-filled. More like God himself, reflecting like a mirror, our Divine nature. But becoming this new person, this better version of ourselves is not easy. Here’s what Kim Wuirch wrote: “When recovering from difficult things such as heartbreaks or traumatic experience, stop trying to find your old self. The old you does not exist any more, look for the new and improved version of... read more

Practice Aloha

At one of our favorite restaurants in Maui, Hawaii, you get a special bumper sticker with your check, “Practice Aloha”. “Aloha” is a friendly greeting of recognition. What a beautiful way to spread the peaceful island spirit. Why do we need a glaring bumper sticker to remind us? Why is there so little peace among us? Why is there so little joy among us? There seems to be so much of life lived as a cold war. We have not recognized one another for who we really are. Who are we? We are God’s very own, special people, whose innards are filled to the brim with the seeds of wonderful gifts that are just waiting to be discovered, valued, nurtured and brought to flower. Every time we fail to recognize in ourselves or in our neighbor the face of someone who is very special to God, someone who has a special gift to share, we are denying the seeds of peace and the aloha sprit. The making of peace begins not outside with diplomats, but inside the individual heart, yours and mine. That peace begins with the moment of self-recognition when we hear and trust the voice of God’s Spirit speaking to us, “You are my special loved one.” For at that moment we begin to value ourselves as great treasures to be treasured. Peace only begins there. It won’t happen until we recognize that God has spoken to those very same words to everybody else too; and every person we meet is a hidden treasure waiting to be brought to flower. Peace won’t really happen till all of... read more

Living Inside Out

“You will see in the world what you carry in your heart.” Greig Crippen Thoughts are powerful. They can work for the good or not so good. Your thoughts affect your everyday life…how you care for yourself, what you do with your hours during day, your successes or your misses, how you speak, your interactions at work or with friends and family etc. What you put out will return to you for better or worse. It’s in our power to change our attitudes bringing as much joy as possible into this lifetime. And it all starts within. Think beautiful thoughts and the world will be beautiful. It’s called the Law of Attraction working like a boomerang…garbage in, garbage out or gratitude in, gratitude out. You are on the receiving end of your own thoughts and attitudes! The Law of Attraction is a Universal Law stating that every positive or negative event in your life, you attracted. Operating easily in 3 easy steps, THINK, BELIEVE, EXPERIENCE, you are actually co-creating your own life. If you change your thoughts you can change the world! This concept reminds me of a sign I saw: “She loved life and it loved her right back.”It’s as simple and as complicated as that. Be careful of what you think, thoughts become words.  Be careful of what you say, words turn into actions.  Be careful of your actions, actions become your habits.  Be careful of your habits because habits become your life! Live beautifully, from the inside out! THINK ABOUT IT!!... read more

Are You a Risk-Taker?

“If there is a one door in the castle you have been told not to go through, you must.” Anne Lamott Life is full of closed castles doors. What is behind those doors is the mystery of life as it unfolds. How do you know which door is meant for you? Suppose you fail? There are no assurances.  There is one baseball quote that really says it all. It’s one of the “7 Secrets to Guilt Free Living” that I shared in my book “A Change of Habit”  “You can’t steal second base until you take your foot off first”. Sometimes we get stuck in the mire of the status quo, afraid of change. I’ve learned that we must embrace and deal the unknown and the change in order to grow. Are you a risk-taker? I’m usually not! I remember reading that one of the five qualities that most Octogenarians share is Risk Taking. In her book, “The Risk Factor”, Deborah Perry Piscione gives us some points to ponder to get the most out of life.  Risk Takers: -Are in touch with a greater purpose in life. When we see our “greater purpose” in the Divine Plan we live a loving life, grateful for opportunities.  -Generally have a lower level of fear than most people. Fear holds us back sometimes missing out on happiness. -Are curious about why things are the way they are. With this openness, curiosity creates a sense of wonder and imagination and has been linked to cultivating happiness. -They believe anything is possible. No obstacle is too large because their enthusiasm can overcome any hesitation. -They... read more

Donut Stop Believing!

With my love for chocolate donuts, this bakery sign “spoke to me”, not only recalling the luscious smell of the fresh dough and the rich taste of the gooey chocolate, but as a spiritual tenet, as well. This play on words reinforced just how important faith is to us on our earthly journey. Don’t Stop Believing! Each and every day before my feet hit the floor I pray for a strong faith. We need a strong faith just to get through each day. We need an abundance of faith to embrace the seen and unseen, the known and unknown, in this life and the next.  Developing this belief calls forth our faith in God’s abundance – His caring and loving of us. Faith reminds us that God made us for a reason. Faith that God will see us though anything. Faith that all works out for the best. Faith in our fellow man. Faith in our own capabilities….. The unknown and doubts can eat away at faith pulling us away from what we believe to be true. We know the feeling of dashed hopes and shattered expectations pulling the rug out from under our faith as we struggle to make sense of it all. We sometimes lose our faith and call out, “Where are you God? Don’t you care at all?” Relying on faith can bring a peace and happiness into each day, no matter how bleak the day may be. Even in the face of troubles and adversity God has given us the inner tools of the heart (sometimes at odds with what the logical mind is thinking)... read more

Is Bigger, Better?

Here’s a good question for you: How many bureaucrats does it take to change a light bulb?  The answer is two, one to assure us that everything possible is being done, while the other one screws the light bulb into the water faucet. It’s just not in a bureaucracy that this happens. It’s a good summary of our lives. Assuring ourselves that everything possible is being done and then screwing the light bulb into the water faucet! For every one of us there are parts of life that don’t work, they are lifeless, routine and yield no joy. The reason is that we’re still hoping to get light out of a bulb screwed into a faucet, still looking for joy where none is to be found. But no need to give up! The Lord tells us the secret to enjoying his Kingdom, even with all of our flaws and limitations:  become like little children. But what makes little children different from us?  First of all they know they are little, and they know they need the help of others who love them.  Little children trust the people they meet and presume the best about them. They are meek and humble. Little children think everything is possible and worth trying. You don’t hear a little child saying, “you can’t do that” or that will never work.” They only see the positive. Little children are compassionate to those who are even smaller than more helpless than themselves. Legions of stray cats, scrawny dogs, and birds with broken wings could testify to that. They are loving. Little children lack the attention span of... read more

Start REALLY Living!

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that’s all.” – Oscar Wilde Life is a wonderful gift. No doubt about it. But at times it can be confusing, leaving us weary and exhausted beyond all telling. God gives to each of us a life to be lived and great work to do at each stage of our life. Some of us start with gusto and fizzle out. Some of us just pretend to run the race, but never really start at all. And some of us grind slowly to a halt in routine. If we cling blindly to what we have, our old ideas, or the ways we have always done things, we will never become what we are called to be. We’ll dry up and die. We were made for more than dry crusts and cold leftovers. I read this piece by Pablo Neruda giving me a new perspective …. “You start dying slowly if you don’t travel, if you don’t read, if you do not listen to the sounds of life, if you don’t appreciate yourself. You start dying slowly when you kill your self-esteem; when you do not let others help you. You start dying slowly if you become a slave to your habits, walking everyday on the same paths…if you do not change your routine, if you do not wear different colors or you do not speak to those you don’t know. You start dying slowly if you avoid feeling passion and their turbulent emotions; those which make your eyes glisten and your heart beat fast. You start dying slowly... read more