Spiritually Speaking Blog

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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

Going In Circles?

Do you ever feel like you are going around in circles, going nowhere? You can see the end point marching to the goals set out before you and still fail to see the progress. When these feelings set in we need to remember the lessons of the labyrinth. Life is like walking the labyrinth. The ancients use meditative walking to forge a connection with the divine. They followed prescribed routes in mazes to avoid the mental activity of deciding on where to direct steps. In doing so, they freed their minds to be open to another voice. Suspend all thoughts, while walking, to concentrate on feelings and whims within. While the age-old custom of walking a labyrinth supports a direct connection with the Divine soul within, it’s also a walk in faith. Just like life itself. How is life like a labyrinth? Seems like you are not making any progress going nowhere in a circle. Even though you are literally winding your way through the prescribed maze in a circular fashion, you are still, ever so slowing, making progress inward to the goal. Have faith! The narrow walking road often sees the walker losing balance falling off the to the edges. The trail ahead of you is well designed to move with forward motion, but oftentimes distractions will pull you off the path, experiencing defeat. Keep moving. Life is a game of recovery! The wind is swirling. As you progress you will face every direction with the wind swirling. You will delight when all goes well with the wind at your back and at other times battle the gales... read more

Do Your Prayers Need Words?

Every afternoon an elderly gentleman made his way into the parish church, taking a seat in the last pew. Sitting all alone in the back of the silent empty basilica the expressionless man stared straight ahead. After a half hour the attendee would quietly leave, saying not a word. The pastor could not help but notice this daily sight wondering what was going on. Curiosity got the best of the priest as he asked the stranger if he had a special intention that he was praying for during his daily visits. The gentlemen responded, “No, I just sit there.” The puzzled face of the priest urged the man to explain further. “You see I just look at the Lord and the Lord looks at me.” Pretty simple. Like two good friends who don’t need words, the Lord and the gentlemen enjoyed each other’s company! What did the Lord see? Did the Creator see a piece of his handiwork? Did he see his own image and likeness as he created the man? Did the Lord see his own reflection? What did the gentleman see? Did he see his Divine heritage? In the quietness did he feel his Divine connection? Did he feel the power, beauty and love that had been handed down? We can take a lesson from this silent visitor. We can look for this Divinity in ourselves and in others. Yes, we were created in God’s own image and likeness. Indeed we are treasured children of God. And the beauty of it all is that knowing that God is everywhere, we don’t even need a church. Look for... read more

Has God Ever Nixed Your Plans?

While we are still in the throngs of setting goals and making resolutions, let’s not get forget Plan B. Remember what Robert Burns wrote: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.” Even with the best intention, organization, and design things often don’t go according to plan. We may even invoke God, praying for our intentions with our pleas seemingly falling on the Divine deaf ear. I think we all can attest that life happens when we are busy making plans. But how much control do we really have in our lives? When things go according to program we pat ourselves on the back thinking that we are in control of our time on earth. Life is good! Other times when our world is turned upside down with the best ideas and heart’s desires in crumbles we are left wondering WHY? We had good intentions…this is a worthy cause….. I’ve worked hard to have this…..This works for everyone else…..Why not, God? Why me, God? Why now, God? Why not now, God? Remember: We are here on our individual journeys, to learn and experience different things in order to perfect our souls to their highest calling. God gives each of us enough joy for happiness and sufficient challenges for growth, depending on our determined destiny. We may not have the exact control over each and every situation and outcome, but we DO have control over our attitude toward these conditions. We can and do control our own happiness if we can release the driver’s wheel of control and put it into God’s hands. Joseph Campbell shares, “We... read more

What Turns You On?

Heading into this New Year, it’s traditionally a time set aside for reflection. We take a brief look at our lives and assess our goals for this lifetime. People are pondering and planning what their goals are and what do they want. The thinking and “resolutions” that they come away with are usually around ways to improve centered mainly on three areas – physically (I am going to make time for my physical work out), financially (I am going to save more in my retirement fund, and personally (I am going to be more patient with other drivers on the road). These planned improvements will serve well, but I would challenge you to look more closely at the “feed and caring” of your soul. How do you inspire you? What excites you? What makes your soul sing? Answering these soul searching questions will not only improve your happiness, but will also more clearly help define who you are and why you are here. Which in the end is the only real resolution that we need to make. Pause and take an honest look at your life and see what really turns you on. Where and how do you want to spend your precious time and energy? Let’s start! List 10 things that inspire you. Maybe travel, certain books, music, 5-star dinners, walks on the beach, laughing, doing crossword puzzles, volunteering, movies…. Similar to using a kaleidoscope bringing shapes into focus, making a list can bring alignment into your life. Making a list forces you, not only for one right answer, but to take a little deeper look pulling answers... read more

Christmas Is Over, Now What?

We’ve all expended a lot of time, money and energy over the past weeks preparing, enjoying and recuperating from our Christmas celebrations. For what? All the hubbub of the past few weeks only impacts our lives if we carry the meaning and spirit into the future. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could carry on the Spirit of the Season all year long, offering warm wishes and glad tidings to all we encounter But how? In the Christian tradition, the Christmas message is based on 3 tenets similar to the 3 legs on a stool. The Spirit rests on the support of Advent (the waiting), Christmas (the Divine Indwelling), and the Epiphany (the coming of the Wise Men). As we are busy packing up the Christmas decorations, we cannot lose sight of the message of the Wise Men. The Wise Men sought out the birth following the light of the star. Like the Wise Men we must continue to search and seek out the Divine in our daily lives in this upcoming New Year? But where in this crazy world do we find God living amongst us? I’ll liken my big “Christmas learning” as “Finding Waldo”. Reading that children’s book, “Where’s Waldo”, we are invited to search for Waldo in a field of distractions. Waldo is disguised, blending into the background of ordinary pictures. After picking our way through the maze of distractions, we joyfully declare, “there he is”, when we finally identify our man, Waldo. Like looking for Waldo in an array of color, lines and images, we seek God amongst our everyday lives. We have to keep... read more