Spiritually Speaking Blog

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 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

Are You Celebrating Anything Special?

I called to make brunch reservations for Joe and myself on the Hornblower sight seeing ship cruising San Diego Harbor. After taking the necessary information the young attendant asked me, “Are you celebrating anything special?” I answered,  “I’m enjoying excellent health. I have a loving husband, wonderful family, loyal and fun friends. And we’re going on a wonderful cruise, on a state of the art ship to view a spectacular skyline of San Diego. Hell, yes, I’m celebrating something special.” Our reservation clerk continued, “Would you like to upgrade to a Celebration Package for another $20.00 per ticket?” So with that, Joe and I are celebrating with unlimited cheap champagne and guaranteed window seating! Each and every day cannot bring total happiness. That’s impossible! With that expectation we can be disappointed leading to a life of unhappiness. We will have troubles, doubts and frustration. But we can always find enough joy to piece together a “cause for celebration”. Every day may not be a designated “special occasion” with a birthday or anniversary but each day is special.  It’s our task to find the special, celebrate the special and share the good times. I think two things will help put us on the road to “celebration”: gratitude and finding joy in the small things in life. Don’t let the small everyday things we take for granted go uncelebrated! Finding the joy in small episodes of the ordinary will lead to small bursts of happiness. These moments of appreciating the small things will create a life worth celebrating.  Maybe everyday isn’t special, but there is something special in every day! And... read more

Is Love That Splendid a Thing All the Time?

We are all called to love our neighbor. We go out of our way to care for others providing for their needs and desires. Thinking of this “ideal” definition of love, I had to pause and reflect when I read this definition: Love is that you “want to kill someone”, then you realize that you would really, really miss them! Are we really that bad? Could we be? We would like to think of ourselves as “loving persons”, shunning away from the thought that we sometimes harbor normal human feelings such as envy, anger, impatience and intolerance. We turn away from looking into the reality mirror acknowledging unfinished business and our need for change, which at times may just seem too much for us. We don’t want to think of ourselves as people capable of misdeeds. Sometimes a tiny voice inside us will call out insistently, “Something’s not right! Better take a look!” We get scared, so we whistle in the dark or turn on the television, or pick up the phone, or shop till we drop to drown out that little voice. Sadly sometimes we succeed for years or even a lifetime in drowning out that little voice never knowing ourselves and never filling out the wonderful image that God dreamed for us on the day we were born. There is much good in us to rejoice over and much unfinished in us to weep over. But there is nothing in us to fear – except the blindness which fear makes us choose. That blindness strangles life, stunts growth and kills God’s wonderful dreams for us. We can... read more