When everything changes…

Being in the midst of change anyway, we have decided to shift the title of this column from “Health and Wellness” to “Holistic Living.” Our wonderful editor, Lisa McCormack, asked me the other day if it didn’t seem to be a more appropriate title given what I am up to in the world. You see, I have a passion for helping people make simple changes to create healthier, happier lives. It is my steadfast belief, and on-the-ground experience, that there must be a holistic approach taken if positive lasting change is to occur. Whatever the challenges we may face, whether in our personal lives, or in our collective experience, we must address and shift at the level of the whole being when a symptom of dis-ease appears.

Dis-ease is nature’s way of saying that something you are doing isn’t working. While sometimes painful, it isn’t personal.  It’s merely a sign that shows up to help guide us to a greater understanding of how things work naturally. If ignored, the symptoms get worse; and if ignored long enough, the system fails. If addressed in time, the system returns to its functionality, which is always about a return to balance. Balance is the key in all systems in nature, including the health of our body. When one part of a system is out of balance, it affects the whole, which is why a Holistic approach to living and healing any out of balance system is always the most effective way of returning it, and us, to our natural state…which is well-being itself.

When you realize the interconnectedness of it all, including all of us, you realize how important it is to make conscious decisions at every level in our lives…every choice made affects the whole. For example, the idea expressed in Conversations with God that “We Are All One” changed the way I viewed my world and the choices I now make in life. The realization that my choices impacted not just my life, but the lives of everyone, changed everything for me and the way I operate in the world. Conscious living was born within me as a result of the consequences of unconscious living. This is the process of life. Life informs itself through the living of life itself. I awaken to what doesn’t work and then become aware of other possibilities that might. Sometimes also called growing up, it’s that moment in a human being’s life when they realize, it just isn’t all about me. This is where the conversation of conscious living begins to challenge not only how we live, but how we live in the world as well.

With life comes freedom, with freedom comes responsibility, and responsibility literally means our ability to choose how we respond to life..the consequences of those choices create our living reality. We are free to make any choice available to us. But are we free to have our choices impact others negatively?

Smoking is a good example of this. There are consequences of smoking to the smoker and there are consequences to the others exposed to a smoker. These shared consequences have differing levels of responsibility attached to them. The smoker makes their choice, which they are free to do, but what about the effect their behavior has on others? Especially others that cannot choose their exposure to the smoke…like children.

In truth, smoking works for no one, unless ones desired outcome is slow death and diseases like cancer and COPD.  It works perfectly for that. Forgive the sarcasm, but do we really need further evidence of this truth? Yet people continue to choose to smoke while they and others die from it everyday. These are the consequences of smoking.  Do so at your own peril, but consider your actions on others as well. I was a smoker, so I am not throwing stones here.  But if I were, they would be to awaken you before the metaphorical boulder careening down the mountainside directly at you wipes you clean off the planet. Read last week’s column for a reminder of just how delicate and brief life can be.

Conscious living, then, comes out of the consequences experienced out of unconscious living, except when it doesn’t. That is, we can choose to ignore our experience and continue behaving in ways we know do not serve us. Part of the definition of Addiction is “continued use of a substance or behavior in spite of negative consequences.”  Still, every act is informative, even if it ends your physical form, for do we not learn from our collective behavior and evolve? Slower than I would like to see, but nonetheless, we do evolve, we do grow, we are awakening to the human potential through the process of living something other than our highest possibility at any given time. Does it have to be that way? Yes and no…you get to choose. That is the great secret.

It is my mission to help myself and others experience this greater possibility of beingness that drives me in all areas of my work. With my new position in the Conversations with God Foundation and our common mission which comes from the words God expressed to Neale Donald Walsch through his writings of the CwG material, “Be the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever you held about who you are.”  These words drive me forward to find ways to help awaken what my Father called “the sleeping giant within.” Also known as “Christ Consciousness” and by other names as well, the spark of potential lives within us all, waiting to be tapped, yearning to be expressed. It is this very spark that is the key to ending suffering and the pain associated with the choices that do not serve us, other than to awaken us to our true potential and our truth.

The question for me is always how to make that practical so the wisdom within us can be realized and made manifest in the lives of those we have the great fortune to serve. The further mission of the CwG Foundation is “to give people back to themselves.”  We also put it this way: “To remind people to remember who they really are.”  When you remember who you really are, what your true nature and potential is, the questions become simple. Who will I choose to BE today? What will I choose to BEcome next? It truly is “To Be or Not to Be.”  It really is that simple. That is why you are called Human BEing!

SO, what say you? We all benefit when we engage in the conversation about what works and what doesn’t work. We learn from each other and we learn from our own experience. We really benefit when we do so with respect and tolerance for all paths.  Then and only then are we really communicating. This is part of the greater purpose of The Global Conversation as well, the realization that we are all connected and that our behavior has a global impact, sometimes also called “The Butterfly Effect.”  Holistic living, then, beneficially impacts us all when we choose to create at every level of beingness. What is it in your life right now that appears to stand in the way of you being your next grandest version of the greatest vision ever you held of who you are? Are you caring for your body, mind, emotions and nurturing your spirit? If not, what could cause you to make a change? What, if anything, can I or the Foundation do to support you in creating a better life? This is one of the many forums for you to express yourself, but you are also welcome to contact us in person, too. CwG has a wonderful coaching staff of dedicated people who have addressed some of life’s greatest challenges using the wisdom of CwG to help. So don’t needlessly suffer. Reach out. Remember the words and first rule from “When Everything Changes Change Everything”: Never go it alone!

I may or may not be able to help you, but you will feel heard. Sometimes that is all that is required.  We hear our own wisdom in the confronting of our story, in the seeking of our solutions to the challenges we face. Like overcoming smoking, or any other addiction that you may have struggled with in the past. If you are ready to finally become free, we can help. Please also use this forum to share your experience on how these and other spiritual messages have sponsored change for the better in your life. How do you use the wisdom within to transform your life? Sharing your experience helps everyone and is a great reminder to yourself of what a wonderful gift your life is. Life is a gift.  And though sometimes it can be difficult, together we can make a difference, make a change for the better, make this world a better place. Yes, I just said it.  And as sappy as it may sound, I really mean it. Don’t take my word for it, though.  Try it out for yourself.

You have the wisdom of the ages within; life’s challenges will expose this. What better opportunity is there to know this than to be a light unto the darkness. Darkness is, therefore, a gift. What will you choose, to be the light or to succumb to the darkness? The good news is even if you find yourself stuck in the dark, you can’t live in there forever, for it is simply not who you are.  And sooner or later, you will be drawn back into the light. An idea beautifully expressed in a wonderful children’s book called: “The Little Soul in the Sun” written by Neale and available for sale at the Foundation. (Like how I snuck a commercial in here!) Whether or not it feels that way right now, know truth will once again find you and set you free. Having just been through a dark and painful period, I understand this better than ever. I have great compassion for the human process and I am grateful to those who helped me once again find the light. We call them Angels and we are surrounded by them. I am grateful for mine.

When you remember who you really are, also remember you have a gift to give.  Then share it freely. There is no better way than to BE it. As Gandhi said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Finally, thank you to all who sent me notes of well wishes around the loss we experienced of our beloved Patty Hammett and for my new position at the CwG Foundation. Your support is so greatly appreciated! I welcome anyone to reach out for any reason.  Please know we are here to serve you. Until then, Blessed Be – JR

(J.R. Westen, D.D. is a Holistic Health & Spiritual Counselor who has worked and presented side-by-side with Neale Donald Walsch for over a decade. He is passionate about helping individuals move beyond their emotional and spiritual challenges, transforming breakdowns into breakthroughs. His counseling and coaching provides practical wisdom and guidance that can be immediately incorporated to shift one’s experience of life. As is true for most impactful teachers, J.R.’s own struggles and triumphs inspired him to find powerful ways of helping others. Sober since June 1, 1986, J.R.’s passion for helping individuals move through intense life challenges drove him to also specialize in Addiction and Grief Recovery. J.R. currently shares his gift of counseling & coaching with individuals from around the world through the Wellness Center, Simply Vibrant, located on Long Island N.Y.  In addition, he operates “Change House” a place where people come to transform, he also works with Escondido Sobering Services and now serves as the Administrator and Program Director for the Conversations with God Foundation. He can be contacted at JR@CWG.ORG or JR@theglobalconversation.com, or to book an appointment, write support@simplyvibrant.com.)

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  • Erin/IAm

    Although I would have liked to have seen you use an example like air-freshener spraying or chemical disinfecting, which contaminates much more than the airs of smoke, and would not add to the often vicious bandwagon of those who choose to smoke or not…Your point was well made, & I wish you blessings for the continued progress of your postings & the CwG messages.

    Good Journey! 🙂