I am newly married and a few months in, and I’m loving the married life! I haven’t noticed much has changed, really, except for one thing – my husband and I are definitely not on the same wavelength when it comes to money. We recently moved into a new house and now have the whole mortgage and budgeting thing going on, and I now see that we operate entirely differently when it comes to money: I am a go with the flow, trust that things will work out type of person who definitely does not enjoy making sacrifices, and he is a follow the budge to a “t” kind of a guy. This has caused some tension between us, and I’m not sure what to do about it because I don’t even like talking about money! I definitely don’t want this to be a bigger problem though, or drive us apart, so I need some advice.
Congrats on your marriage, and let me acknowledge you for bringing this issue to the light before it becomes a bigger problem. You’re right, money can definitely be difficult to talk about for a lot of people, and it happens to be the number one thing that couples fight about, and incidentally, one of the top reasons for divorce. Let’s avoid that, shall we?
So, what most people don’t realize is that money is just energy, like everything else. What we believe about it, how we think about it, speak of it, interact with it, etc., all contributes to our experience of it. So the first place I’d like to direct you is to what your current idea of money is. Do you believe money is bad, the root of all evil, limited, is earned in large quantities only by those who have either inherited it or work unGodly long hours and are miserable anyway? Or do you believe that there is enough out there for everyone, that we are all deserving of large amounts of abundance of all kinds? If you are unsure, a good place to look is what you heard a lot of growing up. We were sponges as children and it was very easy to unconsciously inherit the beliefs about money that our parents had. For example, if you saw your parents fighting and worrying about money all the time, you’re likely to grow up feeling stressful about money, not wanting to talk about it, avoiding the topic altogether or fighting about it with your spouse, not to mention having the experience of not having a lot of it.
The good news is that a belief is just a thought you continue to think, and it is entirely possible to change that thought. And that brings me to step 2: once you’ve acknowledged what your current beliefs/ideas about money are, decide whether or not they are serving you, and if you decide they aren’t, choose a new belief you’d like to have about money, one that does serve you. Next, begin creating new habits that are in alignment with this new belief. For example, say you’ve chosen to believe that money is wonderful and there’s enough to go around for everyone. Some habits you may choose to adopt may be only saying good things about money and avoiding complaining about it, saying a prayer of thanks every time you pay a bill because you have the money to pay for such luxuries as heat and electricity or your cell phone, and you enjoy them all. You could even start a dialogue with your husband about what his beliefs are about money, letting him know that although it’s been a difficult topic for you to talk about in the past, you’d like to be able to talk about it together and find a place in your finances that you both can feel good about.
But I encourage you, Kristi, to start with yourself. When you get into vibrational alignment with Who You Really Are in relation to any topic in life, it has a way of making everything come together without much effort on your part at all. And everything I gave you above are great ways to come into alignment around money. Look for what you appreciate about money, not what you dislike about it or feel helpless about. Share what you do have with others lovingly and joyfully, now that’s a wonderful way to feel and experience your own abundance. Look for what is currently working for you around money and share that with your husband, giving him the space to share what works for him around it. Marriage is definitely about being willing to love and grow with each other not just through the good times, but through the challenging ones. And this could be a wonderful opportunity for the two of you to grow closer and more intimate in ways you haven’t yet.
(Nova Wightman is a CWG Life Coach, as well as the owner and operator of Go Within Life Coaching, www.gowithincoaching.com, specializing in helping individuals blend their spirituality with their humanity in a way that makes life more enjoyable, easy, and fulfilling. She can be reached at Nova@theglobalconversation.com. )
(If you would like a question considered for publication, please submit your request to: Advice@TheGlobalConversation.com, where our team is waiting to hear from you.)
This Sunday, millions of people across the nation will come together to experience a single event: The Super Bowl. While this year’s edition will set the Baltimore Ravens against the San Francisco 49ers, it will also set two brothers, Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh, against each other as head coach. As countless football fans eagerly await kickoff, they cannot wait to determine which Harbaugh brother will come out on top, and more importantly, which will fall flat on his face. Generating millions of hours and dollars of investment, Super Bowl XLVII will have all eyes fixated on its victor and its loser.
No matter it be the Grand Championship of football or just an intermural game of soccer, we have become obsessed with the idea of the exaltation of winning and the humiliation of defeat. As victory is held in such high esteem, losing is considered to be the epitome of personal failure. As dishonor, failure, and losing are becoming synonymous in our culture, we begin to avoid failure at all costs. But why do we consider failure to be such a terrible experience?
The main source of failure as foul goes back to our experiences in an earlier time. In school, we are constantly reinforced that if we fail, we cannot move on. If we pass, we get to go to the next level. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Life is NOT a classroom. From this perspective, many people believe the entire purpose of life is to get through it by ‘just passing’. Is getting a D in life really considered to be an achievement? Don’t we owe it to ourselves, on a spiritual, mental, and emotional level to do better? I think so.
Failure represents our greatest opportunity to move forward. As failure is only determined by our own personal self-dissatisfaction, we can change our subjective experience of failure itself. In life, we are not given just one opportunity, but an infinite amount of opportunities to learn about what we think, what we do, and what we are. When we lose, we are given the incredible opportunity to objectively observe, understand, and experience the results of our previous thoughts, beliefs, and actions. As in the Core Concepts, “There is no Such Thing as Right or Wrong. There is only What Works, and What Does Not Work, given what it is that you are trying to do.” Through our ‘failures’ to produce the outcome we desired, our ‘losses’ can directly show us what we need to change in our lives to manifest these outcomes. As we evaluate our own personal failures, we easily perceive What Does Not Work in our performance, our behavior, and our belief. By understanding the effect of our current erroneous beliefs, we can decide to change these beliefs. All we need to do is to consciously apply this new sense of self that will create What Works. When we apply this towards ALL our perceived failures in life, we do truly win.
As even the football giant, Coach Vince Lombardi, once said, “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied ourselves best to the task at hand.” Certainly, our own personal successes, whether it be in the spiritual field or the football field, are driven by our ability to continuously redefine the very definition of Who We Truly Are. If we apply ourselves, our highest selves, to every situation and every scenario, victory, or rather, personal growth and accomplishment, occurs at every level and every plane. So in regards to the Super Bowl XLVII, one Harbaugh will experience his failure. But, he will also be able to experience what he can change to redefine his team and himself for victory in years to come. And that is truly more valuable than any Super Bowl Ring.
(Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at Lauren@TheGlobalConversation.com)
For most of the addicted community, the disease has been brought on by the conscious decision to use substances that are likely to cause dependence. Typically, drug and alcohol use begins in response to trauma, peer pressure, stress, or overall lack of concern for the outcome. Nobody ever picked up a drink or a drug thinking that someday they may be so hopelessly addicted they would lie, cheat, steal, rape, assault, even murder under the influence. “It won’t happen to me” is the usual thinking.
It is my belief that the genetic aspect of addiction should be taught to everyone at an early age. This would enable everyone to fully understand the nature of their choice to drink or do drugs and what the consequences of that choice may render. I understand that testing would be too costly and not a very good use of anyone’s money. For most, simple observation of their family tree would let them know if they stand a good chance of being predisposed to the possibility of addiction.
But this article is going to target a different segment of the addicted population. There are many people who have unknowingly, unintentionally, even unwillingly become addicted to prescription drugs. This may have started from something as simple as a slip-and-fall injury, a car accident, or some other type of pain-causing trauma. Innocently enough, they went to their doctor and discussed the pain and what could be done about it. Most doctors (not all) are pretty quick to prescribe narcotic pain medication to their patients.
It has been my own personal experience that doctors freely prescribe dangerous narcotics for routine procedures and surgeries. I have personally been given a prescription for narcotics after having my wisdom teeth removed. It was my experience that a few Advil took care of any pain I had. Just recently I had hip surgery and was prescribed Oxycodone even though I told the doctor there was no chance I would ever take it. My experience post-surgery was that I did not even need an aspirin!
Here is something shocking, and I do hope there is a medical doctor reading this that is willing to vouch for the validity of what I am about to tell you. Most medical doctors only receive a few hours of training on addiction in their entire school career! I do wonder how things would change if they realized that the drugs they are prescribing could possible send their patients spiraling out of control?
The sad truth is that too many people believe that addiction is not a disease (doctors included) and that addiction is just a moral deficiency. Most people who do not have trouble controlling the prescriptions they take and the alcohol they drink are not willing to believe that other people cannot do the same. These so-called “normal people,” the ones who drink one beer and call it a night, or take one tablet of Vicodin every 4 – 6 hours as needed, they are the ones who can be most beneficial in assisting the addicted people into treatment. They are the ones with the clear mind to think with.
People under the influence of narcotics, suffering with addiction, do not have good judgment. Denial is a key indicator for addiction. Believe it or not, the addict has tricked themself into believing that they somehow need to double, triple, quadruple the dosage of the Vicodin because their pain is “worse” than most people’s, and seeing as their doctor “can’t see that,” they end up going to multiple doctors. Once all of the doctors figure out what they are doing and put an end to it, the addict “who knows better than the professional” seeks out the black market or a drug dealer for the drugs.
These people I am writing about here are doctors, lawyers, nurses, police, firemen, postal workers, moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, sisters and brothers, priests and nuns, rabbis and Imams. Addiction crosses all lines and cultural boundaries. Those who know these people and see their behavior can do them the biggest favor ever and simply recognize it with them. These are typically family members that know what is going on yet are afraid to do anything about it.
Let me ask you this: If you won’t say something to the addicted, who will? Can you come from a deep place of love and compassion without judgment and condemnation? Can you set aside your own lack of understanding about the disease of addiction and just extend a hand to a drowning person?
For an addict to ask for help, many factors must fall into place, and none of them are pleasant. It is called “hitting the bottom” for a reason; those who reach out for help are at a place where they never thought they would go. Sometimes that window of opportunity is only open for a very short time. It generally takes deep legal troubles, relationship woes, financial ruin, homelessness, or a major health crisis related to usage for the addict to admit they have a problem.
Enabling by family members only ensures a much deeper and possibly tragic bottom for the addict.
The good news here is this: Those who become “accidentally addicted” have a much greater success rate in recovery than do the people who knowingly take illegal drugs for what some would call recreational usage.
The spiritual recovery program is perfectly suited for these people. They are usually not able to relate to the hardcore drug addicts found in the Twelve Step programs, although some do just fine there. What they need to do is to overhaul their own belief system and become aware of the power they hold over their own lives. Taking on an approach to life that embraces fellowship, personal integrity, and openness is a vital key to sustained sobriety as well as increasing the quality of life.
Most people will agree that relapse is less likely to occur in the life of a happy, outgoing person. For those seeking to improve their conscious contact with a Higher Power, happiness is a natural byproduct. Using a support group in the pursuit of spiritual living encourages a sense of belonging and family that all humans desire. Seeking support from coaches and counselors is also highly recommended in the early stages of recovery.
(Kevin McCormack is a Conversations with God Life Coach, a Spiritual helper on www.changingchange.net, and an Addictions recovery advisor. You can visit his website for more information at www.Kevin-Spiritualmentor.com To connect with Kevin, please email him at Kevin@theglobalconversation.com)
ADVANCE REVIEW: “This part of CwG…it’s beginning…these ‘Commitments’…made my Soul Sounds ring beyond my skin! In this very moment, they still do so. Verrry free-ing stuff, indeed! Thank you for this, btw.”
— From the Comments Section below this article.
Of all the messages in Conversations with God, none stand out more than the statement that there’s no such thing as the Ten Commandments. How can that be?, people want to know. I still get letters and emails about that today, 18 years after publication of Book One in the 9-book CWG series. So I thought I would publish here exactly what God said to me about that, and then solicit your comments.
I was told that Moses went to God on the mountaintop and begged God to give him a sign…something, anything, that he could take back to his people that would allow them to know that they were taking the right path; the path back to God.
So God talked with Moses directly (yes, God does that with humans, have you heard?) and said, “You will know that you are on the path back to the experience of your own Divinity—which is the path back to God—because there are certain things that you will do and not do as a result of being on that path. So, God said, look for these signs that I promise I will give you. This is my covenant. This is my commitment.”
Here is exactly what God said, transcribed from the handwritten dictation I took in my very first conversation with God in the early 90s…
You shall know that you have taken the path to God, and you shall know that you have found God, for there will be these signs, these indications, these changes in you. I promise you, you will see these signs. These are my Ten Commitments…
1. You shall love God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul. And there shall be no other God set before Me. No longer will you worship human love, or success, money, or power, nor any symbol thereof. You will set aside these things as a child sets aside toys. Not because they are unworthy, but because you have outgrown them.
And, you shall know you have taken the path to God because:
2. You shall not use the name of God in vain. Nor will you call upon Me for frivolous things. You will understand the power of words, and of thoughts, and you would not think of invoking the name of God in an unGodly manner. You shall not use My name in vain because you cannot. For My name—the Great “I Am”—is never used in vain (that is, without result), nor can it ever be. And when you have found God, you shall know this.
And, I shall give you these other signs as well:
3. You shall remember to keep a day for Me, and you shall call it holy. This, so that you do not long stay in your illusion, but cause yourself to remember who and what you are. And then shall you soon call every day the Sabbath, and every moment holy.
4. You shall honor your mother and your father—and you will know you are the Son of God when you honor your Father/Mother God in all that you say or do or think. And even as you so honor the Mother/Father God, and your father and mother on Earth (for they have given you life), so, too, will you honor everyone.
5. You know you have found God when you observe that you will not murder (that is, willfully kill, without cause). For while you will understand that you cannot end another’s life in any event (all life is eternal), you will not choose to terminate any particular incarnation, nor change any life energy from one form to another, without the most sacred justification. Your new reverence for life will cause you to honor all life forms—including plants, trees and animals—and to impact them only when it is for the highest good.
And these other signs will I send you also, that you may know you are on the path:
6. You will not defile the purity of love with dishonesty or deceit, for this is adulterous. I promise you, when you have found God, you shall not commit this adultery.
7. You will not take a thing that is not your own, nor cheat, nor connive, nor harm another to have any thing, for this would be to steal. I promise you, when you have found God, you shall not steal.
Nor shall you. . .
8. Say a thing that is not true, and thus bear false witness.
Nor shall you. . .
9. Covet your neighbor’s spouse, for why would you want your neighbor’s spouse when you know all others are your spouse?
10. Covet your neighbor’s goods, for why would you want your neighbor’s goods when you know that all goods can be yours, and all your goods belong to the world?
Again, you will know that you have found the path to God when you see these signs. For I promise that no one who truly seeks God shall any longer do these things. It would be impossible to continue such behaviors.
These are your freedoms, not your restrictions. These are my commitments, not my commandments. For God does not order about what God has created—God merely tells God’s children: this is how you will know that you are coming home.
Moses asked in earnest—“How may I know? Give me a sign.” Moses asked the same question that you ask now. The same question all people everywhere have asked since time began. My answer is likewise eternal. But it has never been, and never will be, a commandment. For who shall I command? And who shall I punish should My commandments not be kept?
There is only Me.
Your comments and observations on this are invited. All of this is part of the rewriting of humanity’s cultural story, a story that has told of a violent, angry, and vindictive, needy and demanding and commanding God. What do you believe? Has God given us a list of commandments? If so, why? Why would She do this? And what do you believe is His intention if we fail to meet those demands?
I am anxious to hear what you have to say about this.
How many times has the phrase “I just want to be happy” crept into your thoughts and tumbled out of your mouth? Perhaps someone close to you has uttered these six words in the midst of their own “unhappiness” on an occasion or two, looking to you for the solution?
But just what does “happy” look like?
What images does the word “happy” conjure up for you? Does it represent a state of being which so far life has kept from you like a callous game of keep-away? Does your mind paint a pleasant scene of someone other than you skipping gleefully down a flowery stone path, indulging in an ice cream cone, and humming a joyful tune? Is it in that perfect relationship that you envision and yearn to be a part of, the one that looks nothing like the relationships you are currently experiencing?
If you Google the word “happy,” the first image that pops up is a giant yellow smiley face. Is that what it means to be happy?
If not, what does it mean to be “happy”?
And why do so many people claim not to experience it on a regular basis, if at all?
Our spiritual leaders teach us that a happy life is a peaceful life, doing what brings us joy. Our parents tell us their only wish for us is that they want us to be happy. But if we don’t have any real concept of what “happiness” is, how will we even know if we ARE happy….or, for that matter, have any idea how to get there?
Maybe we are closer to a state of happiness than we actually think we are. Perhaps we are simply hung up somewhere in that space between what we think “happy” looks like and what happiness truly is.
We have become a fun-seeking, happiness-producing society: Take more vacations. Engage in a hobby. Go out for date night. Ladies’ night out. Men’s night out. Eat more. Drink more. Play more. Get more. Do more. Have more. But what would happen if we valued no moment in life as more “fun” than another? What if we perceived all of life as equally fun, equally meaningful, equally purposeful?
Maybe happiness isn’t found in that which we think we are not doing enough of or in that which we think we are not getting enough of. What if we considered the possibility that happiness is already there, always there, patiently waiting for recognition, quietly knowing its potential? Perhaps happy is found in the deep sense of knowing that no matter what is taking place in my life right now, no matter how chaotic or discombobulated or challenging it may seem, that everything is occurring to serve my highest good and the highest good of all. Could we accept the nonsensicalness of it all, at last experiencing the highest level of happiness, knowing that life does not have to be one continuous sweeping run of “fun” experiences unfolding before our very eyes?
Maybe happiness is experienced in loving exactly where you are…and not where you think you should be.
Maybe happiness is experienced in loving exactly what you have…and not in what you imagine yourself to lack.
Maybe happiness is experienced in loving exactly who you are…and not in who you think you are supposed to be.
I don’t believe that happiness is reserved for a select few, nor is it earned or doled out to those who most deserve it. It is experienced within our choice to BE it. It is felt in companion with sadness and confusion. It is known in the moments when life requires us to stretch the furthest and bend the most and love the deepest.
What does “happy” look like to you?
(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)
Recently someone I know sent me a really nasty e-mail out of the blue. I admit I don’t know this person well, but it still came as quite a shock and surprised me at how much I am upset by this. Should I write back? If I do, what should I say?
I don’t think it is going to come as any surprise that I am going to ask you to look at yourself in this situation. Not because I think you have done anything to cause this particular situation, mind you, but to simply ask yourself what in this situation is your moment of growth. Is this type of thing a usual trigger? Does someone being upset with you usually cause you to be unusually effected? Why do you worry so because this person was “mean” to you? I am sure you can come up with others to ask yourself!
I ask these questions because what you are experiencing is actually quite normal. What isn’t normal these days is to stop and understand that it doesn’t matter what anyone else says, it matters how you accept what they say, and how you choose to feel and be in the aftermath of the words. The children’s nursery rhyme had it right…sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me!
I heard a little story (paraphrasing here, of course) that tells of the Buddha teaching the wife of a wealthy man. Her husband noticed that his wife had changed, and he did not like the change, so he found the Buddha and approached him in anger. The Buddha simply held up his hand and said, “I do not accept your gift of anger. Accept, instead, my gift of love.” And walked away, leaving the man standing silent, not knowing what to say.
“Start telling the truth now and never stop. Begin by telling the truth to yourself about yourself. Then tell the truth to yourself about someone else. Then tell the truth about yourself to another. Then tell the truth about another to that other. Finally, tell the truth to everyone about everything. These are the 5 levels of truth telling. This is the five-fold path to freedom.” ~Neale Donald Walsch
Surprised, what would happen if you gave a response that told her, even though gently, how you felt when she used those hurtful words? Not what you thought about them, but how you felt. Would that harm, or example how to appropriately communicate? I would suggest you respond with your gift of love.
I don’t know if you will see an instant change in the situation, although you may, but I do know that responding to her from the space of anger will not change anything. Share the truth about your feelings, expecting nothing but the ability to share as your reward for doing so. Plant the seed of example. Then let the universe handle how and when it will grow.
(Therese Wilson is a published poet, and is the administrator of the global website at www.ChangingChange.net, which offers spiritual assistance from a team of Spiritual Helpers responding to every post from readers within 24 hours or less, and offers insight, suggestions, and companionship during moments of unbidden, unexpected, unwelcome change on the journey of life. She may be contacted at Therese@TheGlobalConversation.com.)
(If you would like a question considered for publication, please submit your request to Advice@TheGlobalConversation.com, where our team is waiting to hear from you.)
I am 40 years old and I feel lonely. I live alone in a small apartment, but I have a problematic family. A couple of months ago I met someone who said he wanted a serious relationship but after we had sex one time, he changed his mind. He said we are too different and I make him very angry. I pursued him anyway and it caused a lot of trouble. What can I change in myself not to attract men who leave me so easily and cheaply? My father beat me until I was 17 years old and both of my parents are still unkind to me. Basically the problem starts in the family where I’m born, I think. I would like to be at peace with my ex-boyfriend and everyone, starting with me. Can you give me a couple of ideas that might help?… Vicki
Dear Vicki… Thank you for reaching out and for being so open about what’s going on with you. I have some gentle advice that can turn your life around rather quickly. If you can take these two simple ideas to heart and really implement them, in six months time you can find yourself in a much happier place than you are now.
1. Drop your story. Everything that happened with your family as a child, and everything that is happening now with them, and with your ex-boyfriend, is just that: It’s just what’s happening! There is no reason for it to define you now or for it to derail your happiness. Every day—in fact, every moment—is a new opportunity to create your life anew in the next grandest version of the greatest vision you ever held about yourself, and the time you spend in your mind, fretting about past events, is time you could be spending in the joy of the present moment. We deprive ourselves of happiness by dwelling in the past.
2. Realize your life is not about you. It is about everyone whose life you touch. This is one of the very first messages Neale received in his conversation with God. In dealing with others, don’t approach them with the idea of, “What’s in it for me?” Don’t seek to receive a gift from someone. Rather, ask instead, “What gift can I bring to this person?” The moment you make this seemingly small change in your life, everything changes, because, Victoria, as you become the source of joy for others, you automatically receive it. This is how Life works because there is really only One of us! We are all part of the same God-energy that creates worlds. We have the same power to create that It does, and like God, we are unlimited, eternal and free. Free to think, free to choose, and free to be all that we can be. And that, dear Victoria, is what our Souls call us to do: to evolve by becoming aware of what’s really going on here. And when we put our awareness on how we can help others, we automatically help ourselves.
I invite you to read Neale’s book, Happier Than God. It’s chock-full of great ideas to help all of us find true joy, peace and fulfillment in our lives, and they really work.
And last but not least, I leave you with this poem by George Eliot. I sincerely hope these ideas help you, dear Victoria.
Count That Day Lost
by George Eliot
If you sit down at set of sun
And count the acts that you have done,
And, counting, find
One self-denying deed, one word
That eased the heart of him who heard,
One glance most kind
That fell like sunshine where it went —
Then you may count that day well spent.
But if, through all the livelong day,
You’ve cheered no heart, by yea or nay —
If, through it all
You’ve nothing done that you can trace
That brought the sunshine to one face —
No act most small
That helped some soul and nothing cost —
Then count that day as worse than lost.
(Annie Sims is the Global Director of CWG Advanced Programs, is a Conversations With God Coach and author/instructor of the CWG Online School. To connect with Annie, please email her at Annie@TheGlobalConversation.com
(If you would like a question considered for publication, please submit your request to: Advice@TheGlobalConversation.com where our team is waiting to hear from you.)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Has humanity lost its sense of values? Are we heading off the high cliff of “Relativism”? That, as some of you surely know, is a dirty among among Absolutionists. And the world these days does indeed seem to have divided it into two camps: Absolutionists and Relativists.
Yet that is only the way it seems. In actuality there is a third camp, the Dichotomists. These are people who embrace the notion that two apparently opposing “truths” can exist simultaneously in the same space. They call this a “Divine Dichotomy.”
Dichotomists do not see things in Black and White, but in shades of both. They do not see polar opposites, but a continuum. Where others see a straight line with each end representing This or That, they see a circle where This and That is “neither here nor there.”
I bring all of this up now because we are engaged here in the Carol Bass Dialogues. This is a series of interactions with a wonderful lady who contributed to the Comment Section in this space a while ago, offering an observation that was marvelously authentic and totally transparent — and that I thought offered a wonderful window onto how many, many people around the world are thinking today. I knew that I wanted to respond to it immediately, and it is from that impulse that the Carol Bass Dialogues have ensued.
In her note posted here, Carol said, among other things…
“It seems that so many have turned their back on what is right and what is wrong. The ten commandments according to the bible have become just another thing to cast off as just someone’s religious beliefs but not necessarily truth.”
In my last entry here I responded: “Well, Carol, as you may know, Conversations with God says there is no such thing as ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’ It also says there’s no such thing as the Ten Commandments. Wow. What do you think of that? What if that were true? How can that be true? What implication does that have for society?”
And then I asked: Is Carol right? Is it this kind of tossing away of our fundamental beliefs that is adding to the problem—if not causing it? Today, my answer: No. Indeed, I believe we must “toss away” our fundamental beliefs if they have been discovered to be simply inaccurate, and thus, no longer serve us.
The classic example of this is the refusal of doctors to wash their hands with an antiseptic solution before delivering babies. They believed that such an idea was nonsense — and they were absolutely sure about that.
It was in the 1847 that Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, working at the Vienna General Hospital’s maternity clinic on a 3-year contract from 1846-1849, made a remarkable observation: At least one way that medicine was being practiced was actually killing people.
In Vienna, as elsewhere in European and North American hospitals, puerperal fever (or childbed fever) was rampant, sometimes climbing to 40 percent of admitted patients. Dr. Semmelweis was disturbed by these mortality rates, and eventually developed a theory of infection, in which he suggested that decaying matter on the hands of doctors, who had recently conducted autopsies, was brought into contact with the genitals of birth-giving women during the medical examinations at the maternity clinic. He proposed a radical hand washing theory using chlorinated lime, now a known disinfectant.
Having the courage to explore his idea—which was radical in that moment—Dr. Semmelweis found that its application reduced the incidence of fatal childbed fever tenfold in maternity institutions.
It didn’t matter.
That’s right. That’s what I said. All the evidence didn’t matter. Dr. Semmelweis’ thoughts ran contrary to key beliefs and practices of his time (the germ theory of infection had not yet been developed), and so his ideas were rejected and ridiculed.
Worse, in what was very unusual, his contract at the hospital was not renewed, effectively expelling him from the medical community in Vienna. He died an outcast in a mental institution in 1865.
It was not until the 20th Century that his ideas were accepted, with untold numbers of babies’ lives having died for no reason in the interim, because doctors — who, of all people, should have known better, looking at the evidence — simply and stubbornly refused to accept this “new idea.”
This article is Part IV of an ongoing series:
LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR TOMORROW
Dr. Semmelweis was what I call an Idea Hero — and we need more Idea Heroes right now, at this present moment in human history. For we have reached ChoicePoint in our evolutionary process once again. Do we stick with the ideas and beliefs of the past (for no reason other than that we have always believed them), or dare we embrace the new ideas and the new constructs and the new thoughts of the future (for the reason that they are clearly and obviously more beneficial)?
When I was told in Conversations with God that there were no such things as the Ten Commandments, I was shocked. How could that be? I wondered. Had God himself not given us these laws and ordinances? And where would humanity be without a set of sacred rules upon which to base all other human laws by which it governs itself?
Of course, I asked God these questions, and the answers I received made it apparent that God had no problem with the content of the Ten Commandments either. It was the concept that was faulty.
It had already been made clear to me that God and we are One. This was the very first announcement in the CWG dialogue, appearing on pg. 5 of 3,000 pages of interaction. So I had already been given the groundwork for what God had to say about those ten statements he gave to Moses, and I suppose I should have guessed exactly what that might be.
“Who would I command? Myself?”, God asked. “And why would such commandments be required? Whatever I want, is. N’est ce pas? How is it therefore necessary to command anyone?
“And, if I did issue commandments, would they not be automatically kept? How could I wish something to be ‘so’ so badly that I would command it—and then sit by and watch it not be so? What kind of a king would do that? What kind of a ruler?”
God explained that he was neither a king nor a ruler, but The Creator.
“I have created you—blessed you—in the image and likeness of Me,” she said. “And I have made certain promises and commitments to you.”
It was explained that Moses went to the mountaintop with an urgent plea. He begged God to give him something he could tell his people that would assure them they were on the right path.
God must have felt, “Fair enough. Good question,” because he essentially said to Moses, “I will tell you, in plain language, how it will be with you when you become as one with Me.” Here are, God explained, some Divine Covenants: “You shall know that you have taken the path to God, and you shall know that you have found God, for there will be these signs, these indications, these changes in you.” And then he listed them.
(This entire exchange may be found on pg. 37 of CWG-Book 1.)
You shall know that you’re on a good path, God said, because when you are walking a path to God there are things that you shall and shall not do automatically. But this list, God said in CWG, were never meant to be commandments.
“For who shall I command? And who shall I punish should My commandments not be kept? There is only Me.”
I understood the logic of this completely, but I have to say that I felt that the bulk of humanity might feel little lost without those guidelines—call them commandments, call them commitments, call them whatever you wish.
I wondered if the new theology of Conversations with God would give us anything to replace them, any kind of touchstones or guidelines, criteria or even suggestions that might help us find our way through the thicket of Life on Earth.
It did. And we will look at all of this in the weeks ahead, beginning with our exploration of one of the most important messages of CWG: “There is no such thing as Right and Wrong.”
How can such a thing be “true”? And what is “truth,” anyway?
More to come as The Conversation of the Century continues here.
“I can’t stop thinking about him. He’s just so….dreamy. His eyes, his hair, his smile, all completely flawless. And his personality…I never thought people could be as amazing as he is. He’s so funny, and so clever. He has to be the nicest person I’ve ever met and probably will ever meet. He’s perfect in every possible way. If only I could go out with him…then my life would be totally complete.”
If this has ever represented YOUR thought pattern, then you’re definitely not alone. I cannot even begin to count the number of friends, movies, and songs I have heard sending the EXACT the same message. Whether it be from Taylor Swift or Radiohead, fixating on the impeccable guy or the incomparable girl is certainly not a foreign concept to teenagers. When we seem to find this supposed ‘perfect guy’ or ‘perfect girl’, all we seem to be able to do is think of just how perfect they are. Every waking moment becomes filled with thoughts of them. Or is it?
Many people who feel these thoughts and anxieties simply call them the side effects of being Love Drunk or Love Sick. As fixation is the most common symptom, we wonder whether we spend more time thinking of the person or about the person. Is there a difference, and if there is, does it mean anything at all?
After some deep introspection, we realize that we more often seem to fall in love with the concepts of people rather than with people themselves. When our minds are filled with the thoughts of the other person, we are thinking more of how they seem to ‘complete our lives’. When thinking only about the concept of a person, love turns into an addiction – one not powered by love, but by obsession. We are obsessing over what we think we don’t have, and how we think that this other incredible person will bring it into our lives. The obsessive part of both crushes and intimate relationships both arise from the same basic concept: He/She is perfect, I’m not perfect, He/She will make my life perfect.
Whenever we think “You complete my life” or even “I can’t live without her/him”, we know it is hardly the truth. Chances are, you’ve been living a pretty full 13, 15, or 18 years of your life already. But before we even look out into the world, we must first have a very, very solid foundation in our inner world. The majority of the “love drunk” relationships we enter are based more on our personal deficiencies, rather than our desire to share our highest experience and understanding of Who We Are. In order to have a relationship that is truly the dual expression of love, we must sober up our own sense of self.
Instead of placing the title and expectation of ‘perfection’ on another, we can be our own source of personal fulfillment. Though we seem to neglect this fact, we know that there is not anything we lack in our lives. Let me repeat that, there is not anything we lack in our lives. We only believe in this lack because we see ourselves as separate from it. Whether it be generosity, kindness, or compassion, know that you can manifest it in your own life without any outside help to do it for you. By knowing that you are a source of love, a source of joy, a source of compassion, you become your own fulfillment of your emotional desires.
When you develop these desired attributes within yourself, you don’t need to find them in others. By NOT setting that expectation on your (both imagined and actual) significant other, you can see who They Really Are. Enjoying them for Who They Are, rather than for What They Will Add To Your Life, is what makes a real relationship. So instead of being Love Drunk or Love Sick, let go of the obsession and let yourself enjoy their presence. Trust me, it’s far more fulfilling.
(Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at Lauren@TheGlobalConversation.com)