January, 2013

As she lay dying

“Death can be seen as a period at the end of a sentence.” says Mother Amma. “After that comes another sentence.”

If my experiences around death taught me anything in this life, it’s that grief is nothing compared to the regrets of not having voiced your love, your gratitude.

So I try to say the words as often as I can, I pay the compliments where they are due, write the thank you notes, make the gifts. In other words,I let others know how I feel about them.

Being given the opportunity to say your goodbyes, in person, to a dying loved one is even more special I find. As the body withers, the ego is being stripped of all its illusions and the soul comes closer and closer to the surface.

No lies, no masks, no pretense of any kind can stand up in the face of death. Like a great gust of wind, it’ll blow it all away until you know deep down in your bones that truth, peace, and love are not mere words, but all there Is.

Fears are amplified.  Love is multiplied.  And whether you are the one departing, a care-giver, a family member, or a friend, you are called on to pick a side.

I picked a side 10 years ago, and I chose Love.  I chose to give way to my profound belief in the immortality of the soul and in the need for a gentle passage (as far as the circumstances allowed, but also to the best of our abilities, which are far grander than we dream them to be).

So when given the opportunity to say goodbye, I welcomed it as a precious, priceless gift.

But on this recent occasion, as a beloved family member of mine was nearing death, I realized I was quite alone on that side. Almost everybody around her was in fear and denial. And so was she.

I was even warned that I should NOT voice my goodbyes, even and especially if she alluded to the subject herself.

That put me in a very awkward position. How to tell her then how grateful I was for all she had taught me in this life? How to reminisce and laugh over endearing souvenirs? How to give from the heart if the heart was to be shushed?

I took a train, came to spend the afternoon with her, and tried to find a compromise. I played by the rules, I tiptoed around fears, all the while trying my best to let my light shine in small ways: I suggested ways to make peace on the subjects that caused her anger, I made her laugh a little, I showed compassion, care.

But deep down I knew I had let fear win.  And this was the exact opposite of what she had taught me, the exact opposite of who I wanted to be.

She was the one believing I could be strong and confident, when no one else around me did. She was the one to speak words of truth in a family where most was left unsaid.

A couple weeks flew by, I was walking around with a cloud above my head. I was worrying, complaining, but not doing anything about it. Her health was deteriorating, still I didn’t move.

The discrepancy between who I am and what I was demonstrating grew to be so wide that I got sick. My throat burned, my head was in a fog, and I coughed and coughed and coughed some more. I guess my throat was itching from all the words that were stuck in me.

This is when I read the article by Phoebe Lackawanna from December 1st,  about awakening. She said that once you’ve awakened, you can’t go back.

And it hit me.

Being awakened in a world where appearance, competition, and materialism hold such prominent places means you often have to take the path of resistance.  Resistance to old schemes and old ways, resistance to fear, to unspoken laws and limitations imposed in stealth ways.

Other people are not and never will be the enemy, but fear is.

The minute you start compromising with fear is the minute you start betraying your true nature, for fear is the great divider, while, in truth, nothing can be divided. We are One.

And just like that,I knew what I had to do. I picked up the phone and asked to have a word with her. The feelings of fear around her imminent departure were so strong that I was never put in direct contact with her anymore.

But love finds a way. And so I prayed and was sent a solution:  Another could carry my message to her ear…The circle of love would go on.

(Sophie Lise Fargue is a therapist working with energy, animating workshops and giving seminars on Personal Development in Paris, France. She also volunteers as a Spiritual Helper at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. You may connect with her at www.revenirasoi.com orslfargue@gmail.com.)

(If you would like to contribute an article you have authored to the Guest Column, please submit it to our Managing Editor, Lisa McCormack, for possible publication in this space. Not all submissions can be published, due to the number of submissions and sometimes because of other content considerations, but all are encouraged. Send submissions to Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com. Please label the topic: “Guest Column.”)

Today I am going to share “advice” I realized I had to give to myself.

I recently had minor knee surgery.  Minor in and of itself, but the third time on this particular knee, and placing my sweet knee dangerously close to bone on bone.  My doctor has cautioned that I must remember that my knee is no longer normal.  My physical therapist also advised me to not always walk on the level ground of sidewalks, but to walk on the grass to strengthen the muscles all around the knee better.

So…yesterday I walked around the little lake in our neighborhood.  On the area with the most dramatic slope.  With the weak knee on the upside of the slope, making it do the power work.  And today…I can barely walk!  If I move, it feels better, but when I sit for awhile it gets weak again.  Sheesh.

I was so proud of myself for how good I was at getting to the point where it didn’t hurt so soon after surgery!  But now I realize I was just doing enough…enough to get by, but not enough to challenge and really strengthen the knee.

Then, as I am wont to do, I began to ask myself some questions.  Is my body, which is the connection between my soul and my mind, asking me to look at something?  Way too quickly came my answer…of course, silly!  Is it possible you’ve been taking the easy, level path spiritually?  Ummm…I don’t wish to answer that, thank you very much!  Have you been letting your fears settle into your body again?   Are you moving too fast, or too slow, or even both?  OUCH! literally ouch!  Could be!  Is it time to take the uneven path, and change your mind about some things?  Dang it!  Stop asking me questions!  And, just for the record, self, the answer is…yes!

Dearest Therese, yes, your body is speaking to you, especially if you think it is speaking to you.  Be kind to yourself, don’t judge and compare yourself…not even to yourself.  Where you are, is where you must be to see where you are going.  Give the understanding you give to others, to yourself…you will then be able to share that understanding more wonderfully.

Therese, walk the uneven ground, even though it be fearful and confusing, and brings things into your life you do not understand right now.  The uneven ground will strengthen your body…and it will strengthen your spirit.  CWG, in “The Only Thing That Matters” says that each time you think you are “there”, you will be given the opportunity to move into an even higher expression of “there”.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking this means you are moving backward.  It just means, if you are lucky, if you are open and brave, you will always be new at something all of your life!


(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.)

This week my goal has been to write the next lesson for the School of the New Spirituality’s website CwGforParents.com. The Conversations with God concept I’ve had in mind is “Every act is an act of self-definition.” Little did I know that I would have the opportunity to experience this very concept in real time… well, I guess I should have expected the Universe (by the “Universe” I understand I am saying myself) to present me with an instance of that which I write, as often happens when I am writing about…well…anything! But seriously, Self, did it have to coincide with the U.S. gun debate?  A matter which I had most definitely decided against writing about? Ah, therein lies the rub! I had avoided the topic, so I, and the Universe, made sure I had to confront my own fears and feelings about it to be sure I understood. Well played, my friend. Well played.

Please keep in mind as you proceed that while you are about to read my story, it could easily be anyone’s story. And while how I handled myself, in this particular situation, may have worked for me in the moment, it may not work in every moment. So I invite you, as you read the story, to ask yourself: How would I wish to define myself, if I were ever to be in a similar situation, with my child?

I am always cautious and aware of my surroundings but try not to be overly concerned about safety as I am a pretty optimistic, love-seeing person. But my safety instincts are on higher alert when my daughter is along. She and I were walking to our car in a part of town which I would not classify as either overly dangerous or overly safe, when a young male began to stalk us like a lion would stalk its prey. I noticed his odd behavior immediately, but the fact that he didn’t strike while we were out of our car indicated to me that he hadn’t yet committed to his course of action. Still it was also obvious his intention wasn’t to say an innocuous, “Hi! How’re ya doing?” Of course, if he asked me for my purse and the keys to my car before we had gotten inside, he could have had them!

Anyway, once inside the car, I watched as he prowled and paced, casing the area checking out his chances with both, us and the surrounding parked cars – looking in windows and watching us; assessing, I guess for vulnerability, belongings, etc. Beyond my intuition of interpreting his movements, it is hard to describe what was happening other than that he was acting aggressively, making a clear show that he had control of the exit of the one-way street. He was erratically crossing back and forth in front of my car and using threatening body language. I sat calmly for a few moments, remembering that fear would only feed a potential power struggle and tried to keep my wits about me; calling upon my inner knowing for guidance. I couldn’t really turn the car around because the street was too narrow. I also didn’t feel I could reverse the car up to the previous block. I knew the best way out was to proceed forward, cautiously. I took a deep breath and made a call on my cell phone because I figured that would accomplish a couple of things: Making an obvious show of being on the phone would establish a “witness” of sorts and might make him think twice before acting; especially since he already seemed in conflict with himself. I also thought it would help me to convey confidence, without being overly confrontational, that I was getting myself and my daughter out of there safely. In retrospect, it might have been smarter to call the police, but I called my mom…sorry, Mom!

So, as I pulled slowly away from the curb, he made a show of jogging away, and as I suspected, was waiting for me as I turned the corner into the alley (the only exit from the street), blocking the way, with his hands on his hips. I looked at him – straight in the eyes – and slowly but confidently kept driving, talking animatedly on the phone, all the while repeating in my mind, “We are safe.” He was, by this time between five and ten feet in front of me and I guess he felt it was time to make a decision. He nodded his head to me, stepped aside and let me pass, at which time I sped away! The whole incident probably lasted for only three minutes.

I cannot be sure what he intended. I cannot be sure if it was my confidence and love in the face of his indecisiveness that stopped him or if he was just playing a game and trying to scare me. Maybe my daughter’s light surrounded us, an angel was in the front seat with me, a host of other possibilities, or all of the above could have affected the outcome. I just don’t know. All I know is that we left safely. I didn’t have to threaten violence. I didn’t have to pull a gun. I did have the luxury of a car around me as a measure of protection and I could have driven fast if I had to. But even in that moment when I thought, “Oh, I understand what it means to be willing to do anything to protect your child, including driving my car over another human being,” I still asked myself: “Who is to say our lives are more important than his?”

In the following days, a number of people who know my long-standing feelings about guns have said, “I bet you feel differently now! When are you going to go buy a gun?” My answer is the same as it has always been, but maybe even a little stronger. “No, I am not going to buy a gun.”

In the short moments of the event, I saw two scenarios lay out before me. I saw one in which, if I had different beliefs about the world, I could have flashed a gun (one I didn’t actually have, mind you) to show him who was the boss…in this imaginary scenario I could say I have the power and am not to be messed with! And then in that imaginary scenario, I saw it escalate faster than you can spell G-U-N. I saw him pull one faster than I could fire mine (or take mine from me) and I saw my daughter and me shot, bloodied, and dead.   And I saw my husband flying home from his business trip to plan/attend our funerals because I stupidly flashed a gun I was not really prepared to use.

And then, in the other scenario, the one with the act I chose, and still choose, to define me, I chose love, compassion, and careful thought to understand that this was a conflicted kid who saw a possible opportunity and, maybe, needed a way out. I gave him that out by being confident, assertive, and non-threatening. I didn’t challenge him to a duel, but looked him straight in the eye, and conveyed with strength and love (of life, my daughter, and yes, even of him), “You don’t want to do this!”

I am so grateful for our safety. I am grateful that I, in some way, prevented him from that single act. And I pray that he thinks of that moment before he enters into the next act that defines him.

How will you choose to allow your next acts to define who you are? How will you illustrate how every act is an act of self-definition to your child?


(Emily A. Filmore is the Creative Co-Director of www.cwgforparents.com. She is also the author/illustrator of the “With My Child” Series of books about bonding with your child through everyday activities.  Her books are available at www.withmychildseries.com. To contact Emily, please email her at Emily@cwgforparents.com.)

A soul named Bob

It was recently brought to my attention that my driver’s license had expired and that I had been driving around town “illegally” for over two weeks.  This troubled me, of course, because I immediately thought for sure Murphy’s Law would pay me a visit and I would, for the first time in years and years, now ironically get stopped by the police for a moving violation or a broken taillight or, worse yet, maybe find myself involved in an automobile accident, my expired license only adding to my misfortune.  Yes, I was frantically writing my own best-selling “what if” story.

But my mind was also busy imagining a situation that perhaps, at least more immediately, was even worse than that — the dreaded thought of having to make an early Monday morning visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew my lapsed license.  Oh, just the thought of waiting in those long lines, only to be served by overly tired, underpaid, and under-appreciated government employees who spend long dreary days in a gray office with no windows, determined to suck all of us into their miserable lair.  Thought by thought, I was erecting giant walls of resistance around me.

So I came up with a plan.  I would be the very first one in line!  That way I will avoid those long painful lines and maybe find myself fortunate enough to be served by someone at the DMV who hadn’t yet been worn down and numbed by a full day of monotony.  Yes!  That is what decided to do.  So I smugly arrived at the DMV at 7:45 a.m., knowing they opened at 8:30 a.m., and feeling confident that I would be the first to arrive.

Except I wasn’t.  I was not the first person in line.  I was the second person in line.

And this is when I met Bob.

Bob is an 82-year-old gentleman who, like me, came to the DMV office to renew his driver’s license.  But it did not take long for me to experience the “real” reason Bob was there.

Bob was there for me.

This soft-spoken, kind man, with a smile that extended into his eyes, thought that the driver’s license office opened at 8:00, only to discover that he now had 45 minutes to wait outside on the unforgiving hard sidewalk, with nowhere to sit, nowhere to rest his frail legs.   But what he did have is someone to talk to, to share his life with, to laugh with, to be present with, someone who understood the much, much larger reason for his “mistake” in thinking the DMV opened at 8:00 and someone who also now understood the underlying purpose in my premeditated “plan” to beat the crowd.

I was there for Bob.

In those precious 45 minutes, I learned from Bob that he said goodbye to his life-long companion just six short months ago.  And he misses her dearly.  I could feel his sadness and deep love for her.  I knew that Bob was experiencing her presence just by having someone to share her memory with, that her essence was alive and very real in our interaction with each other, and I was honored and profoundly touched to be chosen as a surrogate with whom Bob could once again experience her love and grace.

I learned from Bob that he wobbles when he walks sometimes.  But he says he does not think of or label this as “stumbling” or “wobbling.”  Bob says he is dancing.   And in our short time together, Bob danced a lot.  I wonder if in some of these seemingly unsteady moments his soul is engaging in a breathtaking waltz with his beautiful wife?

I learned from Bob that even though he is no longer able to travel around the country in his motor home as he once did with his Beloved Other, there is a wonderful channel on his Dish network that shows beautiful scenery from around the world — majestic mountains, tranquil beaches, and colorful fields of flowers.  And if you get up really early in the morning, at 4:00 a.m., as he does, you can watch that program and “feel like you are right there. ” And “if you are a believer,” as Bob offered to me, “they even scroll some scripture across the bottom,” to which he gently and thoughtfully added, “if you want that.”

I learned from Bob that even though his life partner has continued on in her soul’s journey, he still greets each new dawn with purpose and appreciation.  While he oftentimes yearns for the physical presence of his wife, he understands that he still has soul work to do and a life to live and experience – and he has decided to show up in his own life with humor, kindness, and intention.

There was a point in my life, not too very long ago, when I would have missed entirely the enormous gift being presented within this relationship and within this experience.  There may have even been a time where I would have avoided this wonderful elderly gentleman altogether by inconspicuously burying my face in my phone or casually dismissing him with a polite smile.   Boy, am I thankful I am not living in that space anymore.

My encounter with Bob is a reminder that what I think is going on isn’t always what is going on.  My well-laid plan to beat the crowd at the DMV and to make sure that I avoided an uncomfortable personal experience had nothing to do with what I originally imagined.  Bob and I had a soul agreement long before our bodies arrived at that particular location at that particular time and in that particular way.

How would our lives change if we viewed every person with whom we interacted as an intentional and purposeful gift?  Have our souls chosen the people who are in our lives and those that are held within our next choice?  Or are we just randomly bumping into each other?  It is easy to view our own biological families and chosen partners and our children and friends as gifts.  But what about the passers-by?  What about the person next to you in line at the grocery store?  What about the “overly tired, underpaid, and under-appreciated government employees who spend long dreary days in a gray office with no windows”?

We sometimes realize after-the-fact that something big, something of importance, something Divine has just taken place.  But when we come to this same realization “in the moment” we are actually experiencing it, we can see the opportunity we are being given to remember a little bit more about who we are and why we are here, and we become powerful creators and flow-throughs of God’s love.

At 8:30 on the nose, the doors to the DMV opened and I followed Bob into the building.  We parted ways to go to our respective service windows, immense feelings of gratitude welling up inside me.  When I arrived to meet the person who would be assisting me that morning, the person to whom I had projected unfavorable predictions upon, the individual whose mere existence I was a short while ago resisting, I was warmly greeted with a radiant smile and a cheery, “Good morning!  How may I help you today?” – and I immediately knew another opportunity was presenting itself to me.

(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) 

I’d like some help clarifying a “revelation” that I recently experienced. Up until a few days ago I would have said I didn’t have much of a possibility to repair ancient wounds in my life, or to repair a friendship that’s dear to me. But something turned me around: the realization that the past cannot be changed and that by dwelling on it one way or the other I was cheating myself of the presents that lay the Here and Now. I also realized I could be patient in the long process of rekindling this friendship, all the while staying confident, peaceful. And this is new to me, because I had a tendency to let my emotions define me. What do you think about this? Thanks in advance for your insight. … Lisa

Dear Lisa… So what happened to turn you around was that you simply changed your thought processes about what had happened, right? Just goes to show that we create our reality at an inner level. To change our reality about anything, all we need to do is change our thinking about it—to look at what happened from a different perspective.

Have you read Neale’s book, When Everything Changes, Change Everything? The Line of Causality/Mechanics of the Mind lays out the lightning-fast thought process we have in our Minds regarding any event, and shows how we move from the event itself to our reality about it. Each of these steps leads to the other:

Event – Data – Truth – Thought – Emotion – Experience – Reality

I’ll try to explain briefly here:

1. An Event happens.

2. We immediately search our brains’ Data for past experience of something similar to that Event, so that we may contextualize it somehow.

3. We have a prior Truth about that Data, which we often project onto the new Event (justifiably or not).

4. That Truth causes a Thought to arise about the Event. This may be a true Thought or not.

5. That Thought causes an Emotion inside us.

6. The Emotion, as you so aptly said, “defines” us and creates our Experience.

7. Our Experience becomes our Reality.

This happens so fast we don’t even know it!

In your case, I think you realized a few days ago that your prior Thought that there wasn’t much of a possibility to repair the wounds or friendship, isn’t true. So now, your process beyond Step 4 is different. Your new Thought that there is a possibility for a happier ending brings forth a new, better-feeling Emotion, which leads to a new Experience of life for you, resulting in a new Reality. Woohoo! Good for you!

Does this make sense? It’s, of course, explained in great detail and depth in Neale’s book, including how we may incorporate the System of the Soul here, but the main point is this:

“Change our Thought, Change our Reality.” Or as the common New Thought expression goes:

“Change your thinking, change your life!”

(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.)

Within the first few pages of this delightful book, I knew I was in for a real treat!  “Dreams of the Mighty,” by Kim Wood and Teri Roefs, is a colorful and magical journey of self-realization for Les, a man who plods through his day-to-day challenges, feeling discouraged with the way life is playing out for him, feeling as though something was missing, while at the same time sensing that something significant, something life-changing, was about to happen to him.

And, boy, was it!

In this wonderful celebration of life, an adventure of twists and turns, brimming with unexpected surprises and unlikely relationships, “Les finally knew beyond all doubt that he was truly free, always had been, forever would be. He rejoiced in the indescribably rich, purposeful engagement that his life had been; a hallowed script, a miraculous role, a blessed cast—every act flawless and complete within the divine plan.”

Kim and Teri have injected a clever balance of humor and spirituality into this uplifting novel, an extraordinary and refreshing combination that is not commonly found in a lot of today’s new-thought writings, a shining example that, yes, even a quest for one’s true self can be lighthearted and fun.  One of its underlying messages is that if we place ourselves in a space of openness and awareness to everything around us, we can’t help but to feel our connection to all of it and experience the significance of our presence within it.

Treat yourself, as I did, to this engaging and thoughtful book written by two passionate and creative authors who have used their own inner personal spiritual journey to inspire and touch all those who share their path.

“Dreams of the Mighty” can be found and purchased online at www.chapters.indigo.ca, or, for substantially less, as an E-book
from www.smashwords.com.

(Kim Wood is an author whose creativity, lifelong passion for the written word, keen sense of humor and insatiable curiosity about the ‘whys’ of being have come together here in Dreams of the Mighty, his first novel.  Kim can be reached at krwood@rogers.com.  Teri Roefs is a psychotherapist practicing in and around Ottawa, Canada. She is a certified hypnotherapist, a clinical member of the Gestalt Psychotherapy Institute, an EMDR and Energy Psychology practitioner, and has completed training in a wide range of therapeutic procedures.  Teri can be reached at athene1@rogers.com.) 

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team atwww.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)

(If there is a book, movie, music CD, etc. that you would like to recommend to our worldwide audience, please submit it to our Managing Editor, Lisa McCormack, for possible publication in this space. Not all submissions can be published, due to the number of submissions and sometimes because of other content considerations, but all are encouraged. Send submissions to Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com. Please label the topic: “Review”)

I Hear Voices

That’s right, I hear voices — four of them actually.  And tonight I recognized them and saw very clearly what was happening, and it started with a prayer.  I prayed while laying in savasana after an inspiring yoga class.  My prayer was a simple one, a typical one even.  I knew I had to get this blog up.  And I am somewhat of an inspirational writer.  What I mean by that is when something in my life inspires me, the thoughts come fast and furious.  When this happens, I need to get to the computer quickly or at the very least a pad and pen.

This past week, I haven’t had the opportunity to let those things that I felt inspired to write about get written down or entered into the computer.  My busy life was stringing out my current blog past when it was time to change it and I needed some inspiration.  So I prayed.  I asked God in what I recognized was my voice, “God, please bring through me the words that those reading my blog this week are seeking to hear.”  I continued in my head with the invocation, although this one had a different voice, albeit it was still my voice. The inflection was not as strong and committed, and it stuttered a little.

The prayer continued in this shaky voice, “Please, God, let this blog be of great service.”

This is where it became interesting.  Another voice almost simultaneously, yet seemingly behind the shaky voice, a higher pitched, tense, and uneasy voice, was saying, “Let this be of great service to me as well.”

Just as that voice started to say that, another voice came in and chimed, “You can’t ask for this to serve you!”  This voice was clearly different, as were all four of the voices, yet they were, strangely enough, all my voice.  It was very clear to me while this was happening ,that these were all my thoughts with my different data attached to them surrounding what each statement was.

This noticing of my thoughts, and the voices attached to them, was fairly unique to me.  I have listened to the voices in my head many times and always wondered what was going on there.  I have been intrigued about how many different levels there are in my mind.  And that kicked off another whole set of thoughts and voices.

The thought process fascinated me, especially with the level of clarity and awareness in which it occurred.  I quickly had the thought, “This is the blog!”  As soon as I made that decision, I had two simultaneous things going on in my head.

The first was, “Don’t forget this!”  I began to repeat the topic over and over in my head so I would remember: “I hear voices, I hear voices…”  While repeating that mantra, my secondary thoughts were flying about, “How does this tie in to addiction?”  One voice said, “You can’t write about something like that.   What if it harms someone?”  While immediately another voice said, “Oh, my God, people who hear voices need to read this.  They need to know that maybe those voices are there to bring awareness to our thoughts.”  This very same voice said, “You must write this article.”

And so that conversation took place in my head in a two-minute span while laying on a floor in a 105 degree room, soaking wet after a ninety-minute yoga class where every aspect of my being was pushed to the limits.  This incredible insight happened because I took time for myself.  I made time for me and only me to honor what God has given me, a beautiful mind capable of multi-layered thought, an incredible body that is able to do more than I ever give it credit for, and a soul in which to rely upon and seek wisdom, compassion, discipline, and insight from.

You see, recovery is about always seeking greater insight into ourselves, the world around us, and to expand our consciousness of what we believe our Creator to be.  If I seek to remain open, and never declare anything to be the ultimate truth, that leaves me with the power to recreate myself and my world at any moment.  When you are in a state of mind that is seeking higher states of Divinity, there is no room for relapse.

I understand that for some hearing voices is a sign of mental illness, and that should not be taken lightly, nor should it be made fun of.  What I am encouraging people to do here is take a concept and think deeply on it.  What I did only took two minutes and the feeling and inspiration was phenomenal.

(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)

I said goodbye to my dear friend and colleague Patty Hammett last week. She was the Administrator of the Conversations with God Foundation with whom I have had the pleasure of working with for over thirteen years. She and I shared our common passion and common mission with the CwG Foundation of giving people back to themselves, which in CwG terms means helping others to recreate themselves anew in their next grandest version of the greatest vision ever they held about who they are. Last week’s column on being angry at disease was based in my grief around losing her, another dear friend gone to cancer, but it also inspired me to recommit to helping people find holistic solutions to everyday living problems.

Patty left her physical form, yet I feel as if she is here with me right now. In fact, I will tell you that I feel her inspiration and words flowing through me as we speak. I imagine it is a similar feeling that Neale Donald Walsch must get when he is having his conversations with God. I hear Patty’s voice nudging me, inviting me, guiding me, and all I have to do is let it flow. This is a wonderful feeling and important for me since I have been asked to fill her shoes at the CwG Foundation as the new Administrator and Program Director. I loved working with Patty, and it seems our work will continue; I feel a profound sense of gratitude for this. My sense of sadness is coupled with this overwhelming feeling of her presence right here, right now, which causes me to feel something other than sad. I am not sure there is a word for it, but I am at peace. So this week’s column is written by Patty Hammett, here to inspire JR and YOU to be the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever we held about who we are.

When I was asked by Neale Donald Walsch and Will Richardson, the CwG Foundation board President, to take over the leadership of the foundation, I will tell you that I felt it potentially to be too daunting a task for me. We talked for several hours about it, and still I wasn’t sure if I could do the foundation justice. It is interesting how fear and doubt will show right up when we are offered opportunities that we know in the moment will change our life forever for the better, yet still they show up as if they are there to protect us from all that good about to be bestowed upon us…”can’t have that” says fear! I left with my head swimming, wondering if I had made the right decision, second guessing my choice, feeling uncertain if I could pull it off. Would I make Patty proud?  Oh, God, how am I going to fill those shoes? It seems my prayers were answered the very next morning when I awoke full of excitement and passion; the ideas began to flow out of me. They were pouring out of me faster than I could write them down or express them to others, and that is when I realized Patty’s presence had replaced the fear. It was the moment I knew that she was still here, that I was not alone in this, and that I could do it. She was literally flowing through me.  She was using my hands just as she is doing right now to express these very words to you. She was in spirit, that is, inspiring me.  And then I had no doubt.  I knew I was not alone and that we could do it. Call it what you will, but when you have this kind of an experience, being in spirit, something inside of you shifts. That is the God Experience.

And God knows I needed a shift. If you read my columns, you know that I have been moving through the loss of a marriage which ended in betrayal, the loss of someone I care for deeply, the loss of hopes, dreams and desires now never to be fulfilled, at least not with her. It is said that God never gives you more than you can handle.  I wish God didn’t have so much confidence in me sometimes! And yet as promised, the gifts of shift continue to reveal themselves as understanding replaces pain. The messages of Conversations with God, along with my training as a grief and recovery counselor, have helped me through the toughest of times for sure, but it has also set the stage for my personal transformation in a direction I would have never thought possible. Without the loss, this current version of me could not exist. Without the change, this current experience could not take shape or form. And as always, good comes out of bad to create great. And now Patty, unburdened by physical form, shows up to remind us all, through me in this moment, that life is always working in our favor. A message I will continue to speak as long as I have breath.

If you have been inspired by the messages of CwG or any spiritual writings, you know they are here to remind us to remember who we really are, especially during the times when it would be very easy to forget. That is also the job of angels, both here and there, to show up and help us to remember, to guide us through, to be the light unto the darkness. Patty was an angel in physical form who now has shown up for me as an angel to guide me through the next chapter of my life…and for this I am forever grateful.

As I write this, the sun has just peaked through my window, a new day is born, how appropriate as a rebirth takes place before my very eyes. Having and holding these kinds of experiences make the tough times worth the price of admission. Having people like Patty in your life makes life worth living.

So I begin again. I take the parts from the old version of me that work and I leave behind the parts of me that no longer work, knowing they served me well for they brought me here. With gratitude I say goodbye and begin again.

I am ready to take on this new opportunity to be a messenger and helper at the Conversations with God Foundation. One of my very first actions will be to create a partnership program, an opportunity where we can co-create together, the bringing forth the messages of CwG through the living of your purpose, passion, and your reason for being. If you have been touched by the messages of CwG and wish to become a grander version of yourself through the living of your life purpose and doing so in partnership with the CwG Foundation, if this sounds like something you would be interested in learning more about, then please reach out to me. I will be creating programs going forward to give opportunities for others to be of service, but I am also going to be looking for those in spirit, those inspired individuals that would like to create with us, to ensure that the legacy of the CwG messages continues long after we are gone. My realization once again through the loss of my dear friend Patty, and now through her inspiration to me, that the messages of Conversations with God changed my life forever, and it continues to do so. My gift to give back is to ensure that these messages continue to touch the lives of those who are reawakening to who they really are. This I know makes my dear angel friend Patty smile, for it was her passion…and still is.

If making a difference in the world while ensuring the legacy of CwG sound like something you want to explore with the CwG Foundation, reach out to me:  JR@CWG.ORG

Thank you, Dear Patty, for all that you have been, are now, and forever will be…an angel without end. May you guide my every action to benefit the world we serve, together forever, in love and in spirit. Your friend – 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 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@theglobalconversation.com, or to book an appointment, write support@simplyvibrant.com.)

What do you do with the stuff that easily triggers anger?  I’m an easy going, peaceful and loving person, but I have my moments where I lose it, like when my kids throw tantrums or are exceptionally whiny, or someone treats me with disrespect.  I get that we are all human and anger is a natural emotion, but in these situations it just feels awful and I always regret it.  How do we show up as who we really are in those moments?  I sometimes feel like a terrible person!

Martha, San Francisco


Hi Martha,

Great question, and I think we can all relate to it. I’m glad you used the example of “losing it” with your kids, because those blessed little creatures sure know how to push our buttons and make us feel the furthest thing from spiritually evolved (coming from a mother of a “lively” 3 year old).  I’m going to use this example as I explain why we have some strong emotional responses that don’t feel so great sometimes as well as how to shift them.

Conversations with God discusses the concept of “giving meaning to things”, saying that nothing in this world has any meaning save the meaning we give it.  So a thing is not “good” or “bad” by itself, it is simply a thing that is occurring and those who are observing this occurrence are the ones who assign the meaning of it being either a bad thing or a good thing.  Now let’s apply this concept to the thing we call “kids throwing tantrums”, something I happen to be very familiar with, and I’ll speak from my point of view since I can’t reach into your mind to access yours.

The meaning I have assigned in the past to my child throwing a whopper of a tantrum (and total transparency here, please don’t judge!), looks something like this, “She is being so irrational right now for no reason, she is not listening to me which is disrespectful and undermines my parenting.  And this is awful to experience!”  The meaning I assigned that occurrence was making me feel bad, and triggering an emotional response of anger and irritation, which used to cause me either to raise my voice, get frustrated, things that certainly didn’t help the situation.  Presently, I am happy to report that I’ve assigned this occurrence a new meaning, which looks something like this, “Wow, my little baby is having a difficult time right now, she’s clearly overwhelmed by something and doesn’t know how to manage her emotions yet.  Poor thing!”  This new meaning triggers my emotional response of compassion, which now causes me to practice patience, tolerance, and even scoop the little tyrant up and hug her until she calms down.  Voila, my experience of this occurrence is now vastly different and much, much better for all involved, simply because I changed the way I was looking at it.

So I encourage you, Martha, to take a deep look at those common situations that occur in your life that trigger your anger.  Ask yourself what meaning you are currently giving each of them, and then consciously assign them a new meaning that feels better to you.  And then, of course, practice implementing them.  You’re not a terrible person, you’re an amazing person for noticing something that you’re not in alignment with and wanting to change it.


(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.)

Anxiety. Stress. Fear. These are just a few of the many ways that I have heard my classmates describe their high school experience. Yet these seemed to be the most common descriptions I have heard about this period of life for people between the ages of 14 and 18. As I look at my own high school experience, I too recognize that it has been anything but a carefree journey. Through the combination of social interactions and academic expectations, teens are becoming overloaded. But by how much?

Apparently, it’s enough to drive us crazy. In a 2000 publication, the American Psychological Association (APA) reported that the average teenager will experience the same level of anxiety as that of a 1950s psychiatric patient. And this was just for the average teenager before the time of Twitter and Facebook. What would this data look like now? And, more importantly, why hasn’t anything been done about this teenage mental pandemic since?

Though the level of anxiety teenagers feel has skyrocketed, the psychological treatments for this problem has remained virtually the same. Across the board, stress therapy has focused on the concept of coping with our stressors. Even the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has highly recommended stress management techniques that act as distraction to our mind from our stressors. The activities outlined by the CDC include participating on a sport, taking up a hobby, becoming socially involved, and of course, looking for professional help. By attempting to change our behavior, therapy tries to change our thoughts, and is often unsuccessful.  Though these activities do help alleviate stress, they are only temporary in their affect. After the activity has finished and the session is over, the fear, stress, and anxiety will still persist in our thoughts.

This still means that we are trapped in the same cycle. What if I want to do more than just “deal” with my stress? What if I actually want to change the way I feel?

By focusing purely on reaction, therapy has forgotten all about the creation side of the spectrum. We CAN choose whether we will simply react to the events of life or let our own decisions construct an entirely new concept on how to live life. By changing our thoughts, it changes our behavior.

In this mindset (or rather, open mindedness), we employ the Core Message of the Be-Do-Have Paradigm. With Have-Do-Be state, we rely on outside factors to shape our journey for us, while in the Be-Do-Have Paradigm, we are the source of our own change. Though our beliefs in our Old Cultural Story still think it is rational that we must have things to do stuff to be stress-free, we know that this simply is not the way. To change our thoughts, we must BE the creative cycle of Be-Do-Have, rather than the reactionary Have-Do-Be. By just being what you truly wish to be, you can do things that reinforce that state of being. And by doing these behaviors, you will have the lifestyle that you want to live.

If this sounds simple, it should. The entire concept of the Be-Do-Have Paradigm is that it is naturally applicable – it doesn’t require toiling hours or rigorous schedules. By being calm, by being flexible, by being controlled, we can take a look at our stress inducing environments with entirely new eyes. Suddenly, when you are being composed instead of acting composed, life’s unpredictability doesn’t seem that stressful anymore. So go ahead and try the Be-Do-Have Paradigm, and be your own triumph. At the very least, I know you will BE happier!

(Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at Lauren@TheGlobalConversation.com)