My husband truly loves me, and I him, yet he rains on my parade sometimes and it cuts me to the quick. I can be in such a happy place and he says something that just slays me. I should tell you that I love CWG and am doing several of the Advanced Programs, but he can’t really “go there” with me. He sort of half-tries, but doesn’t follow through. He’s not one to show his emotions but I think he might be a little afraid when I step out on a limb without him. Although he is quite conservative, he isn’t religious, so he’s not afraid I’ll go to hell or anything like that. Maybe he’s just threatened? How can I stay in my joy when he says things that bring me down?… Nancy
Dear Nancy… Oh, have I seen this before and I feel great empathy for you, knowing this is a huge Soul issue. Although it isn’t easy for some men to open up emotionally, I am a firm believer in completely open and honest dialogue. Even if he has a hard time talking about his feelings, is he a good listener? Have you tried having a sweet, loving, heart-to-heart talk with him about how you feel?
Having been happily married for 22 years some thoughts come to mind:
1. Whenever my hubby, Greg, and I have been at odds about something it’s helped us to remember, We’re on the same team. We are not adversaries, we are team-mates!
2. We share everything… or at least I do! I am a completely open book and there’s nothing I won’t tell him. If there is something that might be potentially hurtful I make doubly sure to say it with great love.
3. I should tell you that I used to embarrass Greg by my happy-go-lucky nature. He was also quite conservative and reserved, but I, like my Dad, never met a stranger, so am very outgoing. I’ll just talk with anybody and everybody and it’s always felt very natural to me. Greg wasn’t like that at all, and really didn’t know how to take me and would say things that hurt me, although he loved me very much. When I ask him now how he got over it, he’s not really sure, but says he realized that people gravitate towards me and that was more interesting than just being with boring people! Maybe over time he realized that there is nothing to be afraid of, by my being happy and outgoing. I certainly wasn’t flirting with other men or anything. I was just enjoying life and all it has to offer.
And that brings up perhaps the most important point: What is your husband afraid of? Does he think he’ll lose you if you go down the spiritual path alone? If you are firm in your conviction to stay committed to your marriage regardless of whether he “goes there” with you, then you need to tell him that in clear, loving language so that he really gets it. I recommend a little getaway in a romantic place for a few days where you can just focus on each other without all the distractions of home. Just doing this important talk over dinner out someplace, then going back home, isn’t enough, in my opinion.
Go somewhere for several days and home in on why you fell in love and got married in the first place. Focus on each other’s positive aspects, not any perceived negative ones. Come back together and re-commit to sharing your lives in the most positive way possible. When the moment feels right, hold his hand, look deeply into his eyes and share very briefly that it feels bad when he rains on your parade. Say it in a sentence or two but don’t dwell on it. Immediately tell him, “I know you don’t mean to hurt me, so I just wanted you to know I’ll feel a lot better if you don’t do that anymore.” Then smile and tell him, “I love you.” Those three little words have the power to change everything.
(Annie Sims is the Global Director of CWG Advanced Programs, is a Conversations With God Life 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.)
I have a counseling practice, and I help a lot of people on a day to day basis. I’ve followed the Conversations with God material for years and incorporate it in my work at every opportunity. Part of my job is to show my clients how wonderful they are, what a gift they are to the world, and that they are not their “problems.” What I’m having trouble with is getting myself to believe that about myself. I seem to have this resistance to accepting anything good about me, and every time a client thanks me for changing their life, tells me how great I am, I am quick to turn it back to them, make it about them. I just have such a hard time acknowledging the good things about myself, no matter where they come from, without feeling conceited or arrogant. I know there’s some learning for me here, and I’m more than open to hearing your thoughts, please!
Savannah, N. Carolina
Bless your heart for the work you do. I know you do much more than what you’ve just outlined for us but that part is perhaps one of the most important gifts you can give to others. And you’re very wise for recognizing that you haven’t yet given it to yourself, and that there is some “learning” here for you.
We have been conditioned for years by our parents, grandparents, churches, and all sorts of sources to not speak well of ourselves, to not brag or boast, etc. Along with that we all know a person or two who can’t seem to get enough of talking about themselves and how great they are, which can often be received as annoying and we say that person is “full of him/herself”. Between those two factors and probably many others, it’s quite normal for you to have this resistance to acknowledging yourself and owning your own magnificence, and you’re certainly not alone in that (just think of all the clients that come to you!). But it doesn’t have to be that way, and the other side of the coin holds gifts and opportunities beyond measure, and not just for you.
In my experience and observations a person who brags all the time and comes across as arrogant and conceited is actually overcompensating for something, and you can smell it a mile away. However, it is quite a beautiful thing to witness someone who is indeed “full of him/herself” in the way I believe God intended for us to be, in such a way that couldn’t possibly be interpreted as arrogance or conceit, but instead a joyful experience of a person owning and loving who they are without apology. I’m guessing you know a person or two who has accomplished this as well, yes? And, being that you’ve undoubtedly helped facilitate this process in others, you’ve seen the incredible impact this kind of self-love and appreciation has not only in the individual’s life, but the lives of their loved ones and even the world at large. You see, Savannah, it is not only in our best interest to acknowledge and own the beauty and brilliance that each of is, it is our responsibility. It is our gift to the world.
So this begs the question, what on earth are you waiting for?
Here’s an exercise to help you:
~ Make a list of your own magnificence. List as many things you can think of that are great, wonderful, and extraordinary about you, and do so without a thought towards sounding arrogant.
~ Write or talk about 3 examples where your magnificence really came in and brought about something very powerful for another soul.
~ Also, from a future perspective, ask yourself the following: what will it mean for you to fully engage your magnificence? What will it mean for your life, the lives of the people you’re in contact with, and the world at large?
This is a profound exercise. In fact, my own coach just gave it to me as my homework recently, and I have already given it to two of my own clients. So complete it first for yourself, Savanna, and then pass it on. Let’s see just how many people we can get to own their own magnificence, to see and live the very best parts of themselves freely and with joy. The benefits of this are literally endless.
— “Accept yourself. Love yourself just as you are. Your finest work, your best moments, your joy, peace, and healing come when you love yourself. You give a great gift to the world when you do that. You give others permission to do the same: to love themselves. Revel in self love. Roll in it. Bask in it, as you would the sunshine.” ~ Melody Beattie —
(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.)
Whether we have bought our cards or not, St. Valentine’s Day is here once again. If you’re on your second date or second year, this day seems more often than not an exercise in anxiety. To impress our significant other, a wide array of rituals must be followed without fault. This usually requires an intensive pilgrimage to the florist, the grocer, and of course, Hallmark. We may be creating the ‘perfect’ date, but are we really creating the ‘perfect’ state of love?
On most days, but especially February 14, we attempt to do everything perfectly for our spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend. But, in doing so, we often forget to give the only gift that matters. Unconditional love, for your partner, for your community, for yourself, is the gift that is given directly to the soul. In a day that is dedicated to be a celebration of love, there is nothing we need to do but express that love for everything and everyone. Love people for who they are, instead of what they have done (or rather, what they have not done). Let it show, and let it be known unconditionally.
With Valentine’s Day, unconditional love is at the origin of the holiday itself. According to popular legend, St. Valentine was a priest in Rome under the reign of Emperor Claudius II. To enlist more soldiers into the Roman army, Claudius II banned marriages from occurring in the empire as to remove the emotional attachment of husbands leaving their wives for war. However, St. Valentine continued to hold marriages in secret, and then became a martyr for his cause. As St. Valentine’s love of love was truly unconditional, he had no fear even in the face of death itself. By loving without condition, without concern, the world is truly made a lovelier place to be.
So yes, the cardboard cherubs and the sugar hearts are a nice, but unnecessary, addition. What makes Valentine’s Day more than just a commercialized holiday is our choice to express our love in a form that doesn’t come with a warranty or the hopes of a return offer. Simply loving unconditionally will bring more love, light, and life into your relationship than any Hallmark card will. It is the gold crown of the soul.
(Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at Lauren@TheGlobalConversation.com)
It was a breath of fresh air to hear that the pope has chosen to step down, the first pope in 7 centuries to do so. What he and his predecessor wrought to the Catholic Church as we know it is nothing short of devastation. But as a Christian I see their 42 year reign as so destroying the church we know that now the Holy Spirit can give birth to a community far more attuned to the revolutionary Gospel of Jesus than the current and dying structures ever could be. Those structures are as passe as the Berlin Wall.
Thinking of Benedict the man, I think this was a very wise decision indeed for before he “meets his Maker” he surely has a lot of soul work to accomplish. Below is a short list of some of the issues history will hold him accountable for both as cardinal and as pope. Were I his confessor, I would start work on them very soon. (Since this is a list, I offer page numbers of my study on his life and papacy to see the back up evidence.)
1. His silence for years about the notorious pedophile priest Father Maciel who was so close to Pope John Paul II that he was invited on his plane often and was feted to a mass ordination of his seminarians by the pope in St Peter’s Square. This man, who sexually abused dozens of his seminarians and had two wives on the side and sexually abused his own children (though a priest with vows of celibacy), was not fully investigated until 2005 even though a New York bishop wrote Ratzinger’s office in 1995. (125-130)
2. His and the previous pope’s unwillingness to divorce themselves from the politics of Father Maciel who was a great admirers of the blood-soaked dictator Pinochet in Chile.
3. His attacks when head of the CDF (formerly “Office of the Holy Inquisition”) on theologians the world over who dared to do their job which is to think. He denounced, fired, hounded, at least 105 theologians not only from his chair of CDF but also as pope (they are listed on page 238-241 of my book The Pope’s War ).
4. He and his predecessor brought back the Inquisition and in fact killed theology, reducing it to 1) a catechism and 2) Saying Yes to whatever the pope (or his curia) said.
5. His unrelenting attacks on base communities and Liberation Theology (thus fulfilling Ronald Reagan’s plans to “split the church” in Latin America) even though this movement, like the civil rights movement of the U.S., was the most Christ-like movement for democracy and justice and freedom in centuries. One side light of these attacks has been a void of genuine Christianity in Latin America, a void being filled by Pentecostal (and right wing political) churches there. (pp. 41-62)
6. His (and the previous pope’s) complete pushing of neo-fascist sects as the new “religious order” and shock troops of the pope beginning with the secret “Opus Dei” which is embedded in places of great power including cardinals and bishops all over the world and also financial headquarters of EU, the US Supreme Court, the CIA (especially under George Bush the first), FBI, and the US mainstream media. (pp. 106-124)
7. His and the previous pope’s rushing the founder of Opus Dei, Fr. Escriva, a card-carrying fascist who actually praised Hitler, into canonization faster than any saint in history (and destroying the age-old process of canonization in the process by eliminating the “devil’s advocate’s” role which is to bring up the shadow side of the candidate). Books by former Opus Dei members include his personal secretary of 7 years were completely ignored and their testimony was never asked for.
8. The cover-up of pedophile clergy in the US, in Ireland and elsewhere. The recent HBO film tells the facts about some of these horrors and how the buck stopped with Ratzinger. All the cover up put an Institution ahead of the rights of young children. (pp. 134-174)
9. His and the previous pope’s putting wind in the sails of extreme right wing groups from Maciel’s Legion of Christ to Communion and Liberation to Opus Dei and their support of zealots such as neo con and theo con George Weigel. (pp. 130-144)
10. The end of religious ecumenism. Ratzinger as pope managed to insult Islam; Judaism; all Protestant churches (he says they are not churches); also as cardinal Thich Naht Hahn (whom the Vatican called “the anti-Christ”) and yoga—wrote Ratzinger—Christians should not do it because it “puts you too much in touch with your body.”
11. The dumbing down of the church not only by condemning thinkers but by appointing Bishops and cardinals world-wide whose only qualification for the job is to be a loyal Yes man, thus the loading down of church decision makers for generations who don’t have a conscience, an intellect or a clue about the spiritual needs of people.
12. A complete reaffirmation of a “morality” of Sexism (no women priests ever; Catholic sisters in America are now subject to investigations like theologians have been); and of Homophobia—Ratzinger composed not one but two documents as head of CDF that were mean-spirited and spiteful about gay persons and ignored scientific research even as pope that has created another Galileo moment in church history. He stuck by his “no condoms even in an age of AIDS” position that is all about St Augustine’s silly sexual ethic and not anything Jesus ever taught. Even birth control in a time of excessive human population on a crowded planet remains, in his rigid world view, the law of the church and any theologian (or bishop) who questions such matters is suspect.
13. The interference in the presidential election of 2004 wherein Ratzinger instructed American bishops to read his declaration that any “catholic politician” (i.e. Kerry) who did not denounce gays and abortion could not receive communion. The result was three states had very unusual Republican votes from Catholics—if just one of them had had more normal Catholic vote, Kerry, not Bush, would have been president.
With such a trail of devastation as this, Father Ratzinger, ex-pope and ex-Inquisitor, is right to retire. Hopefully, beginning in this time of Lent, he will do some soul searching and asking for forgiveness. Unfortunately, because he and his predecessor appointed only Yes Men as cardinals, one should not expect any improvement in the next pope. Instead we should recognize that history has passed the papacy by and that now is the time for the Holy Spirit to push the restart button on Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant versions, so as to strip down to the essence of Jesus’ teaching and the Cosmic Christ tradition.
Toward this end, Andrew Harvey and myself are starting up a series of “Christ Path” seminars available on line or in person (see email@example.com) This restart of Christianity can be done without basilicas on our backs but mere backpacks. Travel lightly. Walk humbly. Do justice. And peace will follow.
(Matthew Fox is a former Catholic priest who is the author of Original Blessing and the creator of the “techno-mass” he developed at the University of Creation Spirituality. His newest book, The Pope’s War: How Ratzinger’s Crusade Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved, details much of what he has summarized above. Fox is a member of the Advisory Board of the interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives — www.spiritualprogressives.org)
(We recognize that the above opinion offers a controversial point of view. If you have an opposing point of view (or a different topic altogether that you wish to explore) and 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.”)
U.S. President Barack Obama issued a public dare to members of Congress in his State of the Union address that rang a bell with fair-minded people everywhere — even those who oppose his points of view. And it certainly rang a bell with people who embrace the New Spirituality as articulated in books like Conversations with God.
CWG, of course, speaks of truthfulness and “transparency” in all areas of life, from politics to economics to our social interactions and our most personal choices, actions, and decisions. Speaking from his global podium (people around the world were watching his address, with millions of Americans paying particular interest), the President put forth a simple, eloquent plea regarding gun control legislation: just take a vote.
When citizens vote, their vote is private, of course. But when members of Congress vote on an issue, their vote is publicly recorded — and that’s where the problem lies. On issues such as this, many politicians hate the suggestion in Conversations with God to live a life of complete and total transparency. Yet the refusal of Republicans in the U.S. Congress to even vote on what many have called “common sense reform” through gun control legislation is a travesty in a country that prides itself on its democracy.
The first and most important and most highly touted aspect of its democracy, U.S. citizens will tell you, is the right and the ability to vote. Yet in Washington, D.C. — which is supposed to be the seat of America’s government — there is apparently a rush to run away from voting on any issue where doing so might cause politicians to lose votes among the electorate.
It seems clear that in the U.S. House of Representative, Speaker of the House John Boehner is in no way willing to put his fellow Republicans in the uncomfortable position of having to vote ‘No’ on common sense gun control proposals that public opinion polls show an overwhelming majority of the American people (including moderate Republicans) favor.
If such a majority of citizens favor the proposals, why will most Republicans in Congress not vote ‘Yes’? Simple. It is elections that keep politicians in office, not public opinion polls. And in elections, the National Rifle Association and other conservative political activist groups exert massive power within the Republican Party’s far right wing element (the Tea Party faction, etc.) — and it is the far right wing of the GOP which plays a huge role in deciding who wins GOP primary elections (which, of course, determines which candidate then runs in the general election against a Democratic opponent).
So in Congress, the situation as seen by GOP office holders is: “Heads you lose, tails you lose.” If you vote for reasonable gun control legislation — such as making high capacity ammunition magazines illegal, or requiring background checks for gun purchasers — you lose the support of the far right wing element in the U.S., and you lose the next primary election, taking you out of office. If, on the other hand, you vote against reasonable gun control legislation, you lose the support of the rest of the American people, and you lose the general election, also taking you out of office!
What to do, what to do…
The Republican-majority House of Representatives has figured that out. Do nothing. Simply use whatever legislative tactics are available to avoid taking a vote on gun control measures, no matter how reasonable or how well supported by the general public. (To be fair, a handful of right-leaning Democrats, elected in conservative home districts, also join in the game, called Whatever You Do, Don’t Be Transparent! Do NOT Vote Your Conscience!)
Now, President Obama has made this tactic much more difficult to get away with, without looking like what one critic called “gutless, lilly-livered politicians who claim to be the country’s leaders.” Mr. Obama said that if members of Congress feel they have to vote ‘No,’ then they should stand up and do so. But, he said, at least vote. The American people, he declared, deserve that.
As he gave his speech the President turned to the upper gallery, where parents of a slain Chicago teenager who performed at last month’s inauguration were seated, and said: “They deserve a vote!” Then he pointed to a former member of Congress, also seated in the gallery, who was shot by a crazed gunman while making a speech in Arizona. “Gabby Giffords deserves a vote!” he said, and the positive reaction in the chamber swelled.
“The families of Newtown deserve a vote!”, the President went on, and now the applause and cheers were deafening. His voice rising above the clamor, Mr. Obama would not stop. “The families of Aurora deserve a vote!” he hammered on. “The families of Oak Creek and Tucson and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence –- they deserve a simple vote.”
Of course, the President is right. The obstructionists in Congress who won’t even let the matter come up for a vote are ignoring the first and most basic right of a democracy — and making a mockery of what they, themselves, say is what makes America great. And the Right To Vote does make America great…except when you have to do it with courage and visibility, apparently.
From a New Spirituality point of view, what was your impression of U.S. President Obama’s State of the Union message?
(Editor’s note: This series of articles has moved from the top of page headline position to this space, providing this important dialogue its own unique location as the headline position is used for topical stories in the news.)
Has humanity lost True North on its moral compass?
The whole idea of “wrong doing” is part of humanity’s cosmology of life. We really do think that there is such a thing as Right and Wrong. After all, God has told us so. Our religions have told us so. Our parents have told us so. Our culture has told us so. Our societies around the world have made it clear that some things are Right and some things are Wrong.
Yet now here comes a new theology arising out of the Conversations with God series of books which tells us, in one of its most provocative statements, that “there is no such thing as Right and Wrong.” And the Mind begs to know, how can this be true? Are we to simply abandon all of the understandings that all of humanity holds all of the time?
No, my own Mind said, when I first heard this: Surely Right and Wrong must exist at some level. Surely there must be some guidepost, some yardstick, some standard or criterion with which we can measure or determine whether particular choices and behaviors are appropriate or inappropriate, are good or bad, are best taken or best ignored.
A remarkable post here a while ago from a reader named Carol Bass has ignited this series of articles about the state of humanity’s spirituality today.
In this series, I am attempting to respond directly to what Carol had to say in a striking entry that, to me, seemed to perfectly frame the way so many people are holding their reality today. I believe that Carol’s comments deserve serious and complete responses. So Carol, here we go again…as we continue to look deeply at the observations you offered.
In my last entry here in reply to you, I quoted your comment that…
“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.”
The human race seems to agree, Carol. People have stuck to their guns about this—and I mean that quite literally—for many, many years. We are absolutely certain that there is such a thing as Right and Wrong, and we are absolutely sure that we are right about that.
The difficulty and the problem has been that our ideas of Right and Wrong change from time to time, from place to place, and from culture to culture. The result: what one person or culture says is Right, another person or culture says is Wrong. And this is the source of more than a small or trivial amount of the conflict and violence, killing and war that we have seen on the planet—much of it, ironically, in God’s name.
This article is Part V of an ongoing series:
LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR TOMORROW
Not only can we not seem to be able to agree on what is Right and Wrong, we can’t even agree to disagree about this. We don’t seem capable of observing our differences and calling them simply that. We apparently feel the need to make each other wrong for holding views different from ours.
We can’t even agree to openly explore the topics on which our beliefs diverge, with all possibilities on the table, with compromises at least considered. No, there can be no compromises when we are right. One does not compromise one’s principles, one does not bargain with the devil—and we have already demonized each other, not just each other’s views, so there you have it. We are left with our disagreements and our absolute inability to overcome them.
Worse yet, we are left with our righteousness about them. We imagine we are so right about what is Right and Wrong that we are willing to belittle others, to criticize others, to persecute others, to judge and punish others, to attack others and even to kill others—all of which we would consider Wrong if others did it to us. The interesting thing about Right is that it is always on our side.
The problem here, of course, is with the model of the world. CWG famously made the statement that “no one does anything inappropriate, given their model of the world.” It is this model that tells us that things are morally right and morally wrong—and, billions believe, that it is God who has said so. If God says that something is Right or Wrong, who are we to contradict that, or even to question it?
So our model of the world leaves no room for discussion, no room for debate, no room for exploration of any possibility other than what we have been told and commanded by the God of our understanding.
There would be no problem with this if we could be certain that our understanding of what God has said is Right and Wrong is “right.” But what if it’s “wrong”? Or, at least, incomplete?
Even casual observation informs us, Carol, that,with regard to What God Said about what’s Right and what’s Wrong, we can’t get things straight on this planet from one culture to the next, or even from one moment in history to the next. What, then, to do? How to resolve this problem?
The answer is to build a new model of the world, based on a new understanding, brought to us by Tomorrow’s God. And that new understanding is that there is no such thing as Right and Wrong, there is only What Works and What Does Not Work, given what it is we are trying to do.
Dare we? Dare we use this New Model as a universal device for determining our actions, for making our choices, for taking particular decisions?
I want to explore more of what Carol Bass had to say in her post, and will do so in our next entry here, as The Carol Bass Dialogue continues…
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Much of the commentary in the column above comes from What God Said, the latest book from Neale Donald Walsch, to be published by Penguin Putnam in October.)
I am at the time of my life where I realize I have far fewer years behind me than ahead of me, and I have to admit I am afraid of death. I have always been afraid of death. Even when I was young, and practicing my religion I never thought death was anything except just stopping. I would like to believe something else, but right now I just believe death is forever nothingness, and I think about it a lot.
Nancy in St. Paul
Increasingly there is evidence that there is life after death, due to things like near death experiences, but it is still very contradictory at best. Some think it concrete evidence, some think it evidence of what our bodies do when under certain conditions and stresses. I happen to think it is not strictly chemical.
Getting to the very basics of science, energy can never go away, it can only change form, right? Which means, if nothing else, we will continue on for sure, even if not in the form we are experiencing right now. Not very comforting, though, is it?
I also happen to resonate with things in the CWG world…go figure! In “Home With God, in a life that never ends” Neale Donald Walsch talks with God about death. One of the things that seems most true, given the anecdotal evidence mentioned above, is that what we believe about death is what we will experience after we die. If we believe in hell, or, in your case, nothingness, that is exactly what we will experience…until we decide we have finished this particular human experience all the way to its completion, and are ready to meet up with the All (God, if you will), and choose again. We can choose to do the same life again, or we can choose one of the infinite possibilities that exist called “The Life of Nancy.” Or we could stay with Creator, but that isn’t likely, because the urge to experience what we know would be very alluring.
Part of what I hear you saying, though, Nancy, is that you have a particular attachment to this body, and this mind. What if I were to tell you that it is also suggested in “The Only Thing That Matters,” by Neale, that we change form for a bit, but that we ultimately reunite with this same mind/body/soul that we now are? Our form changes energy, much like snowflake to rain to ice to vapor and back to snow. It is all the same thing, but different forms, and we will resume our form as well. For me this is comforting, and explains a lot of my feelings of been-there done-that!
Of course, as is glibly said, there’s no getting away from the fact that we are going to die, but that does not mean that we have to dwell in the fear of it either. Ultimately it is just another change in a life that is nothing but change…each change can be called a little death, and, if you are like me, you can also look back and see that each “little death” opened up the pathway for something else. I think it is pretty cool to sit and imagine what that “something else” will be after the change called my physical death!
Nancy, I hope that you can imagine that, too, and choose to live this life consciously and with joy, and not waste it through living fearfully…although, you will get the chance to do it again if you’d like!
(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.)
Yes, it is almost here again, Valentine’s Day. The arrival of this “Day of Love” can produce a broad spectrum of experiences for those who are touched by it. For some it will glide in on the wings of new-found love and breathtaking romance. For others it will simply not arrive at all – or at least not in the way it is desired. Either way, has Valentine’s Day evolved into just another holiday which places the focus of what it is we all imagine ourselves to desire in a relationship firmly in the thoughts, choices, and actions of another? Will he buy me flowers? Maybe he will shower me with expensive jewelry or escort me to the finest restaurant in town? Perhaps she will have sex with me? Will I even be the recipient of a thoughtful card?
But what happens when the thoughts, choices, and actions of another on this particular day fall short of what we are hoping to experience? Is Valentine’s Day truly a day of love, a celebration of partnership, a reminder of our unity? Or rather, is it just another day of consumerism, the perfect setup for unrealistic expectations, and perhaps more divisive than cohesive when it comes to moving forward in our partnerships?
Are we so attached to the external shiny objects that are dangled in front of our senses on this day – the flowers, the candy, the jewelry, the food, the sex, the presents, the promises – that we lose sight and stray off of the path that will truly lead us to the experience of joy, happiness, and love in our relationships?
Don’t get me wrong. I am not a prude. And I love romance – hey, I am the “Romance & Relationship” columnist after all! But I have found myself on the receiving end of feeling disappointed on Valentine’s Day for not receiving a card or a gift and constructing some pretty harsh judgments around that, placing myself in a position of asking myself, “What is that about?” Especially when that particular person never let a moment go by where his love and presence were not wholly known and deeply felt in ways that transcended the potential of any material expression.
If God does not want or need anything from me, why do I place those expectations upon the person with whom I share my life’s journey? Could it be that somewhere along the line I was taught and then adopted the idea that love was measured in direct proportion to that which I was either giving or receiving? The more you give me, the more you love me? The more I receive, the more I am loved?
And if that is not the case, then how DO we express this thing called “love”?
How do we express that which is so profound and so complex and so seemingly “unexpressable” in our limited human capacity?
My life has demonstrated to me that the answer to that question is foundationed in first understanding and living each moment of your life in full awareness of the Agenda of your Soul, and understanding that the people with whom we share a relationship also have a Soul Agenda — whether they are aware of it or not.
But what does the Agenda of my Soul have to do with Valentine’s Day? Or my partnership? Or anything I do, for that matter?
It has everything to do with not only those things, but each and every choice I make and the entire purpose of my life. If I am clear on the Agenda of my Soul — or at least recognize that I have one — and when my partner, too, is living in alignment with his Soul’s Agenda, then our love, our companionship, our presence in each other’s life becomes an expression of that purpose and that intention, creating moment after moment of experiencing our communion with God and Unity with each other, reaching completion of that which we are here to experience…Over and Over and Over again…knowing ourselves as Soulmates and remembering who we really are.
I could be wrong. It could really about the chocolates and the lingerie and the sappy cards. I could measure the extent of my spouse’s love and commitment against the value of the gifts he may – or may not – give to me. I could hinge the purpose of our relationship upon a single day, in single a year, and what I “get” out of it.
But I don’t think so.
I sense that it is much, much larger than that. I may happen to receive a sweet card or some exotic flowers or perhaps go out for a romantic dinner on Valentine’s Day. Or I may not. Either way, I am very clear on one thing: my Soul will not yearn for more or less than the perfect experience of being exactly who I already know myself to be: LOVE.
(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.)
Everyone seems to be tired, stressed out, fatigued, lethargic, or burned out today. We work too much, become caregivers for parents or children, and spend way too much time worrying about others instead of ourselves.It’s time to focus on YOU and making yourself feel better. Let’s start by looking at what is stealing your energy and vitality from your system!
There are four kinds of stress that will deplete your energy store – chemical, emotional, mental, and physical. Here are some examples of each type of stress and what you can do about it.
Chemical stress can come from your food, air, water, and environment. You ingest hundreds of chemicals daily simply from the food you eat. The more processed foods you eat, the more chemicals you ingest. By processed foods I mean foods that have been changed or transformed from their original state in nature, packaged, and sold to you through a grocery store, restaurant, or shop.
You are eating food coloring, artificial and “natural” flavoring, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives in every bite of your pre-prepared foods. You eat pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers in your conventional and GMO foods. You drink in the water pollutants in every soda or glass of unfiltered water. You are surrounded by air pollution in your workplace, airport, and even outdoors depending on where you live.
Read your food labels when you buy food products. If the ingredients list is long, has confusing words or unpronounceable words, or has recognizable chemicals in it, don’t buy it. Make it yourself. Cooking isn’t that hard and doesn’t take that much time. If you can’t cook it, get it from a place where you know who made it and what went in it. For today, just make a better choice. Try to drink filtered or purified water when you can, and get outside in a clean natural environment whenever you can.
Emotional stress can come from toxic relationships, caring for children, or lack of boundaries. There have been many studies done that show that the better your relationships are, the healthier you are and vice versa. If you are stuck in an unhealthy relationship, either figure out how to improve it or leave it behind. You can do this by setting healthy boundaries for yourself even if it is your own children you are dealing with. Learn to say no, and teach people how to treat you by letting them know what is not acceptable, enforcing your boundaries and following through.
Mental stress can come from your work environment, school or education pressures, and especially self-inflicted standards and expectations. If you take your work home with you, work at all hours, check your emails or are on call while you are “off,” or can’t stop studying, then you probably need to look at your standards and expectations. Set a time when you are truly off work. For example, after 7:00 p.m. stop checking your email, stop studying, and stop beating yourself up in general for not being perfect. If you don’t start taking care of yourself, no one else is going to do it for you.
Finally, physical stress can result from your immediate environment – loud or constant noise and lack of sleep are some great examples. Try to get some quiet time daily and make sure your sleep schedule is regular and enough. Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep a night. If you sleep less on a regular basis, you might need to make some changes in your schedule. Too much partying or alcohol can also put your body in a state of physical stress.
The biggest and most common source of physical stress on your body is a lack of nutrients. There are no nutrients in packaged cereals (except what they fortify it with after removing the natural nutrients!), fast food, processed foods, sugar, alcohol, white flours and rice, and much more of what we eat on a regular basis. Try to start eating whole foods – foods with one ingredient. Cook more of your own food with whole ingredients. You will at least know for sure what is in your food!
Take a look at what kinds of chemical, mental, emotional, and physical stress you are putting your body through and start making changes here and there to improve your life. You will end up with more energy!
(Beth Anderson is a certified Holistic Health Coach and founder of the Holistic Health Hotspot in Evansville, Indiana. She is also the author of The Holistic Diet: Achieve Your Ideal Weight, Be Happy and Healthy for Life.Beth received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Beth is helping people improve their lives through nutrition and lifestyle education, health coaching, and by helping others to learn to make informed choices. Beth continues to spread understanding of the connection between body, mind, and spirit and encourages all to discern the truth about food, consumer products, environment, and life choices.)