Friday, December 26, 2014

Peace on Earth

We are just about at the end of the year. Can it really be that a whole year has gone by?!
Another one bites the dust.
Or does it?

In reality, every day is the beginning of a new year.

Our calendar is just an arbitrary assignment of numbers.

Of course, our global agreement says that it is the end of a year, and the beginning of a new one. After all, we need a way of dividing time and knowing to show up at meetings, appointments, and other rendez-vous.

Reflection Time

The end of the year is typically a time to reflect on the past 365 days, and where we were at the start of it.

Perhaps looking a what hopes and dreams we had for the year. Perhaps measuring ourselves against those hopes or expectations.

Perhaps partying because we made it through another year.

Perhaps vowing once again, with New Year's resolutions, to do better or more.

International Peace Day

It is also the international day of Peace. Around the globe, people are simultaneously meditating for world Peace. In California, our time was 4:00 am this morning.

But if you missed it, no worries! Many places of worship are holding all-day peace vigils.
If you happen to be in Santa Rosa, there's a Peace Vigil from 6:00 am to6:00 pm.

If you are not in the area, then look for a Peace Vigil in your area.

Also check Facebook and Twitter for #aworldthatworksforeveryone

Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy Holidaze

Holidays can be holidaze if we get too caught up in them.

I've been back in school, studying music, and so December has been intense with final projects and final exams. It can feel a little crazy-making at times.

What to Do?


Ah! That's better!

Have a Beautiful Holiday

Here's hoping that your December is beautiful and filled with love. No matter what holidays you do or don't celebrate.

Let it be so.

And if you are in Sonoma County, CA, please join us for a beautiful Christmas Eve Candle-Lighting ceremony where you can give thanks or set an intention. There will be music, sing-along, and a message from our Rev. Dr. Edward Viljoen.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Return of the Light

We are nearing the Winter Solstice. A time of the return of the light, when days will get longer.

But right now, we are in the dark. And on the West Coast, it is raining, raining, raining. The shortest day of the year for those of us in the Northern hemisphere is December 21st. For another week, we are in the darkest time of the year here.

Winter Blues - Winter Blahs

We are literally in the dark more hours each day than in the light. And that affects many of. Some people get SADS: Seasonal Affected Disorder, also known as the wintertime blues. Some people want to stay home and hibernate. Some people feel less verve and zest for life. And some people are completely unaffected by the hours in the day.

And for some, it can bring up a dark night of the soul. Even if not plunged into depression from the lack of light, many people are right now remembering loved ones lost who are not here for the holidays. Thinking back on the year and perhaps not being kind enough with ourselves about what we did or did not accomplish. Perhaps being alone at a cold, dark time of year when others are celebrating.

If you are in Santa Rosa, CA, and need support during this hectic time, there is drop-in a Holiday Season Prayer Support circle every Tuesday. If you are not in this area, there's probably one near you at a Center, church, or place of worship.

Have you ever felt completely lost in the dark?

If you are human, chances are, you have.

Everyone has. It's part of the human experience. If we were happy all the time, we probably wouldn't appreciate the good times because it would be the background normal, and could easily be taken for granted. Part of being alive is having experiences that we name good and bad, happy and sad.

When you have lost your internal compass, what can you do?

Getting a Higher Perspective Helps.

Remembering that this lost feeling is temporary helps.
Remembering that you are more than the situation.
Remembering that you have overcome obstacles in the past.
Remembering that there are unseen forces conspiring for your success and your highest Good.
Remembering that, thank Goodness, darkness cannot last forever.

Any time I get really down, I remind myself that I survived my teens, so I can survive this!

The light is returning

And with it, hope.
And with it, joy.
And with it, a new perspective.
May it be a beautiful return for you!


The caterpillar turns to complete mush in the cocoon in order to become the butterfly. You wings are waiting for you!

I Can See Clearly Now

In the meantime, to look forward to that Light and Joy, here's a link to I Can See Clearly Now!  Note: I don't know the person who posted this, but I like the video. You will probably see an ad before the video.

How About You?

How do you lift yourself up when you feel in the dark?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Don’t Believe Everything You Think

Don’t Believe Everything You Think.

That’s the subtitle of this blog. It’s not just a quip or a smart remark.

It means that we have a choice about what we do when we think something. We can follow our thoughts or let our attention be on the more essential self. I was reminded of this again recently in Rev Kim’s Buddhism class.

What does that mean?

Most of the time, most of us follow our thoughts. We believe them. We let them shape and run our lives. But do I ever stop to wonder where those thoughts came from? I often heard it quoted that some high percentage of our thoughts every day are a repeat of the day before. I don’t know how that figure was derived. I mean, thoughts are notoriously slippery things. So how do I notice that?

Well, true or not, we do tend to have a predominant thought process or way of seeing the world. And where did that come from? Some comes from our family of origin, some from the media, some from friends, peers, schoolmates, coworkers. And some are actually original thoughts we come up with on our own.

So how do I not follow my thoughts?

Well, first I need to notice that I’m having a particular thought. So I can set an intention to notice my
thoughts in general. Or I can pick an area I would like to change or experiment with. Perhaps I want to feel better about my appearance or my work or a family member. Life provides endless opportunities and choices for our attention. Just pick one area or subject. And intend to practice noticing what you think about it.

Let's say that I want to change how I think about my weight. I could stand to lose a few pounds. So today I will notice... What do I say to myself about that? When I look in the mirror in the morning, can I catch the thoughts? How am I speaking to myself about that? When I choose something to wear, what are my thoughts? Oh, I can't wear that, it's too tight for me now. Or do I slip into criticizing myself? When I sit down and feel a roll in my waist where there was none for most of my life, can I catch my thoughts about it?

If at first you don't succeed

If you don't succeed at catching your thoughts, that's OK. They are slipperier that an eel. Just intend to notice them, and you will catch them sooner and sooner.

I've noticed that even the thought of going on a diet sends me straight for the junk food. So I simply watch what I do, and notice. And I thank myself when I make a healthy choice, and when I walk away from the potato chips.

The real fun

And the really fun part is when you catch a thought in time to realize that you can choose a different thought. You can decide what to think. You don't need to be on auto-pilot. Now the possibilities expand exponentially. I get to notice whether that thought works for me. And I get to choose another thought to take its place.

I love practicing awareness. Especially with my thoughts. Join me?

What About You?

What helps you catch your thoughts?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

You remember that old commercial? I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up!
As youngsters, we laughed. Because we didn't know how it can be to get older.

What do you do when you fall in your life?
Sure, for a physical fall, you can go to the doctor.

Falling in the Mind

And when you have fallen into a dark place in your mind, then what?
That's what Prayer is for.
Some inspirational reading to remind you of the Truth of who you are may help.

Here Come the Holidaze

With the holidays coming, it can be a difficult time for some people.
Perhaps they have lost loved ones, and this time of year reminds them how much they miss someone.
Or perhaps a family visit is planned, and that brings up apprehension, or any number of feelings. We can revert right back to our 8 year old selves when our family of origin is in the room.
Has that ever happened to you?

Get Under the Hood with a Prayer Practitioner

Prayer Practitioners can give you a hand up when you have fallen in a mental/emotional quagmire.
We can help you look at what is happening. At what you are thinking.
And then know for you that you are more than that.

Just like it's easier for you to know that a friend's trouble is temporary, a Practitioner can know the same for you. You CAN get up.

More Than a Band-aid

An affirmation is just slapping on a band-aid. It's more effective to get under the hood so to speak, and find out the thinking underneath that makes it so hard. Or like digging up the root of a dandelion in your garden so it cannot grow back. Not that it will never try. But if you dig deep enough, the issue loses its charge. It loses its hold on you. It becomes something that just is, or was.

What About You?

Do you have a favorite way of getting on top of things that seem difficult?