Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Your GPS- God Positioning System

Recently, I was riding in carpool to an unfamiliar place. We had printed directions from online, one person opened a map app on her phone, and another programmed her phone so Siri could guide us. The funny thing was, each one gave different directions. One said to turn left, the other right. Our driver had to choose which one to follow.

So we wound our way through the Oakland Hills toward our destination. Even though we may have taken a few wrong turns, we got there in plenty of time for the event, and had fun along the way.

Follow That Sign

It is the same with Spirit guiding us. We have an internal GPS - a God Positioning Service. It constantly whispers directions, suggestions to us. It might tell us to turn right, left or to go straight ahead. But it offers so many more suggestions to help us be where we need to be. The best way to our goal, whether it is to the market, to get along at work, or to enlightenment, is to trust our intuition.

Like our driver who followed that advice and sometimes not, we sometimes listen to our inner guidance and sometimes we ignore it. Whether we don’t hear it, or we ignore it, or stubbornly resist it because we don’t want to be told what to do, we all too often don’t follow our guidance.

With every “wrong” turn, Siri corrected our route. So does Spirit. If I ignore that inner feeling, that inner urge to go somewhere or do something, Spirit keeps whispering to me, making course corrections all the time. Automatically recalibrating from wherever I am at the moment. It always guides us home.

How Do I Know When It's Intuition?

So how do you recognize when it’s your Intuition talking to you or whether it’s your ego?

The short answer is: just keep practicing.

The longer answer: As you practice, notice how you feel when you have that thought. Spirit’s direction is always gentle, always a suggestion. And it lacks the charge that the ego contains.

Intuition is the still, small voice. It never shouts, reprimands, judges, or freaks out. It suggests.

Ignoring the Signs

If I ignore the street signs, I may not get where I want to go. At least not as quickly. Same with intuition. I can’t count how many times I have discounted an intuitive thought. I might be pulling out of my driveway and have a thought to go on the surface streets instead of the freeway, and think, no, the freeway is faster. Then find out that there is a slow-down on the freeway. Or when I am eating, I feel that I’ve had enough. And then think, “Oh, there’s only a few bites left, and it tastes so good.” Then 20 minutes later, my stomach is telling me that it was too much.

Go On, Give It a Try

So I invite you to practice listening to your intuitive guidance. Just notice when you follow it and when you don’t. Notice the thoughts. Notice when you second-guess yourself or impose what you “know”. And notice how it turns out. After a while, you will get better at recognizing when it is your intuition. And you will trust it more.

How About You?

What is your favorite way to recognize the voice of your intuition?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Prayer for Inner Strength and Clarity

An affirmative prayer to say to yourself when you need inner strength and clarity.

Spirit is all there is.
One invisible, infinite vibration.
Invisibly sparkling throughout all time and space, and right here in this room.
It is the very Power that created Life, that manifested as the world we see.

Since it is all there is, I am made of that.
My body made of stardust from distant supernovas.
My spirit a drop of that infinite Being.
Its Mind is my mind. Its Love is my love. Its Being is my being.

I am a deep, clear, open presence in the world.
The joy, love, and connection I feel come from within.
They are not dependent on any outside source, person, or situation.
The deep loving clear Presence of Spirit within fills me to overflowing.
I am steeped in Its loving Being-ness, aligned open, and clear,
allowing the Love of the Infinite Source to care for me and
take care of me, guiding me, loving me, providing all I need and all I desire.

Peace is all there is. The ground and Center of my being.

I rejoice and accept this gift.

And so it is.

Photos by Anne "Naava" Dewey

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Dancing My Way To Something Better

Lately I've been dancing my way to something better.
I've been learning West Coast Swing. And I love it!

Thanks, I'll Do It Myself

I could always dance on my own, what my friend Nita calls "wiggle dancing". I've taken modern dance, jazz dance, and bellydance. I LOVE moving to music. And I tend to do it in my own rhythm and my own way. Alone.

I even took 6 weeks of salsa lessons several years ago. But the few times I tried partner dancing, even with a lesson before a dance, I found it hard to keep my balance and stay centered. Not knowing the steps, I would have my weight on the wrong foot, and stumble with none of the grace I had in solo dancing. So I stuck with what I knew. Besides, I could avoid being groped by someone who had too much beer.

Follow the Leader

Now I am enjoying swing dancing! Not just because I've wanted to learn it for years, not just because I love dancing, not just because I love music. And not just because I feel like I'm "getting it" and so having fun in class and in practice time, or because learning a new skill, or because I am meeting a new group of people who I will probably see on the dance floor for years to come. Those are all reasons I love it.

 And Even More

And I find that it is opening the way I connect with people, my comfort level with strangers, as well as my confidence, balance, and coordination. I am having more fun dancing with a friend with much more experience in swing dancing.

Something that I wanted to do but that seemed so impossible, and I am finding that my years in Aikido serve me well, because I understand the concept of leading and following, of the leader (uke in Aikido) being responsible for the safety of the follower's (nage).

Something that used to be scary is now becoming more and more fun!

Letting Spirit Lead the Way

And it's a great analogy for following Spirit when I think I can do better on my own. Spirit knows a better way for me to ne and do and have what works for me. If I allow Spirit to lead, and I know how to follow, I just might find some wonderful surprised there too!

How About You?

How do you let Spirit lead the way?

You Might Also Like...

Dancing With Chaos
How Dancing In the Dark Taught Me Not To Be a Victim
Celebrating Freedom and Independence
First Do No Harm

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Treat and Move Your Feet

Have you ever heard the phrase treat and move your feet?

Spiritual Mind Treatment is a name for the affirmative prayer we practice at the Center for Spiritual Living. It means that prayer works, and that we need to take action in that direction.

So I can pray for increased income, and then I need to take steps to grow my business or get a job.
I can pray for health, and then I need to follow guidance on healthy eating and exercise.
I can pray for better relationships, and then I need to listen to my inner knowing about what to do to achieve that.

Not sure how to move your feet? Or in what direction?

... Or Something Better

And sometimes even greater things come out of these changes than we can imagine. That's why your Practitioner will often pray for what you request "or something better".

That's because we sometimes get stuck in the "how" something should look or work, when Spirit may have a much easier, more elegant, fun way to get there.

Use Your Imagination

So the next time you have a prayer request, of course you start with where you are. Then ask yourself "What do I want instead? And imagine yourself being there.

Ask Your Future Self

If you have trouble imagining what it would be like to have what you want, try imagining a tape measure in front of you, marking off the months or years. Imagine yourself years in the future, already having or being what you desire. Then have that future self walk toward you, and ask him/her what steps you took in 2015 that got you there. Then be quiet and listen. You might be surprised. Or it might be something that has been in the back of your mind for a while. What can it hurt to try?

How About You?

What's your favorite way to move your feet?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Freedom and Inter-dependence

Because it meant so much to me, I'm republishing this story about independence. Happy Independence Day to you all!

Independence. It has so many meanings and connotations.

There's independence from our parents that we forge as teens. There's independence from foreign rule, which is what the holiday is all about. And then there's the independence that comes from not wanting to be vulnerable to other people.

The USSR Taught Me What Freedom Means

In 1988, before the wall fell in Berlin, I took a trip to Moscow, USSR. I was part of a group of 30 Aikidoists who went to bring Aikido to the Soviet Union. Unlike the USA, I was told that over there, it was illegal to practice martial arts because there was no specific law allowing it.

I had a fun trip to Moscow, and two cities in the south near Afghanistan. The people were wonderful. The scenery and experiences will stay with me a lifetime. But it was the flight home that really shifted big something in me. About 45 minutes after departing Moscow, I suddenly took a huge breath, and felt as if I were coming up from under water. I knew that we had just left Soviet air space. In that moment, I knew what freedom meant. And a deep appreciation for what I have as an American was born in me.

Even though communism failed and the USSR is no more, I doubt that they enjoy the same freedoms we have. I think from time to time about going back to see how it's changed, but the more than 12 hour flight is quite a barrier. And it isn't necessary for me. I carry that knowledge of freedom with me.

Family Values Self-Reliance

I grew up in a family that prized self-reliance and independence. So much so, that when I had a problem, it didn't occur to me until decades later that I could have asked for advice from my mother.

Growing up in that environment made it easy for me to strike out on my own after high school, to move to the West Coast, to hitchhike with my partner from Oregon to San Francisco with only $100 and a dream between us, to get a place to live and jobs within two weeks of arriving, and to try so many more things in my life.

But it also put a wall between me and others. That core belief that I had to do everything by myself. That I couldn't ask for help.

From Independence to InterDependence

I see it in my siblings, but perhaps it was stronger in me? I was told stories like this one:
I was three years old, and was screaming in the front yard. Mom ran out to discover that I was frustrated that I couldn't open the gate to the back yard. She started to open it, only to hear my protest, "Me do myself!" So she lifted me up so I could reach the latch and open the gate myself.

And a similar story about when I was 4 years old, and unable to undo my seat belt in a small plane. That is, until the handsome (I'm told) captain walked back and grinned at me. I became silent and let him help.

This belief was so embedded, that at about 30 years old, I was assembling a desk from a kit at my teacher's dojo, and someone offered to help. I sat for a moment, realizing that I had no idea how someone could help me with it. I just didn't know what that would look like. How would that work? Two people working on one thing? That moment set me on a path to open myself to interacting more, allowing more, opening more.

The Heart Beat Goes On

It's a journey that continues. As I open more to help and support form others, I also open to warmth and camaraderie with others. I also find that I am more open to who I am at my depth. I love being more accessible to myself and others. With discernment of course. I have a fabulous group of friends and enjoy their diverse and beautiful expression of the One. And I look forward to more and more, deeper and deeper, sweeter and sweeter. This is a new kind of freedom for me. A heart freedom that brings richness and Joy and gratitude into my life like never before!

How About You?

Do you find yourself thinking you have to do it all alone?
Do you ask for help when you need it?

You may also like:
How Dancing in the Dark Taught Me Not to Be a Victim
Dancing with Chaos
First Do No Harm