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I believe in God. Not necessarily on Faith. I see plenty of physical proof of God’s presence all around me. If I but look.

In the present moment there are many things that give evidence of God to me. I can look into the faces of the people I love who populate my life and see God. The way the sun lights up the curtains next to my desk. My water bottle, beside me always. Like Masaru Emoto prescribes, I have a label on it that says Joy. I look at it and think joyful thoughts, thereby infusing the bottle with that emotion. That’s pretty strong evidence, I think.

How about the truly magical Modern Conveniences we have at our fingertips each and every day? Who but a benevolent God gives us such wonders? The computer and what it can do and all the places it can take me! My blessed Pandora, that sends me musical messages of guidance, brings me to tears, gets me up and dancing, or allows me a few minutes of breath and awareness during my favorite songs. It’s hot outside, I’m kept cool. It’s raining, I have light to work by. Cooking and cleaning are a breeze. I am connected by Internet or phone to almost anyone I please. With a few key strokes I can discover the answers to just about any question. Can you call this any less than physical proof?

What else could paint such Art out my back door – a plethora of golden sunlight and delicate shades of green, strong browns and blacks. In exquisite detail, moving in the breezes, playing with the light. Just the perfect mix of colors and textures. God is quite an Artist and generous with His works.

We could cite this amazing brain we have. Some more developed than others, of course, but still it work marvels. Our minds can think up the most incredible things. And boy can they can take us places! Any place we can imagine. The things we can create. And who knows what this amazing computer of a brain we have is capable of? To me, the incredible intricacies of our bodies and how they work scream God.

What a system He’s created! When I get a glimpse of how life really works, I am dazzled by its splendor, its simplicity, well . . . So God-like in its perfection. The cause and effect of energy is such an elegant system. Could this all have fallen into place by itself? The Cosmology of the Universe is so stunning. A wonder for certain! Endless Forms most Beautiful. Such grace and mystery.

The more I learn about the Universe, the more I’m convinced of the existence of God. That we are all made of the same stuff says that science knows we are all connected. The brilliant Particle Physicist and part time rock star, Professor Brian Cox, who might never speak of a belief in God said this,”We are the cosmos made conscious and life is the means by which the universe understands itself.” Which is precisely how God described the creation of the Universe in Conversations with God Book 1. Scientific proof!

The beauty we all seek, the peace, the feeling of being home is right there in front of us all the time. To stay alive, all we have to do is breathe and breathe out. Receiving and Giving. Staying aware in the moment, seeing what is and doing what works. Could anyone but God have thought this all up?

In any given moment if I pay attention, I see ample evidence of the existence (and Love) of God. Some might call it an Intelligence behind it all. Surely there is something. And even though the Universe may be destructive, I know Professor Cox can see the perfection and beauty of it.

I like to say that I think the Marx Brothers proves the existence of God. I just don’t believe so much talent and joy could exist in world without a God.

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I contend that we need four supports in our life in order to feel balanced and keep ourselves in good shape. Balance is so important in life. It is how we maintain and persevere.

Time
We need time to tend to our own care: to eat well, take exercise and nurture our spirit (Whatever that may mean for you – attending church, visiting art galleries, reading good books . . .) What is a good life without time with loved ones? Hearth and Home provide the heart of a balanced life. Time to ourselves for quiet thought, is equally essential.

Money
It is a fact of the life we live, that most of us need money. We must have it for our very survival in this hurry up-keep up world. No hearth, no home without it. Money fuels us. It makes things happen. It creates a comfortable life around us. Money can be very handy for generosity, too. We give more when we have more to give.

Connection
We are all passionate beings at our core. And we crave connection to fully express our love. We truly need each other. Susan Jeffers, PhD. said, “I believe our craving in life is not to be loved, but to love…ourselves and others.” I’m calling this the gravity that holds it all together. Without it life is flimsy and can more easily topple (or turn upside down).

Purpose
There is no more stable ground than purpose. To be of service is what we are all meant to do. Purpose drives us and without it we feel lost. Purpose runs on faith. With faith, belief in something, our lives make sense.

 

As I am working A Course in Miracles through Chris Cade, I’ve found this intriguing idea: “Forgiveness is our only function.”  This is a powerful notion and something that could change a person’s life forever.  The Course is saying that we all hold the power of salvation in us through our forgiveness.  Is this really all we have to do?  To find out, I thought it would pay to take a deeper look at forgiveness.  What is it anyway?

There are a lot of ways to look at it.  One way is to see it as letting go of the past. Marianne Williamson called it, “a discernment between what is real and what is not real.” In legal terms it means releasing, giving up rights.  Yes, I can see that: releasing the right to hold onto this thing that happened in the past.  Forgiveness is about: healing, renouncing, and setting free – both you and the person or circumstance that harmed you.

It is most assuredly tied to surrender and faith. Forgiveness is a surrendering and acceptance of what happened.  It asks you to surrender, or give up of all the stories you’ve been telling about it over and over.  Releasing your need to be right or justified in your actions.

Forgiveness asks you to have faith that the other is far more than all the things she thinks she is.  Because you know she is more than she thinks she was capable of being when she hurt you.  It’s a leap of faith to say I believe there is innocence in all people.  No matter what they’ve done. To be willing to see through what is apparent to what all of us are at our core: innocent. In many cases it takes faith to see beyond all a person’s stuff to who he really is. To see beyond the offence.

I like thinking of forgiveness as seeing through misunderstanding to innocence or at least understanding. I’ve been tossing around this notion of doubt around forgiveness.  That if you understood that you never need doubt the other’s completeness, worthiness, and innocence, you wouldn’t need to forgive. So it becomes a matter of seeing more clearly, the innocent person beyond, who is just scared, hurt or unknowing.  Just another soul – made of the same stuff as me and the entire Universe.

Neale Donald Walsch warned us that God will never forgive us for anything.  No matter what we’ve done, how we plead and cry and moan.  Because in God’s eyes we have never done anything to forgive.  We, on the other hand, have plenty of work to do in forgiving ourselves and others.  A Course in Miracles talks of  “grievances.”  Our unforgivens are loaded with them.

Maybe this is how God wants to use us: As instruments of forgiveness. What amazing things that can do us and the rest of the world!

Forgiveness lightens our burdens.  Whenever we forgive, ourselves or others, we lose some weight off our shoulders. Life becomes easier.  We can feel safer, more at ease.  Protected.

Forgiveness is extremely healing to the body.  There are those in the healing profession  who say that all illness, of all kinds, is linked to an unforgiven. It’s damaging to our physical bodies to hold onto stuff that should long ago have been released.  There are science-backed reports of those who have been cured by forgiving. Forgiveness is powerful stuff. Anyone who has let go of a big one will testify how healing it can be to forgive.  Perhaps forgiveness is our best medicine.

What a concept that forgiveness is our only function! Something the Dalai Llama expresses so beautifully in everything His Holiness does, no matter what has happened.

I have always fancied the notion that our function is to expand our capacity to love.  I liked that idea.  But isn’t that what forgiving is all about?  Expanding our capacity to love and accept?  And in the process, gaining more clarity.  I feel the best thing you can do for someone else, the way to give them the most love is to accept them for exactly who they are, at this moment. That feeling of being accepted for who you are, not judged for anything, is a pretty groovy way to feel.  Forgiveness does that.  It’s a perfect vehicle for spreading love.

Many people bristle at the notion of forgiveness.  As if it means to condone actions that are hurtful and are otherwise inappropriate behavior.  Maybe they could see it simply as a release of something from your own heart. It is something that happened in the past.  It comes nowhere near saying that it was okay.  (There is a wide gap between forgiveness and trust.)  Just that you are choosing to put it down. To stop telling stories about it.  To stop letting it affect your present moment. Refusing to forgive is all about the other person or thing and what it did or didn’t do to you.  (Or the horrible thing you did or didn’t do.)

Forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person. (Save for the incident that triggered it.)  The person need not be in front of you, on this planet, or by all means even “worthy” of it. You are simply releasing the guilt, ceasing to tell about how you were wronged.  Giving it up. You can’t change what’s happened.  And no amount of clinging to your hurt feelings will erase it.  In the case of a loved one, it’s likely that whatever they’ve done, you’ve probably done yourself.

Forgiveness is seeing through to the person who did the best they could with what they had to work with – what they knew, how they felt about themselves, what fears or wounds they carried.  (That doesn’t mean you have to let the person back in your life or your house.) It merely clears the way between you. It allows you to release the burden you’ve been carrying in that unforgiven. It’s a heavy load. You realize that if that person had been connected to his or her true self, neither of them would’ve done that hurtful thing.

I, personally, find it easier to forgive others than myself. Being my constant companion, I have borne witness to all my misdeeds, missteps and betrayals.  Often times judging myself harsher in the situation than the wronged party. There’s a lot more on my ledger sheet!  It boggles the mind what I could do if I let go of all those grievances!

Maybe something this Big could be our only function.

Please let me know your thoughts on forgiveness.

I am of the belief that Faith is some powerful juju. Along with trust, it’s one of those things we come equipped with.  It requires no tools to have faith.  No money, no help.  Just a choice.

Julia Cameron says we can practice trusting. But Faith, for some reason, feels easier to me.  Trust seems like something you must actively do.  Stand up and trust.  But faith feels like something I can rest into.

This faith business is active in many areas of life. Certainly in religious circles. But also around money.  In most deals and interactions there must be a certain amount of faith. “Money is a substance which faith attracts.”  In God we trust.  Full faith and credit . . .

We have faith the sun will rise and most of the time that our bank is solvent.  We have faith that we will get paid for the work we do.  That the computer will boot up and all our files will be there. Our favorite shows will air as scheduled.

But Trust can be limiting if we are expecting a particular thing.  What if we have faith, we just know that someone will act in some kind of negative way?  Our expectations pave the way for that behavior.

In “Friendship with God,” there was a question raised about how to trust more.  God said that if you fully trust, you no longer need to.  A Master has no expectations, no need for anything to happen in a particular way. She simply accepts whatever is happening.  God said, “If you have faith that all your needs will be met, then, technically, you have no needs at all.”  And therefore, don’t need to trust.

I believe in the sacred in the profane.  Sexuality is no less worthy than attitude.  It’s in how you use them.  Most of us would agree that sex is good. And the affection of one for another must surely be holy. The experience and expression of love clearly is sacred.

Having sex with someone is committing an act of faith.  You lay yourself bare and allow someone close to enter your intimate space. Through that act you can create vulnerability and trust, a deeper feeling of love. All good things.

Putting writing out there is a similar act.  In a way you must lay yourself bare, open your legs and your heart and allow your creation to flow.  You must make that decision to step over the line.  As a great writer described it, sex doesn’t happen unless one is willing to raise his or her hips and allow that crucial piece of clothing to be removed.  You have to be willing to expose yourself to the experience.

Does a tree falling make a sound if no one is there to hear it?  Does your writing do its job if no one reads it? When you submit your writing or give it to someone to read (and goodness knows this can apply to any kind of art or creation) you’re making a commitment, taking that step over that line, risking it all. For the sake of the Art. You may get rejected, hurt or shamed, but the risk is definitely worth the reward.

Faith the size of a mustard seed can spring forth a wonderful, strong plant. If you are convinced that you can, if you know without doubt that you deserve it, there truly isn’t anything you can’t do.  (As long as your faith holds out.)

It’s true that small seeds can grow fast. But if there’s even a small crack, the seed may not grow at all. The true Power of I Can comes when it’s whole and complete, with no gaps, no slippage.

Perhaps it goes beyond faith.  I sometimes see faith as the hand that you can hold to help you believe.  Is faith a knowing?  Or is knowing what happens when faith expands and takes hold of your heart?  Whatever you call it –  when you have that full heart of belief, when you don’t even have to say you have faith, when it’s so deeply implanted in you, you can move mountains!

If your intention is laser focused and you believe so deeply that you just know you can, it’s like having a very powerful vehicle.  Put some passion in the gas tank and you are on your way!

I saw a movie called “Iron Sky.”  I think it was crowd funded and that’s cool.  The best way to describe it is a futuristic black comedy, featuring Nazis on the moon, eager to take over the Earth, and a somewhat questionable woman president and her bitchy assistant. The plot never seemed to be able to decide if it was Science Fiction or a commentary on political beliefs.  A comedy, a somewhat twisted romance or an action film?  If one person had a clear intention, a sharp vision of what it was going to be, I think it would’ve worked a lot better.  But the focus was diluted somewhere along the line and it turned out (to me, anyway) a mess.

This I Can power is one of those Spells of Doing I like to talk about.  It could be one of the most important ones.  It comes through your wand of Choosing (with your intention).  When the magic you are conjuring is that of I Can, you have some powerful stuff happening.

I believe this is a Loving Universe.  Therefore, it is my understanding that everything that comes my way has something to teach me.  It’s magical when you think about it – that one incident would have something different to teach everyone involved.

My favorite pastor, Stan Gale, wrote recently about how all that comes to us, especially adversity, is there to strengthen our faith. I can sit with that.  I agree that we need to find a way to welcome everything that comes to us with acceptance.  But the result, in my mind, is much bigger than just an escalation of faith.

This circumstance – whether it’s adversity or prosperity, hurtful or joyful, consequential or just a flitter on the radar – can expand our love and consciousness, as well. If we go at life with the question, “What is this trying to tell me?” we allow ourselves to experience so much more.

The other day, I was stood up.  The person who didn’t show certainly has her own lessons to learn, maybe about fulfilling promises or being more honest about what she wants.  Those are not my lessons, though.  I truly wanted to get together and I showed up on time and followed up with phone calls and e-mails.

I could easily be angry.  But if I use this experience and ask what it’s trying to tell me, I can feel sympathy for her. I realize that something else is going on or she would’ve been there.  But what is my part, what is my lesson?  Is it about reading the signs which pointed to this possibility?  Or is it something deeper?  Maybe something about thinking it’s okay to stand me up, without a call?

The point is just that there are lessons for each of us to be found in everything.  My expansion is likely to be different from others within a situation.  By asking a simple question like “What is this trying to tell me?” I open opportunities to grow, to love more and to deepen my faith.

I’ve been asked to write a piece for an e-Newsletter called Follow Your Bliss.  The November issue is going to be about Courage.  So I thought I’d dive in and  explore it a bit.

Courage is an interesting trait.  It’s one of those qualities we come equipped with if we choose to engage it.  Much like imagination or forgiveness.

Many times we are courageous without knowing it. Like young people who can do things older folks wouldn’t.  Maybe too much knowledge and well honed images of what could happen scare some people. I’ve been listening to the Harry Potter books on CD.  Harry does brave things without thinking, “Gee, aren’t I courageous!” He just does what seems to be best to do in the moment.

Perhaps there’s a factor of trust in Courage.  If you trust everything will be okay, you’re more likely to go where others dare not.  There is a point beyond trust even where Courage becomes superfluous.  We might call it Faith.  In that place you have a deep sense that you are protected.  You just know what you’re doing is Right (or you don’t even think about whether or not it’s right or wrong) and that’s enough.

Courage keeps you a safe distance from fear.  A timid person is always afraid of something. Courageous ones lower that number significantly.

“Fear is the little mind killer,” we were taught in Dune.  It’s true.  Nothing shoots down more dreams and great deeds than fear. We might define Courage as the absence of fear.

“Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty,” Merriam Webster says. The origin of the word is Heart.  I like that.  We might say a person with courage has heart.

Perseverance is an important quality. Julia Cameron wrote a book called “Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance.” What good is anything you do if you give up at the first sign of struggle or fear?

Some may need to wield more courage than others.  But perhaps the more you use it, the less you need it.

I’m going to look for places in my life where I’m courageous without even knowing it. And when I start to feel scared or frustrated, I will engage my courage muscle and see what happens.

Debbie Ford wrote this week about the rituals of Rosh Hashanah and the value of being connected to something.

When we’re connected, she says, ” . . . we’re not run by our fear, worry or pain.”  We can choose what we want to be connected to. Our faith, spiritual practices and rituals remind us of this, of the good there is in life.  They give us something to plug into.

There are lots of choices we can make to help us feel connected. Debbie suggested that we look for the blessings and opportunities in our lives.  I contended that if we set our sights on seeing all that’s right and stay alert for opportunities we will see more and more.  This provides us with visible proof that our lives are blessed and opportunities abound.  Making us feel more blessed.

There was someone in my life today who was annoying me.  Taking advantage where she shouldn’t, not being grateful enough.  But instead of getting grumpy about it, I can see it as an opportunity to be more understanding and forgiving.  I don’t know this woman’s story, what her predicament might be.  I can feel blessed enough to give her some space to be who she is and allow her to take what she needs.

I believe the trick is to not let these little (or big) inevitable trip ups side track or take you too far off kilter. I don’t know about you, but I’m always stumbling on things that are missing from my life, annoyances and opportunities that don’t play out the way I’d hoped, walls I walk into.  With connection we can remember and come back to Center.

For some reason, many of us will cling to the one thing that goes wrong in a day.  I know I do that.  I’ve been having a great day, things have been going my way, plans are moving ahead, maybe even a few delightful surprises along the way. Then someone says something cross to me, or I realize I may have made a mistake.  Maybe something comes in the mail that reminds me of a dirty piece of business I must deal with.  I fall off the wagon and start feeling bad or disappointed.

Sometimes all you can do is try to breathe and reconnect.  Maybe this business, when taken care of, will lead to an opportunity.  The relief of taking care of it may well be a blessing. Mistakes are always opportunities to learn something new and often turn out to be good for us in the long run. With my friend this morning, it was a good opportunity to evolve and expand my capacity to love.

This reconnection or choice to plug back in, doesn’t keep me from dealing with the situation at hand.  It just gives me a sunnier day in which to do it.

The more connected we can stay to the idea of blessings and opportunities, the easier it is to go through life and the more we can enjoy!

This week in my newsletter from Cheryl Richardson, she was talking about her new book, “You Can Create an Exceptional Life,” written with Louise Hay and due out on September 20, 2011. It came out of a year long discussion with Louise Hay. (Some people have such blessings!) Cheryl shared some of the book with us.  I think these habits are excellent and wanted to pass them along.

1.  Optimism — That’s taking the Positive slant, which works for me.  I’m coming to believe what I keep hearing: that life is what you think it is. The more you fill your head with optimistic thoughts, the happier you are. It’s not denying what is, but putting a positive slant on it, to keep yourself centered and smiling.

2.  Simplicity — I don’t think anyone would say that complicated is better than simple.  It’s SARK’s notion of Micromovements, chunking it down, baby steps.  We are creatures that don’t do well (most of us) when there’s too much going on.  Be on the lookout for multi-tasking.  Wherever you can simplify your life you feel better.  I believe it was Cheryl Richardson who said that improving your life is usually not about adding something to it, but getting rid of things you don’t need.

3.  Trust — This one speaks of having a view of life that all is well. That there is perfection in everything that happens, that there is a reason. With this kind of attitude you’re more able to bounce back and move through whatever comes your way.

4. Service — Nothing makes for an evolved life quite like being of service.  It adds dimension to everything you do.  And raises the level of vibration.  It is an amazing cure for many mental stresses.  Give of yourself and watch how much comes back.  When you’re trying to do something, if you add the aspect of service you infuse everything with an energy and power that can’t be equaled by anything else.

5.  Action — Without action, nothing gets done.  I’m a dreamer myself and have often gotten lost in the imaginations of my mind.  But without action, whatever you dream of remains on the border between metaphysical and physical realities that Maria Nemeth speaks about.

6.  Faith — Behind all action is the willingness, the faith, to move forward even though you don’t really know what’s ahead. I think of it as a form of courage. Faith is the driving force that gets us all up every day.  Whether it’s faith in God or money, that things will get better, or something wonderful will happen.  None of which we know for sure.

7.  Magnetism — This is an interesting one to include.  It’s the knowledge that like attracts like. It’s knowing that our feelings dictate what are lives are about.  Cheryl and Louise talk about it coming from “putting (and keeping) ourselves in the right state of mind.”  And, they say, there’s much about that in the book. 

I would suggest keeping an eye out for “You Can Create an Exceptional Life.”  I’m sure it will be available everywhere.

Keep on evolving!

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