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The Positive Slant On Business had “Spreading Love Through Business” about how we can use love to be more successful in business.

The Positive Slant On Writing featured “Absorbing Criticism,” inspired by a Hillary Clinton quote, about how we can use criticism in writing and in life.

Here on The Positive Slant On the Path, in “Physical Evidence of God’s Existence,” I spoke of how I see evidence of God everywhere. And how science even backs me up!

From the Files, Rants and Raves “Fanning the Flames of Fiction,” reflects some thinking and talking I’ve been doing lately about the joy of Fiction, for writers and readers alike.

It’s a shame we can’t treat ourselves more like we would a lover. We take good care of them, we are concerned for their well being. But ourselves, we usually ignore, or demand we live up to inhuman standards of excellence. To help us all feel a little better about ourselves, to practice treating ourselves more like a beloved, I offer six sexy ways ~

1) Admire yourself. Check the mirror once in a while and pause to note something you like about yourself. Your hair might look good today. Or maybe you notice a shine in your eyes. Perhaps you’ve been losing (or gaining) weight and like the results. Just take a moment to compliment something nice about yourself. Smile and nod. Done.  Some people find this hard to do. They feel self-conscious about it. Just try it . . . no one’s looking. A little praise never hurt anyone.

2) Dress up. Just because it’s casual, doesn’t mean you have to be. Use accessories to make you feel a little more formal. Find and wear clothes that feel good when you have them on. Clothes do make “the man.” The right clothes can uplift your mood, boost your confidence, and make you feel better about yourself. A simple trick might be to chose a color you don’t usually wear. Even a small change can send yourself a message that you care how you look.

3) Take yourself out on a date. Seriously. It’s a really wonderful thing to do. Walk by yourself or go to a museum. Julia Cameron, Creativity Expert, thinks it’s crucial to a creative life, to refill your well. The key, really, is in planning it. Taking the time is treating yourself like someone special. Julia encourages weekly dates by yourself. This is, after all,  a date with you. No one else.

4) Get yourself a present. Especially if you’re feeling blue. We all need a pick-me-up. If someone you loved was unhappy, you might bring them flowers or chocolates. Why can’t you do that for yourself? Inviting yourself out on a date is a wonderful gift! This doesn’t have to be expensive or cost much money at all. I have a little stuffed koala bear that I must have bought as a present for a child many years ago. For whatever reason I never gave it and he was too cute to throw out. I decided he represents the child in me. He now sits on my desk as my gift to myself, reminding me to take more gentle care of myself. A recycled gift. We all need to feel special – as often as possible, really. Like you might say thanks to a helpful spouse or partner. Just a token to say, I appreciate you.

5) Forgive yourself. You are more likely to excuse mistakes in someone you love. See if you can do the same for yourself! The next time you slip up and commit a small infraction, immediately forgive yourself for it. Tell yourself that maybe you needed to do it, to learn never to do it again. You could say it was just a silly mistake or that maybe it was the right move after all, or because of it . . . The point is to make yourself feel better about it, instantly. Especially for the little things that don’t really matter. Forgiveness is very sexy. It’s release, it’s the easing up of holding fast to things. Instead of thinking it should have been this, but it was that. When you can quiet that down, aren’t you more sensual, more easy and languid? Pretty sexy stuff, forgiveness.

6) Celebrate your victories in style! So often we neglect to appreciate our own accomplishments as we would someone we love. In whatever way you can, the bigger the better, be sure to acknowledge your successes. Have a party. Go out dancing or to a show! Cook yourself something special or go out to eat at your favorite restaurant. Raise a glass of whatever you’re drinking. Make note of your successes in whatever way you can or see fit. (Indulge yourself once in a while as you would a loved one.) That more you do that, the more you water the victories of the future, paving the way for more. Saying, “Yeah, I like this. Could I maybe see you again?”

They always tell us to write what we know.  This doesn’t mean you have to know everything about something to write about it.  You can always find out.  But the truth is, the more you know, the better the piece.

Good writing requires that you put some of yourself into it.  The more integrated the writing is with who you are, the more a real person can shine through. When you write from what you have, what you’ve understood and internalized, the more wholeness, integrity show.  It’s always more believable when it’s coming from a place of knowing.  From a person you can relate to, or find common ground with.

Using what you have  – whether that’s writing, expressing love or tapping into supplies – you are sending messages of abundance to the universe.  You are saying that you are not afraid of running out of ideas, love, or pens.  Abundance principles teach that this simple act of using, multiplies.  The more you think you have, the more you have.  Ideas, in particular, are of a group which increase as you use them.  Muscles – body and mind – increase with use.

Objects which stay hidden, on the other hand, and are not used, create a drain. That creates a clog of some sort. In your mind or your life.  Things that are not used, not only take up physical space, but also psychic space.

If we are stingy with ourselves, we will be stingy with our writing.  Use what you have.  Give stuff, writing, love, time, ideas and whatever you can freely, and watch it increase.

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 have been going through A Course in Miracles. Thanks to Chris Cade, an enlightened being who is working it well – giving, selling, and supporting others’ in their work.  Every day I get an idea to work with.  The practice doesn’t take a lot of time but generates plenty of insights.  This Blog entitled Lesson got me thinking.

The Course is rooted in Christianity, at least in its speech.  I tend to shy away from the word God in these writings, but I do, very deeply, believe in Him. Susan Jeffers said, “There is just too much that nourishes and supports us to deny the existence of something . . . whatever that something is.” Surely, the fact that we come equipped with such amazing tools could be seen as proof of His existence.  Every one of us has at our disposal, whenever and wherever we want it, things like Imagination and Curiosity.  We all have the capacity for Courage and Love.  We are well supported by these things that come built-in.  By His nature, God can be anywhere and everywhere.  So, His presence can be achieved with simply a thought.  Barbara Sher offered a tool she calls The Ideal Family.  You pull together in your mind anyone you choose.  Knowing a little something about who they are and what their experiences have been, you can imagine asking them questions.  I know a few things about Marianne Williamson who I have chosen as my ideal sister.  Whenever I have something I’m churning in my head, I can think of her and imagine what she might tell me. Angels and Saints.  Music and Art.  Not to mention all the people I can reach out to with a word, a phone call or an email. All of this adds up to some serious strength at our beckon call!

When it came to the second part, I balked a little.  God has given so many gifts!  I’m healthy, I have a wonderful husband and live in a beautiful place.  I’m able to give of my talents to support others, etc. etc.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that maybe Vision is one of His most important gifts.  We’re not talking about physical sight, but inner vision. So even those who are sight impaired can use this vision.  If I don’t see all those blessings in my life, they don’t do me much good.  The most pervasive change I’m seeing in myself from working The Course is my perception.  It is really all about how I see things.  I don’t know if there’s anything more valuable than being able to see who I really am, the truth of a situation, what I have to give and all that I have.

As I Look for Peace as my intention, I wish to actively seek joy.  I’ve been seeking joy lately in the simple things: My work, family and friends, a beautiful day . . .

But too often I find that joy dampened.  Some days the work becomes frustrating, the possibilities dim, and people let me down.  A beautiful day can turn gray and sour in no time.  Seeking joy becomes as fruitless as chasing after  that damned elusive pimpernel.

Stan Gale, in his forthcoming book “A Vine-Ripened Life” tells us that joy cannot be found in the changing circumstances of our lives.  But that we can rejoice even when things are dark.

This got me thinking that I could find joy in everything.  I know that there is always something to feel joyful about – a glimmer of hope, a sliver of light, an undercurrent of gratitude or a seed of faith.  With enough practice I could release my choking grasp on those circumstances that are easy to love.  When I know that I will find joy tomorrow, even if it rains, I can enjoy today without all the tension which drains joy like an uncorked bathtub.

Circumstances will continue to change.  It’s a fact of life.  We will die, things will decompose.  In 250 years, everything that’s here will be gone. There are those who say we all long for something solid we can count on.  But there is no such thing in the life we lead.  Only God is unchanging.

As Dr Gale advises, I will seek joy in God and His love for me.  Find joy in the life He has given me, and in our friendship. And rejoice in that.  For it is available to me every minute of every day.  No matter the weather.

In her book, “The Feel the Fear Guide to Lasting Love,” Susan Jeffers suggests that sharing what we know is a good way to show we love someone.

She was speaking about our traditional roles as men and women.  Men, easily, seem to know how to fix things. Where women are more practiced in the art of nurturing.  What if we made a conscious effort to teach each other what we know?

What a win-win situation this is!  I get to talk about something I know well and you get to learn something new.  Something in that process passes between us and strengthens our relationship.  Making us more than the sum of our parts.

I can think of no better way to give something of ourselves.  And won’t the receiver be so much richer for getting something so precious?  It is a yin-yang balance that just feels right. Doesn’t it just feel ancient and wise to pass along what we know?

This sharing of knowledge has plenty of benefits.  It makes us all more well-rounded, more capable people. It allows us to meld our complementary skills and talents.  Creating a better world for it. Surely, it would enhance the education of any child in the vicinity!

Even more importantly, it creates a bridge of understanding between us.  As I learn from you, I get a clearer picture of who you are and how you operate.

It’s a chance to show and tell how you see something.  Sharing your passion and wisdom on a subject.  People love to talk about themselves and their lives.  We all, in a way, really just want to be heard.  This transferring of a skill, talent or passion is a way to be heard while giving something in return.

Can we put a value on education?  On expansion?  The cost of a college degree or a certificate program?  What about a lifetime of learning, person-to-person, me to you, you to me?  As free as love.

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.

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 read somewhere recently that “enthusiasm” means filled with God.

What is it like to be God-Filled?  To feel that warm light brimming inside of you.  You can hardly sit down, you are so excited!!

Enthusiasm is fueled by love.  Or something akin to it.  Your heart is embracing whatever it is you’re enthusiastic about.

It is certainly warm and has a bit of the bubbly to it.  You’re not just “up for it,” you’re enthusiastic about it!  It even sounds like you’re in that fun and active state.  As in athletic / enthusiastic.

Enthusiasm flows abundantly. It over flows and sparkles. It lights you up, brings a glow to your face.  Watch for it . . . it can be contagious and will easily stick to whatever it touches.

It’s very hard to be still when your enthusiasm is kicked up. You’re eager to get started or get back to it.  You just love it!

You’re filled with love for what you’re enthusiastic about, that’s for sure.  And you’re not usually concerned with whether it’s good or bad.  Or any such dualistic thoughts.  Your enthusiasm keeps you connected to the present moment.

It’s surely stuffed full of God!

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