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Now, where were we?  The chapters are long and not so clear in the workbook.  What I thought was a chapter break was only a blank page.  So, I’ll just cut off each week as I please.

Last time we got in touch with the Higher Power in us and learned to trust in it.  Now we need to distinguish that voice.  Shakti tells us there are lots of voices inside of us.  We’ve all felt that. The ego, when it gets poked, can expose itself as one of those voices, loudly.  Libby Gill had you “Tuning into Your Inner Voices” in “Traveling Hopefully.”  Study of archetypes speaks of the characters who reside inside of us.  I have played with this concept often and always find I make deep discoveries about myself through it.

I tend to disdain, as many creative people do, the administrative details of life.  But I have found an efficient secretary inside who enjoys the endless minutia of that work. Most all of us can hear our inner critic from time to time.  The one that picks on and criticizes everything you do (or try to do).

Shakti, says, “If we become aware of who is ‘talking’ to us or directing us internally, we can began to have much more consciousness and choice in our lives.”  She suggests a book by Hal Stone and Sidra Winkelman called “Embracing Ourselves.” Getting to know the crowd of voices inside you become more able to distinguish your Intuition.  Some of the voices Shakti identifies are: The Perfectionist, The Vulnerable Child, The Rational Mind, The Rebel, The Spiritual Seeker, The Creative Artist.

For Exercise 6, Shakti offers another mediation.  It’s a rather elaborate journey down a spiral staircase to a “large, majestic room with a round table and chairs . . . “ You take a seat and get settled. Then, listen for your voices and pick the loudest to ask to sit down at the table and talk with you.  I have a feeling I’d have several at the table at once, but I think she wants us to take them one at a time.  Just listen to what they have to say, she advises. When they’ve all had their say, acknowledge and thank them. 

The next step takes you deeper.  Move out of the room and into a tunnel that opens into your sanctuary or safe place.  (I found this place, too, with Libby Gill in “Traveling Hopefully.”)  In your sanctuary, talk to your Higher Power.  Ask any questions you have and allow the answers to come. Stay as long as you like.  Ahh.  That sounds nice.  Then, come back out through the tunnel into the room where you’re sitting.

When you’re done, Shakti encourages you to write about the experience.  Record the voices, talk about what you saw and felt. And describe the sanctuary and what it was like being there with your Intuition.  Did you bring a certain theme or message from it?

Exercise 7 is in three parts:  A.  This is a written one.  Shakti wants you to think about times you have gone “against yourself.”  I’ve heard it said, going against your best interests, or not listening to yourself.  She asks for 10.  That’s a lot!  I know I did it frequently in my youth when I ignored what I thought in favor of what was expected of me.  These days, I try to listen to my Intuition when I’m aware of it, but sometimes that voice is subtle and quiet.  Or it’s “just a feeling.”  It’s that feeling that something inside is trying to tell you something.

I often have a feeling I should say something to someone.  It’s hard to know what would have happened if I had. More often than not, though, my fears and people-pleasing ways talk me out of it.  Those other voices are often more urgent and considerably louder.  They are, after all, fighting for their lives and can be quite convincing when they need to be. Especially when the prevailing winds go against what you feel or sense inside. Shakti wants us to see we can trust those inner yearnings.

B.  Now we get to think about the times we did follow our Intuition and how that played out.  Again, reinforcing the validity of the voice.  Something like, the time we were house-hunting and I said, let’s try that street and it turned out to be the house we bought.

C.  What would you do if you totally trusted your Intuition?  “What is your gut telling you to do?”  Learning to trust your Intuition is learning to stay in the present moment.  Listening for what you want to do right now.  I keep getting messages to publish more of what’s in my files.  Do I have the time?  Is it the right thing to do?  Too many questions. Gotta give in to some of these and see what happens when you trust a little more.

Next week, we’ll talk about becoming a creative channel.

I was told that I post too much.  So I took a couple of days off.  This is actually the start of a new series of exercises from Shakti Gawain’s book, “Living in the Light.”  The book itself gives plenty of exposition on the topics at hand, but the exercises at the end of the chapters are only meditations, which are hard to talk about in print.  “The Living in the Light Workbook,” however, offers plenty of fun exercises that I will share with you in the coming weeks, on Wednesdays.  I did a post on some of the concepts in the book.

In the beginning of the book Shakti talks of how things must fall apart in order to grow anew. That everything we’ve learned is turned inside out. In fact, we learn by making mistakes and trying again.  If we live within the Laws of the Universe, work with them instead of trying to make things different than they are, trying to force things, life will be far more vital and empowered.

The “Living in the Light Workbook” begins with an examination of ”The Higher Power Within Us.” The process she uses is similar to “The Secret.”  It is based on the principles of the Law of Attraction to create our lives the way we choose.  Attracting to us those things that we need to live fully and happily. This is a slightly different way of saying the same thing: That you can open yourself as a channel for this Higher Power to work through you.

Problem is, many of us have come to know that Higher Power as a god of accountability, based on parental love. A god that may not be trusted. This Higher Power, Shakti says, goes by many names such as The Light, The Universe, The Higher Self, God, Spirit, Source, Inner Guidance, Christ Consciousness.  Shakti wants us to get to know this Higher Power as we understand It.

The first exercise helps us to get to know this Higher Power as we see it.

A.  List 10 qualities of the God you learned about as a child.  I only got 8: Big, Watchful, Powerful, Angry, Judging, Strict, Remote, All-Knowing.  A bit like Santa Claus, I always thought.

Then, she asks us, is that trustworthy?  It’s hard to open yourself fully to something you don’t trust. I have to answer, no.  This original God concept isn’t exactly trustworthy.  There were certainly ways in which I didn’t trust my parents, even though I loved them and did what they told me to do.

B.  How do you see God now?  (If it’s changed for you.)  10 qualities came out quickly and easily for me: Loving, Close, Trustworthy, Understanding, Magnanimous, Omnipresent, Accepting, All-Knowing, Light, All-Loving.

C.  As in many of these practices, Shakti wants us to ramp that up.  Expand your thinking to even more.  What kind of Higher Power would be totally trustworthy?  I’m pretty happy with my list as it stands.

The second exercise is a series of essay questions:

A. Describe briefly what this power looks or feels like. Does it have a human, animal, or light form, or is it a presence or energy?  Is it masculine or feminine in nature, or a combination of the two, or neither?
 I would call this a personal thing, but I will choose a male presence.  I don’t actually think that God is male or female.  He is certainly capable of being either or neither, but some habits remain.

B. What is your relationship with this power?  Can you describe how and when you make contact with it?  In a physical location?  Do you feel it in your body, mind, emotions or spirit, or a combination of two or more of these levels?
 Again, very personal answer here.  I’ll say that my relationship with this power is close and we meet often, wherever I am.  It’s in my mind and my heart.

C. If your relationship to your Higher Power were to grow and expand, what would you desire it to be like?
 I’d like to explore this further on my own, but I will say that I would like more consistent contact and to be more open to Its guidance, as Shakti suggests in her examples.

D.  Close your eyes and spend a few minutes visualizing that power, presence or being with you now.  Imagine yourself having the kind of relationship you’ve always wanted with this force – feel, see, and experience it as real right now.

The third exercise is a meditation to get in touch with the “wise being” inside of you.  Shakti says, “You can communicate with it by talking to it silently, making requests or asking questions. Then relax, don’t think too hard, and be open to receiving the answers.”

The final exercise is to do non-dominant writing.  If you’re right handed, you’ll use your left hand.  Write a question with the hand you usually write with and then relax and let the other hand answer.  I have done pages of this.  It’s sometimes hard to read back, but you’ll know when you’re doing it that you’ve received some amazing information.

I’ve just begun reading again, Shakti Gawain’s book, “Living in the Light, A Guide to Personal and Planetary Transformation.”

It’s quite a notion – this You-Create-Your-Own-Life business.

It’s full of implications that goes to the core of who we truly are. First of all, as Shakti points out, it stands in conflict with what most of us grew up believing. (However, I would like to take the positive slant and say that if you look more closely at what you were taught you may find that What Is could well be interpreted that way. The things we learned came out of a misconception about these principles. They are not so far fetched, so far-flung from the Truth.)

What does it mean then? How far do these implications go if we do create our own lives? It means a whole new way of looking of things, a whole new way of doing things.

Shakti tells us that what she experienced from that notion was that voice inside of us does know best. That the rational thought we have been listening to for years may not be the best source for information. Ration can only draw on what we see and experience with our five senses. But Intuition comes from another place and is not limited by the duality of life as we know it. “I saw that it would probably be smart,” Shakti says, ”to try and find out what that inner guidance was telling me and follow it.”

This means that we are ultimately responsible for whatever we choose to experience. That is an awesome concept which is both scary and delightful at once.

It does come down to a surrender. Allowing our cup to fill and overflow. Trusting in the wiser self instead of trying to make things happen. A rather radical approach indeed.

We find a large split here between reason and intuition. Shakti explains it, “We do acknowledge the ability of animals to seemingly understand things that are way beyond their rational capacity; we call this instinct. But it’s a mystery that defies logical explanation, so we shrug our shoulders and dismiss it as something vastly inferior to the magnificent human ability to reason.”

That would indicate that if we have heretofore not found the satisfaction and happiness in life we crave, it is likely we are forcing the issue. We are working too hard. If we can let go and allow our higher self, the Loving Universe, God, the still, small voice to guide us, to trust Its inner knowing, we will find ourselves just where we need to be. Without all the fuss and muss.

I will have more to say on this.  I will be away for most of the weekend on “retreat” working on a book proposal.  I hope to be back on Sunday with a SARK blog post.  Have a happy and safe 4th!

From the book, “The Energy of Money,” by Maria Nemeth, Ph.D.

Scarcity is: “The mind’s experience of the limits that are a rational part of physical reality.”  So scarcity is merely an experience.  It’s not something that’s true.

There is a rational and natural limit of time and energy.  If you take away the limits, you take away the usefulness.  We can only work with these energies because they are limited.  The idea is to become masterful, to learn to work within and appreciate these natural limits.

Limits are useful.  It’s our perception of them that gets us into trouble.  We need to face these limitations, look them dead on. Maria reminds us that “if you are willing to learn from your dragons, you turn them into allies.  But you must first ask to see the lesson they bring.”  What is the wisdom and what can we learn from our experience of scarcity?

The truth is that most of us try to get more to eliminate the feeling of scarcity.  But the truth is, the more you get, the more scarcity seems to grow, the more scarcity you perceive. 

Using affirmations (or food) to cover up negative thoughts doesn’t work.  Instead, Shakti Gawain suggests that if you use affirmations to remind yourself of something that already is (and combine it with Authentic Action) you’ve got something that can work for you.  Affirming that way can turn your perception of scarcity into something positive. But merely saying “I’m rich” over and over, Maria says, won’t do it.  I’d like to think it will.  But I agree that it takes a lot of energy to cover up the negative that way.

Deprivation is one way we convince ourselves of scarcity.  I don’t have enough.  I find this works very well with food, too.  Maria says, “As soon as we start thinking we deserve something, we create a need.“ She poses this question: “Instead of having what you deserve, what would it be like for you to simply have what you want?”  I like that. Simple and to the point. We may think we want more stuff, certain things, particular people, luscious desserts, but, she says, what we really want is “rest, time, meaning and connection with others.”

I’m seeing this in my Creating Space work.  Discerning what’s really important to me.  The Standards of Integrity that we do in this program help us to see what we really need in our lives.  What’s important to us.

It comes down to being aware and facing our shadow side, our negative thoughts, without covering them up with affirmations, food, or spending sprees.  “The Shadow Side,” Maria offers a good definition as always, “simply means the side that the light of consciousness hasn’t yet shined upon.” Seems a whole lot less scary to look at it that way.  Whatever you most don’t want to look at is probably what you most need to see.  That’s your shadow.  And until you shine a light on it, it will continue to fester and sabotage you.

Maria shares a lengthy, beautiful quote from Pema Chodron (I apologize for the lack of accent marks in her name.)  She talks about this notion we all seem to have that the point is to avoid pain and suffering.  But, as they describe so eloquently  in “Conversations with God,” God is manifesting Himself as an individuation in us in order to experience Himself and everything around Him. She ends the quote with “we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is. . . “ It’s all about experiencing everything, as it is.

What you resist persists. The only way to transmute the pain and the pleasure is to feel it, experience it, embrace it.  In the end it is an illusion anyway.  This notion of Scarcity is a construct of the mind.  Ignoring it won’t make it go away.

Exercise: Encounter the Dragon

Part One: An Overall Pictures of the Dragon.
1.  What issues, problems or concerns do I have about money?  There’s a good exercise!  To spill out on paper all your scattered and passionate thoughts about money.  It was a good, cleansing experience for me.  And you know what I found out?  Very surprising.  That Money is probably not as much an issue for me as Time and how I use it.

2.  What do I say or think about myself for having these issues, problems or concerns? This is an interesting one, too.  She says to keep at until you have six statements.  I’ve done a lot of work in this area, but remain frustrated by the lingering scarcity issues.  I tend to think that the world-at-large promotes it.

3.  What are my major blunders regarding money?  I think I‘ve not had money long enough to have any serious blunders.  She’s talking about gambling, signing bad contracts, investing in the wrong places . . .  Sure, I’ve messed up and bounced a check now and again, but nothing that destroyed my finances.  I think sometimes my blunders come in the form of reluctance.  I didn’t sign the deal I should have . . .   I didn’t do what it took to get what I wanted.

4.  Whom have I blamed for my difficulties with money?  Again, I’ve done some work here, so I have little blame for others. My parents didn’t have good money attitudes. But they came out of the Depression and taught me just what they knew.  I don’t blame them.  If there’s blame to be passed around it’s usually just to myself.  Which, I think, ties this into Question 2. At least for me.

At the conclusion of this part, Maria wants us to notice how answering these questions makes us feel.  Overall, I found it cleansing.  I feel like I’ve gotten some good insights, too.  It was a little scary to really look at my attitudes and concerns.  But in the end I feel better for it.

Part Two: Dragon Prints in the Sand. 
This is a tougher one.  You are to take each word listed below and write about a specific incident that illustrates it.  She warns to “do your best to cut out rationalizations or justifications . . . “ Just get to the heart of the matter.
I was surprised to find that I had an incident for a number of these, but there were some I couldn’t find any.  Maybe that’s good.  I’m not very greedy.

Maria says this exercise should make you feel lighter.  I’d say it did.  “Like a person removing heavy armor that is awkward and bulky. . . “ For someone who has never done this kind of work, it’s a tremendous step forward!

Part Three: Discovering the Magic in the Dragon.  (I always like the happy part best.)
1.  What choices would I make if I no longer held scarcity at bay?  I think she means what would I do if I didn’t experience scarcity?  What fun!  What I discovered is that I’m doing what I want to be doing, just with the scarcity notions.  How wonderful it would be to do without that!

2.  Recall a time when you faced and learned from a limitation.  What was it?  I’d have to say that I discovered that the times I have done this many wonderful exciting ideas came out of it.  The world abounds with stories of how people have overcome adversities.  It’s a beautiful thing.

3.  If I were to simplify my life, what would I do with my money?  Time can work well here, too.  What would you give to, invest in, support, buy if you weren’t worried about the next dollar?  What would you do if you felt you had plenty of time?

It’s an amazing thing to transform your perception of scarcity into something that can work for you. When you see your fears clearly it’s a whole lot easier to get a handle on them. Without an overarching sense of scarcity, the way is clear for abundance to flow in many areas.  It literally frees up that energy.

Next week we transform the blocks we’ve discovered!

The undisputed Queen of delightful growth exercises is Julia Cameron.  We are in Week 2 of the classic, “The Artist’s Way – a Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.”  Anyone who does creative activities (or would like to) should read this book and follow the exercises at least once.  It is a 12-week recovery program.  Each week is jam-packed with interesting, thought-provoking and varied activities.  Going through the entire program is an amazing and eye-opening experience.  Ask anyone who’s done it.

Week Two is called “Recovering a Sense of Identity.”  Julia explains it, “This week addresses self-definition as a major component of creative recovery.”  She starts out talking about “Going Sane.”  As you start to change you might feel strange.  “At first flush,” Julia says, “going sane feels just like going crazy.”  Most reassuring to know!  The chapter goes on to talk about the people in your life who may be hurting your growth. Julia warns us, “Be particularly alert to any suggestion that you have become selfish or different.”  We need to keep reminding ourselves, even in the face of resistance from inside or out, that: “The Great Creator has gifted us with creativity.  Our gift back is our use of it.”  Along the way there are wonderful quotes from some very inspirational people like Brenda Ueland, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Shakti Gawain, Henry Miller and Eddie Cantor.

The next section talks about the “Crazymakers.”  People who can take over your life, Julia describes them, “They do things like break deals and destroy schedules, expect special treatment, spend your time and/or your money.”  We all know these kinds of people.  The kind that suck you up and very often spit you out.

Next we have to deal with Skepticism.  Those doubts that creep up inside of us.  About a Creator helping us or even about our own dear selves. Julia explains it so well, “. . .  our reluctance to take seriously the possibility that the universe just might be cooperating with our new and expanded plans. . . .   We still feel too much like frauds to handle some success. When it comes, we want to go.”  We need to just keep opening our minds to it.  Over and over again, as a practice.

Attention is such a beautiful and powerful thing. Where we put attention is where things grow.  “The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.”  We pay attention to the things we care about, the things we choose to put our attention on.  When that comes from a clear place in us, it is truly delightful!  “The reward for attention,” Julia goes on to say is “is always healing.”

She ends the chapter with box of “Rules for the Road.”  In it she finishes the statement, “In order to be an artist, I must:” and adds 10 tactics, like “Set small and gentle goals and meet them.”  She ends with a suggestion to make a sign for yourself which reads, “Great Creator, I will take care of the quantity.  You take care of the quality.”  A freeing statement that allows you to let go of the outcome and focus your attention, give your care to what’s important, what you have the most control over.

As for the exercises, I can only offer a sampling. Many of the exercises are linked or built on previous ones. Or tied with the regular routine she asks of you.  Every day you are to write Morning Pages.  And once a week go on what she calls an Artist’s Date – where you make plans and take your artist somewhere fun.  A place where your artist can come out and play. Like a museum.  Or even something different like bowling.  Just for fun, for a different perspective.

Here are a few of the fun things she asks of you:

*  Where does your time go? List your five major activities this week.  How much time did you give to each one? Which were what you wanted to do and which were shoulds? How much of your time is spent helping others and ignoring your own desires?  Have any of your well-meaning friends triggered doubts in you?

I’ve been playing with this lately. I do a diary every day. Some days I can pull it right from my agenda for the day, but on others, everything gets changed.  It’s important for me to see the things I’ve accomplished.  I had this idea, working with The Coach By the Lake, to go over my diary and color code to find out where I’m spending most of my time. Noting what did I really want to do – my highest priority items and how much time I spent on lower priorities.  I think it’s most helpful to get a picture of how you’re spending your time.

*  Another exercise is to list 20 things you enjoy doing.  Barbara Sher has a similar exercise.  It’s so much fun to do!  The reality lies in the next step where you are to put down next to the item when the last time was you did it.  That can be sobering! But you end up with a good list for Artist’s Dates and an awareness of some enjoyable activities you can start to add back in your life.

*  Julia goes on to suggest that from this list you might find two things that you could put on your weekly schedule and do.  She reminds us that it can be done in a small time frames, instead of giving up because you don’t have a big enough space for it.

*  I like the Life Pie.  It’s almost like the Wheel of Life.  Check out where you can link to a Wheel of Life you can create.  The by hand version looks like this: Draw a circle.  Divide it into six pieces and label the pieces: Spiritual, Exercises, Play, Work, Friends, Romance, Adventure (or whatever you please).  Place a dot in each slice indicating what degree you feel fulfilled in this area.  Outer rim indicates great fulfilment, inner is not so great.  Connect the dots.  This will show you where you are lopsided.  Again we’re gaining insight into which areas need more attention.

*  Finally, we’re going to list 10 changes we’d like to make.  It’s called “Ten Tiny Changes,” but she says they can go from “the significant to the small.”  I like the idea of listing the tiny things you could do that would have an effect.  Like a Game Changer Goal that you could accomplish quickly and easily and see results.  Julia asks us to pick one of those items and get it done in a week.

Review of SARK’s “Prosperity Pie: How to Relax about Money and Everything Else”

SARK is always so fun and easy to read.  Fun and Easy? That’s my theme for the year.  I would just love to do nothing but read SARK all year.  That would certainly be a fun and easy year! But for right now, it’s one at a time and Prosperity Pie is a good one.  Aren’t they all?

“Relief,” SARK says, “is not found in not working.  True relief is found in surrendering into work, whatever it is.”

Of course, SARK doesn’t want us to be unhappy in our work, unfulfilled. She talks about finding your True Work.  “True Work glows.”  I just love that.  My friend Lauren uses the term “hum.”  Works just as well.

SARK quotes liberally from Shakti Gawain’s seminal work, “Creative Visualization” to help us find our True Work.  SARK says, if you’re complaining about your work now, ask yourself, “What else could I do with that energy?” SARK has these things called micromovements.  Sort of like the small steps talked of elsewhere.  But she defines them as things that take five minutes or less. That’s really small!  She suggests we take one micromovement to locate or explore our True Work.  Put a date on it to create that heat.  There are other great ideas, like asking a friend to describe your True Work.  Fun and doable.  Another one is to describe what it feels like when you say, “I’ve found my True Work and I’m utterly happy!”

The challenge most of us face, according to SARK is “our reaction to work or no work” and “resistance to feeling what we feel.”  She asks us to welcome and allow our feelings.  They are the energy of motion.  E-motion.  SARK also wants us to relax about things.  Even if we can’t find work, she claims, “Work always surfaces.”  I am a testament to that!  What you need to find work is “Tall Courage, Deep Faith and Unshakable Certainty.”  Not so micro, that one.  But SARK says we can borrow hers.

The exercises throughout the book are part of a Discovery System. Discovery Systems for Work, Money and Teachers, among others.  These Discovery Systems give you a few thought-provoking questions to answer.  Some Reminders and a few Resources.

SARK is so utterly quotable.  Here’s one that struck me: “Divine Agitation is a good thing.”  What a wonderful way to look at life!  “Procrastination” she expounds, “gives us more time.”  Why, you know, it does.  “Perfectionism keeps you from being wrong.”  A shelter she calls it.  I have never thought if it that way!  Here’s one more: “See Time as a Choice.”  I love that!  Barbara Sher teaches that as well.  When you bust up time into small pieces you can make choices about what you want to do with it.

In the Money section, SARK talks about how everything we believe about money was learned, so we can change those beliefs.  “We’re so afraid of lack,” she says,” we turn away from learning systems and methods that could change that. Because we’re afraid they won’t work, we grasp tightly to previous systems.”  Even if they don’t work.  We need a new vision of money.  She asks us to identify areas around money that are “stuck, parched, unexplored, rigid and unclear.”  Also, areas that are “juicy, alive, supportive, unusual, creative and nourishing.” That’s one of the prettiest pictures of money I’ve ever seen.  SARK wants us to find new ways to play with money, as she teaches us to find ways to play with all of life!

In the Time section, SARK teaches us that time can shrink and expand.  “The Miracle of Time Stretcher.”  One of the questions she poses is “If time wasn’t a factor, what would you do/not do?”  Intriguing thought.

We are also asked to look at and seek out that which inspires us.  SARK, of course, has lots of inspiring moments.  “The more you welcome inspiriting people,” she says, “The more they will appear.” She also gets us to look at the other side.  Where are we inspiring others?  “Sharing inspiration multiplies it.”

All in all, another delightful and inspiring book from SARK.  For more, be sure to check out her web site at  And remember to use colors liberally and always have fun!!

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