Monthly Archives: May 2012

Leaning Into Spirit

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There’s a wilderness in each of us, the place we wander when we’ve let ourselves get too exhausted, too peopled out, too buried in responsibility and haven’t practiced a sliver of self-care. Before the Manifested Love experience (May 15th post), I would occasionally feel sadness over not understanding my life purpose. The sadness would appear stealth-like, a quiet almost cloak-like dark peace, but a peace nonetheless. I named this and the emotion that came along with the physical framework, human-ness. It was necessary for me to sit in peaceful contemplation until I knew I could rise up and walk out of it connected with Spirit to begin again, pulling myself out of hibernation. Using words, I named it recovery from living in just human-ness. It was an awakening.

The Manifested Love experience has been the most distinct of all mystical events, a life-changing event. There is a quiet that’s come with leaning into Spirit, the acceptance that all is well no matter how it may appear on the outside with life events whirling all about.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”             Matthew 7:7                           

This morning I woke up wondering how I was going to complete the monumental number of projects sitting on my desk, deadlines fast approaching. I spoke my concerns during meditation, letting them flow out and away. Arriving in the office, minutes ticking away, I chipped at the projects little by little, then grace appeared. A colleague called saying she’d thought about me falling asleep last night after seeing the sea of paper on my desk the day before. She wanted to know how she could help. “I can put some of my own things aside and help out.”

Not a half hour later another colleague stopped in to say she was willing to help with whatever needed to be done during this crunch time. I sat in amazed gratitude, thanked God for this lovely, lovely grace, and accepted both offers. Leaning into Spirit and letting go, knowing all was well, there it was, amazing grace.

“Come to me all you who are burdened by lack of praise, lack of beauty, lack of vision in your lives. Look about you at the starry heavens and the deep, deep-sea, at the amazing history that has birthed a home for you on this planet, at the surprise and joy of your existence. Gather together — you and your communities — in the context of this great, cosmic community to rejoice and give thanks. To heal and let go. To enter the dark and deep mysteries…Be brave…Never be bored again. Create yourselves, re-create your worlds, by the news you share and the visions you celebrate…” ~ Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ

Mindful Moments

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photo by Michal Malinowski

 

I practice meditation regularly throughout the day, first thing in the morning, during a mid-morning break, at lunch and in the evening. Three years ago when I first started this daily practice, it was once every couple of days. When I saw the difference in my attitude and manifesting life, I decided to step it up. There have been tremendous changes in how I approach making decisions, how I listen to others, how I dream, as well as how I live each day. I share the following article with you from the Science of Mind magazine, which validates my own experience:

“[Dr. Jon] Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness operationally as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” Yet staying in the present moment is difficult. “To do that,” he says, “you have to cultivate the awareness that you’re not in the present moment a good deal of the time. We’re usually in the future or the past. We fall readily into afflictive …emotional states, like anger, judgment, and depression, and then tend to blame everything else without seeing our own active participation in it. Sustaining attention in the present moment is just about the hardest thing in the world for us humans to do—and the most necessary.”

He explains that “meditation is training the mind to be less reactive and judgmental.” This means that when we can be mindful and stay focused on the present moment, without judging our body sensations, thoughts, and emotions, the mind calms and our suffering eases. Our physical selves also respond positively. Research suggests that mindfulness improves mood, boosts immune function, decreases stress, and promotes healing in people….“Recent studies have shown that just eight weeks of mindfulness training in the form of MBSR results in changes in the thickness of particular regions of the cortex and limbic system,” he says.

Experiencing anger and fear repeatedly can actually change the neural structure of the brain, damaging the anterior cingulate and overly stimulating the amygdala, which then reinforces those unhealthy emotional states.

Just as it responds to anger and fear with physical changes, the brain also changes when our thoughts center on compassion and mindfulness, with a strengthening of the anterior insula. As [Dr. Richard] Davidson says, the act of meditation is “literally the brain changing the brain. There are direct changes in the structure of the brain that appear to be beneficial. Compassion meditation strengthens the circuits that increase empathy.”

From “Changing the World, One Brain at a Time” by Barbara Stahura, SOM May 2012. You can visit scienceofmind.com to read the rest of this article.

Memorial Day

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Today I watched the 2005 movie, Secret Life of Words. The story is about an oil rig worker who is burned in an onboard fire and cared for by a Bosnian nurse affected by the rape camps of the Bosnian war. She cares for him on the rig until he can be airlifted to a hospital. During that time bonds develop between them. They share their scars, both outer and inner and some funny things too, like the fact that he can’t swim and he’s on an oil rig on the ocean. After the company closes the rig, not sure what to do with his life but knowing he loves her, Jeff searches Hannah out. When he finds her, he says, “I thought um, you and I, we could go away somewhere together one of these days, today, right now, come with me.”

Hannah’s turns, looks at him and says, “No, I, I don’t think that’s going to be possible,  Um..because I think that if we go away to some place together, I’m afraid that one day, maybe not today or maybe not tomorrow either, but one day, suddenly, I may begin to cry and cry so very much, that nothing or nobody will be able to stop me and the tears will fill the room, and I won’t be able to breathe and I’ll pull you down with me and we’ll both drown.”

His response, “I’ll learn how to swim Hannah, I swear, I’ll learn how to swim.”

The movie is a love story, but it’s also a history lesson. In my short synopsis, I haven’t captured the silent agony each suffer, I think you should watch the movie yourself to get the full effect of how life experiences have left such scars. But their dialogue, the words I share with you, “…the tears will fill the room, and I won’t be able to breathe and I’ll pull you down with me and we’ll both drown,” and his response to her, “I’ll learn how to swim Hannah, I swear…” are so profound. They capture a moment of complete nakedness, where each have offered themselves in the midst of pain, fear and great love.

We will never suffer anything remotely near the atrocities suffered in the Bosnian wars, and for this we must be truly grateful for the privilege of living in the U.S. where we are protected and safe. This Memorial Day, remember those who have died fighting to protect our country and to keep us free from oppression, honor all who have served and still serve in the armed forces today, for we are indeed very blessed.

~ President Barack Obama’s Memorial Day proclamation, which included this prayer for peace, May 2012

“Our Nation endures and thrives because of the devotion of our men and women in uniform, who, from generation to generation, carry a burden heavier than any we may ever know. On Memorial Day, we honor those who have borne conflict’s greatest cost, mourn where the wounds of war are fresh, and pray for a just, lasting peace.

The American fabric is stitched with the stories of sons and daughters who gave their lives in service to the country they loved. They were patriots who overthrew an empire and sparked revolution. They were courageous men and women who strained to hold a young Union together. They were ordinary citizens who rolled back the creeping tide of tyranny, who stood post through a long twilight struggle, who saw terror and extremism threaten our world’s security and said, “I’ll go.” And though their stories are unique to the challenges they faced, our fallen service members are forever bound by a legacy of valor older than the Republic itself. Now they lay at rest in quiet corners of our country and the world, but they live on in the families who loved them and in the soul of a Nation that is safer for their service.

Today, we join together in prayer for the fallen. We remember all who have borne the battle, whose devotion to duty has sustained our country and kept safe our heritage as a free people in a free society. Though our hearts ache in their absence, we find comfort in knowing that their legacy lives on in all of us — in the security that lets us live in peace, the prosperity that allows us to pursue our dreams, and the love that still beats in those who knew them. May God bless the souls of the venerable warriors we have lost, and may He watch over the men and women who serve us now. Today, tomorrow, and in perpetuity, let us give thanks to them by remaining true to the values and virtues for which they fight.”

Shiny Smooth Edges

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So many words clamoring, banging at the walls, running and jumping to see if they can escape from the collected memories of yesterdays that shaped this life I live today, I decide to be mindful of how it feels to just sit right here in the now.

This morning I realized how I love quiet simplicity, the sound of the wind in the leaves, moving blinds against the window with the breeze, morning birds singing while the coffee brews and fills the room with comforting aroma. This is the time of day I enjoy most. Routine simple pleasures holding me in place. I’m the peg in the hole, edges worn shiny smooth, a perfect fit of simplicity.

 i thank you God for most this amazing

i thank You God for most this amazing

 day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees

 and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything

 which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,

and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth

day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay

 great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing

 breathing any–lifted from the no

 of all nothing–human merely being

doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake

and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

                                                                  ~ e. e. cummings

Hub of the Wheel

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Photo by Colonna Design

A huge advocate of self-nurturing, I offer you another piece from my book, Life’s Journey is a Workshop for the Spirit.

We Are the Hub of the Wheel

 Imagine yourself at the center of a wheel, the spokes being ties to those you care for most.  The wheel’s activities, its responsibilities, surround and revolve around you.  Knowing this, it’s important you care enough about yourself to preserve your mental, physical, and emotional health.  And consider this, when you’re out of sorts, the wheel’s balance is too.  If you haven’t taken the time to give yourself the nurturing you require, you are most likely snapping at family members, short with significant others, and rushing through conversations with friends or co-workers.

Late one night, while on vacation, I found myself wondering why I couldn’t put more oomph into just having fun with my family.  Doing my job, both jobs, which were taking care of my family, and working a full-time job outside the home, took every ounce of energy I had.  I had nothing left to give.  Fun stuff came last, playing cards or a board game, going to the museums, taking walks, watching movies just didn’t seem as important as keeping the house clean, doing the laundry, running the errands, getting people where they need to go, finishing spreadsheets at home, you name it, I was doing it.

Who suffers when we don’t care for ourselves?  Not just us, but everyone we come into contact with.  We are home base for our family, the safety net everyone falls into.  It’s important for us to be rested, happy, healthy, nurtured.  Use the lists you created in the post Nurturing Self to help you do this next exercise.

ACTIVITY: HUB OF THE WHEEL

1.  Draw a circle in the center of a blank sheet of paper and write your name in the center.

2.  Choose another color to draw spokes outward.  Label each spoke a responsibility or commitment you have to someone, i.e. husband, wife, significant other, children, church, school committees, civic organizations, etc.  Anyone or anything you have day-to-day or week to week contact with should be included.  They take time in your life, write them in.

3.  Using another color, draw branches off of each spoke.  These will represent duties and responsibilities you perform regularly for that individual or organization.

4.  Finally, choosing one last colored marker or pencil, encircle your responsibilities connect them one to the next and when complete you have created a wheel.

Now take the time to look over your wheel and reflect.  Who do you spend the most time with?  Who or what is an energy drainer?  Who or what do you wish you might spend more time with?  What do you want to change?  Use this visual tool to evaluate your life activates.  Do it every week if necessary to get a visual for where your time goes.  Turn the autopilot off and make the conscious decision to LOOK at what you do.  This information will be used in later posts to help change your focus to areas you have passion for, or goals you wish to work on so keep it safe somewhere!

  • Looking at your wheel, who or what do you spend the most time with?
  • Who or doing what would you wish to spend more time with?
  • What do you want to change?

(C.Morgan, Copyright 2005)

Filters

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Last night the campus security officer patrolling the hall stopped in to say hey. I’ve seen him around but don’t know him all that well. Our hours are completely opposite. He saw the pictures of my kids on the credenza and asked about their ages, what they do and where they go to school. I gave him the cliff notes and promptly turned back to the work I wanted to finish before leaving for the day. Looking around the office he says, “I bet you’re one of those women who goes home, cooks dinner and then sits down in front of the TV to eat and watch Oprah.”

“I don’t watch Oprah,” I said, looking down at my work.

“Oh, ok, then, probably The View, or Dancing with the Stars, or Biggest Loser or TMZ,” he rambles on.

Still working, I look up at him and just stare thinking, “What a complete idiot.” Wanting to lunge across my desk at him, I calmly stated, “No, I go home, make dinner for my son and I, and then I write, walk, or if I don’t have to work the next day, I head out to dance. I might catch a movie on Netflix.” The interesting thing about this exchange is that while it was happening, I could feel where the wanting to lunge at him was coming from. In the end you can see I kept my composure and was very diplomatic. I used being in the moment and mindfulness to filter my own thoughts and words before acting on them.

I love that saying, “To assume makes an ass out of u and me.” It’s so appropriate here. I’m a petite blonde, dress professionally and while at the office always behave in a business-like manner. However much of my life, I’ve been viewed as the stereotypical cute dumb blonde thing, even when my behavior is quite the opposite. It seems this stereotype is following me into middle-age and beyond. This is where the wanting to lunge across the desk at him comes from. I have always dressed and behaved professionally, so why does this continue? It can only be the autopilot thinking that comes along with living as human.

Very obviously this gentleman has no idea how to filter his thoughts or words before they escape his lips. He spoke from his own experience with no thought that what he was saying might be considered offensive. In my post Living Integrity, I talk about choosing thought, word and deed carefully.

“Acting with integrity means examining the words before they fly out. Words have power, words can have sharp edges, or not. See? Your choice. Will you let those words go? Is it really necessary? Or can you simply make your thoughts known in a more respectful manner?”

Living in Spirit means using filters, it requires mindful choices, deliberate words and actions. Check your mouth at the door like you check your teeth after eating to make sure nothing is stuck in them that might be undesirable. We are all part of the Whole, be kind to one another.

” When we operate from the realization of self-responsibility, we are empowered to create an experience of life that is creative, meaningful, joyful and of service to the Whole. This is our true destiny.” ~ Dr. Jim Lockard

Between Two Worlds

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As a child I was accepted by my family with all of the unusual ghost-seeing, aura reading and knowing what would happen when skills. It was our way of life. Moving through adulthood it became more of a challenge for me. It was necessary to interact with people other than family members. In More Than This, I talked about being a teen with psychic abilities, getting married, having children and letting the skills fall to the wayside while on the fast path. When life events started to slow a bit in the mid-90’s, the abilities resurfaced without warning and in a most unusual way.

My girlfriend Nan and I had been visiting a new church. We decided to try out for a production they were hosting along with our kids just for fun. The evening of try-outs, I stayed after to talk with the Pastor to thank him for choosing us for parts in the play and to share with him how I felt this would be a great experience for my family. I reached out, shook hands with him while introducing myself and the children and in a split second, inwardly I saw a different image of him with very red eyes and puffed face. He’s sick. He has heart disease, he needs a doctor and now. It was as if I had stepped into him. I felt the labor of his breathing, the heaviness of his heart and the tiredness. All the time, I went on speaking, thanking him again and saying goodnight.

After a rough night of tossing and turning, I decided to call the Pastor. I knew he needed to see his health professional as soon as possible. Talking with him on the phone, I explained who I was and that I’d had this nagging feeling since we’d shook hands the night before that his health may not be good. I told him he needed to see his doctor and asked if he’d been feeling ok. He confessed he’d been experiencing some shoulder pain and soreness and asked what kind of health problem I sensed. I told him I felt it was heart-related. He thanked me and promised he’d follow-up with a doctor.

Within weeks he was diagnosed with heart disease and had an angioplasty. He ate the right foods, exercised and trimmed down. This was 1995. Three years later, he died suddenly of a heart attack.  Maybe the warning added the three years to his life, I don’t know. The church continued to grow and is now one of the largest churches in the midwest.

This was the rebirth of living a blended life of both spiritual and physical worlds. I knew I could trust what I saw and heard inwardly. At the start it was tough raising children alone, working a full-time job and teaching part-time. Living immersed in the physical with the intuitive abilities resurfacing could be challenging. After shaking someone’s hand, patting their back or placing my hand on a shoulder, I felt the other person’s world and mine. It’s taken years to interpret what feelings and images are mine and what belongs to someone else.

Over the last two years I’ve experienced an immense growth spurt in intuitive ability and healing. Working and caring for family remains my number one priority, but as life’s dust settles, I’ve had the ability to set aside time to meditate, study, discuss, and develop. Each day now includes quiet, mindful walking, music that calms the soul or reading materials that nudge the Spirit. Living between two worlds has become very comfortable.  My dreams tell me there is more to come. I’m ready.

Every person is capable of consciously connecting with the Whole and experiencing intuitive or empathic skills. We are all a drop in the big ocean of Spirit Collective, each very distinct and beautiful. It’s a life-choice, a life journey where listening to your inner voice becomes a way of life. Where compassion for others, living with integrity, and loving acceptance is a daily practice. Come and walk with me, we are more than this…

“May you shine bright today, within your own circles and outside them, on that moving million-footed pavement where life gathers and hums, wherever love has appointments today. Illumine your world. Be submissive and watching, innocent and courageous. And may love in you be so evolved, so articulate, so at home, so practiced, so easy, so weightless, so clear and so accessible that others may warm themselves in it’s illuminating and inviting glow.”  ~ David Teems, 2004

Living Integrity

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Integrity. Do you hear this word used in everyday language? It frequently appears in a company’s mission, vision or values, but in everyday writing or speaking, not so much. Living with integrity requires moving through life with mindfulness. It requires acting from the depth of your being, with honest intention and actions, you know, thought, word, deed and all that.

It took me a while to get to a place of living with integrity using mindfulness. This requires attention to thought, to the words that come out of your mouth and to the actions that follow. I’ve found the more I run on autopilot, the less I’m able to pay attention to what’s going on the inside and the outside.

Acting with integrity means examining the words before they fly out. Words have power, words can have sharp edges, or not. See? Your choice. Will you let those words go? Is it really necessary? Or can you simply make your thoughts known in a more respectful manner?

Over the last couple of days there have been challenges in the way I’ve reacted to a personal situation. Truthfully I wanted to lash out and remind this individual of their resemblance to a donkey’s…well, you get the idea. After sharing the experience with a close friend, she provided a stream of verbs and nouns that she thought would be more appropriate for my use. They contained many f’s, n’s and b’s. I’ll leave it to your imaginations.

Those who know me well know that I see the best in people. I am “Pollyanna” at heart. I was once told this is my biggest character flaw, because I can’t see when people aren’t genuine, when they’re lying, cheating or pretentious and ultimately end up hurt by their actions. It does happen occasionally. Someone will slip past me with their fake angel wings and I fall for it, but not for long because their actions will inevitably glare back at me causing an ah-ha moment…damn another one bites the dust.

Living in Spirit with mindfulness leading the way, knowing we are all part of the Whole, I see people as good and treat all with respect. Once there’s discovery of some not so nice behavior, it’s really my choice as to whether I will continue in the relationship with that person, or walk on without them on the life journey. In the end, I’m left with these amazing people. Women and men who live with honesty in their word and deed, with integrity and deeply embedded in Spirit, those who have stayed true to living mindfully. And I am most grateful for your presence.

Have a fabulously blessed Tuesday dear readers! Stay mindful.

We are more than this…

Nurturing Self

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For many years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with several types of support groups.  During this time, it’s become apparent that many of us, being primary caretakers, have not learned self-nurturing, one of the most important things we can do for ourselves to step toward a life lived with happiness.

While discussing the topic of self-nurturing with others, I’ve discovered that taking care of oneself is an almost alien concept.  What do I mean by self-nurturing?  Webster’s dictionary defines nurturing as “…anything that nourishes; the act or process of raising or promoting the development of; training; rearing; upbringing; and fostering.”

We sustain and guide our children while maintaining a healthy environment for them. We promote education and steer family members in the right direction when a talent is recognized.  We are there to “lift up” our spouses, significant others, friends and colleagues when they’re blue.  We rise in the morning thinking of others.  We go through each day, each hour, and each moment planning how we will care for our family members, friends, or coworkers, because we care.

The mother of five children, I get up in the morning, hit the shower, already thinking of the dentist appointments, and what and when will dinner take place?  How will I get my sixteen year old to a German club meeting and still get to the event I volunteered for?  And on and on, all of these thoughts occur within a one or two-minute time frame, once resolved, I move on to thinking of other issues I know I’ll face that day.

Major activities are difficult.  Whether to begin doctorate coursework is an anxiety ridden decision.  Who will help with evening homework if I’m not there? How will I fight the traffic home and then prepare any kind of dinner before leaving for the evening?  And finally, is the coursework something I even want to do? Talk about stress.  One simple decision becomes a masterpiece of confusion and anxiety.

Does this sound familiar to you? Knowing how to care for ourselves, how to journey through each day, taking care to preserve ourselves, being gentle on ourselves, being just as considerate of ourselves as we would a family member,  friend, or coworker, this is what we need to accomplish.

As women (and men too), from a young age, we are raised to be caregivers.  From a young age we are taught that it is our responsibility to care for everyone else while our own needs are put aside.  Today, many of us are caring for children while at the same time caring for aging parents or other family members.

Take the time now to do the following activity.  What are some of the things that you do for others on a daily basis?  This activity will help you put together a visual snapshot.

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR OTHERS DAILY?

Sit down and list on paper what you do for other people on a daily basis, take your time and get right down to the smallest detail.

Here’s an example of what a typical day might look like for me:

Cooked breakfast before school and work

Cleaned up the dishes and started the dishwasher

Made school lunches and my lunch for work

Threw laundry in both the dryer and the washer

Made beds

 Worked a full day

Fed the birds

Paid Bills

Took recycling out to the garage

Stopped at the bank

 Helped my oldest write his resume

 Called a friend in need

 Stopped to pick up household goods

 Worked on insurance benefits

My list is for a full day.  I know I skipped several things, like writing a business plan with my older son and running out to pick up last-minute school supplies for the next day for another.  Rushed activity causes mindlessness! When you listed your day, you probably found your list growing longer and longer with responsibilities you typically do on autopilot and promptly forget.

What I ask you to do next is more of a challenge.  How much of your day is spent doing something for yourself, something rejuvenating or stress free?  Something educational or a hobby you enjoy? List those activities on paper or in your journal.

I know you filled in fewer lines.  Chances are you couldn’t fill in half of the page.  And you’re not alone!  The majority of the people who attend my workshops can’t fill them in either.   If you are operating on overload…chances are significant others or family members are suffering the backlash of your stressed life.  Not caring for you can lead to resentments toward others.  What I’m suggesting is that you take the time to attend to your own well-being is just as you do for others.

Several years ago I recognized how wrapped up in responsibilities I’d become.  It was impossible for me to sit down.  I had to learn to slow down.  Sit and relax.  I had to learn that it was ok for me to have time just for me.  And I remind myself over and over again on a day-to-day basis, because I forget!  The autopilot takes over and like you I get buried all over again.  It’s all about staying conscious, mindful of the moments.

Are you over doing?  It’s time to take that first step towards self-care.  Realize that you are worthy of the same care you give others.  You are just as important, just as special.

Incorporate a reality check into each morning of your day.  Evaluate what you want to happen in your day and how you’ll put some “me” time into your schedule.  Set that time aside and stick to it as much as possible.  And check it out at the end of each day.  It doesn’t have to be some long impossible list.  Here’s an example of some optional activities things I may incorporate into my day for enjoyment and self-nurturing:

Work out at the gym

Sit at the local bookstore and sip tea

Read for 30 minutes after dinner

Write uninterrupted for one hour

Surf the net for 15 minutes to answer friends e-mail

Lunch with a friend at work

Sketch in my journal

Read and post affirmations

These are just a few.  Other activities include taking an interest class, like watercolor or kickboxing, joining a book discussion club at the library, or having friends over once a week to just sit and gab.

What can you put on your list?

Now choose one activity and begin incorporating it into your day.  Make it formal by putting it on your calendar or daily schedule.  Block the time out for yourself, schedule your Self  into your day! Happy Planning! (C. Morgan, Copyright 2005)

Weekend Confessions

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Walk Together in Spirit

 

Sister cousin and I have what we call our weekly “confession” with each other. We have no boundaries after having created this safe place where we can ponder, spout wisdom-like statements and fix all that the world has brought our way in these last seven days.

Today we talked about growing up fear-filled in childhood homes that were often loud and violent. She and I have resolved much of the fear over these many years of growing up and older, still there is a bit of residual stuff that hangs onto our bones, somewhat embedded, not wanting to let go.

While in the midst of trading stories of the week, there was a profound moment of realization. Very clearly I saw images of these bony fear-based attachments and the effect they have on my current relationship with others. Before me lay the anxiety, nervousness and skittish fear of wanting to feel not only accepted but also loved by the people I have allowed onto the path of my life. And yes, I did say allow. Recent years have provided enough wisdom to know that those who are toxic will bring toxicity with them, so I no longer walk with those people. The life path is easier to walk when you consciously choose who you will walk with and where you will walk to.

Experienced events are woven into our flesh and bones, and our Spirits. They are what protect us and move us forward, but they are also what hold us back in fear. What voice do you hear that tells you can’t do something, better yet, who’s voice? As a youngster, when we came home from school my mother would give all nine of us an afternoon snack, get us settled and head to the couch for a short nap before cooking dinner. My father, who was often home by 4:00 would walk into the house and immediately begin his tirade, “Get your fat ass up off the couch! Why the hell are you sleeping in the middle of the day?” We ran in fear. My mother would wearily get up from the couch to start dinner. Raising nine children alone is no small feat. She was, is my hero.

I write of this one experience because that voice, his voice, echos in my head when I sit down to meditate and pray, when I hang out on the deck to watch the birds, when I sit on a park bench in the prairie or when I just plain sit. As a child, I wondered if I would get fat if I took a nap during the day. During today’s confession, when the discussion about the voices that brought fear into our lives came up, I recalled images, deciphered how I felt and resolved to make a change in how it affects my relationships with others in the present. All of this was done in a matter of seconds. It was the conscious recognition of the words and images. It was the grace of Spirit moving through the spoken word to find resolution.

Today, find a “confession” buddy and set a time each week to talk and listen with each other, a sister, friend, cousin, mother, brother, father, partner. The keys for effectiveness are no judgement, a listening ear, and safe “place” to speak thoughts and feelings.