Archives for January 2016



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Just Say No

I strongly believe that one of the keys to a happier life is doing only what you want to do. We have been taught that is being selfish. That teaching comes from thousands of years of developing a domination over society. We have been taught to do things out of fear of punishment or desire for reward because that is how domination over occurs. So it’s going to be a struggle to push against that ingrained teaching and start to live life from the energy of memnoon. Memnoon is a request that blesses the one who is asked. That takes a moment to sink in. In other words what someone is requesting of me is something that I want to do, and is actually a gift to me. You are giving me a gift by asking me to do something. That’s how much I want to do it. It’s like someone said, “would you do me a favor and take the day off and do whatever you want?” Hell yes!

This has come up at work for me. It started one Christmas with Secret Santa. I bet many of you have seen this occur where you work as well. I think I became painfully aware of how violent this can be a few years ago. I worked someplace where everyone was expected to be part of Secret Santa. One of my co-workers drew the name of someone he really disliked. This person was actually very violent in words and deeds to my co-worker. He then had to spend the next several weeks giving gifts to this person with it culminating in the big reveal at a party where he had to give the biggest gift. This was like constant torture for him the entire season. I swore I would never again take part in some sort of ritual that could require me to give gifts to someone that I was having difficulty even liking. I would only take part in activities that I trusted would allow me to give freely.

So starting last year, when Secret Santa time came around at my new workplace I said no. People were so surprised. They kept trying to talk me into it. It’s “fun” they would say. Why didn’t I want to? I explained I wanted to be able to give to others only from a true desire to give. It was possible that I could be given the name of someone I didn’t want to give to. I was worried what people would think of me, but honestly I found the world didn’t revolve around me. Once the initial surprise over my refusal passed, everyone went on without me. And I really enjoyed the freedom of not worrying about following the rules of when to give and how expensive the gift would be. I have no doubt that many of my co-workers enjoyed the game, and I enjoyed my freedom. It came around again this year, and there wasn’t the surprised response like last year. I’ve noticed they have kept up the game with a new version called Secret Pal, instead of Secret Santa, and I’m still happy not to play.

This all came up for me again when my husband told me about a co-worker of his who has been invited to a baby shower, and really doesn’t want to go. It’s the same thing in a different form. I think the hardest thing about saying no, is telling ourselves stories about what others will say. We tell ourselves they will think less of us because we’re not doing what we’re supposed to do. We have two choices. We can either spend some time figuring out how to see that situation in such a way that we would be coming out of the energy of memnoon, or we can give ourselves empathy that we can’t get to that spot and the best we can do is to say no. There is something freeing in giving ourselves empathy about it. Anytime we do something because we are supposed to, we are sending out an energy that is not life affirming. We tell ourselves that if everybody said no to things they don’t want to do, no one would give to anyone. But this is the biggest lie. Our greatest need is to contribute to others. When we give ourselves the power and freedom to only give out of memnooon we discover how joyful it can be. We want to give more and more. Imagine a little child throwing fish food into a koi pond; the joy of watching the fish swirl and pounce on the food. That’s the joy we want to have giving to others. When we can find that in any situation, the giving becomes a gift. What are you going to find the courage to say “no” to?


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How to be Open to All of the Possibilities of Life

Setting intentions is a popular thing to do anymore. To many it sounds like wishing on a star. You envision what you want, and then “set your intention” to get it. I think my daughter has had the same experience with this as others have. She envisioned a certain outcome in the future, that didn’t happen, and she felt angry for having believed in the whole silly thing. There were probably quite a few intentions set just recently on winning the Powerball.

I do believe there is something to be said for envisioning having your needs met. The Universe wants to do this for all of us. But having the Universe guide you to your highest good, and having a Magic Genie are two very different things. If you can become clear on what your needs are, and then be open to seeing how that may play out in your life, then you can start to see the magic happen. To do that begins with self-connection.

Self-connection means connecting with the Divine, the Universe. It means peace, joy, ease and security. We choose how we see the world. If we want to see the world with the most possibilities, we need to see the world while connected to the Divine, self-connection. It is very important that we are self-connected before we make decisions or take actions, if we want the greatest possibility of being in the Divine flow of life. This doesn’t mean positive self-talk. We can become self-connected by being authentic about what we are feeling in the present moment and what we need. When we get clear on that, and connect with that, we self-connect.

Needs are not what you don’t have, but what you want. In other words, if you are feeling anxious and want some peace and security, you don’t describe your need as wanting to feel less anxious, but wanting to feel more peace and security. For example, my husband needed to call social security about our son’s recent loss of employment. Our son gets social security and they have to be notified about these things. My husband’s fear was that this new change would somehow cause him to lose his social security. He was really feeling anxious about this and needed to trust that our son was going to be okay. He really needed to trust that he wouldn’t “make a mistake” in communicating this information. He had so many fears about making this call.

If he had made that call in that place of fear and anxiety several things could happen. He wouldn’t be in a place to hear all possibilities. He would have been sending an energy with his communication that would be demanding the person on the other end of the phone “fix” his problem. That energy in itself would make it harder for the other person to actually be able to contribute to him. The whole conversation would be narrower and harder for both of them.

Instead, he identified his feelings and needs and became self-connected before the conversation. His strong desire was to be open to the Flow of life and trust that both he and our son were going to be just fine no matter what happened with the conversation. He entered the energy of connection, of trust, of longing to see what the Divine had in store for both of them. Then he made the call. The woman at the other end then had the possibility of being able to contribute to my husband and by doing that, connecting with herself as well. None of the “scary” stories by husband had been telling himself before he made the call happened. The woman actually gave my husband some helpful advice about our son. It’s amazing how much different life can be when we can self-connect and open ourselves to the Flow of the Divine.


Steps to Being Open to Possibilities

  1. Take some time to feel your feelings. This may sounds simple but many of us have learned over a lifetime not to feel. Our society frowns on feelings. We describe people as “emotional”, “dramatic”, “wimpy”, and “crazy”, amongst other things. We are never really taught how to work with our feelings. Feelings are signposts to met or unmet needs. In this way they are very helpful. If you are having trouble identifying your feelings, go with the actual physical feelings you are having in your body, they will lead you to your emotions.
  2. Once you have identified your feelings you can now figure out what you need. Needs are universal to everyone. Again our society devalues needs. We even use the term “needy” in a derogatory way. People try to identify a difference between wanting and needing. They are the same thing. There is no such thing as “selfish”, just “self-full”.
  3. At this point in the process, you should feel a deep calm. Connecting with your feelings, and then identifying your needs, actually connects you to the Universe, the Divine. That is where that deep calm comes from. Just having done this may be all you need. Sometimes all we need is just some self-connection and that satisfies our needs. If not, you now have a clear picture of what you need. It won’t be a specific outcome or strategy. Strategies are what we use to get our needs met. There are many of those, and the beauty of this is there are more the Universe has in mind than we can see at present.
  4. Let the specific strategies go, and just focus on the need. Set your intention to be open to seeing any possibility of that strategy being met. The more open you can be, the more you will start to see magical “coincidences” happening in your life.

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What Living on the Edge Looks Like

If you feel safe in the area you are working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you are capable being in. Go a little out of your depth, and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.

David Bowie


Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.

Martin Luther King, Jr.


It would be wonderful to think that the future is unknown and sort of surprising. Alan Rickman


We lost two iconic figures in entertainment this past week, as we head into the celebration of the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday. There appears to be a common thread running through what makes these men so inspiring; trust in a process greater than themselves. Letting go of control. Stepping into faith.

This is the creative process that all of them understood. With David Bowie he was always exploring ways to express himself that were unexpected. He trusted that if he let himself become uncomfortable, went past what he knew for certainty, there was a good chance that something unexpectedly magical would happen; the same for Alan Rickman. The greatest actors know they have to let go of themselves and enter the unknown world of their character. They trust that exciting things will come from that place, something much more than if they had tried to control it.

Martin Luther King, Jr. certainly felt a pull coming from someplace beyond himself. He knew the dangers, but he also knew that following that pull was going to lead to something much bigger than he could imagine. Dr. Marshall Rosenberg also felt that pull. He knew there had to be a process of communication that would foster contributing to each other’s well being, rather than contributing to each other’s suffering.

There is an example of this process of trust/faith in one of the stories Dr. Marshall Rosenberg told of an experience he had in a Palestinian refugee camp. He was there to speak about the process of nonviolent communication and when he was introduced as an American someone in the crowd shouted “Murderer!” and another called out “Assassin!” He trusted in the process that brought him there, and didn’t hear what they were saying, but heard what they were feeling and needing.

When he had walked into the refugee camp the day before he had noticed hundreds of tear gas grenades littering the ground that had been shot in the night before during a raid. On the side of each of the grenades was written, “Made in USA”. With that context Marshall asked one of the men who had screamed at him what he thought he might be feeling and needing.

“Sir, are you furious? Are you needing a different kind of support from my country than you are getting?”

The man looked stunned, and then yelled back “Your damn right! We don’t have sewage! We don’t have housing! Why are you sending these weapons?”

“Well that makes it clear why you would be so aggravated. You don’t have these basics and you get these weapons sent over here. Your needs are for some other kind of support. “

“Do you know what it’s like to live under these kinds of conditions for all these years?”

“So you would like me to understand just how desperate it can be even for just one day, let alone many years?” Dr. Rosenberg was hearing what was alive for that man; not what the man thought of him. He didn’t hear the man calling him a murderer so he didn’t feel the urge to have to defend himself. In the same way, once that man started to trust that Dr. Rosenberg really cared what was going on for him, he also had the ability to hear him say, “Look, I’m frustrated now. I came a long way to be here. I want to offer something and I’m worried now that because you’ve got me labeled as an American you aren’t going to listen to me.”

“What do you want to say to us?” and the conversation continued. Dr. Rosenberg ended up having Ramadan dinner with this man later in the day, and he was able to help start a school for nonviolent communication in the camp. All because he was able to step past his fear into the trust that something bigger, and more wonderful than he could imagine would happen if he would trust in that creative process.

What deeper water, what unclimbed staircase, what unknown is out there calling to you?

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I have been reading the book of Matthew in the Christian Scriptures and have come across two stories of Jesus feeding thousands of people (Matthew 14:13-21, Matthew 15:29-39).  Rather should I say Jesus, with some help from the disciples, feeds thousands.  Now it would seem easy to say this is what some might consider a miracle.  Many people with nothing, being fed with a few fish and few loaves of bread.  Some would say this is something that only Jesus could do.  However, I am wondering if a meaning of this story is simply that there is plenty for all.


If you read the story closely, you can hear the fear in the disciple’s voices as they ask Jesus to send the people home before it gets too late.  If you read the story closely, you can see the fear in the disciple’s faces as Jesus tells them to “feed” the people.  What should they do, how should they do it?  There isn’t enough.  Ah, but Jesus shows the disciples and us that there is enough, there is plenty. When we are connected to the God within, when we are conscious of the God who created us and thrives in us, there is plenty.  We know there is plenty.  When we listen to the ego there is never enough, there is always fear. Only through the Divine is there plenty.


Think about what the ego tells us.  Store up food, clothing and money to be safe in this dangerous world.  Build fences, buy guns, protect yourself in this dangerous world. Defend yourself, buy the biggest house, the most expensive car, build barriers, be afraid in this dangerous world.  Does this sound familiar?  To some it might even sound Christian.  However, I don’t think it is Christ-like.  Why?  Because Christ knew when connected with the Flow, with the Divine, there is plenty for all.  Christ knew when the ego was removed and there was connection with the Divine there is nothing to fear. Christ showed that love is the opposite of fear and in connectedness there is only love. It was in that connectedness that Christ asks the disciples to feed the people.  It was out of fear the disciples wanted Jesus to send the people away.  It is in that same connectedness that the Divine asks us to feed the world.  To contribute, to be present, because it is there we experience the Divine and because there is plenty.  It is out of plenty that they and we are fed.


Joy to you,




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David Bowie


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To Be

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