New Thought

Trees of Peace From Germany & Gethsemane

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I have two incredible stories to share with you on this 1st day of February, in this leap year.

The first–published in the New York Times a few days ago, tells the story of a German forest ranger named Peter Wohllben who wrote a bestselling book called The Hidden Life of Trees:What They Feel, How They Communicate — Discoveries From a Secret World.

Wohllben believes–and has scientific proof–that trees are social beings that can sense danger, talk to each other and even nurse ailing neighbor trees all while participating in a fungal network he calls the “wood-wide web.”

The ranger’s book is #1 in Germany (the English translation is scheduled for later this year) and he’s made the rounds of talk shows. Critics love it; the Times  story writes that one “praised the humble narrative style and the book’s ability to awaken in readers an intense, childlike curiosity about the workings of the world.”

I love the idea of strolling through a canopy of trees in the forest and feeling embraced by a sense of peace, considering that the trees are transmitting peace on purpose. Talk about a deeper mindful practice!

The second story is even more unbelievable–unless you’re a believer, that is. It involves the 900-year-old olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem.

You read that number right. A study released three years ago by Italy’s National Research Council reveals that these trees are the oldest on earth AND have the same DNA fingerprinting of trees that witnessed Jesus’ final hours on earth.

For centuries, these trees have held the eternal peace of Jesus, cradled in the gnarled intertwining branches, making it the perfect spot for a peace pilgrimage today.

In fact, Unity minister and host of Spirit Expressing Rev. Ed Townley, and Jimmy Twyman are leading the pilgrimage for peace this very morning, at 10 EST–on the Israel/Syria border.

For my money, news from the Iowa Caucus rides in the back of the bus today.

If you’re a person who values mindfulness and changing the world with a positive collective consciousness, these two stories ought to make you feel a little tingly. This first day of February is a happy, celebratory day because all the ugliness out there–from Donald Trump and the merry band of political jesters, to gun violence across the streets of America and throughout the world and even the deadly heroin epidemic gripping every state in the nation–goes on hold for the briefest moment as peace overrides them all.

Please hear me–the horrific gun violence and the opioid crisis are massive issues that need big-time attention and big brains to fix. I’m not sure there is a fix for the political clown show.

For 10 minutes today, let’s focus on peace. Let’s be so mindful that we can feel it coursing through our DNA just as it does those olive trees. Let’s breathe peace out to our neighbors as the trees in Germany do.

The other stuff matters, yes it does. But peace matters more because without peace, the other stuff will eventually cease to matter.

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Simple Recovery Advice: Master Self-Acceptance Now

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I was well into my second decade of recovery before I really understood that a successful life is one where you accept pleasure and pain with equal measure.

Come on, who wants to willingly accept pain?

After all, repetitive advertising has us brainwashed into believing that a pill can help nearly every kind of physical, mental and emotional pain.

Medication is useful and helpful; please don’t think I’m anti-medicine. But medicine must partner with self-responsibility and ultimately, self-acceptance.

Letting go of blame and shame

People in recovery, especially women new to recovery, carry large bags of shame around with them. For some reason, I think women are hard-wired to cling to the messes in their past as they valiantly try to fix them. One of my guy friends told me it took him about 15 minutes to let go of his past!

But we gals seem to want to go to any lengths to right our wrongs! We put so much energy into should have, could have  and what if that we disregard the joy in our present circumstances.

Some of us spend countless hours obsessing over unintended words or even the tone of a conversation. There is just no point!

“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” ~ Brene Brown

Please, God, let this good feeling last forever . . .

Conversely, when the good times roll around, don’t you just gush with excitement? It’s sooooo goooood. He’s so fabulous. She is the ult! OMG, you just wouldn’t believe how cool it was.

Damn, if we could only feel this way forever then life would be complete. I’ve been known to pray that a day never ends.

There are times when my unbalanced self wants to fiercely grasp the good times to my chest and push all that causes hurt as far away as possible. Just make it go away.

Letting myself sit with all those feelings, while shedding tears of grief or happiness, is where I’ll find my self-respect and self-compassion.

“As I accept my experiences with an open heart, I discover God in all of then, which brings me wisdom and peace of mind.” ~ The Daily Word

Now moments are so precious

When you accept yourself–all your past experiences–with love and compassion, you’ll find yourself much more present to this moment.

I learned a valuable lesson over the weekend. My sweetie and I missed a magical opportunity because we settled for a practical, even responsible, option instead of acting on an impulse. Later, we talked about how we both felt sad over our lost Now Moment.

But we accepted it and moved on. When a similar situation comes our way again, you can bet we’ll jump all over it! We will live the heck out of our future Now Moments . . . and then release them.

For right now, we accept that all is right . . . now.

Photo found on SearchQuotes.com

Winter Solstice 2014: Here Comes the Sun!

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There’s something about the Winter Solstice in North America, perfectly timed with celebrations around the birth of Christ and the turning of the annual calendar that really appeals to me this year.

Call it a desperate plea for an upward trend, financial fortitude and business success.

Tweet: I don’t know about you, but I’m oh-so-ready to kick butt and take names in 2015. I’m through playing small. @bheretoday

What the solstice means for you and me

In a 2012 Huffington Post article, teacher and activist T. Thorn Coyle wrote, “For contemporary people, solstices — summer or winter — are a chance to still ourselves inside, to behold the glory of the cosmos, and to take a breath with the Sacred.”

I couldn’t read that sentence without pausing, taking a deep breath, and reading it again.

The Winter Solstice began last night at 5:03 Central time, making Sunday night the longest (and darkest) night of the year. Today, our days grow gradually longer (and brighter) as we work our way back to the sun.

Tweet: What do you say that we make a concerted effort to leave the darkness of our souls behind and embrace the light? @bheretoday

We can follow the tradition of centuries of people before us who celebrated the winter solstice with feasts of joy and merriment.

Did you know that in pre-Christian Scandinavia, there was a Feast of Juul to celebrate the rebirth of the sun? Juul, or Yule, lasted for 12 days and eventually gave way to the custom of burning a Yule log at Christmastime.

Are you ready to get busy?

Now is the time to plant seeds for your growth in the Spring of 2015. “When you think about 2015, start with deciding who you want to be versus what you want to do or accomplish,” says my friend Tess Marshall who has a new venture starting in January called the Unstoppable Courage Club.

Who do you want to be in 2015? I decided this morning as I journaled about who I want to be instead of what I want to accomplish, to use I Am statements instead of I Want statements. Much more powerful.

For example, I Am physically and mentally healthy and I Am a successful and prosperous writer and marketer.

What are your strong I Am statements? Let’s get busy and get those statements seeded so the returning sun can grow them!

Metaphorically, many of us have endured long and dark nights. The beauty of this time of year is we can allow ourselves to catch the sun’s rays and ride them into a new and beautiful life.

I am so ready. Aren’t you?

I’ll leave you with this thought from T. Thorn Coyle:

After the longest night, we sing up the dawn. There is a rejoicing that, even in the darkest time, the sun is not vanquished. Sol Invictus — the Unconquered Sun — is seen once again, staining the horizon with the promise of hope and brilliance.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Blessed Winter Solstice to you!

Photo courtesy of hotblack

How You Can Truly Believe Anything is Possible

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You may have been raised to believe, as I was, that “you can do anything you set your mind to.”

The power of positive thinking–with or without Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s book–can land a job for you, get you out of debt, find the right and perfect relationship or simply get you out of a grumpy, woe-is-me state. Yes, it’s true.

Really? Can you really think your way into your dream job or financial freedom?

In a word: No

Beyond seeing the glass half full

I’m a glass half-full kind of gal. I say it all the time. Optimism is usually my default button but there are times when no amount of thinking something is good will make it so. Other factors come into play that are out of my control.

For some people, when a stack of bills is larger than the amount available in the bank account, the next logical step is to hit the “there’s not enough” button. It’s okay to include yourself in this group; I’ve been there much of my life.

It’s pretty tough to hold positive thoughts when your bank numbers are red.

Keep in mind, the bills and bank account are just one example of what I call “dis-spirited” thinking. (“Dis” meaning against, i.e, dishonor  or disrespect–in this case, “dis-spirit” means against spirit.)

If you’re a person new to recovery, you can be as positive as sunshine is to a tomato plant. But if your tomato plant is surrounded by pests and rotten soil, even the sun can’t keep it healthy. Same with you–if you take your newly sober self to places where there are pests and rotten soil . . .

You get my drift. You need more than positive thinking.

Attitude, Amplify and Action

However, if you add three key ingredients to positive thinking, your Positive Power skyrockets. Those key ingredients are: Attitude, Amplify and Action.

With attitude, it’s all about believing–truly believing–that whatever you seek is on its way to you. There can be no room for doubt.

  • You may not know how you’re going to get enough money to pay the bills, but you believe that you will.
  • You may think there are no jobs for your qualifications, but you believe you’ll get a job
  • You may not understand how a person can maintain recovery for a year or five or even 10 years, but you believe that it’s possible.

Amplify is about turning up the volume. Once you believe, take your positive thoughts to the next level by giving them voice. Speak what you believe to be true.

Call them affirmations in the Unity tradition, or yes statements or declarations, as Pastor Joel Osteen calls them, but the power of your voice coupled with your positive thoughts is explosive.

There have been times in my life when I’ve written positive statements and placed them in my car, on my bathroom mirror on on my computer screen so that I will regularly speak them aloud. It’s a powerful practice.

Finally, action is, as my dear friend Claudette used to tell me, putting feet under my prayers. When your thoughts are positive, you believe them with your entire being, you speak them aloud (with I AM statements!) and you then take action, there anything is truly possible. You have the power of the Universe behind you.

It’s a formula for sure success and one that I’m practicing right now. How about you? If you like this post, please share with your social media connections. As always, please send me a note or leave a comment because I love to hear from you!

Photo courtesy of conniemig

7 Ways to Grow an Attitude of Appreciation

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Ah, the week of Thanksgiving in the United States. Turkey, pumpkin pies, family gatherings (blood kin and the ones we create) and yesterday’s leftover sermons about gratitude.

Gratitude is incredibly easy to discuss and personalizes so well. “I am grateful for the sun warming my neck, the roof over my head, my family’s health and work that feeds my soul.”

The words swiftly roll off the tongue like a baseball released from a pitcher’s hand.

Not too long ago, one of my blogging colleagues posted an article about substituting the word appreciation for gratitude. I like Angela’s suggestion.

Angela Artemis believes that the words grateful and even thankful have a smidge of desperation and obligation to them. They can also invite feelings of guilt if you don’t repay your debt of gratitude. “The more I think about it, the more I feel that appreciation is a better word to ‘expand what we focus on,'” Angela explains.

What is an Attitude of Appreciation?

There is a spiritual axiom that says what we think about expands. If I’m thinking unkind things about myself, the chances are good that I will attract not-so-good things, and worse, behave with all the verve of someone wounded by her thoughts.

Earlier this year, I wrote a post called “Bringing Guilt to Forgiveness.” One of the things I wrote about was how past instances involving feelings of guilt can completely wreck a perfectly fine day today.

“When you think about it, any present guilt you feel is a byproduct of something that has happened in the past.  My ego loves guilt because it can keep a toe-hold on my past supposedly for my benefit.”

What does guilt have to do with appreciation? It’s a rotten juju attitude and it completely blocks the sunlight of appreciation!

An attitude of appreciation generates awe for the expected and unexpected details of your life. Done right and each day becomes one that cultivates hope and gladness no matter outward appearances.

People in my world talk about doing the right thing even if your ass is falling off. That comes from growing an attitude of appreciation.

Shall we move on?

7 Ways to Grow

1. Learn how to dig deep. Fran Sorin’s bestseller, Digging Deepturns acts of gardening into glorious moments of appreciation. “You tap into the flow of a garden by being fully present and completely immersing yourself to the act of tending. You don’t create flow; your surrender to it.”

2. Learn how to count. I’m reading Julia Cameron’s The Prosperous Heart, Creating a Life of Enough and one of her tenants to retraining the mind to believe in abundance is to count. Money in. Money out. Simple, effective and proven to grow appreciative powers.

3. Learn to lean in. We have a tendency to straighten our shoulders and pull back from challenging situations. People with an attitude of appreciation lean in as if to say, “Bring it on.”

4. Learn to see everything as an opportunity. I’ve heard my friend Tess Marshall say, after something goes wrong or simply doesn’t turn out the way she planned, “Oh well. Who cares? Next?”

5. Learn to let go of any fear you may have about money, or more specifically, not having enough. Yes, most of us are taught at a young age that we have to fight others for a very small portion of “IT,” whatever it is. Let that stuff go! We live in a universe of absolute abundance and if you believe nothing else, believe that truth.

6. Learn to respond with positivity. I just interviewed Justin Luke Riley, president and CEO of Young People in Recovery. When I asked how he was, you know what he said with complete conviction? Justin said, “I’m living the dream.”

7. Learn to be of service to others. Doesn’t matter who you serve or how. Just make sure, as Justin said when we talked, that you never think you’re too good to stack chairs (or empty trash or run a vacuum cleaner).

What are some other ways that you use to grow an attitude of appreciation? Please share in the comments below and if you like this article, I’d love it if you’d tell your Facebook and Twitter fans.

Photo courtesy of pippalou