Spiritual copyrights

Contact (Ellie)

It is often said that art mimics life. Across the centuries, from primitive artistic renderings on cave walls to those that grace the frescoes of great cathedrals, life has been depicted at its most basic level, and at its most majestic.

We can construct the truth of life in the earliest periods, long before written language, based on archaeological findings in combination with artistic renderings from the period (e.g. cave drawings). As humankind progressed, art became not only an expression of dreams, but a documentation of life and its many Truths.

Today, art takes on many more forms than sculpture or drawings. Our technological advancements have given rise to art in the form of movies that offer not only beautiful visual representations, but echo profound truths in their underlying messages.

I have written before about the presence of metaphysical teachings in the movies, and a chance re-viewing of an old favorite revealed a new addition to my list of movies that teach powerful metaphysical lessons.

One of my favorite movies, Contact, is based on the book by Carl Sagan. While many have commented on its lesson around the intersection of science, politics and faith; there are deeper Truths hidden in plain view in this powerful story.

One of the most compelling lessons for me in this latest viewing was the lesson around divine right and the perfect balance of the Universe.

In the movie, young scientist Ellie Arroway chose to make finding life beyond Terra Firma (earth) her career focus. This is her dream, her passion; she has put all of her time, energy and focus into this goal.

But a senior scientist – someone with enough connections and power to control her destiny at some level, and someone with a much more limited vision – has his own plans.

David Drumlin is an “expert” in the field, and with years of experience, he feels that he knows what is best. He pulls the plug on Ellie’s team, in essence pulling rank and saying “I am the senior scientist here – I get to decide which direction we’re going.”

Ellie persists because the dream inside of her is bigger than she can contain, and when she and her hard scrabble team of scientists locate what turns out to be a discernible signal from a star system; Drumlin suddenly becomes interested in Ellie’s dream.

The movie shows how he uses his connections, his standing in the community and good old-fashioned manipulation to wrest Ellie’s dream from her and make it his own. While some may think “that’s just politics“, the larger Truth comes a little later.

This Truth – that the Universe keeps perfect records – comes as Drumlin smugly tells Ellie that he wishes that the world was a fair place. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what happens next.

The spiritual Truth taught in this dramatic scene is that no matter how justified we may feel based on our tenure in an organization, our education or experience – we are not excused from Universal, spiritual law. When we steal, takeover, or usurp something that is not ours, we will not find success and in fact, we are destined to fail.

Drumlin’s vision was much smaller than Ellie’s. He could not see what she felt and knew in her heart and he dismissed it out of hand, believing that he knew more – he knew better. After all – he had all the paperwork that indicated he was senior to her in the hierarchy. But the Universe doesn’t care about credentials.

The idea, the strong belief that there was life external to the earth belonged to Ellie. It was hers by right of Divine consciousness. When Drumlin saw that her idea would fit nicely with his ideas for his own career and decided to ride on her coattails and then steal it from her; he was writing the script for his own failure.

Contact is a work of fiction, but like the art that humans have created since the beginning of time, it tells the story of life – of universal Truths.

We are all well-served by examining our own lives and the projects we are involved in. If we are struggling to build something, or grow something and facing challenge after challenge and roadblock after roadblock; we need to examine the energetic fingerprints of the original idea – the spiritual charter.

Was it really ours to mold and make as we choose, or did we steal, finagle, manipulate or bully someone into taking it over and making it ours?

Spiritual Law is absolute. If it is ours, we will find success. If, however; the dream we are pursuing belongs to someone else, we will not find success. The success we saw through the eyes of the original dreamer is not ours by right of Divine consciousness. Understanding this Truth can help us know when to hold ’em, and know when to fold ’em.

Energy is indeed everything. If we had a small, limited vision and someone else had an expansive, growth-oriented vision – and we followed them, hoping they were on to something; we can absolutely find success as long as we remember who birthed the dream, who held the vision. And we must make sure that we are not trying to edge them out and take over the momentum they started for our own purposes – no matter how noble we believe our goals to be.

From the other side of the equation, if we are the person who was wronged, we must remember that the Universe keeps perfect records. The character Ellie in the story Contact provides a perfect model for our next steps in this context. Stay in peace, look for the lesson and know that our dream – our original vision that came from our heart – belongs to us. It is ours to share with the world.

In the same way that I continue to be amazed when my words manifest into form, I am in awe of the perfection of spiritual law as it works to preserve our spiritual copyrights.

I have learned to look hard at things that aren’t working in my life to make sure I have not stolen someone else’s vision; taking care to give credit, support, acknowledgement and room/space to the person who birthed the idea. I also know that I can sit in peace when I have had a dream or vision usurped, assured that my copyright is protected; my vision and dream secure. Balance (2)

Just as water continually seeks the lowest point, the Universe seeks fairness and balance. This I know to be true. And so it is.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

Keep outta the how

Mt Lebanon Chr Sc ChurchFor many new sojourners on a spiritual path, the impulse to micromanage what they are seeking from divine alignment is overwhelming. In many cases the micromanaging – or the insistence that their Good will need to show up in a certain way – blocks the arrival or makes the way invisible to them so they never see the way forward.

The best way I have found to teach is by sharing personal examples; my stories, those of my students and others whom I meet along the way. The following is one such story.

I had just replaced a portion of the roof that had begun to leak on my older home and paid for it. I knew before the contractor mentioned it that soon, I would need to think about re-pointing the chimneys and replacing the rest of the roof, so his recommendation was not a surprise. It did, however, make me gulp. Paying for an entire roof redo would be pricey, and while I walk in knowing that I am provided, some days its easier to believe that than others (I think we all recognize this).

I said “Yes, I’m planning to do that soon” and thanked him. In my mind I was not sure how that was going to happen, but I knew that I needed to address it sooner than later. I put it out to the Universe to solve. I basically said: “I need some help here with my roof situation,…” and put into practice the affirming that the answer was already being provided to me.

A few months later I came home from work to find that a large tree branch from a neighbor’s tree had fallen on to my house. After speaking with our insurance companies, it was evaluated as being my responsibility (that’s how it is with trees – where they land determines whose insurance is paying; not where they originate).

While I did not sustain damage to the entire roof, I knew that it would be most advantageous for me to have the rest of the work done at the same time that the covered repairs were being done, so I took a deep breath and said OK when the contractor made the same suggestion. I got the insurance estimate and the estimate for the larger completed job and then I let it go.

As it turned out, the contractor was very busy and the completion of the work was delayed for almost a year. While some people may think that’s unacceptable, let me explain what happened in that time period.

In late October I wandered into the local Christian Science church as I was curious if they would be open to renting out space in the facility. Across the course of several conversations with them I mentioned that I had been an organist over the years. Long story short (you can read what happened here), I ended up subbing for their organist on Thanksgiving, and then taking over as the interim organist for the next 9 months.

Each month when they paid me, I deposited the money in the bank. This past Sunday, they held their last service (they have closed the local congregation and sold the property).

It just so happens that the work done on my roof was finally completed this month, and I am waiting to see what the insurance will cover, so I can write the check for the rest of the repairs.

I wasn’t looking for a Sunday job, but I did need a new roof and as outlined in the linked story above, an elderly gentleman wanted to spend Thanksgiving with his family and then to retire from his Sunday obligation. All of these needs were known in the Infinite Mind. As metaphysical practitioners (he in Christian Science; me from the Religious Science perspective), we both knew that our needs would be met in divine order, and they were indeed met.

I now have more than enough money in my bank to pay the additional cost of my roof, and I was able to provide the Christian Science church with organist services as they wound down and held their last few months of services. The previous organist was able to retire and move in with his daughter, on the other side of the county, while leaving his friends in good hands with an easy transition to an interim organist – me.

I could not have pulled together this convoluted solution to multiple prayer requests. Neither could the retiring organist, but each of us knows that there is a power for Good in the Universe – greater than we are – that we can use. We put our trust in this power, and let go of the HOW. We stayed focused on knowing that our intentions would bear fruit; that our prayers were already answered – and they were.

It’s a challenge to let go and trust that the process is working. It can feel that we’re stalling the inevitable, or abdicating our responsibilities; but our responsibility – once we speak our word or affirm the Good we are seeking – is to let go, and let God. Along the way, several well-intentioned people advised me to cancel my contract (signed in August of last year) with the roofing company and hire someone else. Others counseled that I should call and raise hell about the delay, but I knew that it was all being handled in divine order, and as has happened with so many other things in my life, it all worked out – not only for my highest good but for the good of several others involved.

If you are seeking more Good in your life – a new roof, a new car, a better job, improved health and wellness – know that your word has been heard and the manifestation of your Good is in motion. Be open to the opportunities that seem to show up in unusual or unexpected ways, and don’t get in a hurry to “fix” things that seem to be taking a circuitous route. Your request has been heard; things are in motion.

All is well – and so it is.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

Listening, allowing

In a previous blog, The Right Place, I shared a quote found in an unpublished letter of


“The place you seek is seeking you, the place you need is needing you. Divine Principle brings need and supply together for mutual good. God wisely, intelligently, and lovingly controls, guides, protects, prospers, and blesses this union of [God’s] idea and this joyous activity, work.”   ~ Mary Baker Eddy

Mary Baker Eddy. The quote came to me, as many things come to me: un-requested, in passing and at a time when I needed something (material or information).

I have been pondering, with renewed awe and curiosity, the miraculous-ness of such things coming into my life as I have been recently studying the writings of Joseph Murphy.

In this latest undertaking (studying Murphy’s body of work), I realized that this principle of Good has been quietly and constantly working in my life.

In looking back over my career these past weeks, I suddenly saw the fingerprints of divine guidance all over every job move, decision (even the “bad” ones) and opportunity and I thought of the words written in that letter by Mary Baker Eddy (see photo caption).

Today I am the Director of a department in a large medical center. The department I lead was once known as medical records, but as computers took over healthcare (and lots of other places in society), the name changed to Health Information Management. I did not start out with a desire to work with medical records, or in an administrative role, but it seems, as Mrs. Eddy would say, that the career I sought “was seeking me“.

When I returned to college after serving in the US Navy to continue my education as a medical laboratory professional, I found that the laboratory program was closing and so I had to find another major. The only one at the university that fit with my prior coursework (I didn’t want to start over at square 1) and had any appeal to me was Health Information Management (HIM) so I went into that program.

At graduation, I was sure I wanted to do anything but manage a medical records department, so I moved into data management and analysis. Still certain that I didn’t want to work in a hospital medical records setting, after a few years I took an academic route and ended up as a community college administrator and then a professor of HIM at a university.

After a number of years in academia I decided that I needed to expand my horizons and move into the consulting world that was evolving as healthcare (and many other industries) were rapidly changing. Each time I moved into a new job, I found that after about 3 – 4 years I became restless to the point of being uncomfortable and was ready to move on. For many years I viewed this habit as a flaw; a weakness and I judged myself harshly for it. And yet, in retrospect, divine timing seemed to be at work.

I learned many critical lessons along the way, and added numerous diverse skills to my professional repertoire. When I eventually moved into the career that I had tried to avoid almost since the beginning, I was well-prepared to take the helm of a profession in transition and it seemed that it had all fallen into place by accident.

Today I find myself in a strong position as a seasoned, respected HIM professional with a platform and a voice. I am regularly called upon to share wisdom, mentor others and provide insights that would have been impossible had I moved immediately into a traditional HIM position at graduation. As great waves of change move this profession, I find my experience, advice and counsel being sought out often by those in my field who look at the coming changes and seek guidance, assistance and more and it is this role that I treasure more than any other.

I could not have known more than 20 years ago as I tried to avoid working in medical records that I was preparing (or being prepared) for a career right smack in the middle of medical records/health information management. From this vantage point it looks that the place I sought in terms of a career, was indeed seeking me. The restlessness I would feel after a few years was the Divine nudge that more learning was needed; that complacency was not an option and that there was more work for me to do.

Interestingly, since moving into a full-bodied medical records/HIM position I have had a few instances of “temptation” to move out of this realm and back into consulting or other areas. Each time, though the career move was tempting, that still, small voice inside had other ideas, and I withdrew my name from the list of candidates. I know without a shred of doubt that I am, today, right where I am supposed to be; that the twists and turns and attempts by me to avoid this work have all laid the perfect path for my success. And the lessons for me personally are abundant.

In spiritual studies we often talk about “letting go and letting God” – releasing the outcome to Spirit,…but in practice, we’re not always very good at it. Perhaps it is challenging because it is a subtle action. It’s not like cleaning out a closet, or mowing the grass: it’s a quiet, hard-to-measure energetic perspective that we must take on that allows the Good we desire to move into our lives at its own pace. Meditation helps because it trains us to be inactive and quiet – not an American strength by nature – but it is a challenging practice to achieve (allowing).

In terms of my career, since I stopped running from what seems to be my intended place, more doors have opened, more opportunities have emerged than I could have imagined – and they open with an ease and effortlessness that can only be described as supernatural. I know because I tried to make these kinds of things happen many times along my other career paths and found that forcing this stuff simply doesn’t work.

The larger life lesson taught by my career experience is that when I feel that nudge to move on, or to pass on an offered opportunity – I need to pay attention. When I get uncomfortable in a role to the point of irritation, it is a strong message that something bigger and better lies beyond. That which I seek, the desire of my heart, lies beyond where I am standing and it is seeking me, which is why I feel the discomfort.

This can be difficult – especially if we’ve invested time, energy, passion and our personal imprint on something. We feel the nudge that it’s time to move on, but we fight it. We use every spiritual practice in the book to make things fit, to find the peace and to force the perfection to materialize in the place WE think we need to be. But in doing so, we miss the most profound and productive spiritual practice sitting, like the proverbial elephant, in the middle of the room: listening and allowing.

It’s amusing to me that my career path has been so instrumental in teaching me a deep spiritual Truth, but I am grateful as I now realize that the abundance of Good that continues to unfold for me professionally as I allow and surrender, is also seeking me in the other areas of my life.

I look forward to seeing where this path leads, and know – thanks to real evidence in my own life – that place I seek is seeking me; the place I need is needing me and that Divine Principle is always bringing need and supply together for mutual Good as the Infinite Spirit wisely, intelligently, and lovingly controls, guides, protects, prospers, and blesses this union of the Divine’s idea and this joyous activity and work.

And so it is.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

Practicing the pivot (step 4)

Learning to pivot is an acquired skill and one that can serve us well in several areas of our lives. We can learn to pivot away from arguments, pivot away from bad habits and in Joseph Murphy’s Master Key System to Wealth, Step 4 is all about the pivot.

Murphy taught that when thoughts of lack come into our mind we should catch ourselves;  never finish a negative statement about finances. If by chance we’re a little slow in the recognition as we get started on our journey, we can learn to reverse it immediately. I call this the “pivot“.

When we pivot away from a thought or statement of lack around paying a bill or finding the money for an expense, it is important that we replace it immediately with a statement of divine provision.

Here’s his suggestion:

God is my instant and everlasting supply; that bill is paid in divine order.

Murphy explained that when we see something that we desire, instead of thinking how expensive it is, or how it may or may not fit into our current budget that we should become a bit more analytical.

Using what we know about the abundance that is the natural state of the Universe (honed as our default knowledge in steps 1 and 2), he offers this rational reasoning instead:

That car / house / other item is for sale – it is a divine idea, and I accept it in divine order, through divine love.”

Seeing something that we desire as a divine idea, and accepting it as an idea that we can absolutely bring into our experience through divine love removes all thoughts of competition for scarce resources, which is at the core of the belief that is lack.

One of the things we do to ourselves that gets us tangled in the web of lack is to compare what we have in our own current experience with what others have. Facebook, Instagram and other social media outlets make it easy for anyone to take a picture of a frozen dinner dumped onto a nice plate and make it seem like their lives are made up of chef-inspired gourmet meals every night.

We look at the photos, the comments and then at our peanut butter sandwich, pronouncing ourselves as “less than” and lacking.

Prior to seeing the faux gourmet meal on Facebook, that peanut butter sandwich sounded pretty good; but when we looked at what someone else had and made a comparison, we evaluated ourselves as not measuring up.

PivotPhase 2 of the pivot involves stepping back from our immersion on social media until such a time as we can observe others’ lives without comparisons and self-judgment.

Learning to pivot – first from the negative thinking to the knowing that “God is our instant and everlasting supply and that bill/expense is paid in divine order; and secondly pivoting from our near-total immersion in social media to more time in silence and solitude (or at least with some distance from all the faux Hollywood lifestyles) so that our conscious attention to the spiritual truth has a chance to make its way into our subconscious, and automatic thoughts is the 4th and final step in Joseph Murphy’s Master Key System.

It’s worth repeating that Joseph Murphy taught that “…it is impossible for any sincere person to practice this technique and not have all the wealth they want/need all the days of their life.

The 4 steps, condensed into single words for each are as follows:

  1. Recognize (the wealth of the Universe as omnipresent)
  2. Plant (thought seeds of wealth, success, abundance & prosperity)
  3. Affirm (write your story on the template of your subconscious mind)
  4. Pivot (away from negative, focusing on only the positive)

It’s simple – though not easy as it involves moving away from what things LOOK like and believing in a larger spiritual truth.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path


Daily attention (step 3)

In continuing the exploration of a spiritual path for bringing more wealth into our lives a la Joseph Murphy, we come to Step 3. This is where we begin to make an investment of our time each day and turn our attention to where we want to be, and not where we are now.

Many of us invest a lot of time and energy each day worrying about bills, complaining about our paychecks, telling others about how unfair life is, how stingy our employers are, etc.

Step 3 of the Joseph Murphy method involves turning away from our tendencies to complain about our financial circumstances and to affirm intentionally that the wealth of the Universe is already ours – that all our needs are met.

In the previous step we learned that jumping right into affirmations that are too far removed from our actual reality can backfire, and create resistance so it is important that we work hard on Steps 1 and 2 and make certain that we are ready for Step 3 – an affirmative prayer that states unequivocally that “God’s wealth flows freely joyously and ceaselessly into our experience”. 

While the time-frame will vary person to person, a good gauge to know when it’s time for Step 3 is when our default is clearly and regularly noticing the abundance that is everywhere; and when we’ve made incorporating words like abundance, prosperity, success and wealth into our early morning and evening mantras without any flinching or excuse-making (“I don’t need that much,…” is an excuse-statement. Be bold in claiming your abundance!)

Step 3 becomes a morning and night affirmation that begins to move more details into our subconscious mind around abundance and prosperity. Here are Joseph Murphy’s words

“I am now writing in my subconscious mind the idea of God’s wealth. God is the Source of my Supply and I know God is the Light Principle within me and I know I’m alive. All my needs are met at every moment of time and point in space. God’s wealth flows freely joyously and ceaselessly into my experience and I give thanks for Gods riches forever circulating in my experience.”

Repeat night and morning and continue the work begun in Steps 1 and 2.

As we move forward, the following graphic is a good check point for where our thinking falls on the prosperity continuum: are we trending toward an abundance consciousness or a scarcity mindset?

Checking in with ourselves on a regular basis is a practice that leads to success.


And then one day we catch ourselves thinking abundantly without really thinking about it, and we know that we’re on our way! And so it is.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path