One Source

Here’s another “demonstration” story from a family member.

This family was getting a bed and a couch from another family member. It was free for the taking, but they needed a trailer to move everything from one house to the other.

They made a few calls and found a trailer that would fit on their hitch, and at a price point that was workable. The estimate was $36. They had about $50 in their checking account until the end of the week and would need gas and some groceries before it was over; but this was the only time that everyone’s schedules lined up, so it needed to happen.

The wife knows these principles and kept knowing that it would all work out. But very often, things “working out” initially take on the appearance of the exact opposite.

When they arrived at the store where they had made the arrangements, there was an issue with the trailer unit they had reserved, and they were directed across town to another location. This made her husband grouchy and cross, but she reminded him that “Spirit has this,…” and that everything would work out.

Unbelievably, the chaos in the second location was even more pronounced than it had been at the first location, and the $36 quote that they had been quoted for the unit they has reserved suddenly went up to $70 before taxes and fees.

This did not appear to be “working out” and any less of a spiritual warrior would have been certain that in their hour of need, they had been abandoned. But this woman is a spiritual warrior of the highest order and she held tight to the knowing that this was going to work out.

They continued to negotiate around the original price quoted to them and the second location finally relented, and charged their credit card for the $36, taxes and fees. They hooked up the trailer, and got on with their retrieval of the gifted couch and bed, grateful for the opportunity.

The next day, the husband received an email from the rental business apologizing for the confusion, the referral to another location and the mix-up in pricing. The email went on to say that the full amount of the rental ($36 plus taxes and fees) had been refunded on their card.

This is a wonderful example of standing firm in the knowing that all is well, when not only wasn’t there a sign that things would work out – but things kept looking WORSE by the minute. Instead of falling into a defeatist posture, and believing that “nothing works out for me,…” the wife stood strong in the knowing that it would all work out; and it did.

As part of the 40-day Abundance Journey, author of The Abundance Book -the late John Randolph Price – wrote 10 statements of principle. The 2nd statement sums this circumstance up nicely:

I lift up my mind and heart to be aware, to be aware, to understand, and to know that the Divine Presence I AM is the Source and Substance of all my Good.

Or as Karen Drucker sings it:

“God is my source. God is my power. God gives me everything I need.
So I give thanks, for all my blessings. God gives me everything I need.”

And so it is.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

A higher perspective

1-lion-charge-gc590aFlorence Scovel Shinn counseled often that “God makes a way when there is no way“.

In our high-technology/instant gratification 21st century, this concept can be most difficult to grasp. We want what we want, and like an Amazon Prime delivery, we want it with FREE SHIPPING and RIGHT NOW – or at least in 2 days.

Seasoned spiritual seekers can recite line and verse that God makes a way when there is no way, even though we too can get caught up in what we want and when we want it. The key to success, however lies in elevating our vision and looking above our everyday perspective.

In pondering the recent statement in the Abundance Journey I am leading on Facebook, I remembered the story in the Hebrew Bible of Daniel. A quaint story taught to children, it is at the surface, a story of a man who is saved from ravenous lions by God – but it is more complicated than that as I mentioned in a recent Facebook update for the Abundance Journey group.

In the story, Daniel has made his way to becoming a member of the ruling party where he lives and has risen into a respected position. His colleagues, however are jealous and treachery is afoot, as they plot to get rid of him (good grief, I could write this story using my own work stories,…but let’s get back to Daniel).

The jealous colleagues arrange for the king to issue a decree that says anyone who worships any god except the king shall be put to death. These plotters know that Daniel worships the God of Israel, and they lay in wait to catch him.

Sure enough, Daniel provides the opportunity:

10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. 11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. 12 Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.””  [Daniel 6:10]

These schemers knew that Daniel would pray, so they waited and pounced. In modern language, it was a setup.

As a spiritual man, a Godly-man as the traditional religious would refer to him, Daniel would no doubt be turning to his faith in this very stressful time. And here’s where the life lesson gets real:  Daniel is going to be tossed into an enclosed pit where powerful lions are purposefully kept hungry so they will devour any meat that is thrown in. Daniel was slated to be “the meat”.

I am certain that he was having conversations with God that went something like this:

“A chariot out of town would be good – NOW!”

or

“How about some of that sulfur and fire you sent to Sodom and Gemorrah?” 

But no chariot came; no hellfire rained down from the heavens. The CRITICAL spiritual lesson in this story is that Daniel – a man of great faith – is not saved from the lions by avoiding them – he is thrown right into the middle of them.

And this is so often what we face in our own lives: being thrown right into the middle of our own lion den when we were very clear in our prayer work and meditations that we did NOT want to go anywhere near those hungry lions!

Our lion dens are financial hardships; illness and injuries; relationship challenges and more. And as spiritual people, we chant, pray, meditate, affirm and KNOW that we’re simply not going to be thrown in with those hungry lions, and yet so often we find ourselves counting our mala beads as we free fall into the pit.

Once in the pit, it is not uncommon to bemoan our circumstances, doubt our faith, rail against God and any spiritual teachers who led us down this primrose path, and yet; it was from the midst of the hungry lions that Daniel’s important lesson emerged.

16 Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared[b] to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” 17 And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.

This verbiage in particular signifies that Daniel is stuck in this situation. There’s a large stone placed in front of the only exit point, and sealed with the king’s signet.

The stone represents obstacles in life that seem to prevent us from moving forward and the king’s signet represents authority. This authority may be physical laws, governmental rules or “the way it’s always done“.

And if I was in the lion’s den, I would probably (initially) be asking God to move that stone because I would be seeing things from a ground-level perspective. I would see the stone as the only way out. After all, the chariot and the hellfire didn’t arrive – clearly I’m on my own! I would be desperate to have that stone moved; but herein lies the challenge for spiritual people: the HOW is always up to God.

19 Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, …”

Angel and LionsHow was Daniel saved from the hungry lions?

Not from a Hollywood-style, last minute extraction; not from an earthquake that moved the stone and not in any way that any of us would likely consider on our freefall into the den of lions.

Daniel was saved when God sent an Angel who shut the lions’ mouths so that they could not harm him. Daniel spent the night in the midst of those hungry lions and yet emerged unharmed.

How often do we look around at the “lions” in our lives, certain that they not only can, but will, devour us? Our financial situations, our relationship challenges, our work woes, our health concerns: all of these are the “lions” we find ourselves in the midst of, despite our ardent pleas and prayers. But we would be wise to learn Daniel’s lesson: the lesson of a higher perspective.

At the physical, human level we often see herculean solutions like moving that stone, or the intervention of some catastrophic event as the ONLY conceivable way to overcome our lions. And yet, the story of Daniel teaches us that from the midst of the worst-case-scenario, God can intercede and “shut the lions’ mouths” so they cannot hurt us.

Angels represent the agents of God/Good here on earth, and they take many forms, so it’s important not to get caught up in waiting for the winged, luminescent creatures of renaissance literature to show up in our times of need. Sometimes they look like anything BUT an Angel, and yet they do the same sacred work.

The story of Daniel gives us comfort in the knowing that no matter what we are facing, no matter how bad it looks; when we’re tempted to give up because we can’t see how that “stone” can be moved – our way out of the crisis lies beyond our comprehension and control. The answers to our most pressing problems come to us from a perspective we cannot always see or imagine.

God indeed makes a way when there is no way; when the authorities we see all around us have rolled a giant stone in front of the only exit, when hungry lions are circling around us. We are provided, always and in all ways – we just need to remember.

(C) 2017 Practitioner's Path

Allowing

Sometimes life teaches us through the experience of others. I suspect that at times, we see things more clearly with a little distance. Certainly we are experiencing the same Truths, but when it’s too close, it can sometimes be less obvious to us. Regardless, it’s a good day when we have the opportunity to remember that these principles work, all the time.

Yesterday I had the great opportunity to be reminded that when we are seeking Good, the best action to take is non-action, or what I would classify as “allowing”.

Unbeknownst to me, my grandchildren had learned of an event at the local Toys R Us where the first 50-shoppers would receive free Pokemon gifts, discounts and more. They were beside themselves that the Mother’s Day lunch I had invited them to with their mother/my daughter was going to knock them out of any chance to be in line as one of the first-50 shoppers.

True to their good little hearts, they went along with lunch (I knew there was a desire to go to Toys R Us – I was not made aware of the first-50-shoppers issue) like troopers, and we had a good meal and a nice time together. As we left the restaurant, they asked me if we could all go to Toys R Us. What grandmother do you know can refuse that request? I said, “of course!” and off we went.

We walked into the Toys R Us and apparently the event had been over for a couple hours, so there was no counting of the 50-lucky shoppers. Still, no sad faces or miserable dispositions. I had promised a small purchase for each of them (fidget spinners!) and they also wanted to browse the Pokemon and Beanie Boo items to make their upcoming birthday lists.

As we were combing through the latest Pokemon packs, a Toys R Us employee walked up and asked is if we had been there for the Pokemon event earlier. My daughter and the kids shook their heads, no. He said, “I’ll be right back,” and disappeared toward the front of the store.

He returned a few moments later with a packet of Pokemon goodies for each of them. They were ecstatic, and then he reappeared with 2 more items to add to each bag from the event.

We made our purchases and left the store, and my daughter used the opportunity of the teaching moment at hand.

Remember when you were upset about missing the Pokemon event, and I said that you needed to let it go, and everything would work out one way or another?

The kids nodded their heads.

This is what I was telling you about earlier. Not only did you get the things you wanted, and thought you had missed, but you didn’t even have to ask – those goodies showed up and tapped you on the shoulder!

The kids nodded excitedly, and chattered among themselves as they dug into their goodie bags. I reflected on the profound Truth lesson that had come forth in that simple toy store exchange. My grandchildren had a desire, but life appeared to be placing a barrier in front of that desire. Instead of throwing a temper tantrum, being resentful or miserable; they accepted that it wasn’t going to happen in the timeframe they would prefer,…and they let it go.

We had a nice lunch, they were cheerful, undistracted and delightful companions throughout our meal. I had no idea of the scope of the disappointment that was buried in missing the Pokemon event, that was scheduled to end right as we sat down to lunch.

How often do we put out a desire, and then along comes life – obligations, duties and other people’s schedules – to mess up our forward march toward the “Pokemon goodies” that we want so badly?

Too often we take on the energy of disappointment which influences our perspective. We begin to believe that now we must struggle to achieve our desire, if we’ll ever achieve it at all which makes us even grouchier. We may even take on the Eeyore persona.Eeyore

Oh bother,…

This repels our Good instead of helping us move closer to it. In this Pokemon example, if the kids had hooted and hollered and been miserable throughout our lunch, we would have gone home after eating and not ventured over to Toys R Us.

I’m sure they were hoping that Grammy would buy them some small goodie (it’s a grandmother thing), and that helped to ease some of the disappointment at missing the “surprise goodies” promised to the first 50 shoppers. This ease set up an energy of allowing instead of an energy of repelling. They knew that Good was going to come their way, and so they relaxed and just let it happen.

This Good (defined in elementary school terms) was the acquisition of a small toy (the fidget spinner) and they were pleased as punch that Grammy was ready and willing to get them each this newest toy craze (< $6). But none of us would have predicted that the goodie bags would stalk us in the toy aisles and be delivered into their hands!

The lesson is obvious: get clear on what we desire. Know that it will come our way, and let go of the HOW – really let go! Letting go, or allowing, means as Mike Dooley puts it, that we keep our fingers out of the “cursed hows“. We resist the urge to micromanage the events that unfold in front of us, and we trust that the intention for Good we have put out into the Universe will be returned to us.

Edwene Gaines reminds us that in the Christian Bible we are guided to become like little children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.… [Matthew 18:2-4]

In metaphysical circles the Kingdom of Heaven is known to be what we create right here, right now. So if we want to see more Good in our own right-here-right-now, the instructions are clear:

  • follow the lead of small children who let go of micromanaging, and live with deep and abiding trust that their Good is on its way.

And so it is.

(C) 2017 Practitioner's Path

Help in Times of Need

Cloud angel.pngI often speak and write about the useful guide for life that is represented in various holy texts, like the Bhagavad Gita and the Bible. I find them most useful, not for their predictions about the next world, but in their sharing the struggles of life for people across time along with the opportunity to glean universal wisdom from the tales.

Ancient peoples did not have writing as a medium for common folk. Many stories were passed down through an oral tradition for many years until in various cultures, some form of documentation emerged to capture them but oral traditions have the great benefit of capturing more of the texture of the times; the flavor of the circumstances and therefore, weave rich tales for us to enjoy and from which to learn.

Such is the story of the prophet Elijah in the Hebrew scripture/Old Testament:

And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”

Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.”  Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again.  And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.”  So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights… [1 Kings 19:3-8]

Here’s some context: Elijah had just shown the power of the God of Israel over the idol Ba’al and in the process had killed hundreds of the prophets of Ba’al, which didn’t make Queen Jezebel very happy. Metaphysically this is a lesson on the power of TRUTH over falsehoods, and it is a triumphant lesson but when we continue to read we see that even truth-telling has its risks as we see the great prophet Elijah running away from the threat of the Queen-of-False-Ideas (Jezebel).

He was so committed, and showed great skill in speaking truth to false prophets and power, and yet a short time later, he is running for his life and ready to give up; to roll over and die.

After a long day of running, he arrives at a broom tree where he laid down and fell asleep. He is awoken by someone touching him and when he wakes up he sees food cooking on a fire, and water to drink. This happens a 2nd time and enables him to have the strength he needs to continue the long journey ahead of him.

In the Bible it is noted that an “Angel of the Lord” came to him. We don’t see many of those around today in full biblical regalia, but all of us have been ministered to by Angels in our lives, and often we don’t realize it until we look back on the situation.

Sometimes when we are doing the right thing (speaking truth to false prophets) it can create trouble in our lives. It doesn’t usually rise to the level of being chased by an angry Queen, but it can feel that way if we have left a job, lost our standing in a group of our peers/colleagues, or have come under criticism for what we believe or support.

This story reminds us that no matter how dire the situation, it’s important not to lose sight of our past accomplishments, and to have faith in our vision, our Truth. People are all around us who are not only able but, willing to help us. When we quiet our mind and let go of the negative energy of our despair they will show up and give us what we need for our continued forward journey.

It’s easy to become consumed with fear, anxiety and negativity. This ancient lesson reminds us to calm down and know that we are provided, always and in all ways.

When we are walking a path of Light, no matter how difficult it may seem; when we stay grounded in what we know is right for us, are impeccable in our word and deeds; we can be assured that there are Angels ever-present who can and will help us along the way.

(C) 2017 - Practitioners Path

 

In all things, give thanks!

In every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God…

I Thessalonians 5:18

Gratitude is a well-worn word in New Thought and New Age circles, but the concept of giving thanks is rooted in ancient texts in every culture. There is encouragement (above) from St. Paul to give thanks in ALL things and multiple Psalms and statements in the Hebrew Bible underscoring the importance of gratitude,…no matter what.

O give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; Make His deeds known among the peoples.

I Chronicles 16:8

While anyone can write a blog and made a grand statement, I have found that the truth quotient of a statement is directly proportional to the diversity of the sources citing it as a spiritual truth. In plain English; when a kernel of Truth shows up in the writings of ancient texts and teachings and continues to appear in writings across the ages it’s time to sit up and take note. Gratitude is one of these Truths.

An interesting twist on gratitude often missed in modern teachings is the need to be grateful in ALL things – not just the fun stuff. It’s easy to be grateful for a raise, an exciting new job, a handsome new man/beautiful new woman in your life or your brand new car. It’s not only hard, but it’s counterintuitive to be grateful for things that take money out of wallets,  create pain and suffering or otherwise derail our plans for a carefree life, but here’s where the rubber hits the road when it comes to leveraging gratitude for the expansion of Good in our lives. Can we find ways to be grateful in the midst of life’s annoyances, aggravations and pain?

I have recently experienced a hat trick of unexpected bills, and I could make a pretty good case of why this is a terrible time for these to show up…but I won’t. I have chosen to see the good in each of these circumstances, and to bless them. Two weeks ago the battery in my car was dead one morning before work, and while it was almost $200 til I was back in business, I ended up spending the morning with my 75 year old father who came to jump my car and follow me to the store where the battery replacement took just long enough for us to go get breakfast at a local diner. When I think of that car battery, I give thanks for that precious time with my father and let’s face it – who doesn’t like breakfast out before work?!

I was admitted to the hospital the next week, so right after the battery purchase, hospital bills began to roll in. I have insurance but there are still bills to pay. Each time I open a bill I hold it up and give thanks for my clean bill of health; for the wonderfully-positive and curative experience I had while in the hospital and for my return to feeling better.

And if the opportunities presenting themselves to me are any indication, perhaps I need still a little more practice with this gratitude issue because the week after my surgery, my hot water tank broke down and $1,000 later, I now have a very nice, brand new hot water heater with a 12-year warranty. I give thanks every morning in that nice hot shower, and am thankful for the open credit I have on my Home Depot credit card that made the water heater issue a simple fix.

Certainly I could choose to moan and groan about the money that I am spending right now, but I believe that the magic power of gratitude kicks in when we can see past the superficial circumstances of our lives and into the truth.

I smile and pat the hood of my car on cold mornings, and say “Thank you!” for the new battery that easily starts my car. I remember the special breakfast time I got to spend with my father and know that no amount of money could equal that gift.

I look at my (small) scar and the bills that come in and speak gratitude for such a positive experience and the easy and effortless recovery I am making. I speak thanks for my paid time off; for the loving attention I got from my family; for my salary that keeps coming in so as I pay these bills, money flows in and replenishes my bank account. I smile and am filled with gratitude for the benefit of health insurance that gave me the opportunity to seek out the best doctors for my care.

Each time I go into my basement to do a load of laundry, I look lovingly at that thousand-dollar water tank and I admire it. It will serve me well for at least 12 years. It will make my mornings comfortable and 10-times the cost of the water heater will flow into my bank account many times over.

Walking a spiritual path does not guarantee the absence of bumps in the road. It does, however give us a choice in how we view them – AND – when we commit to seeing the opportunities for gratitude in each and every circumstance, our consciousness, our capacity for Good and our positive life experiences will expand. It’s our choice.

And so it is.

thanks

Imagineering your Career

Last week I spoke at the Western Pennsylvania Health Information Management Association education meeting. My topic? What to do when your career is positioned in the midst of great change.

In healthcare (and most 21st century industries) change is the only constant. How do you plan, prepare and position yourself to ride the waves of change? I suggested to the WPHIMA session attendees, as I did in October to the members of the Great Lakes Region of the Association of Healthcare Data Integrity (medical transcriptionists), that the answer lies in a word that some of you may think is a bit mickey mouse-like when it comes to career planning: imagineering.

Before you bemoan the Disneyfication of yet another mundane area of life, let me correct that assumption. The word imagineering was actually coined in Pittsburgh in the early 1940’s by Alcoa. The term, a combination of IMAGINATION and ENGINEERING, was created at at time when the executives at Alcoa were encouraging engineers to think creatively about new ways to use Aluminum to drive demand (and of course, profits).

In my talk I suggested that these 2 actions are the perfect combination for a job overhaul, regardless of where you are in your career. Here are the steps I outlined for each category.

Engineering

These steps are career basics, but worth revisiting.

  • Update your resume, even if you’re not looking and perfectly happy with your career, because stuff happens.
  • Create, update or revise your LinkedIn profile.
  • Clean up your other social media sites. HR professionals love to surf FaceBook and other sites to get to know the real you.
  • Build a network list & develop a plan to stay in touch with people you no longer interact with on a regular basis.
  • Make a list of your current skills – easier to do when you’re comfortable than when you’re in a panic, trying to find a job.
  • Identify a service you can provide to your profession, and then schedule it. I’m referring to giving back. You cannot expect to GET until you GIVE.

 

Imagination

These steps may be new to you, or things you’ve heard and passed by. If so, it might be time to revisit them!

  • Define “who shows up” when you go to work (& I am talking about you). What kind of person are you when you’re at work? Positive or negative? Complaining or complimentary? Helpful or hurtful? Gossipy or gracious? It’s time to get real with yourself and make sure that the YOU at work is one that is a great fit, anywhere.
  • Using lists from your engineering brainstorm, write out some positive statements about yourself: “I’m a good listener”, “I am a great team contributor”, “I can write SQL code like a champ”, “I’m organized and detail-oriented”,…etc. Put these statements in places where you will see them daily.
  • Monitor the words that come out of your mouth. What you speak, you also hear so this is NOT the time to talk down your age, experience, aptitude or anything else. Speak positives into your life. Instead of “I’m too old to launch a successful job search” say “People with my level of experience are valuable!“. Instead of “I don’t have the right degree or connections” state “I have valuable contacts and my education serves me well in every way“.
  • Avoid people who sing the “ain’t it awful” chorus over and over. Our friends and associates impact our thoughts and our beliefs. If you hang out with a group of similarly-positioned folks, make sure it’s all about positive reinforcement and not a complaint clatch.
  • If you find yourself complaining, and your life isn’t moving in the direction you want it to, consider taking the Complaint-Free challenge! Go 21 consecutive days without complaining and watch your life change…

 

There’s an old saying: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice,practice!

This advice applies whether you’re practicing to be 1st chair violin in the symphony or simply trying to navigate your career in a fast-moving world.

  1. Prepare your professional documents
  2. Plant seeds within your network (and be sure to water them regularly!)
  3. Practice seeing good everywhere you look: in yourself, in the opportunities before you, in other people, and in life!

You can imagineer your career – and change the trajectory of your experience for the better!

Pittsburgh, PA
(( this blog originally posted on the author’s LinkedIn page ))