I have been so busy, getting my new business up and running and ready for the summer… but I’ve learned a few things along the way that I just wanted to quickly share.
You don’t have to be cut-throat to be in business. Perhaps this is no surprise to you, but I think that many of us have the idea (taught to us consciously, or picked up subconsciously through the media) that you have to be shrewd, calculating, cut-throat, and generally unkind to be a businessperson. I have found this to be untrue. Because the businessperson stereotype is strong, I have to remind myself often that kind, generous, organized people are the best businesspeople of all. I think of what I learned at Steve Pavlina‘s Conscious Growth Workshop, about the principle of Oneness — a combination of Truth and Love, and for me, that means working towards a business and solutions that are good for everyone. The overarching goal of my business is to make is possible for people to explore the wilderness and the water that I love!
One of my friends also has this figured out. KB from ktotheb.com is creating amazing videos — and offering them completely free — just to help others and contribute to making the world a more loving place. This is her latest one and after watching it, you really may want to start yoga, not as an exercise, but as a way to connect to your Spirit and improve your intuition! :)
Letting go works better than clamping down. I can occasionally get a little “type A personality” about things, and I’ve noticed that when I do, I tend to clamp down on things, with the attitude that grinding through them is what needs to be done. Grinding through them doesn’t work though — I just get tense, frazzled, stop breathing deeply, and it takes me longer to get the task done, and then I might have to redo it anyways because something in my business model changes. But if I say “this is where I will start” and then start it with an attitude of letting go — letting the inspiration come, letting the work flow out of me — then I am efficient, effective, and I do the best thing. When you have a lot of things to do, it can become paralyzing trying to decide where to start. When I stay open and relaxed, I do the best thing and sure enough, a day or two later, I find out that it’s exactly what I needed to do. Someone will call me and voila! — I’ll have all the answers for them because I did that work yesterday or the day before. It’s pretty cool when that happens!
So I challenge you to think about how you picture businesspeople, and what stereotypes we have. I am a businessperson now; am I heartless and calculating? Only when I have my calculator out. :)
The title of this blog is a little deceiving, I’ll admit. The question of why God doesn’t answer prayer is a flawed question; in fact, all prayer is answered. You may have heard the answer’s either “yes, no, or wait.” I think that’s a little over-simplified! Ernest Holmes says
IF GOD EVER ANSWERED PRAYER, HE ALWAYS ANSWERS PRAYER, since He is “the same yesterday, today and forever.” If there seems to be any failure, it is in man’s ignorance and misunderstanding of the Will and Nature of God.
I’d like to share some things I have read recently that may shed a little more light on prayer. I believe we don’t get the answers we want for a few reasons. This isn’t a complete list or the ultimate treatise on prayer, just a few thoughts of today!
We think God is moody. Some of us have picked up some pretty strange beliefs from our upbringing. One of these is that God is a big, grumpy man up there somewhere, and some days he’s happy to oblige our requests, and some days he’s impossible to please. This is very unfortunate, and this personified view of God makes us think of him more like Grandpa that God. So we start to relate to God in this way, and treat him like an ordinary person. But God is a Force… Spirit… Love. Not a “being” to be pandered to. We work with God to create our reality; if our reality is something we are really unhappy with, we should think about why we made such a situation. We can’t just blame God and call him grumpy.
It would be difficult to believe in a God who cares more for one person than another. There can be no God who is kindly disposed one day and cruel the next; there can be no God who creates us with tendencies and impulses we can scarcely comprehend, and then eternally pushes us when we make mistakes. God is a Universal Presence, an impersonal Observer, a Divine and impartial Giver, forever pouring Himself into His Creation.
- Ernest Holmes, from The Science of Mind
We manipulate God. This activity one comes from point #1 — the belief that God is inconsistent makes us want to manipulate God like a Mighty Parent to get our way. This doesn’t work for so many reasons! I’ve been manipulated a little lately, and I’ve had the opportunity to see it very clearly for what it is — the person manipulating is doing it because he/she thinks they don’t have enough. It comes from a belief in lack, or sometimes injustice. Which leads me to think that we tend to manipulate God when we believe in lack in some aspect of ourselves or our lives. And as long as we believe in lack, or injustice, that’s what we’ll get.
We think God is far away. We plead and plead, pray the same thing over and over, sometimes getting physically louder and louder, when we believe that God is far away. He might not hear us! Nothing could be farther from the truth (forgive the pun)! There is absolutely no distance between you and God; Spirit is Omnipresent. God truly is everywhere, in everything and everyone. Perhaps if you’re repeating yourself and feeling like you aren’t being heard, it’ll help you to think more about God’s omnipresence, or perhaps you are repeating a prayer because you are trying to convince someone other than God — yourself. (That’s a topic for another day!)
So ultimately, if we feel God isn’t answering our prayer, the solution isn’t praying more or louder. It’s not as simple as needing more faith; take a look at your thoughts and attitudes that hinge on your faith. It could be you’re praying for something you already have (or already have the power to have, if only you will recognize it), like praying for happiness. If you get quiet and meditate, the answer will come to you. Rev. Patrick Cameron often says “I don’t know, but something within me does know” and I like that thought!
As you can tell from my last post, I’ve been thinking a bit about Christmas lately. What makes it good? What makes it frustrating, annoying, or “bad?”
I used to go to a church that had a Christmas morning service. The preacher encouraged people to just sort of “get out of bed, open your gifts, and show up,” even starting a tradition of bringing kids still in their PJ’s. Nice idea! Certainly more practical than expecting people all decked out in their Sunday best. He would ask all the kids who were there to come to the front of the church, and then we’d all sing happy birthday to Jesus — literally, using the song and everything. After church, there’d be birthday cake, which was mostly for the kids, but I think more than a few adults indulged in a piece! I used to enjoy those times, although it did seem a little superficial. Having no tradition of Christmas of my own to refer to, I had no historical background, so I guess I was a bit more analytical than most.
So I’ve come to one conclusion: I think one thing that’s so annoying about Christmas is that “yay, Jesus is here!” attitude. If Christmas is supposed to be the time we celebrate Jesus’ birth, why is that all we celebrate? If my friends wanted to celebrate my birthday in a big way, I hope they would say more than “hey, you showed up!” Wouldn’t it be nicer if they said “we love you. You are great! You are funny, warm, caring, honest…” appreciating me for who I am.
This reminds me of when people congratulate a man for the birth of a new baby! For Pete’s sake, he did none of the work! He just got to have fun once! The woman did all the work — enduring morning sickness and all the changes to her body, feeling bloated and later just plain heavy, and of course, the big finale, birth! That’s no party! So next time you want to express joy at the arrival of a new baby, focus on the woman! But I digress.
The second part of the Christmas attitudes that baffles me is the “oh, I’m so glad he was born so he could die for me.” Do people think about the baby’s death at the baby shower? Do you talk about that? Hmmm, I don’t. “Geez, he sure is adorable, I hope he doesn’t die in a car crash. That would be tragic.” Or, alternately, if you’re remembering someone’s life, you don’t focus on the very end, do you? “Grandma sure suffered at the end, didn’t she? Oh, she tried to be strong, but those last couple of months were rough. Too bad she couldn’t talk because of the stroke.” Nope, in my family, when we talk of Grandma, we remember her pickled carrots (the best!), her grilled cheese sandwiches, her “get up and go” attitude, her positivity, her independence after Grandpa died, and how she shoveled her own walk — even swept it! — until the last year or so when we convinced her to hire a neighbour boy to do it. We don’t talk about the circumstances of her birth or her death — we talk about all that happened in between.
So, if you’re a Jesus-celebrating person, I hope I’ve given you something to think about. He was awesome. He was so loving to everyone he met. He did miracles, with ease. He had a beautiful spirit. I’d like to be more like him.
But I’m still not really “celebrating” Christmas. Not the way most do. :)
The Spirit within me does not long for anything. It is free, safe, and satisfied. There is no sense of insecurity or of inferiority. I am not seeking to avoid anything. I am conscious of my ability to meet every situation. There is neither depression nor discouragement in my mental outlook on life. I do not look to anything outside myself to give me pleasure, comfort or certainty. I do not long for anything and I am not afraid of anything. My whole inner being is conscious of its unity with God, of its oneness with Spirit. There is no pleasure in intemperance, nor can it offer any suggestion of happiness to me…”
Wow. I wonder how I would treat people I encounter if I said that to myself every morning? Differently, I think. I had a challenging day today, and I wish I had read this in the morning… might have changed the outcome a little (although I was still quite positive and level-headed, despite some schtuff that happened. :) )
Remember I mentioned that this really spoke to me? Well, the paragraph is about intemperance, which I thought meant having a bad temper. But I wasn’t sure, so I thought I’d better look it up, just to be sure. I was wrong — intemperance is an expression for “immoderate indulgence of bodily appetites, specifically, drinking of alcoholic liquors.” Hmmm. A blurb about alcoholism spoke to me? I’m far from being an alcoholic (and not in denial, don’t worry), so what’s going on? Well, I might have other addictions, so… hmmm…
This is the second part of the paragraph — a-ha, it is all about habits!
I now see this habit for exactly what it is, an illusion, which seeks to force me to believe that there is some power outside myself which can give me either pleasure or pain. I do not anticipate such pleasure, nor is there any suggestive power in this habit which can cause me to believe that it has ever, under any circumstances whatsoever, given me pleasure. I am forever free from this thought, and from its effects. I do not will myself free from this habit, rather I perceive this habit is neither person, place nor thing. Having no law to operate, it cannot function. Having no intelligence of its own, it cannot suggest. Having no mind, it cannot will. I am now forever free from the mistaken belief that it was ever a thing of itself. I see it as forever separated from my real self, forever divorced from my imagination, thought and conviction. I am free now.”
That would be powerful against alcoholism! It will work on chocoholism, too, I think.
The paragraph above is actually a prayer treatment. A prayer treatment (or affirmative prayer) is something that you say, out loud, somewhat like a regular prayer, except it is more affirmative and “treats” you for a specific set of false-thinking you are stuck in. It’s a little like self-hypnosis, something you tell yourself so that you can change how you think, but affirmative prayer also lets God/Spirit help you in that area.
This prayer treatment comes from Ernest Holmes’ book The Science of Mind. Now maybe you think this is just too close to scientology or (what you feel are) other “quack” religions, not what you choose to believe. I hope you can see the wisdom in the words even if you don’t quite understand or agree with the source. For a little more info, click here. I will not try to convince or convert you, ever. Believe whatever you want to believe, but be aware that what you choose to believe and think shapes your reality! Aaah, this reminds me of my book! I am essentially finished writing it, although I need a cover design and some artwork done, then I really need to work on publishing it! Next year! :) Seriously, I’ll work on it in January when I have more time.
Just wanted to share this poem with you: :)
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
from Dream Work by Mary Oliver published by Atlantic Monthly Press
It just hit me one day, not long ago — I am a pipe! I’m not a valve or a pump, I’m just a simple conduit!
I don’t need to work really hard, or pray really fervently (pump). It’s not up to me to decide who will receive a blessing today (turn on or off like a valve). I am just a pipe — always in the right place at the right time to do exactly whatever is in front of me, whatever will bless or encourage or lift up someone around me. There’s no struggling, no thinking “oh, I’ve got to try really hard to be God’s special servant today;” I am not a pump for Spirit. There’s no deciding who to be kind to, and no “turning on the power;” I am not a valve. I am a conduit and all I have to do is be wherever I am, be conscious and alert. I suppose I wouldn’t be any good if I got clogged, or sprung a leak… “Getting clogged” would be trying to keep God’s blessings all to myself, as if there aren’t enough to go around. “Springing a leak” would be letting Spirit, or blessings, go in a direction other than the one I’m pointed in… like trying to be somewhere I’m not, wishing I were somewhere else right now (we all do that sometimes, don’t we?). But it’s not a serious problem because it’s not like I’m going to waste blessings — there’s always plenty more where that came from!
And the other cool thing: everything is a blessing! It’s not like “being a blessing to someone” is hard! It’s just being a little caring, kind, or thoughtful. Smiling when someone says good morning, and even letting someone be kind to me, or compliment me, graciously accepting it and absorbing it. Have you ever tried to give someone a gift who refuses to accept it? Not much fun in that, is there?
And believing that I am always in the right place at the right time takes so much pressure off! I don’t need to rush to be here or there, I am already exactly where I am supposed to be!
So that’s all! In the beautiful fountain of life, I am a pipe, not a pump or a valve. I simply conduct the good that the Universe wants to pour out on everyone!
Simple like borcht. :)