Handling a bad day (2/20/21)

As a person on a spiritual path, connected with God or your guides, have you ever had a bad day, and felt disappointed and discouraged?

I certainly have. At times I’ve even wanted to climb back into bed and pull the covers over my head. For me, the hardest days are those when I feel like I’m failing in my calling. I look to others who seem to be clearly living out their spiritual calling, and find myself lacking. The key for me is to first remind myself that even though I know who I am, I may still have these days simply because I’m human.

So, when I turn to my guides and God, I don’t look to them to take my feelings away (most times) but to honor, make space for them, and be open to understanding what they mean. Admittedly, during these times, I don’t always feel connected to my guides. But I do try recall those times when I did feel connected and when they did provide guidance and support. That can give me a little hope, and help me look for their help in other ways, through friends, spiritual readings, music, and other media.

Equally important is that I remind myself to do the best I can. For years, as a perfectionist and workaholic in recovery, I pushed myself and judged myself harshly. After having therapy and spiritual direction, I’m gentler with myself. So, on a bad day I try to adjust my plans, find ways to take care of myself, and limit the impact of my mood on others.

Time and again, my guides have reminded me to trust the unknown, and believe that the answers will come. It’s still not always easy but it does take the edge off usually.

You are a unique creator

You are a unique creator of light; we are unique creators in light.

I woke up unsettled this morning, an aftermath of writing my last blog. After breakfast, I took a walk. It was a gray morning and reflected my mood. A few moments in, song lyrics from the “Come From Away” musical popped into my head – “Out of the darkness… into the light.” It felt like a reminder that light was present even if I couldn’t see or feel it. Listening to more lyrics, I came upon one character, who upon seeing a couple fearfully clutching their Bible because they did not understand what was happening, ask to borrow their Bible and showed them a passage from Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing.” These too felt like a message from the divine.

As I bathed in the words, they brought me some peace and a reminder of my calling to serve. It felt like an invitation to create something unique out of these experiences and offer that to others. In fact, I believe that through our own experiences, and the way we handle our struggles and successes, we are all unique creators of light. Even if a path is shared by others, it is still unique because who you are.

I’m currently writing a fantasy novel. The primary character, Thom, is a spirit healer. As I write about the Thom growing into his gifts, what is so freeing is that I get to create what I want, including his encounters, learnings, and challenges. It flows from me naturally because of who I am and who I aspire to be. This freedom also applies to my life, I can create what I want, which is unique to me, and that may help others.

The same is true for you. Each day, you get to write/live your story based on who you are and who you aspire to be. You have the opportunity to create something new and beautiful because of how you uniquely experience and learn from your challenges and blessings. And as you bathe in this newly created light, you offer the same light to those around you. From the same Philippians passage (the Jerusalem Bible), …”if there is anything you need, pray for it, …, and that peace of God [higher power], which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and thoughts…”

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Tragedies and blessings

Tragedies and blessings – how do you wrap your head, heart, and spirit around them, especially when they happen within a few days of each other?

Three weeks ago, I was preparing to attend a retreat. I had signed up for it without knowing the primary speaker. It didn’t make sense. But my guides, God, and the angels agreed that I should attend. I was looking forward to discovering what had drawn me to it.

Six days later, two days before the retreat, I learned that my niece and nephew’s second son, Bennett, just 6 months old, suddenly died. Bennett was a healthy and happy child. No words can describe the anguish that my niece and nephew are going through, not to mention that of his older brother. How can anyone wrap their heads around such a tragedy?

My husband and I had met Bennett for the first time a few weeks before, and even held him on our laps. What was so striking about him was that when he looked at you, you felt like he was looking into your soul. Watching him being fed by his grandmother (my sister), I believed he would grow into a sensitive, passionate, and even holy man. I looked forward to seeing that happen.

At my niece’s request, the funeral service was just the immediate family. So, I still attended the retreat. I shared about my great nephew’s death. And many came up to me, expressing sorrow, including the retreat leaders, and telling me that they would be praying for Bennett’s family.

During the retreat, through the talks and exercises, I experienced many aha moments about healing and embodying your highest self. They were truly blessings, for which I felt gratitude. Yet, at the same time, images of Bennett’s smiling face would pop into my head as a stark contrast.

So, I return to my original question. How do you wrap your head, heart, and spirit around this? Wasn’t Bennett cheated from being able to embody his highest self? As a spirit healer and someone who talks to the divine daily, you would think that I would have answers. I don’t. Just this morning, I walked by a mother carrying an infant. I imagine my niece doing the same, and feeling a stab to her heart.

While I don’t have answers, I do have some thoughts. First make space for all of the emotions and thoughts that arise, as I am trying to do. Honor any anger, sorrow, confusion, when they come. Even honor any guilt you might have about having a good day. Next, reach out to loved ones to share those emotions. Even scream and yell at God and ask for understanding. And finally, be gentle with yourself, take time away if you can, treat yourself to a sweet (or whatever takes the edge off) if you can’t, and just do your best to get by.

My heart forever goes out to my great nephew Bennett and his family.

Addendum: After publishing this blog, I find myself dissatisfied with my suggestions, even though I do believe in them. What makes this further dissatisfying, much less confusing, is the song that keeps going through my head, Requiem from Dear Evan Hansen. As mentioned elsewhere, I regularly get messages from my guides and angels through music. In this case, what the singers are expressing is so different from what Bennett’s family and my family feels. Is this truly a message? If not, why does it keep popping up? It just doesn’t make sense. What message am I meant to get God, guides, and angels? What healing am I being guided to offer?

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They call me Tavi

One of my favorite fantasy series is “The Codex Alera” by Jim Butcher. The main character, Tavi, faces numerous challenges as he discovers his identity. One reason I like this series is that when Tavi encounters a situation that scares him sh**less, he proceeds anyway because he knows it’s for the good of all.  As he prepares to face another challenge, his partner tells Tavi, “Fear is the enemy. Respect it. But do not let it conquer you before the fight has begun” (Butcher, 2008, p. 334).

I resonated with this advice, and wrote about my own approach to it in my last blog, “Who is driving the bus?” Over the last few weeks, while traveling, further insights arose. The first is about shifting my direction. The second is about my call to serve.

In interacting with my Mindset Makeover group, one of my team used the word shift to describe the changes she is making. The word jumped out at me powerfully. For many years, I’ve worked to change some aspect of myself to increase my self-esteem. On hearing the term shift, I realized that I experienced that word as a gentle direction adjustment rather than an about face, which is how I have viewed change. Shift reflected that I was already on the right path and mostly aligned. So, it felt easier to implement.

During my recent travels, I found myself repeatedly applying this metaphor. For example, when I heard about many flight cancellations and anticipated having difficult conversations with family, I was able to shift my attention from the fear that arose to my intuition and let go. Time and again, as small or large fears surfaced, I applied this approach. It felt so right, even if there were times that the outcomes associated with my fears weren’t as perfect as I hoped.

The second realization was about service. Through the Mindset workshop, I realized that in my studies over the last year, I erroneously thought I had to learn more before really being of service. Embracing the shift metaphor enabled me to see and respond to opportunities to serve in the most simple ways.

Connecting and serving

One of the most profound opportunities was with my niece, Maureen. Maureen has Down syndrome, at a level that is considered profound. As a result, she has limited ways to communicate. For the last 25+ years that I’ve traveled to visit my husband’s family, including Maureen and her parents, while I have shown her love, given her hugs, and so on, I must admit that felt a little stiff. I was fearful of doing the wrong thing with her.  Both the shift metaphor and the reminder that the simplest way to serve is to love, enabled me to relax and trust my intuition. So, for this visit, I played with Maureen, held her hand, helped her move around her home, and just sat with her so her parents could attend to other things. It was delightful. Maureen was all smiles. It was such a treasured experience.

As you travel your own road to wholeness and service, perhaps the shift metaphor would be useful to you, and enable you to open up to opportunities that you might not have considered before.

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Butcher, J. (2008). Princeps’ Fury. London: Penguin Books, Ltd.

Who is driving your bus?

I’ve just finished the Mindset Makeover course. As mentioned in an earlier blog, the focus of this workshop was to identify and release one obstacle keeping you from doing what you want to achieve. My block was trusting my intuition.

Through the workshop, I discovered that my obstacle’s goal was to keep me safe. While that was important as a child, it only limited me as an adult. The overwhelming feeling associated with this obstacle was fear. As a result of the workshop, two realizations emerged.

The first was understanding that my obstacle was tied to spiritual perfectionism. This unconscious goal constantly reminded me that I was not ready to be a healer, because I didn’t have enough training. This built in me the desire to attend as much training as possible so that I would be “spiritually perfect.”

Who is driving your bus?

This awareness made me also realize that my fear of getting hurt or doing it right might not completely go away. So, I couldn’t just wait until it was gone before doing what I felt called to do. In other words, I could no longer allow my fear to drive my bus.

As part of my Certified Angel Guide training, I was asked to offer healing to another. Even though I felt fear, I knew I needed to finally offer it. Now, I had previously printed out the instructions for doing so to ensure that I “did it right.” But it was difficult to offer while attempting to read the instructions at the same time. At some point, I realized that I hadn’t followed the them exactly, and that’s when my intuition nudged my fear out of the driver’s seat and informed me that it didn’t matter because my intention was clear. Further along in the healing, my intuition called me to make further changes in how I did the healing. It felt right and very freeing. The next steps are for me to continue practicing this change of drivers.

I wonder if you have had experiences where you felt called to do something but hesitated or didn’t proceed because fear was driving your bus. I’d invite you to build up your trust in your intuition, so, if fear does arise and start driving your bus, you can ask your intuition to take over the driving.

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Two Gifts

I recently received two gifts from the divine.

The first happened last week. I found myself thinking about my connection to my divine teachers, but not feeling their love. I wished I could feel it. Immediately, they reminded me of my meditation video about connecting with them, and suggested that I take that to the next level with love.

So, I brought to mind what I feel when my husband looks at me with a twinkle in his eyes and ones that glow with love. As I I feel that love in my heart and gut, I apply it to my divine teachers. Coming from a childhood where I was mostly taught to fear God, feeling this love is such a gift. So, I’d invite you to try this.

The second occurred yesterday while listening to Radleigh Valentine, a spiritual teacher who spoke at a workshop I’m attending. He said that when he faces challenges, he relies on his determination not to be defeated and his faith. His faith is based on knowing that his divine guides support him, as evidenced by the signs and synchronicities that he’s previously received from them. On hearing that, I felt like Saint Paul, from Christian scriptures, when he was knocked off his horse.

In college, my faith underwent an incredible transformation to one that became personal and joyous, and based on a loving God. After leaving my Catholic faith because some of its beliefs no longer resonated, I basically forgot about faith. Radleigh’s words rekindled an old flame. Like him, I have had signs and messages from my divine teachers. Approaching faith like Radleigh brought me full circle, back to something so precious, and one that I can tap into when I face challenges.  This morning, in fact, during meditation, Archangel Sandalphon gave me a wonderful phrase – grounded in faith – that helps me feel grounded, knowing that due to faith, my divine teachers are right beside me enabling me to release my worries.

If your beliefs have undergone changes, but you feel a little uncertain about your new direction, reimagine your faith to one based on the support and signs you’ve already received from God and your divine help.

Two gifts for me; and I hope two gifts for you too.

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Transforming mental blocks

This week I attended an online workshop called “The Mindset Detox” given by Liz Dawn, of Celebrate Your Life, and Emily Manning. It centered on addressing one mindset block, that is a part of you that protected or served you in the past, but no longer does. I focused on my self-doubt of my healing gifts. I want to share two exercises that had a profound impact.

Transforming blocks

The first was about inquiry into the block. To start, we were asked to connect with our core self, that I call our divine self. This is the grounded and wise self that’s connected to the divine. Then, we were asked to imagine that that block had a physical form and is sitting or standing next to you. Next, we were asked to have a conversation, asking him what was going on in order to understand its role in my life. The goal was not to eliminate this part but uncover the gift it provided (that is how it protected), and ultimately tease out how it could serve today and thus integrate into my core self. As a result of the exercise, I realized that my self-doubt was simply trying to keep me safe, thus initiating for me a process of transformation.

The other exercise was focused on thoughts, feelings, and actions. We were asked to write the thoughts that arise from the block, the resultant feelings, and the associated actions taken. Then, we were asked to write their counter-parts, the thoughts, feelings, and actions coming out of this transformed “block” that would now serve. Finally, we were asked to visualize ourselves in a situation where this block might previously have been triggered, but, as a result of its transformation, results in a positive experience. Liz went on to explain that doing this exercise for at least 21-days creates new neural pathways in the brain to support this change. She also explained that it may also occur subtly, whereupon one day you might notice that you are responding differently.

The workshop was an amazing experience and I am so grateful to Liz and Emily for offering it. At the end, they mentioned that they are offering a more intensive 28-day workshop, called “The Mindset Makeover,” starting May 15. If you are interested, here’s a link to the Celebrate Your Life website that provides more details: The Mindset Makeover.

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Can’t see the forest for the trees

You can’t see the forest for the trees.

Have you ever felt so focused on project details or tasks that you forgot about the higher-level intent for them? In 1546, John Heywood documented the metaphor, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” That metaphor jumped out at me this morning as a result of messages I received from my spirit guides and angels.

As I’ve written before, I both am a spirit healer and becoming one. In the last few months, I’ve been taking a course on becoming an angel guide and a seminar on developing my spiritual gifts. But one thing I’d forgotten over those months is that I’ve been mostly functioning at the detail level and had not taken much time to step back from the tasks and view things from a higher perspective.

For the last twenty-some years, working in the documentation department of software companies, the software’s complexity required that I carefully document the details. However, when I became a manager, I was also responsible for translating company strategies so that writers could apply them to their daily work. So, I had to view my work from both the detail level and the higher level. By the end of my time with the company, I was able to balance them.

Now, as most of my time is dedicated to my calling, I was reminded today that I was imbalanced again. I was focusing on the details, in this case, the courses and my writing. The message to me was to step back to a higher view (the forest view from the metaphor), and simply attend to being connected to the divine realm, really feeling it moment by moment. That requires that I trust that my guides and angels let me know when the details need attending.

Looking at your own life, are you balanced between the details and a higher view? This could be about your work, but also your relationships, your finances, and even your own calling. Sometimes, taking the time to step back from the details and reflect gives you a chance to determine if your current direction and choices are in line with how you want to live.

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From a fear of God to a Divine connection

Growing up Catholic, I was taught about fearing God, often at the expense of teachings about a loving God.  From my theological studies, I know that the original Hebrew words, that were translated into fear, could also mean awe, reverence, and respect. The sad result of translating them as fear for me and so many others is that God and even Jesus became unreachable because our feelings of fear turned into feelings of unworthiness and separateness.

From my counseling studies, and from personal experience, I know that a fearful person closes down to protect him or herself from harm. When felt in relation to the divine, in effect, that person is protecting themself from God and thus limiting their ability to feel love and support.

Various spiritual teachers have talked about how fear can hinder our connection to the divine. In his book, Angels Whisper in My Ear, Kyle Gray writes about people pleading for help from angels but feeling like they are hitting a wall. I suspect that often desperation and fear underly that. And believe me, I know that from personal experience too. Now, you never want to imply someone’s feelings are wrong, because they aren’t. They just are. However, if you let the fear or desperation be in control, you are more limited because you are closed down. Kyle suggests that rather than pleading for help with angels, expect help from them, because that in fact is their role. I love that idea because it sort of turns things around – both recognizing your feelings but also acknowledging that you are more than your feelings.  This in turn, opens you up for a deeper connection with the divine, including feeling their support.

Recently, I became aware that I still have some walls up with the divine, even though I chat with God, guides, and angels, every day. I likely built those walls in response to childhood fears. While the walls served me as a child, as an adult they only limit my connection with the divine and my use of my spiritual gifts. I’m still puzzling through the nature of those walls with my divine teachers. But without a doubt, I know that as these walls start to crumble, my connection will deepen exponentially.

My wish and prayer for all of you who were taught to fear God is that you can release that limiting belief, and truly feel your innate connection with the divine and their support, enabling your gifts to more fully emerge.

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Your worthiness: Do you feel it?

I had a powerful experience last week that I hesitated to share with you because I was unsure whether it would be of value for your spiritual journey. But today, via Angel cards, the angels challenged me to share it.

As mentioned in my story, for many years I struggled with low self-esteem. I didn’t realize until recently, that even though I believe that I’m good and worthy in my mind, somewhere further down, I still felt unworthy. And I discovered that this also impacted my relationship with the divine.

As you know from my other blogs, I talk to my guides, God, and angels every day, seeking their guidance and support. When I receive it, I always thank them. But I just realized that I repeatedly thank them for the same guidance, as if I didn’t deserve it. In a way, I believed that helping me was taking them away from helping someone worthy.

Feeling worthy

Coming to this realization, I turned to my guides and God to help me work through this. Last Thursday, I also turned to my soul coach. He guided me through an exercise where I came upon my toddler self, curled up in a ball, trying to remain unnoticed and stay safe. During the exercise I was invited to speak to the toddler, telling him he was loved, good, and worthy. By the end of the exercise, as I hugged him tightly, I knew he felt it.

Later that day, I became aware that I felt worthy. I was surprised. In fact, for the next few days, I kept checking to see if I still felt it, as if I was afraid it was fleeting. But it was there and as strong as ever. With this feeling came the awareness that my fears of not being good enough or getting in trouble (to name two), which I have tried to heal for so long, lost their foundation when I no longer felt unworthy. What a relief!

Now, I’m not saying that my fears have vanished completely. However, when they arise, I tap into my worthiness and allow it to enfold the fear and help it dissipate.

I’ll end by hoping that this story reminds you of your innate worthiness. May it be the foundation upon which you thrive.

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The Greatest Gift

Growing up Catholic was wonderful in that it gave me a grounding in faith, established a belief in God, and emphasized the importance of prayer. Unfortunately, at the time, prayer for me seemed limited to memorized words. While I was sincere when I recited them, they weren’t personal enough. In college, a friend gave me the greatest gift when she told me that prayer can be as simple as a conversation with God.

I vividly recall the time I spent in the campus chapel spilling my guts to God about my struggles, questions about faith and relationships, and even my purpose. I didn’t know how God would answer, but speaking out loud to God was cathartic. After a few months, I realized that my relationship with God had begun to change, experiencing God less as one who judged and more as one who listened and loved. Through these chats, God had become my confidant and friend.

Eventually, I came to recognize that these apparently one-side chats were not one sided at all as God’s responses had been coming to me through unexpected encounters. One important one occurred when a friend asked if I would host his friend at my apartment for a few days. My intuition told me to say yes. That yes, led me joining a prayer group and ultimately led to my decision to become a priest. You can read more about that in my story.

Today, I still have daily chats, not only with God, but with spiritual guides and most recently angels. Their responses come from many avenues. For example, they come from people, like my husband or soul coach, suggesting a book, and from conversations with friends. They also come from music, movies, dreams, Oracle, Tarot, and Angel cards, and even emails. Finally, I often get them during our chats, not only from my intuition, but through words and phrases that pop into my head that I know are not from me.

Truly my friend’s suggestion in college was the greatest gift. I think of her and thank her regularly, as this gift led me to where I am today. If you have ever felt your spiritual life somewhat stymied because you don’t know how to connect with God, give chatting a try, and be open to whatever happens.