Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Diviners

When I was in high school one of the books on the required reading list was Margaret Laurence's "The Diviners".

This book changed my life. I couldn't tell you how, exactly, only that it touched me deeply and went straight to my heart and stayed there. The protagonist, Morag, spoke to me directly. I felt she was my best friend in the world.

The lessons that Morag learned, I learned, and Laurence's imagery, characters and truly great storytelling have stayed with me these many years. The writing is so good.

One of the myriad lessons that Christie, Morag's guardian, teaches her is "Judge not lest ye be judged."

A quick search tells me it's from Matthew 7:1.

As a young teenager who fancied herself a soothsayer, these words made a whole lot of sense to me and I would often preach them, believing I had the authority to do so. Youthful arrogance, anyone?

It wasn't until my late 20's when a rude awakening brought me to finally admit the truth about myself: I am judgmental.

It's a painful thing to admit and yet I know it's probably true of all of us. We're human. That's what we do.

Yesterday I was speaking with a young woman I'm helping to guide through the rocky waters of the healing path and lo and behold I found myself talking about LOVE at the very same time I was casting judgment on some of her other teachers.


Of course, I didn't realize this until later when I was obsessing over the session. Something was wrong. What was it?

A little digging, some sharing with a friend and voila! I'm humbled.

I once knew a man, an Elder, a Great Chief, who said to me, "Celia, we can't get so heavenly that we end up being no earthly good."

I would love to be able to tell you that all this inner work I do has freed me from the bondage of Celia and I never judge anyone anymore. Ha! But I strive for that freedom and, to the best of my ability, I admit when I'm wrong.

It doesn't feel good to say, "I judged that person." But it feels good to accept it and let it go.

Inspiring Message of the Day: I'm human. I'm on the path. I'm doing my best.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Great Mystery

There is a rainbow on my living room rug.

The sun is shining through the window hitting a stained glass frame resting on the sill and the colours of the rainbow are mixing in with the patterns on the Persian rug.

I'm sure there is a scientific explanation for rainbows but I don't wish to know what it is. Don't get me wrong, I like science. I would even go as far to say that I love science.

What I love most about science is that often the scientific explanation for a thing only succeeds in deepening the mystery of its origin.

Once I was riding a train from Montreal to Toronto and I was sitting across from an elderly couple in the "family" seats, where two face two.

I don't remember how we got on the subject but the gentleman asked me if I had read "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking. I told him I had struggled through part of it but didn't get all the way to the end.

He said, "What's wonderful about that book is it presents all kinds of information, which is totally fascinating and very, very intelligent but in the end what Hawking tells us is that we still don't know. There are no answers."

This is the Great Mystery.

The Great Mystery is a wonderful title for the Divine, the Force, God, Higher Power et al.

The word "Great" gives it the power and reverence it deserves and the word "Mystery" encompasses the notion that who we are and why we are here is ultimately inexplicable.

The Great Mystery allows us to have faith in the unknown while trusting in the omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent Power back of all things.

Inspiring Message of the Day: In the words of the great songstress Kim Beggs: Just look for rainbows in gasoline 'cause everything is Divine.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Into the Mystic

Yesterday I was speaking with a friend who is living on the other side of the country about the mystical journey of life and the process of letting go.

I was describing to her my own process of walking through my fear everyday. Everyday I must do the thing I think I cannot do. Everyday I pray for courage and I show up for the ride.

"It doesn't matter, it doesn't matter that I'm afraid, I'll do it. Whatever I'm supposed to do I'll do it," I told her. This is my practice.

My friend, listening closely, told me about a film starring Ingrid Bergman called The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. It's a B-movie from 1958 that nobody saw. In it, Bergman plays a missionary who is sent to China. At one point in the film she is visiting a prison and beyond the bars she can hear screaming and terrible sounds that evoke unspeakable horrors.

The guard says to her, "Aren't you afraid?" and she says, "Yes. Open the door."

My friend told me this story to illustrate her point, which was to say that my fear does matter. We cannot negate our fear. Our fear is real. So, yes, YES, I am afraid. Now open the door.

But the only reason I'm able to say open the door is because I trust. I trust in the mystical experience.

The mystic believes in spiritual truths that are beyond the intellect. The mystic believes that we are being guided every second of our lives. Every single thing that happens to us is guidance from on high.

This is challenging. But it is also liberating. Life becomes an adventure to be lived out every moment as we wait to see which path to take, what road to follow.

Fear of what lies ahead is inevitable. It feels terrible. But trusting Guidance is the key that allows us to say, "Yes. Open the door."

Inspiring Message of the Day: I'm terrified but I'm willing to do whatever it is that I am supposed to do. I will pray for courage and I will walk forth into the greatest adventure of all: my own life.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Spiritual Solution

I started this blog because the cat I live with wakes me up each day at an ungodly hour and I was so enraged one morning that I prayed for help because I truly wanted to kill him.

When things happen to me that are disturbing in nature (from the mundane to the very serious) I seek what I like to call the Spiritual Solution in order to discover what is really going on.

The SS involves looking at the bigger picture and asking pretty deep questions: What is the message? How can I be of service? How am I attracting this? What can I change? How can I practice love here?

Living according to the Spiritual Solution is not easy. It's a narrow path. It's much easier to complain and be annoyed and resentful or have a pity party or give up altogether. But there's not much peace to be had by reacting emotionally to things or taking things personally. When I accept that there is something to be learned from difficult situations I am less likely to get depressed because I'm trusting in a Higher Plan.

Even though I fantasize about strangling my cat, I choose instead to love him, love him, love him.

"Do to us what you will and we will still love you."

Those are the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.

He was an advocate for loving our enemies. Love them until they are worn down, love them until we are victorious.

This is a radical approach and I believe we must adopt it for everything that happens in our lives. Whatever we are fighting today, we must fight with love. We must love the thing we hate into submission.

Inspiring Message of the Day: I am willing to love my enemy because I believe that this is ultimately how I will win freedom.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Being Here Now

Well, the cat woke me up at 4:17 a.m. but did I get up to blog about it? No, I did not.

There were no forthcoming inspirational messages coming through so I ignored the cat and slept until I had to wake up at 6:30.

It's already been a very full day and I've still got a "to-do" list a mile long. I'm blogging right now to avoid tackling it.

Why do we procrastinate?

Here's a crazy idea: most of us procrastinate because we know that if we actually get the thing done we are going to feel GOOD. And many of us do not believe we deserve to feel good.

I've done some pretty big work on myself to believe that I deserve to feel good but some days are better than others. I can still fall back into the old way of thinking that tells me I don't deserve to feel free, it's better if I'm stressed etc.

I call these thoughts The Voices of Dissent or TVOD.

Often TVOD occur when I future-trip. Instead of being here now I've launched myself into a situation or a scenario that is not happening anywhere but in my head and as a result I'm feeling anxious.

Ergo, when I am not here, I am in fear.

Inspiring Message of the Day: When I return to the present I return to peace. Keep returning to the here and now. It is the only time we really have.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Abundance is an Inside Job

The cat has been trying to wake me up for the last two hours but I wouldn't budge.

Poor thing. He was actually hungry. Sometimes he forces me to get up and there is still food in his dish but this morning it was empty and now he's gobbling and crunching his kibbles as though he hasn't eaten for a week.

I was dreaming of a grandmother and her two granddaughters. One of them was sick and I was asking if she'd been to the doctor to make sure it wasn't swine flu.

She gave me a book with a page in it that had been written just for me. It said:


I told her I'd been working on that one for a while. And I have, in waking life.

What I have found is that when I create inner abundance, that is, truly believing that I am everything I need to be by getting rid of the belief systems that tell me that I'm not, the abundance in my outer world expands.

It is vital that I dig out the belief system that tells me I'm unworthy, or that I don't deserve to feel free or prosperous or loved. I must do this in order to believe that I am enough, that I do enough, and that I have enough.

Digging out this old way of thinking is challenging and we can't do it alone. But when we rise to the challenge and seek the help we need to change, we can then experience true abundance, which is a feeling of having and being enough.

Affirmations are great but if I'm still operating from a belief system that tells me I'm a piece of crap then the affirmation is not going to go very far. I have to change the belief system by removing the old way of thinking.

Inspiring Message of the Day: When I seek help and change my inner world, my outer world transforms. I deserve to feel abundant. I am everything I need to be, today, now and always.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Bigger Picture

Would you believe I woke up 30 seconds before the cat pounced on me in anticipation of the rude awakening?

Sometimes we know things before they happen.

How does that work?

Last night I went into the local Correctional Facility to talk to a group of female inmates about what life could be like for them if they stopped drinking.

There were eight women there and they were all (perhaps save one -- though she looked it) First Nations.

I was reminded of Steve Earle's song "Billy Austin" in which Billy describes the men in his prison as "mostly black, and brown and poor."

All of these women were brown and poverty was something they had no doubt all experienced. All of them were there because of crimes committed under the influence of alcohol.

We were talking about the "spiritual experience" of noticing the world around us, seeing the bigger picture, connecting to a higher sense of being through nature; tuning in to the colour of the sky, the texture of the grass, the birds flying above.

By the end of our session there was hope in the room.

Inspiring Message for the Day: When we take the time to think about how a tree can grow from a tiny seed, how the earth spins around the sun, how we can know things before they happen, we are connecting to the Life Force Energy of the Universe, and we can overcome hopelessness.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Forgive the Thief

When you sleep with your arm purposefully resting along your side so your cat won't damage your kidneys when he leaps on your exposed waist at 5:07 a.m., you do have to wonder, "What is the message?" when he does just that.

I was dreaming of a man talking about a thief. Judging him for what he'd done.


Shocked awake.

Instead of strangling the cat, I pray.

What is the message?

I am immediately reminded, because of the dream, of an incident that happened to me recently when I went away to see a friend get married and lead the Inspiring Workshop, Cultivate Your Courage, in Vancouver.

When I returned home from the trip I noticed that a traditional Native-looking beaded bracelet was missing from my bathroom. I waited a few days, not really thinking it could be stolen, and then looked in all the places I may have put it for safekeeping.

Not there.

I called the house-sitter who had been staying here and asked her if she'd seen it. She said she would ask her granddaughters.

I had met one of her granddaughters when the lady arrived to look after the apartment. A small child of five, the young girl had played with the cat while I hurriedly did a last minute check before heading for the airport.

Sure enough, the house-sitter called back and said her granddaughter had the bracelet and could she come over to apologize?

Poor thing, I thought. How sad. How sweet.

I imagined her coming into my apartment, crying, and I would sit her down and say, "I used to steal things, too. It's okay. You told the truth. That is all that matters."

When the knock on the door came and I readied myself to teach the crying little girl a profound life lesson, I was surprised to see a 16-year old Native-looking girl as tall as I am standing before me.

"Sorry," she said and handed me the bracelet. She wasn't crying. Her mother looked more sheepish than she did.

A teenager! Boy, I could really teach her a lesson! I could give her a lecture she wouldn't soon forget. I could tell her about all the things I stole and how I've had to make amends. I could tell her that despite the fact that she wasn't truly remorseful she one day would be.

"It takes a lot of courage to do what you just did and I appreciate that," I said.

Her mother and I exchanged a smile.

When your cat leaps on you at 5 a.m., what is the message?

Take advantage of it. Blog for change.

Inspiring Message of the Day: It is better to thank someone for what they did do rather than chastise them for what they didn't .

Monday, September 21, 2009

Joining the Masses

This is what I used to think about bloggers:

Self-centred in the extreme. Ego maniacs.

Who thinks that she is important enough to have people read her thoughts about everything and anything? Who cares?

Yesterday I went to see the film Julie and Julia and instead of judging Amy for blogging about cooking her way through Julia Child's book I was inspired.

The movie, however, was not exactly what led to this auspicious beginning.

At 5 o'clock this morning the cat woke me up, as he does every bloody morning, in the cruelest and most unusual way:

He jumps on my stomach from the window ledge above the bed. It's not only a shock to be woken out of a deep sleep, it is painful.

I was mad. Like, ready to hurt him, mad.

So I began to do the thing that I do to survive and thrive in this crazy world: I pray.

Please help me to accept this little beast, help me to understand what it is I'm supposed to do, how can I see this in a different way, how can I love him despite the fact that he is such a pest, show me what to do, free me from my anger, guide me in this situation.

And the idea for a blog just swooped right in.

"I could write a blog to inspire people," I thought. Inspiring Works is the name of my coaching business and Inspiration is Courage.

So here is the Inspiring Message of the Day:

When something happens to me that I do not like, that feels like cruel and unusual punishment, I will see it as an opportunity for growth. I will use it to change the world, be of service, help others. I will thank the person/place/thing that gave me the lesson, for he/she/it is my greatest teacher.

Thank you Julie and Julia. Thank you, cat.