Thursday, May 1, 2014

God Doesn't Have Issues!

During the course of the 8-week online business program I've been taking, Marie Forleo (the instructor), has recommended a number of books to supplement the course material. Being a good student, I've purchased most of them.  Unfortunately, I hadn't read any of them.

Yesterday something 'called' me to pick up one of the books, the WAR of ART: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Steven Pressfield, and begin to read it.  As often happens  when that 'calling feeling' occurs, it was just what I needed. The book is all about resistance, and Pressfield states that resistance is the biggest reason many of us never reach our full potential.

This morning, with my day clear of mundane household chores and babysitting duties, I marked it as the perfect day to dig down deep and work on researching information for a new website.  No sooner did the thought come up, than I was besieged by at least a dozen other thoughts about things I really needed to do before I started that research, all of which would take me out of the house!

Ah Hah! I thought, remembering what I'd read in Pressfield's book, resistance is rearing its ugly head!  So I decided to tap (Click here to learn more about tapping) on my resistance and see what happened.

What I've learned about tapping is that it leads me to places I never knew I needed to go, and beliefs I never knew I had, but which invariably were issues that were getting in my way and needed to be healed and released.

As I tapped this morning, starting out with "Even though I'm looking for reasons to leave the house and not do the work I know I need to do, I deeply and completely love and accept myself," other statements soon showed up, including the following: "I don't want to be accountable.  I don't want to be responsible.  My mother always said it was my fault.  My mother always blamed me when things went wrong.  She'd promise me things would be different and then she'd pull the rug out from under me.  Afraid I'll try and God won't support me.  Afraid that God will pull the rug out from under me. God isn't like my mother.  God isn't like my mother.  God isn't like my mother. God doesn't have issues!"

Somehow, I'd overlaid my relationship with my mother onto my relationship with God.  It was affecting my ability to trust God and take the next big step. My mother had issues, big issues.  But God isn't like my mother.  God doesn't love me from a place of woundedness and pain.  He isn't trying to relive his life through my own.  He isn't afraid that if I fail, I'll be a reflection on His good name.  God doesn't make promises and fail to follow through. God won't pull the rug out from under me.  God doesn't have issues!

As that last sentence, "God doesn't have issues." came out of my mouth during the tapping, the physical sensations that had been building in my body up to that point, let loose.  Tears came. Muscles spasmed and released. My entire body shook.  When it was all over, I felt this incredible sense of peace and calm.

Since this just happened, it's too early to tell what the long term results will be, but I do know the desire to run away today, to find something else to do instead of the research on my website, is gone. So I'm going to stay put, dig in and see where it leads.  If resistance rears its ugly head again, I'm going to tap some more and see what happens.  And for sure I'm going to keep reminding myself that God isn't like my mother.  He doesn't have issues!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My Dirty Little Secret...

When I started this blog, I promised myself, and you, my readers, that I would be honest about my journey.  I promised I would share the good and the bad, the ups and downs, the highs and lows, because that's what a spiritual journey is all about: the roller coaster ride between the times when everything is going well (and sometimes even better than expected), and faith and trust are high, and the times when everything is shot to hell and we're in the pits of despair and can't seem to find the tunnel, let alone the light at the end of the tunnel, and we're doubting everything, ourselves and God included.  

These last eight months since I've moved to Nashville have been tough.  I don't know what I expected when I made the move, but I didn't expect that it would be this challenging.  I didn't expect that at this point in my journey I would be contemplating leaving it all behind and taking on a 'normal' nine to five job like most of the people around me.  

Yep, that's my dirty little secret. I've been thinking about quitting. I've been doubting myself, my gifts, my Divine connection and purpose.  I've been questioning it all.  The thought has even come to me that maybe I'm a fake, a fraud, maybe I've only been imagining that the work I've been doing has been of benefit to others.  Maybe somehow I've pulled the wool over every one's eyes, including my own, and the reality is, it's time to face the truth and get a 'real' job!

Am I scared of moving forward?  Well, given the nature of  my thoughts, I'd have to answer that with a giant "YES!"  Although I've taken leaps of faith in the past with very positive results, this time the size of the leap seems larger, and my faith seems too small to get me through.  

So maybe that's why this morning, even though I was in the middle of my spiritual practice, I answered the phone when it rang and God gave me a reason to remember another big leap of faith I took and how it all worked out.

The call was from a fellow Reiki master who was asking me how I decided to start taking an 'offering from the heart' as payment for my Reiki sessions rather than charging a set fee.  In answer to his question, I told him "The Sock Story," as I call it.

At the end of 2006, I decided to raise my rate for an individual Reiki session from $100 to $125.  All the various holistic practitioners I was using for my own healing were raising their rates, and since I hadn't raised my own since 2004, it seemed like the right thing to do.

I sent out an email letting everyone know that beginning in January 2007, my rate would go up to $125.  I also said that if folks wanted to buy gift certificates at the current rate of $100, I would honor those after the rate increase, so they could save a little money.

January first came and I put the new rates into effect. At the end of January, I had to have some minor surgery on my foot, and during the long weekend off, I was doing a more lengthy spiritual practice when I heard that little voice in my head, my God voice, say, "You know, you went the wrong way with that fee increase."  

"What do you mean?" I asked.  It repeated, "You went the wrong way." and then added, "The people who need you most can't afford that fee." "But you know I always make allowances." I responded. "But the people who really need you are too proud to let you know they can't afford you.  They simply won't call.  You need to start charging 'an offering from the heart.'" it replied.

"What does that mean?" I asked, my heart nearly beating out of my chest.  "It means that at the end of the session, you ask them to sit quietly, place their focus on their hearts, and ask God what they should offer for what they received."

I began to argue, "I can't do that. I'm already draining my retirement fund to keep things going as it is.  If I do this, I won't make enough to pay my bills.  People won't give me enough.  They don't recognize the value.  They won't listen, or they'll say they don't hear anything." 

And I heard, "If you do this for me, I'll take care of you."  "What does that mean?" I asked.  "Well, for one thing, you won't have to pay for advertising anymore! (God does have a sense of humor!) Once people find out what you're doing, they'll spread the word and everyone will want to come."

This is crazy, I thought, but how do you argue with God?  So I said, "Okay, I'll start it on Valentine's Day."  (Pretty appropriate, don't you think, asking for 'an offering from the heart' on Valentine's Day?  I thought so, and besides that, it gave me two weeks to get used to the idea, or talk myself out of it!) But The Voice said, "No, you'll start it on Tuesday when you go back to the office."

I drove myself crazy all weekend thinking about that conversation and what was going to happen, part of me wondering if I'd imagined it, but then realizing there was no way in the world I would tell myself to do something like that.  It had to be real. And if I believed it was real, how could I say no to God? 

So Tuesday morning I went into the office and was just finishing up the email to let my clients know about the change, when my first client showed up at the door.  As I was heading to the door to let her in, I was telling myself that since the email hadn't yet gone out, I was still going to charge her the $125. No sooner did I think the thought, when I heard The Voice say, "No, you'll make it an offering from the heart." 

My client was the CFO (chief financial officer) for a large company, and when I told her of the change, she looked at me in shock and almost shouted, "That's no f'ing way to run a business. You can't do that!"  I looked at her, pointed upward and said quietly, "But I'm not running the business."

After her session, as she was digging in her purse to find her checkbook, she asked me what she owed me.  I told her I couldn't give her an answer to that, that she would have to decide for herself. She became irate, and said "I can't do this. I need to have boundaries. You need to tell me."  When I refused, she angrily told me I was lucky she knew what I normally charged, forcefully wrote out her check, folded it in half, shoved it into my hand and walked out the door without another word, obviously distressed.  When I unfolded the check, I discovered she had paid me $25 more than what I normally would have charged!  I was dumbfounded.

My next client that day had a gift certificate, so I didn't have to worry about telling her about the new pricing.  After her session was over, she reached into her purse for the gift certificate, and when she handed it to me, also gave me cash.  When I reminded her that the session was covered by the certificate, she replied, "I know. But when I was leaving the house, God told me I needed to give you money too."  And then she picked up a plastic grocery bag that was sitting beside her on the couch, and said, "And I'm supposed to give you this too."

Opening the bag, she pulled out two pairs of brand new socks, one light gray and the other a light teal color.  Holding one pair in each hand, she studied them for a moment, and then extended the light teal pair and said, "I think these are the ones you're supposed to have."  As I reached for the socks, I began to cry.

In December I had gone Christmas shopping at Costco, and picked out a three-pack of these fluffy aloe-infused socks to give to my son's girlfriend, Tiffany, for Christmas.  She was always complaining about cold feet.  And since my feet were always cold, and the socks were so pretty, I decided to buy a three-pack for myself.  The only problem was, when I got to the checkout, I didn't have enough money and had to put my three-pack back.

Tiffany was thrilled with the socks, and all I heard during my visit each time she put a new pair on, was how soft and warm they were. I was berating myself for not having been able to buy any for me, and went back to Costco after Christmas to remedy that.  Of course, by that time, Costco was out of them. I was really disappointed.

The three-pack of socks that I had to put back that day, contained three different colors of socks: pink, light gray, and light teal.  Out of the three colors, the light teal was my favorite!

As I touched the pair of light teal socks my client held out to me, the exact same socks that had been in that pack I'd had to put back, in my head I heard The Voice say, "If I can give you the exact pair of socks you want to warm your feet, how can you doubt that I will take care of you?"

I continued to accept an offering from the heart for my healing work until I closed my office in Pittsburgh in 2012.  Interestingly enough, once I began that practice, I never had to take another penny out of my retirement monies.  

The money didn't always come in in the way I might have expected, and it didn't always come in from my clients for my work.  When I had my hip replaced in 2007, an old friend who had been out of my life for over fifteen years, offered me a $6,000 loan with no interest and no time frame for repayment to help me cover my expenses.  

Once it came in the form of a gift from my mom, and once it was a no-interest-for-a-year cash advance check from a credit card company. And in 2010, when I had my knee replaced, it came in bits and pieces in myriad get well cards from my friends, clients, and students!  

It really doesn't matter how it came, it only matters that it did.  And although I'm telling you it came from my clients, a friend, the credit card company, my mom, and all those wonderful folks who sent me those get well cards, they were really only the messengers.  Truth is, God was taking care of me just the way He promised that He would.

And if He made that promise to me in 2007,and did what He said He would do, and I'm still doing His work in the way that I feel I'm being guided to, there's no reason to think that He'd break that promise just because it's 2014 and I'm doing the work differently.  I just have to remember that promise and continue to trust.  

So I'm not quitting.  You won't be seeing my resume on or find me reading the want ads in my local paper.  I'm sticking it out and moving forward, and when I get big time scared again, because I'm human and I know I will, or I begin to doubt just how powerful He is and how much He cares, I'm going to log onto my blog and read this post again.... and again, and again and again, as many times as it takes.   But what I'm not going to do is quit!  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

He's Got My Back!!!

It's been a while since I've written anything.   For whatever reason, I just haven't had the words I needed to fill the page.  But a couple of things have happened lately that have made me remember something that happened in 2006, when we finally found a buyer for my mother's house, and somehow it feels like it's a story I need to share.

My mother got sick in March 2004, and although we hoped that she would be able to resume living independently once she got well, she never got well enough for that to happen.  So in 2005, I cleaned up the house and got it ready to put on the market.   A year went by without a single offer. We lowered the price a couple of times, and I was beginning to wonder what we'd do if we couldn't find a buyer at all.  Finally, in August 2006, I got a call from the realtor, who told me she had a buyer for the house and they wanted to close within thirty days.  

Although I'd gotten some of my mom's things out of the house by then, and had cleared out the attic, there was still a house full of stuff that needed to be sorted through.  I knew we'd have to have a house/yard sale, but with my only brother living in California, my son in Tennessee, my mom walking with a walker and not up to much physical labor of any sort, and no other close family to help, the bulk of the work was on my shoulders, and I had no idea how I was going to get it all done, especially when the realtor called again and said that the buyer had some kind of issue with his financing, and the sale could only go through if we could close in twenty-one days!

I remember being in shock, thinking there was no way in the world I was going to get it all done.  I went to see my chiropractor because my neck and shoulders were so tight my head felt like it would explode, and he asked me if I'd sent out a request for Reiki and prayers to help with everything I had to do.  I told him I hadn't even thought of it, and he thought that was pretty crazy, since I was always sending out requests for everyone else.

So I went back to my office and wrote an email asking everyone on my email list to send Reiki and prayers to help me get the house and its contents ready for sale.  I've never been very good at asking for help, so it wasn't an easy email to write, and I was relieved when I finished it and hit the send button.

I had several other emails I needed to write to let folks know I was closing up the office for a week and that I wouldn't be around.  I finished those and then noticed that there was still an unsent email in my outbox.  When I checked to see what it was, I was surprised to find out that it was my request for Reiki and prayers for myself.  All the other emails I'd written had gone out, and they were  written after my Reiki/prayer request!  That just didn't make sense to me, because usually if the first email doesn't go out for some reason, the ones you write after that won't go out either.

No matter what I did, I couldn't get that email to leave my outbox.  I tried retyping it, I tried reformatting it, I tried everything I could think of.  That darn email wouldn't go. I even wrote a couple of extra emails for other things and tried sending them, and they went! But my Reiki and prayer request wouldn't leave.

I finally gave up and headed home.  I packed what I thought I'd need to get all the work done, picked up my mom, and headed for Hermitage, PA. (That's the city her house was in, and the city I grew up in.  Funny, isn't it, that I now live in Hermitage, Tennessee.)  

When I walked into my mom's house that night and looked at everything that was still there (three bedrooms, living room, kitchen, garage and full basement all crammed full of stuff from over fifty years of living), I was overwhelmed with such feelings of hopelessness and impossibility that once my mom went to bed, I sat at the kitchen table and cried.  I couldn't figure out how I was going to manage to sort, price, sell, and clean out everything that was in that house in one week's time.

And then I heard this quiet little voice in my head (I've come to call it my God voice.) say, "Just pick a place and start.  Any place at all, just start.  It will be all right."  So I dried my tears, blew my nose, opened a cabinet in the kitchen and began pulling things out, pricing them and putting them to the side as I continued with the next cupboard and the next one after that, working my way through the house, one room at a time, over the next few days.

There's a lot more to the story of course, but the important thing is that I started all that on a Monday evening, and by Friday afternoon (with only some intermittent help from my son and two very special friends), everything was ready for the sale, and by Monday, only seven days after I started, the sale was over, the house was empty and cleaned and the closing took place.  As I left the realtor's office after the closing, I truly couldn't believe it was all done.

I took Tuesday off work to recuperate, and when I went in on Wednesday morning, the first thing I did was turn on my computer to catch up on emails.  And as soon as I opened my email, I got a message that my email had been sent.  When I looked at my sent messages folder, the message my computer had just sent, was my Reiki and prayer request, the one that wouldn't leave my outbox the week before, no matter what I did.   I remember laughing and shaking my head, and wondering to myself why that email could go out now, when all the work was done, but it wouldn't go out when I needed/wanted it to.

And then I heard that same small quiet voice in my head again, the one that I'd heard that night in my mom's kitchen when I felt so overwhelmed.  This time the voice said, in answer to my unspoken question about why that email wouldn't go out:  "You needed to know that I had your back. You needed to know it wasn't everyone else's prayers for you that were being answered, or all the Reiki that they sent.  You needed to know this was between you and ME. You needed to know that I heard your prayers. and I answered." 

I haven't thought about all that in a long time, but I think it came to mind now because a couple of doors that I thought God had opened for me, just closed, and I was wondering why He opened them in the first place, if He had no intention of keeping them open.  But just like He wouldn't let that Reiki/prayer request leave my outbox in 2006 because He wanted me to know He answered my prayers, and not everyone else's prayers for me, I think God closed these recent doors because I was counting on other people to answer my prayers, and God wanted to make sure I know that what happens next is because He's the one who has my back!