Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Gratitude's the Attitude!

I learned the importance of beginning and maintaining a gratitude practice a number of years ago.  Teachers that came into my life at that time, books I read, quotes that caught my attention, all spoke of the power that gratitude has to move us forward, to transcend the mundane, to fuel transformation.  So each morning, as soon as I awaken, even before opening my eyes, I offer my gratitude for all the upcoming day will bring to me, as well as for the previous night's rest, my warm and comfortable bed, the light coming through the shutters, etc.

Each night, just before I fall asleep, my last conscious, intentional thoughts focus on the things that have happened during the day and I say a prayer of thanksgiving for all that has occurred, mentioning specifically those individual happenings and occurrences that easily come to mind.  I also make a special effort to find something to be grateful for in any challenges and seemingly not-so-great things that might also have occurred that day.  And when I can't find anything positive, I offer my gratitude anyway, knowing that something good came from what I experienced, even if in my humanness I am unable to recognize it. 

So you might think I have it covered, right?  But what I realized after participating in a teleconference last night about gratitude with Rev. Denise DeSimone, is that my gratitude practice has most recently become a gratitude routine!

I've been mostly going through the motions, saying the words, doing what I'm supposed to do (and patting myself on the back for being so consistent!), but without putting any real feeling into it.  And without the feelings, the emotions, the words are almost meaningless, which also means they lack the power needed for transformation.

Years ago, in the movie, The Secret, we were told that to get the things we want, we simply need to visualize them.  We were told to make a storyboard with pictures of all the things we wanted, and to take time each day to visualize having them.  But the point that was often neglected, and the reason this technique often failed for so many people, was that the fuel that manifested what we wanted, what we were visualizing, came from feeling what it would be like to have those things.  It was the vibrations from the feelings that we felt that helped manifest what was in the pictures.  It was the feelings that would fuel our actions, and in turn, fuel the reciprocal actions of the Universe, and help bring the desires we pictured on that storyboard into being.

So although I've been saying the words, and thinking the thoughts, I know I haven't been feeling grateful (I have my moments, of course, I'm not saying I never feel grateful, but it's not the ruling majority!). I've been too caught up in all the other feelings that have shown up as I accustom myself to all the newness in my life, all the differences, all the changes and challenges. 

Going forward I'm making a special effort to feel the gratitude my words and thoughts acknowledge each day.  I needed an attitude adjustment.  I just thank God I got the kick in the butt I needed in time to start the New Year off on better footing!  I'm now looking forward to what 2014 has in store with even greater excitement, knowing that I'm sending out vibrations that have the ability to support my transformation, as well as more deeply appreciate all the goodness already present in my life.  Thank you, Rev. Denise, for being the kicker!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Ego Went to Work!

I got the message when the orange and black butterfly appeared at the top of Rev. Denise's website with the information about the L.I.F.E.(Live In Full Expression)class.  I knew that butterfly was my signal that this was Guidance coming through and taking this class was my next step.  My ego knew it too, and it went to work with a vengeance to do everything in it's power to convince me I wasn't supposed to take this class.

For starters, before I had any personal contact with Rev. Denise regarding the class, my ego went right to the money issue (my Achilles's heel!), "$179 for six weeks and it's only a one hour phone call?  That's a lot of money for six hours of telephone time. And you've tried these things before, and you've never stuck with it. Waste of time, waste of money. Forget it!"

I explained to my ego that the price also included a workbook and six CDS, and that Rev. Denise is a nationally known personality who really impressed me when I heard her speak, took her sound healing workshop, and experienced a healing session with her. And damn it, what about the butterfly?  I worked hard to fight back!

And then, when Rev. Denise responded to my email requesting a Discovery Session to help me determine if this class might be of value to me, her email started out with 'Hello there,' and my ego said, "Really?  Hello there? She can't even mention your name in her greeting?  Does she really even know who she's sending the email to?  Does she even care?  You want to spend good money for a class where the instructor doesn't even have the courtesy to address you by name?" 

Rev. Denise went on to offer me a couple of options for a session. I could choose Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, between 2 and 4 PM EDT.  I emailed back my choice for a session on Wednesday at 2 PM EDT, and told her I looked forward to hearing from her at that time. Her response started with 'Hi There.' and she informed me that it would be best if I called her

My ego was off and running again:  "What? She still can't use your name?  And you have to call her?  Doesn't sound to me like she cares about anything except getting your money. She can't even make the call!  This is bullshit!  I told you it's a waste of time.  You don't need this."

So an hour later, when this email from Rev. Denise hit my inbox, my ego went wild: 

'My bad. Mixed up my days.
Thursday at 2:00 works best for me.

Talk then?'
"My bad? Really?  Talk about unprofessional language in a business communication!  And she can't even keep her calendar straight!  She's the one that gave you the options and then she screws up! And you want to take advice and direction from her?   Come on, Bonnie. You need to rethink this, big time! I'm telling you, this class isn't for you!"
Singing Zippity Do-dah in my head every time that little voice started up, I managed to keep ego's nagging to a minimum between that last email and today's phone call with Rev. Denise, without changing my mind.
Wouldn't you know it, though, when I called at the appointed time, I got voice mail!  And right away my ego started in again:  "She picked the date and time. She told you to call and you did, and she isn't even there!  How many more messages do you need that this really isn't for you?" On and on it went.  As I left my message, I was praying she'd call back quickly, if for no other reason than to drown out that persistent, negative egoic voice screaming in my head.
Thankfully, about two minutes later, she returned my call, and after our discussion I was even more determined than ever to register for the class. And then my ego had another opportunity to pick up its tirade once again, when Rev. Denise mentioned the start date of the class as Monday, January 7.
January 7 is a Tuesday, not a Monday, and when I mentioned this to Rev. Denise, she told me I was mistaken.  She said she always teaches this class on Monday, and January 7 is a Monday.  I explained I was looking at the calendar and it was Tuesday! 
She asked me to hold on as she checked things out, and during the silence on her end of the phone, my ego began its song and dance once again: "Ha! I told you this class wasn't for you!  She screwed up!  AGAIN!  This is the person you want to give you guidance?  To help you figure out the next step?  You're looking at the calendar and she's telling you you're wrong!  She can't even keep her own life straight.  How is she going to help you?  And you've already got your own things scheduled for Monday nights anyway."  I could just visualize my ego jumping up and down in ecstasy, visualizing victory.
Rev. Denise got back on the phone and acknowledged she made a mistake, but said she is teaching the class on Monday evenings and the start date will be January 6.  My ego started up again. "You've got things scheduled. You can't do Monday nights. This isn't going to work, yada, yada, yada."
I explained the situation to Rev. Denise and we figured out a way I can still make this work. She took my address to send me the CDS, and we hung up.  I immediately went to her website and hit the Pay Now button to lock in my registration.  I was exhausted!
But I fought the good fight, and at least for now, I've won the battle with my ego.  But the course is still a few weeks away, and there's still ample time for my ego to get in a few more licks.  And even once the class starts, I can allow that voice in my head to dissuade me, to keep me too busy to participate or make me 'forget' I have an obligation.  So many ways my ego can work to keep me from following the Guidance I received. 
Our egos don't like change. They like the status quo because staying in the same place is familiar, even if it isn't comfortable. They know how to do familiar, they don't know how to do new and different and bigger and better, and so when an opportunity for expansion presents itself, our egos will do everything in their power to convince us the opportunity isn't what we think it is.  They are really just trying to keep us safe, but playing it safe isn't a very good recipe for growth.
I could allow myself to be convinced that this class really isn't for me.  I could see all the little missteps up to this point as being 'signs' that I made a mistake, that the orange and black butterfly at the top of Rev. Denise's webpage doesn't really mean what I think it means.  It would be easier to do that: I'd save money, I wouldn't have to worry about the class interfering with my own events schedule, I won't have to hold myself accountable for attending, I won't have to find the time to do the work, etc., etc.  But that orange and black butterfly was a powerful message to me when I walked into that bedroom in Anchorage and saw that wall of butterflies.  And I don't believe in coincidences. I just don't. Synchronicities?  Yes. Guidance?  Absolutely!  Coincidences? NO! 
I know my ego isn't done with me yet, and I can't rest easy until I complete the class, because I know if I let down my guard, my ego will take every opportunity to keep me from finishing.  I don't know where this class will lead me, but I think my ego must have an inkling that it's going to lead to significant changes.  I think so too. So even though I have no doubt my ego's work isn't done,  I'm prepared for the battles to come.  And by the time the end of the class comes around, my ego will be out of work... at least until the next time! 



Friday, December 13, 2013

From Bedbug to Butterflies

I've been a bedbug for most of the last week.  What I mean by that is that I've been in bed playing host to a very nasty bug of some sort that seems to like my hospitality, although I've done everything humanly possible to show it the door!

I confess, I haven't been to the doctor, but from years of experience with similar 'guests', I know that unless there's yellow/green gunk coming from my nose when I blow it and coming up when I cough, (which there isn't) the doctor isn't going to give me anything I'm not already taking. So why make myself more miserable, and take the chance of sharing my misery with others, simply to hear him tell me to go back home and keep doing what I'm doing, and it will be over when it's over?  So I'm waiting it out... not patiently, I admit. But I'm doing my best.

A friend who called to check on me commented that I must really be releasing something, since this bug has been so persistent for so long!  Her comment sent me to my copy of Louise Hay's book, Heal Your Body, which offers the emotional/energetic cause of the physical symptoms our bodies use to let us know there is dis-ease going on. (Interesting that I frequently refer others to this book when they are experiencing dis-ease, but somehow failed to refer to it myself, until Chris' comment. Thank you, Chris!)

Under the entry for colds, it says: "Too much going on at once.  Mental confusion, disorder."  Hmmmm... I see possibilities here.  It also referred me to Respiratory Ailments, which, when I read the following, "Fear of taking in life fully." also caused a couple of raised eyebrows.

I do have a lot going on in some ways, (holiday preparations, new distance events, new in person events, a new relationship, a new way of relating to my son and his family now that I'm here and not in Pittsburgh, learning what it means to be a part of a condo community, etc., etc.) and yet in others, I feel like I don't have enough going on (no business Facebook page, no new website, no full-time work schedule, no email newsletter, no office space, etc., etc.).  So yes, there is plenty of mental confusion and disorder because of all of the above!

As for the 'fear of taking life in fully', well, yes, I have to admit there is some of that too!  Personally and professionally.  I haven't been in a long term, committed relationship in years, and I'm not even sure I know what it means to take that in fully!  So some fear there?  Oh yeah.  And what about professionally?  If I think about all the possibilities of where my work can take me (and that's only from the human perspective 'cause we all know that God can make things happen we can't even begin to imagine!), I'm shaking in my boots some days, trying to figure out how the heck I'm going to do it all, or on the other side of the equation, I'm convinced I don't have what it takes to make it happen.
(Completely forgetting, of course, during those times of quaking, that if God has a plan for me, I don't have to figure it all out, and whatever the plan, She will give me everything I need to make it happen anyway!) 

So okay, there seems to be a reason this bug is hanging on.  I can certainly relate to what Hay's book is saying. What do I need to address; what message is this nasty little visitor supposed to be imparting?   Well, that's where the butterflies come in!

During my trip last year, I took a picture of an orange and black butterfly that landed at my feet on a wooden deck as I walked along a river in Glacier National Park.

The butterfly didn't hold any particular significance for me at that point, other than that I love butterflies and I think this was the only one I had seen up close and personal up to this point on my trip, but with a new digital camera that meant snapping its picture wasn't wasting film, I took the picture. (As I looked at it to include it in the post, I thought it was interesting that the butterfly appeared to be studying its shadow, and aren't our shadow selves the parts of us that we need to bring to the light to heal and release? hmmm, more food for thought!)

After the park, I headed out of the US, through Canada, and ended up in Alaska, where total strangers offered me their spare bedroom for two weeks, and what's the first thing I ssaw when I walked into the bedroom?  A wall full of orange and black butterflies!

And then I walked into the bathroom, and what do you think was on the wall of the cabinet, directly above the toilet, right where I couldn't miss it?  Yep, another orange and black butterfly!

God always finds a way to give me the Guidance, direction, and assistance that I need as I travel this path.  So when those butterflies turned up, so similar to that butterfly on my path in the park that day (the one I just happened to take a picture of), the message I got from them was that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.  I was being watched over and guided, and my presence in that home was no accident, and God wanted to make sure I knew it!  Considering I was in Alaska, thousands of miles from home, family and friends, and staying with complete strangers, that was a message I needed to hear.

With everything that's going on in my life, and everything that isn't, I've been asking for more Guidance, more messages, more of whatever I need to help me move through this period of transformation. 

A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to take a sound healing workshop with Rev. Denise DeSimone, who is a survivor of fourth stage throat cancer, an author, singer, healer, and minister. (I hadn't planned to attend the workshop, but sitting in church that morning I got the message that I needed to attend, so I went.)  I also had the privilege of receiving an individual healing session from Rev. Denise. (As soon as I saw the sign-up list at the front of the church, several weeks before she spoke, I put my name on the list.  At that point I had no idea who she was or what she was about. I just knew I needed a session with  her.  It was very powerful for me, but the details aren't relevant here.)

During the workshop, Rev. Denise mentioned a teleseminar she would be starting in January, and she referred to it using the acronym, L.I.F.E.  (If she mentioned that day what the acronym stood for, I missed it.)  She offered each of us a free thirty minute 'Discovery Session' with her via phone call, to help determine if the teleseminar might be helpful for us. The information went in one ear and out the other.  I'd tried a couple of things like that before and found that I had trouble keeping my commitment to them.  I figured this would most likely be the same, so I was passing.

One day this past week, during one of the periods when I felt like I needed to do something besides lay in bed, I forced myself to turn on my laptop and look at my emails.  One of them was from Rev. Denise, and the subject heading was simply 'Hello from Rev. Denise'.  For some reason I decided to open it, and it was another invitation to join her teleseminar.  This was after I had looked at Louise Hay's book, so when I read through the email and found out that L.I.F.E. meant Live In Full Expression, and the comment under Respiratory Ailments was 'Fear of taking in life fully,'  I decided to click on the link she offered and check it out more fully.  I was feeling a synchronicity here.

So I clicked on the link, and guess what was at the top of her banner?  Yep, a black and orange butterfly! 
(You can see it for yourself! And who knows?  Maybe the class will call to you too!  http://www.denisedesimone.com/teleclass.asp )

I've scheduled a discovery session with Rev. Denise for next week.  It's really only a formality though. With this kind of synchronicity, I know God's hand is at work, and this is my next step along the path.  There must be something in this teleseminar that will help me clear the confusion and mental disorder so that my path is more clear.   And perhaps I will be able to take in life more fully, with less fear and more joy.  I hope so.  Whatever the outcome though, just like God showed me in Alaska that I was being watched over and guided, and that I was right where I was supposed to be, She's showing me again.  I've learned life is always easier when I follow the Guidance.  So I'll be signing up for Rev. Denise's teleseminar once my 'Discovery Session' is complete, I have no doubt!

I'm hoping now that I got the message, God will help this bug find it's way out of my body sooner rather than later so I can totally escape the bedbug routine at last.  I just wish God could have found a more pleasant visitor to deliver the message in the first place!  I would have preferred a butterfly! :-)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Transition vs. Transformation

How often have you heard someone say, "I'm in transition?"  How often have you said it?  In these last fifteen months I know I've said it countless times. 

What does it mean, being in transition?  The Miriam-Webster dictionary defines transition as "a change from one state or condition to another."

When I read that, it feels like a slipping from one place to another, almost a lateral move, if you will. I don't necessarily get a sense of moving into something bigger or better, just different, (not necessarily good different either, although I'd hope it would be better than where I currently am, and certainly when I say it, that's my intention). But it doesn't fill me with a sense of power, or even particularly call to me as being something I'd aspire to.  It's almost as if it's somewhere I just ended up, unconsciously, unintentionally even.

But what if I were to say I'm in a period of transformation?  What visions or feelings or sensations does that conjure up?  Miriam-Webster defines it as " a complete or major change in someone's or something's appearance, form, etc."  

WOW!!!  When I read that, I certainly don't get the feeling that I could just slip into it unconsciously or unintentionally.  And for some reason, it feels much more powerful, much more expansive, than the word transition.  At least it does to me.  It feels like I'm stepping into something bigger, something better, something with greater potential, than if I simply say I'm 'in transition.'

Why am I thinking about this?  Because in a healing circle a few weeks ago, as each individual introduced himself/herself to the group, and I heard several people say "I'm in transition.", one person said, "I'm in a period of transformation.", and I was struck by the difference that choice of phrase made to me as the words came out of her mouth.

It felt powerful, uplifting, hopeful, big!  It felt life-affirming, and I commented on it as the implications of that power filled me. I thought to myself, I don't just want to be in transition anymore, I want to be in a period of transformation.  I want to be more.  I want to be bigger, better, higher. I am aspiring to be all that I came here to be, and I am doing it intentionally, with attention, and when I use the phrase, "I am in a period of transformation.", it feels so much more powerful, so much more positive, so much MORE of everything!  It has an energy, a promise inherent in the words, that I don't feel when I mouth the words, "I'm in transition."  And I like the feel of that energy, that promise.  It spurs me on, it makes me want to figure out the next step, take the next step, move forward. When I use the phrase, "I'm in a period of transformation.", I feel empowered.

So the next time someone asks me what I'm doing now, I'm going to use that woman's phrase, (Thank you, Linda!) and answer, "I'm in a period of transformation."

And each time I feel myself slipping into a state of lack-lusterness (is that even a word?)I'm going to repeat that phrase to myself and allow the power of those words to fuel my actions, because I'm not just slipping unconsciously into something else!  I am intentionally working to raise my vibration, expand my reach, and grow into my potential.

Words do have power, and I want the power of those words, my words, to take me higher!


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Grateful for the Miracles

As I was eating breakfast this morning and thinking about my day, I decided that during this silent alone time before the family feasting began (I'm going to Jason's mother-in-law's for dinner, so I don't have to cook!), I'd sit down and think about all the things that I am grateful for and actually write them down in my journal. 

Of course, once the idea germinated, my brain began working on the list even before I had pen and paper in hand.  And as one thought led to another, I realized I didn't have enough paper, ink or time to complete such a list.  

I am so grateful for where I am in my life, and if, as I believe, everything has happened for a reason, then everything that came before this moment, brought me to this moment, which means that I would have to include every minute, every second of my life prior to this moment, on that list!   And even if I had sufficient paper, ink and time, I'm pretty sure I don't have all the memories at hand to make that happen.

Einstein said:  "There are two ways to live your life...  One is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle."

Today I am grateful for all the miracles that are my life! 

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!  And may you recognize the miracles that are your lives too!

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Apple or the Chocolate Cake and an ' AH HA' moment!

During a healing circle on Saturday morning, a familiar message came through as part of a much longer message. 

God was talking about the need to raise our vibrations so that we could have a deeper connection to the Divine.  The higher our vibration, the more we would be able to connect to the Source of All That Is.  He said we have an opportunity to raise our vibration each time we make a choice.  When a choice presents itself, there is always a higher and a lower vibrational option.  By making choices that are of the higher vibration more often than the lower vibration, our vibrations will inevitably rise.

The example He used was the choice between an apple and a piece of chocolate cake.  He said that the apple was obviously the higher vibrational choice, as it was natural, filled with tons of nutrients and fiber, and would not only help to fill us up, but help us to release all the old 'crap' that was hanging around in our systems!  (God does have a sense of humor!)

The chocolate cake, on the other hand, might taste better and have a stronger pull for us emotionally, but if we chose the chocolate cake too often, we'd end up with more inches on our hips and have less chance of resolving the issues that were making us choose the chocolate cake to begin with.   He also said that sometimes our desire for the chocolate cake would be greater than our desire to make a higher vibrational choice, and when that happened, we should enjoy the cake and not engage in self-recrimination.  Rather, we should applaud ourselves for being aware that we did have a choice, and that we made an intentional choice when we chose the cake. Simply by recognizing that we had a choice, rather than eating by default, the eating of the cake would become a higher vibrational choice than it would have been without that insight.  He also said that the more frequently we chose the apple, the easier it would be to choose the apple again next time.

As I said at the beginning, this isn't the first time this message has been delivered during a healing circle.  But as I was playing a video game that I have on my phone called Crystal Caverns a day or so after the circle, I had an 'AH HA' moment that helped me understand, in a very visual way, just how important those higher vibrational, conscious choices are in the grand scheme of things.

In the video game, the object is to match three or more crystals of the same color. When the match is made, it causes those matched crystals to disappear, and the rest of the crystals then fall into the spaces that are emptied.  As you continue to make matches, you score points, and when the needed number of points is reached for that level, you move on to the next level.  Obviously, the object is to make it to each successively higher level.

Matching the crystals requires making choices.  Often times there are several possible moves that will allow me to make a match of three or more.  I have to choose which move to make.  As I was playing the game, and making choices, the message about the apple and the chocolate cake came into my head, and I was suddenly very aware of how the other crystals shifted as the matched crystals disappeared.  It's a timed game, so I have to make my choices quickly and can't give them a whole lot of thought, so most times I'm not even thinking about what else might happen when I choose to match the crystals that I do. 

Sometimes when I matched three crystals, the only crystals that disappeared were the ones that I purposely matched.  But their disappearance realigned the other crystals on the board and made another match possible.  Sometimes I made a choice, and as I was making that choice, realized that another match would also be made, and I'd watch as both sets of crystals disappeared, again causing a realignment of the other crystals.  Other times, I'd make a match without any awareness of the other crystals that would be affected, and entire blocks of crystals would disappear, as they fell into alignment in the cleared spaces.  And of course, as they disappeared, new choices and opportunities presented themselves.

As I watched this happen time after time, it occurred to me that this is exactly what happens each and every time I am presented with a choice in my life!  I make a choice, I take action, and then other things happen as a result of that choice.  And each choice that I make changes the configuration of the rest of the pieces of my life, allowing other opportunities (consequences) to present themselves. 

As thinking beings, when we make a choice, we most often attempt to ferret out what the consequences of that choice will be before we ever make it, wanting to make the choice that will serve us best.   Just like when I made a choice in the game. I wanted to make a choice that would match enough of the crystals to make them disappear.  Sometimes I was aware that my choice would affect more than one set of crystals, but sometimes, more often in fact, I was almost clueless as to how impactful my choice would be.  And I would be absolutely delighted when my choice to match three crystals caused an entire block of them to disappear.

So when in life I have to choose between the apple and the chocolate cake, each choice comes with its own set of consequences.  Some I'm completely aware of, and others are beyond my knowing, because the action of choosing has set other things in motion that I cannot see, or even begin to imagine. Just like an intention to match three crystals can cause a shift that enables an entire block to disappear.

Each time I make a choice, I set the Universe in motion to make other things happen that are similar in vibration.  A lower vibrational choice attracts other experiences of a like vibration, and higher vibrational choices do the same!  The more choices I make of a like vibration, the more likely I am to attract an entire block of similar vibrational experiences.  How many times have I heard people say, myself included,  "Geez, I'm really on a losing streak here. It's one bad thing after another!  What did I do to deserve this?"  Or "Wow! I'm really lucky! One good thing after another!"  (And then, of course, we often hear people say, "I better not say that too loud. I   might jinx it!")

This isn't a new concept for me by any means.  But seeing those crystals falling away the way they did, was a very powerful image to help me see just how important it is for me to make the best possible choice each and every time.  Because when I do, I empower the Universe to put things in place for me that I can't even begin to imagine.

I'm going to work on choosing the apple more often, and I'm also going to allow myself to more fully enjoy the chocolate cake when I intentionally choose it.  So I'm hoping the next time you see me, my hips will be smaller and my vibration even higher!


Friday, November 8, 2013

Running Away

I wanted to run away this morning.  As I sat eating breakfast, suddenly I wanted to get in my car and drive.  "Drive where?"  I asked myself.  "Home," I thought, "I want to go home.  Home?  Yes.  Home.  Back to Pittsburgh.  I want to go home."  And I began to figure out how to make it work.

"If I leave now, it's only ten hours. I can be there by 6.  I can stay tomorrow and Sunday, and drive back Monday.  I can do this.  No big deal. My car almost knows the way itself.  I'm going home."

And then I heard, "But you are home. This is your home.  Where are you running to? Why are you running?  What are you running from?"  And as the questions formed in my mind, I felt my eyes tearing up, and then the tears were slipping down my cheeks.  "Homesick, I'm homesick.  I want to go home." 

Before I knew it, I was cleaning up the breakfast dishes and heading for the closet, pulling out my suitcase, opening drawers, picking out clothes...and then I stopped, and sat on the edge of the bed, and asked myself, "What the hell are you doing?"

As I thought about it, I realized it wasn't really Pittsburgh and my home there that I was missing. It was the way things were before I knew Hayden was coming, before I decided to move to Nashville, before I closed my office and took the trip to Alaska.  I wanted things back the way they used to be, back when I knew what each day held, how each day was going to play out.  I wanted my old schedule back. I wanted my full calendar of clients and classes.  I wanted Wednesday night groups and Saturday workshops, and Sunday and Monday off.  I wanted my old routine, my old friends, my old way of being.   I wanted safety, security, stability.   I didn't want to be in this new place trying to figure out what to do with all the stuff in the boxes that were still unpacked and waiting for me in my office.  I didn't want to think about what's next with my work or where this new relationship is heading.  I wanted to run away and leave it all behind.

But the thing about running away, about resisting what I was feeling, is that when I came back, it would all be here waiting for me.  And pushing it away wasn't going to make it any easier to deal with.  As I thought that, I remembered that God had said something similar in a message that came through during one of the workshops I did when I was in Pittsburgh in October.  I dug it out and read it.  This is what God said, 

"So oftentimes, you resist the pain, and what you really need to do is embrace it.  “What you resist, persists.”  How many times have you heard that? So every time you resist the pain, it persists.  Embrace it!  Whatever the pain is - physical, mental, emotional, spiritual - embrace the pain!  Pull it towards you!  Wrap your arms around it!  Love it! Hold it close!  Offer your gratitude!  Tell it how grateful you are that it has come to serve you, and to teach you.
You might be amazed at what happens when you do that.  Suddenly the flood gates will open, and you will be sobbing tears.  But not tears of pain, simply tears of healing.  Sometimes even tears of joy, and you think to yourself, “This is so strange!  I was in so much pain!  And now I’m joyfully crying??  This makes no sense!”
Ah, but your pain was a symptom.  And when you pulled it in, when you held it close, when you hugged it and embraced it and owned it?  You broke it open and freed yourself!  And so you cry tears of joy because you realize that you are free.  That no longer do you have to carry that which you were carrying.
Pain is a very uncomfortable teacher.  But a very powerful one.  And whether that pain is spiritual or physical or emotional or mental, it doesn’t matter.  It’s come to teach you something.  It’s come to teach you what you asked it to teach you."
I'm not sure what this experience is teaching me.  Maybe it's just a reminder that change can be uncomfortable, but it's part of the process, and it's okay to be uncomfortable as long as I don't let it stop me from moving forward.  So I didn't run away today.  I stayed at home and forced myself to unpack the rest of the boxes.  I went to Staples and priced a desk and chair for my office, and I went to Kohl's and bought the towels and rugs for the bathroom that I've been putting off buying.  
That uncomfortable feeling is still there, but the desire to run away has abated.  And I noticed that once I recognized what the feeling of homesickness was all about, it was easier to understand why I was feeling the way that I was.  Everything is different.  It makes sense that I'd want to have it all back the way it was, because I know how to be that person, to do that job. I knew how to live my life as that Bonnie.  I'm still trying to figure out how to live my life as this Bonnie. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

An Amazing Gift!

I love the water!  As a child, I spent most of each summer in the community swimming pool, and as a teenager, old enough to work, my first job was as a lifeguard at that same pool, a job I kept each summer until my sophomore year in college.

As an adult, I'm not so much about being in the water as I am being near the water.  For some reason, just being close to a body of water, calms me and lifts my spirit.  When I lived in Pittsburgh, Erie was my go to place when I needed a water fix.  I could walk the beach for hours, sit at a picnic table overlooking the lake and journal, or just sit and listen to the waves hitting the shore.  Lake Erie was the place I went after I saw the Blessed Mother and she told me I needed to leave Holy Family because she had work for me to do.  The day after I drove to the lake, I turned in my resignation.
Somehow, whatever I got from being there was enough to confirm that I needed to take that step.  I knew when I decided to move to Nashville that I was going to miss my trips to the lake.

When I came to Nashville in January, 2012, for Hayden's birth, I had some time on my hands when I wasn't with my family, and decided to explore one of the New Age shops in the area,.  When I got there, I decided to get a reading done.  One of the things the reader said to me as she read the tarot cards I had chosen, was that when I moved to Nashville, I needed to live near water.  She said it was important for my spirit.  After she said that, I told her about my trips to Erie.  She smiled knowingly and nodded her head as I spoke.

When I began looking for a place to live in Nashville, I never gave a second thought to what that reader had said.  I wanted a place relatively close to my son's home, with no stairs, and something that I could afford.  When I looked at the condo that is now my home, and the realtor said it was on a lake, I never thought much about it, because I couldn't see the lake from my condo.  There is an Army Corp of Engineers' easement between the lake and the back of my condo, which is all woods, and unless you know there's a lake back there, you'd never know there's a lake there at all.  So I just never think about it.

But this morning, instead of taking my usual walk through the condo plan, I decided to head out of the plan and walk down a road just a short distance away that is blocked off with a gate.

Before the leaves started falling, I couldn't see anything past the stop sign but more of the road.  With the leaves falling and branches baring, I could now see a glimpse of the lake.  I decided to explore.

As I walked up to the gate, I was able to read the sign that was posted to its side.  It said this boat ramp was closed and listed several others that boaters could use instead.  "A boat ramp?" I thought.  "How close is the lake?"

                                                               The road past the gate.

The further I walked, the more excited I became!  The lake was so close...barely five minutes from my front door!  I've lived here over three months now.  How could I not have known it was this close?


But isn't that what happens sometimes?  We get so caught up in what is right in front of us that we don't bother to look any further, to dig any deeper.  We let the obvious stop our exploration, or we convince ourselves that it's a waste of time and effort.  I wonder how many other opportunities I've missed because I stopped at the obvious? 

I did my spiritual practice this morning sitting on a rock at the edge of the water, eyes closed, the breeze rustling the dry leaves on the tree branches above my head while the water slapped the shore at my feet.  I turned my face upward and felt the sun warming my cheeks, and even though my eyes were closed, I could see the sun's light through my lids.  I breathed in the chill fall air, aware of the smells of the water, the pine trees behind me, and the wet earth under my feet, and then I pulled back my shoulders, expanded my chest, and breathed in even deeper.  "Thank you, God." I whispered. "Thank you."

I don't have to drive ninety miles to Erie anymore.  I don't have to wait until I have the time to make the trip.  It doesn't have to be something I can only do when I have a full day free of other obligations and responsibilities.  Now, anytime I want to, I can take a five minute walk out my front door, and regain my calm and renew my spirit by being near the water.  What an amazing gift!  And to think I might never have known it, if I hadn't looked beyond the obvious!  

Monday, November 4, 2013

I have more words!

After my last post, I experienced God at work again in my life.

That Saturday night, October 26, I decided not to go to church the next morning.  I hadn't gotten all the things done that week that I had planned to do, and figured I'd just use all day Sunday to catch up.  God had other plans for me.

I woke up Sunday morning just in time to watch Joel Osteen's program.  At the end of it, Joel introduced a pastor from a church here in Nashville called Oasis Church.  He encouraged those of us who were watching from the Nashville area to try out Pastor Danny and his church.  He also mentioned that everyone who attended the church that morning would receive a free copy of Joel's new book, Breakout!  5 Keys to Go Beyond Your Barriers and Live an Extraordinary Life.

Joel's been advertising this book on his program for the last several weeks, and although the title intrigued me, and I've felt a pull to buy the book and see what it had to offer, the frugal part of me hates to pay $26 for a book, regardless of what wisdom I might find within it!  Needless to say, I hadn't purchased it.  But here it was, being offered for free if I just went to the church.  "What the heck?" I thought, "Why not?"  So I quickly got dressed, mapquested the address and directions, and headed out the door.

The church was about eighteen miles away, tucked back in behind a plan of townhouses. It was an old elementary school that had been renovated for a new purpose.  The parking lot was filling rapidly as I pulled in, about ten minutes before the service was to begin.

I went inside and found the table where they had a display of the books, but found out I couldn't get one until I filled out the card that I would receive during the service.  Guess they wanted to make sure I heard their message before I got my hands on Joel's!

The service started with fifteen minutes of live loud music, with attendees standing and moving to the beat, clapping their hands, shouting amen and alleluia, as the singers onstage encouraged them on.  There were guitar players, a drummer, horns, and camera men videoing the performance so that it could be simulcast on the web.  Quite a show, and definitely not what I was used to, but I wasn't there for the service, just the book.  I just had to get through the service to get the book!

God has a way of letting me know if I'm really getting the messages I think I'm getting from her.  Most often it's through repetition, and often from a variety of messengers.  So why was I surprised when, in the first few minutes of Pastor Danny's sermon, he said, "If you want to go beyond where you currently are, you have to have a new perspective!" Huh?  Wasn't that just what I'd written in that last post?  I needed to change my perspective and call the emptiness I was  feeling, spaciousness.  And I even said that perhaps the spaciousness was to make room for something bigger, or different from what I'd known before!  Seemed like God just confirmed that I was on the right track. I love when that happens!

That wasn't the only 'nugget' that I gleaned from Pastor Danny's service that morning.  I noticed many of the people had notebooks with them, and were eagerly jotting down Pastor Danny's words.  I didn't have a notebook, but I did have my cell phone, which had a place for memos, so I began taking down a few notes of my own.  Here's just a sampling of the things that called to me, in case they might also have some meaning for you: 
      1.  You need a check up from the neck up! (Wow! How easy it
            is for me to get so caught up in my own egoic thoughts that
            I never give a second thought to the possibility that there is
            a better way to do something, even when my plans aren't
            working the way I thought they would!  Instead of opening
            myself to that possibility, and reevaluating my plan, I just
            keep blindly moving forward, often trying to make the
            circumstances fit the plan I already have.)
      2.  Write down your five year plan for your life: where do you
            see yourself in five years?  (I wrote a list of all the things I
            wanted in a partner, and look what happened when I did!
            But I never thought to write down a list of how I wanted
            my life to look in five years.  After that sermon, I went
            home, got out my journal, turned to the back pages, and
            wrote out my list for my life!  Can't wait to see what  God
            does with that one!)
      3.  Faith has to have a target. (Makes sense. That's what the list
           is for.)
      4.  You cannot out dream God!  (I put BIG dreams on my list.)
      5.  Your passion will lead you to your purpose!  (It's worked
            that way so far!)
      6.  God shows us the promise, not the process! (Isn't that the
            truth?  I want to know how God's going to get me there, and
            darn it, I'm not going until I do! How often have you
            thought that?  If I'd held on to the need to know the how, I'd
            never have left Holy Family, never have opened The Place
            for Reiki, and certainly never have taken that trip to
       7.  Adversity always precedes advancement.  (Hmmm, maybe
            if I can just keep this in mind as I take these new steps
            forward, I'll be able to keep a more positive attitude, which,
            in the long run, should serve me far better than all the
            negative thinking I can heap on myself when challenges
            arise, including the thought that I made the wrong choice to
            begin with!)

There were more bits of wisdom for me in that sermon, but since I started out talking about the book, and being called to take a look at it, I just want to let you know that God continued to repeat the messages about expansion and new ideas in the pages of Joel's book.   

And God's not the only one who uses repetition to get the messages across to me.  Joel's book is filled with repetition, so much so that I almost quit reading it.  But I stuck with it, and on page forty-one I read something else that just seemed to go along with everything else that is currently happening in my life.  Joel wrote, "....[God] can give you one new idea that will catapult you to a new level." 

I had to laugh when I read it, because I read it the morning after I sent out the email with the new idea about the distant healing circle, actually saying in the email that perhaps this was the idea that was going to take me to a new level!  Coincidence?  I don't think so!

And later in the book, Joel also says,  "God meets us at the level of our faith.  If you ask small, you'll receive small."   Well, that seems to fit with that sense of spaciousness I wrote about in the last post, and my comment that perhaps I'm holding a space for something bigger than I'm accustomed to.   But if I am unaccustomed to it, how can I know what to ask for?  

I think if I leave it up to God to fill that space without any direction from me, She will most likely fill that space with what She thinks is best, based on who I've been in the past.  But if I'm feeling that I'm to do more, that I'm to reach out in bigger ways than I have before, then I think I need to let God know that I'm willing to do that.  So I'm going to start doing what Joel suggests, and ask God to do the unthinkable in my life.  I'm going to ask with a boldness I've never articulated before, taking away any restraints or any preconceived ideas of what my life can look like (based on what my logical, rational mind can imagine), and just allow God to work in ways that I can't even begin to conceive of.  I think I'm going to start repeating, over and over again, "Thank you, God, for taking me further faster than I can even imagine!" 

And then I'm going to hold onto my hat! 

Saturday, October 26, 2013


That's how I was feeling this morning.  I promised God I'd write this blog, and since the last post, I haven't come up with anything that seems worth writing about.

Usually after I finish one post, thoughts and ideas almost immediately begin to percolate for the next one.  But not this time.  So I'm wondering why I'm so empty.  If God wanted me to write this, and He said He'd give me the words I needed to fill the space, and the words aren't coming, what does that mean?

Maybe I'm looking at it the wrong way.  I had a session with Dr. Flick when I was in Pittsburgh (drmatthewflick.com) and when the session was complete, Dr. Flick asked me what I was feeling during the session.  As I tried to articulate what happened, the first thing that came to me was that I felt like I was in a void, and then I changed that and said, no, it feels like there is a spaciousness within me that wasn't there before.  A very vast spaciousness.  That's very different from feeling like I was in a void.  Spaciousness sounds receptive to me, like there was a space for something after the session that there wasn't space for before the session, if that makes sense.  I didn't feel empty at all.

And I just got an email from Dottie Woodward (dottie.woodward.3@facebook.com), the wonderful healer that sponsored my healing circles in Harrisburg.  I did an individual session for Dottie while I was there, and I emailed her a couple of days ago and asked how she was doing, and if she had noticed any changes since the session.  When she responded, she said she felt very empty, as if 'part of me wasn't there', and then she said that perhaps the session had given her the impetus to shed what was no longer serving her so she could expand.

Hmmmmmm...so maybe I'm not empty.  Maybe I need to change my perspective: see myself as being in a receptive mode, free of that which no longer serves me, waiting and holding a space for whatever is supposed to come next.  Perhaps that something is bigger than what I'm accustomed to, or different in some way, and in order for me to properly receive and understand it, the space within me needs to be bigger than it has been before.  Maybe spaciousness can seem like emptiness if I've never experienced spaciousness before, and particularly if I'm only familiar with the concept of emptiness.  I think I'll hold this new perspective close for a while, let it expand and grow, and see where it leads me.  

What choice do I have really?  If there are no words, there are no words. :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I made a list

My trip to Alaska last year was an eye opener for me.  Although I've been single for over thirty years and have become comfortable with and enjoy my life as a single person, that trip made me realize that life might be even better if I had a partner, as long as he was the right partner. 

The Universe also seemed to be supporting that idea by bringing me into contact with a variety of couples who were willing to share their insights, experiences and thoughts about living life together.   The general consensus was that, although it took a lot of work to make it work, sharing life with a partner was better than living life alone.  And over and over again I heard, it had to be the right partner.

The movie, The Secret, that came out several years ago and created such a sensation, said that all we had to do was visualize what we wanted and the Universe would make it happen.   The Law of Attraction says that like attracts like, and if we tell the Universe what we want, are open to receiving it, and allow God to work in the way that He knows is best for us, we'll get what we ask for.   In each case, though, in order for the Universe to give us what we asked for, we have to know what we want.

When the realization hit me that life could be better if I had the right partner to share it with, and that maybe I was  finally ready to open myself up to finding that partner, I began to think of what the right partner for me would look like.  So one night in a hotel room in northern California, I took out my journal, opened it to the back pages, and began to write a list of all the things I wanted in a partner.

The very first thing I wrote down was: Pursuing an active, intentional spiritual path similar to my own in belief.  That was a no brainer as far as I was concerned, since my last relationship had been with a man who was religious but not spiritual, and not only had not believed what I believed, but was afraid of the work that I did.  

Other items on the list included: intelligent/educated, great sense of humor, accepts and loves me as I am (This one was a deal breaker.  He had to accept and love all of me, including the part of me that spoke in tongues, banged on drums and talked to people who weren't physically present!)  Because my last partner was afraid of my work, I tried to keep that part of me separate when we were together, and that just didn't work.  In my next relationship, if there was one, it had to be all or nothing.

And the list continued: generous, kind, willing/able to live in Nashville (another deal breaker), appropriately touchy/feely (likes to hold hands, hug), goes with the flow (none or minor control issues), wants an equal partner and can be an equal partner, attractive (to me!), at least six feet tall, plus or minus five years from my own age, healthy, non-smoker (another deal breaker), willing to take a side road just because it's there and he can, or because I want to, willing to stop on the side of the road, over and over again, to take a picture of a once in a lifetime moment.  The list went on and on...forty-five items in all!

When I finally put the pen down and closed the journal, I said to God, "Ok, you better get started 'cause this isn't going to be easy!"  and then I turned off the light and went to sleep.  Over the next couple of days I thought about the list from time to time, wondering if perhaps I'd been too picky, but deciding that if I was really serious about this, and God could give me what I wanted, then I wanted what I wanted and I was going to leave the list as is.   As my trip began to come to an end, and I got closer to home, thoughts of returning to Pittsburgh eventually crowded out thoughts about the list, and in time I forgot about it entirely.  And then I met Charles.

We met on one of the sunset lake cruises that Unity Church (the church I've been attending since I moved to Nashville) offered as a way for church members to get to know one another better outside of the Sunday morning services. 

Charles and I spent most of that cruise sharing our stories and were pretty much oblivious to the others around us.  We saw each other at church the following Sunday for a few brief moments and exchanged contact information, and via email he invited me out to lunch at Panera's the next Thursday, a lunch that ended up lasting five and a half hours! 

We've spent a great deal of time together since that first lunch, doing a variety of things, and have gotten to know a lot about each other.  He helped me put together a storage unit for my office so I could unpack more boxes, and in unpacking one of those boxes, I came across the journal that contained the list I had written that night in the hotel room.  As I began to read down the list, I laughed so hard my belly hurt and tears rolled down my cheeks.  From what I knew of him, Charles seemed to be an almost perfect match for the partner I described in that list of forty-five items! (The only two items I knew for sure he wasn't a match for were the height and age requirements I had listed.  There were also a couple of others that I wasn't yet sure of, simply because the relationship hadn't yet progressed far enough for me to know, but my gut was telling me those were going to be a match also.) 

My mother used to tell me: "Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it."  When I was younger I really didn't understand what she meant by that. She seemed to be saying that I might not be happy getting what I wished for, and yet that didn't make sense, because I wouldn't wish for something I didn't want.  But over the years I've come to understand what the saying means, and it does make sense.  Often we ask/wish for things that we think we want without realizing the full impact those things might have on our lives if we actually got them.  That's where I am now, with Charles and our relationship, trying to figure out how to deal with the impact.

He's darn near everything I asked for!  What's not to be happy about? 

I've been single over thirty years.  I have certain ways of doing things, and I've learned to love my alone time, and even require it at times to help me stay balanced and energized.  (Charles was married for over forty years and is accustomed to sharing his time and space.)  I usually drive in silence, and almost never play the radio/stereo/TV as background noise while I'm doing things around the house. (Charles plays the radio almost constantly in the car, and frequently has the TV on at home because the house is so quiet since his wife's passing.)  These aren't the only differences between us, of course, just a couple of examples.  The point is, in a relationship, both of us need to get our needs met, and that takes negotiation and compromise.

My life, before Charles, had a pattern to it, a certain rhythm, even here in this new home and new city, a pattern that has helped me make my life work as this independent, single working woman I've been for all these years.   If I want to share my life with someone, if I want to let someone in, really let him in, in the deepest most meaningful way possible, then I have to find a new pattern, a new rhythm, a new way of being that allows for that, allows for his needs and wants and desires as well as my own.  I need to find a way to allow him in enough to help me find that new way, because if I'm going to have a partner, it can't just be my way, it has to be our way too.

Letting go of the old ways, the ways that are comfortable and safe and familiar, isn't easy.  I find myself looking for reasons to say no instead of yes, resisting the closeness, resisting the partnership, the offers of help, not because I don't want what he's offering, but because I don't know how to accept it and still maintain my autonomy.  I got what I asked for and I don't know what to do with it!  And because sometimes it seems easier just to say no than to learn how to do things differently, even things that can make me happier, make my life fuller and more satisfying than it already is, I have to be careful that I'm not saying no just because I'm in unfamiliar 
territory and feeling uncomfortable and out of control. 

I asked, and the Universe provided.  Since I've met Charles I've laughed harder and longer then I thought possible.  I feel accepted and valued in a way I didn't think I ever would.  We've had some of the most honest and intimate conversations I've ever had with another human being, opening our hearts and souls to one another without fear of rejection or reprisal.  It really has been amazing. 

What  more could I ask for?  The courage to keep saying "yes."