Seeds of Growth

Spring is a time to blossom and experience new growth. A garden can be a beautiful demonstration of creation. What seeds do we want to plant this year? How do we wish to express our gifts and talents? Some of us prefer to scatter seeds to the wind and see what blooms while others chose to create from a place of intention.

Our work during the winter months is to weed out or remove unwanted thoughts or anything that feels like it is choking us and strangling our growth. It is time to release anything that lingers from last year. It will continue to take up precious space that is needed for new growth if we are not willing to let it go. When we discover any resistance during this process, it is a signal that we are not ready to be fully present in this year’s garden. We might need some time in the stillness to forgive the seeds that never grew last year or the ones that didn’t mature to their full potential.

Before I begin laying the groundwork, I ask myself a few questions and visualize the end result. Creating what is next is merely a recognition of something that already exists within us. Our job is to be clear about what it is that we want to nurture or bring forth.

  • How do I want to feel when I experience new growth?
  • Am I ready for something different than I had last year?
  • Do I want to expand or do I want to simplify?
  • Am I trying to grow only because it is expected of me?
  • What will it take to nurture my growth and expansion?

A Course in Miracles, T-25.IV.5, tells us, “In you is all of Heaven. Every leaf that falls is given life in you. Each bird that ever sang will sing again in you. And every flower that ever bloomed has saved its perfume and its loveliness for you.”

It is time to blossom!

Planting Seeds by Daniel Nahmod

A Different Approach

I am checking in with myself to see if the changes that I initiated in January are making a difference. I do feel lighter and have a renewed sense of purpose. Life feels fresher, newer and has a bit of magic in each day. I continue my dedication to letting go of agendas, manipulations, and the attachment to an outcome.

Now I question everything that is on my ‘to do list':

  • Why am I doing this?
  • Is this something that a person who is thriving would do?
  • Do I enjoy the person that I am spending time with or the activity that I am participating in? Does it still serve me or do I think someone expects me to do it?

The natural tendency is to release the old and replace it with something new. We tell ourselves that we are letting go of what we no longer want and are ready to accept a different form in it’s place. We spend time and effort getting clear about what we would like to have next. Here’s my punch list, Universe. Please fill it as soon as possible. The drawback to this type of thinking is that I am recreating the past and leave no space for something new. It assumes that I know every possible outcome and what is in my own best interests.

Maybe it is time to try a different approach. We know that it doesn’t work to repeat the same behaviors or say the same words and expect different results. Figuring out what to do next or how to do it can often cause conflict. What if I choose the wrong path? What if the new approach doesn’t work? What if I am rejected? Will I fail (again)?

When we achieve a goal or manifest something that we desire, there can be a moment of pleasure; but this feeling will fade as soon as we begin to focus on the next thing that we think will satisfy our needs. The ego has an insatiable appetite and will never stop seeking.

My idea is to completely change the way that we approach this year. Let go of trying to achieve something, prove that we are worthy, or think that we have to be more of anything.

In the Preface to A Course in Miracles, it says, “The ‘little I’ seeks to enhance itself by external approval, external possessions and external ‘love’. The Self that God created needs nothing. It is forever complete, safe, loved and loving. It seeks to share rather than to get; to extend rather than project. It has no needs and wants to join with others out of their mutual awareness of abundance.”

Let’s live as if we already have everything that we need. There is nothing to get, nothing to achieve and nothing to prove. If we can embrace this concept, it will change the way that we show up in the world.

Now we can begin to share or express our God qualities. We don’t have to seek love; we just have to share the love that is already within us. When we realize that there is nothing in the external world that will bring us happiness, life becomes a joyous adventure and is guided from our Self. Our only plan is to spend time in the stillness and listen. We will receive the guidance needed to fully express our gifts and talents.

Our job is also to be grateful that we have everything and are everything. We live our life knowing that there is an abundant supply of God just waiting to express through us. I am willing to live this way in 2012 and I invite you to join me on this journey.

From Surviving to Thriving

One day I realized that it wasn’t enough just to survive. As a survivor, I took what was given to me and was thankful for it. It could be a gift from my family, friends, or even the government; it didn’t matter. I learned how to get by with what I received. Settling for whatever came along was a way to keep the struggle going. Surviving feels like a resignation to the way things are right now. And there always is a reason for the way things are right now – today it might be the economy, tomorrow I might be unemployed, or maybe a relationship has ended or a loved one has made their transition. These are all different forms created by the same content that says I don’t deserve to be happy and filled with joy.

A Course in Miracles says in Lesson 100, “God’s Will for you is perfect happiness.” My function is to be happy in order for the world to see that God or Spirit loves me. I am then a messenger of Spirit by shining my light as an example to other people who might believe that we are asked to suffer or to live in fear.

Survival feels more like an existence than playing a victim role. I understand the difference all too well. As a victim, I hosted the pity party and did it with grace. It was my identity for a period of time, but I felt like I had let that go. Now I began to wonder what it would be like to live at the next level or to consciously create my life and be filled with joy. How could I transition to this way of living?

I knew that I had let go of my old life. I cleaned out the closets and gave away the things that reminded me of another time and place. I grieved and processed and accepted that things would never be the same. There was no more resistance, wishing, or bargaining. I discovered a sense of center again and my life was relatively calm. But, is this enough for me to be happy; or should I accept and be satisfied that this is my life? If living within my comfort zone was where I needed to be, then why was that small voice speaking to me on a regular basis? It kept reminding me that I could be a successful, vibrant, energetic and fully alive person right here and right now. In the words of Garth Brooks in his song, Standing Outside the Fire, “Life is not tried if it’s merely survived.”

Now I question my activities each day and ask, “Would a person who is thriving do this?” I’ve learned that people who thrive are focused and have a dream or a vision that motivates them. They are enthusiastic and look forward to learning and growing. Time is precious to them, and they want to spend it in pursuit of their passion.

I’m not there yet, but I am on my way. I’m creating a new life by focusing on what is important to me and what makes me happy. There are times when I try something new just to see if I enjoy it. I’ve let go of obligations that drain me. I find it easier to say, “No,” if the activity doesn’t align with my path. There is a sense of freedom in living life this way. Would you consider joining me on the quest to find perfect happiness?

There is a World that I Want

Mainstream media is feeding us a continual stream of news about the recession, the debt crisis, the housing market and the need to create jobs. Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and tsunamis are killing people by the thousands. Children are starving in many parts of the world. It is no wonder that many of us are confused or in fear about what is happening to life as we knew it.

It’s not the events or the news that are making us fearful; it’s our thoughts about them that create our feelings. Observe your emotions when you are watching television or reading the newspaper or checking a story on the Internet. Do you remain calm or do you become passionate about the issue? Are you often angry or outraged? It is difficult to remain neutral and not be affected by the images or the stories that we witness. We react with compassion when children are dying of starvation and there is no clean drinking water in a village. It is inconceivable that we would not be moved. This is often the very motivation that inspires us to take action and help find a solution.

When we experience fear, we are either thinking about a past event or worrying about the future. We doubt that we will have the ability to handle the situation. If you want to move past the fear, bring your mind to the present moment. Focus on what you would like to experience instead of the fear. Have faith that you will be able to walk through any challenge that you will face. Call on your Higher Power to guide you at the time of a crisis.

A Course in Miracles, Lesson 129.2, says, “It might be worth a little time to think once more about the value of this world. The world you see is merciless indeed, unstable, cruel, unconcerned with you, quick to avenge and pitiless with hate. It gives but to rescind, and takes away all things that you have cherished for a while. No lasting love is found, for none is here. This is the world of time, where all things end.”

There is a world that I want, and it is joyous, peaceful and loving. I can choose to see this world instead of the one I am currently viewing. We don’t have to give up the world; we just have to exchange the one we see for a different one. We cannot think two thoughts at once, and it becomes critical to choose the thoughts that will bring us peace and harmony.

Try a simple experiment. Take a break from listening to or reading the news for an entire week. Instead of the news, spend your time visualizing what you want to create in your life. Use the time to dream big. Read an uplifting book, listen to an inspirational message or attend a spiritual workshop. It’s hard to create the life you would like to live when your mind is occupied with fear thoughts. At the end of the week, describe how you feel. Are you motivated, excited, and anticipating something new? Are you calmer and more peaceful? Only you can decide which emotions you want to experience and which ones you want to avoid. Remember that the thoughts come first and the emotions follow them. It just might be time to start monitoring what you are thinking and make a different choice.

Real Change

Changes in the world seem to be occurring more rapidly than ever before. It feels as if time is speeding up. Thanks to the media and technology, we can witness more natural disasters than ever before – the tsunami in Japan, a multitude of earthquakes, the floods in the South and hurricane Irene. Financial markets continue to crumble, household names that we once took for granted have disappeared, and war continues in many parts of the world.

It is not news that everything changes. History proves this point. The only thing that we can control is whether we welcome, avoid or resist change. Many of us prefer to stay in our comfort zone, even though we are miserable and it’s not what we want, because we know what to expect.

Change, even when it is labeled good, causes stress. We don’t know what to expect. Our sense of stability and security is challenged. We don’t know where to begin again or who  trust. We might have too much information coming at us too rapidly.

Change comes as a result of learning. If you find yourself saying, “I’m too old to learn,” you are really saying, “I don’t want to change.” If you have ever asked yourself the question, “Who am I?” you are making yourself available to change as you begin to learn who you are.

Waiting for someone else or a situation to change is a waste of time. The only thing we can control is how we look at it. If we want something to change, we must change the way that we think about it. It isn’t easy, but it can be done. Ask your Higher Power or Source or the Universe to show you a different way of looking at the person or circumstance. Henry David Thoreau, in Walden, said, “Things do not change; we change.”

Could there be a pattern that is blocking our ability to live a life that is easy and effortless. If there is, how can we discover these blocks and heal them? We might have great intentions and really want to change, but we don’t. Real change occurs in our subconscious. Our beliefs are hidden from us, but they are running the show. These ideas and attitudes were developed when we were children and might stem from a traumatic event or memory, and they need to be uncovered and replaced with our perspective as an adult. For example, if your parents kept telling you that you would not amount to anything, it is now time to change that thought to something positive, such as, “I have gifts and talents to share with the world.”

We can give up the emotional turmoil that we experience when faced with an ending or a new beginning if we recognize that all change occurs for our own growth and self-development. Lesson 151.10.3-4 in A Course in Miracles says, “You will no longer doubt that only good can come to you who are beloved of God, for He will judge all happenings, and teach the single lesson that they all contain. He will select the elements in them which represent the truth, and disregard those aspects which reflect but idle dreams. And He will reinterpret all you see, and all occurrences, each circumstance, and every happening that seems to touch on you in any way from His one frame of reference, wholly unified and sure. And you will see the love beyond the hate, the constancy in change, the pure in sin, and only Heaven’s blessing on the world.”