Individuality in Nature

I am always delighted to both see and hear a variety of creatures when I walk in nature. Some are repeat visitors and others, well, it can be difficult to tell.

The black squirrel pictured above is one of my favorites. Why do I favor him over the other neighborhood squirrels? Because he is different! I know it is him when I see him. It’s like he is oozing that “over here, look at me, I stand out in the crowd” kind of vibe.

Shouldn’t we all have that vibe? Why try to blend in when we were clearly created to stand out? I am unique. I am the only human being who can be me. You are also unique, one in 7.3 billion (give or take a couple) and the only human being who can be you.

Let’s start celebrating who we are instead of hiding it. Being a little different (or a lot), isn’t a flaw, it’s a blessing. You are the amazing miracle of you. No one else can do that job. It is all yours and always will be.

Smiles and Hugs.

 

Love Yourself Awake

Once upon a time, I was easily wounded by what I perceived as another’s rejection. I was all too willing to take everything personally. The slightest comment, or lack thereof, could be considered a deliberate attack.

My ego was, and still is, capable of creating scenarios completely blown out of proportion and based on events that have not actually taken place. I lived my life from a place of fear.

I was afraid of being abandoned, not being good enough and winding up alone. I was so consumed by my fear that I stopped speaking my mind. I kept my mouth shut, acting as if I had no opinions whatsoever.

I had been avoiding conflict for many years in an effort to keep the peace and be likeable. I had become everyone’s doormat! And no one knew the real me. She was hidden from the world.

On the outside I was strong, smart and capable. On the inside, I was a crumpled mess. That is the story of how ego works. The ego is your self-image, the you that you present to the world, and it is an excuse making machine! Here are some of the things my ego told me:

Strong, confident women don’t wear their emotions on their sleeve.

I am better than they are, so there is no need to argue.

I am patient, tolerant and kind. There is no need to hurt someone’s feelings by expressing what I really think.

Everyone has a right to their own opinion and views. It is not my job to judge.

Now, that might not sound so bad, right? Not if it is your ego doing the talking. The ego tells you what you want to believe to keep you in your place. The ego is afraid of change.

Inside of me was a mountain of repressed emotion that was about to become a volcano of spewing anger, judgement and self-loathing. I had embraced becoming the victim.

It oftentimes seems, that as human beings, we gravitate toward the negative. Rather than take responsibility for our actions, feelings and emotions, we want to blame, complain and stay the same.

I am not the same person I was six months ago. In fact, I am dramatically different. I have discovered the “bigger voice” inside of me. My soul-self is awake and I am allowing her to take charge.

Everyone wants to know what the “one thing” is, the key to happiness, the secret to life. I know that secret. The “one thing” is self-love. There is no stronger force for creating joy than learning to love yourself.

 

You can consciously practice gratitude, forgiveness and self-care with positive results even if you haven’t truly achieved a great level of self-love. My article Soul Growth tells of my journey and some of the tools that got me here.

It’s difficult to explain and I know my old self would have had a difficult time grasping the notion, but with self-love comes clarity. The clarity to see what an amazing creation you are and everything and everyone else is too.

The practice of gratitude and forgiveness takes on a new life as well. It seems to come naturally to me now, without so much effort. There is so much more to be thankful for and so much less that requires my forgiveness.

I now know that strong, confident women are not afraid to show their emotions.

We are all equally perfect in our divine creation regardless of how we express ourselves.

I AM patient, tolerant and kind, but that does not mean I have to keep my mouth shut. My opinions matter. The feelings of someone else are their responsibility and, quite frankly, none of my business.

Just as I believe everyone else has a right to their opinions and views, so do I. It is not my job to judge anyone else on what they believe and it is not their job to judge me. My feelings can only be hurt if I believe what is implied.

 

My journey has been amazing and I look forward to all the future holds for me. A word of caution, however, would be that although I love the changes that have taken place and I am deeply grateful for the awakening, it is not always a comfortable place to be.

You still have to feel your emotions, in fact, possibly on a much deeper level than before. I know, for me, I have good days and bad days, just like before. Now, however, my good days are fabulous and my bad days are, well, not so tragic.

My ego can still get the best of me. My soul-self usually prevails if I use my tools. I always have to keep working. If I let my spiritual practice slide, I will fall back asleep.

So I keep practicing, I keep learning and I keep evolving. With every day I am able to do this, the world becomes a brighter, friendlier place, where we can all be ourselves, we are all connected and we are all enough, just as we are.

Smiles and hugs!

 

 

Open your heart to divine guidance

We all have divine guides waiting and willing to help us along our path here on Earth. But how can we open ourselves up to receive this blessed help? And who, exactly, are our guides anyway?

I was struggling with these same questions, so I took a class. Yep, there was a class available, right here in my town, called Hearing your Divine Guidance, taught by psychic medium, Dr. Sandra Monroe. Here is some of what I learned from this class and other research:

Our divine guides can, and probably do include our deceased loved ones, our deceased ancestors from generations past, personal guides that have previously lived their own Earth lives, and Angels. Cool, right?

The first thing to know is you do not have the power to connect to your guides. They must come to you and you have to invite them in. Ask them for guidance.

The next is that spirit needs energy in order to connect. Everything is energy and we are no exception. It is possible to receive guidance from higher or lower vibration guides, so you want your vibration to be as high as possible to receive your best, most divine messages. Check out this great post for more information on this.

There are a few things you can do to clear your energy to help your guides connect with you.

Drink lots of water. This keeps you hydrated and flushes toxins from your system. A cleaner diet can also help with this. Eliminating fast foods, processed foods and anything containing hormones or pesticides is always a good choice.

Physical exercise raises your vibrational energy making connection easier. Practicing gratitude and smiling also raise your vibration.

And finally, my personal favorite, is to meditate. By quieting your mind and slowing your thoughts, you give your guides the opportunity to sneak their message in.

Your receptors are your six psychic senses. Yes, I said six, because your mind is actually your sixth sense, your intuition or inner wisdom, so to speak. Paying attention to what your psychic senses tell you is the key. Let’s explore each of them a little further.

Clairvoyance

Clairvoyance is the most widely known and means clear seeing or clear vision. This is when you receive your guides messages visually.

Clairvoyance is not received through your physical eyes, but through your minds eye. Some refer to this as your third eye. The message may come to you as a vivid, complete picture or it may be very subtle, such as seeing only a number or symbol.

Clairaudience

Clairaudience means clear hearing. This is the inner hearing of things outside the common field of awareness.

This can take the form of spirit voices, which may sound very much like your own voice, music or other sounds. It can be difficult, at times, to distinguish between the guide’s message and your own thoughts. I’m told this becomes easier with practice.

It is possible for clairaudient messages to be external as well. This can happen if your guides really want to get your attention and fast. Try not to shake this off. Follow your guidance. This is likely important.

Clairsentience

Clairsentience is clear feeling. This is not necessarily when you just know something, but when you actually feel it.

Maybe you feel a cool breeze but no windows are open or you feel as if someone has stroked your hair.

It’s possible you may be able to feel the emotion being presented to you as well. This would also be clairsentience.

Clairalience

Not as common as those above, clairalience is clear smelling. It is pretty self-explanatory.

Occasionally you may smell your deceased grandfather’s cologne or the pipe tobacco he smoked. If there is no one else around, my guess is Grandpa wants you to know he’s there for you.

Clairgustance

Also rather uncommon is clairgustance, or clear tasting. This would be tasting something without having actually put anything into your mouth.

Claircognizance

Claircognizance is when you intuitively know something but have no idea how or why you know it. This your sixth sense!

It can be the strong impulse you get to take a different route to work today or when you suddenly know to call your friend because she needs you.

I think we can all relate to this one. I’m sure you all have experienced this at least once.

Okay, so now we know we can clear our energy, pay more attention and try to hone our senses to allow for better connection with our spiritual guides.

One super easy way to ask for guidance from your angels and spiritual guides is to use Oracle cards. You shuffle your deck while concentrating on what you want to know. Ask your angels and guides for help and then pull one, three or five cards.

The deck I use, shown in the photo above, is Angel  Therapy Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue. A guidebook for reading the cards is included.

If you want to go a step further. Try getting a reading from a psychic medium. My girlfriend and I attended the Mystic fest in Omaha, Nebraska yesterday. This was a fun event where we experimented with a few different types of readings.

We both received and were impressed with a connecting with your deceased loved ones reading. Dr. Sandra Monroe, mentioned above, was our psychic medium of choice and she was wonderful. I definitely recommend this if you worry about your loved ones and wish to know they are okay. They are!

We both tried a tarot card reading as well. The psychic medium we chose seemed very in tune to our respective personalities and did a great job. I think my friend enjoyed this reading a bit more than I did.

My friend tried a past lives reading. She was not impressed with this one. This was not a regression and no hypnosis was involved. It was a thirty minute reading and unfortunately, she didn’t feel a strong connection with her reader.

I tried Reiki for the first time. This is a life force energy technique used for relaxation, stress reduction and healing. My practitioner also asked that I be sent guidance for my spiritual path.

I enjoyed the treatment and was able to feel some energy flow but not as much as I expected. When the treatment was over, however, she warned me to get up slowly and remain on the table until I recover. 

I’ve heard this from massage therapists after treatment and was expecting a similar experience.

After having only been on the table for ten minutes, I sat up slowly and honestly could not believe how dazed and unsteady I felt. Something definitely happened to me while I lay on that table.

I have yet to receive the guidance my practitioner promised but, then again, something told me I should write this post.

I hope you have fun with this. I did. And a big “Thank You” to my good friend for sharing this with me.

Smiles and hugs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude 2.0 – Going Deeper

Being grateful for the good things in your life is one thing, but have you ever considered expressing gratitude for the things you aren’t so happy about? Let’s explore this concept together.

In my post How to live a happy life – 13 actions you can take today, I invited you to take a thirty-day gratitude challenge, where you would list three different things you are grateful for, each day for thirty days. If we look at our lists I’m guessing we will find mostly pleasant experiences and things that make us feel really good. That’s fabulous, but now, let’s go a little deeper.

What happens when we become grateful for those not so wonderful feeling experiences and people in our lives? Miracles happen!! Trust me, it is pure magic.

So you might be asking, how exactly am I supposed to be thankful for stuff that makes me feel lousy? Well, to start out, you don’t have to actually feel it. Fake it, if you have to. The more you practice, the better you will start to feel about it. Eventually, you will begin to believe it and before you know it, miracles!

My belief is that we are spiritual beings having a human experience here on Earth. We are here to learn, however, that part of us that is human, has allowed us to forget our purpose here and even that we are, at our core, spirit.

Spirit wants to know contrast. Without knowing pain, how could you know comfort? Without first experiencing fear, how could you experience courage? Without the feeling of grief, you would not be able to know delight. Without sadness, there is no happiness. Without blame, there can be no forgiveness. This list goes on and on and on.

In the book, The Language of Letting Go, Melody Beattie writes, “One simple concept can get us through the most stressful of times. It’s called gratitude. We learn to say, thank you, for these problems and feelings. Thank you for the way things are. I don’t like this experience, but thank you anyway. Force gratitude until it becomes habitual. Gratitude helps us stop trying to control outcomes. It is the key that unlocks positive energy in our life. It is the alchemy that turns problems into blessings, and the unexpected into gifts.”

In the book, Gratitude A Way of Life, Louise Hay writes, “We even want to be grateful for the lessons we have. Don’t run from lessons; they are little packages of treasure that have been given to us. As we learn from them, our lives change for the better. I now rejoice whenever I see another portion of the dark side of myself. I know that it means that I am ready to let go of something that has been hindering my life.”

Life on Earth will know conflict and opposition as long as we are still learning and growing. Cherish all of your moments, good and bad. Every one is required to make you who you are, and you are amazing!

Below is a great quote on opposition. I am not positive of who actually said it. It has been attributed to Winston Churchill, Henry Ford, William Wrigley Jr., and Ezra Pound. I suspect each has said it, in one form or another.

Love yourself, love your brother, love your life. Everyday say Thank You. Thank you God, Thank you Universe, Thank you Life, for everything, all of my experiences, because I know everything is a blessing, even those feelings, thoughts and experiences that don’t look like it at first.

When you are done being grateful, say “Something wonderful is going to happen today.” And it will.

Smiles and hugs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lift each other up!

One of the things I love about my nature walks is the row of cottonwood trees along the gravel path. The slightest breeze makes their leaves sing. The first time I experienced the sound, I thought it was running water, but the creek is in the other direction. It took a minute for me to discover it was the trees themselves producing this glorious noise. Now whenever there a breeze, I look forward to hearing those trees sing to me on my walk.

One of the trees lost its footing in a recent storm. It surely would have fallen to the ground if not for a neighboring tree that caught it and is now providing support for the injured tree.

I couldn’t help but think about all that nature can teach us. As human beings we can learn to lift each other up, support each other when we fall and sing our songs for strangers.

Smiles and hugs!

A cat lovers guide to Loving without condition

My son and I share our lives and home with three furry felines. We consider them to be part of our family, therefore they are very spoiled and highly loved. Each cat was adopted and has a very distinct and different personality. Just like most of the people I know, their individual traits have been shaped by both their genes and their environments. And just as I believe that every human is equally worthy and deserving of love, so too are these felines.

Unlike dogs, cats cannot be trained to be a good companion. When you adopt a cat it can be difficult to know exactly what you are going to get as far as personality goes. As with anything in life, it must be entered into with an open heart. I love and respect each of these animals for exactly what they are. Each is a divine and unique creature, as we all are, deserving of comfort and care.

The oldest is a fluffy calico female. She is all sunshine and light, has been her entire nineteen years of life. This one loves humans, other cats and dogs. She was very close to a dog I used to have and they would lay around together and groom each other.

She does not growl, hiss or bite. She purrs loud and pretty much whenever there is another life close to her. She is unaffected by the attitudes or behaviors of her housemates. She allows one cat to hiss and growl at her every time she walks by without a second glance. The other cat is allowed to obsessively play with her tail, without retribution. He has been doing this for over three years. She is not critical of my son for handling her too much or of me for shooing her away because I do not wish to be groomed.

This cat is inherently happy regardless of those around her. I have been blessed to have her as my companion for all these years. What an inspiration for the rest of us!

The middle fur child and also the most recently adopted is a gorgeous purebred Ragdoll with stunning blue eyes. I found this beauty at our local humane society. She is much more dark and shadow than sunshine and light. Simply saying she has an attitude would be completely understating her personality. This cat is vocal, demanding and stand-offish. Sometimes she is downright mean.

Her demeanor has improved greatly in the three years she has been with us. She will now occasionally seek out attention and she allows unsolicited petting as long as it is brief. She will always give a warning before she lashes out. It wasn’t always this way. I bled many times before earning her trust. She has come to know that we will not hurt and we will show her love and kindness that does not require any specific behavior on her part.

The other cats have accepted her as well. We adopted her at seven years old and no information about her life before she joined our family. We are just very thankful that she is with us now and receiving the love she deserves.

My youngest kitty is a black and white male. His coloring exquisitely depicts his disposition. This cat is the absolute perfect balance of light and dark tendencies. He is by far the sweetest cat I have ever known, yet he is also joyfully naughty. He is energetic, curious, intelligent and playful. Hmmm. I might need more human men like this in my life.

This cat is my lap warmer and the source of most of my daily hugs. I like to press him to my ear to listen to and feel his purr. My son can handle him as much and in any way he chooses.

True to his nature, however, this cat does what he pleases, which includes walking on tables and counters, running through house as if he is on fire and trying to “pet” the fish. He will cheerfully antagonize the other cats by showing his perceived dominance, and in the next moment submit by rolling over to expose his belly or cuddling up for a nap.

The day we adopted this precious feline, we had gone to foster home to see his sister. My son plopped down on the floor after we arrived and this cat immediately crawled into his lap and got comfortable. He chose us to be his family. It was meant to be. And I can’t imagine life without him now.

So what do you think? Could you love each of these fur balls unconditionally despite their very unique nature? Do their purrsonalities remind you of any humans you know? Do you or can you love these humans even if they don’t follow your path, knowing that they have been shaped their own genes and experiences which certainly differ from your own?

It’s all about perception. How do you view the people in your life? Choose love.

 

 

Hang Gliding Hawks

It was early morning when I left for my nature walk. I was hoping to catch the sun just as it peeked over the horizon. The warm moist air felt welcoming and the wind blew strong and steady. I always enjoy watching the sun rise above the little by my house and today did not disappoint. It was nothing less than majestic, and yet, it did not end up being the highlight of this communion with nature.

The red-tailed hawks were out on this morning and they were low and visible in the sky. Beautiful and powerful birds, they are quite large and have an impressive wingspan. I was able to locate several groups of hawks in the area, all doing the exact same thing. They were hang gliding!

I have never seen anything like it before. Wings spread wide, facing the wind, gliding effortlessly without a single flap of the wings required. They were simply floating on air. How positively free they must feel. It was obvious to me that these birds were engaging in this activity with the absolute intention of doing so. They were using what had been given to them, in that moment, which happened to be a strong steady wind, to bring themselves joy.

Watching them maneuver to the wind in order hang above me, going nowhere, succeeded in bringing me great joy. I felt a profound sense of awe and deeper connection to life as I gazed upon these glorious creatures. We can learn so much from our fellow inhabitants of this world.

This was an incredible experience for me and I felt it was worthy of sharing. I hope you enjoyed it. Remember to look with wonder at all in your life and you will start to see truly amazing things!

Peace, love and connectedness