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Beth's Blogs 2018

Thursday, December 20th
Irritability. Have you ever been there? There seems to be an overload of negativity in your midst, and you're stumbling on the intentions of other people. Why do they do the things they do? Why do they drive slow in the fast lane? Why do they assume the idea you pitch won't work, even before they allow you to explain your vision? Why can't they see this world from your perspective?

Ah, there's the rub. Why don't they do it your way? Life would be so much easier if everyone got your strategic plan and lived into it. They would drive better, listen better, and then follow through without conflict or challenge. Life would become still and placid, and there wouldn't be any bumps along the way.

Now, you see the problem. If there are no bumps, mountain climbers can't make it to the top. If there are no bumps, no one gets goose bumps when they get a glimpse of something "meant to be" happening. Without bumps, you lose a whole dance craze from the 80's, and you may never know the hips of your dance partner. Bumps are important. 

So, you'll have to go ahead and allow others to be who they are. Challenge your wisdom. Drive in the wrong lane. Make your world so lively that you never know what's going to happen next. As for the irritation, you'll figure it out. You know what they say: "Sometimes, you run into a pain in the neck. If everyone you meet fits that description, it's time to look in the mirror."

Gotcha! 

Thursday, December 13th
Years ago, I got a bad sunburn. I remember it, because I had huge blisters on my shoulders and upper arms and my mom tied one of her scarfs around me in place of a shirt. I was probably 7 or 8 years old, and I remember it was a tough summer as the sores healed. You see, I was raised before people realized the damage the summer sun could cause. I spent my days swimming and laughing, oblivious to the danger of living before the invention of sunscreen. 

Yesterday, I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from my upper right arm. Cutting, burning, and suturing the spot where my little girl self allowed the sun to do its worst, my doctor stepped in and assured me he "got it all." Now, I'll heal. I'll flinch a bit as I smile to receive any Christmastime hugs, and I'll sleep on my back instead of my side. 

Are you suffering today with any childhood injuries that still cause pain today? Unlike my abnormal shoulder growth, your wound may be emotional. Maybe someone bullied you or undercut you when you trusted them. Maybe you were neglected or overlooked and it translated in your young mind as lacking importance. Maybe someone declared negative statements over you, and you believed every stinking word. However it happened, you still feel it today. It might not be the same kind, but it is still a cancer. It's eating your well-being and growing in atypical ways causing you to lose your peace of mind and balance. 

Do what I did. Show the pain to a trusted person and have them assess it with you. Do the work necessary to eradicate it. For some, outside support will be necessary. Talk therapy, EMDR, NET or 12-Step offerings can assist so that the point of origin is eliminated and true healing can begin. The only thing that allows the injury to persist is hiding it away and ignoring it. Our secrets keep us sick and keep us in the dark. Come out to the light and play with us. Give us a shot. We'll teach you all about sunscreen.

Thursday, December 6th
I've had a lot on my mind lately. How about you? Are you doing the dance? What I've got coming up, what I've got in front of me, and how can I accomplish all of it with only 24 hours in a day. 1-2-3, 1-2-3, it's a dance step. I think it's a waltz. Sadly, I only know the twist. (That was sarcasm. Hope you didn't miss it.)

The holiday approach almost always turns me into a human doing instead of a human being. I want the time to be special, because I am blessed with many who are very special, and Christmas is the perfect time to tell them so. Greeting cards. That would be good. Addressing them. Got to get that in the schedule. Friends and family for dinner. Now, that's a great way to tell folks they're important to you. Schedule it. Shop. Cook. What's for dessert? Bake. Oh gosh, it's tonight! I better get up early and clean the house. Table cloth? That would be nice. Where did I put the iron last year when I used it? Probably in the garage. Wow! This needs to be straightened out. It's a mess in here. Oh, and the ornaments are probably in here. A tree! We've got to get a tree! It would be nice to have it up for that dinner party. I see the stand. Let me pull that now. I'll leave it in the living room until we get the tree. Now, what did I come in here for in the first place? Oh, yes! The iron. I see it back there behind the old coffee table. Isn't there someone who needs that? I should put it on Facebook. Don't let me forget. Now, what did I come in here for? Oh, the tree stand. Right? Wait, I think that's in the living room now. Here comes my hubby. He'll help me with the coffee table just in case. 

[BREAK]

Sorry I left you in the middle of all that. He wanted me to walk the dog with him, so we went up by the river where Rooney loves to run. I know we were busy discussing something important, but for the life of me, I can't remember what it was. 

Thursday, November 29th
When it comes to leftovers, you should only keep them three to four days. Same with the emotional ones. Sometimes, during holiday season we get together with loved ones that we don't see a lot, and we feel a bit under the weather when it's over. Perhaps things were said that put us on edge or made us feel uncomfortable. Maybe we were snubbed or overlooked in a conversation, and we felt unimportant. It's possible that it was more than that. Let's face it, we're in the Bermuda Triangle of family gatherings. It starts with Thanksgiving, moves into Christmas and wraps up on New Year's. People can get lost.

Identity. When we were small, we looked to our families to tell us who we were. We watched them to learn how to take on the world. We trusted them with our hearts, and sometimes they got broken. Oddly enough, we can get hurt the worst by those with whom we started this human march. 

But, it's been a week. Enough already with the hurt feelings and waffling self-esteem. If you are still suffering with emotional leftovers, there is one of two reasons. If you've discovered an area where you hurt someone you love, make amends. That does not mean apologize. To make an amend means to make something right. 

If, however, you are hurting because you sold yourself short, go to the mirror, look yourself in the eye, and repeat these statements:

I am enough. 
I am valuable.
I am impacting this world for good.
I am strong and able. 


Repeat as needed. Words have power. Speak your reality into being. Don't settle for the words of another person who thinks they can tell you who you are. Live into your Truth. Be all you were created to be. Let go of any limitations that you allowed when you were young and afraid. This is a new day. Grab it!

Thursday, November 22nd
I was talking with some friends, and a wonderful understanding came to life for me. Ready?

Some of us are sure we hate Thanksgiving. It all started with the stuffing. We've had it every holiday, and it's boring and not for us. What we didn't know is that our parents always used the StoveTop variety. You get what's in the box. Nothing more, nothing less.

Years later, someone forces you to join their Turkey Day celebration. You appear at their table, somewhat half-heartedly. As they begin to load up plates, you tell them to skip the dressing on yours. They refuse. "Try it," they say, "if you don't like it, leave it." What they scoop onto your plate looks nothing like you know as stuffing. It's a different color, there are different ingredients peeking out at you, and the texture looks unusually moist. To be polite, you decide to give it a go. The bite explodes in your mouth, and you realize you LOVE stuffing. 

What you dislike is box stuffing, a product limited by cardboard, lacking creativity, lacking personal flair, lacking the delectable qualities you are now experiencing. As you open your mind to an affinity for turkey dressing, you open up to the possibility that the whole Thanksgiving holiday has merit. It had been limited all these years because someone else told you that stuffing was defined and limited to a rectangular box with directions on how to make it in black and white. 

Now, let's think about why you dislike talk of spirituality and God. Have you dismissed it because your understanding is limited by someone else's recipe that came in a box with distinct directions and limited ingredients? What if you experienced your own "recipe" for relationship? What if you discovered that you've been missing out all these years because the StoveTop version of God never awakened your taste and passion? What if you allowed a new explosion of flavor to enter your belief system?

What if? 

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at BethWe.com. We are grateful for your support and love!

Thursday, November 15th
A couple thousand years ago, Christ and His buddies were sitting by the Sea of Galilee, and they asked Him to teach them to pray. The prayer He came up with has been heard by millions, and the words have been celebrated personally, religiously and academically. But, what about those last couple lines before the closing? What are those about?

"Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." When we could ask anything at all of this Creational Power, why would we ask that?

I have found the answer to that question, but I don't like it. Let me explain. I've been eating a fairly straight-forward diet for years, and I enjoy the fruits of that eating plan. Recently, though, some refined sugar sneaked back into the mix, and ever since the moment of ingestion, my mind has been screaming for more. Sweets that I wouldn't even notice two weeks ago are suddenly temptations. A can of soda. (I'm a water girl.) Oreo cookies. (I'm a fresh baked afficianado.) Chewing gum at the check out counter. (Are you kidding? Chewing gum?)

I'm recognizing a mental obsession coupled with a physiological craving, and I'm aware that that coupling accompanies most hard-core addictions. It seems the years away from refined sugar have not negated the progressive nature of my compulsion. Instead of a little angel on one shoulder and a little devil on the other vying for control, I have an angel and a Snickers bar. I hate to admit this fight is underway, but it is.

They made treatment centers 28 days long because that was the recommended time necessary to detox from a substance mentally and physically. So, I have a ways to go before I get to 28 days cold turkey and this hankering for sugar quiets. I want to get back to the business of living in peace, sugar-free and secure. In the meantime, if you see my head bowed, you can be sure I'm asking God for one thing. Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil. 

(Who knew evil could be chocolate-coated?) 

Thursday, November 8th
Did you vote? No judgment here, just wondering if you exercised your right to choose. It's a right that most of us take for granted. Ask any addict in serious disease mode. They could die because they've lost the right to choose. They want to stop abusing, but they can't. The drug is calling the shots at that point. The drug is their god. They don't want it to be, but they are at its mercy physically, mentally and spiritually.

This illustration teaches me something about seeking to know a Power Greater than Myself. It is imperative that I consider whether or not my God steals my right to choose. If a god that I serve removes my free will, then I am serving a false god. It's bogus. I need to look for a new one. Seems simple enough. So, let me put it to the test. I've got some false gods running amok in the little neighborhood I call my brain. Sugar is one of them. If I introduce it into the mix, I break out in a phenomenon called craving. My mind begins to obsess about sweets. I have to talk myself down repeatedly. Can you identify? Sugar wants to control my freedom to choose, so I have to stay away from it. It's not because I have will power, it's because I lack "won't power". On my own, I'd be a 600 lb diabetic with Chow Cab bringing me milk shakes every night. Sugar could be a false god to me if I gave into its initial demands. False gods are sneaky. They always seem to "fix" things at first. They seem to "make it feel better". In the long run, however, they take over and make choices I don't want to endorse, but do.
 
Freedom to choose. As a nation, we are blessed with input in the governmental system. Some of you negative Nellies may say no. The elections are rigged. The electoral college eliminates the individual's right. I've heard it all. But, what if we asked someone in North Korea or Libya? They don't even have the right to speak freely. They could get arrested if they made a crack about their government. I could get arrested for commenting on it. Let's face it, we've got it good in the United States of America.
Patrick Henry said, "Freedom isn't free." I'm willing to pay the cost to keep it intact. For now, it's turning down an ice cream sundae. That keeps my choices open. I like having my say. I like hearing yours. I like walking in possibility instead of in fear. How about you?

Thursday, November 1st
We're all floundering at times, wanting to be sure of something, but afraid to trust. Can we build a track record with a Higher Power? 

They say that faith is a free gift. That sounds good, but what if we want proof? 

Look around you. Fields of yellow corn. Hugs from loved ones. Sunshine breaking through clouds. Ripe, juicy fruit. A deep breath of cool, fresh air. Water lapping against the shoreline. The great hawk circling high above. Colorful crepe myrtles breaking forth in red and pink flora. Bright orange pumpkins and green, bumpy gourds. Crisper temperatures at evening. A snuggly sweater that gives just enough warmth.

Why do we doubt? The world is full of proof if only we choose to see it. 

Thursday, October 25th
We don't usually look at it like that. We see it through our perspective, and we put our personal slant on the information. It could be anything. The election. The price of corn on the cob. The effects of Hurricane Michael. Whatever the topic, it is filtered through ego, and what comes out of us has our stamp all over it. 

Don't worry. It's okay. We are built like this. Still, once awareness comes we notice how self-centered we are. We get to decide if we want to stay in that state of mind. We allow ourselves to be used by God for the highest good. We do the research to vote our conscience, instead of relying on public opinion. We celebrate the wonderful harvest in the Midwest as we cook up our cobs. We dig deeper into our wallets and buy a case of diapers to drop at the Hurricane Relief center, because we can't imagine not having diapers . . . or dog food . . . or water. 

When we take off the me-colored glasses, the world breaks forth in newness. It's easier to get out of our own heads because we are seeing the world from a different vantage point. We become grateful instead of cynical. We smile more. We sleep better. We belong.

Perhaps, that's the point. We realize that we belonged all along, we just had to take off those dark lenses to see the joy.

Thursday, October 18th
"Who do you think you are?" I remember that phrase, and the shame that followed. I had overstepped a boundary and I was being put in my place. Somehow, I thought I was someone else, obviously. I acted in a way that was unbecoming and that behavior upset my mother. I'm  not sure if she was worried about who I was or how I made her look. So, I lumped the two thoughts together and moved forward with the new belief that I was how I made my mother look. I lost a bit of my individuality then, but I didn't get in trouble as often, so there was a payoff.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Don't worry. You are not alone. And let me say this. It's not because our parents weren't wonderful people. It's not really about them, at all. The issue is that I created a belief based on my feelings instead of on my viewpoints and values. I used the value system of another, and I accepted that my thinking was inferior. I didn't challenge her again, and I grew up to be who I thought she wanted me to be. Let's get this straight. She didn't do that to me. I reacted to her comments and decided to ditch my self-worth. I stopped trusting myself. So, I faked it. I wore a mask. I played a role. I lost my authenticity.  

Eventually, the day came when I got away from my mother and I went crazy. The pendullum swung to the other extreme and I became a wild, wanton risk-taker willing to try anything if it felt good. Once again, I based my sense of self on how I felt. I wanted to feel good, and if I couldn't get there, I'd settle for feeling numb. I opted for numb because I'd lost who I was, and I certainly didn't understand how I felt anymore.

So, friend, here's the question. Is who you are based on how you feel? If so, chances are good you're caught in a default pattern whereby you register personal success based on things like how well you please others, how good the weed you shared with a friend is, or how many material goods you acquire. If you identify with this concept, don't worry. There's a way out. First, you have to wake up to the fact that you are way more than a bunch of feelings. Your feelings are important. They are meant to direct you, not define you. They can be useful tools, but should never become confused with the opinions and principles that shape your character.

Today, I'm more assured about my value and character. I am not a casual observer in life, I am taking action to become all I was intended to be. The next time someone asks me "who do you think you are?", I'll probably tell them. 

Thursday, October 11th
Have you ever seen someone at the end of their rope? Has it ever been you? It's quite a visual, hanging onto a rope and realizing that to get out of trouble you either have to climb or be pulled up. Climbing at that point requires great strength and effort, and sometimes, when you're hanging by that last thread, those are two things you lack.

A neighbor's lid to their garbage can was in the middle of the street today just waiting for the tire that couldn't avoid it. I parked in my driveway and headed over to move it to safety. While on my way, another neighbor had the same idea and began his trek. We laughed together. He got there first and saved the would-be casualty. 

On my stroll home, I realized how blessed I am to live on a street where neighbors look out for each other and even a garbage can lid is deemed important enough for someone to go out of their way to salvage it. Though I don't know the other rescuer by name, I was sure that if I were hanging onto the end of my rope, he would be my champion. I can honestly say that I would do the same for him. Is that an example of loving your neighbor as the Master taught? I hope so. If it is, that means a high five from God. 

What about you? When's the last time you reached out and helped someone even though no one saw you do it? I believe that somewhere there's a ripple effect from such a kindness. Maybe it's within ourselves. We do a good deed and ripples of kindness spread, transforming our moods and making us sure that life is good. It seems the more I practice this, the less I reach the end of my rope. Do you think that's a coincidence?

Thursday, October 4th
Have you felt broken lately? Maybe you were misunderstood by someone you deal with daily. Maybe someone you love got bad news about an illness. Maybe the weight of this world and its demands felt heavy on your back. Whatever the cause, we all know the feeling. You feel like crying but the tears don't come. You feel like isolating but you realize the pain will follow you into your hideout. You feel so powerless that your energy level is at zero. Brokenness. 

Could there be an emotional "superglue" that can reconnect the pieces if we follow the instructions? Maybe so. Let me pull out that little imaginary tube of stickiness and read the fictitious directions on the back. They say:

1.   Collect broken pieces of heart and store in safe place
2.   Call on Master Heart-Mender and hand this tube to Him
3.   Let out all sadness and lay on table for Him to work with
4.   Trust that the final outcome will serve you well
5.   Leave all in His hands, close your eyes, and wait 
6.   Be gentle with mended heart until connection is strong
7.   Don't hesitate - use your mended heart immediately to ensure longstanding efficiency

In the end, Love never fails. People will fail us. Love them anyway. Situations will fail us. Love those involved as they endure them. Expectations will fail us. Love yourself until you can see the new plan unfolding. Maybe Love is the emotional superglue of this world. Gratefully, I know a Guy who is really good at using it and making it stick for keeps. Call on Him when you're feeling broken. He has my highest recommendation and your highest good in mind. 

Thursday, September 27th
I resist change. Imagine there is something that could make life better, but requires a change to accomplish it. So, I resist. Am I afraid? Fear may be telling me to leave it alone, to keep the status quo because at least I know what to expect. Fear may be telling me not to trust. Fear may be telling me to isolate so I won't be hurt. Like a neglected child, I'll sit in my dirty diaper because at least I know that discomfort. I won't have to face the moment of surrender when the messy diaper is removed and any wounds caused by its presence are exposed to the air. I win. Or, did I? Though I've successfully avoided that short-lived distress, I've also cut myself off from all the good feelings of comfort and care that would have followed. 

Change. It's inevitable in this life. Seems silly to resist something that is part and parcel of normal life, but at times that's my default. When I review my history and see the wonderful blessings that have come as a result of change, it gives me courage. The changes that I thought would ruin everything have made the way for miracles I could never have imagined. When unwanted change is forced, I grow in ways that improve my view of the world. With change, I engage with others that bring rich, new ideas and outlooks. 

Change and resistance. I always thought the two went together like peanut butter and jelly. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I was supposed to mix the peanut butter with other elements to make cookies. It will be much easier to share those.  

Thursday, September 20th
I'm officially an old lady, and I feel great! While many of my friends were trembling at the thought of getting older, I was looking forward to becoming as confident and content with myself as are some wonderful women I admire. 

I've watched them for years. We come together regularly to share experiences that uplift, to mourn painful losses, and to celebrate new awarenesses. They taught me that life is to be lived, people need to be loved, and fears need to be faced. They spoke to me until I could understand words like courage, dignity and trust. They mentored me and mentioned me, allowing me to feel valued and special. 

This week, it's official. I'm one of them. Now, let me pass on what they so freely shared with me.  

Thursday, September 6th
It was volleyball season. I was an average player, but not on the level with some of my best friends. They were all over that court, leaping forward to bump a ball and set up the perfect spike for another player. When picking teams, I was never selected. In this arena, it was clear that I didn't belong.

Twenty years later, I was watching a TV show called Cheers. The title song said what I knew. "You want to go where everybody knows your name." On screen, a heavy-set guy walked in and went directly to his regular seat while the bartender set him up with a draft beer. In the background, all the customers yelled his name. "Norm!" Again, I recognized the quest of every person on the planet. We all want a place to belong. Norm had found it on a barstool.

Belonging. When I say the word or read it, it invokes an emotional response because I'm human, and I was created with the instinctive drive to be one in a community. It's how my species makes it in this big world with adversaries ranging from animals to diseases. We stick together to overcome.  We are born into a family unit designed to ensure survival. We join groups to share interests and expand our horizons. We utilize contacts to meet our needs. We connect. Or, do we?

Some of you reading these words are on your own. You feel lonely and don't remember ever feeling a sense of belonging. You were never picked for a sports team. You sat on the barstool, but nobody knew your name. Your family didn't ensure your survival, they abandoned you. You haven't overcome; you feel overcome.

For you, my friend, I have Good News. You have a place, and you were born with a purpose. You may not feel your inherent connection, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. God is absolutely crazy about you. He designed you with purpose and on purpose. Not helping? I get it. I've walked in your shoes and have felt that covering of darkness and pain. Loneliness is all-consuming when we are without hope. So, what have you got to lose? Why not ask for what you need? Wherever you are in this moment, ask. Please try it. Say, "God, I'm lost and alone. It hurts to be me. I want the pain to end, and I don't know what to do. Please help me. You said if I asked, You would answer. I'm asking." 

Okay, so the bush outside your house might not burst into flame and you may not feel any difference right away, but I promise you something will change. Believe that I believe. I've been there, and I don't walk in that suffering anymore. And all I did was ask. Now, I belong. I feel safe. I want that for you. Won't you give it a try?

Thursday, August 30th
Did you hear that whisper in your head that said you let everyone down again? You disappointed them this time, too. You know what to do. Keep you head down and act like you don't care. Shut them out. Ignore them. They can yell and scream and lecture you, and it won't matter because you're faking it and trying to make them think you're covered in a rubber case and they're not affecting you. 

You'll take care of it later. You'll do something to punish yourself. You'll drink too much or score some drugs. You'll eat the whole half gallon of Haagen Dazs. You won't eat anything for three days. You'll go buy something you don't need, hoping the momentary high of ownership will numb the pain. Who cares if you won't have the rent, insurance, or electric payment next week.

We're a hurting society. Our families are torn apart, and we bark at each other instead of listening to what happened. We're too stressed from life to love effectively. We're hungry for family, even though there's one available that we don't trust. They hurt us. They don't care. They'll leave if I speak my truth. The reasons go on and on, and our wounds get deeper and deeper. We cry out, but we've forgotten what we're crying about.

Stop. Breathe. Regroup. Look around you. Who do you love? Have you shown them lately? Have you put down everything else that seems so important to look them in the eye and ask them how they feel? Did you listen to the answer? 

Don't let the rat race turn you into a rat. Snuggle your kids. Hug your honey. Take your lonely coworker out to dinner. Make a batch of cookies and pass them out to the people who make up your tomorrow. Family is available, they just might not be related to you. Open your eyes and love on the people in your life. We're all so in need.

Thursday, August 23rd
Are you successful? Think about it for a minute, and then get back to me.

One of my best life memories came while driving back from a family reunion. We were crossing the country on our way back to beautiful Vero Beach, FL and my son was driving. My daughter was snoozing in the back seat as we rolled through the green hills of Kentucky and watched as their state flower, the goldenrod, began taking over complete fields with yellow splendor. The week surrounded by the Walsh clan had been wonderful, but it was clear that my little branch of the family tree wasn't on an even keel with the rest. This was the first time my children were really old enough to notice this fact. Don't get me wrong, we had enough. I worked hard as a single parent and saved to make sure we could keep the gas tank full for every mile we traveled. Though we didn't have the disposable income that some enjoyed, we were content and secure.

That's when it happened. The car was quiet with some background music playing softly when my son Luke looked over at me.  Thoughtfully, he said these words. "You're the richest one in your family, Mom. You just don't have any money." I've never felt more successful in my life. 

How about you? What measuring stick are you using to rate your success? It's an interesting question because its answer will often reveal false gods that have set up altars in our hearts, robbing us of Truth and self-esteem. They sneak in when we're not conscious of it, whispering falsehoods and making us forget our purpose and priorities. Pretty soon, we're in a competition that demands rigor but eliminates authentic passion. We become easily irritated and unavailable to our most cherished people and activities. Sadly, we fool ourselves into thinking this is winning at the game of Life. 

Are you successful? Don't check the scorecard - chuck the scorecard! Snuggle in with your kids or your cat and read a book. Throw the ball for the pup. Invite your spouse out for a walk around the block and hold hands and really listen. Laugh. Love. Live on purpose and with purpose. Thank God for the gift of the moments. In the end, those are what matter. 

Thursday, August 16th
I'm an addict. I'm not sure I can give it up, either. I want to let go, but it's so hard. I've been using for so long. But, recently someone caught me in the act and I came face-to-face with the cold reality. I'm a control freak. And I don't think I can quit without help.

Are you addicted to control? There is great satisfaction in having the final word or in telling someone what to do to make sure things turn out well. Should we let other people move forward on paths that will clearly lead to wrong outcomes? What do you mean, it's none of my business?

I've become convinced that learning to let go and let God have His way in our lives is the best thing we can do for ourselves . . . and for those we love.

Surrendering can be tough, though. Any big change in intention can be tough. That's what we're talking about, isn't it? 

What's your intention? Have you ever considered that? Do you intend to make things go smoothly, only to find out you might step on people's feelings along the way? What if your intention was simply to allow the best to come to pass. It sounds so close to the first statement, but there's one major difference. In the first statement you're MAKING things go smoothly and in the second statement you're ALLOWING the best to come to pass. One puts you in charge and the other makes you an observer. 

Maybe that's why we're reminded to LET GO AND LET GOD. In the end, He IS intention. That's what Creation is all about. He spoke His intention into being with power and authority. He can do that in our lives, too. When we give Him back the reins to the sleigh, we get to enjoy the ride without plotting the course. We can put the world down and relax our Atlas muscles. We can learn to rest at perfect peace. 

I'm a control addict, but now that I've admitted the problem I can find solution. It will take persistence and willingness to resist the temptation to over-manage people and things, but with faith I will come to know a new way of thinking and behaving. Maybe that's why those four words have always been so hard for me. "Thy will be done." 

Want to say them with me? If not yet, don't worry. We'll get there. Awareness always comes before change. 

Thursday, August 2nd
Here we go. Another opportunity for growth coming our way. Remember the old Saturday Night Live church lady? "Well, isn't that special?" she'd quip, and we'd all laugh at her funny voice and pursed lips, when what she was really saying was, "Are you kidding me, God? I gotta go through this again?"

We've all been there, and yet when we get there, it stinks. Powerlessness coming at us from different angles coupled with a desire to impact the situation for good can really set us up for tight neck muscles and the inability to sleep well. I remember when I came to the understanding that worry is a form of meditation. After all, worry is an idea on which I fixate that pushes out all other ideas, and takes over my thought train. Since worry can take my mind over, I guess what I'm saying is that I excel at meditation. Unfortunately, it's not the good kind. My type causes stress instead of relieving it. Have you been there?

It's time to get quiet and find some solitude so I can sort out what's going on. I get my thoughts and my emotions confused when life comes at me hard. I lose sight of my role, and try on other roles in hopes of managing the unmanageable. Do you have a mask and cape in your closet just waiting for the need of a superhero? How about a nurse's cap or a therapist's notepad? Does your closet hold a bank teller's window? Mine does. Through the years, I've built up quite a cache of costumes in hopes of solving the woes of the world. Sadly, none really fit and when I wear them, I lose a little bit of my true self. She sneaks into the background hoping that eventually I will hear her wimpering for a moment of peace. 

I'm thinking that some of you are identifying with today's ideas. I've written them out to show you that you're not the only one. We all get overwhelmed from time to time. When the issues are tied to those we love, it pulls our emotions into the equation, and suddenly the numbers never add up correctly. So, do as I do. Be gentle with yourself. Ask yourself repeatedly, "Is this my work?" If the answer is no, go to the Big Guy and turn it over. Ask God to do for them what  you cannot. 

It's time to retire the cape. They cost so much to dry clean anyway. No wonder your budget doesn't balance! Is there a bank teller in the area? 

Thursday, July 26th
Are you tenacious? Sometimes, that's what it takes to be successful. For many of us, we try and feel the sting of defeat, so we give up. On a strong day, we may give it one more attempt, but then we fall back into that old self-talk that scolds and demoralizes. "You aren't worth it." "You'll never measure up." "You're not important enough." 

Believe it or not, some of the most successful people that have ever walked the planet had those same defeats. The difference is that they kept trying. They believed in themselves and their talents so they wouldn't accept that the world wasn't vying for their contribution. They persisted and kept on.

Lee found this list, and we thought it would be the perfect way to encourage each of us to keep trying, no matter how grim the outlook appears. Success may stem from self-belief. Without that, we won't continue in the face of negative circumstances. Let's take a lesson from these folks that pushed through and found their niche in life.

15 great examples of commitment and overcoming adversity include:
☞ George Washington lost two-thirds of his battles before winning the Revolutionary War.
☞ Abraham Lincoln lost 9 elections, became a widower, suffered a nervous breakdown, and filed for bankruptcy twice before being elected President of the United States.
☞ Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a news anchor and told she wasn’t fit for TV.
☞ Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper job for lack of ideas.
☞ Dr. Seuss' first book was rejected by 27 publishers.
☞ Steven King’s first novel was rejected 30 times.
☞ Garth Brooks was turned down by every music label in Nashville at least twice.
☞ Tom Brady was drafted in the 5th round, meaning he was rejected by every NFL team at least 4 times.
☞ Steven Spielberg was rejected by both UCLA and USC film schools.
☞ Steve Jobs was fired by Apple Computers early in his career.
☞ Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team as a sophomore.
☞ Dabo Swinney lost 15 of his first 34 games at Clemson.
☞ John Wooden coached 16 seasons at UCLA before winning his first national championship.
☞ Pat Summit coached 13 seasons at Tennessee before winning her first national championship.
☞ Sam Walton waited 7 years before opening his second store.

Vital Lessons: Be tenacious, be persistent, and never give up!
Patience is the highest form of commitment!
Desired results do not always show up within your expected time frame!
Belief in oneself is crucial to meaningful success!

We, at BethWe, concur!

Thursday, July 19th
It's sneaky. It wants you to think you're in control, but control left long ago. At best, there is functionality, but even that falls prey to an unmanageable state of affairs from time to time. You convince yourself you're just like others. Surely, they use it as a tool to alleviate stress, too. When your responsibilites slip, you find an excuse. Overwork. Lack of sleep. Too much on your plate. Any questionable choices aren't remembered the next day, so you overlook them. If it gets out of hand, you'd do something, right? You haven't crossed that line yet. And so it goes.

Alcoholism is on the rise, and it's a subtle foe because it lies to the sufferer in his own voice. "It was a hard day. I need a drink." "I'm okay to drive. I'll take the back streets." "It's not like I'm living under a bridge or something."

Pay attention. This chronic, progressive disease gets worse, never better. It's chief aim is death, but it will settle for drunk for now. It is actively trying to get it's prey alone and isolated, separated from intimate relationships completely. Children, spouses, employers, employees - no one is safe when this insatiable malady goes full force. 

Those who love someone with this illness will suffer their own form of the disease. Though not contagious like most ailments, those close to an active alcoholic will begin to experience emotional trauma, financial woes, low self-esteem and excuse-making for their loved one. Some will begin to live the lies, distorting reality to survive the real truth. 

Perhaps you're reading this and identifying with the words. You may be at risk, or someone you love fits the bill. There is good news. There is help and healing available if the one suffering is willing to seek it for themselves. Sadly, we can't do the work for another, but we can get support from others who have experienced our pain and have tried and true answers to some of the questions that plague us. Alcoholism is killing families worldwide. Don't be a statistic. Reach out and tell someone about your struggle. You are not alone.

These links will help you find your way.
AA.org   Al-Anon.org  CoDA.org

Thursday, July 12th
Who do you think you are? Are you still playing an old role that doesn't really depict your current status? For example, are you the loser in your family of origin? Or, are you the one that always has to have the answer? 

Some of the people reading this blog have gone through life expecting themselves to fail because they are under the mistaken belief that they aren't important. Somewhere in their history, that emotion came strongly from the words and actions (or neglect) of someone in authority and they accepted it as their truth. Now, when things don't go their way they are not surprised. In a way, they expect it. So, they live into it. They settle for it. They never fought for their rights because when it first happened, they were too young to know they had rights. Instead, they believed the lie because someone with clout and influence said it.

Miracles happen when we examine these old beliefs and recognize their untruth. Hearts are mended. Opportunities come into view. Lives turn around and people become free to create their own story, not one that was told to them. It can be hard to identify these faulty beliefs because the culprits are usually buried in the subconscious and hidden beneath layers of experiences. Dig in. Do the work necessary to find your true self. It is so worth the effort.

How can you spot a hand-me-down belief that doesn't serve? Take a notebook and pen, and write two lists. First, write your deficiencies. What do you see as your failings? Next, write your talents. What do you see that as your gifts? Take some time and be thorough.

Now, look at the lists. If the "good" list is much shorter than the "bad" list, chances are you are operating on an old role that doesn't allow you to see the many talents that this world is clamoring to embrace. Next, consider which list you would feel comfortable sharing with another person. If you can't imagine sitting eye-to-eye with someone and extolling your virtues, it may not be humility calling your shots. It may be inauthenticity. This trait grows in those who adopted behaviors based on the torment of someone who was believed to be trustworthy. 

Old wounds don't always bleed. Sometimes, they create scar tissue that misshapes the victim. Step out of the victim role and heal today. It's possible, and you can do it. Ask God to help you find your way back home to who you were created to be. This world needs the real you. We can't wait to see the impact your authentic self is going to have!

Thursday, July 5th
We celebrated independence yesterday. It's an important phenomenon, being set free from something that is limiting your growth and passion. Now that you've set off all the fireworks and have worn your red, white and blue outfits, let's get personal and look inward.

What does freedom look like to you on the inside? Some of us have confused liberty with separation. "I'm my own person. I don't need anyone telling me what to do." Though I understand the premise, this mindset doesn't elicit happiness and liberty. To be free doesn't mean to withdraw, but to create new connections that better serve the new design. Pulling away doesn't generate independence at all. It produces nothing but isolation. 

We can be free to express ourselves, for example. But if there's no one to listen, we've only succeeded in separating from the very ones we want to educate by our non-conformity. It's a tough job to take a stand so that others will come to embrace new ideas. Still, the hope is to demonstrate differences with love so that open-mindedness and tolerance are instilled. 

Everyone who grew up in America learned that freedom isn't free. There is a price to pay, and the cancelled check usually reads SACRIFICE. That's understandable. But don't lose connection in the process. Don't sacrifice relationships with others or with God. When we do that, the only lesson learned is prejudice. If we want others to accept our stance and our choice, we must exhibit love. In the end, Love wins every time. It is the best teaching aid this country and this world has ever known.

Thursday, June 28th
My stomach hurts. She's trying to tell me something. Funny how my body talks to me. Have I taken on too much stress? Do I need to slow it down and take it a little easier? When my body revolts, she will have her way. 

What is your body telling you? Are you having trouble getting to or staying asleep? Are you craving salt, sugar or fats? Are you falling prey to every bug that comes your way?

Our bodies are the skin suits that carry us through this life. When we take good care of them, they reward us with tolerance and comfort. When we abuse them, we pay the price down the line. 

How do you clean your skin suit? Do you send it out or beat it on rocks yourself? Do you use strong chemicals or look for natural products? Do you floss the teeth so the gums can breathe or leave them caked up so they have to recede for air? Do you trim your nails so they don't tear? You get the idea. Self-care starts with our skin suits. 

Make that appointment you've been putting off. Get up a little earlier to stretch and move. Skip the drive-through and toss a salad. Cut the sugar drinks and chug some water. Give your body a little love. The benefits won't be immediate, but they will be far-reaching!

Thursday, June 21st
This morning I attended a funeral of a wonderful person, and it got me thinking about the word legacy. What will you leave behind? 

Money? Not really where I'm going with this blog. Though money does make it easier for folks to get by in this world, I'm looking for a bigger bequest. When you leave this earth, what will you leave behind that makes it a better place?

For me, I'm hoping that people will remember me as one who loved deeply, listened attentively, and engaged enthusiastically. When I'm gone, I hope the mention of my name brings a smile to the lips, a laugh at a story, and a warm glow in the heart. Of course, to get there, I have some work to do. 

Sometimes, we get so caught up in the daily doings that we forget to live on purpose and with purpose. We fall into patterns and ruts, and we forget that the bumps in the road are how we escape those preordained potholes. We become complacent when we meant to be passionate. We love by giving materially but forget that real love involves giving time. 

Today I'm remembering a special woman who loved deeply and left a mark on my world. Her legacy will live on in the hearts of many, and though she spent 93 years on this earth, I'm not sure it was enough time. We all wanted more with her. Now, that is a legacy. 

Thursday, June 14th
Have you ever wanted to bless someone? Why don't you? I know it sounds like kid stuff, but when you ask for blessings on other people, God responds.  

I have a cousin that I love dearly. His family went through a terrible time last year as they live in Houston, Texas and lost their home in the big hurricane. For a while, they had to live in the garages and attics of friends who maintained their domiciles through the storm. With three teen age boys, it was not always an easy road to hoe. Rebuilding was brutal, and workmen were stretched because of all the destruction. About six weeks ago, they got their kitchen up and running. 

If I could shower them with blessings, I would. I would make peace and comfort rain down on them in hurricane proportions. So I ask God for just that. I ask Him to bless them. I ask Him to make the way easier. I ask them to provide the finances necessary. I ask Him to show His great Love through all they meet along their path.

Next month, they are coming to visit Florida because one of the boys is in a baseball tournament here. They will be two towns away from me, and I'll get my chance to be one of the folks on their path. Let the blessing begin! Maybe it will be a chocolate cake. Maybe a cookout in my yard. Maybe a tour of the manatees hanging out at Round Island Park. Whatever I can do, I will do. Blessing is a form of love. 

Now, you get out there and bless someone. Just thinking about it feels great. Actually doing it is phenomenal!

Thursday, June 7th
Alignment happens every once in a while. The other day, I stayed to help someone who was struggling emotionally even though I knew I might run late for an appointment. When we had said our farewells and I ran to the car, I said a little prayer that she'd feel some peace. (I always pray right away for people so I don't forget.) When I looked at the clock, I realized that I had exactly four minutes to make it across town if I were to be on time.

That's when it happened. Every light turned green as I approached it. At four-way stops, I was always the first one there. God saw my heart and honored me with the gift of supernatural timing.This beautiful world was lining up for me, and I pulled into a parking spot at exactly the right time.

God is crazy about me. He's crazy about you, too. Right now, He's probably telling some angel about the last good deed you did. ~wink~ Watch for it. He'll prove it if only you pay attention.

Thursday, May 31st
Do you find it hard to trust other people? Do they have to prove themselves to you before you'll let them get close? Or, do you dive right into a relationship just because someone smiled at you? Are you a people pleaser? Do you latch onto others like a remorrah, sure that if they leave you'll somehow fall apart? Sometimes, there's a root to these issues.

This kind of fear usually occurs after a childhood loss, like the loss of a parent through death or divorce. Sometimes, the loss is in quality of physical or emotional care. Maybe your parents were present, but they were dealing with other issues that made them unavailable to you in your need. These early-childhood experiences can lead to a fear of being abandoned and make it hard to learn to trust others, even as an adult.

Are you identifying? Don't worry. You're not flawed beyond help. But it will take some help if you are to overcome the patterns that you've used as a default for your entire life. There are numerous methods of recovery available. Talk therapy will help you, but if you want to kickstart the process why don't you consider some specialized treatment? Two methods I have practiced with positive results include EMDR and NET. 

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, and it was developed to help alleviate the distress caused by traumatic childhood memories. External stimuli allow the patient to access painful memories in small doses, enhancing the opportunity to reformulate negative beliefs. 

NET stands for Neuro Emotional Technique, and it is based on the physiological foundations of stress-related responses. In other words, your body helps you replicate early trauma so that it can be addressed and relieved. 

Abandonment issues run deep for most, so don't go it alone. You can always tap your spiritual side to help, as well. There is One who will never abandon or forsake you. Ask Him into your heart if you long for connection.

Do not fear, you are not alone. Go to our www.BethWE.com website and peruse some of the offerings. We have radio shows available on both therapies recommended, and our community exists to reassure the lonely of their incredible worth. 

Thursday, May 24th
Do you have a favorite recipe? When you make it and bring it to a pot luck, does everyone go crazy? They laud your culinary prowess as they go back for a second helping of your delicious handiwork. You look on gratefully, confident that you did a good job and happy that you delighted others with your beloved dish.

Let's switch gears for a moment. Consider this: we were created to embrace our social standing so we would make relationships and ensure community and survival. It's natural to want to belong. Sometimes, though, our drive to "look good" to others becomes extreme, and we confuse their opinions with our self-worth.  We decide that "measuring up" is the measure by which our value is determined. We aren't enough because they said we weren't enough. We don't matter because they didn't even notice us at the party. We can't be important because clearly they think we are losers. You get the premise.

Between you and me, that's a bunch of crap. What others think about us is inconsequential. Our worth was decided many years ago. It has little to do with how we feel about ourselves and more to do with how our Creator feels about us.

You and me? We are the favored dish of the God. He worked on the recipe until we had just the right ingredients to delight. When He made us and brought us to this party, He knew we'd be a hit. Look around you. Aren't there others who come back for second helpings of your talents? If you don't see them, let me ask you a question. Are you holding back due to fear? Are you afraid to pass your tray of genius because some might scoff? 

Not everybody likes curry. But those of us who do brighten up when we see it on the menu. You, my friend, might be the curry. You were created with care to reach those God needs you to reach. Don't skimp on His recipe. Become the spice of life for all those within your sphere of influence. Remember, your Heavenly Father is looking on with confidence knowing that His favored dish was created to delight.  

Thursday, May 17th
There's a new song out by Zach Williams called "Fear Is A Liar". If you have a chance, pull it up on YouTube.com and check it out. It's very moving.

When I think about the voices that I can hear in my head, there are many liars among them. Low self-esteem grumbles, judgment criticizes me and others, ego boasts loudly and tells me why I'm better or how they're doing it wrong, and fear whispers negativity in a gravely tone. Do you know the voices?

It's okay. We're not psychotic or in need of psychiatry. We're just human beings trying to find our way in a world where it's sometimes not easy to fit in or feel safe. We yearn for belonging and we made up our own ways to deal with it when that doesn't come. After years of practicing these behaviors (or listening to the voices), they become habitual. We don't even know we're in judgment. We slip into fear and back away from loved ones. We push others away with our sarcastic wit in an attempt to put them in their place. We cover our bodies, our opinions, our realities so others won't see the imperfections. In other words, we separate.

Separation is the cause of every form of dysfunction known to mankind. It is the opposite of our intrinsic nature which calls us to community. Listen closely to those voices. Chances are, once you hear them you'll be able to recognize the lies. And then, you'll tell them to Shut Up! It is your mind, after all. You get to call the shots, but only if you're aware. Be conscious and take your power back. It's yours for the claiming.

Thursday, May 10th
What do you think about your story? Are you sharing it every chance you get or are you holding back parts of it because they make you feel shame? Chances are, until you find your way out of brokenness, you will be slow to share your Truth with others. 

Oddly enough, that's the way out. Truth. When we call on Truth, and accept It's terms, everything else falls into place. No more hiding. No more running. No more avoiding eye contact in public or in the bathroom mirror. 

Once Truth enters your heart, you will be able to see that every bump along your path was necessary to help you climb to the new heights of freedom that you now enjoy. You will see other broken souls in the world and encourage them to fess up, come clean, drop the facade. You will be a beacon of hope in this world. 

So, what are you waiting for? Call out and ask Truth in. Tell It that you are afraid, but more afraid that you'll have to live in darkness. Take the chance. What have you got to lose, except your shame? 

Thursday, May 3rd
I've been learning more about prayer. Where better to go than to the Son of God who walked this earth two thousand years ago? When His buddies asked Him to teach them to pray, He gave them the prayer most of us have said since childhood. We know it so well that we forget what it means. 

"Our Father". That's how it starts. Simple, right? But, did you ever notice that those two simple words put us on the same playing field with Christ? He didn't say, "My Father". He used the word "Our". If you consider the ramifications of those two words, it changes everything. Suddenly, I am not conversing with some Spirit in the sky way out there, but I'm talking to the Creator of everything as if I am His child, and the greatest spiritual master that ever walked this planet is my Brother. Wow.

Then, we were taught to praise and surrender our will before we make any requests. "Hallowed be Thy Name" and "Thy will be done" are the instruction. Remember, this prayer came after Christ's friends asked that He teach them how to pray. So, you can utilize His words or create your own, but use the instruction to praise and to surrender before you make requests.

Next, the asking comes into sight. As we ask, we are called to repent. Is that an old-fashioned word that makes you uncomfortable? Don't sweat it. It just means to feel sorrow for . . . again. The prefix "re" means  to do over, and "pent" comes from a Latin word pentir, which means to feel sorrow for. So, as we ask for provision, we express our sorrow for doing wrong, or trespassing on God's yard. He set it up to be an Eden, and we have planted weeds and broken the sprinkler system. We're saying, "Sorry, but could you still hook me up with my needs, Dad?"

Then, we claim that we will forgive those who have "walked on our property" and hurt us. "As we forgive those who trespass against us." Why do we say this? That was the teaching. We are to forgive others as God forgives us. After all, we're talking to our Father, God, and we are asking to be close enough to have our needs provided, and let's face it, we're not worthy on our own. We finish with recognition of this incredible fact by saying, "Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever." Which leaves us where we started - awestruck that we are considered kids of the King. 

When I looked at this prayer as an instruction on how to pray, it changed it for me. Hope it stirs your heart as well. Happy praying, and get ready for results!

Thursday, April 26th
I have a lot on my mind today. Maybe it's because of the 16 pound bundle of love that I'm holding, or maybe it's because of a book I was asked to read. Either way, the two are combining in my mind and heart, and I am overcome with the realization that I am God's child. That's right. I'm God's kid. And the love that I feel for this little grandbaby in my arms is only a fraction of the Great Love that is available to me by the Creator of Life itself. 

Get ready. Chances are good that a realization this deep will carry repercussions. I will grow from the passionate knowing that is rising up within, and if you are a regular reader of my blogs, you will "hear" it in my words.

But, for now, I'm holding my grandson, and that's all I want to consider. Doesn't he have a wonderful glow, or is that me looking at him?

Thursday, April 19th
Fractions and percentages. When I was in school, I needed a pencil and paper to figure them out. Now, plug it into your iPhone or calculator, and poof! the result pops!

There was a dude who lived long ago and had conversations with God. They were recorded in the Jewish Torah, and millions have built their lives around what he learned. One of his teachings was about giving 10% back to God's storehouse to provide for those who do His work. Now, writing a check for that amount seems like a hefty chunk of change for anyone, but I have a different question for you.

Have you ever pondered what percentage of your time you give to helping others connect with their Highest? Do you give 10% to that? What about rest? Do you schedule down time regularly? Is it 10% of your life?

As soon as I was able to work and earn a paycheck, I took a job as a waitress in a local diner. I learned my fractions and percentages quickly. I knew I liked 20% more than 15%. I knew that little bit extra would help me pay my college tuition more quickly. 

Let me throw out a new number. That same old man that hung out with God on Mt. Sinai gave another piece of information. He said that God Himself rested one-seventh of the time it took to throw this whole Universe into place. One-seventh. If you have an inner waitress, she is calculating right now. That means that according to the understandings of Moses, we are to give ten percent back to God, and to rest with Him fourteen percent of our time. What a concept! 

Okay, so what's the point of this blog? Why did I go back into the Torah and play with your head? Well friend, if you're like me, you've forgotten how quickly those little four percent increases can add up. They can make your best life manifest quickly. Give to God - 10%. Rest with God - 14%. 

That's your tip. Cha-ching!

Thursday, April 12th
I like to go to this one shop in town because they welcome me and assist me even when I don't know I need help. They don't hover, they stay in the background but somehow know when to offer a hand. They are conscious of my presence. They are interested in my needs. They succeed personally because they help me succeed. I buy what they're selling and I return when the need for that product emerges.

What if we were like that as a spiritual community? Can you imagine the many who would be helped? Can you imagine the connections that would be made? Can you imagine the abundant fruit that would follow?

Thursday, April 5th
We ask our dog not to bark when a delivery man comes, and then later that night we hold up a treat and say, "Speak!" The treat only hits his tongue after a yelp is heard. Do you think that confuses him? Or, is he bright enough to open his little mind to the difference?

I'm like my dog Rooney sometimes. When my mind opens to a new way of looking at something, suddenly I'm not sure what I think about it. I have to roll it around in my head. I consider the implications of the new idea. I try it out on friends by asking them their take. I play with it. I wonder if I'll get "in trouble" if I act on it. I ponder what others will think if I take it on as my own. I "juggle" it with my other beliefs and see if it fits in the sequence or throws the whole balance off.

How about you? It's fun to be open-minded because it brings new people, new gratitude, new visions and hopes. Yet, it is a bit of work to contemplate the new directive to find whether it falls into place or has to be ejected.

I think I'll keep practicing this trick. Because like Rooney, in the end, I get the treat. 

Thursday, March 29th
My life is a song I am singing to my God. Sometimes the lyrics wrench the heart, and other times they make it dance with joy. There is some rhyme; there is some reason. When the tempo gets fast, it is always followed by periods of rest. The background vocalists are the birds of the air, consistently in tune and full of passion for the leading melody.

I have learned that with the help of Spirit, I can change the beat and sing out as never before. When I let go and surrender to the Melody Maker, there are rifts and breaks that I could not have attained alone. My vocals become on point and affect others. With Spirit, I sing words I didn't know with rhythm I didn't have. Dancing erupts around me and in me.

Oh God, let my song endure. Let it persuade others to sing along. Let it encourage them to write their own lyrics. Let my song be catalogued with the best praise and worship music ever conceived. Let it be a joyful noise on heaven and earth. This Easter, may my song reach Your ears as a thank You. I believe. 

Thursday, March 22nd

How do our instincts affect us? It is incredible how subtle they can be in creating an inner yearning that longs to be met. When I view my history with the knowledge of these God-given urges, I am much more compassionate and forgiving. I don't beat myself up and wage war on the past. I see it for what it was and come to better understanding of what was "driving my train".

In 12 Step, Bill Wilson introduced me to the three instinctive drives for sex, for security, and for my place in society. Somehow, these innate impulses call to me for satisfaction because they allow me to create a full life. Still, my humanity sometimes pulls me off-center, and instead of seeking balance, I seek extremes. When this happens, my instincts follow and demand more than what is necessary. I eat, drink, spend, hoard, criticize, boast . . . you get the idea. The fallout created is unstable and dysfunctional, and can never allow me to feel satisfaction. I don't know when I'm full. I don't think there's enough. I compare myself with others and find one of us wanting. The list of uncertainties grows, and my behavior becomes more capricious.

Understanding this pattern of behavior has helped me immensely. With awareness, I can see that I am out of sorts and not just deviant. I can make amends for any wrongs against self or others, and recognize that I don't have to repeat them again. I can stop judging myself and start loving myself, warts and all. Suddenly, my desire to improve outweighs my need to punish and condemn.

Then, the fruit keeps coming. When I am proficient at practicing compassion with myself, I am more likely to practice it with others. My historic emotional wounds recieve the healing salve of forgiveness and I am able to be more fully present in the now. Instead of rating others on the basis of possible injuries to come, I can receive them as they are and without reservation. 

Who knew that understanding these instincts could change my life so incredibly? I am grateful for the insight of others who went before me and recorded their experiential insights. When I take that knowledge and add my efforts, I open myself up to know true intimacy and peace of mind. The payoff is huge.

Thursday, March 15th
In the past, when asked to describe the love of God, I always thought of it as a parent's love for his child. While that may be a great starting point, I have news for you. I think it might be closer to this new love I have come to know. 

Ralph Michael Taylor was born three months ago today, and he is the best Christmas gift I have ever received. My first grandchild, Ralph showed up on the scene full of snuggles and hungry for connection. When I held him, I saw a semblance of my daughter's face that took me back to her early days. But there was one big difference.

When I hold my grandson, I am free of the fears and projections of parenthood. I know he will be okay in all arenas. Whether he needs braces or chooses an ivy league college is not my financial concern. If he wakes frequently in the night and needs a diaper change, it is not my responsibility. My work is simple. I have to love him. I have to hold him and protect him. I have to whisper sweet promises and sing silly songs. I have to be there for him if he needs me and his mama is tired. Perhaps, those last three lines were unnecessary, for it's all wrapped up in the first sentence. I have to love him.

I think this might be how God feels about me. (Chances are good, that's how He feels about you, too. ~wink~)

Thursday, March 8th
Humility is not what everyone thinks. Some of us think it stands for meek timidity, when in reality, it is better described as an accurate assessment of self.

Humility can be tough for the grandiose among us - those bit early in life with the entitlement bug. But humility is even more difficult for the lowly among us - those who have determined that their value is beneath the value of others. They fall into a cycle that is tough to overcome.

It starts with a faulty belief about yourself. Then, there comes a negative behavior that is spurred by that belief. What follows that is a decrease in self-worth. Which brings you back to the beginning as you wallow around in another faulty belief. 

So, here's the question: Who are you really? Some of us have forgotten who we are and have become what we believe we are. Remember, beliefs aren't always accurate, but they run the show. We act as if they are factual and righteous, when there's a good chance we haven't actually examined them in years. Old beliefs are usually deep within a person and difficult to see. Then, once we do recognize their hold on us, they can be hard to uproot and challenge.

To overcome core issues, you may need help. Workshops, counseling, 12 step groups, NET, EMDR and other therapies can assist if you feel overwhelmed by the falsehoods that are creating dysfunction. 

Humility plays out as self-acceptance in the now, understanding for the past, and great hope for the future. It sees the BIG picture that holds failure and talent. It's an authentic look that can free you up and make your world easier to navigate. You can step off the dysfunctional cycles that dominate and walk freely knowing your great value to this world.

Thursday, March 1st

Sometimes, our path takes a deviation and others don't understand our route. They watch us; they warn us; they judge us and call us crazy when we don't turn back to the safety of the center of the road. 

Could it be that some of us are destined to follow twists and turns because we are meant to pick up the strays that have lost their way? It may be risky. It may be scarey at times. It may be lonely frequently. But that doesn't make it wrong.

Inside each of us is a knowing that comes from our Source. We can't really explain it, but there are moments when we know something is meant to be. We know everything will be okay. We know someone isn't to be trusted. We know we should make a call. It's weird when it happens, but many of us learn to trust this intuition as communication from our Higher Power. This inner voice isn't audible, but still we hear it loud and clear. 

If you look back through history, you will see many called by God who steered of the beaten path because that inner voice directed them. Miracles followed. Most of those holy men and women were lonely because the masses didn't understand their call. Still, they obeyed it. 

It's hard when others don't understand, but it is wonderful when you see a move of Spirit in your life that happened only because you were willing to veer off course. Perhaps that is what the poet Robert Frost meant when he wrote:

"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
Stay close to God and follow your road with confidence. Live into your destiny.  

Thursday, February 22nd
Many years ago, a spiritual Master asked one of his followers, "Who do people say that I am?" There were many answers, but finally, one of His closest friends called it perfectly. His ability to answer succinctly brought joy to the Teacher. He felt understood.

Who do people say that you are? Some may call you by a label based on what you do as a career. Others may call you by the role you play in their life - mother, father, sister, brother, etc. But what answer would make you feel fully appreciated by another? 

Based on the story I started with, knowing who you are helps. Others may only know you piecemeal, but hopefully, you know yourself fully. If that's not the case yet, don't fret. Seek to become all that you were created to be and the personal questioning will turn to intimate awareness. It takes time, but it is so worth the effort.

Next, you will find that having and knowing your purpose on this earth will reveal your character at an even deeper level. A primary purpose evokes meaningful interaction with self, with others and with God. It enlarges the answer to "who am I" with power and esteem.

Finally, surround yourself with others who value your input and recognize your gifts. This isn't an egocentric move, it is natural to vacilate toward those who "want what you have" and understand your purpose. In turn, you will find an opening to experience ideas and behaviors that may actually shape your future as you realize that you "want what they have" too. It's amazing how the people we spend time with can inspire and motivate us. When we get caught in isolation, we miss out on so much joy. Like the Master in the opening story, being understood by those we care about deeply lightens our load and gives a spring to our step.   

Thursday, February 15th
There's a wonderful quote that I love to read. It's by Goethe, and it reads: "We need to have people who mean something to us, people to whom we can turn knowing that being with them is coming home." 

What does home mean to you? Is it a place? A group of people? A smell? A feeling? Is it all of the above?

We are speaking of an earthly home. But there is more. We are called to come home to our Source. There is a longing in man's heart that can only be filled by that knowing. We try all sorts of avenues to imitate this special sense of belonging. Knowledge, pleasure, escape . . . they all work for a time, but ultimately, the soul will cry for more because there is nothing else that can satisfy this longing. 

Go to your Creator and find homecoming like you've never experienced before. You will have a comfort in your heart that will make your whole being know that everything will be okay. You will never be alone in a pain or struggle again. You will feel completed, somehow. Best of all, you will know peace.

Thursday, February 8th
It's the season of love. In the end, that is the measure of your life. All legacy is built on how you let your love cascade over all you touch. How are you doing?

Some of us are so busy trying to PROVE ourselves that we forget how to LOVE ourselves. Without that, all other love is tainted with dysfunction. 

This Valentine's season, do something wonderful for yourself. Self-love is not egocentric or prideful. Self-love is the basis for happy living and wonderful relations with other people. Self-love is the biggest thank You note you could ever send God. 

After all, He doesn't make junk. Happy Valentine's Day to all!

Thursday, February 1st
Do you judge yourself harshly? So many of us do. Self-judgment serves no good purpose. It tells us that we will never measure up to some crazy out-of-reach standards that we developed in our attempt to be perfect. We set the bar higher than any one person could achieve, and then we shame ourselves for not hitting the mark. 

Self-examination, on the other hand, is an inventory that allows us to measure the good and the bad. It comes in small, regular doses instead of one heavy hit, so it allows us to reprimand ourselves gently and note our progress when we do well. When it is a daily habit, our self-talk changes, too. We begin to understand what makes us tick. We recognize our fears, and learn to ask for help so we don't continue to repeat behaviors that separate us from others and from God. Daily self-examination heals. 

Listen to your thoughts. How do you speak to yourself? Is it loving or punishing? If you are in a constant struggle to "be enough", give self-examination a try for a two-week period and watch what happens. Peace of mind will emerge. Happiness will follow. Self-esteem will grow. Lots of perks will follow. Give it a go! 

Thursday, January 25th
Connection. That's the key. When we founded BethWE it was because we saw folks all over separating and falling prey to isolation and loneliness. Depression, addiction and suicidal ideology were robbing us blind. We were losing the gifts and talents of so many as they numbed themselves with substance or behavior, trying to shut out the world and hide in darkness. 

Connection. We were created for it. It's in our DNA, and it calls us to community. Only a strong negative force can disconnect such a primal instinct. Yet, we watched it happening all around us, and we mourned our losses and rubbed our hands in anxious disbelief. Then we started fighting. At BethWE, we started fighting by talking about it in the light. We said it in workshops and blogs, radio broadcasts and magazine articles. We reported what we were seeing, and we let others know they were not alone in their fears.

Connection. Have you lost your footing? Do you feel like you're facing this big world alone? Have you forgotten how to trust? When is the last time you went seeking for solution? We're here for you. Separation is a tricky foe. It lies and tells us we aren't worth it. It fibs and whispers that no one cares anyway. It tells untruths so frequently that we come to believe them. Know this:

Connection. It's what you're looking for, and we know it's available. Believe that we believe. Take a chance and seek solution. Put your hand out to someone you see struggling. Be the neighbor called to love. Be Love. 

Connection. We need you. Come back to us.

Thursday, January 18th
What makes you angry? For me, it's usually a hidden fear. I'm afraid that something I feel is important won't happen or will be overlooked. It's worse if I'm suffering from another stressor, like being hungry or sick. When my physical self is already taxed, the emotive self jumps off the deep end more quickly. I react. I say things I shouldn't. I do things out of character. I hurt those I care about. 

Then, it passes. I feel remorse. I wish I could take it all back, but like the tooth paste squeezed out of the tube, once it's out, there's no taking it back. It's part and parcel of the experience. My fear rewrote a piece of my life story, and I have to live with the consequences.

Those pesky hidden fears are usually not worth the fight I put up to ensure my control. Often, they aren't even based in Truth. Was I demeaned or was I not even in the mind of the perpetrator when they acted? Was my dignity questioned before or after I flew off the handle? Were the rules I was fighting for written in stone or in pencil so they could be erased and rewritten if necessary? Do I long for mercy personally but dole out judgment to others? 

Then I remember that even the Master got angry that one time. He turned over tables and threw folks out of the temple. He reacted because he thought they were desecrating the very thing He held most dear. He probably scared some of them who had become complacent in their walks, taking things for granted and doing what they felt like instead of what felt right. 

Somehow, that calms me. It clicks the self-judgment down a few notches and allows me to move into self-forgiveness. We do the best we can, and when we know better, we do better. There will be slip-ups and bursts of emotion along the way because when we really care about something, we are hurt when others don't share our passion. It's the human condition. 

So grateful to know that this life is about progress, not about perfection. We'll all get there, but we've got to be patient with ourselves on the way.   

Thursday, January 11th
Overwhelmed. That's it. Struggling. Wondering, will it ever be easy again?

We've all been there, so if you identify with this thought, know this. You are not alone. Start simply by taking a few deep breaths. Believe it or not, our breathing can activate our spirit connection. Maybe it's tied to the breath of life or something, but however it happens, becoming conscious of your breathing begins healing change. Slowly, breathe in peace. Slowly, breathe out chaos. Repeat. Next, pause and ask for help. You don't have to pick up the phone or knock on a neighbor's door. PAUSE. Pray and use Source energy. Ask the Higher Power to help you. Ask for peace of mind. The peace that passes all understanding is only a request away. 

If you can handle it, take out a journal or notepad and write. Get it all out on paper. Again, it isn't what comes out of the pen but the action of pulling it all out of your head and seeing it in black and white on the paper that will help. As you dump the weight of the world in ink, solutions will start to come to your mind. It's as if taking the "garbage" out empties the mind so it can replenish with positive thoughts. 

Overwhelm happens. Peace returns. Remember, this, too, shall pass. Be gentle with yourself while you maneuver through the rough terrain. Everything's going to be alright.

Thursday, January 4th
I've been thinking a lot about my boundaries lately. I get the premise. "I stop here, then there's a space, and then you start there." It's spatial relations, really. Yet, in my head there are all sorts of crossovers.

Why do I want to lend a hand when no one asked for help? Why do I find myself saying 'yes' when my tired, weary body screams 'NO!'? Why do I want to "fix" a problem and sweep it under the carpet like it never happened, thereby removing any growth opportunity? Why am I loyal to people and institutions that treat me poorly? Why does it feel better when someone else compliments me than when I recognize that I've done a good job? 

When I try to unravel most enigmas, it always comes back to awareness about the driving mechanism behind the question. Usually, I am motivated by one of the three instinctive needs that every human being has. The three S's. Sex, security and society. Whether I'm conscious of it or not, I am working to get these needs met all the time. They are innate - gifts from Creation to make my life full and rich. Yet, the pendulum of my life often swings wide, and I find myself going to extreme lengths in quest of satisfaction. Sadly, when out of balance, these needs cannot be extinguished. The rampage on which they run feels normal because I've become used to it. 

For example, my social instinct may tell me to look to a false god to find esteem. I've nicknamed this god "gowopt", and I rebuke it regularly. I don't want to fall in line with his demands. Why gowopt? It stands for the "god of what other people think." It's a vicious god, because it steals my freedom to be who I was created to be and enlists me to live my life based on rolodex cards in my head telling me to act in a way that will please the person with whom I'm interacting. 

When security is running the show, I worry about finances and feelings. Security comes to me in those two key ways. I want to be financially secure, and I want to be emotionally secure. This is why I fall prey to being loyal to those who haven't earned it. Maybe they lighten my financial load or maybe they inflict shame until I behave a certain way. The quest for security is ongoing. After all, who doesn't wish to feel safe?

When satisfaction of these instincts is flashing hot, my boundary lines get blurred. I lose sight of what I really believe and fall in line with whatever it is I have to become to make myself think I am closer to completion. Then, the cycle starts to roll, and I lose track of where I stop and others start. It's a lot to consider, I know, but at least I am becoming more aware of the triggers.

And awareness is the beginning of healing. When I couldn't see the blurry lines, I didn't know I was struggling. Now I recognize my part and can go to my Source and ask for help to find balance. I believe that once I'm back in balance, the boundaries will become clear. Clarity returns with willingness and Truth.

Beth's Blogs 2017

Thursday, December 28th
Depression is very common after the holidays. Don't be caught off guard. Pay attention to your feelings of withdrawal and low self-esteem if they are coming up. For some of us, we need to seek professional help to get this under control. For others, attendance at group meetings, counsel with close friends who understand, and changing up our routines can grab us up before we slip too deeply into the sludge of pain. 

You are not alone if you are feeling despair. Many have trudged that path and found their way back to the light. Open your mind to healing. Open your mouth and speak your pain to someone who will help you find your way. Open your heart to God knowing that you were created in and for love. He will provide.

The BethWE community is here for you. Contact us if you need a kick-start. We'll help. After all, heavy feelings sometimes indicate important signage toward wellness and health. The path is available, though often covered up by these deep emotions. Let someone in who has walked this way before. Truly, you are not alone. 

Thursday, December 21st
B R E A T H E

We do it all day, every day, and yet we often forget the healing powers of deep breathing. By slowing down your heart rate and lowering blood pressure, breathing deeply relieves stress.

Use simple counts in your breathing mission. Breathe in for a four count. Hold for a four count. Release for a four count. Repeat. You can do this anywhere, from a red light on your way to the mall or in line at the post office to speed mail your last packages.

The holidays should be stress-free and full of love, but for many of us, that isn’t the case. Holiday means Holy Day. What does HOLY mean to you? Are you able to live that currently? If not, change it up. Make time for prayer and meditation. Share quality time with loved ones. Sleep. Practice self-care. Love YOU.

Peace on earth and good will toward all men. That’s the premise of this season. Let the peace start in your mind. Let the good will be first to the man in the mirror. Merry Christmas from all of us at BethWE! 

Thursday, December 7th
Have you ever bitten off the head of an unsuspecting person? It can be caused by the smallest thing, but when I'm in bad space, frustration reigns. Friends have taught me an interesting way to maneuver around this behavior. They told me to practice HALT. I thought they meant to just stop it, but they laughed and explained that each letter stands for a circumstance that may allow me to become irritated more quickly. They told me to never allow myself to become too Hungry, too Angry, too Lonely or too Tired. EaWhen we ch of those stances may create an atmosphere where the slightest discomfort can send me running to an old behavior that no longer serves the healthy me. 

Did you ever eat at something? I did. It seemed like it made the frustration lift, but actually I was just getting numb on Ben & Jerry's. What are some of your "go-to" patterns? Do you drink too much? Do you spend money? Do you isolate? Do you disappear into the TV? Where do you go to get numb?

These behaviors are toxic. They make us sicker; they never heal. Take a page from my book. I found it was easier to maintain sanity when I could talk over my feelings with a trustworthy person. Another help was when I practiced self-care. I learned to replace temporal "feel good immediately" behaviors with healthy eating, exercise, sleep and adequate water intake. Somehow, when I focus on taking good care of me, I'm less likely to jump down your throat. Prayer and meditation allows me to relax, as well. Breathing, contemplating the Source of all, communicating through my Spirit self calms me down. Last, have you ever tried regular journaling? It changed my life. I came to know myself and my God like never before. Somehow, in knowing me and Him, I was much more tolerant of the rest of the world. 

Someone reading this blog may need professional help to treat depression, addiction or the physical responses to stress. Don't minimize the importance of asking for help when you need it. For many, this is what keeps us running the cycle of insanity. Make the call. Love yourself enough to get what you need to thrive.

It's a crazy time of year where there's too much to do and too little time. Pay attention to your needs. Take good care of my friend, will you? 

Thursday, November 30th

Picture it if you will. There's a huge camel on his knees getting loaded up for a long journey across the dessert. The load is ready, and we bring the mighty beast to its feet and prepare to take off. Suddenly, someone runs through the courtyard screaming for you to wait. You do. When they arrive, they are carrying a drinking straw that goes with a kid's cup. "This belongs to a little boy in the land to which you traverse. Could you please bring it to him?" It seems a simple request and quite a trite one at that, and hating to slow your progress you grumble a quick, "Yes, of course," as the man approaches the camel and reaches up and tucks the straw into the load. At that moment, the animal cries out in pain and collapses. A veterinarian is called, and the load is removed as he maneuvers around trying to assuage the beast's agony. "It was the straw that broke the camel's back," he quips. How could that be? A silly drinking straw? It seems so small and inconsequential, but alas, here is the proof. The journey must be delayed while another beast of burden is found.

It's the little irritations that can drive us insane! We can deal with the BIG problems. We see them coming. We give ourselves a break here and there. We plan. We enlist support. But when stress is high, just let someone drive below the speed limit when we are following. Suddenly, we know "bad things about their parentage" and we say it out loud in the car.

Let's face it, clearly the straw or the slow driver in front of us isn't the issue. The issue is that we have once again heaped too much on our own shoulders and we cannot possibly complete all the tasks at hand in peace and comfort. We have become the beast of burden.

There is One who will help you with your load. Go to Him and connect. With gentle rebuke He will guide you into seeing "enough" where you used to see "inadequate". With constancy and strength, He will hold you up while you reassess the load and remove some of the heavy portions that can be carried by another. Most of all, with quiet assurance He will whisper loving words that bring you to rest.  

Thursday, November 23rd
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
Why did the turkey cross the road? Because it was Thanksgiving and he wanted everyone to think he was a chicken!

Okay, so it wasn't that funny, but it got your attention. And it's something to think about. Protection. What do you do to protect yourself? 

Some of us take control. Others hide under a vanishing cloak and act as if no one can see us. Some run for the hills and don't show up at all. Still others get aggressive and dare anyone to approach them. The list could go on and on, but the only important thing is to know what you do when you don't feel safe. 

Many of us are gathering with friends and family to feast today. For some, it is pure joy. But there are those among us who will feel unsafe as we will be surrounded by those in our histories that have wounded us. We avoid them as best we can throughout the year, but the holidays bring them up close and it gets personal. So, as we prepare for the event, we don our battle regalia and prepare for interaction. We fall back into an old role that doesn't fit our current stance. 

This year, why don't we choose to be ourselves? Why don't we discard the protective patterns of behavior that scream of survival and keep us from living authentically? Let's be brave and show up without the mask of "who you think I am" and speak from the heart instead of quoting the same old lines that no longer serve. 

It's easy. Get your protection from a different Source. Instead of relying on dysfunction to keep you secure, reach for a spiritual covering that will guard you and allow you to manage the brokenness of others. Before you go, get quiet and ask the One True God to accompany you. While you're at it, ask Him to forgive the aggressor of his/her past assaults against you. Then, thank Him for His love and care. Go to your feast expecting to see a difference.

Sometimes, those closest to us injure us the most. Remember, only hurt people hurt people. Choose to walk in Love. You'll never have to walk alone again. Better yet, you'll never have to bear your burdens alone either. God is crazy about you. Go to Him and hook up. You'll never have a better Thanksgiving.    

Thursday, November 16th
We are coming into the days of grace where food is king and everyone takes a moment to count their blessings. The next time I send out a Facebook blog will be on Thanksgiving Day. Between mashing the taters and setting the table, I'll be thinking of all of you and hoping that you feel you are immersed in plenty and awashed in security.

Security is an instinctive drive. Whether you are striving for physical security, emotional security or spiritual security, the need is great. Who wants to worry about money or physical safety? Who would ever choose to feel crazy or disconnected emotionally? Worse, how difficult would it be to wonder if you were ever meant to be - if you were created for a purpose that only a spiritual identity can supply? 

Each one of us knows this drive. We want to feel safety. We want to feel secure. We want to feel clarity about our value. We want to believe there is enough and that we are enough. We want to feel the same fullness of heart and mind that we will feel of body next Thursday after our annual feast. This desire is normal and God-given. Don't let it drive you to despair. Instead, ask for help to accomplish what it takes to get there.

There are those who will help with financial issues. There are those to get you out of a dangerous physical situation so that your are not harmed. There are those who help organize the mental chaos that ensues many issues, from alcoholism to codependency. There is a True God that loves you unconditionally and longs to hear you call His name so that He can provide strength in the wilderness. Ask. Make a phone call. Show up at a meeting. Get on your knees and take a chance that God is waiting. 

Next week, you may have something incredible to add to your gratitude list. It will get there because you asked.  

Thursday, November 2nd
Let's face it, it's hard to be safe and predictable when your buttons are being pushed. Recently, I was in a few circumstances where my emotional capacity was stretched by people who were treating others with contempt and cruelty. They thought their attitudes were justified, so the arrogant onslaught picked up speed. It was almost more than I could bear. It made it difficult to live by the spiritual principles that I write about. I wanted to alter their realities, if you know what I mean. 

Whenever a person is experiencing extreme emotion he or she will experience tension. Managing stress is a real issue for real people. Everytime you are blessed with relationship, you are signed up for a dose of stress. It's not always bad, either. Tension can build when you're having a run of good fortune, too. Think about planning a wedding, buying a new car, celebrating the birth of a new baby, selling a house . . . all wonderful events and stress-producers. Even though the tension you're experiencing comes from joyful happenings, they will still put you on edge so that the slightest negative can cause you to fly off the handle.

To deal with pressure successfully, we must approach it with all three of our natures. Physically, we must breathe deeply, take a step back, and roll our necks to allow the muscles in your shoulders to free up. Spiritually, we must ask for help and strive to see that the perpetrator is suffering with more negativity than us, and instead of wanting to smack them, we should lift them up in prayer. It's time to PAUSE - pray and use Source energy. Emotionally, we need time to regroup. There is a big difference between responding and reacting. The dictionary tells us that respond means to react quickly or positively to a stimulus or treatment. React means to respond with hostility, opposition, or a contrary course of action. Recognize that you feel threatened and be conscious that tension is building. Remove yourself from the situation if need be. Buy your emotional self some time.

Managing tension will take work. You will learn to redirect your focus the more you practice it. You will learn to decompress and allow restoration. The decision is simple: do you want to endure the problem or live in the solution? Choose wisely, and then take the steps necessary to assure success. Stress is a normal part of life. It will come regularly, so let's get working at creating a new pattern of responding as the compassionate people we were created to be!

Thursday, October 26th
There are only so many hours in a day. Sometimes, our schedules get tight. We have so much going that we forget appointments or run late. That increases our anxiety levels. We get pumped up, and the nervous energy makes us reactive. We snarl at our loved ones. We roll our eyes at incompetence. We judge. We accuse. We berate.

If you've identified with any of the above, it's time to look at your schedule. Rest is an important part of success. Even God rested on the seventh day! 

Today, I encourage you to cut yourself a break. Schedule a morning off. Take an evening and turn off your phone and pick up a favorite book. Spend some time in the kitchen preparing something you love but "never have time to make". Take a bath instead of a shower. The changes can be simple, but if practiced with regularity, like once a week, your life will change. You will handle stressors better. You will sleep more soundly. You will receive the rewards of quality self-care. 

Rest! You are so worthy of the effort . . . or should I say "lack of effort"?

Thursday, October 19th
Back in the 90s, there was a fellow who penned a funny little expression that took off. It went like this:  "Sometimes I sits and I thinks. And sometimes, I just sits."

Today, I would love it if you would spend a little time focusing on rest. Do you allow it in your life? Is it all you do? Either end of the paradigm is out-of-balance. One end pulls us into mindless activity and the other sets us up for slothful numbness. Both steal the precious NOW.

Rest is imperative to growth. We must allow ourselves time to regroup and regenerate. Since Energy is so important to quality of life, we must give ourselves time to recharge.

Laziness is not rest. It is complacent hovering that gets us nowhere. How do we know when we are being slothful and not allowing rest? The answer is simple.

Do we feel better after the episode? Are we rested and ready or do we feel bogged down and tired? Rest rejuvenates. Sloth robs us of our get-up-and-go.

Today, let's get moving or give ourselves a break. We know which we need. Let's commit to each other to do what's best for ourselves and our lives. We will impact the world either way. Let's impact this world with Love and Energy!

Thursday, October 12th
There's something spiritual about the number three. Have you ever considered it? 

It is said that we are made in the image of the Creator. Let's look at that. Many believe in a triune God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Then there's us - body, mind and spirit. Too religious for you? Let's go the other route and check in with science. When man was created, they log the stages as homo habilis, homo erectus and homo sapien. Coincidence? I'm not so sure. 

Let's play with this a minute. Some of our spiritual teachings use the number three, even the goofy ones. When you picture the monkeys covering different parts of their bodies, there are always three with the caption: See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. What else?

Practitioners of 12 Step use a triangle as their symbol to signify the three disciplines necessary to heal - unity, recovery, and service. Not enough?

Ask a Reiki Master about the energy healing technique and they will tell you there are three persons in the equation - Cho Ku Rei, Sei Hei Ki, and Hon Sha Ze Sha Nen. 

More? Let's get back to mainstream media. When Indiana Jones wanted to reach the Holy Grail, he had three tests to pass - The Breath of God, the Word of God and the Path of God. 

Still not convinced? I know I sometimes put you to the test with these blogs, but three is an important number in so many ways. Let me entertain your imagination with a few more important trios. Ready?

     - three wise men
     - past, present, future
     - faith, hope, charity
     - animal, vegetable, mineral
     - yesterday, today, tomorrow
     - thought, word, deed
     - the primary colors from which all others come:  red, yellow, blue

I could keep going. Three is a spiritual number. It takes three legs to make a stool steady enough to sit upon. Steadiness, unshakeability and security are things I look for in my spirit. When I feel safe there, I can sit through the roughest storm knowing that it will pass and I will be alright. 

Three. I ponder it's meaning from time to time because it seems to be the number of Truth. What do you think?

Thursday, October 5th
Fall is in the air. For our friends up north, that means leaves changing, temperatures dropping and moving the warmer clothing to the front of the closet. For our friends in Florida, it means the return of the snowbird - wonderful folks who come to us to share our warmer weather through the winter months. It also means a shift in thinking for many. Why? Fall ushers in the holidays, including Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We begin thinking about family and fireplaces, gratitude and gifts, caramel apples and Christmas cookies. It's funny how a season can do all that.

There are other seasons in life that do the same thing. They change the mindset. They shift the perspective. They come and seem to overtake everything else important in our daily schedules. Are you experiencing one of those seasons?

The hard ones are tough. They have to do with helping a loved one through a sickness. They come when a job loss is unexpected. They sneak up on us and alter everything. We can't wait for them to pass, and sometimes we wonder if they ever will.

For those of you suffering at this writing, I wish you peace. My friend MIke told me to remember when it rains that it's only water. It will stop. While its driving outside the window, it creates depression and unrest, but it will eventually end. When it does, the sun will shine again. Wonder of wonders, the flowers will bloom. Just like life, it takes the rain and the sun to create the most beautiful parts of our lives. 

For some of us, that beauty will be in memories. For others, it will be in changed circumstances. No matter. Transformation comes from the rain. May you get through it and live into the promise of the Light.

Thursday, September 28th
It's time to do another inventory of myself. I've grown a lot this past year, and I've discovered new areas of concern and credibility. It's amazing how Life can present us with new understanding about ourselves if we are open and willing.

Many of us think that a personal inventory is only about the wrongs we've done. Oddly enough, most of us beat ourselves up regularly about those unhealthy actions. We've blown them up in our minds and they revisit us repeatedly making us feel guilt and dishonor. While it's important to recognize our failings, it is equally important that we log the talents that we've been given to impact this world. 

A man was cutting his lawn with an old push mower. His neighbor came by and asked if he needed help. He turned him down, telling him that lawn care was his duty and he would knock it out alone. Hours later, when his broken, sweaty arms were pushing the old mower back to the garage, his landlord arrived on the scene. The man smiled for he was proud of the work he had accomplished. The landlord lauded his efforts, but asked why he didn't use the riding mower he had provided. The man was shocked. Riding mower? The landowner opened the garage and walked back a short way to show him the pristine piece of equipment that could have cut the man's work in half and saved his body the beating it had taken.

There are times in my life when I have pushed myself to distraction and disease to accomplish what I thought was my task at hand not knowing that I had the equipment to achieve my mission with ease. My landowner, or Higher Power, often blesses me with the gear necessary to carry out His bidding, but because I am driven by self I don't even know what He has stored in my "garage". 

Recently, there has been some new inventory. My tasks are more varied, and I have been blessed with the tools I will need to accomplish them. But without an up-to-date inventory, I may not know what help I have already been provided. 

What are your talents and gifts? Have you looked to see if you've been gifted with any new ones? As our mission in this world grows, so will our inventory of blessings to complete them. Take time to come into awareness of those abilities. They are new daily and designed to help us thrive.

Thursday, September 21st
The other day I was driving along and this fellow in front of me slowed down. I couldn't see around him and didn't know what the issue was. Finally, he turned left. Even though I was alone in the car I said out loud, "Thanks for the blinker, buddy." About two miles later up ahead, I made a snap decision to stop at a store on my way to my original destination. I slowed and turned. I'm sure the guy in the car behind me noticed that I failed to turn on my blinker to share my sudden route change.  

Judgment hurts. I was on the receiving end in this past year, and it was very uncomfortable. Some friends I know and love made public commentary about one of my actions that they didn't agree with and their words upset me greatly. Life is so much easier when those we love are pleased with our decisions. Last week, I did the same thing to a colleague. I voiced opposition to another person about a ruling he made. When it happened TO me, it hurt. When I saw that I had done it TO him, it hurt even more.

"Judge not, and you will not be judged," were the words spoken by the Master many years ago. He also said, "For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you."

I am learning more about judgment. The lessons have been tough. The one thing I see very clearly is that it causes great pain whether I'm on the giving end or the receiving end. It is a tool of separation, and I am created for connection. I need to learn that it isn't how we are different that should interest me, but instead how we are alike.

So, I guess the message this week is simple. Use your blinker. ~wink~ 

Thursday, September 14th
Some of us can sleep through a storm. Last weekend, Hurricane Irma forced her way into Florida, and the weather bands on the east coast had gusts of over 100 mph! She arrived earlier in the day, but here strongest effects were experienced in Indian River County between 10pm and midnight. Howling winds, tree limbs falling, an occasional pop as a power transformer blew up were some of the sounds that kept many from falling into deep sleep.

Six weeks ago or so, there was a lunar eclipse. Some folks lined up along the beachfront to watch this interesting and beautiful feat of nature. Others slept through it. There weren't the noises to keep them awake. Not a lot of fear was generated about this infrequent celestial occurrence. Some folks didn't care.

Now, where am I going with this? My question to all of you is are you awake now? Obviously, you're reading this blog so from the outside you appear to be conscious. But are you? Are you spiritually awake? Or do you only wake up spiritually when tough things hit in your life? Is it the bumps and bruises that cause you to call out to your Source, but on a good day you just float along in self-sufficient comfort believing that you've got it handled?

I want to be someone who is awake and thriving in this world all the time. I don't want to miss a serene lunar eclipse and only wake up for a noisy, threatening hurricane. I want to drink in the beauty of this world and connect in gratitude. I want to be conscious of my part in the big picture. I want to be awake to the grace and glory that surrounds me everyday.

How about you?

Thursday, September 7th
We're talking a lot about Irma. She's heading this way, and there's nothing we can do about it. We are powerless.

The Serenity Prayer has some good advice. We need to get calm and accept what we can't change. We can't change the path of this hurricane and it won't do us any good to deny the storm is out there. To get through this effectively begins with recognizing and accepting the threat. Next, we need to have the courage to change the things we can. We can board up our homes. We can bring in any loose objects that could fly around in the wind gusts. We can have batteries for the flashlights and matches for the candles in case we lose power. Finally, we need to be wise enough to act courageously on the information we accepted.  

Powerlessness is uncomfortable. What makes it easier to deal with? What I've witnessed in the past 48 hours is an incredible coming together to face a common peril. Friends are looking out for each other. Offers for plywood and help with shutters were all over social media. Neighbors are sacrificing to make sure others are safe. The only rainfall we are experiencing at this point are showers of Love. Concern is genuine and well wishes are being backed up with action.

A common recognition of powerlessness has created a community of support. We're all in the same boat, and we are all willing to do what it takes to help each other get through the difficulty successfully.

Sunday will be here, and the worst will be over for our part of the country. Then, this compassion that was born in jeopardy will continue as we regroup and restore. It's good to know that we're not alone. We've seen the hand of God moving through other people. He is hearing and answering our prayers.

We can get through this together. Be safe. Let the wisdom to know the difference shine as Irma passes.

Thursday, August 31st
It's an instinctive gift that many of us don't recognize. Yet, when we do become aware of it, it seems to operate at an even higher level. It combines all three natures - physical, mental and spiritual. I can see it in smaller ways in the creatures of the earth  that lack our level of intellectual acuity. Let me give you an example:

I was driving down a street in town and a squirrel ran into the car's path. Sensing my approach, he ran quickly over the curb, through the grass and up a tree trunk where he stopped and looked back to realize his victory over his potential demise. The sensing it was enough to make him act swiftly.

In humans, this gift is more pronounced because we have greater abilities - if only we are aware of the gift. Oddly enough, ignorance of the gift keeps it at bay. When we aren't conscious of its existence, it ceases to function. Still, it can be awakened at any time by mere mindfulness. Then, it begins its trek to assist us to develop safe, fruitful, full lives.

The earliest humans walking the planet had it and utilized it. They were able to sense impending doom and take steps to offset it before it became a reality. The first notable sense was in their bodies around the heart area. From there, it spread quickly to their mind where a thought rose up out of the blue that ordered action. I believe the whole experience began in the spirit nature, though. It's almost as if there was a gentle communication from beyond that initiated the whole event.

Clearly, I'm talking about intuition. It's an internal guidance system that has allowed many to have an inner knowing that gently promotes their well-being and the attainment of their instinctive needs. All animals have these instinctive needs. For mankind, they are sometimes called the three S's by practitioners of 12 Step, because they have been categorized into three basic areas -  for Sex, Security and Society.

Before you sign off, consider these thoughts. What is attraction but an intuitive perception of sexual connection? Have you ever sensed danger and moved self or family to a more secure position or place? How many of us have sensed that someone didn't like us or on the other hand, that we fit in well in a social setting? These are gifts of the intuition, and the more we are open to them, the more we will receive them.

Intuition is a wonderful skill for the human being seeking wholeness and health. Listen for it. Recognize it. Follow its guidance. It was placed inside us by Creation to enhance our lives and help us to thrive. Open your mind, body and spirit to the inner knowing that will bless and assist. As you accept it as a working part of your person, it will grow stronger. Get ready!

Thursday, August 24th
Why worry? We hear people say that, but obviously they don't have our financial issues, our emotional hurts or the reality that we are all alone in this world.

If you're identifying with that sentiment, don't worry. We've been there. We've felt that way. We've known that existence. It was difficult to face the day when nothing was right in our physical, mental or spiritual lives.

But it only takes a second for everything to change. Though it's hard to explain because each one of those momentary experiences is unique to the individual, once you go through it you will feel hope. It may be just an inkling of possibility glimmering in the distance, but it will be there.

Without feeling like we hit bottom, we never would have sought relief. We would have settled for the status quo and continued to "get by" for eternity. Don't do it, not when there's so much more within your reach.

Wanting the change isn't the hard part. That's sort of underwritten in the flat, broken and frightened place we've landed. The hard part is asking for change. We might say we can't ask because we don't believe in a Source Power or we're at best very unsure. That may be, but it's probably not what keeps us from seeking help. In our experience, we don't ask because we don't believe in ourselves. We're not sure we're worthy of anything better. We've surrendered to our perceived lack of value.

Let's get this straight. You are worth it. You have value. It doesn't matter if you believe it or not. Believe that we believe it. Trust our experience and give it a go. Call out to whatever it is that can connect you to Love. It's that simple. You've forgotten how to love yourself, but it will come back to you slowly and without further injury. Haven't you suffered enough?

When I was in that place, I dared the Higher Power. I said something like, "I've heard about You all my life, so if You're real come now. I will never ask for You again." Looking back on it, I was angry and upset. Death didn't sound like such a bad solution. I wasn't looking for a Friend, I was looking for a way out. That was many years ago, and today I feel so connected. Change happened for me.

Chance it. Ask. It will only take a moment, but it could bless you for a lifetime. Give it a go. You are so worth it. 

Thursday, August 17th
Encourage. The word taken apart is wonderful. En - the prefix, means to bring or to place within. Then you follow that with COURAGE. Isn't that the best? To bring courage or to put courage within someone else is the literal meaning.

Who have you encouraged recently? This blog will be short and to the point. Get out there and help someone who is struggling by sharing a piece of your heart. Offer them the confidence they need to make their day better.

Encourage one another. It makes life so good!

Thursday, August 10th
Forty-nine years ago today, my Gramma Walsh went to heaven. I remember the day clearly because we had been very close. You see, I was named after her sister Elizabeth and therefore one of her favorites.

Gramma came from Ireland as a young bride. Her new husband took a job as a policeman in the city of Chicago. Sadly, he was killed in the line of duty when my dad was only six years old. For my grandmother, there weren't a lot of options. Because of how she was grew up, she would have to look to her brother-in-law, my Uncle Charlie, to help her go on and raise her son.

Throughout history, the role of women has changed. Dependence was part and parcel of the feminine condition in times gone by. What was acceptable only fifty years ago has no place in today's world. I am filled with gratitude when I recognize what generations before me endured so that I could live as a free, autonomous woman.

If my grandmother were alive today, she wouldn't believe that I was able to go to college, work a career or buy a house. Heck, she wouldn't believe that I could wear pants out in public! So many changes have come and gone since she walked the planet. Let's face it, change is constant.

So, today when you are struggling with an issue or a problem that seems insurmountable, remember my Gramma and give it time. What was the norm five decades ago seems alien to us now. Try to stand apart and overview the situation, knowing that change is inevitable and chances are good that you will make it through it.

Mary Walsh came from Ireland expecting to create a good life and make progress. She did just that. Now, it's our turn. Let's make her proud.  

Thursday, August 1st
A friend talked to me about her frustration today. Happily, I haven't had to feel that emotion lately and I'm grateful. Don't get me wrong. I know it well. I believe it stems from powerlessness, and let's face it, as long as I'm wearing this skin suit I will know that. Lack of power is heightened when I've had an expectation, too. When I thought something would play out a certain way and it didn't, frustration rises within me. So, what to do?

Like always, awareness is key. I have to recognize the issue at hand. Next, I have to be willing to take the steps necessary to make it go away. Then, I have to move into action. But here's the weird thing. Sometimes, the action I need to take doesn't require movement. Did I lose you?

I've been blessed with some wonderful teachers in this lifetime. These people have gone through similar experiences and come out on the other side able to share the lessons with others. When I realize that I'm frustrated and want it to change, I spring into action. But what is the action called for? Believe it or not, I can best effect change on frustration by pausing. 
I need the hesitation or my words and behaviors may be harmful to me and others. When I pause, I buy time to make better decisions. I get to choose my reaction instead of being a victim of it. I get to connect with my Higher Power and my higher self. I get to create my life instead of having life happen to me.

There's a great acronym for PAUSE that I will share before I close. Perhaps it will speak to you like it spoke to me.

P - pray

A - and

U - use

S - Source

E - energy

Thursday, July 27th
Seek. It's a complete sentence. In the spiritual world, it is the key element to growth. There are no other requirements with our Source. Just seek.  

Most of us have been injured by the things of this world. It is painful to deal with situations and circumstances that follow these heartaches. We each have history, and sometimes that history keeps us from reaching out to the Divine. You see, some of us have been hurt when we tried that before. We were threatened. We were punished. We were taught to fear this connection.

I ask you to reconsider. Many have been hurt by men of God. I've never met a person that has been hurt by God Himself. You see, God is crazy about us. 

Seek connection. It's really that simple. The relationship will unfold if you simply look for it.

Thursday, July 20th
We got a new member of the family this week. Rooney, a four-year old red merle Australian shepherd, was rescued and brought to our home. He is making his way, learning to share his ball with us and getting used to the new sights and smells. Raised on a ranch with no human interaction, he is learning what it means to be part of a family. He is finding his place of belonging. He is learning what it means to come home.

Many of us struggle with that sense, and yet the desire to belong is instinctive. We were created to be part of a community, but some of us didn't learn how to accomplish that on our own. If this is speaking to your heart, don't fret. There is hope and there is help. But, you have to want it. That's key. Then, you have to ask for it. That part may be difficult if, like Rooney,  you never learned how to accept personal attention before. 

Won't you give someone a chance? Is there a person in your world that appears to be trustworthy? If so, take a deep breath and get closer. Ask them to engage. Let down your guard and share your real self with another. It gets easier with practice. As you continue to seek interaction with other people, you will find the ones that are safe. You will find support. You will feel what it's like to belong. You will create a sense of homecoming and you will look forward to connection.

The whole world will look different because, all of the sudden, you feel important to other people. You matter to them. You have value. You belong.

Our new family member Rooney is figuring all this out right now, too. (Well, with everyone except the cat!)

Thursday, July 13th
My friend Kelly gave me an article she cut out from Parade magazine about things to boost your happiness levels. It made me think of a little rhyme they had when I was a kid. "If you want to be happy, begin where you are. Don't wait for some rapture that's future and far. Begin to be joyous, begin to be glad, and soon you'll forget that you ever were sad."

Emotions fluctuate. Mine used to be like an EKG reading - up and down lines reaching the highest and lowest points. Today my feelings still fluctuate, but the contrast is much less severe. Instead of an EKG, the lines look more like a lasagna noodle - gentle, even sways that promise tasty moments in time.

Sometimes we get stuck in bad feelings and happiness becomes a distant memory. What can we do to make it better? Hope Cristol, the writer of the piece for Parade magazine, suggested some wonderful ideas. Art, nature and gratitude were listed among her ideas to change your mood. On her final note, she reminded us to smile because research showed it helps us recover from stress faster.

Good ideas to create temporary change, but let's look at developing a more consistent talent for achieving happiness. In my understanding, happiness isn't a goal. It is the result of right living. In other words, when I fail to attain happiness I need to look at how I'm living. Am I growing in relationship with my Source? Am I reaching out to others and helping where my abilities allow? Am I loving and nurturing of my personal needs? When I can answer yes to these three questions, it is inevitable that I will know happiness as a way of life. Don't get me wrong. Life throws tough circumstances at all of us, and we will temporarily fall off the beam to deal with those difficulties. Nonetheless, if we can focus on those three questions and get back into living the "yes" answer, the grin will return to our lips and the smile lines around the eyes will get deeper.

Happiness is a function of whole, healthy living and it is my wish for everyone reading this blog. Get started. Ask the three questions. Can you answer "yes" to all? If not, it's time to get busy!

Thursday, July 6th
For many of us, this is a holiday week. Happy vacationing to those of you taking some time off from work. Rest and relaxation are important elements in a well-rounded life. Are you good at acquiring them?

There's always a million things to get done, and sometimes we fill our calendars up with incidentals instead of making time for priorities. What do I mean? Well, have you hugged your family today? Did you scratch the dog behind his ears? Did you get quiet and connect with your Source recently?

What we do with our time is important, for this is the stuff that creates a lifestyle. It is an area where I have struggled to find balance. Somewhere along the line I learned to serve the false god of accomplishment. To that end, I minimize time spent in self-care, in casual connection with others, and in leisure. Now that my children are grown, I am better able to see how activity dominated my life for many years. You've heard me cry that I was a "human doing" instead of a "human being". What about you? What cry captivates your imaginations?

There are two sides to every issue, and maybe you lapse into repose instead of taking care of regular business. Perhaps you can't identify with the call of the driven because you are caught up in the whisper of the apathetic. Is idleness a setting on the human barometer? You bet it is! The weight swings just as far to the left as it does to the right. Out of balance is just that - a step away from stability. It matters not which way we swing.

Let's face our personal shortcomings and choose again. As a group, let's commit to change, even if it's only a slight variance. Doers - just "be" here and there. Schedule some downtime and make the choice to take it easy. It will take practice. Ask for help if you need it. For the couch potatoes among us - just "do" here and there. Schedule an event each day and choose to accomplish that one thing. This, too, will take practice. Ask for help if needed.

In the end, balance is our goal. With balance comes strength and stability that allows us to make sound decisions and live at peace with ourselves and others. Balance creates a wonderful foundation so that when life's tough issues occur, we are better able to handle them with success.

Thursday, June 29th
Some friends were talking at breakfast this morning. It started when one of them said that to save money he cut his television from regular cable (at $150 a month) to a movie app (at $10 a month). He said that when he made this change he didn't realize that it would affect his spending. Even though he muted the commercials when watching cable, he was still influenced by them. They made him think about buying things that otherwise he would not have considered.

From there, the conversation got more interesting. Some folks admitted that advertising made their thinking change. Instead of "wanting" an item, they felt they "needed" it.

Whether influenced by advertising or not, how do you differentiate between a want and a need? Some of us struggle with this concept because of our histories. Perhaps we were given everything we ever asked for when growing up. Most likely, most of us experienced the opposite. The want would die a slow death, and we would do without.

Does this spark any interest? In economics class, we learn that a need has to do with survival. We wouldn't make it without it. A want, however, is a step up. We learn it is simply a desire, something we may or may not get. Now, let's consider the difference in our daily walk. When we really look at our histories, we will see that we have fulfilled many of our wants in this lifetime.

Let's take a moment and feel how blessed we are. Let's appreciate what we've attained and achieved, and sit back in awe of the many gifts we have come our way. If we can maintain awareness of these blessings, we can continue to build on them. We can plan and work toward the plan, always upholding the attitude of gratitude. 

Gratitude is a wonderful state of being. Let's embrace it today. We've been given so much more than we've needed. We've been endowed with grace and abundance. That is our reality.

Thursday, June 22nd
Once I went from person to person in a local diner and asked them to answer this grave question. "Which is worse - being abused or being abandoned?" The answers were weighty.

I saw faces change. Smiles disappeared. Eyes looked off as if focused on another place far away. Postures tightened. Then, the words came. Most have known the pain of one or the other, and the pain they experienced was considered the worst.

Though these thoughts were historic, the emotion was current. How could that be? Why did the sufferer still hurt today from something that happened years ago?

For many, the reason was simple. Though they had survived the event, they had never felt it. They had avoided it. They had denied it. They had become driven in another direction to offset it. They had stuffed it. In short, though they experienced the mistreatment, they had never gone through the feelings that came with it. So, they were feeling it over and over ever since. Sadly, it magnified any other present day feeling that came close. It piggybacked on any emotional distress great enough to carry it.  

Does this sound familiar to you? If so, you are not alone. Many of us who grew up in dysfunction have known this amplified pain. Overcoming it entails recognizing the first time the hurt was felt and working through it. For some, we will need professional help. We have seen good results with qualified therapists, EMDR practitioners and NET providers. The wonderful reality is that this pain is over and we don't have to feel it again and again. Once we face our past and honestly quantify the injuries, we can begin healing.

Won't you consider getting some help? You are not alone. We're here for you.

Thursday, June 15th
"I have no control over this conduct and I don't know what to do. I say I'll do one thing, and I really mean it when I say it. But then, I slide right back into the old behavior without even thinking about it, and then I feel guilty and full of shame. What can I do?"

What this person is describing is powerlessness. It is a tough one to recognize, because we often tell ourselves that we can make it better if we really try. We think it is a state of "will" instead of a state of "being". Let's be clear: it is not a choice.

Powerlessness strikes in many different arenas. We are powerless over other people and how they react to us. We are powerless over places and the emotions they bring up. We can even be powerless over certain addictions, like spending, gambling, eating, drinking or taking drugs. In reality, as long as we are wearing the skin suit of humanity, we will know powerlessness as a regular way of life.

That's why it helps to know One who has power over all. Some of us call this God or another name, but in essence it is a Higher Power that can allow us to get through some of the toughest times in life because it doesn't have to bow to the same limitations we know as routine. Moreover, if we do have strong issues with powerlessness that are robbing us of peace of mind, happy family life and comfort in our own skin, this Source of Power can answer or pleas and help us find a way up and out. We only have to ask and believe it is possible.

On our own, it is hopeless to surmount powerlessness and win. With help from the Great One, anything can happen. We need to give it a shot. We need to ask for support.

Let's go for it!

Thursday, June 8th
Today some friends were discussing humility and it became clear that we all struggle with that concept. Yet, someone defined humility as "an accurate assessment of self." Since that seems like such a simple concept, how come we all wrestle with the idea?

Once again, I think the human ego is the issue. When I'm lost in ego, I think I'm in my right mind. Sadly, this isn't the case. I'm in my selfish mind, as if the world revolves around me. It can be plus or minus, too. We often think that ego is a word for the arrogant and power-driven among us. Not always. Just like a gearshift, my ego can take me in reverse just as quickly as it can push me forward. What do I mean? Well, ego is the culprit whether I'm saying "I'm king of the world" or "I'm such a loser." Either statement is false. Worse, as either statement is often repeated in my egoic mind, the more I  will come to believe it. Still, it's a false testimonial.  

On the other hand, humility means I see myself as I really am. Moreover, it means that I embrace who I am and am willing to become who I can be. Humility isn't a position of defeat and inferiority. Quite the contrary! Humility is a stance of honor and Truth. When we know ourselves and feel at ease in that knowing, life opens up for us. We are no longer swayed severely by the winds of time and fortune because we know that those outside influences do not define our worth. We are secure in our value.

Is ego the opposite of humility? That's a deep question and one I'll have to ponder for awhile. In the meantime, I hope to become more comfortable in my own skin knowing that Creation made me different than others so that I could impact this world in my own special way. How about you?

Thursday, June 1st
Some of us seek progress, not perfection. At least, we say that's what we seek. Along the road, though, we occasionally get caught up in an issue that isn't going as smoothly as we'd hoped, and we find ourselves fighting for thehe perfect solution instead of assessing the situation and finding comfort in improvement. When this is our approach, we can lose sleep, speak to loved ones in anger, and close our minds to the helpful ideas of others that have walked the path before us. Our goal becomes perfection, and accomplishment becomes the measuring stick with which we judge ourselves and those around us.

When we look at humanity vs. God, we see the reality of progress vs. perfection. It's a beautiful thing to come to understand the difference. It's even better if you accept that making progress is the best any mortal will achieve. Should perfection come our way, it is always at the hand of the Higher Power who is covering us with grace. That said, from time to time, we will witness perfection. It might be in a sunset, the smile of a loved one that emanates love, or a delicious steak that has just the right amount of pink inside. Needless to say, perfection in these cases lies in the judgment of the observer.

Now, for the important part. How do you judge yourself? Are you merciless in the pursuit of perfection? Do you cut yourself slack because you are human or do you focus on your flaws and blemishes? Becoming aware of this trait can change your life, especially if you ask for help in overcoming it by opening your mind and heart to the good you do personally.

We're all in this together. Let's recognize that real perfection is the work of God and perceived perfection is just that - more of an opinion that a reality. Don't judge yourself harshly. In that way, you are copying the only Perfect Being known to man.

Thursday, May 25th
There's a story about a ship's crew that was caught in a horrible storm at sea. The winds and the waves were raging, and they had to tie themselves onboard so they wouldn't be washed away. Meanwhile, down below, a canon had broken free and was battering the sides of the ship with each wave that struck them. Two of the men had to risk everything by unlashing themselves and going below in hopes of securing the loose equipment. If they didn't, all would perish anyway. It wouldn't be the storm on the outside of the ship that killed them, but the terrible beating on the inside that sealed their fates.

Life is like this story. So many of us can navigate the storms that swirl around us, even though they appear life-threatening. What intimidates us most is the tempest on the inside that can rewrite our stories. That's why it's so important to develop a support team that will brave the wind and waves of our emotions and help us to secure our serenity.

Do you have someone you can tell even the darkest secrets of your soul? It is one of the greatest gifts in this world to have a confidante in whom you trust. It's scary at first to develop that relationship, but give it a go. Choose wisely and then share one simple insight into your pysche with them. See how that goes. If they prove to be trustworthy with that tidbit, share some more.

You might select a minister or a therapist, or perhaps there is a person who works to be as whole and secure as you would like to be. Whether you pick a professional or a friend, begin the work of sharing your burdens with another. You will be amazed at how much lighter your world will become. We were created for community, and when we engage to that end, we will know acceptance and belonging like never before.

Thursday, May 18th
Here's a question for you:  Does it make sense to be loyal to things from that past that hurt you?

Loyalty has been an issue for many of us. We learned to be loyal at all costs to certain people or ideas. Sadly, sometimes they don't earn our loyalty, but we give it anyway because of the lessons we learned as youngsters.

Honor your family is an easy example. It's a wonderful sentiment, but there are those who have suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of their family of origin. While going through that suffering years ago, we may have been taught to keep it a secret because others didn't need to know the family's business. We honored that teaching, and told no one about the day-in-day-out offenses with which we lived.

Now, gratefully many of us didn't experience serious pains like this in our home. Nonetheless, we learned that our work is important and we should be loyal to the company that writes our paycheck. That's all well and good if the employer is upright and principled. Sometimes, we get into work-related relations where we feel overlooked or undervalued. We may be treated poorly or only addressed if there is a mistake. No one praises us for our good work.

Does any of this sound familiar? If it does, question your loyalties. Loyalty is a wonderful trait that is EARNED. Don't settle for mistreatment as a way of life. Challenge your beliefs from time to time. Do they make sense? And if they don't, change them. The person who will benefit the most is you. And that will bless all of us.

Thursday, May 11th
In life, there are many issues that we face that can only be healed with TIME. That's a tough one. For many of us, we'd rather attack the issue and make something happen. We throw out weight into the plan, we drag others in on it whether they want to help or not, we rationalize and justify, sure that we can make a difference. Nonetheless, there are some issues that are unmoved by our attacks. They simply won't budge in this moment.

When we get stuck like this, it is clear that we can't change the physical. Sadly, our emotional may be in crisis as well. As we review our discomfort over and over, the emotional can affect our physical in new ways. Maybe we'll sleep less. Maybe we'll eat poorly or overeat in an effort to get numb. On it goes, the emotional and physical realms circling the drain all because we aren't in control

While trying to allow TIME to pass, why don't we lean on our spiritual natures? After all, when we seek power for anything outside the realm of our control, why not go to Source for help? Pray. Meditate. Ask for help getting through the waiting TIME.

In the end, maybe this word has a hidden meaning. TIME = Trust In Me Entirely. You don't have to go it alone. Hook up and you'll get through it easier.

Thursday, May 4th
Dysfunction seems to have stages. When it starts out, it can be relatively innocuous. As it advances, it gets more and more debilitating. In the final stages of many dysfunctional issues is that the sufferer removes himself from the company of other people. Isolation sets in and the victim prefers to disengage from everyone. This is against our creational stance.

Many isolationists in pain will claim that their choices don't affect anyone but themselves. This statement seems to alleviate further angst, but the statement is far from true. Sadly, it is because they have separated from others so fully that they cannot see how their agony affects many around them. Ask the family member of anyone with addiction issues, for example. The addict truly believes that his torture is his alone. Meanwhile, there is a family in the wings praying that they can get their loved one back. The isolation really causes them sorrow, and they actually go through the stages of grief trying to deal with the reality that they are powerless over their loved one's needs and choices. This is just one example. There doesn't have to be addiction for someone to move into isolation. Today, more and more people are doing just that while family and close relations suffer in agony watching the demise.

If you are one who has chosen to separate from others, I beg you to consider the Truth. Your decision to become missing in action is affecting many negatively. Whether you know it or not, you are valued and needed. Your absence is felt by many. We need you back. Please come out of hiding and ask for help. We'll be there for you.

Thursday, April 27th
Years ago when I started to attend some 12 Step meetings, I was taught to Trust God, Clean House and Help Others. They said that was the strategy to have a wonderful life.

Sadly, I didn't listen to much more and I went on my merry way attempting to practice those principles to find an easier, softer way of life. Within time, I was in pain. I had to go back to those people and ask them what I had done wrong.

The answer was simple. I had screwed up the message, and therefore was living in hardship. I was Trusting Me, Cleaning Others and Helping God. Sounds like an ego trip, eh?

That's exactly what it was. Why is it hard for some of us to accept help even when it is offered on terms that respect our hard core boundaries? These folks were gentle and understanding with me. They didn't scold or admonish me, instead they put their hands out and helped me move slowly into a new way of living.

Today, this principled life keeps me centered and hopeful. Happiness comes as a byproduct, and most days I wear a genuine smile and welcome and value other people. It gets easier with practice, too.

Just for today, give it a try. The life you change will be your own.

Thursday, April 20th
We're enjoying sunny weather in Central Florida, and I'm sitting in the sunshine as I write this blog. Okay, so those of you who are reading this in the north can believe I'm suggesting that winter is a hardship down here. Still, I guess it comes down to what you know. I have gotten used to sunny skies and warm days. What you call "sweater weather" we call winter. Our blood is thinner and our expectations are lower. Meanwhile, your temperatures are lower.

That is the way with we humans. We get used to some things and we  come to expect them without even considering any alternatives. The weather is rather negligible, though. What else have you come to expect? Some of you reading this have come to accept abuse as a way of life. It could be physical, but more likely it is emotional abuse that we write off as unimportant.

Many of us were shamed as children. We  were told we were slow or stupid when we made a mistake. Some of us weren't told this by anyone else . . . we whispered it in our own heads. When something went wrong, we blamed ourselves. We called ourselves names. We talked down to ourselves. Our self-talk was the abuse. We became self-abusers.

Today, take a look at your self-talk. Do you berate yourself frequently? Do you praise yourself when you do well? Like the weather, we get used to what we experience regularly. Challenge these thoughts. Really listen to them for a change. Then, choose again. Choose to love yourself and to speak to yourself with honor and dignity.

You are a person of integrity. I know it. Others know it. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter if you don't know it. We're behind you. Seek to love the most important person in your world - YOU.

Thursday, April 13th
Today would be my dad's birthday, and that makes me grateful for the fact that he was in  my life. He died at a young age,  only 56, but before he left this world he created a sense of family that is still alive and well. Yes, we had our own version of dysfunction, but we learned to count on family as a constant in life. "A family is a family, goddammit!" was one of his most frequent phrases. An only child who lost his own father at the tender age of six years old, my father went on to sire ten of us and to provide us with home and care. No matter what the craziness, most of us had a sense of belonging that some never known.

Belonging is an instinctive drive in all of us. We were created for community. Some of you reading didn't have a father like Tom Walsh trying to corral you into a group known as family. You may have been on your own without a leader, hoping to find your way but unable to know for sure what that really meant. For you, I suggest looking for others who share a common interest, a 12 Step Group that helps you rise above hardships, or even a bunch of workmates that you see five days a week at the job. However they come to you, develop that connection. It is your calling and your birthright. You were created to know connection. You were designed for kinship.

This Eastertide, instead of colorful eggs and jelly beans, give others the gift of your presence. Connect with those who struggle with that part of life. Share yourself and you will be doing the real work of the season. After connection-time with our Higher Power is a great example to follow. As you give of  yourself, you will receive far more valuable paybacks. You will come to know belonging as a way of life. What a gift!

Happy Easter from all of us at BethWE.

Thursday, April 6th
What are your strengths and gifts? Are you sharing them with the world at large?

Some of us can't even answer the first question, and the second one is beyond our comprehension. Why? We have never really assessed our talents. Let's face it, it's hard to utilize a gift you don't claim.

Why don't you take some time and figure out the gifts you bring to this world. If you're unsure, ask a close friend. We can see what you bring to the party.

Next, once you see and and admit your skill set, find a place to join others that share that gift. Grow with them. Learn from them. Share with them.

Continue to practice the wonderful talents with which you were blessed. Practice is key and perseverance pays off. As you use your talents, they grow stronger and broader. They will impact more people.

Hang in there while you get comfortable sharing this important but intimate part of you. There will be challenges, but remember what the mountain climbers say. "The bumps are how we climb higher."

Last, hook up. Get a human mentor that can help and support you. Pray and ask your Source to help you utilize the creational gifts that you came by naturally. Be grateful and know that these tools will assist many and bring you into closer connection with others and with your God.

Maximize your potential by using your strengths. It starts by knowing what they are. Many of us focus on our weaknesses and minimize our strengths. Turn this around. Be the wonderful gift you were made to be!

Thursday, March 30th
What do you have to accomplish today? Do you have a list of "to-do's" that are hanging over your head? Sometimes, we take on so much that we become human doings instead of human beings.

My plate is getting full. Happily, it is only a season in my life and it is a joyful one at that. In addition to being at full capacity at my place of work, I am also planning a wedding to a wonderful man who embraces me, my hopes and  my dreams. It is overwhelming at times, but also very exciting. In a short month we will publicly declare our desire to walk hand-in-hand into our future as friends, lovers, and soul mates. God is in the middle of our union, and that really expands my own spiritual world greatly. It is wonderful.

That said, it is also a lot of work preparing for the day of declaration. Again, the work is fun because it is designing an evening of celebration with those we love. We will begin our new life together in their company, eating, dancing and hugging. Our kids will stand beside us dressed in wedding regalia, and we will create memories that will last for the rest of our lives.

Sounds great, doesn't it? It will be. Well, that is, it will be if we can get everything on our lists done. But that's the point of this little missive. What is on YOUR list? It may look and feel like work  and it may tax you now and then, but what will it bring to fruition? When the tasks at hand seem overwhelming, always remember that it takes action to reap good fruit. Look forward to the fruit. It takes time and energy to grow the sweet stuff. And when you bite into it you will see that it was all so very worth it!

Get to it!

Thursday, March 23rd
"Relations with the best of them were a strain at the best of times . . ."

This was a line from a play I was in back in grammar school. I had a bit part, but was second runner up for the lead, which was really a narrator, because I could speak with an Irish brogue. I had learned it from my Grandma Walsh. Of course, Michael Nolan could also carry a good brogue, and since the part was written for a man, he got first billing.

But, the writer was telling of his family. Many of us can identify with the sentiment. Sometimes it can be a strain to deal with the ins and outs of those we love the most in the world. Some of us are tripping over that last sentence. We've been hurt by family, so we have decided that its not even safe to love them from a distance.

Here's the thing, though. We were all created for community. When Source was busy creating, we were bred to be brothers. We need other people to live happy and full lives. That said, we don't ever have to be in relationship with those who abuse us or minimize our value. In other words, the family you treasure may not even be related to you by blood. But it is important that you have a special connection with others.

There's a fellow named Goethe who once wrote these wonderful words:

"We need to have people who mean something to us; people to whom we can turn knowing that being with them is coming home."

If you relations have been strained lately, take a few moments and remember how important certain people are in your life. Choose to forgive, if that's what is causing your strain. If you've separated from those who have harmed you, check to see that you've connected elsewhere. If that hasn't come to pass, it's time to make an attempt to right that grievance. Become one in a group that will allow you to grow by opening your mind and heart. Maybe it will be a class, a church, or a 12-step community that calls to you. Seek connection with others, and it will come.

You were meant to connect, and we were meant to get the blessing of knowing you. Get out there and impact that world in love!

Thursday, March 16th
Quiet time is hard to come by for some of us. We get so busy and have so much on our calendars that we have to actually schedule time to sit and breathe. What does that do to our relationships?

In my experience, if I am not taking care of me it will be difficult for me to take care of you. Maybe that's why the flight attendant asks us to put on our own oxygen mask before we help someone else with theirs.

What are you doing for you today? Are you making sure you get enough rest? Are you eating to give yourself stamina and energy? Did you ask God to bless you with all you need to succeed? Have you shared your feelings and concerns with a trusted listener?

These are just a few of the ways I have learned to take care of myself. When I do most of them, I have a great day. When I do some of them, I get through the day. When I miss most of them, I have a miserable day. So, next time I complain about my lot in life, I hope I remember that a bad day is usually the consequence of poor self-care. Then, I can change my plans to include those all important efforts that allow me to excel in daily living.

Need oxygen? Hang on a second. Let me get my mask on, and then we'll tackle yours. After all, I won't be able to help you at all in the future if I don't make sure I can breathe right now. Same goes for you.

Be blessed. Let it start by your own hand.

Thursday, March 9th
Have you ever had someone you thought really understood you make a declaration that let you see that they really didn't? It can be unsettling at best, and emotionally injurious at worst. In my experience, it is often a mix of both.

We are built to connect with other people. Sometimes, the very things we do to make those connections happen can be listed as the reason someone else chooses to disconnect. We are a varied group walking this planet. Usually, that is a wonderful Truth. On occasion, though, it can cause others to choose to move away from us. Misunderstanding is a caustic foe.

In the end, what really matters is that you are being true to your calling. Ask yourself these questions:

1) Am I using my gifts and talents to help others?

2) Am I being true to the God of my understanding?

3) Am I growing and becoming more comfortable in my own skin?

If you are on track, the answers to these questions will put your mind and heart at rest, even if others misunderstand your walk. Trust that Truth will reign in the end, and that you will impact this world for Love in the interim. Cover those who have misunderstood with grace and forgiveness asking that they, too, can live their best lives. Refuse to disconnect because of your woundedness. In the end, your love for them IS your calling.

Thursday, March 2nd 
You matter. Sometimes we forget to look out for ourselves. We push. We hold back. We drive on. We isolate. We rush. We skip steps. We put ourselves on the back burner. We ignore our needs.

What did you do today just for you? Did you take care of yourself with the tender mercy you would use when caring for someone else? If not, it's okay. But let's not continue in that vein.

To be happy and whole, we need to realize that self-care is not an ego-feeding proposition but a wonderful opportunity to show how much we value ourselves. Treating ourselves with respect will automatically allow us to respect others. Providing our physical, emotional and spiritual needs will make us healthier and more serene so that we can better engage with the world around us. Self-care is a tool of connection.

Just for today, give it a shot. Dedicate some time to you. Be sensitive to your emotions and take the time to journal or share with a trusted friend about them. Preen your body by soaking in a hot tub or moisturizing with lotion. Connect with Source in prayer or listen for Source in meditation.

Taking care of yourself is important. It will help you generate self-esteem and worth. And that means a lot because like we said at the onset, you matter. Big time. It's time to show that you believe it by what you do.

Thursday, February 23rd
Family. Everyone has one. Not everyone is connected, though. Brokenness happens many times early in one's life. Where are you with your family of origin?

The good news is this: there is healing available. It might not be for the entire group, because not everyone in the group will choose healing. That doesn't have to hold you back. You can still move and make it better for yourself.

Forgiveness is your choice. When you choose it, you may not FEEL it. That's okay. Forgiveness is an action, not a feeling. Sometimes you won't FEEL forgiveness for a very long time, if at all. Choose it anyway. It will free you up to pursue other relationships that will center and support you. There is "other" family out there. They may be people in your career, people who share a hobby, or even people from a self-help or church group. Where you meet your new "family" isn't important to this message. What is important is that you know they are out there for you, if only you forgive those you thought were in that role in your life. Once you let them off the hook, you can move on and fill the void with others who are available and willing to share your world.

Family. they won't always be related to you. That's okay. You were still made to connect. Make it happen.

Thursday, February 16th
Just for today, BREATHE. Take a moment and stop. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. As you breathe in, think of life flowing into your being. As you breathe out, think of angst leaving your being. Just for a minute or two, breathe and regroup. Your day will become better, and your approach to your agenda will be more relaxed.

When life gets overwhelming, take a moment to BREATHE. It is healing and helpful because it the pause that refreshes.

Thursday, February 9th
When you're grateful for something, all feels right. Imagine this. You're buzzing along and someone does a random act of kindness. You're on the receiving end of that act. You're surprised, and as you recognize the blessing, a big smile spreads across your face. Then comes gratitude.

Gratitude is a way of thinking that can become a way of life, and when it does, it changes everything for the better. Look around you. There are many things big and small for which to give thanks. List a few of them that you might not have taken the time to consider if you weren't thinking along this line. The more you come up with, the bigger your smile will become. Gratitude feels good.

Meister Eckhart once said, "If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you,' that would suffice."

Next time you struggle, close your eyes and consider the many blessings that have come your way. Get grateful. In your mind's eye, see the grace with which you are surrounded. Utilize that vision regularly and you will build the life of your dreams.

We are so fortunate!  

Thursday, February 2nd
Have you been hurt lately? Did the perpetrator break your heart or damage your material world? Maybe it was both. It seems the closer the person is to us, the deeper the pain when they let us down or take action against us. What should we do about it now?

Before we write them off or tell them off, maybe we should take a deep breath and ask for help to forgive them. Okay, don't stop reading the blog just because I went there. Hang in there with me for a few more sentences.

As I've said a million times, forgiveness is not a feeling. It is an action that can free us up to go on living our best lives. Without it, we are holding a bag of garbage that will weigh us down both now and in the future. When we choose not to forgive, we have to carry that rubbish around with us everywhere we go. The burden doesn't get smaller with time, but it does begin to stink.

Carrying the load of brokenness is a choice. We can choose instead to overcome with forgiveness. There's a simple prayer that will help us get started. Let's try saying it by filling in the blank with the name of someone who has injured us in the past.

"Dear God, please don't hold ______________ accountable for the wrongs he/she has done against me."

If we've been seriously hurt or have carried the pain for a long time, it will be hard to choke out those words at first. Keep at it. Eventually the words will come and we will be able to say them without stress. Then, we'll continue to say them a couple times a day until we notice that we don't feel the same anger we used to feel when the thought of that person and what they've done to us comes up. This will come to pass if we really commit to saying this simple prayer regularly.

Moving forward without the dead weight of past hurts will feel strange at first. Life will seem lighter and the future will seem more promising. We have been hurt, but that is no reason to lose the present moment or our future hope. Let's not give that painful memory another moment of our lives! Let's let it go and move forward with the freedom that forgiveness provides.

Hurts aren't forever, unless we will them to be.

Thursday, January 26th
Loneliness is a terrible sentence. It can be especially hard on those we know and love who have spent a long time in family relationship only to see that change. Death and divorce often are the culprits. Even normal aging of children can change the face of our day to day living. Sometimes, these changes can spur new life choices that allow for growth. More often, however, these changes can sneak in and errode the personal confidence one has when approaching the world at large.

Pay attention to those near and dear to you. Loneliness is progressive. It gets worse if left untreated. For those who have lost someone in their daily routine, it can come strongly. Reach out to them. Be prepared for they may make choices you'd never suspect because they are being influenced by a new state of being that they want to change. Then, they may defend those choices because the resulting action interrupted the terrible isolation they knew.

We were created to be in community. It is our natural stance. When that is pulled out from under us, it can make the happiest person feel alone and abandoned. If you are suffering from this state of heart, tell someone near you. Don't try to handle it on your own. We are here for each other. Sign up for a class that interests you. Volunteer at a non-profit outreach that can use an extra set of hands. Loneliness does not have to be permanent.

Let us make you feel connected again. We need you to be whole.

Thursday, January 19th
Are you struggling? If so, what is the issue? Usually, things we could normally deal with can get overwhelming when we're also suffering with HALT. What is HALT? The acronym was created to remind us to be careful when we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. When those feelings are active, it is hard to attain peace of mind. Things tend to tick us off more quickly and we begin to act cranky.

Let's commit to care for ourselves. We'll sleep enough. We'll eat sensibly. We'll drink enough water. We'll move regularly. We'll find something to laugh at every day. We'll challenge our thoughts when we begin to take life too seriously. We'll connect with the Divine frequently. We'll open up to a trustworthy friend when our brains feel full.

Struggles are inevitable. Dealing with them will get easier if we take care of ourselves as a way of life. We've got to become our very best friend. We've got to nurture our inner self and do what he/she needs to be happy.

Thursday, January 12th
Every once in awhile you have to rest. I did just that on Monday. I've been running hard through the holidays between work life and personal life. So, I had a day off and made big plans. They included lounging on the sofa, watching some television, listening to music and chatting with my sweetheart. It was wonderful.

The next day started with a bang. I was off and running again, but I felt better. I had taken it easy. I had taken care of my tired body. I did right by me.

Now, if that's not growth, I don't know what is!

When's the last time you scheduled nothing? If it's been awhile, you're overdue. Rest, my friend. You've earned it in this busy season of Love.

Thursday, January 5th
Have you ever had the blues? I'm fighting them today. Why? Not sure. We've had some big changes in my family in the past few months, and I'm suddenly an empty nester. Oddly enough, today my daughter is coming up to visit from Ft. Lauderdale and I get to spend a wonderful evening with her and others at Riverside Theatre to see a wonderful musical produced by a good friend from New York, Richard Stafford.

So why would I feel sadness? Quite possibly, I am emoting over the changes that are out of my control. I am thrilled that my daughter is doing well and breaking out on her own, and yet, I miss her and the daily interaction we've had for many years. That's probably normal, right? Today, I'm feeling it because I am looking forward to seeing her shortly.

The blues come and go. When we feel them, we shouldn't be too upset. It's a normal human condition. That said, it's important that we deal with the blues. If we sit in them, we can get stuck. We can develop all-out depression and that can be quite a different story. Don't let the blues drag you down.

Instead, take some action. Remember that there are things that can inspire you to feel better. Believe it or not, staying in the dark can hinder recovery from melancholy moods. Make sure you get into the light. Eat some protein and avoid sugars. Your body needs fuel to help you rise above. Feed it the right stuff. Seek outside influences that will assist. Music and humor are two of the fastest ways to change a person's stance. Most of all, take care of yourself. Do what's good for you. For some that may mean getting to work, for others that may mean taking a break from work. Change your routine to your benefit.

The blues will visit from time to time, but they don't have to stay. Recognize the issue and take action. We need you to be living your life with enthusiasm. The blues can slow this down for a day or so, but they can't rob us of your impact for long if you decide to come back to us quickly. We're pulling for you.

Pull for me, okay? Thanks!

Beth's Blog 2016

Thursday, December 29th
Are you comfortable on your own? This is a week where most of us have been surrounded by family and friends. Some of us, however, found ourselves alone at a time of year when that is an unusual stance. If that was your lot, were you okay with it? Or, on the other side of the stick, did you hope for it?

Being okay with it is one thing. That kind of being alone is called solitude. Hoping to be left alone or even strategizing for it is quite different. It's called isolation. Solitude is very different from isolation. Solitude is about connection with true self. Isolation is about separation from everyone, including self.

Seek your place of comfort. Retreat to solitude when needed, but work against isolation. You were made to connect.

Thursday, December 22nd
Who am I really?

Identity is an important aspect of life. We formulate ideas about who we are based upon our experiences, beliefs, and emotions. Sometimes, I think that is where we go wrong. Instead of being who we were created to be, we take on roles and try to live into them for years on end. We become human “doings” instead of human “beings”. Our lives become a series of roles. Is that all there is?

So, it’s time to ask ourselves a new question. Who am I in God's world?

Now, say the following statements out loud:   I am the beloved heir of all this universe has to offer. I am a child of God.

Why struggle to come to see yourself as anything more? Can your standards ever top the standards of Creation? Can you ever "act" your way into a higher level of worthiness? Can you ever "think" your way into a more conscious connection while on this planet? Can you ever "feel" your way into a state of belonging that tops being one with the Source of everything?

Pay attention to your words. Words have power. What you say impacts how you live. Especially, be mindful when you use these two words:  I am. These powerful words precede your truth. How you choose to finish that statement will color your life. 

Say this with me:

I am holy and whole. I am enough. I am fully hooked up. I am a willing arm of God operating in this world. I am alright, and my world is positive.

Who are you today? Won't you be God's kid with me?

Thursday, December 15th
A few years back, staying at a mountain home outside of Blairsville, Georgia, I grasped a new understanding. The beauty of the landscape left me awestruck, and I felt very close to the Higher Power. Walking leaf-strewn paths that ended with beautiful mountain vistas was a metaphor for my spiritual journey. I had forgotten how many leaves fall in the forest; my only concern was what they were covering that might trip me along the trail.

In my spiritual life, I also travel pathways in hopes of attaining higher ground. Often, my trail is covered up by something immediate . . . something that needs to be taken care of right away or I fear I will trip. Those little, niggling fears can drive me to distraction, which is exactly how I lose my focus on what really matters. In Stephen Covey's book First Things First, I learned an important lesson.“Never sacrifice the important on the altar of the urgent.” In the spirit world, the leaves on my path are the insignificant interruptions that pull me away from my quality time with my loved ones or with God. TV, iPhone, Facebook, and almost any activity with mindless noise exemplify these distractions. I’m afraid I’ll miss something, so I check in continually.

In the mountains, the call of technology was intermittent at best, and I was alert and aware of what was really happening. Unable to connect electronically, I stood ready to learn from the beautiful landscape where Spirit tickles red and yellow leaves so they float delicately to the ground. I tried to look up to see those leaves let go of their branch homes to find their place under my feet. I wanted the natural order surrounding me to become my teacher.

When God speaks to me in the gentle voice of nature, I connect deeply. Since God is crazy about me, this beautiful world was created to delight me. I just know it's true. And by the way, God is just as crazy about you. Think I’m making it up? Why not ask God to prove it . . . and get ready. Sometimes, God shows off.

Thursday, December 8th
Today, my friend "Sandy" is on my mind. I'm using a false name to make it easier on her children, whom I love dearly. For years, Sandy and I were so close. We met each other in our younger, crazy days and were together when we settled down to marry and begin our families. I loved her like a sister.

Sandy died way too early. Her vibrant spirit is missed to this day by many. She was a victim of addiction. Though she settled down and became a loving wife and mother, the day came when she was invited to "enjoy a new high." Without knowing the dire consequences, she acquiesed. That first experience would take her to places she never meant to go. She lost everything - husband, children, job and even some of her teeth. I tried to stay in contact, but the day came when that put my own little family at risk and I had to pull back. I remember telling her not to call me anymore unless she wanted help. She heard me. 

Circumstance took her to the hospital. The drugs had affected her kidneys, and they stopped working. It got worse. Eventually, she was sent to jail for selling the drug she craved. Because her kidneys didn't work, she had to go to prison so she could receive dialysis while she served her time. That's where she stopped using. Sandy got clean.

She got out after a few years, and I'd run into her at the soccer fields or in town. We always loved each other, but we had built lives that went in different directions.

I remember the morning my phone rang and it was Sandy. She said, "I'm calling." And I said, "Yes, what's up?" She reminded me that I had told her never to call unless she was looking for help. I was confused because as far as I knew she had been clean for years at this point. She told me her fear. "I haven't used in five years, so they're going to put me on the list for a kidney transplant. Beth, if I get it, I'm afraid I'll drink again. And if I drink, I know I'll go for the other stuff."

My friend Sandy died before the transplant came through, but it was after she had sought some help from others who knew her addiction. She had rebuilt her relationships with her children and her mother. She had done her best.

Today would be her birthday. I'm telling her story in hopes that it will stop someone else from "experimenting" with their own life and livelihood. The promise of "just one great high" is a misnomer. All it takes for some of us is one. Addiction is real, and it happens everyday to someone's loved one. Don't be fooled. No one is immune. It can happen to any of us. When it does, we lose the ability to choose. It is a disease of the body, mind and spirit. It is progressive and fatal. It works on us up front or behind the scenes. It is sneaky and blatant. It takes and takes until we have no more to give.

I lost my wonderful friend Sandy because of this disease. Be careful. Let's agree to avoid the elements that can hurt those we love. Stay close knowing that all it takes is one poor choice. Choose wisely today. We need you so.

I miss you, Sandy. I hope your story can help someone reading this so that they won't have to experience the pain you knew in your short lifetime.

Thursday, December 1st
It's the time of year where we begin to think about those we love in a new light. Many of us are trying to think of something special to wrap up and set under the tree that will delight them once opened. Perhaps the loved ones we're considering won't receive gifts but we're planning on sending a holiday card that reminds them that they are wished the very best. Maybe the only outreach we'll have for these special ones is a prayer for graceful covering and peace. Whatever our plan, the reality is that this time of year makes us realize how much we value our loved ones.

As December unfolds, may you recognize how important you are in the whole scheme of life. Oftentimes, we get caught up in the "doings" of the season and forget what promotes those actions.

You are loved, and you give love.
You are special to the Higher Power, and you are called to know connection.
You are instrumental in changing the world each and every day.
You make others happy when they see you.
You are talented with special offerings to share.

It's the time of year when we delight in others, and that is wonderful. But as this time comes to life, may you first delight in yourself. The greatest gift you will give anyone else is the gift of you.

We are so blessed. Thank you.

Thursday, November 24th
Happy Thanksgiving!
Because I was blessed to grow up in this country, I have not known hardships like other people in the world. I know running water. I eat fresh fruit and vegetables. I have had medical care when sick. School was a given, not a luxury. Technology isn't out of reach, and I have had radio, TV, computer and smart phone availability. My feet have been covered with shoes and I have had enough clothes to change with the season. I am grateful for these things that I can trivialize and take for granted.

Sometimes, I get caught up in my own little world and I look at things through "Beth-colored glasses" that minimize and warp my vision. Not today. Today I choose to recognize my many blessings and to be grateful for all of them.

We are so rich. Can you see it?

Thursday, November 17th
We love our family. But we don't always like what they do. If we weren't related to them would we seek them out as friends? Maybe not. Nonetheless, they are our relations. Notice how that's the beginning of the word relation-ship?

Some of you reading this blog have been hurt by your family in ways that can be forgiven, but should never be repeated. This may mean that because of the nature of the wrong they have done we must not spend time with them anymore. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, serious emotional abuse are some of the issues that make us decide this course of action. The relationship changes drastically because it is not a safe one. In this case, family loyalty can mess with our heads and tell us that we should be able to forgive and forget. Be careful of these "shoulds" in life. Sometimes, they are not even close to right. If you are dealing with the history of an abusive family relationship, seek help from someone outside to get it straight in your head. Again, note that this counselor must be outside the family unit so you can get assistance from someone who can see the big picture without any emotional ties.

This is a hard reality. We are not meant to be hurt by those created to nurture, and yet it happens frequently. If this is your story,  you are not alone. There are others who have been able to stop hiding and start healing. Won't you join them? The life you save will be your own. The future can and will be bright.

Thursday, November 10th
We had a big week as a country. There are mixed feelings and sometimes people express disappointment as anger. They said some horrible things on webpages like facebook. They hurt others. They shut down loved ones. They were so upset or so ecstatic that they created an atmosphere of the closed mind where "my way" is the only way and if you don't agree I will have to crush you.

I'm sorry if you were hurt by someone who would normally care for you deeply. I'm sorry if words came out like toothpaste from a tube and they can't be put back in or forgotten. No matter how the election ended, it was going to be a time of change for all of us. Either way.
A time for change. For all of us. Together. As a nation. As a team. On the same side. 
My hope is that we return to connection soon. In the meantime, guard yourself and remember not to take personally what some are spewing. It is a time of great emotion, and some of us aren't good at handling those well. 
Forgive us. 

Thursday, November 3rd
I can get caught up in my own head. It's as if I see the world through "Beth-colored" glasses which means that instead of seeing things as they are I see them as they affect me. Irritation with a loved one? What does it mean to me? Problem at work? How does it impact my job? War in another country? Do you know what I've been through?

Okay, so I'm kidding on that last one, but the reality is that when I get caught up in my ego I cannot view things as they are. My own vision is clouded by what I want to happen or what I fear could happen. With that obstruction, I am unable to see clearly and I can injure those I love most if I'm not careful.

Happily, awareness is the ticket out. When I become aware of my self-centered thinking I usually realize that I've lost my open mind because I'm worried, angry or afraid. Those seem to be the three emotions that drive me to this special form of insanity.

Do you identify with this at all? If you do there is good news. You are walking in awareness. That is the first step for things to change. Chances are good that this awareness will lead you to seek. Seeking opens your mind back up and allows you to solicit other views. Eventually, you will find answers that suggest action. It is the actions you take that create the change you seek.

We come by it naturally. We face worry, anger and fear and get caught in selfish thinking in an attempt to protect. Sadly, protection isn't what we need when the emotion is already at the door. Once we're feeling that tension we need to take action to make it change. Hopefully, we won't get stuck in our own heads for too long. But if we do, let's challenge the situation by recognizing the negative feelings that pushed us off base and then becoming aware that we have disconnected from our True Self, from God and from others. Let's seek ways to remedy the brokenness and take action to make the changes necessary to overcome.

When we think only of self, we rob ourselves of joy. Awareness, seeking and action will bring it back to us. Let's go for it!

Thursday, October 27th
Forgiveness is not for everyone. Some of us would rather carry the load of yesterday with us wherever we go. We lug it around because the heaviness of it reminds us that we are right. The other person was wrong, and we've got the evidence dragging us down as we speak.

Forgiveness is about letting go of the burden. It eases up day in and day out living, but there is a chance that the person who wronged us or our loved one may never "get theirs". And if they do, we may not be around to witness it because we've forgiven them and moved on. That seems too much to bear, so we hold on. We refuse to let go of the pain. We carry it with us everywhere experiencing flare-ups from time to time when something reminds us of the injury. Then it really hurts. Most days, though, it's just a dull ache. But it's our ache.

Imagine two sides of a coin. On one side there is forgiveness, acceptance and love. On the other side is resentment, anger and fear. If you were to flip that coin and had to live by what it says, which side would you prefer? Surely, holding a grudge isn't enough reason to live a horrible life. Is it?

Forgiveness. It's not for everyone. It's only for those who want to live happy and free. You get to decide for yourself. Choose wisely. 

Thursday, October 20th
Does organization matter? In the home, it does. When there is organization there is less stress. In the workplace, it does. When there is organization there is measureable accomplishment. What about other important places?

Let's go with the head. When chaos reigns supreme in the head, we tend to be confused and unsure. But how does one unclutter the brain?

It's time to talk again about journaling. Somehow, when we write on a regular basis, one of the first fruits is the feeling of order. That might not sound like a big deal to some of you, but if you have ever woken up in the middle of the night and not been able to fall back asleep because your mind is bouncing from one thing to another, a feeling of calm can sound like a treasure.

If you are struggling with an issue, it can help to journal in the third person. Instead of talking about me and my, talk about she and her (or he and his for you fellows). You don't need to edit the grammar or use a thesaurus to find a better word. The journal that will best help you eliminate stressors will come flowing out of you. Use a pen and paper if you can. Typing can minimize feeling. Somehow, when we write in and with our own hand, it impacts us. By all means, keep is private. Make sure you have a safe place to store your musings so that you're never concerned that someone will read them. Then, let it flow. It might help to sit in the same place each day when you journal. Somehow, this lends comfortability and encourages openness.

BethWE loves the journaling technique created out of 12 Step based on Steps 10 and 11 being practiced together. We call it Spiritual HEAT, and you can read notes on Beth's teaching about it by clicking on http://bethwe.com/Spiritual-HEAT.html.

We were all created to enjoy peace of mind. This may be the ticket for those of us who struggle to engage this wonderful promise. Get busy writing, and you may find tranquility you have never known before.  

Thursday, October 13th
How do you deal with stress? This week has been tough in beautiful Vero Beach, Florida. A deadly category three hurricane had its sites on us, and we were preparing in frenzy. In addition to buying water, covering windows, and making sure we had matches to light candles when the power went out, we were praying. Many of us asked other people to pray for us.

Then, the miracle happened. The storm veered north at the perfect time to deflect it from our beaches. It came close, but not as close as they thought it would. A simple 20 or 30 mile veer in course changed everything for our town. Gratitude is the watchword no matter where you go in our little hamlet.

I learned long ago not to ask for particulars when I talk to God. “Ask for specifics and limit God’s hand” was the way it was taught. Usually, I agree with that statement and follow its teaching. For some reason, though, this week I was very explicit in my conversation with God. I really wanted us to get through the storm unharmed. I begged. I asked others to beg on my behalf. And the petition was answered.

Many friends will say that means that God has favorites. I disagree. Certainly, we were ready for the storm here in the states more than they were in Haiti where over 1000 people lost their lives. But, here in the states we have television, radio, social media and other outlets to spread the word to help us prepare. Here in the states we have stronger homes and wallets with some cash to purchase the plywood and screws to protect our windows. Here in the states we started at an advantage. Does that mean that God loves us more?

Clearly, that cannot be the Truth. God is Love, after all. There has to be another answer. Perhaps the number of us that were in prayerful agreement constituted a supernatural energy response. I’m not sure. This I know. We asked for protection and then made it through a hurricane that was aimed right for us. The storm shifted, and it changed everything for the many praying for covering. Coincidence?

I’ll leave that up to you. For me, though, I will continue to ask for what I need as one of the greatest spiritual teachers ever to walk this earth suggested. When it is supplied, I will give thanks and praise. It’s just that simple.

Thursday, October 6th
Hurricane Matthew is approaching our area with threats of storm surge and high winds. Everyone in our area is racing around getting bottled water, filling gas tanks, cutting plywood to cover windows or installing hurricane shutters. Super markets are crazy and people are purchasing batteries, ice, canned food and peanut butter to keep the family operating should we lose power for any extended period of time. Businesses are closing up early to enable employees to take care of their personal issues. Local radio and television stations are on fulltime broadcast about the storm, where it's headed, what it's done already, and what to expect. Neighbors are helping each other and wishing each other well. The threat is for everyone in the area, and that creates concern for everyone you run across.

Common threat pulls community together. It's easy to see with the hurricane. We are all in this together, and we want to help each other succeed. All over town, you'll hear people telling others where they can still get gas, where they still have water, and where they can get help to put up shutters.

This same connect happens in the rooms of 12 Step. Common threat pulls community together, and we want to help each other succeed. In the rooms of 12 Step, you will find others who are fighting the same battle and are willing to give others tips about what worked for them. The spirit of common welfare reigns, and the attitude that we are all in this together comes to play.

Are you struggling? Look for a 12 Step group that could help you. They will be there for you during the storms of life, and they will help you to live into the sunshine of recovery.

Thursday, September 29th
Truth comes to me at various times in my life. Some I learned from trusted people in authority when I was young. Some came from life experiences that occured at different stages and taught me hard-earned lessons. Some was revealed in incredible spiritual awakenings that rocked my world in only a moment. Still more came slowly as I opened my mind to new perspectives and allowed new thinking to take the reins.

Today, I do not apologize for my Truth. It is a friend that leads me to wholeness and gives me the ability to touch other lives. I welcome it on most days. Sadly, there are times when I am stuck in complacency or self-centeredness, and I lose my desire to walk in Truth. I put on my "Beth-colored glasses" and expect the world to respond in kind. When I act like this I am surrounded with ego instead of Truth. I don't get far. I don't impact the world. I dig a deep emotional hole and sit in the dark surrounded by negativity and fear.

Don't get me wrong. Sometimes I still walk in fear when I walk with Truth. But it's different somehow. Knowing the Truth gives me courage and a boldness that allows me to move through it. There is no paralysis when seeking the way of Truth. Even if I'm afraid, I am still able to take action. Truth seems to make a huge difference.

I ask for Truth when I pray. I ask that it comes and covers me with grace. I count on it to help me grow more into the person I was created to be. I believe it gives me the words that help others grow more into the people they were created to be. Truth is always available to me. I just have to want it more than I want my own way.

Thursday, September 22nd
It's scary when someone almost dies in front of us. When it comes to someone choking, we would try to do the Heimlich maneuver. If someone was having a heart attack, we would dial 911.

But, if someone we love is dying slowly from alcoholism or addiction, we don't know what to do. We try to make it better. We cover for them when we have to. We get mad and make them promise to do better. We convince them to change from their "first pick" to something less strong. We run in circles, and we get aggravated. But we don't get as scared because we don't realize we are dealing with a fatal illness that will eventually take them from us.

If you identify with this blog, believe me, you are not alone. There are many of us that love an addict or alcoholic. Get some help. The revolving door you are playing with will eventually come to a complete stop. Talk to some other folks that know the road you're treading. Do it for you. Do it for your loved one. Do it because doing nothing doesn't work forever. We're behind you. Remember: you are not alone.

Al-Anon.org     for the families and friends of alcoholics
Nar-Anon.org   for the families and friends of addicts

Thursday, September 15th
Dealing with guilt and shame can be tough. What's important is that we know what the difference is. In my estimation, guilt is about self-judgment. You did something that isn't right, and you know it. Guilt ensues. Shame, on the other hand, is about someone else's judgment. It comes from outside of us. Shame can start very early in life because it is only natural that people will try to influence how others act. Maybe you recall a phrase that was said in your home of origin that will depict this truth. "You'll never amount to anything!" or "You're better than that!" are such phrases. If someone in authority says them often enough we develop a false belief created from the untruth, and some of us are still operating based on these statments.

Shame makes us feel bad, but it can be so subtle that we can arrive at that point of melancholy without knowing what caused it. We make decisions based on false beliefs about ourselves that have not been challenged in years. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could do just that? We could challenge untruth and recognize glitches in our thinking that set us up for despair.  

Journaling can help us discover these crazy catalysts that spur us to repeat unhealthy behaviors because we are being driven by negative thoughts about ourselves. These thoughts may have been laid as a faulty foundation for other thinking. Self-sabotage has resulted. Unless we challenge the thinking, we repeat the scenario, and we feel bad because of it. When we write regularly about our days, we can uncover the falsehoods that push us. It will take time and discipline because these deep hurts won't come out without persistence. Write and seek.

At first journaling will be cold, but it will get easier and more comfortable as you continue. That's when it will become real. You'll be able to go deep with your thoughts and feelings as you pursue this practice. If you are dealing with shame and want to find your way out, give it a go. The one you free up may be YOU!

If you aren't sure how to get started on a Journal, go to another page on this website labeled NOTES. There, you'll see a few offerings. Select the one called Spiritual HEAT. Give it a go. Try it for 30 days, and then decide if it is helping you live your best life. If it is, continue. If not, let it go.

Thursday, September 8th
It's hard to tell someone you care about that you are worried about them. Maybe they are drinking more than they should. Maybe they are hiding out and not communicating with others. Maybe they have closed their minds up and believe only negative possibilities exist. It could be another issue that makes them difficult for you to want to spend time in their company. Still, you love them and it feels imperative to help them before they completely check out.

Many of these issues are actual illnesses. Alcoholism, depression, addiction . . . the list goes on. If you had someone close to you having a heart attack, would you try to help? Would you call 911 or enlist CPR? These other illnesses should command equal consideration. 

Your first attempt to speak to them about your concerns may not be well received. If possible, meet with them early in the day before their tendencies can steal them away. Assure them that you are meeting with them because you love them and want only the best for them. They may feel put on the spot or angry. Assure them that you don't think they are bad people, but sadly they are sick people. Share the pain. Tell them that it hurts you to see them hurting. Then, become specific about issues that have transpired. Use "I" statements. "I felt . . ." or "I waited for you . . ." and the like. Address the things that your loved one holds most dear, like how the issues affect children, career, friendships or hobbies.  Assure them you will stand by if they seek help. 

If, however, they shut down and refuse assistance, step back. You have made a beginning. Be clear about what the future will hold. Let them know you won't pretend it isn't affecting you. Be clear that you won't loan money, take calls after a certain hour or partake in the issue with which they struggle. Tell them to contact you first if they ever want help because you will be fully onboard but until then they should leave you out of the craziness. Then comes the hard part. Stick to what you say.

This is hard work, and most of us will need support to get through it. Counseling, 12-Step programs, mental health associations and other agencies are available. Talking with others who have been in your shoes will help immensely. Don't go it alone. If you're online, google what you seek. If you aren't online, go to the library and ask a librarian to help you search out what is available close to home. Reach out and begin the healing. Your loved one may or may not come to want assistance. Unfortunately, we do not get the final say in their lives. What we can do is take care of ourselves and let them see that it can change if we take action.

In closing, we encourage you to not go it alone spiritually either. Pray for yourself and your loved ones. In our experience it does help. There is a Power that wants to surround you in Love. Ask for it now. And then, get busy.

Thursday, September 1st
It is healthy to identify with the past. It is unhealthy to define myself by the past.

Let's talk personal beliefs. Are you beliefs current and intact? Have you actually considered the thoughts by which you live? For many of us, we grew up being schooled in the beliefs of other people. Maybe you were an Irish Catholic from Boston, Massachusetts. Perhaps you were a Mormon from Salt Lake City, Utah. On the other hand, your family may be Baptists who hail from Nashville, Tennessee. No matter how or where you grew up, you were privy to the thoughts and philosophies of your family elders, your neighborhood leaders, and your teachers, ministers and friends.

What does that have to do with your belief system employed today? Oddly enough, if you haven't reviewed it, you may be living by the default settings that were installed in childhood. Some of these defaults may be holding you back or limiting your responses to life. Some of them may be keeping you from enjoying a quality relationship with your Higher Power. Challenging yourself by taking a good look at some ideas that may be "hand-me-down's" could really change your day-in-day-out reality.

Each of us was built to live our best lives using our physical, mental and spiritual natures. We were created to use our history as a tool to build on, not a bracket to hold us back. Question your beliefs when you become aware of them. When a dubious mindset comes to light, pull it apart. Dig deep and see if the thought is even consistent with your ideas and values. If it doesn't stand tall, work at its elimination. Bringing it to the forefront will embolden you to take action toward its removal. At first, it will feel daunting, but soon it will settle and you will be filled with peace that you are living true to your own beliefs.

Letting go of old ideas will help you create a life that allows you to be your best self. Open your mind and begin the process. Your true self is waiting to get out there and shine. 

Thursday, August 25th
Each of us has had times in life when we were down in the dumps. At other times, we have felt like we had no emotion at all, as if our personalities were flat and lifeless. On days like that we can let the pain or the complacency show or we can choose to rise above it. Often, it is our decision. How do we want to feel?

Don’t get me wrong. There are seasons in life when pain is overwhelming and we have to step back and feel it before we can let it go and move on. But there are the other times when how we feel becomes a choice. We could overcome them, but how?

For many of us, trying to move from emotional darkness back into light is like trying to make lemonade out of lemons. It’s good in theory, but in reality there are other ingredients that are necessary if we are going to make a palatable product. Today, let’s review one idea that seems to spark the light on a dark day so that we can face the world in a positive frame of mind instead of one of defeat.

Let’s look at someone who has had success in this area. Do you know somebody who always seems to carry light into the world? There are special people like that who emanate joy in a world riddled with sorrow. They seem to be at peace in the midst of storms. Some have the natural ability to heal the emotionally wounded and carry burdens for those in need. The number one trait you’ll see in these folks is LOVE. And this sublime characteristic is even more effective because it is closely followed by WILLINGNESS. Together, LOVE and WILLINGNESS produce effective action. This is the secret shared by these special people. Their actions create a positive ambience in which they live day in and day out.

Love and willingness can change lives. People who live by these traits are connectors. They help others want to live their best lives. They animate the downtrodden. They invite happiness and hope. The side benefits for these connectors are notable. Connectors automatically find happiness and hope for themselves. Their affirmative action seems to generate the joy of living.

It’s available for all of us. Again, it is a choice. Next time you feel down in the dumps reach out and help someone else. They joy you create will be your own.

Thursday, August 18th
Sometimes, the little things in life can make us angry. The bigger, more significant situations can be navigated. We invest in them and we give ourselves time to process them. Sadly, when something less substantial happens, we simply react. If we are irritated, we let others know it. Some of us yell. Others get silent and stoic. Still others attempt to make it go away and stuff the angst. In all cases, we render ourselves disconnected from those around us because our anger demands that we stand alone.

Obviously, there are health issues that accompany this as a regular way of life. For men, the American Medical Association ties anger to coronary heart disease. For all of us, that same panel of doctors reports insomnia, digestive problems and headaches as the result of an angry disposition. Clearly, that's bad enough, but there are emotional repercussions too.

We were created for connection. Anger works against this instinctive calling. In addition to pulling us away from others emotionally, it takes it a step further. Our anger often injures those closest to us. We harm our loved ones. We harm the fellow in the car in front of us. We harm ourselves. When we get mad, it's like the old saying goes - it's like "taking poison and waiting for the other person to die." 

When you feel angry, as all human beings will from time to time, be careful with what follows. Maybe you need 15 minutes to regroup. Ask for this time-out. The relationship you protect may be your closest. Don't avoid the feeling by covering it up with food, sleep, drink or behavior. The emotion will rear its ugly head again if left without release or resolution. Talk to a trustworthy friend. Share your pain. Get professional help if it is necessary. Don't go it alone. Of course, reach out to your spirit nature. Pray. Meditate. Connect with the God of your understanding and ask for divine help. It may open you up to new thought and new ways to approach the situation. It will restore calm.

Anger will come from time to time. Know yourself. Know how you react. Be prepared to protect your loved ones because in the end you will value them more than the opportunity to get your way. Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? Think it through, give it time, and live your priorities. You can do it.

Thursday, August 11th
Looking back through a journal from 15 years ago, I found these words that I wrote to God.

"The more I know about You, the less I know about worry. God, how do You continue to love me through all my disobedience and impetuous actions? I am so starved for wholeness, yet I bulk up with the world. I long to know more of the Truth, yet I trust the untrustworthy. I want to be happy, joyous and free, yet I log onto the belief system of the physical - the world with its misconception and untruth. Lead me on to the place of homecoming for this spirit.  I know I am on the right path to You. More of You, less of me. Let me not settle for less."  

When I look back at that time in my life it was tough going. I had recently divorced and was a single mother of two wonderful, young children. I had changed my position at work to get better hours for the family and was earning less than half of what I had made before. I was tempted to feel overwhelmed, but realized I just had to trust more and stand more firmly on my faith. Yes, there would be action to take - all positive change calls for affirmative action - but that action would come slowly. First, I just had to accept my new circumstances and learn to be grateful for them.

If you're struggling, give my prayer a try. You may have to change a few of the words to make it more fitting for your situation, but I know that it helped me overcome the fears that loomed large. Love conquers fear, and God is love. Go there for help. You will get through this, I promise. Time is needed, but things will improve directly proportional to how quickly you can have a mustard seed of faith that you are not alone. Our Higher Power is ready and willing. Go and ask.

Thursday, August 4th
When you love someone with an addiction problem, you begin to see the world in a new way. Sadly, it isn't always an improvement. Sometimes their illness brings tough new vistas - jail, institutions, emergency rooms, and more. If you've gotten to this point with your loved one, know these truths. It is not your fault. It's no one's fault really. Addiction is a disease, not a moral decision. It is not because of the way they were raised. Addiction robs people of even their upbringing. It does not reflect on how much education they received. Brain cells are living and fluid and can be killed with some of the chemicals addicts crave. When under the influence, they don't act like the person you know and love. Nonetheless, they own a bit of your heart and what they say and do will affect you.

If you love someone who is addicted, here are a few thoughts to help you navigate the terrain: 

First, accept the truth of the situation. There is no magic elixir, and life may be out-of-control now and then. Worry, money concerns, constant favors and learning to say no are all part of life for one who loves an addict.

Next, boundaries must be set if you are to stay healthy yourself. This is diificult for many of us. Make your decisions based on what is really best for the addict, the family, and for yourself. You must come to know the difference between helping and enabling. Enable your beloved and you may be signing their death certificate.

Remember that trying to fix someone with the disease of addiction will be fruitless because we cannot change another person. We can pray for them. We can encourage them. We can be consistent with them. But if they are ever going to change, it will be because they want to change.

Don't waste time taking the addict's inventory. Instead, use that energy to see if you have been contributing to the situation. Again, we can't control addiction, we didn't cause the addiction, and we can't cure it. Those three C's may help you realize that your behavior is what you can affect. Make constructive changes so that you don't sacrifice your own good living.

The last thought for this blog is simple. Ask for help from others who have been where you are. Don’t wait thinking you should be able to handle it alone. I’ll leave you with a few websites that may offer some respite. Check them out. The sooner you go for help, the better it is for everyone.

Al-Anon.org – for the friends and families of alcoholics
Nar-Anon.org – for the friends and families of drug/narcotic addicts
FamiliesAnonymous.org – for the friends and families of those with drug or alcohol related behavioral issues
Gam-Anon.org – for the friends and families of gamblers

Thursday, July 27th
Recently, I've been thinking about the false gods that we serve. Some of them may have other names:  alcohol, drugs, sex, food, people-pleasing . . . and the list could go on and on. The strange thing about a false god is that it is more powerful than the person who worships it. On our own, we can't seem to stop looking to that idol to help us get through the day. We develop a twisted relationship with the false god, looking to it to make us feel better. While they may interrupt for a time, false gods are not able to make any lasting changes because they have no creational power.

For those of us seeking to know spiritual wholeness, let's look to the opposite of a false god. This sometimes helps those trying to overcome an addiction problem who struggle with the concept of God. Clearly, the opposite of false is true. What if we called for Truth as an alternate name for Real Power in this universe? It's easy to see that there is one Truth in every arena. If we aim for that, we can and will find connection. At least, that is the experience I have shared with many.

There are many higher powers in this world. When trying to live my best life, I need the One that has ALL power. When I seek Truth, I arrive. Truth directs. Truth enlightens. Truth connects. Truth creates. It's amazing how simple my decisions become when I seek Truth as the basis for the master plan.

If you are struggling with spiritual belief, give this a try. The path you forge will lead you to the light.

Thursday, July 20th
If we want to see change, we must first see the need for it. This is a step we cannot skip. Without the awareness that there is a problem, we will stay put. We will wallow around without hope of change, feeling broken but not open to the possibility of restoration.

To uncover and to admit is key. When we uncover, we pull the blinders off our eyes and allow ourselves to see the situation as it truly is, not as we have camouflaged it. Without the benefit of the false front, we see the truth of the issue. We recognize how broken it is/we are. From there, we admit the flaw. Before there can be hope, there must be admission.

For years, most of us have learned how to masquerade in the costume called "everything is fine." Unfortunately, it is only a cover. Again, we must uncover to begin the process of healing. Next, we must admit there is a problem. Without that admission, there will be no help sent. Admitting our weakness makes it real to us. It also sets us up to accept help when it comes.

Once you have uncovered and admitted your reality, ask God to step in. Ask for help from the Creator who wants only the best for you. This is hard for some of us, but give it a go anyway. Trust those of us who have tried it with great results. Ask away.

Today, I wish you all you need to accomplish change in any area that is not performing up to par. I wish you an honest appraisal followed by aggressive action. I wish you a miracle, and I expect no less. God is absolutely crazy about you! Let Him prove it today!

Thursday, July 13th
There's a lot going on in the world around us. Shootings, terrorist threats, political badgering, hunger, weather crises - the list goes on and on. Sometimes, it's hard to get through it all while maintaining a positive attitude. 

At BethWE, we teach about powerlessness. Sadly, most things in this world are beyond our control. That said, there still is an outlet. The writings of Bill Wilson, founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, make this claim:  "There is One who has all power. That One is God. May you find Him now."

When the things of the world seem too big for my shoulders, I have to share the load. I go to the Higher Power in prayer and ask for resolution. I share my fears and my anger, and I ask God to forgive those who caused the harm. Sometimes, I don't want to ask for forgiveness. I want them to suffer. But that will not help anyone. Carrying resentments will only send me into brokenness and depression. 

Today, when I look at the strife and tragedy all around, I will claim wholeness and well-being. I will cover the situations with the grace of the Living God, and I will ask for peace. I may not affect universal change for all, but I will affect universal change for me and my little corner of this planet. If each of us that is able actually took the time each day to commit to this prayerful approach to life, this big world would change for the better.

Let's you and me get started today. Okay?

Thursday, July 7th
Last week I asked you to consider a course of action, and many of you took the counsel to heart. However, some friends were worried about something they read in one of the 12 Steps of Recovery. The third step threw them for a loop. Giving up our will and our lives over to the care of a Higher Power sounded freakish. They let me know they weren't sure they could do it. 

I laughed at first. Then, I told them a secret about that little goodie. You have to practice it. Like a piano player, you're only going to be good if you persevere and practice. It takes desire to do well in this arena, like many others. Ask any incredible sportsmen and they'll tell you how long and hard they worked to become qualified for the big leagues. It's the same with turning our will and our lives over to the care of God.

There's another thing that really helps with this. It helps if you believe that God is good. It helps if you think God wants what's best for you and your loved ones. It helps if you aren't carrying old beliefs that told you that God was more about punishment than love. Sometimes, you've got to clean the slate and allow God to introduce Himself to you anew. You can ask for this. You won't be the first, and you certainly won't be the last. It is common for those of us that might have been burned by the fears of someone in authority over us when we were young. Those fears can be generational. But you can denounce them and start over. Anyone can . . . it's just that not everyone knows that.

I remember when I realized they weren't kidding when they said that God is Love. It's only three little words, but it means the world to me. It tells me so much about this Source Power and it makes it less scarey to pursue relationship. Somehow, when I can remember that God = Love, turning my will and my life over isn't as hard. 

Here you go, Love! Have at it!

Thursday, June 30th
What do you fear? Take a moment to think of an issue and then come back to the blog.

Got it? For many of us who have studied the 12 Steps of Recovery, we have learned that most of our fears are based on instinctive drives. All humans are wired for sex, for security - financial, physical and emotional, and for society - our ability to find our niche in the world with our fellows. When these needs aren't being met, we may develop fears.

Look at the fear you considered earlier. Where is its base? Chances are good that you will find that it comes from your concern that one of these instinctive drives won't be satisfied. Afraid of the dark? That's probably based in physical security. Afraid of public speaking? Most likely that comes from our social instinct and what others will think of us. Sometimes, we try to get one need met using a different instinct. This usually doesn't go very well. An example? Consider the person who gets into a relationship just to have their sexual needs met. Chances are good that the relationship will not work out in the long run. The same is true for those who try to have someone else make them feel emotionally secure. It can't be done. Each of us has to learn to get our own needs met on our own. Then, we can build on that foundation and develop healthy interactions with others.

Some of us call these instinctive drives the three S's. Sex, Security, Society. They are perfectly right and God-given, just as your instinct to breathe is. As you become aware of them, they will help you move toward wholeness and health because they will allow you to see where you are out-of-whack, and you will know where to attempt to move back into balance.

That is our wish for you. Balance is key when seeking peace of mind and good living. This little tidbit is just one avenue to know yourself more fully. May it serve you well.

You don't have to be an alcoholic to use the 12 Steps to grow. Check out the videos on this website. Look for the tab at the top that says 12 Steps, and then click on the videos. They're each short and succinct. Hopefully, they will serve you well, too. Be blessed.

Thursday, June 23rd
One of the hardest parts of being used by God is holding up under the pressure. It gets busy. I've been in contact with a few people who really allow themselves to be put in the middle of the arena to help another. Often, the time they give away is time that was really needed to get something done in their personal lives. They are forced to push on, exhausting their humanness and taxing their emotional stance. 

When I look at the many spiritual leaders that have walked this road before us, there is one activity that they shared. They needed time to go off by themselves and regroup/reconnect. Each of them knew the value of renewal. Do you?

If you are struggling and wondering why God is pushing so hard, I offer you this Truth. Each of us needs time alone with our Source to be able to continue on the road of spirituality and love. The direct download we get serves when nothing else will. But it also tires. Don't hesitate to pull back for a short time and seek rest and connection with God. Maybe that means prayertime for you. Maybe it means walking in nature. Maybe it's reading from scripture or some other book that hooks you up. Whatever your remedy, employ it regularly. The life you save won't be your own . . . that has already been done. That's why you are being used. The life you save will be another, and it will present itself to you when you least expect it. You will become the hands and feet of the Higher Power on this earth, and you will be exhausted when you finish tasks of this magnitude.

For this, you were called. By this, you will impact this world. Through this, you will know your Source at a deeper level, and you will feel the limitations of our human condition. Don't fret. Remember that "all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose."

Rest today. Don't be upset if sadness or overwhelm comes calling. Know it is the result of your willingness to serve. God's got this, if only you allow it. Do your best to remain committed and willing. Therein lies the ability to partake in many miracles. And in between your work, slip off and reenergize. It is your duty. It is your gift. It is your lifeline.

Thursday, June 16th
Today is a birthday for someone I love very much. In addition to a few gifts, a candle lit for a special wish, and a song with the right name plugged in, how do others know how much we care?

Today, I thought I'd list some ideas to shake it up in your circle and household. Loving is an ongoing lifestyle and sometimes we just need to be reminded to let those around us know how important they are. Check out this list of "can-do's" to enhance your little corner of the world.

  • Listen to their favorite story . . . again. Listening to someone lets them know how you care.
  • Use your touch. Of all the five senses, the sense of touch connects us quickly. Whether you are holding a hand, rubbing a back, tossling some hair, or giving a hug, our ability to impact each other with touch can change a moment.
  • Forgive them when they mess up. Forgiveness is an act of the will, not a feeling. Choose it.
  • Turn on some music that they like or pull up a favorite youtube video of a song that matters. Share the gift of music with them.
  • Go outside together and enjoy nature. Point out the things that delight. One of you may love birds, the other may prefer flowers. See both. Notice both. Enjoy the great outdoors as a team. Snorkle. Hike. Sit and rock. Do it as a team.
  • Laugh with them. Rent a funny movie. Tell a funny story. Go to a comedy club. Give and get the gift of humor.
  • Half their fears and pains by sharing them. Let them emote and don't try to fix it. Just let them get heavy feelings out.
  • Cook their favorite meal. Bake a batch of cookies they love. Buy their preferred veggie at the farmer's market. Get in through the stomach!
  • Always introduce them to others they don't know. Smile and show your esteem for them as you tell the new audience of their importance in your world.
  • Let them pick the movie, or the type of pizza, or even the vacation destination.
  • Dedicate quality time just to spend with them.
  • Send them a note or greeting card in the mail that expresses your love and care. Snail mail is fun these days, but even the unexpected text can mean the world.
  • Give gifts just because you thought of them, not because it's a birthday or anniversary. Small tokens let them know you think about them when you're apart.
  • Be grateful for them. Gratitude shows, but it's even better when you say it aloud. "I'm so blessed to have you in my life! God must be crazy about me!"

These are just a few ways you can let others know they mean the world to you. The ideas aren't just for romantic love, but for all those who matter in your life. Express it today. Most people are just waiting to hear how much better this world is because they are in it. Hit them with your best shot! 

Thursday, June 9th
Today we did a heavy radio show. Hopefully, it will help some folks that are struggling yet have their heads in the sand. The working title of the show was: "So you love someone with an addiction problem . . . what now?"

We covered many difficult areas that we come to know when we care about someone who is an addict. Whether the "drug of choice" is alcohol, shopping, food, gambling or narcotics, those of us on the outside looking in are often hurt badly. The biggest issue is that we can't make it better for the addict we love. We are stuck. We are powerless. We are able to deal with only our own issues as they come to light.

Sometimes the beloved will find recovery and begin working on healing. Even then, we may suffer. We must allow him to follow the actions and thinking of 12 Step. That means stepping back and letting them work with others who have been there. Encouragement and support are our duty, but we can't be guaranteed time or inclusion. Some have to go it alone to get the benefits that will allow them a new way of life.

Sadly, not everyone chooses recovery. We know many that have lost their lives to disease. Those close to them come to know powerless at the deepest level. Often they'll wonder why they couldn't get through to their beloved, but addiction works hard to make all the final calls. My friend Diane always says, "Addiction wants me dead; it will settle for me buzzed; right now it's just trying to get me alone." Separation and death are the natural progression for addicts. Recovery is the miracle path - the road to connection and healing.

Is someone you love fighting this battle? You are not alone. Our community at BethWE is here for you. Come to the website and peruse the offerings. We have blogs, prayer tools, and more. Delve into the 12 steps and see how they can benefit YOU. That's right. All of these tools will benefit the user, whether their loved one makes it to recovery or not. What's most important right now is that you find your way to a way of life that allows you to be understood and aided by others whohave known your pain.

Don't go it alone. We're here for you.

Thursday, June 2nd
This is the time of year for graduation, and many are celebrating the finish of education and anticipating what is to come next. Life is an amazing journey. What did you expect to unfold back when you graduated . . . or moved on in a different way? Are your day-in and day-out activities what you expected them to be back then?

If you could give one piece of advice to those getting started, what would it be? For me, I would remind them about balance. There have been times in my life when my priorities were out-of-whack, and life swung like a pendullum. Driven, complacent, driven again, then giving up . . . these were the types of cycles I experienced when I lived without consciousness and ran crazy in my attempt to accomplish.

To those graduating, I would suggest that one of the greatest gifts in the human experience is balance. Committing oneself to achievement isn't all bad, but when it allows us to lose close relationships like family and friends, it is not worth it in the end.

I've been blessed to live in Florida for many years. Here, I see folks come to retire. After dedicating themselves to work and financial success, I watch as they finish life wanting only the connections they lost in the process of achieving. So many are alone wishing they hadn't taught those closest to them that they weren't needed on a daily basis. Now, those close ones are pursuing their own agendas, and cuddling with an elderly family member doesn't always make the cut.

Today, let's take a break and tell those around us how important they are. Let's spend some quality time sharing the love in our hearts instead of running the race. Why not take a moment and list the five people you most love in this world. Did you mention that love to any of them today? If not, get busy. Invest your time wisely. Secure your position with loved ones. What you do today can change your tomorrow. Share your heart and prosper inside. It will bring new meaning to everything else.

Thursday, May 26th
Someone I love is suffering with depression. At least, that's what the initial leanings are. They are undergoing testing to check thyroid function and the like, but it is likely to show up as the mental illness that is hitting so many in our country and around the world.

When I spoke with this beloved, there was one thought that impacted the pain. I asked her if she was hopeless, and she nodded. I told her I thought that was a mistaken belief. We went on to discuss the differences between hopelessness and powerlessness.

When you are powerless, you can't change the circumstances. Telling her to "just cheer up" would be like telling a homeless person to "just buy a house." There are material limitations that don't allow these easy fixes. Lack of funding for the homeless one and lack of chemical balance for the depressed one keep them from overcoming their dilemma on their own. It will take help from an outside force to make it right.

This are heavy thoughts, I know. But open your heart to those suffering around you. Are they really able to change their circumstances on their own? If not, is there anything you can do to help? If nothing else, prayer is in order. Ask the Higher Power to bless them. Cover them with grace. Believe what they cannot at this time.

Perhaps there is more for you to do. You will know as you connect with Source. The way will open before you and you will know the next right thing. Remember that old verse from the Torah that says, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet." Weird that I brought it up? Maybe. But, sometimes, we can only see the next step to take. We cannot see the path ahead. The light is only to our feet. Encourage your loved one to take the next right step. Remind them that powerlessness is a perfect place for the spiritual part of life to open up and make a difference. We've seen it a thousand times before. Let it happen for them. Start by believing it is possible for them. Someone has to get there if it is to change.

Help is available. The way will open. The light will shine again. But for now, just take the next step.

Thursday, May 19th
The weather is brutal as I write this blog, and the roads outside are flooded. A tornado touched down a few miles away, and social media is abuzz with tales of downed trees and cars stalled on flooded streets. Outside, I hear raindrops, thunder, and loud frogs.

For the frogs, this is the great time of the year. The rainy season has arrived, and the earth is swollen with water that came out of the sky, dribbling and seering, creating lake-like puddles and freeing the earth of edible goodies for our marsh fellows to enjoy.

For me, I am forced inside. My mindset will make or break the evening. If I welcome the compulsory hibernation, I will do well. I can catch up on laundry and write letters to loved ones far away. I can clean out the junk drawer and organize the linen closet. This may be the night to watch a multitude of TV shows one after another on Netflix, so that I know what people who have watched all season are buzzing about. If, however, I do not embrace the mandatory idle time, I will get frustrated. I will downtalk the status quo so that it reads like a gloomy book. God forbid the power goes out. Should that happen, the complaints will mount, and the annoyance increase. I will take it out on those around me with snappy, short replies and silent scorn. The grey cloud over my head will make them prefer the storm outside. That's what will happen should my approach be negative.

How about you? What's going on in your life right now? How does your attitude affect it and those you love? Are you bringing love and optimism to the picnic? If not, would you like to choose again?

The reality of this world is we never know how much time we have to create the life of our dreams. Some of us waste that precious commodity, time, because we get caught up in self-centered thoughts and attitudes. Just for today, let's choose connection. Is there something I can do to make this moment, this next hour, this whole evening better? If there is, let me at it. I may never "lose a night" to weather again. Let me make this one count!

Thursday, May 12th
How is your day going? If it isn't going well, why don't you change it? I'm not asking you to get an attitude adjustment. That suggestion will just tick you off if your day is already running poorly. Attitude adjustments are usually up to the person, and let's face it, you're not in the mood.

Instead, why don't you try changing your approach? I know it sounds like I'm just playing with words and trying to trick you. Not so. Think of your golf game. If you haven't sunk a shot in a long time, it really doesn't matter what your attitude is. It will, however, change everything if you can redirect your approach. Look at the hole differently. See it from another angle. Squat down and look. Note any irregularities on the green that have nothing to do with you personally, but they will still rob you of a clear shot.

Life is sometimes like that golf game. When I change my approach to a troubling time or dilemma, sometimes I am gifted with the ability to play through with greater ease. I assess what is my part and allow the "course" to be as it is. The only adjustment I have is in how I can best accomplish this one feat. I don't have to deal with the crowd watching or the next hole. I only have to approach this next shot with information and intent. My goal is to sink it, but for this moment, my only concern is that I approach that goal with confidence.

Just for today, let's slow down our demands on self and allow ourselves to live in the moment. Living in the moment lets me approach this life with intent and become content. Trying to manage a whole day can be overwhelming. Let's take it one "swing" at a time. At the end of our day, our scorecards will depict a lower number of foiled attempts at being happy.

Fore!

Thursday, May 5th
To love someone means to communicate with them. Granted, communication doesn't always come only in words. Actions, attention, facial expressions, touch . . . sometimes these responses carry more power than any words ever could. 

Think about your key relationships. Are you communicating your love? Do you let those you care about have opportunity to "hear" you express how important they are in your life? 

It is the springtime of the year. All around us, flowers are budding, butterflies are flitting, birds are flirting, seeds are sprouting, and life is abundant. Now, look at your world. What you may not see is that you are the beloved of the Universe. Don't sell yourself short. It's time for happiness to bud, happenings to flit, possibilities to flirt, and awarenesses to sprout. Open your eyes and see it happening!

Then, share the wealth. Look around you to those you love and share an action, an expression, a touch, an attentiveness that lets them know that you treasure their place in your world. Communicate with them the same way the Source communicates with you. Shower them with blessings and wonder, and trust that what goes around will indeed come around.

You will be surrounded in grace. Actually, you already are. God is absolutely crazy about you!

Thursday, April 28th
Leaving the house early while the dew was still on the lawn and the neighborhood was quiet, I saw him. He was stray and yellow. His ribs showed through his fur. His face looked like it had been through many unsuccessful fights. He was tired as he sat across the street watching me closely, knowing if I made a move toward him he would have to run.

The stray cat was unaware of how close he was to redemption. Inside my home, my daughter was asleep. The stray didn't know her deep love for animals and that she would go to any length to improve the life of one so lost. My daughter would feed this little one gladly. She would go slowly, so the fears could subside. She wouldn't rush relationship, but would allow the stray to come into a place of trust at his own pace. If asked, my daughter would open the doors of our home to this one. She would create a place of belonging and nurturing. She would set up areas of retreat to where the stray could return to find solitude and the ability to regroup and become comfortable. My daughter would shower this lost one with love even if the stray never came to full reliance and confidence.

As I drove on considering all of this, I realized that many of us are strays in spirit. Afraid and unsure, we live on the cusp unaware that if only we sanctioned the assistance of the Creator our lives could change radically for the better. We could move slowly, permitting only that interaction with which we were comfortable. We could find a place of belonging and nurturing, where solitude and comfort abounds. We could be showered with love even if we never came to full acceptance of the reality of Source.

May we open our minds to the possibilities. May we turn in our stray stance to become the beloved of One able to bless.  

Thursday, April 21st
What's your favorite joke? Some of you are thinking of a good guffaw right now. Others are realizing that you can't remember jokes, though you enjoy them. Why did I bring it up?

The two quickest ways I know to connect with others are through love or through laughter. When someone is isolating and they can't let you in, sometimes they can't help but let in a bit of humor. Humor is a real gift for those of us seeking to impact the world for good. People are less likely to shut you down if you're telling a joke or making a funny face because we are naturally drawn to fun. It's in our nature very deep and it activates easily, especially if it hasn't been activated in a little while.

Is there someone you are trying to reach unsuccessfully? Sneak up on them with a good joke. Chances are, you might just throw them off balance enough for them to see and hear you. Once you've gotten that in, the next one will come more easily. Eventually, they will let you "love them up". It's worked a lot in my ministry, and I hope it will work for you in yours.

Why did the cow cross the road? To get to the udder side, of course! (Lame jokes can work too!)  

Thursday, April 14th
Are you a seeker? Are you looking for something that will enhance life as you know it? If so, what other factors will assist you on your journey to insight?

Most seekers do well with back-up. What do I mean by back-up? Simply speaking, your back-up is your support system - a team of people who share your vision. Perhaps they are also seeking similar solution. Perhaps they're considering making the sacrifices necessary to seek themselves. For whatever reason they are in your court, they are there to share experience, strength and hope.

Seekers need an open mind. If you are limiting the possibilities that come your way because you can't wrap your head around new ideas, you may be limiting yourself from ever attaining that for which you seek. Think about treasure hunters. They study where the treasure was before it was lost. They consider possible fluctuations that could have shifted the final resting spot of that which they seek. They open their minds.

Seekers must persevere. It isn't easy work looking for your heart's desire. It's imperative that one persists in the expedition. Giving up isn't an option. You can take a break here and there to regroup, but you must return to the journey if you are to attain your highest good.

I saved the best for last. The lifestyle of the seeker is generally one filled with strong emotion and rich experiences. Even seekers who do not find enjoy a quality of life that is above average. I'm a seeker. Chances are, you are too. Actually, you wouldn't still be reading this blog if you weren't.

We're seekers. We have known indescribable joy. We understand what it means to reach incredible highs and unspeakable lows. We love and are loved. We still know hope. We are blessed beyond measure. When we stop and look at our lives, we realize that seeking has made the difference. Let's keep at it, shall we? 

Thursday, April 7th
Crossing the Indian River by way of the Merrill Barber Bridge yesterday, I watched the sky with the cloud play and pastel color palate. It was beautiful. It was as if God had painted a picture just for me.

But every day is like this. I am gifted with a firmament of different colors and textures. As the sun rises, the atmosphere above displays the artwork of a new day. Clouds vary in shape and style. Other days are cloud-free. Blue takes on new tones and varied vibrandicy or gray can be deep and heavy. The sky is the canvas of God, and every day is a new work of the Master.

I am also a creation of the Master. Some days I'm sunny and blue and other days I'm overcast and dark. What I need to remember is that I am always the handiwork of Creation. As such, I am dearly loved. Even when I'm cloudy, I'm a thing of beauty.

And so are you.

Thursday, March 31st
It's supposed to be sunny today, but so far only clouds. Did you ever have a day like that? You were hoping to feel upbeat, but for some reason the blues held you back?

Emotional issues are confounding sometimes. Intellectually, we see a picture clearly, but our emotions don't support that view. Our feelings swerve and dive, roll and twist. They change our approach. They change our outlook. They change our experience.

Though they are never right or wrong, feelings do give us direction. They show us where we are vulnerable. They show us when we are strong. Feelings let us know ourselves more deeply. They indicate our preferences and they scream when we work against our highest good. Feelings are neither wrong nor right. They point us toward understanding that connection beats separation and love trumps fear.

Those of us who have studied the 12 Steps to Wholeness know that human beings instinctively seek the three S's:  sex, security (both financial and emotional), and our place in society (belonging, prestige). We go after these instinctive needs because we are built to have them met. These instinct expeditions spur feelings. We "feel" threats to our survival. We "feel" danger of not getting these needs met. We "feel" because that is the human response that helps us work harder to succeed. Feelings go one step further. They help us rate whether or not we are being supported in this big world. They tell us when our connection factor is weak.

How do you feel today? If you're having a grey day, know this. It will pass. The sun of connection will shine once again if only you give it time. Remember, feelings are only indicators of our ability to thrive in this demanding world. When you're struggling, ask for help. You were made to thrive. Your day is coming. Don't give up.

In the meantime, lean on us. We're here for you. And we know you'll be there for us when we need it. After all, that's the working definition of community.

Thursday, March 24th
What are you eating? It's not a common question I ask, but it really does matter. My friend and acupuncture physician Kate Hoffman tells me all the time that you only have to be disciplined in what you eat 90% of the time. What do you think of that? Is the 10% run enough for you?

Since BethWE was founded to offer tools to those impacted by addiction, many of our readers know where I'm about to go. Do you want MORE? For some of us the desire for more makes absolutely no sense. But still, we want it. More food. More fun. More money. More time. More booze. More sex. More . . . more . . . more.

Where does that faulty thinking come from? For me, it's often a break from real consciousness. I get off on a tangent, and my thinking sort of goes in a direction of its own.I'll call it a pattern. It happens of its own accord. Don't get me wrong. Somewhere back in the past, I set it up. I realized that when I didn't feel safe, content or valued I needed something to make me feel better. Voila! The disease of MORE was set in place. When I went into extremes, I got a little numb. And I thought numb with better. I confused numbness with peace.

Today, I try to embrace my life moment by moment. I try to question how I feel when I long for MORE. I look at my situation and see what's really troubling me. Stress, emotional issues, and overextending myself can set me up for the "pattern". Happily, I've come to know myself better and I've started to back down before 'the MORE voice' gets yelling. I go to my Source and ask for strength and a plan. I talk to a trusted loved one. I get back-up.

For me, this is working. If you identify, why don't you give it a go? You've got nothing to lose except false securities and eventual bad feelings. 

Happy Easter to all!

Thursday, March 17th
What do you think about praise? 

Some of you are ready for some sort of religious missive that you think will bore you to tears, but I didn't mention praising Creation. I just asked what you think of praise. Have you ever been praised for a job well done? Have you ever been listed as someone who made a difference so that another could achieve more?  Has your work ever been held up as an example of quality? This is also praise, and when others are praising you it is about your own creational ability and willingness to live out loud. Praise feels good, and yet so many of us poo poo it as if it were meaningless sentiment.

When I praise another, I am impressed with something that they have depicted or accomplished. I count their talents on my gratitude list. I encourage them to continue because they are impacting my life.

Just throwing it out there today. Is there someone in your life that merits praise? Won't you make sure you make it happen for them? The one you encourage may affect your life dramatically. Be a positive ion in the community. Pass on a good buzz. It's so easy to criticize when someone is acting badly. Let's take the opposite stance and notice the good.

I can already feel the good vibes flowing. ~wink~

Thursday, March 10th
Self-care can be difficult for some. While we are quick to make exceptions when others need nurturing, we are slow to provide for ourselves. What's up with that? Self-esteem is a funny commodity. Breaking the word down makes is simple because to esteem means to value. Do you value yourself? If you struggle with that, you will be slow to put your needs on the front burner.

There are many reasons for this. Some of the most profound I have witnessed have to do with historic misunderstandings. We were hurt emotionally when very young and we walked away thinking that it was because we were not as worthwhile as other people or other issues. We took that false belief and played it out in various ways. Some of us became people pleasers, working tirelessly for the "other guy". Some of us withdrew from society, even if we were surrounded by people. We closed down emotionally so they couldn't "get in".

Years later, we still follow these patterns of behavior. It doesn't mean we believe in them, it means only that we haven't questioned them. Once held up to the light, we may find that we don't even like our customary reactions. We just "do" them without "thinking about" them. We are stuck in an unconscious rut.

Some of us will need outside help to overcome these old belief systems. Again, I recommend a therapist who practices EMDR or an acupuncture physician who practices NET. These therapies help us arrive at the point of brokenness quickly even when it is buried beneath layers of time. Other tools include working the 12 Steps thoroughly. Like the scuba diver says, "Go deep. That's where the treasure is." Journaling is also very helpful at coming to know and accept one's own truth.

Individually, we have to want to come to wholeness. We have to seek and take risks. We have to open our minds and our hearts so that new thinking can come in. Each of us is a brilliant spark to light this dark world. What starts as work to help you find  self-esteem becomes the nourishing ingredient that connects you to others. From there, the sky is the limit. Together, we can really shine.

Thursday, March 3rd
We all have different ways of thinking. We believe different premises. We come to know certain thoughts as part of our truth. Recently, I have been reproached for some decisions I made years ago. The person that was reprimanding me is someone who loves me dearly. I am sure of it. Nonetheless, he believes that I should have made different choices so that today I would be operating under different outcomes.

The judgment rocked me intensely because I don't want to lose footing in this relationship. I value it mightily. That said, I have to be realistic. I cannot change the past. Though I am saddened by the perspective of my beloved, I am also confident that I did my very best under the circumstances in which I operated.

Still, I remember what the mountain climbers say. "The bumps are how we attain the higher stance." The bumps in life are many, but they are also the way we grow to become all that God had in mind for us to be in this world. I needed to go inside and evaluate if there were opportunities hidden in this unsettling state of being. I sought some outside help, too, because I wanted to open my thinking so that I could embrace new understanding.

The work is underway. Already, I am getting a new way of thinking that will help me grow. I will move through this difficult time and I will be the better because of it. I believe my relationship will eventually heal, either because of the changes that ensue or just because love is constant, and there is great love between the two of us. We are both growing. We are both expanding our minds and hearts. We are both being true to ourselves. We are both seeking deeper understanding. Like anything important, it may take some time.

That's an investment I must make. Remember the saying, "If you love something, set it free. If it returns, it is yours. If it doesn't, it never was." Keep us in your prayers. And just in case you know the scenario, I will be praying for you, too.

Thursday, February 25th
Are you suffering from emotional pain? Many of us face this agony from time to time, and it can be so great that it affects our bodies, as well. Maybe our stomachs rumble. Or our heads ache. It could be that we feel the need to sleep and can barely keep our eyes open during the day but then can't slow down our brains to allow rest at night.

Getting through this kind of pain will take time. The acronym for TIME is Things I Must Earn. Hmmm . . . letting the feelings ebb and flow takes strength. It would be easier to get numb by ingesting food, chemicals, or alcohol. Or numbness could come through denial. We could block out the pain and decide to live an untruth, marching through the day as if the emotional issue was nonexistent. These choices are temporal. We will have to deal with the pain eventually because numb is an override, not a "fix".

The best bet is to feel the pain, to ride it out, to allow it to have its way with us. If we go through it right away it will hurt, but we will only have to go through it once. If we put it off with chemicals or untruths, we will be forced to relive it over and over in the future. It will keep coming up until we do the work of accepting that life sometimes hurts, and experience sometimes comes from walking through that pain.

In the meantime, don't go it alone. Reach out to a trusted friend and spill your guts. Go to God in prayer and petition, asking for divine assistance. You'll get through it. I promise. The hardest part is to allow it to run its course. Emotions aren't right or wrong, but they are indicators of what is important in our worlds. Let's face them together.

I've got your back. I'll pray for you. Won't you pray for me?

Thursday, February 18th
The cat is purring loudly. My daughter, the cat's "mother", is out of town and I am the cuddling back-up plan. The cat gets her needs met, even if she has to resort to second string scratches.

How about you? Do you get your cuddling needs met? Do you allow others in to show affection? Not unlike household pets, humans were created with the need for connection too. It's inbred. We were born to be part of a community, and we have natural tendencies to create relationships.

Some of us have been hurt in the past and have withdrawn socially in an attempt to keep those pains away. Sadly, by doing so, we just create different pains. It is unnatural to isolate and perhaps that is why solitary confinement is the most severe penalty. It goes against all we were created to be. Nonetheless, some of us sentence ourselves to that very punishment. We pull back and withdraw from our fellows, hiding out in an effort to stay safe.

If this speaks to you, please consider this next statement. The "safety" you are experiencing is killing you.  The cost will become higher than the reward, and when it gets stronger you may be unable to overcome it alone. But even before that, you are coming to believe that numbness is the same as peace. They are not even related. Peace transcends and connects. It ties us to Creation and gives a sense of belonging that is palpable. It is full of life and love. Numbness, on the other hand, is disconnecting. It cuts us off from others and from Source. It is a walking death sentence.

Don't sell yourself short. Don't buy into a mindset that is flawed. Coming back into relationship will be difficult, but you can do it. Go slowly. Extend your hand to one person at a time. It may feel strange at first, but it will get easier.  You were created for connection, and God will bless your efforts. Ask for help. I promise, it will be okay.

The truth is that we need you as much as you need us. Each of us has our strengths and our weaknesses. The gifts you bring to the table are different than all the others we have laid out. Bring your gifts to the table. And let us share ours with you. After all, that was the Master plan.

Thursday, February 11th
Self-discipline can be tough stuff. It's so much easier to cut ourselves slack. Even those of us who are drawn to workaholism can put off the disciplines that are imperative to self-care and creating a consistent, balanced lifestyle.

Do you connect with Higher Power every morning? Do you read from a meditation or prayer book? That is a simple discipline that can really change the way your whole day goes. As it becomes habit, the time you spend will not be missed because the benefits are so rewarding. Your attitude and outlook toward each day will be enhanced by this simple discipline.

What other disciplines make your life better? As you consider those that you put off because the "day gets away from you" or "something else came up", won't you also consider what you're missing? Please get back into a few routines that support your wellbeing and growth.

Each day is a mini-lifetime. Grab the gusto that you're due by practicing a few simple disciplines that create the framework of wholeness and truth. You are so worth it!

Thursday, February 4th
Recently, I've been thinking about a line in the 11th Step that calls us to CONSCIOUS CONTACT. To be conscious means to be with knowledge or awareness. (Yes, I broke the word down again. I know it drives some of you crazy, so I probably shouldn't have pointed it out.) But wait, I am going to pull a change up on you. What is UNCONSCIOUS CONTACT, then?

To be with someone (whether it be a person or the Higher Power) but to be unaware of their presence can be commonplace for many of us. We take for granted that others are there, or worse, we isolate even when others surround us. 

Have you done this with God or the people you love most in the world? Closing them off from our innermost self, we may be physically present, but we withdraw emotionally or spiritually. And who does it hurt the most? It hurts you the most. Once again, unconscious contact causes separation. Connection, the cry of every human heart, is missing. You feel alone and apart, and yet you don't know why. You are unconscious that the separation is of your own making. Somehow, you have to snap out of it and come back into awareness.

With consciousness comes community. With community comes wholeness and wellbeing for all. Feeling lonely? Check your stance. If you have withdrawn into unconsciousness, choose again. Choose connection.

Thursday, January 28th
They can’t seem to help it. Their minds clamp shut and they  reject anything that feels foreign, even if suggested by someone they love. Fear overrides revelation so that they position themselves in a guarded manner, and they cannot let the new thought or idea in.

Moving from this to open-mindedness is hard work. It requires thoughts and actions that may stretch the comfort level at first, but eventually this manner of thinking will become more natural. There must be commitment to the work from the beginning, however. If there is a chance of cracking the closed mind open, the frozen one must presume that the reward might outweigh the cost.

This may be speaking to you about someone you know. This may be speaking to you about yourself. Either way, the solution is in a line from g.o.d. speaks, volume 4.  “A closed mind is a symptom of a fearful heart.” The closed mind is only a symptom. The deeper issue is fear. Love is the answer. Love trumps fear every time. Reach out with love, and you will help this tentative one cross over into free thinking. You were made to love, but if it feels difficult or unfamiliar you can start slowly. Practice recognizing judgment in your thinking, and when you hear it choose to shut it down. Affirm a positive thought instead, and say it out loud if you are able.

Closed minds are jail cells. Free a prisoner today.  

Thursday, January 21st
How do we meditate? Some of us are old pros, and don't need any help. For others, we wish we could just get our brains to quiet down for even a minute. To those, I speak today.

Take a deep breath in. As you are pulling the air in, think a word that soothes. In your mind, speak that word slowly so it is drawn out for the full pull of the air. For example, I often "breathe in" PEACE.

Then, let the breath out. As you are releasing the air, think of a word that you'd like to avoid. In your mind, speak that word slowly so it leaves you with the air you are pushing out. For example, I often "breathe out" CHAOS.

Repeat this exercise three times.

If you are successful, you have just begun meditation. It is just that simple. Do it daily until it becomes easy. As it does, you will find that you can free your mind more readily and easily at other times. Also, in times of stress, you can close your eyes and breathe in and out slowly, and regain your emotional footing. Spirit will come to your aid.

God is crazy about you. Get quiet and let Him tell you so.

Thursday, January 14th
Loneliness. It's a common denominator for a lot of people who don't care if they keep on going or not. For the chronic relapser, loneliness is often the sending point where numbness sounds better than the pain of failing to stay straight. For many contemplating suicide, loneliness is the kick-off point. Depression is strengthened when someone is caught alone . . . and then, depressed, they seek exactly that, only it has grown to isolation. Checking out of the human race literally or emotionally, loneliness becomes a faulty way of life.

Are you struggling with loneliness? You are not the only one. So many get caught up like that in this big, busy world. It seems to revolve around you sometimes, and the faster it spins the more you lose footing. What can be done?

The biggest step is to admit and recognize that loneliness is the issue. Like an illness that goes undiagnosed, loneliness moves along silently. Don't allow that. Bring it into the light. Tell one person that you are struggling and isolating. Recognize symptoms of the issue. For example, when you talk to others do you look them in the eye? Do you make plans based on how little interaction you will have to have with other people? Be honest with yourself first and then tell someone else. If there is really no one around because you have been so successful in cutting yourself off, go to God. It matters not whether you believe or not. Go to God and admit your loneliness. Admit that you are unsure how to find health and connection. Admit that you may need help. Ask for that help to come.

Believe me, you are not alone. We are here for you. We care that you are lost and on your own. Reach out to us. We're praying for you now. We are hoping you will have the courage to allow change to come into your life. We want you to go beyond basic living skills. We want you to thrive. But it all starts with you being honest about where you are right now. Let us in.

Thursday, January 7th
Stuck. Same old thing day in and day out. Rut. Go to work. Come home. Watch tube. Eat a bowl of ice cream (or drink a glass or three of wine). Crash. Get up. Do it again. Same old thing day in and day out.

Some of you reading can identify with this litany because you feel stuck in your life. It's not that there's anything wrong . . . but there's not necessarily anything right either. You're in a rut, and you don't know how to get out.

Let's look at first things first. The fact that you can identify with the stuck position shows awareness. That's where the possibility for change begins. Listen to the messages in your head. Begin with the issue that you'd like to see altered. Now, explore the alternate steps you could take to make it different. This is where you might give up. Perhaps the suggested road "out" of the pattern is distasteful to you. You'd do anything to make it change . . . except THAT. It's time to pray for willingness. Once aware, the next step is to become willing to allow change to come. This may mean the introduction of ideas and plans that may tax you and call you to think outside your usual box. Go there. Identify any fear that may be holding you back. Then, close your eyes and visualize the situation after the changes have been made. This will help to give you courage to move forward.

And moving forward may call for visiting a professional that can help you process the truth you've just confronted. Maybe this will cause you to seek a therapist that practices EMDR or NET. Maybe it's physical exercise that will free you up to make the change. A professional trainer will act like a coach and spur you to self-discipline. Maybe you need acupuncture or chiropractic help. You know what is holding you back. Seek assistance. You don't have to handle the tough stuff alone. That is why we were born to be part of a community. 

Then comes the most important step in getting "unstuck". Take action. That may involve a wide array of activities from movement to meditation. Do what will help. Attend a 12-Step meeting. Make an appointment with a professional and schedule return visits at the onset. Take a morning walk regularly. Make a date with a friend you trust and unload your deepest worries. Journal the Spiritual Heat method BethWE teaches. Tell the "voices" in your head to get quiet if they crop up. Pray. Most of all, do something different, and practice it over and over until you feel freed up and out of the rut.

A baby left in a dirty diaper will fight if you try to change it, and with good reason. At first, the skin will be broken and acid-burned. Cleaning it off will cause pain. It may be the same when you confront the issues that caused you to fall into complacent living. Know this:  the wounds will heal, but only if they are faced head on, cleaned up, and given time. Once scabs are formed, the healing increases on the inside. It is the same with this emotional work. It can get better. Will you let it?  

Beth's Blog 2015 

Thursday, December 31st
This is the last day of 2015, and tomorrow we begin anew. Whether we like it or not, our calendars, our checkbooks, and all of our technology will make a marked change as we are forced to embrace the new year. Here comes 2016, ready or not!

New starts are full of hope and possibility. We look ahead and dream of potential  opportunities that will help us create the lives of our dreams. Some of us will set resolutions that call us to accomplish. Others will stay in the moment, enjoying the day but not allowing ourselves to get too far into future "what-if's". Either way, we will wake up tomorrow and recognize that time is moving fast, and years pass quickly. Hopefully, that will spur each of us to truly celebrate the moments that we have right now. We will want to move away from "wasting time" and move into "enjoying time" by being mindful. 

As you approach the holiday, be aware that remembrance is about yesterday. It is past, and cannot be changed. Hope is about tomorrow. It is fully at the mercy of what transpires today. The now is this present moment, and it carries with it all the power necessary to create. Go forward living to the fullest, loving to the deepest, and laughing to the merriest. We only get one go around in this skin suit. Let's make the most of it . . .

Starting tomorrow. ~wink~

Happy New Year from all of us at BethWE.com!

Thursday, December 24th
It's Christmas Eve, and what does that mean to you? Does it mean you will be busy tonight "flying through the air with eight reindeer?" Those days are past for me, but the wonderful spirit of St. Nicholas is still within me. This season of giving used to awaken that part of my being for a time. But it was limited. It lasted only a short while. 

Happily now, it's not Christmas that calls me to giving. Giving is a regular part of my days.
I was blessed with the twelve steps of recovery early in life. Some reading this may wonder why I suggest this need was a blessing and not a curse. The answer is simple for me. I needed a roadmap to be successful in life. I needed to learn things that I missed early on when I was busy escaping reality. The twelve steps gave me a working process that guides me and helps me succeed.

Step Twelve calls me to give away what was so freely given to me, and the beauty is that the more I give, the more blessings come rushing into my life. When I reach out my hand to help someone who is struggling, I always end up receiving more than I give. It may sound crazy, but it is the reality for most of us who practice this way of living. The circle of give and take becomes operational, and as I give my needs are also met. The Chinese theory of yin yang most certainly shows up in this venue.

My wish is that you will be blessed this holiday with the wonderful balance of giving and receiving. May you come to know it as a way of life, and may it bring you success in your physical, emotional and spiritual realms.

Thursday, December 17th
Surrender. It's quite a concept. When I wave the white flag, from what am I giving up? It matters more than you think. It's hard to "switch sides" when you believe in the fight. When you are so solidly sure of your stance and believe it is the "right" way for most, chances are good you will fight to the end. You will never give up. You will go down fighting.

Sometimes, though, we begin to fight because we don't want something to change. We are no longer fighting for the right, we are fighting so we won't have to learn a new way to live. In the meantime, the right for which we are fighting is hurting others . . . many times others we love the most. That is the story for alcoholics and drug addicts. They are fighting to the death for their right to drink and use. Unfortunately, that is a cover. What they are really fighting for is their right to allow disease to kill them. It can be a slow process, or it can go fast. Nonetheless, it will eventually kill.

Surrender means to wave the white flag of defeat and to defect to the winning side. It happens in trenches and when the battle is especially heated. Wouldn't it be wonderful if it always happened because someone looked at the issue for which they were fighting and realized it was not the best for all? Wouldn't it be great if they saw the loss around them and chose to make it stop? Sadly, that is a rare mental opportunity for our addicted loved ones. Lost in the trenches of disease, they see only the need to get their next fix. They are trying to be numb at this point, not happy. They are stealing away so no one bothers them, even if that means they will be all alone.

Let's do what we can. Let's be honest with what we see when the topic comes up. Let's pray and ask the Higher Power to heal the disease which is robbing us of the person we love. Let's look at it honestly, though. No more making up stories designed to make the sick "look well" to others. Let's call it what it is. Addiction. Alcoholism. Disease.

Truly, it is not a choice. When you realize that you will stop being hurt and start recognizing that denial will only allow it to get worse with your blessing. Face the music and do what you can to make your life healthy. It only takes one moment for a reality check to touch the nerve of a lost one. In that one moment they may choose help. Remember, the moment will fly by and may not return for a long time. Be ready. Be real. Be the message of love and hope.  

Thursday, December 10th
Two weeks until Christmas Eve, and my "to-do" list is long. That said, each day is full and demanding. The list includes gathering and sending items to many loved ones who don't live near me. I find myself thinking of them with longing, wishing I could pour a cup of hot tea and sit at the kitchen table catching up on the latest goings-on.

How blessed I am to have people to love. Some of you reading may not have a long "to-do" list. Perhaps those closest to you have already left this planet. It can be tough during the holidays when memories resurface and make you long for the days when your beloved was walking beside you. Perhaps it's time to volunteer some time to those in need. Somehow, when we reach outward in love, the inside brokenness will wane. Since we were created for connection, it is a natural agent of healing.

Either way, whether you are running in circles trying to complete your appointed tasks or sitting home alone reminiscing about the past, there is a simple action that will bring relief. Just for this moment, stop and close your eyes. Take a deep breath in and exhale slowly. As you breath in, think of the word peace. As you breathe out, think of the word chaos. In essence, you are breathing in peace and breathing out chaos. Other words that I've used for this practice include joy and despair, love and fear, or connection and loneliness. Use what makes the most sense to you.

Once you've calmed your heavy heart, look outward. Who can you help? What small act of kindness an you accomplish? Is there someone in pain you can touch? Get out of your head and live from the heart. After all, this is the season of brotherly love. Maybe our loving Creator made it that way simply because we humans tend to get overwhelmed by anticipation, and He knew we would need a helping hand to get through the many expectations we place on the holiday season.

Now, I'd better go. That list of mine isn't getting any shorter!

Thursday, December 3rd
You've heard me say it a million times. We were born for connection. This morning I was blessed to chat on the phone with an old friend. We've known each other for over thirty years, and though we live far apart, we still love each other in the truest sense.

Friendship is an important aspect of creating the life of my dreams. Sometimes, I get caught up in myself. I beat myself up with the same thought over and over, and what I really need is the opportunity to hear a new perspective. A good friend is the answer. If I reach out to someone who loves me, thoughts and perspectives change. Even if I don't bring up my "issue of the day", a friend's point of view can shift my thinking.

How about you? Do you have a handful of people you can call when you need to shed some light onto a dark state of mind?  Granted, it takes practice. To open up and trust another with the gory details of my life can be difficult. But I've got to risk it if I want to grow and move out of negative space. This is another discipline that gets easier with practice. The more I do it, the easier it becomes to do.

To my friends, I say thank you. Thank you for allowing me to be myself in your company. Thank you for helping me up when I fall down, even if the fall is only emotional. Thank you for showing love when I didn't know how to ask for it. Thank you for being present with me and bringing me out of my head and into the NOW where God moves. Without you, I would be lost. With you, I can survive the bad and enjoy the good.

I'll close with the words to a very old song that Elton John sang before he made it big. I dedicate it to my friend Gary Giniat with whom I played guitar and sang my heart out in my early teen years.

          "I hope the day will be a brighter highway, for friends are found on every road.
          Can you ever think of any better way for the lost and weary traveler to go?
          Making friends for the world to see - let the people know you've got what you need.
          With a friend at hand you can see the light. If your friends are there then everything's
          alright."

Wishing you all good friends with big ears and bigger hearts!

Thursday, November 26th
Today I will think about all the blessings with which I have been bombarded.

It's Thanksgiving, the day of eating. I have always had food to eat, a place to sleep, and clothing to wear. I have even had enough to bless those who don't from time to time, too.

I have been loved by others since I was born. I haven't always known it, and I haven't always reciprocated because of my own issues, but love has always been available to me.

I have known a relationship with God since I was young, and it has morphed and changed as I aged. Today, it is comfortable and encouraging. It supports me independently and sends me other people with whom to connect. It is the basis for my security and strength.

I have passions in life. Certain things get me revved and make me feel excited and willing to go the extra mile. 

I am generally healthy. My immune system is strong. My physical self has endured some outrageous treatment at my own hand, and she is still vital and able.

I have a good mind. It engages; it reasons; it creates. This gift blesses me with language and the ability to communicate so that I can grow outside the confines of my own thinking.

I have a willing spirit. With it, I find joy and wholeness, peace and Love.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from all of us at BethWE! 
Be blessed today and always!

Thursday, November 19th
The call of the season is upon me, and I find myself wanting to have time "to nest". There's something about the fall that calls me back home. I want to be close to family and I miss those that are far away. As I get ready for Thanksgiving, I am filled with emotion. Some of these feelings are wrapped around memories of times past with loved ones. What about you? Are you experiencing the same?

That's all well and good if all is well and good in your family. Many of us, however, are dealing with the addiction of someone we love. We have lost ground, lost contact, and are borderline on losing hope. How can we come to understand why they are staying away, especially during the holidays?

First and foremost, you need to know that addiction is not a moral failing. It is a chronic disease. It's serious, too. Addiction is often fatal. More people in America die from drug overdose than they do from car accidents, falling, and guns.That's a huge statement. And those numbers will continue to grow until we face the fact that our addicted loved ones are not in control of their need. The disease of addiction is calling the shots, and it won't let up until they are gone. My friend Diane K. says it this way:  Addiction wants me dead, it will settle for me buzzed, but right now it's just trying to get me alone.

Many of you reading think I am talking about prescription drugs alone. I am not. Let me ask you a question. Why do they make shot glasses? The answer is simple. Alcohol is a drug, and should be served in a measured dose. Drugs and alcohol are different in many ways, but the one commonality they share is that once addicted, the final result will be death unless there is an interruption in use. This will take assistance. Few alcoholics or addicts win against their disease in single-handed combat.

Heavy talk for the week before Turkey Day, I know. My hope is that this year if you hear yourself making excuses for someone you love about why they will miss the holiday or come late or fall asleep at the table, you will wake up to the reality of their issue. It is NOT a moral choice. It is probably NOT a choice at all anymore. Become aware of their powerlessness and speak it out loud. Let them know you are not disappointed about their behavior, you are concerned for their very life. Talk to other family members. Would you hide cancer or kidney failure? This is the same. It can rob us of our loved ones in a moment.

All of us at BethWE support you as you step into the light of awareness. The hard work will come now. Don't let that stop you. You are on a mission to shine the light of reason into the life of someone you love. They will need treatment and help from others who know the ropes, but get started by speaking the Truth. You are not alone. The Higher Power will be right beside you as well as others who have walked the same path.

For more information, check out these websites and see if they speak to your heart. www.al-anon.org or www.nar-anon.org

Big hugs from me.

Thursday, November 12th
Once again, I've been thinking. Many of us are dealing with loved ones who are stuck in ruts, replaying the same issues over and over, unable to come out of the mud. How long will we continue to clench our teeth as we attempt to make the situation better for them? If only we could get them to _______________ (fill in the blank). Day after day, we do what we can to set them up for success, but they choose not to do their share. What are we to do?

At some point, I have to come to terms that I am powerless over other people, no matter how much I love them. Though I want them to have the best Life has to offer them, I cannot make them accept those offerings. No matter how much I desire for them, it matters little if they do not desire the same.

In this vein, I will say this daily:

Just for today, I release myself from the role of caretaker. I allow others to be who they are willing to be. I ask blessing and grace to cover them and assist them in their endeavors. I ask that I be able to move onward at my own pace, knowing that the love I have for others should exalt me, not slow me down. Just for today, I ask for help to be the best I can be, accepting my natural boundaries and respecting them. Help me, God, when I resist. Amen.

Thursday, November 5th
Our BethWE tagline is:  Connect, Communicate and Thrive! All three thoughts are important, but recently I've been thinking about what it means to thrive.If I look it up in the dictionary, the word thrive means to grow or develop well or vigorously; to prosper; to flourish. This is an important definition for those of us at BethWE because our goal is to impart some ideas that assure wellbeing.

It starts with how we live, though, doesn't it? Are we at our best? Are we dependent on some false god of sorts? Alcoholism, addiction, those issues for a loved one, complacency, depression, being driven . . . we fall into lifestyles that don't always allow us to develop skills to live well. What to do?

First, we've got to change our thinking. We think, and then we act. For me, I start by challenging my view of things. I try to reach out to others, look for points of gratitude, and journal out my emotional struggles. These actions help me because somehow it opens my mind up and allows my thinking to change.

Next, I have to build relationships that really serve. I'll need people that are like me and others that make me stretch. Both are necessary. Why? I get so much. Some of the fruits include meaning for situations and for life, pleasure, support, and challenge for my old ideas. This helps my mind open and grow. The newly open mind brings freedom.

I have to know myself. Can I list my strengths and weaknesses? Do I focus on where I excel or where I fall short? I look at these things because I need to know my skillset. The world needs the added value of my best.

To develop these skills I need to work out To get stronger physically, that's what I'd do. I'd do repetitions of movements that would build muscle. It's the same when I want to get emotionally or spiritually healthier. I start a routine that becomes my focus. I don't deviate from the exercise habits if I want the desired results. I give it my all.

There is a beautiful difference between thriving and surviving. Surviving allows me to get through life. Thriving allows me to be fully engaged in life. I choose to be all in. I hope to live large. I want to thrive!

Thursday, October 29th
It was a weird week for connections. It started on Sunday when I got to meet a visiting minister who was in town to conduct a healing service. I went to the house of a friend who was hosting him, and was blessed with an opportunity to sit down and chat with this man for a short while. What was weird is that I realized I was supposed to pray for him more than he was supposed to pray for me. I think that was why we came together. As he goes through life assisting others and following the call of Source, he needed some encouragement, too. It was a wonderful time of fellowship with another person who is really dedicated to working to make the lives of others better.

Then, two days later a woman met with me and ministered to me strongly. She talked to me about her field of expertise that will help BethWE ministries in the future. This wonderful woman gave me a couple hours of her time and genuinely fed me with information and encouragement. I left feeling hooked up and open to possibility in a new, strong way.

In spirit world, what goes around comes around. I never have to worry about how I will fare, because as long as I am working for the greater good, the greater good comes into my life.

How about you? Are you in need of some support or backup? Offer just that to others, and you will see it arrive on the scene in your own life. It's a wonderful life!

Thursday, October 22nd
I've been thinking about this lately. Many people are uncomfortable with the name "God" so in an effort to make them at ease we use the term "Higher Power". It's a good term, but let's face it . . . there are many higher powers, but only one True God. The beauty is that God doesn't care how you come to know that Truth.

I work with someone who served a higher power rigorously. Each day, she would rise and get busy trying to figure out how she could connect with that power. She would go to any length including begging, borrowing and stealing. Her higher power was an opiate drug called Oxycontin. It wasn't a loving higher power, but still it controlled her every move. She lost track of other important parts of lfe in pursuit of this power. She lost her family, her ability to work, her children, her car, and even her freedom from time to time but still she served the higher power without ceasing. It was sad to witness.

When seeking, why not ask for the One True Higher Power? Don't settle for an imposter or a lesser god. The beautiful reality of the spirit world is that you will know the Truth and it really will set you free. Sounds hokey? Take a chance and ask anyway. But ask for the Real Deal. You will recognize your Source, and miracles will follow.

Thursday, October 15th
Is your life based on connection or separation? It's funny, but even when we don't realize it, we are always making that choice. Did you choose to connect today?

Connectors are people who make others feel like they belong. Because of that, they are often surrounded and in the middle of the action. But that isn't the only stance of one who connects. Real connectors also go away regularly for some time of solitude. They need to get right with themselves and with their Source. That personal and spiritual care gives them the right frame of mind when social opportunities comes calling.

Being a connector brings happiness and understanding. Connectors look around them all the time. Because of that, they are aware of how events are affecting others. This gives them insight and moves them to be of assistance whenever they can be. Connection is a function of Love. It is what we were created to experience in this life.

Nonetheless, as long as connectors are wearing these skinsuits, they will fall short. They will wander into separation here and there, and they may even stay there until it becomes too uncomfortable. Everyone goes through down times and difficult circumstances. Connectors are not immune. But they rarely get stuck in those negative events. They work at moving through the problem; they don't get trapped in it. They seek Love. They live Love.

Have I been describing you in this missive? If not, it's time to ask for help. Speak your connection into existence by first enjoining the support of your Creator who longs to help you find your way. Tell the Higher Power that you seek connection. Then, watch out. The changes will be gentle but consistent. You will begin to take actions that are new to you. You will be led, and you will find yourself in the middle very soon. Reaching out will become a way of life, and before you know it you will be applying cream to your face to minimize the laugh lines that have formed.

Ask away! The life you transform will be your own!

Thursday, October 8th
The TV is on in the background and I'm listening to some folks fix up an old beater of a house. For me, the renovations seem enormous. How will they ever make it liveable with only $21,000? Needless to say, I know it will be a wonderful transformation because the people that are taking on the task of making it right not only do it for a living, but do it for a living on national television.

It's sort of the same thing with us. We need work, BIG work. How will the steps I'm taking accomplish the changes in my life that I need? They seem so small, and the list of necessary changes looks so large. Nonetheless, I know it will be a wonderful transformation because the One that is taking on the task of making us right not only does it day in and day out, but that One has done it day in and day out since the beginning of time.

When I try to make the changes myself, the paint peels, the pictures are hung unevenly, and frustration mounts with each attempt. When I allow the Higher Power to make the changes, it comes out alright. Sometimes, it's not what I expected it to look like when it was finished, but still it looks good.

Funny how I can trust a TV couple to transform a house and I sometimes struggle to trust the Creator of the Universe to transform little ol' me. Just for today, I will work on reliance instead of defiance. I will ask for the faith necessary to give me confidence that God has a plan, and that plan always holds my best interests at heart. Just for today . . .

Tomorrow I'll have to choose again. Hopefully, I'll choose trust. It seems the more I try it, the easier it is to believe. How about you? Why don't you give it a go?

Thursday, October 1st
One of the first weekends of fall is upon us. What do you have planned? Is there time with family or friends? Is there yard work on the agenda? Each of us will go into these days with hopes to rest and/or accomplish. Some of us will still punch the clock even though it's the weekend. Others need a break from the rat race, and can't wait to go to bed without setting an alarm clock. Nonetheless, during this fall weekend, each of us will interact with others.

So, now my question to you: How do others feel when you're around? Whether we're talking about your family helping in the yard or the vendor at the flea market you're perusing, does being around you make that person feel good?

At BethWE, we teach self-examination as a way of life. That said, noting how you make others feel is an easy way to assess your impact on the world. This week, I'd like to ask you to note how spending time with you affects the masses. Are they smiling and comforted? Are they agitated and ready to blow their stacks? Do you let them know they are a valuable commodity in God's world, or do you make them wonder why they even try? At first, I'm only asking that you become aware of your influence. Once you see your effect on others, you will find that you have a choice in the matter. You will be able to decide to create harmony or chaos. You will be able to choose to love at all times. Being mindful of this choice can and will change your entire life. It really is that important.

Still, there will be times when interaction with others feels precarious. This is true, even when the interaction is based fully on love. We've all heard of the term "tough love". Some of you reading are rolling your eyes at this point, but I ask you to hang in there with us for just another moment. Tough love can be as simple as telling someone you care about that they have a piece of food caught in their teeth and as complicated as telling them you can no longer allow their alcoholism or drug addiction to create turmoil in your daily life. In these cases, it's tough to do the right thing. That doesn't give us an out. We must do the right thing if we are to love fully. 

You impact your world daily. Pay attention to that impact and when it is off-kilter, do what A Course In Miracles instructs. Choose again. Re-create your life one interaction at a time. Live to be an agent of promise and hope.

Thursday, September 24th
Support. Are you getting it? If not, why not?

For many of us, life has been demanding from an early age. Some behaviors we learned make it difficult to get support because we don't know how to ask for it or accept it when it's offered. What patterns can make this happen? 

If you are reading this in isolation and that is your normal state of being, you have identified your problem. Some of us get caught up in life's difficulties and we begin to pull away from normal interaction with our fellows. Eventually, we become isolated and alone. This is much different than those who go off on their own for solitude. Isolation screams, "Alone!" Solitude sings, "Connected!"

Those of us who have moved into isolation will have to really choose to overcome this issue. We will have to place ourselves in the pathway of connection if we are ever to know support and wholeness. Give a 12-Step group, a yoga class, or even a volunteer opportunity a chance to put you in a position to engage with others. Reach out to others that are fighting the same fight. Open your mind to connection and ask your Source to help you find the sense of belonging that all humans crave.

Another issue that may keep you from getting the back-up you need is often learned in youth. Many of us were rewarded for becoming self-sufficient young people. When we met our own needs and accomplished our goals there were pats on the back and high fives all around. As we age, this progresses. Eventually, some will arrive at a point where we look only to ourselves to succeed. Asking for help is difficult for those of us who have done it alone for years. Nonetheless, there are some issues over which we have no control, and really need the help of others to overcome. Addiction of any kind is an easy example. Whether learning to not drink one day at a time or starting a new way of eating that makes it possible to avoid addictive ingredients like refined sugar, it helps to learn and interact with others that know the difficulty you are facing because they've been there. In these arenas, the self-sufficient attitude may cause your demise.

I used to think that self-sufficiency was a character asset. As I work to become more centered and healthy, I have come to realize that self-sufficiency can be a character defect. It may keep me from my highest good. Just that awareness opens the door for change. I am learning to allow others to contribute to my life. Because of that, my life is improving. I am growing and accessing new frontiers. I am embracing new ideas that others share with me. I am getting support.

How about you? If you lack support, is it because you aren't asking for it because you're hiding in isolation? Or, is it because you can't accept it because you are used to getting things done yourself? Consider this little blog. Come to see yourself as you really are. Open up to a new way of life. It is so worth it!

Thursday, September 17th
My friend Donnie was irritable Friday morning. He told me he was experiencing a “Murphy’s law” kind of day where anything that could go wrong did go wrong. “I’m sick of it,” he muttered, “I’ve worked hard to become the kind of man I was meant to be. Why does God want to screw me like this?” I asked Donnie to tell me more about what was going on, and he told this story:

“My day started at 6am when the alarm clock went off. I got up, got dressed, and walked into the bathroom where the toilet was running. It’s been doing this a lot lately. There goes my water bill. I took the lid off the commode and rigged it so I wouldn’t lose any more water and then I went to the kitchen. I filled the coffee carafe to make a pot to fill my thermos, but I was out of coffee. I didn’t have enough for one scoop. Now, I’m running late, and I have no coffee for work later. That really ticked me off. I run out to the truck so I can make it to my morning 12-step meeting and the tank is almost on 'E'. I have to stop for gas or I could run out on my way to work. Bummer! When I get to 7-11, there’s a line so I know I’m going to walk into the meeting late even though I rushed. And that’s just the first hour of this day. Lord knows what else is going to happen.”

I saw three things on Donnie’s list of tragedy, and all three of them were things that were the direct result of Donnie’s actions. They were consequences of behavior. They were direct results of something Donnie did . . . or did not do . . . the day before. 

#1      Clearly, Donnie knew the toilet needed to be repaired. Perusing Walmart’s website, I saw the plumbing works necessary listed as low as $10.97. 
#2      When he made his morning coffee the day before, Donny must have noticed he was scraping the bottom of the can. He was forewarned, but he was not forearmed because he didn’t stop at the store to replenish his supply of caffeine.
#3      Like the coffee, the gas gauge told the same story the evening before. The choice to wait until morning was an active choice to scramble for gas at one of the two busiest times of the day.

Since the prefix “con” means “with”, the word consequence broken apart means “with sequence”. The premise is:  You do this, you get that. Circumstance, however, is a completely different phenomenon. The prefix “circum” means “around”, which suggests this word means “around where you stand”. The premise here is:   It’s out of your control because it’s going on around you.

Donnie wanted to blame his irritation on circumstance when it was actually the consequence of inaction. Suddenly, the words of the Serenity Prayer have new meaning because they instruct us to accept circumstances that are out of our control and to change matters that we can so we don’t suffer the consequences of our own failure to act. Finally, our prayer is that we know the difference and recognize how simple decisions today can improve our life experiences tomorrow.

Just for today, may we live in awareness . . .  and act on it.

Thursday, September 10th
It's been a tough week for some folks close to me. Family illness, personal illness, financial woes, overscheduled dockets, addiction rearing its ugly head . . . the list goes on. For others, this has been a week of joy. Babies being born, friends coming to visit, kids making progress, holiday weekend joy . . . this list also goes on. Life has its ups and downs, and as I always say, thank You God that my experience with this truth is no longer like an EKG readout but more like the gentle waver of a lasagna noodle.

How are you doing? Are your ups beating out your downs? Are you struggling or giggling?

Sometimes, we have to let it come and go. We have to move with the highs and lows almost as if we are treading water. It can take work. For those of you kicking your heart out just to keep afloat, remember, this won't last forever. It will change. That is the one constant.

There is a beautiful book written almost 3,000 years ago by the son of a king that speaks of this ebb and flow. His name was Solomon, and here's what he wrote:

To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

For today, I wish you relationship with Source. Only this relationship can keep me centered when life is throwing me curve balls. I curl up in the palm of His hand knowing that I am not alone no matter how I feel. I am comforted knowing that this is just a season in life. When it is over, I will miss parts of it. After all, it's easier to snuggle with God when I have nowhere else to go. And snuggling with God . . . it's got to be a highpoint.

Thursday, September 3rd
It takes time to move out of a tough spot. The discomfort can be palpable until we begin to take action, and even then, it can persist for awhile until change is experienced. That said, what is the plan for someone struggling with issues that "feel' bad?

We have to recognize if the bad feeling is attached to something over which we have no control. Powerlessness generally feels badly to those of us who are "doers" and love to impact our surroundings with action. Sometimes, however, our hands are tied and our input isn't required or requested. When that happens, we have to wait until change comes. Waiting is the hard part, especially if we are doing it without spiritual connection. Everything changes when we can look to a Higher Power and ask for help.

A long time ago, a friend named Helen Murray taught me to visualize myself throwing a beach ball to God. With the vision, I could imagine me letting go of an issue over which I had no control. Giving it back to God, I could move forward doing what was in my capacity. Tending to my own issues, I begin the process of waiting. But I am waiting while active. I am not frozen in time. I am using time to my advantage.

Discomfort comes in life. Sadly, there are times it lasts, too. Nonetheless, we don't have to face these times of powerlessness alone. There is One who loves us and will assist us as we walk the rugged road. There are others who have walked the path before us who will lend an ear or a hand. Our job is to remain open, even in pain, and to ask for what we need.

If you are struggling, ask for help. Healing begins almost immediately when we just open our hands and reach for assistance. We're here for you, too. Even now, we are covering you in prayer.

Thursday, August 27th
I was meeting with some friends today, and one of them shared a tough spot that she is in. For many years she was mentored by an older couple that encouraged her as she grew in spirit and Truth. She helped them, too. She did some bookwork and assisted them with things that were difficult for them. Sadly, last year the man died. Since then, the wife has moved away from my friend claiming that she can't consort with people who weren't living for God.

Looking at my friend's facial expression told the story. She was sad, especially because the woman that had closed the door on her didn't really know what she was talking about. She thought she knew things about my friend's lifestyle, but was sorely mistaken. My friend tries to be forgiving and tries to continue interacting whenever possible with her head held high. But it's tough.

We talked about it. The woman in question had done a most unholy thing. Striving to live a godly life, she judged her neighbor as unworthy. In that stance, she separated herself from the "unworthy one", and now has lost out on the wonder that is my beautiful friend. Worse still, in her effort to stand for the Love of God, this mentoring woman took a stand against God. I mean, God IS love, right? The judgment she unleashed is undeserved, too. That makes this even more strange. Because she believes she knows what was happening in my friend's life, she took a stand. This ego-driven position moved her away from Source. And it continues to move her even further away as she allows this false belief to fester.

How about you? Who have you judged harshly? It could be a friend, a co-worker, a child, or a partner. Chances are good that it may even be you. Just remember the lesson from the story I just told you. When you judge another, you separate yourself from Love. And let's face it, like the old song says, "Love is the answer." Open your mind. Open your heart. Learn the lesson that my friend's old mentor is missing. To help another find her best self, meet her where she is and offer her the gift of love. With love, all things are possible. Give it a shot.

Thursday, August 20th
Simplify. That's the message this week. How can we simplify our lives so that we are living only that which is important to us?

One way to start is to get rid of stuff you don't use. Clean out the junk drawer and pitch that which will never serve. Organize the kitchen utensils, and buy a new spatula if the rubber on the old one doesn't hug the pan because it's melted or misshapen. Buy a few new towels and pitch the old or turn them into rags for car washing or patio furniture cleaning. Just make a few simple "starts" and you will find that more will follow naturally.

When life gets crazy busy, things get crazy. When life gets simply organized, things get simple. Take the opportunity to allow rest to come into the mundane parts of your day by living in simplicity. It will bring ease and comfort.

As the old commercial used to say, "Try it. You'll like it."  

Thursday, August 13th
Recently a friend was mourning the loss of someone she used to run with when she was active in a life of drug use. Angry at God, she asked, "Why me?" She wondered how she had risen out of the mire and this other had not. Was God not available to her friend?

As we spoke, I assured her that the answer was close at hand. What is the one thing that overrides God's desire for us to thrive?

It took a few minutes to come to it, but eventually we began to converse about the wonderful Higher Power that will not force us to walk in His will. We can be shown the way, but we can ultimately refuse that way. Our personal choice is the gift of Creation to humanity. We make decisions daily that orchestrate the life we live. Sometimes, we choose poorly. Sometimes, we lose the ability to choose, as with addiction. In this case, if only we ask our Source to help us return to right thinking, we can be saved. Many do not ask. Whether they have forgotten how to ask for help or they simply want to continue the run is not important. Without the desire to change, it eludes them.

In every life, choosing your next move changes all. We are gifted with freedom of choice by a loving God. What are you choosing? Have you even thought about it lately? Maybe that is the message of this week's blog. Exercise your right to choice and become all you could be. Choose wisely and help many. Pick the road you walk and your destiny will unfold before you. God is absolutely crazy about you, and God delights when your choices lead you back to Him.

Thursday, August 6th
I am really working on a new concept that is an old concept revisiting me in new clothing. Make sense?

I have to CREATE my life. The choices I make affect the day-in, day-out lifestyle that unfolds. The rest I make time for allows me to grow stronger and more willing to move forward even in uncertainty. I need to engage in my surroundings, doing that which is mine to do and allowing for issues and experiences that arise. I must find the things about which I am ardent and pursue them when possible. I must live in thanksgiving, noting gratitude in every area that I can. Last, I need to eliminate that which doesn't serve. Simplifying is solution.

How about you? Do you create the world in which you live or do you sit back and let it happen to you? It's a lot to think about, I know. But for some of us, we need to consider it seriously. Complacency is the enemy of serenity. To be at peace in this world, I must be involved. I was designed to create. Let me create the life of my dreams. Let me walk with you joyfully while I find my way.

Thursday, July 29th
For many years it was hard for me to allow downtime. It was so important to be "on" that I would go for years without using even a temporary shut-off valve. If I did let go, it was at the hands of a chemical or cocktail. Even then, I attempted to maintain control as long as I could.

Many of us push ourselves without mercy. If you identify with that statement, why don't you take a break soon. Plan it. Schedule it. Pencil it in on the calendar. Then, follow through. Allow yourself some downtime that you can regroup and recenter.

Even God rested on the seventh day. Why not you?

Thursday, July 23rd
Expectations are wonderful and miserable. It depends on what you’re expecting.

Getting ready to go on a vacation this year has been interesting. It has been decades since I planned a getaway that doesn’t revolve around my children or my family of origin. I am excited, and expect to have a wonderful time. Even so, the feeling of anticipation is a bit uncomfortable. Every time it crosses my mind, my tummy feels anxious, and my neck and upper back muscles are a bit tight. (Maybe that’s where the word “uptight” comes from . . .)

Last week I was also steeped in expectations. I was waiting to hear if my dear friend Ellie had transitioned. She has been fighting cancer for a year and a half or so. Recently, it had come to head, and she was toughing it out at home ready to leave this world as we know it. Again, the feeling was uncomfortable for me. My tummy was anxious, and my neck and upper back muscles were tight every time I thought about it. When she finally passed, the expectations eased up and though I was saddened, I was also content that she and her family were no longer in pain.

Expectations. I always knew it was unwise to leave the present moment, but now I know why. Expecting takes us out of the now. It doesn’t always feel good, and it never changes a thing.

All power is available in the present moment. Let’s try to stay there. (Obviously, I’m talking to me as well.)

Thursday, July 16th
It's baseball season, and lately we've been getting some foul balls thrown our way. Some of us swing anyway . . . and others watch and wonder what will come next. Will we be walked?

No baseball great ever made a name for himself because of walking to first base over and over. Hitting a homerun? Of course. Striking out a ton? That'll get you remembered, too. The secret is in the swinging.

Let's swing at the pitches life throws. Let's take action when we can. Let's make life happen instead of sitting back and watching it happen. Let's approach the day knowing we have a team behind us. Let's love the sport even though we know that we won't win every game. After all, championships are won by people who play. 

Thursday, July 9th
We are harsh judges of ourselves, aren't we? We'd cheerfully let others off the hook for making the mistakes for which we beat ourselves up for years. How can we learn to let this behavior go?

The first step is hearing the words in your head. How do they sound? Would you ever speak that way to someone else? It's  important to become aware of the problem by truly hearing the tone and lack of respect with which you speak.

Next, you must self-correct. If you heard someone speaking to your mother that way, what would you say? "Excuse me, but you need to stop talking like that to my mom." Some of us might even get a little more fired up. It's time to defend yourself as you would defend your mother. Say the words out loud when you can. "Stop talking like that!" or even just, "Enough! Change that tone or shut up!" Like any major change, it will take practice. But do it. At first you will be correcting many times a day, but it will improve. You will begin to hear and heed your comments. The mistreatment will lessen.

We all want to be able to love others well. Oddly enough, this begins with how well we can love ourselves. You are such a gift to this world. Don't sell yourself short. Stand tall and live abundantly. We are so blessed to have you walking this path next to us. It's time for you to come to believe that truth.

When this world was created, it was spoken into existence. You were imbued with the same creational abilities. Speak your world into existence. Speak to yourself knowing that what you say, and how you say it, matters.

Thursday, July 2nd
What is God's will for us? Sometimes, it is very clear to me. Have you been blessed with that sense of knowing yet? If not, no worries. It will come to you at a later date if you seek it. This sense of knowing springs from intuition. When you live a life dedicated to spiritual principles, growing closer to the Higher Power just happens. It makes me think this saying:  You don't have to be holy to hang out with God. Hanging out with God makes you holy . . . wholly.

This week, this blog is short and sweet. I wish you this connection in the fullest sense of the word. Seek. Connection with God is promised to those who seek it. Let that be you.

Thursday, June 25th
Sometimes, we experience loss. Whether it's lasting or temporal, people, places, and things come and go in our lives. Loss can cause pain. But this aching is often followed by another deeper feeling. Frequently, it is after losing someone or something that we really come to understand how well we have loved. That brings deep gratitude and appreciation to the surface, making bittersweet memories available and keeping the connection alive.

This week, my best friend went north for the summer. This week, I will celebrate the life of a young man who died because of addiction, and help his mother navigate this new terrain. This week, a woman I've worked with for many years is surrendering to the cancer that attacked a year and a half ago. This is a heavy week with different kinds of loss for me personally.

It is now, though, that I can look beyond the immediate pain and see the many blessings of my life simply because these emotional obstacles cause me to look more deeply at my little world. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by the people who make up my troupe. I am grateful for the interplay between us and my own opportunity to share with them, grow with them and treasure them. Because of the loss, I experience more fully the actual richness of my circumstances.

My challenge for you is that you take a moment to count your blessings before loss brings you to the task. My wish for you is that you find the joy that exists in the most mundane. You are surrounded. Can you see it?

Thursday, June 18th
Lately, there has been a lot of talk about relationships. How do the strong ones develop? What do you have to invest to create a stable, reliable connection?

One of the key elements is time. The old acronym for time is: Things I Must Earn. When I want to be in close relationship with someone, I have to spend some time with them. The same is true for other relationships. Which others, you say?

Relationships are not formed only with other people.  To get close to the God of my understanding, I have to hang out with that Great Power. To get close to the real me inside, I have to value my input and outlook enough to get quiet so I can know my truth. As I grow these two relationships, I become stronger and more willing to put my hand out to others along the way. Who knew that being comfortable began in my own little world? As I get secure there, I welcome the big world and feel comfortable with further growth.

What about you? How much time are you giving key relationships? If they're suffering, increase your investment of time and watch them improve. You are worth it, and your world is worthy of expansion. Go for it!

Thursday, June 11th
Something has to change. You know it, but you're dragging your feet. Nothing is happening, and you don't know why.

Willingness is a necessary ingredient in the recipe for good living. When you feel yourself fighting a change, ask yourself these questions: What's holding me back? Is it the way I'm thinking or is it circumstances that I can't change? Can I look at the situation from a different perspective and find a way to be willing to make the change happen? Am I lazy or afraid?

Once you answer those questions, you will know if you lack willingness. If that is the issue, the change can still come. You have to get a new mindset to allow it. You have to ask for help from others who have walked the path before you and from the Higher Power who adores you. You have to become willing. 

Willingness comes with self-knowledge. Once you know the truth, you will be in a position to take action. Don't give yourself an option. Get busy. First, be honest and next, follow through. As my friend Jean Sirianni used to say, "If nothing changes, nothing changes." We can hate that phrase, but it is true nonetheless. How important it is to find our way to willingness so that we can take action.

Let's go.

Thursday, June 4th
Did you ever feel like giving up? Some do just that by isolating and hiding out. A few years ago, a man I knew left his wife and home and checked into a cheap hotel and drank himself to death. No one could get through to him. He checked out long before he checked out of life. This past week, a friend is mourning the death of her young adult child. In this case, drug addiction took its toll, and that last hit was one too many for him. He didn't plan it like the first man of whom I wrote. But it came to him just the same.

Look around you. Who is struggling? Do you see people who seem overwhelmed by life? It's happening all around us. Suicide is now in the top ten causes of death in the United States. Every 13 minutes, someone makes an attempt on their life. Teens and those in the middle of life are most affected currently, though every age group has its sufferers.

Depression is a big part in this issue. To date, depression is growing in developed countries. We, who have it easier than many in this world, lose our way because of depression. Why do I mention it? I mention it because chances are good we have seen someone slipping into the fog called depression. We take it for granted that it's a temporal state and it will pass. Let's not take it for granted. When someone we know or love is struggling and feeling disconnected from the masses, let's take action. Let's reach out. Let's recommend solutions. Let's offer to go with to see a doctor. Let's take a stand.

The lives we are losing are many. Let's join the fight. One easy way to get involved in turning this around is to pray about it. When we talk to our Source let's lift those suffering to the light and love. Let's ask for help. Let's ask to be more aware. Let's ask to make a difference. This is a heavy blog today, but we need to talk about the tough stuff. We need to fight for those who are unable to fight for themselves.

Thursday, May 28th
When we get involved in the process of living life to its fullest, it can get exciting. Sometimes, exciting can mean exceptional. Other times, exciting can mean exhausting. Either way, it’s nice to know that Someone has your back.

God’s got your back. How can it be that a Higher Power has your back? Imagine, if you will, the following story:

A young princess is tired of living under the thumb of her benevolent, but controlling, parents. Ready to break free and make her own decisions, the princess takes off on an adventure. On the second day, she is robbed of all of her money and possessions of worth. The princess sits on the side of the road and weeps. A kind woman comes forth and comforts her. She gives the young princess fresh water and a basket of fruits and vegetables to eat. The girl is strengthened by her kindness. Once revived in spirit, the princess accepts the woman’s offer to help her find a place to sleep. The woman’s uncle owns a clean, safe inn, and agrees to provide for the young traveler in exchange for help with the daily chores. The princess has never washed a blanket in her life, but the same kind woman shows up and teaches her with great care and compassion. Within a few weeks, the princess has enough money to return home. On her arrival back at the castle, she begs her parents’ forgiveness and snuggles deeply into their bosoms. The princess is truly grateful for what she has, and the time of struggle helped her to recognize how blessed she is to be her true self. Years later, the parent rulers pass, and the princess is welcoming guests to pay their respects. Some cry with grief and tell her stories of the king’s assistance in times of difficulty. Others smile and report stories of the queen’s quick wit. At the end of the day, the princess looks up to greet the next caller and sees the woman from the road who helped her when she needed it. Hugging her neck, the princess asks how she knew to come and comfort her through this time of mourning. The gentle woman smiles, and reveals the truth that it was the king and queen that had sent her out all those years ago to help their child in her hour of need. At first, the princess’s face registers surprise to which the woman quietly remarks that it is the duty of royalty to protect the treasure of the kingdom. With kind wrinkles around her eyes, she whispers, “You, dear princess, are the greatest treasure that your parents ever knew.”

So, dear reader, back to this blog. Let me close this missive by saying:

You are the greatest treasure this universe will ever know. God is absolutely crazy about you. Get out there and live this truth! We can’t wait to see how you impact this yearning world with all your majestic qualities.  

Thursday, May 21st
A friend of BethWE contacted us hoping to hear more about becoming free from the difficult state of mind known as "codependency." In this way of life, one becomes enmeshed with another person and feels that his/her wellbeing and worth are directly related to being able to make sure another person is safe. This is often exacerbated by the fact that the person for whom he/she feels dependent is often stricken with an addiction, mental weakness or other state of being that promotes the hope of being rescued.

Our codependent friends have often confused love with sympathy. Instead of forming a true partnership with another, they take on the burden of the relationship with responsibility instead of sharing the load. Even though they do more than they should, the codependent one often finds that their efforts are unrealized by the one they strive to help, and this causes pain and frustration. Needing approval or recognition, the codependent person is not easily satisfied.

Though it may sound like this behavior is helpful to the partner, it really thwarts wholeness and health because the one striving to feel some control is actually disallowing connection. Since the boundaries in the relationship are skewed, the codependent one struggles with feelings that swing from inadequacy to irritability for not being recognized. Intimacy is out of the question because the codependent cannot trust the other person to hold their own long enough to see the real self. Even though so much is lacking, the codependent one will fight to maintain the relationship, seeing it as "his/her lot in life" or "just the way it is for him/her."

If you are dealing with this brokenness, admit it to yourself. That is the first step at becoming free. Then, reach out to find others who know this pain. There are 12 Step Programs created especially for this kind of pain, including AlAnon, Coda, and ACOA. Google them along with your hometown and see if there are any meetings you could attend. If not, pull up some of the reading material available from those groups that can help you come to terms with the issue. Codependency does not have to steal your life. With the help of a Higher Power and others that understand the issue, you can find healing.

Just for today, be good to yourself. Do what is best for you. Consider your highest good when making decisions about your life. You matter as much as the other for whom you have cared. Maybe this is the day you will see that truth and embrace it until you learn to walk into a new direction. Ask for help. You can do this. We're all pulling for you!

Thursday, May 14th
When I get closer to my Higher Power I begin to heal in body, mind, and spirit. As I become all I was intended to be by Creation, issues of low self-esteem begin to vanish. I live into a marvelous new state of mind that comes with spiritual connection. This is a wonderful realization, because it is the result of living with purpose and on purpose.

Let me describe it another way. Born and raised in the Chicago area, sometimes one of the seminar participants can pick out my "accent". Since I have lived in Florida for over thirty years, that Midwestern twang has been turned down to a minimum. When I go back to the Windy City for a visit or have family visit me here, however, it is likely that my old speech intonations will come to the forefront once again. You can tell who I was hanging out with by the way I speak and act

In a similar way, when "hanging out with" the Higher Power I am surrounded with Love, and it will show up in the way I speak and act. Time alone with God affects my ability to love myself and others, just like time spent with Chicagoans affects the way my words twang. 

If you struggle with feelings of inferiority and separation, this is wonderful news. Spend regular time alone trying to seek and know your God. Just ask God to become real in your life. You don't have to wait for Sunday church to find God, you can ask God over RIGHT NOW.  God is absolutely crazy about you. What's more, you'll like yourself better when you spend time in prayer and meditation. Don't let those fancy words freak you out. Prayer is talking to God, and meditating is quieting your mind so you can listen to God. Talk and listen. All the best relationships have strong communication to fortify their standing. Spiritual relationships are the same.

Hang out with God. Nothing would make God happier . . . or you healthier.

Thursday, May 7th
Time is a commodity. Is it one that I waste or one that I utilize to the fullest?

The answer depends on many things. When I am living in the moment, I can enjoy the moment. I can be fully present and celebrate the simple points of connection that come my way. I make the most of my time.

However, when I am stressed about the future or living in the past, I lose the moment and with it the opportunity to create a lasting bond with others, with God or even with my True Self. When I am caught outside of the moment, I am wasting my time. I am losing a commodity that I can never replace.

Right now, right here, I am making a few wishes for you and for me. I wish for us the ability to return to the NOW when we stray. Moreover, I wish that we will recognize the power in the present and learn to lean on it with abandon. We are powerless over so much in this world, but we are powerless over EVERYTHING about yesterday. The future, on the other hand, will come one moment at a time. It's okay to plan, but plans are meaningless without ACTION in the present.

What are you doing right now? It always matters.

Thursday, April 30th
I had the opportunity to sit by a pool in Orlando yesterday because my sister Teri was visiting from Connecticut. While everyone in my little group was swimming, I spied a family group made up of a Grandma, Mommy and little girl about five years old. The child was obviously fighting cancer and she was mostly bald with a few light patches of hair. She was thrilled to be in the pool, swimming, splashing and braving the long, twisty slide that gave her the ride of her life. Watching the trio, I saw life at its very best, complete with love, laughter and connectedness without agenda.

Clearly, her family is engaged in a fight for life. But, in the middle of that battle, they were taking the time to focus on the moments of togetherness that were guaranteed . . . they were focused on the NOW.

After you read this little blog, take action. Go tell someone you love them. Drop someone far away a note or card declaring their place in your heart. Do something for self-care that you usually put off because self-love is put on the back burner to achievement. Clear an afternoon and spend that time with someone who makes your heart sing. Let's not waste time "getting things done" when we could spend time "connecting with those we love." Life is too short. Look around you. Are you investing your minutes where they will best pay you back with joyful memories? If not, choose again.

Thursday, April 23rd
Sometimes, just looking at the ocean makes me feel connected to the whole. Sometimes, a butterfly stopping to sit on a flower right in front of me brings a real sense of belonging in this big, beautiful world. Sometimes, the song of a mockingbird delights my soul. Sometimes, God seems closer when I am in nature.

It's funny to me that so many of us think that spirituality is all sixth sense stuff. We try to find connection with our Source through means that don't come easily to us. Granted, there are those who are capable of that sort of connection. But for those of us who don't have any special ability, it is important to remember that we were created with everything we need to seek and find our Higher Power. The five senses help us in this effort as described in the previous paragraph.

If you are struggling to gain footing in the spirit world, start here in this world. Go to nature and see, hear, smell, touch and taste the wonder that is available. These five senses will bring you to a new level of awareness, and that is the tipping point to come into the world of spirit connection. When I can minimize the busy-ness of life and concentrate on the simple luxury that is seen in Creation, I can connect. I feel oneness. I find my place, and my heart swells with joy.

Get out there and bask in the bounty that is spring. Connect with nature, and find your true place in this world and in the next.

Thursday, April 16th
There comes a time in the lives of many when anger takes over. One of the greatest problems that accompanies this stance is the in ability to measure or control what comes out of our mouths. When angry, our words come quickly and without thought. They spill out like heavy-hitting waves pouring out and over a sea wall. They can be destructive.

The word of the day is PAUSE. It's hard to do when emotion is screaming, but it is important. An acronym, the word means Pray And Use Source Energy. When you are angry, ask God to help BEFORE you speak out loud. Pause for a moment, connecting with the Higher Power and asking for help. Don't assume it will pass without spiritual aid. Utilize your tools and succeed.

Anger is a normal emotion. It will come from time to time. Be prepared. Know that holding your tongue will pay off, but you must find an opportunity to express this anger in a safe way. One friend of mine would beat her bed with rolls of inexpensive wrapping paper. Others hammer nails into boards. Some run or work out on machines. Whatever you choose to do, take action. Like the old saying, "Move a muscle; change a thought."

Anger. Don't deny it, but don't let it run the show. Ask God for help. Do the work. Speak the pain to a safe listener, or write it out in a journal format. Know it is a feeling that will pass. Give it time.

Thursday, April 9th
What does the number three have to do with spirituality? In Christianity, it speaks of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - the threefold nature of the Godhead - the Trinity. For many Indian believers, three means Chintamani - the oldest symbol for happiness. For those who contemplate the human condition in the Universal Plan, there is the study of body, mind, and spirit. Celtic shamans use the triad to teach on past, present and future. For many years, the number three has had great meaning to many.

What can it mean to you? This week, why not try a simple exercise that will help you grow? Each night before bed, ask yourself three simple questions:

What did I do today to improve my relationship with Source?

What did I do today to help others?

What did I do today to care for myself?

If you try this for only a week, you will find where you need to improve it you are to grow whole and happy in this world. Maybe you're a pushover when it comes to helping others, but you rarely care for yourself. Perhaps you are driven to love and serve God, but this leaves little time to interact with other people casually. Maybe you are very self-involved leaving little quality time for quiet spiritual time or little awareness of the needs of others. You'll see. It will become obvious.

Let's use this week to let the power of three wake us up so that we can live our highest good!

Thursday, April 2nd 
This is the week of Easter tidings. What does that mean to you?

To me, it means it is time to celebrate Life and Connection. It is time to reflect, to relate, to relax, and to restore. All these words begin with the prefix "re" which means to do again. Hopefully, we can find time to repeat these actions.

Reflect:  take time to think about your relationship with Source. How do you experience and communicate with the Higher Power?

Relate:  take time to think about your relationships with others. How do you experience and communicate with others in your life?

Relax:  take time to think about your treatment of self. Do you allow yourself down time after experiencing a growth spurt? How does your body communicate with your mind to let you know you need rest?

Restore:  take time to consider what new thought and action can come into your daily experience to bring newness and joy. Do you recognize new ideas because your mind is open, or are you stuck in a rut of old thinking?

This is your week. Go to God and ask for support and help. Look for opportunities for joy to unfold with those you love. Ask for more of those opportunities. Slow down when you can and allow rest to find place in your busy schedule. Seek. Open your mind and heart to new ideas.

This is your week, and we are all behind you knowing that your highest good is available. Go get it! After all, it is Eastertide. And that means celebration of new Life. Make that new Life your own!

Thursday, March 26th
It's amazing how other people affect us. Each day, we go out into the world and interact. For some of us, other people make us crazy. We wish we could make them act a certain way and we push for that end. If we can't change them, we shut down and shake our heads believing that they are way off base. At other times, we allow people to be themselves. We smile knowing that we are not responsible for their words and deeds. We may even allow their thoughts and actions to affect us. We practice open-mindedness and learn something new on occasion.

How do we choose how we will act?

It seems to be contingent on our willingness to leave our self-centered ways behind. Sadly, that is not always easy. Often, this selfishness is tied to a power struggle. When we want to be in charge or want to be "right", our ability to coexist with others is weak. We would rather manipulate or control. We would rather be the boss than be a peer.

Overcoming this trait takes work. First, we have to see it. When a grumpy attitude seems to be coming consistent, it's time to stop and assess what it means. Then, take a moment to get "even". Breathe deeply. Focus on calm and ask Source to assist you in returning to community-mindedness. Choose to listen to your fellows. Allow them to speak their truths, knowing that it is no reflection on you or your beliefs. Breathe deeply again. Know that God can return you to reason.

Judgment of others can be a signal that we are off-base. Let's lay that judgment aside and choose again. Let's actively choose connection. One thing is for sure, we all need each other.

Thursday, March 19th
Instead of writing today, I thought I'd post one of my favorite music videos. The song is by David Crowder Band, and the words make me happy. Hope it feeds you. Catch you next week.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCunuL58odQ

Lyrics:

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realise just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us, oh,
Oh, how He loves us,
How He loves us all

Yeah, He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves.

And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If his grace is an ocean, we're all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don't have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about the way...

He loves us.

Thursday, March 12th
Connecting with the Higher Power can be difficult at times. All of us seem to pass through "dry spots" when we go through the actions but feel none of the benefits. It is tough to hold on when this happens, but that is exactly what we need to do. We need to hold on and ask for more faith. We need to lean on the knowing of friends who have passed through this difficulty and gotten to the other side. We need to believe that the "disconnect" feeling is temporary, and will serve us in the end.

When we come through a spiritual dry time, it is like coming through the desert. In one of the stories in the Torah, Moses was leading the Israelites through the desert for forty long years. Each day, though, the Higher Power would provide them with manna. What is manna? It is food for the day. It didn't last for more than one day, though.

Where are you? Are you feeling alone spiritually? No worries. Ask God for some manna. Ask God for what you need to get through one day at a time. Like those who embrace a 12-Step lifestyle, breaking life down into 24-hour segments can make it bearable. In addition to that, you can reap rewards in small increments. You will be able to find things for which you are grateful, and gratitude is an attitude changer.

The desert-time will pass. The Israelites arrived at their promised land, and so will you. Hang on and ask for help from others who have been in your shoes and from God. You don't have to go through this alone.

Thursday, March 5th
Complacency is the enemy of serenity. This made me think, so I thought I'd share it with you. Let's begin with a review of the definitions.

What is an enemy?
1   : one that is antagonistic to another; especially : one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound an opponent

What is complacency?
1    : self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies
2    : an instance of usually unaware,  uninformed self-satisfaction

What is serenity?
1    : the quality or state of being clear and free of unpleasant storms
2    :marked by or suggestive of unruffled calm or utter repose

Complacency confounds us into believing that being indifferent is the same as feeling calm or at rest. That's like saying that feeling numb is the same as feeling peaceful. Sadly, if you've never felt serenity or known true peace of mind, you can be fooled. You can settle for a mirror image of what you long for, and a reflection will never allow you to live your highest good.

True self knows the difference. Don't let ego make your decisions for you just because it is louder than the gentle whisper of True Self. Read the sentence again, and consider the wisdom of its words. Better yet, get out there and live the wisdom first hand. You deserve to be all Creation had in mind for you to be.

Thursday, February 26th
It's busy season on the beautiful east coast of Florida where I live. The beaches are loaded and so are the roadways. Everyone is working hard to accommodate the visitors that are escaping terrible weather from the north. Life is good.

When life gets busy, I have to make the effort to cut myself some slack. Why is that so hard for some of us? We would rather race around taking care of everyone and everythng else before we would commit to self-care.

Self-care is about the value we place on ourselves. To live the fullest, most effective life that Source envisioned for you when you were created will demand that you see the beautiful gemstone inside you that commands high standing as a birthright. When we resist self-care, we are buying into fear and separation instead of basking in love and connection.

Just for today, do something good for yourself. Take a bit of time and dedicate it to your own good. Then, do something else good for you tomorrow. That's right. Step out again and commit some time to self-care. Repeat until it becomes a habit. Put yourself on the prioritiy list by practicing kindness for self.

There is a treasure inside you. It may be buried right now, but you can dig in, find it, and bring it to the light. Let it shine! You are so worth it!

Thursday, February 12th
How to get over a resentment in five steps.

1.   Become aware of it. Face it. You are holding onto something that is hurting you.

2.   Quiet your mind. Do some breathing exercises if you must. Breathe deeply. Breathe in calm, breathe out chaos.

3.   Decide what is most important. Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?

4.   Ask God for help. This is the big one. When you are able to see the issue and know that it is holding you back from abundant and free life, you will ask differently. You will really make it clear that you are willing to allow God to move. Ask away.

5.   Renew your mind through grace and Truth daily. Claim them as yours. Expect them to show up.

If you repeat this action when the resentment comes to you, it will lessen. Sometimes, it is the pathway to change that will enable you to live your best life. Give it a go. We're all pulling for you!

Thursday, February 5th
Have you been lonely lately? The University of Chicago did a study on adults and discovered that those who scored highest on loneliness also scored highest on blood pressure readings. The average was about 50 points higher for the lonely in the group. Since high blood pressure is the leading cause of heart disease, it is almost true to say that the lonely among us are dying of broken hearts.

It's time to mention that loneliness shows up in three areas. First, we are lonely for others. We all desire right standing with our brothers and sisters, but some of us are slow on the uptake for this. Moreover, as we age, it gets harder to connect with them because we lose confidence. Second, we are lonely for the Divine. Don't stress - you can think of the God of your understanding as we move forward, whether it's communing in nature or paying homage in a church. You were created for divine connection. Third, many of us are lonely for our True Self. There is a beautiful pearl inside that demonstrates the high standing of your birthright. When we begin to connect here, we move out of fear and into Love. It can be uncomfortable at first, especially if we've been allowing the loneliness to stand for a long time.

Just for today, I am wishing you connection. I ask you to openly ask for connection out loud twice a day. Ask into the wind. Ask the Universe. Ask the God of your understanding. Ask your True Self. However you want to think about it, ASK. A long time ago a wonderful spiritual teacher walked the earth and promised, "Ask and you shall receive." Trust the spiritual process. You have opened your heart by reading this blog and feeling the need to connect. Now, open your mind by taking action. Ask. The healing is yours for the taking.

Thursday, January 29th
Do you have any hand-me-downs you want to get rid of? If you were able to hear Lee and me on the radio today, you know what I'm talking about.

Many of us live by old beliefs that we've never really examined closely. Whether they were learned or contrived by circumstance, some of these beliefs aren't true. Sadly, many of them cause limitation and discomfort in our daily lives even though we don't know they're there. They seem to exist below the level of conscious thought, and they direct our paths silently.

An example would be one of us who grew up in a home where racism was in practice. Subtly, we learn to not trust those of another background or color. Eventually, we will have to come to our own conclusion on this point. Does it limit our lives in any way? Does it tell us with whom we can build relationship? Simple questions will illuminate our REAL truth, Once illumination comes, awareness leads the way. Thinking will change, and personal belief will rise above those that were learned. We will become true to whom we were created to be. We will become more authentic and whole. Better yet, we will be certain that the ideas we are creating are our own.

This can happen on many levels of belief. Small and large, ideas will become clearer and more consistent with who we are. We will live into a new phase of our understanding, and we will be more complete as individuals.

Ask God to help you come to know that which holds you back. Ask God to reveal falsehoods of thought that parade through your mind wrapped in shiny paper and labeled BELIEF. Pick your own road of destiny. Throw away the map in the glove box of your mind, and tune into the GPS of spirit - the Guiding Power of Source.

Drive on, friend. You will arrive at the destination you seek - wholeness and happiness.

Thursday, January 22nd
Tired. That's right. I'm tired. What to do?

For many of us, we tend to take our personal needs lightly. What's up with that? If a friend or loved one needed our support, we would go out of our way to lend a hand. We would encourage. We would assist wherever possible. We would listen with concern and help sort out the issues at hand. Sadly, we don't always do that for ourselves. We minimize. We reprimand. We push for action when rest is what's needed.  

Not so today, my friends. Hopefully, as I sign off early it will give you permission to do the same. Off you go. I'll catch you next week. Until then, be good to yourself!

Thursday, January 15th
I have been blessed to witness the unfolding of a spiritual process. I've seen it working for many years, and have taught the first portion of the process for just as long. Let's start there. It's simple, really. Begin with FAITH. To have faith is to believe that something good will happen even though we don't have any proof that it will.

(Sadly, we can exercise faith in the negative as well. Some of us automatically believe the worst will happen. We expect it. In essence, we have faith that bad is coming our way. And it does. Beware of this and work against it. When you "hear" yourself speaking the negative, stop. Ask for help. Change the words and begin to move toward the good.)

Today we are talking about finding faith in the positive. Working on this in faith isn't easy in the beginning . But remember, faith is a FREE GIFT. Ask for it. With practice, we become stronger because our experience bolsters us. We begin to watch faith work. We become closer to God, and it becomes easier to ask for more help. This will lead us to the next stage of the process where faith becomes TRUST.

Trust is faith on steroids. We have come beyond just believing and have moved into the realm of expecting. To have trust in God is a new way of thinking. Simply stated, what started as faith has grown up to trust.

For many, that's as far as it goes. Don't get me wrong. This is a great way to think and live. But there is another part of the process that I have seen in action recently. You see, trust also matures. As it does, it becomes contentment. I have witnessed some that have absolute calm as they approach tough spots simply because what once started as faith is now a way of life for them. It is as if they are on an inside track with God, and that inner knowing creates a composure in them where others would panic. Maybe the word I'm searching for is serenity. They have grown in relationship with Source until they walk in serenity knowing that they are safe and protected by Love Itself.

It's a process. It starts with unbelief and ends in serenity. Now, that is truly a gift from God. So, I leave you with one wish:  May your process begin or continue until you know the level of peace that overcomes any burden. Amen - and so it is. 

Thursday, January 8th
Expectations can ruin a day. Worse, sometimes, expectations can ruin a life. When we tie our ability to be happy to outcomes over which we have no power, we are setting ourselves up for loss. Okay, its true. We can impact the world around us with our thoughts and actions. Nonetheless, as long as we're wearing these skin suits we are limited in how much control we can exert in any situation.

Do you want people in your life to behave a certain way? Do you try to influence their conduct by giving or holding back on love? Do you get angry when they behave in a way that isn't what you wanted? Does this sort of living make you feel connected or separated? Expectations are the culprit here. Recognize what you are doing and choose to love unconditionally. Ask the Higher Power to help you ease up on those your care about. Release even the smallest expectation, and you will feel happier.

Do you demand perfection from yourself? When you make a mistake, do you fill your head with demeaning commentary and ugly name-calling? This self-sabotage is often borne of expectations. Remember that skin suit? As long as you're wearing it you will make mistakes. Treat yourself with love and cut yourself some slack. Quit expecting the impossible. That's right . . . it's impossible for a human being to be perfect.

Listen to your language. How often do you use the words "if" and "but"? What comes after those lead-in terms? Release all that you can to the wonder of life. Life is good. Trust that good will come if only you allow things to unfold as they should. Let go of expectations, especially on your significant loved ones and on yourself. You both deserve more. Ask God to help you heal this error. If you don't ask, you don't receive.

Be good to yourself. Be good to those you love. Be accepting of this world and its many faces and facets. God is in charge, and has your best interest at heart. Trust and move on.

New Year's Day 2015
Today my son is making his way to another state to regroup and see if it is where he wants to spend the next phase of life. I have to let go. I have to remember all the things I tell you when you are being forced to release something before you are ready. I have to trust that God has a plan and He is never late. I have to believe that God has no grandchildren. I have to accept that my son is becoming a man, and he doesn't need a parent overseeing his life choices as he goes forward. Wow. Tall order. 

But the reality is that I do believe all that I just wrote. I know my son is hooked up. He is able to connect at will with his Source, and that is really the place of solace and power from which he will extract a beautiful, useful, whole life. 

Today is the beginning of a New Year. How fitting that I release the old to my Higher Power and go forward unafraid and even a little excited. Here we go! 

Beth's Blog 2014

Christmas Day 2014
The last blog of the year is on this wonderful day. How fitting. We'll keep it short so you can get back to celebrating with love all that is your life. If you're not celebrating, we are here for you. The world is blessed to have you in it, and we are blessed to have you connected to us. Believe that we believe. That's a start.

Today we celebrate the gift of God becoming human to dwell among us and teach us Love. Whether you are a Christian or not, it doesn't matter. Open your mind to the idea that the Source of this world wanted to know you so much that it stretched the envelope to reach you. If you can even imagine this, you are on your way to a new way of life.

Christmas is about the
deep love of the Creator for the creation. Today, you are loved beyond measure and the world still stops and notes it. Of course, it's gotten commercialized through the years, but even that is a symptom of the heritage. The business folk noted the sense of Love that was flowing, and decided to play on it and use it to their advantage. Sadly, sometimes it detracts from the simple joy of the season. Do you allow it to rob you of the Truth?

What Truth? You've probably heard this next statement, but have you ever really considered what it means? Sometimes when we hear something so much we overlook the real meaning. 
"For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son so that all who believe in him would not perish but have everlasting life." Think about it for a moment. You are loved beyond measure. You are loved by the Source Power that created all we know. You are loved so much that your Creator wants you to live forever.

You rascal, you. You're pretty special. And there you are acting like you're not so important. Think again. You 'da bomb. Merry Christmas my friend. May all that Love envelope you today and always.

Thursday, December 18th
For many years, I believed that my worth was based on what I accomplished. Because of that, I became a human doing instead of a human being. My sense of self was limited at this time because of this mindset. I rated myself harshly, and I cut myself no slack. I forgot the important truth that as long as I'm wearing this skin suit, I will make mistakes. That doesn't mean I am inconsequential. It only means that I am human. 

Yesterday, my daughter Emily graduated with her Associates degree from Indian River State College. I saw the joy in her face that comes from a job well-done. It made me realize that there is a payoff from accomplishment, but it needn't be the basis for self-esteem. The action can enhance, but it shouldn't command.

Do you discern your value by what you do? Granted, you actions are important. No one can have an abundant, full life without quality deeds. Friends of mine always say, "Work it, you're worth it." That is the wonderful reality. You matter. Your value is not based on what you achieve, but on what you believe.

Believe in you. We do . . .

Thursday, December 11th
"Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat. Please put a penny in the old man's hat. If you haven't got a penney, a half penny will do. If you haven't got a half penny, God bless you." 

It's only two weeks until Christmas, and we are all getting busy. This old song makes me stop, though. It makes me remember how blessed I am to have people for whom to buy gifts. Somewhere, according to this old carol, there is an old man alone and in need.

Let's look around us this week. Let's be mindful that our struggles are nothing compared to the struggles of the some of our brothers. Let's notice those less fortunate and lift them in thought and prayer. Let's notice them and cover them with the grace of our Source. 

As we move toward the holidays, let us also move to become one with all. Let us live Love as never before. Let us love all. After all, that is the bottom line. Let us love all.

Happy Pre-Christmas to you and yours. As Tiny Tim would say, "God bless us every one."

Thursday, December 4th
Overwhelm. How and when does it hit you? Are you prepared for it, or does it sneak up? Chances are, you'll see it coming if you're paying attention. 

It's that time of year when life comes at us from many different angles. We are shopping, cooking, gathering, wrapping, cleaning, decorating . . . oh, and don't forget the regular things we have to do in life . . . like work, sleep, pay bills, etc.

What this blog offers you, dear reader, is respite. Just for a moment take a break. Breathe in heartily and breathe out with feeling. Repeat. While breathing in, think of a word that makes you feel at ease. For example, breathe in PEACE and breathe out CHAOS. Repeat the breathing exercise again. It's amazing what conscious breathing can do for us. Sometimes, it is just what we need to get centered and focused. We can begin to sort out the important and let the unimportant go.

The holidays are upon us, and that is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy family, friends, food and fun. Amid all the lights and frivolity, take some time apart for you. Schedule time away from the excitement for quiet enjoyment like reading, watching favorite movies, or just writing a letter to a far away beloved.

Peace on earth is the call of the season. Let the peace begin in you. Peace of mind. Peaceful sleep. Peace and quiet. Inject it into the next few weeks, and you'll truly have a delightful season of giving.

Be blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!
Love is the ultimate answer. What was the question?

The day of gratitude is upon us, and if we are blessed we will be surrounded with food and family. Some of you cringe when you read those words. You wonder if I would have written them had I seen your family or tried to spend time with them. But, let's be frank. How bad do you have it? If you are reading this blog, you are able to access a computer. If you cringed when you thought about coming together with all the personalities of your family, did you consider the many who will be alone? Have you even considered those who are going without today?

As you gather together, remember you are gathering to give thanks. For what are you thankful? Let's think about some Thanksgiving givens that would make a gratitude list:

Family
Friends
Food 
Humor
Conversation
Flavor - the sense of taste
Hugs - the sense of touch
Connection - the sense of belonging
Warmth - comfortable surroundings
Service - the opportunity to show love

May love surround you today. If you are alone, may love surround you anyway. Love is God, and the blessing of that knowing is available. Just ask.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Thursday, November 20th
Two men just knocked on my door and offered to trim the four palm trees I have on my property. I asked how much. The lead guy walked the field, and assessed the amount of work it would be. He gave me a price, and in his eyes I saw hopeful expectance. I agreed. The sound of a chainsaw is screaming in my yard right now.

Do you go out and get what you need? These men needed work. They were willing to hit the streets cold turkey and go door to door. They asked for what they needed, and they will be filled.

So many times in life I can be slowed down by the false belief that there is not enough. I limit the hand of Creation by believing that I shouldn't ask for what I need. And when I don't have enough, I don't have enough to share. Then, I become paralyzed and stop any action that could bring me back to living in the abundance of God's world. You know the saying, "Faith without works is dead." We must act out our faith with actions that support our very base belief. This year, the Higher Power is challenging me on this. Why am I slow to act on my beliefs? 

I have to ask myself the BIG question. Is my thinking based in Love or in fear? When I let fear run the brain chemistry, I go without. When I trust that Love has my back and am willing to do the work, I am always covered. I am learning this new truth daily.

Next week is Thanksgiving, and these men will have food on the family table because they were willing to ask for what they need and take the action necessary to allow the flow into their lives. They knocked on my door to teach me the lesson in a new manner, and I am grateful. And by the way, the trees look great.

Thursday, November 13th
Thanksgiving is coming. Soon you'll be thinking about what you have to buy, whether food for a bunch or a gift for a host. You'll be considering the holiday from all angles. Who will you see? What will you wear? Will there be sports on TV? Will you eat more than one dessert? And so on, and so on . . .

Thanks giving is an action. To give thanks is an opportunity to lose ego and become part of the whole. When we embrace the attitude of gratitude, we change. We look up naturally. We get the wonderful feeling of positive expectancy. We are able to let go of situations that sometimes demand concern because we know the One with all power is on it.

Before the holiday swallows you up in details and demands, consider your life. Are you happy with where you are physically, emotionally and spiritually? If yes, give thanks. If not, ask for help. Spiritual help is but a request away.  It seems fitting to end this blog with a quote from one of my favorite books. "There is One that has all power, may you find Him now."

Happy Pre-Turkey Day to all! May you have a thankful heart throughout this season!

Thursday, November 6th
The HGTV station lets us see home repair and restoration up close. There is quite a difference between the two. To repair is to leave things as they are and add only the same pieces necessary to bring the project back to its known state. Restoration, on the other hand, means to tear down to the base and rebuild with new products and design.

When working on old relationships, repair is not possible. The past injuries are in the past. To heal the relationship, we must tear down to the basics and add new material from today. This is restoration at its best.

Start by tearing down to the very core. In home rebuilding, that's tearing out all the flooring, cabinetry, and even walls that don't serve the vision . What is that in relationship restoration? It' s awareness. Are there "old ways" that didn't serve? Get beneath them. Quit blaming others. Tear down to your part in the issue.

Next, make a decision to make changes. Restoration of relationships comes from changes in the parts. You have a part, and you have the ability to change it. It will take work, but rennovation of this kind is worth it in the end.

Finally, with the new knowledge of yourself, think of ways to develop healthy relationships with everyone you know. There will be times of restoration and times to simply build openly on your true sense of self. Be who you are, and allow others to be who they are.

Restoration of any type demands work. Relationship restoration is no exception, yet it can carry  wonderful results. The best result is that when you are finished, you get to be who you really are in the relationship. No more hiding . . . no more fear . . . no more anxiety. You are free to be you. And that is a beautiful thing.

Thursday, October 30th
What's difficult in your life right now? Sadly for me, this has been a week of struggles. What to do?

I have learned that when life gets tough, it's time to hook up. Powerlessness turns into a great place because I stop trying to manage and go to the only place of overcoming  - I go to my Source. Once connected, I find that what I used to read as HOPELESSNESS is really just HELPLESSNESS. I need help. And the beautiful Truth is that God is constant and available if only I ask for what I need.

Are you having difficulties? Let's join each other in claiming connection and calm. Let's ask for peace and resolve. Let's let go and let God. Though I used to resist with fierceness, now I surrender with humility. I am a human being who will make mistakes, love those that hurt me, need physical healing, and so on. I accept my role as human being, just for today. I will let myself rest and care for myself gently. I will forgive those who wrong me and move on with love. I will take care of the temple that houses the Spirit of the living God - my body. Just for today, I will give in.

Now, tomorrow . . . that's a new day. I get to choose again. But today, I surrender. I need power, and I know where to get it. I'll stay close to the Higher Power and trust that I will make it through the tough issues. This, too, will pass.

Thursday, October 23rd
Where do you go to "come down to Earth"? Let's face it, we all need a comfort place. We need to know we can crawl into our space and let the crazy chaos running through this busy world pass us by. Safety. It's on everyone's "must-have" list.

Some of us take this need to an alternate extreme. Instead of stepping out of the line of fire, we actually hide out and isolate. Suddenly, the very place designed to offer peace becomes a prison cell without visitation, and the longer we allow it, the more "normal" it begins to feel. At this point, we've worked against our natural instinct to connect and we are left on the brink of loneliness.

Loneliness is dangerous to many. By isolating, we are robbing ourselves of the very instinctive leadings that promote health and wholeness. We shut down completely instead of slowing down for a rest. It is difficult to recover from this point of separation, but it is necessary if you want to live your best life.

Just for today, allow yourself some down time that doesn't leave you totally alone. Turn off your phone and watch a movie with a family member or friend. Change into your jeans or jammies and "hang out" with another. Cook dinner together. Talk. Don't accomplish anything important. Rest in the company of someone you love. Keep the lines of communication open by talking about anything and everything whether it's important or mundane. Just be. But, be real.

Being real is the ticket to happiness. If you can accomplish this alone, go for it. Your "down time" can be spent on your own. You can cook yourself dinner and plug in a movie you love all by yourself if you prefer. But don't lose yourself in the shuffle. Remember that solitude is completely different than loneliness. One makes you sing, the other makes you cry. Choose to be alone in your "down time"? Then, sing, baby, sing!

Thursday, October 16th
Who is worrying out there? This morning, I awoke earlier than usual with thoughts that should have been on a to-do list on my desk rather than in the chaotic planning of my mind. Instead of talking myself back to sleep, I decided to get up and start the day. I began to praise my Higher Power. The worrying ceased immediately. I continued to praise God, and concrete action plans began to take shape. Finally, I got out of bed.

Here I am at my computer, blogging about what I see happening in my own life and in the lives of other seekers. I remember reading something attributed to the Christ when he walked the earth. He was teaching a large group and he spoke to them of worry. He explained to the masses that worrying robs us of the ability to experience the kingdom of God. Years ago, I tried to take this teaching to heart and when worry cropped up, I would replace it with praise.

Praising my Source changes everything. It changes my circumstances. It changes the way I feel. It changes my hopes and plans. It changes my desire to act. It changes how I see others, even those who have harmed me. Praising Source connects me to a level of Life that is outside of myself - very distant from my ego. Choosing to praise can change everything I think, feel and do.

But even simpler, worry cannot coexist with praise. The act of praise leads me to victory over fear. I'm not sure how or why this happens, I just know it does. It's as if I can be in the darkest place emotionally and by praising Source the discomfort changes and power and possibility come into my heart and mind. These replace worry and allow me to take action and think clearly about what my part can be.

If praise is something you haven't tried, I ask you to give it a go. It is simple. Praise is not thanksgiving because it has nothing to do with you personally. Praise is acknowledging the greatness of Creation. Praise is the expression of the human heart, body and mind as the Higher Power is recognized and glorified. As we see the greatness of Source, a calm comes over us and we are changed. Worry melts away, and trust begins to grow. Though it sounds heavy and strange, you will find it to be natural and enchanting. It feels good. It feels right. And though it may last only a moment or two, praise changes the outlook and frees the troubled spirit so it can move forward with affirmative action.

Heavy? Maybe a bit. But try it. If you are a worrier, try to replace that action as soon as you recognize that you are in it by praising God. King David wrote many years ago, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." I don't know about you, but my heart loves to be free of worry. All I have to do to get there is delight in Source. It worked again for me this morning, and I thought I'd pass it on.

Be blessed.

Thursday, October 9th
Last week, I wrote about being driven which can mar our self-perception. Sometimes, in this self-assigned hubbub of activity we forget our personal value. We become “human doings” instead of “human beings.” Our self-esteem rises and falls like a car on a roller coaster, and we move into a place where we judge ourselves based on achievements instead of character. We mistakenly love ourselves because of what we do, and not because of who we are.

This week, let's change the music. Let’s dance, instead, to the beat of self-worth and integrity. Here are six gentle steps to lead you back toward personal value and wholeness:

1. Get quiet for five minutes every day. Train your mind to stop. For those of you with spiritual connection, go to God and be still. For those without that hook-up, close your eyes and consider your breathing. Think of nothing else but filling and emptying your lungs. Calm is the daughter of serenity, so it is important for you to learn the art of quiet.

2. Pay attention to your self-talk. Would you allow anyone to talk to your loved ones the way you talk to yourself? Listen to the tone, the sharpness, the criticism, and the name-calling that you employ and STOP IT. Become your own advocate. Tell your inner critic to shut up.

3. Feed your mind, body, and spirit well. Too much sugar, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and preservatives will affect how you feel about yourself. What you read or watch on TV will also affect your perspective. Make quality decisions about what you take in.

4. Learn that gratitude is not an attitude – but a way of life. Write down five new things each day for which you are thankful. Never repeat one. Within three months, the way you see yourself and the world will change markedly.

5. Know your talents. Make a list of the skills and talents that set you apart from the pack. Embrace the knowledge that you were created with these aptitudes to improve the world around you. Be mindful of your abilities, and use them without apology.

6. Schedule free-time. All work and no play make one more of a machine than a person, and everyone knows that machines collapse under stress. Take a break with the ones you love or by yourself. Create an ambience of joy regularly.

My hope is that you find peace of mind and comfortability in your own shoes. Be you, and be proud of that individual. You are so worth it!

Thursday, October 2nd
I drive myself crazy. Well, that might not be completely true. The real story is that I drive myself.

Think about what "being driven" means. Long before the combustion engine was invented, all the main means of transportation centered on horses. If you needed to get somewhere fast, you whipped the horses. You "drove" them. The horses that were forced to run at that pace would be covered in sweat. When an owner didn't take good care of his animals, he would unhitch them and put them in the barn without walking them around to let them cool down. That's where the saying, "rode hard and put up wet" originated.

I've been rode hard and put up wet many times. Sadly, I'm the callous proprietor who mistreats the stock. I push myself without mercy. And yet, I want true humility. One definition of true humility is "an accurate assessment of self". It's knowing my limitations, and challenging them with responsibility when seeking growth, and honoring them with integrity when maintaining the status quo.

Pushing myself without mercy is grandiose. It gives my ego the reins, and the ego whips my true self and makes it a beast of burden. Let's stop pushing ourselves so hard and take a moment to smell the flowers today. Better yet, let's stop today. Sometimes, to attain humility, we need to stop.

Take good care of yourself. In the stable of life, you are a thoroughbred. Invest in your care and win the race.

Thursday, September 25th
There was a morning this week when I woke up sad. Though I had gone to bed with a prayer on my lips leaving all life's troubles in the capable hands of God, the next morning began with pain in my heart. Don't get me wrong. I knew I was powerless to change anything that had me worried, but accepting you have no control doesn't remove the painful emotions that accompany that stance.

I rolled out of bed and started my day. By 10am I had accomplished more than some can pull off in a full eight hour workday. That brought me to the base of the Barber Bridge, a span that crosses the Indian River in my town in one mile increments. Just a brisk walk over and back logs a two-mile workout that ticks off the "cardio" box on anyone's to-do list.

As soon as I started up the incline, the Higher Power began to show off. Looking below me into the waters of the river I spotted three families of dolphin swimming together. There were at least four or five babies, and they were trying to jump as high as their mothers. It was beautiful to watch. I smiled. They stayed and played the entire time I walked. Nature surrounded me that morning like grace. Between the butterflies, the feathers along the path, and an incredible hairy spider, my attention was diverted from worrisome concern to joyous gratitude. On the descent down on the last leg of my journey, a white-headed pelican flew right by me and dove adeptly into the lagoon to secure a fresh fish breakfast for himself. To make sure I caught the whole show, he repeated it again twice, each time raising his beak to show a shiny fish from the school swimming beneath him.

What an incredible Source we have that provided a way for my broken heart to reconnect with joy. Though my day started with sadness, my walk over the river granted me the gift of a new perspective. As I drove off to continue my day, there was a song of praise on my lips and renewed confidence that the same Creational Power that orchestrated my emotional turn-around could also provide all that is necessary to help those for whom I was concerned.

I needed that perspective change, and it came to me. If you are suffering today, I wish the same for you. Look closely. Your shift might not come with dolphins and pelicans . . . but it will surely come if you look up. Life is beautiful, and Source is crazy about us. 

Not sure? Look to nature. It will prove it over and over. Give it a shot.

Thursday, September 18th
Happy Birthday to my brother Tim!
Someone close to me is struggling with disease. Sadly, in this case the disease tells her it is her friend. The disease is alcoholism. Some of you reading may not think it is a "real" disease. You've come to believe it is a choice. I could argue that the American Medical Association listed it as a disease because it is chronic, progressive and fatal. But that might not convince you. Perhaps the only way to help you see it is to experience the phenomenon personally, and I hope you never have to go to that length to open your mind to the pain of others.

Losing the ability to choose is serious. It removes the creative potential of life that was gifted to humans by Source. Created in the image of God, we were given this creative potential that separates us from other animals. Each idea allows us to impact the world, and each choice we make affects our life and the lives of those closest to us. To lose this to disease is catastrophic. It hinders our physical, mental/emotional and spiritual natures.

My beloved is struggling with disease. She has lost her ability to choose. Nancy Regan didn't understand this part of addiction when she created the "Just Say No" campaign. Sure, it was powerful in prevention, but once the disease has taken root, it is not within the sufferer's ability to just say no. That's the problem.

Today, I call on you to pray for healing for dealing with this growing affliction. I ask you to open your mind to the possibility that you do not understand because you are blessed enough not to have to experience this loss of choice. For those of you reading who have history with this state of powerlessness, we collectively bless you and hold your wellness up to the light of Love. May all who struggle be set free by the Truth, including my loved one. God can and will. I believe.

Thursday, September 11th
The date makes some of us cringe. Will we ever be able to see September 11th and not think about the day the Twin Towers came down and we lost so many innocent lives? Probably not. Yet, is there a way to take that horrific memory and use it for good in the NOW?

No matter what calls you to go back to that day, allow it to be a catalyst for new thinking. Immediately ask blessing on all those who were hurt through loss or actual experience. Claim strength and healing for all of them. Next, bless this country. Ask for all Americans to become conscious of how their lives can affect the whole. Using constructive imagination, picture a strong, connected country where everyone works for the good of all. Finally, pray for forgiveness. It will be difficult at first, but ask anyway. It will set you free eventually, and you will be able to impact the world in a greater way once that happens.

We were attacked because a group wanted to hurt this nation and bring it down. Don't let that be the final edict. Move forward boldly and bravely. Believe in the premise that all men were created equal, and live that out loud today.

God bless America. But more important, America, bless God!

Thursday, September 4th
My friend Pixie calls them "God winks". Soon, I'll write a book named just that. It will be filled with stories from normal people who have experienced God "showing off" on their behalf. Almost anyone you know can tell you about a time that a "coincidence" occurred at the last minute and something worked out because of it. I like to think of those coincidences as "God incidences". Are you thinking about one right now? Write it down and send it in to me at Beth@BethWE.com and maybe it will show up in my manuscript so others can be encouraged by your experience.

In the meantime, let me tell you one of mine. God is always getting involved in my day-to-day living. Sometimes, Higher Power needs help. There have been many times when someone I don't even know appears out of the blue to bring me a message.

My two beautiful children are adopted. Most of you know that. When Luke was a baby, we had a hard time finding his birth father to sign the final paperwork. He disappeared right before Luke was born, and he hadn't signed the legal documents. Our attorney hired a private investigator, and I started praying for a miracle.

A few days before we were slated to go to court, a man showed up at my place of work. He asked to see the manager. Since I wasn't there, the owner stepped up. The man took the owner outside and told him he was driving on I-95 and had a vision of the sign in front of our business. He pulled off the highway and asked a gas station attendant if there was such a place. He was directed across town to our building. My boss was a little uncomfortable, but he allowed the man to continue. Next, the fellow told him that "God has heard your prayer, and everything will be okay."

The next day when I arrived at work, the owner told me the story. He rolled his eyes a bit, but he laughed and said he knew somehow he was standing in for me. He asked if the message made any sense to me. I told him about my concerns about finalizing Luke's adoption. He nodded his head and added another column of numbers.

In court a couple days later, the judge called for the birth father to come forward if he wanted to contest the adoption. The bailiff went into the hallway and called his name. The judge announced that since they had the birth father's signature on a subpoena he could finalize the papers. I asked when and where they had found the birth father. The answer was in California on the same day the man stopped by my place of business with the message that my prayers were answered. God is clearly a show-off, and I am so happy that the works so often benefit me and those I love.

The only hardship is perception. Can I trust deeply enough to see God's hand in my life? Sometimes, I still struggle with this, even though I have so often reaped the rewards of God's grace. You, too? No worries. As long as we're wearing these skin suits there will be times when we can't fully trust the unseen. It is our nature. Nonetheless, there will also be times when we recognize the favor of Source and actually see God wink. Let's savor those times and share them with others so they, too, can see.

Thursday, August 28th
I was joking with a friend a short time ago, and I said that since I let the Higher Power write my blogs it was always a piece of cake getting it done.

For the most part, this is the truth. When I work on my BethWE projects, I start with words from a song by Toby Mac. "If You want to steal my show I'll sit back and watch You go. If You've got something to say, go on and take it away." (You'll have to google it if you haven't heard it. It puts things in right perspective when it comes to service work.)

What about you? Are you able to sit back and let God run the show? Or, do you fight for some control? OK, are you like me and have moments of both?

Let's face it. We're human beings. Though we were created with great potential, we are also the carriers of ego. Ego demands that we mess things up with regularity. Why? Because ego cries out for the wants and needs of self. Ego doesn't want to see the BIG PICTURE view. Ego wears blinders.

At first, when I'm having an ego-driven day, I don't even know it. Awareness will eventually set in when I realize that I'm alone again because I chased everyone off with my attitude or moved away from them because they weren't doing it right. Happily, I usually get a clue pretty quickly. I'll be honest, I used to be able to suffer through selfishness for days on end. Now, however, I recognize the disconnect almost immediately. It hurts to be "apart from" when you want to be "a part of." Once I'm aware, connection comes naturally. It's really what I want for my life.

What about you? Are you at the place where you desire connection more than having your own way? If not, no worries, Friend. It will come. If you are a seeker, it will come. Slowly, quietly, and very naturally you will move closer to connection as a way of life. Be patient with yourself and with your Higher Power. There's no need to rush what will become a way of life. In the meantime, when you can, ask Source to "steal your show." The more you ask, the more it will happen. The more it happens, the more you will delight in being a part of the plan.

Have I told you lately that God is absolutely crazy about you?

Thursday, August 21st 
Recently, many beloved friends have come up against cancer. All are fighting. Some must fight harder than others because the disease is present in different strains and strengths. Today, I find myself thinking about what I can do about it. I am powerless again, and yet, I can take some action if I can get out of my own way.

What do I mean by that? Well, the first Truth is to recognize that it's not about me this time. Though I will be affected, the real issue isn't how this will impact me. When I get my head on straight, I can be present for those in need. As long as I think it's about me, I will drown in remorse and sadness, and I will be only a weight that drags them lower.

Just for today, I choose Love. By loving them, I can reach out with compassion and thought. I can send them a sweet text that declares my concern and care. I can double a recipe I'm making for family and bring one for their freezer to help on a day when energy is at a minimum. When I am operating in Love, I can reach out to God on their behalf. I can ask for grace. I can raise their name knowing that the Higher Power knows more about what they need than I do. I can trust that God loves them more than I could ever imagine. 

Eventually all of us go back to the Creator. In the meantime, our goal is to show love and share hope and faith. I can do that for these friends. And, as I allow this to be about them and not me, I am freed up in my thought and action so God can ease their difficult time using my hands and feet. The blessing comes right back to me. Powerlessness doesn't matter to the One who has all power. I just need to hook up.

Be a blessing, and be blessed. And if I haven't told you how much I value you in my little world, let me say it now. I thank my God for you. I thank you for the gift of yourself you have sprinkled into my life. I will count it as joy forever.

Thursday, August 14th
When we are small, we believe the words of the adults around us. Since they are supplying our food and shelter at this point, they are important people and we look to them with expectance.

Some of us heard falsehoods from these authority figures. "You'll never amount to anything," or "You're the prettiest girl in the world!" Clearly, one was said with love and pride and the other was said with resentment or irritation. Still, the child only hears words from the authority in life, and the child's job is to believe.

What were you told as a youngster? Now that you're an adult, check the words. Are they true? If not, do you still believe them? One way to know if you do is to note how you feel when they are spoken. Do you feel sadness, rejection, or an ache in your stomach? Sometimes, the very pain that overcomes us when old memories surface is the telling sign that we have bought into an untruth, and it is affecting our lives right now.

Try to listen to the commentary objectively. If someone said that to your child, would you allow it? Chances are good that you would stand up for your child. Do that NOW for yourself. Listen to the words that you remember and allow the adult in you to negate them. When you hear it, say out loud the words, "Cancel. Cancel." Then, speak new words . . . speak the Truth. Say it out loud and claim it as your new belief. Thank God for the insight and the ability to employ the new thinking.

Shifting false beliefs takes some work, but you've got it made once you are aware of the faulty thinking. Turn the bad thinking over to the care of God, and begin to speak the Truth into your life. Start today. With time, your entire perspective will change and heal. You will become who you were created to be.

Be blessed. 

Thursday, August 7th
Recently someone close to me has been dealing with a compulsion. The words "dealing with" and "compulsion" are rarely in the same sentence because the reality of compulsion is that it pops it's little head up when one least expects it. If fighting a thought consistently, then that would be an obsession. A compulsion, on the other hand, hits all at once. That is why compulsion can be so deadly. It plays on impulsivity and immediate action. The only solution for compulsion is to slow down, take a deep breath, and think it through. Sadly, that's the issue. Compulsions take hold when we don't think things through.

Are you suffering with compulsive thoughts? This week, let's ask for awareness so the quick response is not our first choice. Let's speak our truth to someone else so we can get feedback. Let's take time for breathing. Most of all, let's ask for help. Go to the God of your understanding and ask to have the compulsion lifted, one day at a time. Whether your compulsion is for negativity, for addiction, for disconnection, or another rapid response to a difficult situation, don't go it alone. Ask God to remove it, just for today.

Then tomorrow, ask again. It can be this simple. If you want the better life, ask for it. You are so worth it!

Thursday, July 31st
Finding your passion can be difficult, especially if you've given up on yourself. Giving up happens when we lose hope. We stop expecting the best, or even just the good, to happen. We settle into a role that we created with untruths and self-centered fears. We stagnate. We slip. We fall into hopelessness.

There's good news to share. Hopelessness can be overcome. But we have to go deeper at first. Beneath the feeling of hopelessness there is a bottom called powerlessness. That is the exact place where we can begin again. When we admit powerlessness, we are finished trying to handle it ourselves. This is the perfect place where a Higher Power and other people can lend a hand. This is the place of connection.

All human beings are created as communal beings. We are created for community. We need each other.

All human beings are created for spiritual connection. We are spiritual beings. We need the Higher Power.

Once this beginning is made, you are on the road to finding and rekindling your passion. Trust the process. Ask for help. Move forward, even if you can only take baby steps at first. Live in the moment. Hang with those who are also seeking their highest good.

Quit settling today. Be who you were created to be. You 'da bomb, baby. Trust me. I can see it in you.

Thursday, July 24th
Butterflies are everywhere these days, and they are very telling. Before they fly from posey to posey, there is a long series of personal changes that must be undergone. Beginning in a wormy state, there is a time of change that takes place in cocoon. The down time is transformative. Eventually, the very same life rises in grace and floats off into the sky, flitting from beautiful flower to beautiful flower.

I have lived that reality, have you? Are we butterflies? One thing is definite. We, too, are the beautiful creations of the Most High God, and we are created to move in grace from one equisite place to the next. The only thing holding us back will be our inability to recognize our new wings.

Let's fly!

Thursday, July 17th
I've been thinking about two phrases that I learned when studying the 12 Steps, and now I realize how different they are. One is "psychic change" and the other is "spiritual awakening." I have been blessed with both of these promises of living according to the tenets and principles on which this life plan is built.

To have a psychic change is to have the Higher Power rewire your thinking. Amazing as it is, there are things that I believe fully today that would have been considered alien ideology a few years ago. Better yet, because of these changes in thinking, I am a new creation. Progress is normal, and open-mindedness is a way of life.

Oddly enough, the open mind was the precursor of psychic change. As I allowed myself to let others share their truths even if they were foreign to me, I began to grow more willing to stretch the parameters of my own consciousness. I challenged old thinking and questioned the beliefs lurking in the dark spaces of my head.

In the end, I was gifted with better self-knowledge and an amazing new mindset. The pyschic change had taken place.

With the major life changes evoked by working the 12 Steps as a way of life, in addition to the psychic transformation there will also be physical and spiritual alterations. For this conversation, spiritual awakening is the other promise.

To awaken to one's true self is part of spiritual awakening, because within each of us is a center that is programmed to connect with our Source. The inner voice that tells us when we're on track or off-base comes from this place. The key component in this awakening process for me was awareness. Once awake, I am accutely aware of my interactions in this world. It is evident when I am living my Truth and when I am hiding in error and ego. Spiritual awakening is about living authentically, fully connected to my True Self and fully connected to the God of my understanding.

These two gifts are worth the effort it takes to do the work of the 12 Steps. Whether you seek relief from addiction, codependency, or powerlessness of another nature, the 12 Steps can lead you to freedom and genuine happiness. Don't underestimate these gifts . . . they truly keep on giving.

Thursday, July 10th
There's an old saying I like. It goes like this:  "It's not the lions and tigers that eat you up . . . it's the gnats and the fleas."

We can often handle the BIG stuff, but the small inconveniences can make us nuts. We lose our peace of mind and reach the boiling point quickly. Can you relate?

Just for today, I will ask for help with those bothersome, little annoyances. I will breathe and get centered before I react or respond. Just for today, I will take a moment so I can see things in perspective instead of in anger or anxiety. I will call upon the Higher Power to grant me grace, and I will hold my tongue until that grace is upon me.

May our spiritual natures help us to navigate life's irritations that can cause our emotional natures to become unbalanced. May we breathe in and out, knowing that "this, too, shall pass."

Thursday, July 3rd
Freedom. That's what we celebrate this week in America. But do you have it in yourself?

Many that read these missives know the feeling of becoming unleashed to chemicals and behaviors that have run their show for years. Release from addiction or addictive behaviors is a freedom like no other. 238 years ago, the rebels sought freedom from a tyrant king. Today, many seek freedom from a tyrant that lives in their own heads.

Compulsivity is tricky. We think we lack willpower. But that isn't quite right. We lack power, that is for sure . . . but our will is generally resigned to the domineering voice that screams to be satiated. Only a greater power can overcome that demand, and sadly, that will cannot be created within the sufferer. 

This Fourth of July weekend, do yourself a favor. Ask the God of your understanding to fight your fight for you. Turn over the behaviors, the thoughts, the mania once and for all. Try a simple prayer like this:

"God, HELP!"

Whether you're dealing with a substance like cigarettes or alcohol - or a behavior like shopping or isolating - don't go it alone. Ask for help. It's not the action alone that needs to change. It's the actual way of thinking that must be modified for long-lasting results. God can and will. Give yourself a gift this holiday weekend, and ask for help. The freedom you find can change your life forever.

Thursday, June 26th
“We need to have people who mean something to us; people to whom we can turn knowing that being with them is coming home.”   - Goethe

Whenever I spend time with my brothers and sisters, I come to a place of belonging that I realize not everyone reading this blog knows. Many of us were hurt by our families of origin and have not been able to piece together the full belonging that is our due.

I have good news if I am talking to you personally. I was where you are because of a history marked with strife and misperceptions. I have been able to heal beyond those hurts and I can love my family of origin now like never before. It may take some time, and it will definitely take some work, but you, too, can heal if you want.

That’s a big statement, and the emphasis should be on if you want. Sometimes, we stay stuck in old feelings because we avoid the work it takes to move beyond it. I encourage you to choose again. The benefits of uncovering Truth are varied and life-changing. In my case, there were many things I simply misunderstood as a child, and carried those beliefs into adulthood. I approached adulthood with the base belief structure of an eight-year old. That didn’t work. If I’m talking your language here, it’s time to challenge your beliefs. Look at the painful past with today’s adult mind. Try to see why and how things unfolded. Were there bad motives by family members? If not, forgiveness must come into play. Slowly, you will heal. Ask God to help you see the Truth.

Perhaps your case is different. Perhaps the Truth you will uncover will show you that you were not safe in that family environment. Nonetheless, coming into understanding of that point is a major victory. You still need a “family”. Sometimes, we forget that we can create a “family of choice” to replace the family of origin that was dangerous to us. Once you allow the Truth to filter into your heart and mind, you will be able to allow the Higher Power to bring you secure relationships that give you the sense of belonging you are meant to have.

In any case, read the quote by Goethe above again. We were created to need others, and it’s time to get busy letting that unfold.

Thursday, June 19th
Choose to be happy. Is it really a choice?

Recently, I've been inundated with emotional news. Some  beloved friends are dealing with illness, my oldest child turned 21 years old, and I'm getting ready to spend a week with my family of origin. Obviously, some of the news is sad, and other parts are wonderful. But, emotion affects me the same when it's turned up full blast. I get overwhelmed, and in that state of mind, I can shut down a bit.

Choose to be happy. That's my answer. It is a choice. Clearly, I will have to feel other feelings day in and day out. That is the beauty of the human condition. We are "feel-ers". If I shut down because I'm maxed out, though, I can get stuck. Yes, I miss out on the bad, but I miss out on the good too.

Choose to be happy. Again, that's my answer. How to do it? Beome aware of the overwhelm, ask the Higher Power for help, and move into happiness. Smiling helps. Just choosing to smile makes a difference.

If I could choose for you, you know you'd be smiling right now. How about it? Wanna' join me?

Thursday, June 12th
An old friend named Georgie who has passed away a few years back used to always tell me, "Learn to listen, and listen to learn." What a wise woman she was!

Recently I've been pondering a question that has to do with this thought. Which has impacted me the most, that which I've learned or that which I've "unlearned"? For many of us, coming into wholeness has to do with recognizing that we've adopted the beliefs and rules of others as if they were our own. Never really thinking about them, we have lived into a place that may or may not reflect our real point of view. 

This week I challenge you to look deeply and see if you're reading from a Rules of the Road book that was written by someone else. This is your life, and you get to make decisions based on your heart . . . not on your past or the people who were in it.

Ask the Higher Power to reveal your personal Truth to you. When it comes, you will feel peace and connection that will transcend the old payoffs of obedience and self-righteousness. The freedom will rock your world. No worries . . . it will come slowly. It will unfold in ways that open you up to a new level of living, and you will feel secure in your person.

God is absolutley crazy about you . . . and so are we. Let the real you come out and play.

Thursday, June 5th
Summer is upon us. For those of us with children, we are celebrating the end of another school year. For those of us who have worked all year long, we are celebrating the opportunity to take a vacation. For some, we will enjoy the outdoors more than we could in the winter months. For others, we will catch up on sleep. Summer can really rock if we allow it.

Will you allow it? What do you allow in your life? It's a funny question, I know. But the reality of each person is that only that which he allows can truly impact his life. Sometimes, we are "not allowing" because we are not aware that's what it takes to make things change.

Most of us are in agreement that we have very little control over other people, places, and things. That said, we still stress and lament about life's issues. We struggle and manipulate. We worry.

When we are able to practice allowance, life changes. We allow issues to unfold around us, getting involved only when called upon. We let go of troublesome issues, and let God handle them. We start to participate in life instead of trying to anticipate life. It is much less stressful. We give others space to learn and make mistakes while we love them. We give God space to be God . . . we get out of the way.

Allowing is a simple concept, but a difficult practice for those of us who have been micro-managing for years. Ask for help. Pray. Open your mind to the possibility that you don't have to have your "cerebral hand" on everything going on in your world. Allowing is an art form that some of us will come to know. I hope that includes you and me.  

Thursday, May 29th
Do you disdain neediness? I do. When I feel vulnerable, I go on defense and try to get myself "squared away" so I can move forward with power. Or, at least, I can move forward "looking like" I have power.

When I looked deeper, I asked myself, "Do vulnerability and neediness arise from Love or from fear?" This is a tough question. At first, I thought the answer was that they were definitely fear-based stances. But then I asked another question. "Are vulnerability and neediness natural human states?" To that, I quickly answered, "Yes." Continuing to dabble with these thoughts, I realized that like almost any natural state of being, I can take it to the extreme trying to get my needs met. When selfishness enters the picture, that which is natural becomes unnatural.

I learned early on to fight any feeling of neediness with self-sufficiency. I began to believe that to need the help from others was connected somehow to being afraid. I fought that feeling like no other. It never occurred to me that neediness is just another word for powerlessness. Since I didn't see that all were created to need other humans, I swung out of balance and into an extreme default setting.  Once in default, I never questioned the behavior. I just repeated it.

It is a selfish person that does not ask for help.

It is a selfish person that covers true feelings in an effort to "look good."

Selfishness, in these cases, is a function of lack of personal examination. The thinking only of self happened long ago and became a way of life . . . an unchallenged way of life.

What do you need? If your answer was a quick, "Nothing," you are not living in Truth. We all need connection. We all need communication. We all need to thrive if we are to be happy. This week I ask you to allow vulnerability to enter your domain. It is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of community.

Thursday, May 22nd
Bless all who are reading this blog, dear God.

Hold them close and let them feel the release of physical, emotional and spiritual pain while surrounded in Your grace.

Renew their passions daily.

Remove the false beliefs that bind them to heartache and push them to repeat behaviors that do not serve.

Teach them the law of gratitude so that they might experience joy.

Give them a listener who willingly allows them to share without fear or shame.

Let them know Your lovingkindness and give them peace.

Thank You for being Love so they will come to know it in power and Truth.

Amen.

Thursday, May 15th
I love LIFE, and all is well.

Say it a few times. When you're having a bad moment, remind yourself these important truths.

I love LIFE, and all is well.

The sentence sounds very simple, but it packs a punch. Spoken regularly, it will change your life. Give it a try. What have you got to lose?

I love LIFE, and all is well.

Thursday, May 8th
What are you aware of today that was hidden in your psyche yesterday?

Awareness is such a gift. It comes to us when we least expect it when a moment of clarity couples with the grace of God and the magic ensues. We become aware. One of the benefits is that once awareness arrives on the scene, we see the scene in a new way. We can't deny the new perspective, and we can't fall back into denial without great effort.

Awareness is often a gift from spirit. It's as if our intellectual nature can't achieve that which it needs, so calls on spirit to help. Whenever spirit is involved in transformation, we grow in understanding, and come to believe as never before.

May you be gifted with new awareness today. May God show you a new vista of an old issue, and may that new vista set you free!

Thursday, May 1st
Today is the National Day of Prayer. Let's keep this short and take our time considering our requests for our personal lives. Together, however, let's pray:

God, we come together today to lift our nation to your capable hands. Be with all of us, those who vote, those who make laws, those who secure our borders, those who reach out to other nations, and all Americans no matter what their role. We know that you love us more than we know. Help us to love ourselves. We know that you are merciful to us more than we know. Help us to be merciful with ourselves. We know that you have wonderful hope for our positive and loving future. Help us to have hope for our positive and loving future, too. Sometimes, it is hard to get through the struggles of this world. Be present with us and remind us always that you are but a thought away. Let us rest in you. Let us rest. Amen.

Thursday, April 24th
Feeling vulnerable is uncomfortable. It smacks of powerlessness in an arena where I think I should have power. Recently, the Higher Power has been making sure I have plenty of vulnerable moments. I am learning to ask for help instead of give it. I am learning to rely on the experience and ideas of others instead of my own. I am opening up to a world that I kept shut in an effort to feel safe and powerful.

I am learning that false safety and false power are just other drugs to which I can become addicted. I'm going through withdrawal now, and feeling the tension. Nonetheless, I am feeling it. I am living through it. I am growing spiritually. And best of all, I am living the Truth.

Have you been here? If you shy away from this growth process, you also miss the wonder of knowing others more deeply and allowing their input to impact your life. Like King David wrote in the Psalms of old," Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning." It is true. The discomfort, when it lifts here and there, reveals joy unspeakable. I want the joy . . . so I guess I will continue to allow the vulnerability. Doesn't seem like much of a trade, does it? Even so, I fought it at first.

Peace to all who identify. There is a way out, and you won't be alone. I'm out there right now, and I found the path is not empty. You will not be alone.

Thursday, April 17th
Around the world, people are celebrating Easter week and remembering the Passover Seder that Jesus the Christ shared with his disciples on this day. Each of us can learn from this wonderful tale, because each of us is called to sacrifice from time to time.

How is it that Love involves sacrifice? We see it in soldiers who give their all for love of country. We see it in parents who go without personally so that their children can succeed. We see it in friendships when a troubled one wouldn't be able to make it without the support and encouragement of another. We see it, but we hate to admit that the word SACRIFICE is part and parcel of our lifestyles.

When I went to Merriam Webster Online to see what it had to say, there was this interesting sentence. The motivation for sacrifice is to perpetuate, intensify, or reestablish a connection between the human and the divine. You may be thinking that this is only in relation to sacrifice as a religious service. I disagree.

When I put myself in second place for another, my motivation is to perpetuate and intensify the connection between myself and the divine - namely Love. Is God love? Your answer matters not to me. I know that when I am living Love, I am outside the boundaries of my humanity and leaning on something spiritual that overwrites my basic desire to get my own needs met. This special "something" allows me to go beyond where my own thinking can take me and to reside in the place of the heart that knows no limitations.

For whom have you sacrificed in your life? Think back on it. Did it benefit you in the end? If so, how? If not, wasn't being ousted of ego and surrounded by love a benefit of sorts? Even if it just lasted a few moments, wasn't losing yourself to something greater beneficial?

Heavy questions for a Thursday, I know. But, the Easter story is about someone willingly taking up a cross in my place. In the Easter story, that one rises from the dead because the sacrifice was enough to displace the normal chain of events. Again, I ask you to review your sacrifices. Do you see the benefits?

Happy kids. Healthy friends. Safe nation.

Happy Easter to you and yours with great love from me and the BethWE gang. May you never see sacrifice as loss again.

Thursday, April 10th
This Saturday, we are doing a workshop on improving spirit life, and I am getting excited about the subject matter because it can truly change a life. Anytime we focus on shortcomings and ask for help to bring them to a higher level, the world as we know it shifts. It's not just in the territory of spirit. Imagine this:

A 300-lb. man comes to a decision to change his physical world by learning to eat differently and lose weight. Over the course of a year, he drops 109 lbs. Of course, he is wearing new clothing, because the bigger sizes no longer serve. His face looks younger according to friends, and he finds it easier to move and breathe. This changes what he does, and he runs four days a week because he loves how it clears his mind. He is incredibly grateful, and he connects in spirit in thankfulness. He can see God more clearly now, too, and because he feels he has received such a blessing he is more likely to pay it forward. He becomes a giver.

Does this story seem far-fetched at all? Not really. We can all imagine how a huge physical transformation can affect a person. New clothes, new mindset, new lease on life are just some of the outcomes of the change. Like the blog from last week, we are realizing that the parameters of body, mind and spirit overlap as we grow more connected to our True Self and Source.  

One can only imagine what can happen when we work on our spirit nature. Of course, it will affect how we connect with the God of our understanding. But can you see how it will also change our mind and body? Clearly, as we become more spiritually fit we begin to think differently. We open our minds to others and allow their personal dogmas because we feel comfortable and safe with our own. We judge less and love more. As we grow spiritually, we begin to look at the world around us in a new way. We see nature as an artistic creation of the Master, and we connect more fully and intimately with sunsets, waves, and trees. We may begin to meditate, which calms the body and mind, as well as connecting the spirit.

One small change can become a huge opening for new awarenesses. Just for today, won't you make one? It can be simple like getting quiet for five minutes in the morning and longing for connection with Source. You will reap results, no matter how small the adjustment. Give it a go.

Thursday, April 3rd
Today on the radio show we talked about the three natures that make up humans – body, mind, and spirit. While each of us have all three of these natures, usually we tend to be stronger in one area than another. For example, some of you reading this may have been always called a “natural athlete.” Physicality is your strength, and you are conscious of what you eat, how you exercise, and how much rest you attain. Others among you are known for your mental abilities – perhaps an intellectual gifting or an emotional understanding. You are able to use your mind power to your advantage, and you count on its might. A third group out there is known to be spiritually “hooked up”. You are in relationship with Source Power, and you are comfortable with that connection, and share it openly.

As we endeavor toward wholeness, though, it becomes an aspiration to integrate these three natures successfully. Many have experienced an overlap in these natures as we make progress. Perhaps you use spiritual meditation to quiet your mind. Maybe you use mind power to discipline yourself to follow a physical routine that will benefit your body. Possibly a walk through nature sparks your senses, and allows you to feel closer to the Creative Spirit.

My hope is that you will allow your three natures to merge in wholeness so that all of us get the benefit of your development. My hope is that I will allow my three natures to merge in wholeness so that all of you get the benefit of my development. We’re all in this together. That makes it so much better. We each get to grow at our own rate, but we get the encouragement of watching others advance at distinctive paces because of the diverse actions they have chosen. Let’s continue on the path, knowing that there is always room for improvement while we’re wearing these skin suits.

Thursday, March 27th
My friend John made an interesting comment yesterday. "I have two nature's to my psyche, the one that questions everything and the one that knows everything." Sadly, I related.

What is it about us that makes us want to know it all, or at least appear to know it all? Our egos get us into so much trouble. It seems to be worse for me when I am running on the fly. If I'm fully present and thinking clearly, I don't claim to have all the answers.

The other thought is also interesting to me. Do I really question everything? Again, it depends on my state of mind. If I am fully present, the questioning is healthy and right. I am seeking to understand that which eludes me, or trying to understand another person's point of view.

Oddly enough, I'm still considering this comment. Thank God that I still have time to grow into all God had in mind for me to be when I was designed.One thing is certain, I am still a work in progress. 

Thursday, March 20th
For many people reinventing their lives, there is a slogan that really helps them succeed. The slogan is this: "One day at a time". Now, some of you are thinking that you know all about that statement, and this blog will be a waste of time at worst, and a "refresher" at best. Hear me out.

Recently, I have been experiencing some unusual trials on a personal level. When overwhelmed, I find myself trying to take some deep breaths and return to my present moment to regain the element of calm. In that time, I call upon God to bring me peace, and clearly I am directed to the Truth that all I have to do is focus on the moment. God is always in the moment. 

In the Torah, God revealed a name for Moses to call when in need. The name selected was "I AM." This might be the ticket to wholeness for many of us. When suffering personally, I find my thoughts straying into yesterday or tomorrow. God didn't say to call "I Was" or "I Will Be".

Why, then, does one day at a time work? Obviously, for me, it directs my human mind to return to the present where the Higher Power lives and moves. I have come to trust that I can always reconnect if I can get back to the NOW.

I hope this simple Truth will serve you. Don't make it deeper than it is. What I do is simple. When I am troubled, I close my eyes and will myself to return to the present. I ask for help to stay here. I breathe in PEACE and breathe out CHAOS. I believe that I will be connected with Source energy in this action, and it happens.

Here is a wonderful little story by a woman named Helen Mallicoat that may drive this point home more clearly. I hope it speaks to you, too. Be blessed.

I was regretting the past
and fearing the future.
Suddenly, my Lord was speaking.
"My name is I Am."

He paused. I waited. He continued.

"When you live in the past,
with its mistakes and regrets,
it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not "I was."

When you live in the future,
with its problems and fears,
it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not "I will be."

When you live in this moment
it is not hard. I am here.
My name is "I AM."

Thursday, March 13th
Today is an important day in my life. Years ago, this day changed the course of how I live today. Twenty-five years ago I made a decision to live a new way of life one day at a time. Because of that choice, my world is completely different.

In the end, it all comes down to desire. Long ago, my desires had brought me to a place of brokenness. and I had lost hope. Change appealed, and since I was already in so much emotional pain my fear took a backseat for once. Though I didn't really know what had to happen, I knew that I was desperate

Back then, desperation was my only guaranteed motivator. I'm happy to say that is no longer the case today. As I began to seek a way to live a happy and usefully whole life, I found new avenues to trust the God of my understanding. And the best part for me as a tentative, fragmented self was that God was respectful of my state of being. Never was I forced to believe or do anything that seemed contrary to the settings of my inner-knowing. Change came very gradually just like in any other relationship.

Looking for a relationship changes our reality. Think about it. If you sought a babysitter, you would begn looking for a trustworthy person to whom you could deliver your most precious cargo.  You would build the relationship over time, learning to trust through positive experience.

This is how I built my relationship with my Source. Now, years later, we are super close because we have had so many interactions. If you are new to this phase of your spiritual development, be of good cheer. God will make it easy for you. It is not a race. It is a relationship. Those take time to develop. Just give it a chance. Spend some time with God, and you will come to understand God better. It works. At least, it did for me and many others I know. Believe that we believe. That's a start.  

Thursday, March 6th
"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear."  - Mark Twain

When I teach a seminar on Courage, I always point out that the root of the word COUR is from the Latin for heart. Courage is not about strength . . . it is about love.

What are you fearing today? What is slowing you down? It will take heart to get through it. That's why it's sometimes helpful to look to others for support. Better yet, when you find others who have walked the path with which you struggle, you will gain the benefit of their experience. This experience may save you many tears and pains.

Give it a chance. Don't sit in the dark hoping to feel better. Get out there and ask for help with your dilemma. Ask one person, or join a group. See a counselor, or find an online meeting. Don't wrestle with fear alone. There are so many of us in this world who could benefit from the opportunity to help another. Don't steal our opportunity.

Who knows? Your interaction may be the first step in our taking action ourselves. Have a heart. Walk in courage.

Thursday, February 27th
A little girl sitting in front of a castle in rags begging for food calls a sad image to mind, right? What if that little girl lived in the castle, and her family had everything she needed to get her needs met immediately? Why would she be outside begging?

The only possible answer is that she doesn't know she is part of the family. Because of her ignorance, she sits at the gates day in and day out asking for what she already possesses. From time to time, someone comes along to remind her what is REAL - that she is actually the princess, but because she doesn't believe it, their words fall on deaf ears. She responds by lifting an empty cup, hoping to get the dregs of their day.

Many of us suffer with limited thinking. We hold tight to our old ideas like empty cans into which we hope a few cents will fall from the hands of "those who have more". Holding onto these skewed ideas disallows us from hearing the Truth when it speaks to us. Sometimes, the empty can of our false beliefs has to do with our real identity. Who are you? You are the beloved of the Most High Source. You have confused your identity with your accomplishments. My hope is that you will find your stand and become REAL right where you are today.

In closing, I will leave you with the words of Margery Williams from her classic tale THE VELVETEEN RABBIT. I hope the words speak to your heart and free you from the rags in which you sit. You are very real and well-loved because the Higher Power made it so long, long ago.

“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'

'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit. 

'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.' 

'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?' 

'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.” 

Thursday, February 20th
I was driving behind a cute little compact and noticing how the shape was engineered to delight. It occurred to me that the creativity of humans is often overlooked simply because we see it everywhere. We forget that somewhere someone was formulating an idea and bringing it to the drawing board. From there, someone else was developing a plan to bring the drawing to life. For things like vehicles and homes, we needed the collective genius of many to ensure  that safety and versatility are matched with quality appearance and comfortability. I am so grateful to be among the species that was fashioned in the image of Creation, and given the gift of dreaming an idea and bringing it to fruition. I am also grateful that this experience can be magnified when I combine my visions and knowledge with the insights and gifts of others. Together, we can create so much more.

We need each other. It is clear. Together, we achieve more than we can achieve alone. Together, our visions can exceed our understanding. Together, we accomplish that which we had never considered on our own.

I'll always remember the hot summer morning that I wrote on my gratitude list:  "I am grateful to have been born AFTER the man who invented air conditioning." Just for today, look around you. Find five things for which you are grateful that were fashioned by a human who came before you. Celebrate your humanity by recognizing what gifts into which you were born. We should never cease to give thanks, because we take so much for granted.

All of us at www.BethWE.com are grateful for you, too. Like was said before . . . we need each other. Thanks for being part of our life experience. We thank Source for you daily. Be blessed.

Thursday, February 13th 
Looking toward Valentine's Day tomorrow, I wish you love. What do I mean by that?

I'm drawing from a spiritual reading for this one, written by a man who had a huge personal shift in one moment that caused him to completely change his beliefs, his life work, and his circle of friends. His name was Paul, and he wrote these words on love:

"Love is patient, love is kind." With whom can you be consistently patient and kind? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could answer that we practice these principles with all those we love? When people give me the time I need, it is a gift. Patience is a form of kindness in this way.

"It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud." This statement can only be true when I am not comparing the outsides of others to how my insides feel. Boasting can be an attempt to convince others (or myself) that I am enough. This line really speaks to how I feel about me. That is a precursor to knowing real love. To love others, I have to love myself.

"It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." When Paul wrote these words, he recognized that there are those among us for whom selfishness is a way of life. We view the world through "me-colored" glasses. As we begin to grow spiritually, this is one of the wonderful consequences. We grow in open-mindedness, and we start to give others the space they need to be themselves. Keeping record of wrongs is a horrible habit. Keeping track of the errors of others creates guaranteed disharmony.

"Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth." This will happen when I am comfortable in my own skin, and truly feel like I'm part and parcel of this big universe. I belong, and I celebrate the connection that I feel in that state.

"It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." This is the best promise I've ever been given. I cannot fear moving forward when I know I am enveloped in the love of my Higher Power. I can risk being myself when those around me exude love toward me. Most of all, even when I get caught in my old thinking and sell myself short, I know that as I choose loving actions for self, I can come around to being all that God had in mind for me to be when I was created.

On this holiday of love, I wish you love for self, for others, and for God. Who loves 'ya, baby? I do! I do!

Thursday, February 6th
What are you thinking about right now? How are you feeling? Are the two ideas connected?

Feelings and thoughts are closely related. We have a thought, and then a feeling emerges directly. Depending on what that feeling evokes in us, we respond in actions and behaviors.

Let's keep this blog simple this week. Is your thought positive or negative? Remember this: the feeling that will follow will be a result of that question. Contemplate negative thoughts and you will brew negative emotions. Contemplate positive thoughts, and you will feel positive emotions. When stuck in the dark, or the negative, simply choose again.

Having a tough time trying to figure out how to "choose" a better base thought?  Always remember you are made of three natures: physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual. Utilize this information when you are stuck in emotional negativity. Ask for help from your spiritual side. Pray. Meditate. Get help from your physical side, too. Take a walk. Peruse nature. When one nature is struggling to attain its highest good, get help from the other natures.

Thursday, January 30th
Often, we hear of people going through a mountaintop experience. For most, this means that something has blown their mind with intensity, and they feel that the situation will change their entire life. On the top of the mountain, we can look down and see the path we have traveled to attain our new footing. In general, people love being on the mountain top.

Many long for this highpoint in life, and for good reason. Let's face it, it's good to be at the top of your game. Today, however, I want you to allow your mind to wander. I want to pick apart the "landscape" in your mind's eye and see something important that may help you when the mountain is out of range, and your shoes are covered in mud.

In geography class, we learned that the most fertile soils are in the valleys. This is key information. The most substantial growth that occurs on this planet occurs in fertile soil, and this won't happen when we're "Rocky Mountain high". Growth happens when we're in the valley, and with growth comes new experiences, new opportunities to feed others with the surplus, and new understandings of how to move to new heights in the future.

If you're not on the top of your game, don't fret. Recognize the season of growing in which you stand. Fertilize your mind, heart, and body with plenty of sleep, good food to eat, and the input of others who have been this way before. Water your experience regularly letting the emotions flow out through sharing and exercise. See your current placement is temporal. You, too, will reach the peaks in the future. For today, celebrate the valley. Feel the dirt between your fingers and the sun on your back. This, too, shall pass. And when it's gone, you'll actually miss some of it.

Thursday, January 23rd
Let's just say you knew of a person that could possibly help you to get to a new level in life. You mentioned this person to others you know well. Immediately, they said, "Yes, he could definitely help you . . . if he wanted to. Generally, when you get close to that guy, he is harsh and commanding. If you don't do what he says, he'll squash you like a bug."

How willing would you be to pursue that relationship? Would you risk it, or look for another way to succeed?

For many of us, this is the way we came to know about the Higher Power. Someone called It by name and told us how exacting It was. Justice was the dominant characteristic, and you would pay for any mistakes or shenanigans. Nonetheless, there were times when you thought that was the relationship that would take you to the next level. But risk it? No way.

This blog is designed to tell you another story. Have you ever met a person who was not the way you thought they would be? Maybe you expected authority and were given compassion. Maybe you expected snobbishness and were given a sense of belonging. Maybe you thought they were out of reach, and found they were ready, willing, and able.

What if you are delaying the discovery of your Source because of bad intel from other sources? What if your parents were wrong in what they taught you because they didn't really know the Higher Power at a personal level. They were just passing on what they "heard".

Hopefully, if it were someone that could help you rise to the pinacle of your success you would pursue the relationship anyway. Perhaps you would proceed with caution at first, but you would take the chance in hopes of moving ahead in light years instead of seconds. Won't you give God that chance? Open up slowly, and be honest. Say, "I'm afraid You might be like others have told me and I don't want to get all religious or anything, but I am asking You to become real to me. But, be gentle. I don't mind taking this slowly."

What do you think about God? Are the things running through your mind right now even yours? Or, are they hand-me-down beliefs that don't serve anyone? Know the answer to these questions. It's okay to let go of hand-me-downs, especially if they don't fit or are worn out. Get your own understanding, and build your own relationship. It's worth it in the end.

Thursday, January 16th
Downloading emotions is an important part of working through them. I just came from a meeting with two women friends that I lovingly call my “Manna Sisters”. We meet regularly to encourage and support each other, and like “manna from heaven”, we need a new supply of those two attributes - encouragement and support - daily. That’s why we choose to meet regularly. 

Who do you go to for backup? With whom do you download weighty subjects and get an objective view so you can work them out? Do you have a network?

If you answered "no" to that last question, this blog is for you. It’s time to do yourself a favor. I encourage you to reach out to a few friends that are also seeking fullness of life and ask them to build a network with you. Meet for an hour a week just to compare notes, share struggles, laugh at foibles, and cheer each other on to victory.

Connection is the answer. It brings love, assistance, accountability, and reassurance. It makes me think of a wonderful quote by a man named Goethe.

"We need to have people who mean something to us; people to whom we can turn knowing that being with them is coming home."

Thursday, January 9th
Many years ago, I wanted to live a different life. I wanted to know how to do the right thing more naturally. I wanted less drama and more peace. I wanted to treat those I love with respect and dignity. I wanted to know myself as a co. ntributor instead of as a taker. I wanted to stop using chemicals to handle overwhelming emotions. I wanted my relationship with God to grow to be more effective. I wanted a lot.

Just then, this man came into my life. His name was Lanny Gregory. Lanny was a Boston Irish fellow who had moved to Florida and restarted his life much as I was hoping to restart mine. Lanny helped me when I needed it. He shared a group of principles that had allowed him to become all that God had in mind for him to be. He showed me a series of actions to take that would allow my mindset to change, which is the precursor for radical life alterations. Then, he did the outrageous. He showed me how to help others so that this process could help the seeker find the same solace I was coming to know. He taught me how to pass it on. Sharing with seekers is now the foundation of my entire life. It is my passion and my calling. In short, Lanny Gregory introduced me to my True Self.

We lost him this week on the physical plane. This man who gave of himself with a jolly laugh and blushed easily when I complimented or thanked him for his selfless giving has left this world to be with the Higher Power. Of course, he will never be gone as long as those of us keep him alive in our memories.

Thank you, Lanny Gregory. Your life was a tool in the hands of the Creator, and I am a new creation because of your impact on my life. And more than that, thank You God for allowing me to be part of his clan.

We'll miss you so.  

Thursday, January 2nd
What does the "new year" mean to you? Is it a reset button for your financial affairs? Is it the opportunity to reset you life, swearing off things that didn't work in the last 12 months and promising not to repeat mindless behaviors? Is it a list of resolutions guaranteed to be put on a back shelf by next Monday? Or, is it just another day for you?

New is a good word. It brings hope as well as challenge. It promises perspectives not yet employed, and thought processes not yet considered. A new year is your gift from the human need to mark time. Hopefully, you are embracing your new year with enthusiasm.

Maybe you're too tired to embrace anything. This is about more work: taking down a tree without breaking the ornaments, cleaning the kitchen after unbridled food fiascos by all in the household, and tying up the books so the tax man will make an appointment with you. If this rings true, just remember it is your choice. The above sentences are mindsets that can be changed if you choose. YOU get to pick your view on life. You can start your day, or your year, over anytime you choose.

Start first thing in the morning. Bless your day and your activities. Ask for what you need to make it easier. There is a Source power into which you can tap. Don't be afraid. Ask. The year ahead will be built one day at a time. Ask daily, and then take action. Just watch the energy and effort translate to great fruit on the tree of your life.

Happy New Year!

Beth's Blog 2013

Thursday, December 26th
Hopefully, you've had a week of joy. Hopefully, you found yourself surrounded by friends and family. But, maybe not.

If loneliness is your lot in life, it's time to take action. In the end, the ability to connect with other people is one of the perks of being human. Each of us was created with the innate desire for community. Isolation comes to those who have been hurt, and eventually it may feel like a "better" way to live. This is not true. Unfortunately, when we close ourselves off to people in an effort to feel no pain, we also close ourselves off to our ability to feel joy. We can't lose one end of the spectrum without shutting down the other end of the spectrum. And that means real loss.

If you made it through this week and have not experienced joy, let me reach out to you in empathy. I've been there, and I know how low it can feel. Happily, my experience shows that this burden does not have to be bourne alone. There are others, like me, who want to reach out to you, if only you would allow it. That's the hard part of reconnecting with the human race, you have to allow it to happen.

Allowing is an art form. It starts with accepting there is risk, and moving through it because the payoff is greater than the price. Trust me on this. We need you back. Please don't make us beg. Give us a chance and show up. Yes, as I said, I know that's risky to those of us who have been hurt in the past. Give us a chance anyway. The joy you will receive will be payback enough. I promise.

As we head into the New Year, my hope is that you will be by our side. Blessings and courage sent your way.

Thursday, December 19th
Rest is so important. Especially when the world is pulling you in different directions. Work is picking up. The holidays are upon us. Family members are fighting illness. Friends need a favor here or there. Gifts need to be mailed if they are to arrive on time. The house needs a deep cleaning. Oh, and the blog has to get written and posted. Ha!

When you have so much going on around you, it's hard to allow yourself to take a break. Yet, it seems clear that without rest we eventually become ineffective in our work. Throughout history, the most successful people to walk the planet have retreated from time to time to regroup and re-energize. It is an important part of living well.

I encourage you to take a night off. Go for a walk. Read a book. Watch a favorite old movie. Rest. Get quiet and find your calm. It is your due.

Thursday, December 12th
Discomfort. Is it emotional, physical, and/or spiritual? Sometimes, it can be hard to tell. We jump to treat that which we know best. We put off that which we do not understand.

For many of us, this means a quick run to the doctor's office. Oddly enough, that is not my "go-to" method. I attack all discomfort with prayer first. I ask the Higher Power to stay connected so I will get through the attack. From there, I reach out to my emotional support system. I usually call one of my sisters first, and then the network with which I've been blessed. The last thing I look at is my physical being. I'm slow to get my little behind to the doctor for a check-up. Even if I run a fever, I coach myself to hang in until it passes.

How do you deal with discomfort? It's good to know your "schtick". Then and only then can you shake it up to get unusual results. Many people get so busy before the holidays that they put the actions and behaviors that create their strong foundation on hold while they "take care of business." Reject that overload mentality. Each day, get quiet for a little while and know your truth. What do you need to stay centered and whole today? Please seek that knowing, and the power to get that need met. Just ask.

God is ready, willing and able. And you are so worth it.

Thursday, December 5th
Last night at the business where I work, the computers began to fail. Happily, I am trained to get them working again. I began using all the tools I have learned over the years in an effort to bring them back to operational stance. Each time I’d get the computers “up”, they would “crash” once again.

These computers are important to the company. In addition to ordering all the goods for customers and making sure the sales staff is charging the correct amount, these machines generate end-of-day reports that allow us to prepare the correct amount of perishable product day in and day out. Without that function, the establishment can suffer and spend needlessly.

At four different times during the crisis, I reached out to our on-call computer technician. Sadly, at each interval I had to leave a message. Nonetheless, I left the information I had knowing that when he could, he would respond. I continued with this knowing, trying to hold the operation together as best I could. Finally, the technician appeared, and took over.

This is a lot like my spirit walk. My brain is programmed just like a computer, and when it fails, I utilize all my tools to maintain an equilibrium until the Great Technician of the Universe arrives to rewrite my programming. In the end, anything lasting comes from Source. I can get through using my old ideas and ways, but to effect ongoing changes that best facilitate well-being and progress, I need a Higher Power. I bring the willingness and the perseverance, and God delivers with useful new thinking.

I the end, I can’t but God can. I just have to hold it together until God does.

Thursday, November 28th
Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tonight, we put up the Christmas tree and snuggled in to watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Settling into the holiday with the family, I found myself thinking back to the last time I thought of this claymation movie favorite.

I was doing research for a workshop I was preparing, and I wanted to get some input from others. Usually, when I need this kind of data, I go to a little diner in my hometown called the Kountry Kitchen. The morning crowd is used to me, and many volunteer to share their ideas on whatever the "question of the day" is.

On this particular day, I was asking folks to tell me a movie scene with which they identified. When I asked a young busman from Mexico, he was quick to answer. He called up the scene in the Rudolph movie when they don't allow Rudolph to join in reindeer games because he is different than the other young deer. This man, now in his early twenties, stood before me with pain memory on his face. I asked him one question.

"Did you see the end of the movie?"

A big grin broke out on his face. "Si, lo vi," he said. (Translation: "Yes, I saw it.") We reminisced together about the ending. The one who was taunted for being different was able to save the day in the end . . . precisely because of his unique gift.

So, for this day of gratitude, I offer you this wonderful Truth:

You are a wonderful and necessary part of this world. We need you just as you are. Your talents and weaknesses are important because together they allow you to gift us and to need us. Be blessed this holiday, knowing that you were wonderfully and carefully made by the Creator who looks at you with great love and tender acceptance. And . . . by the way . . . the Higher Power isn't the only one crazy about you. You're stuck with us, too!

Thursday, November 21st
When I’m talking with the Higher Power, I am trying to heighten our relationship by sharing my reality. Sometimes, even though I don’t get an audible answer to my commentary, I am comforted with signs that seem to follow our conversations. For example, this week I was asking to expand my ability to reach others to impact their lives for good, and a great white heron flew beside me occasionally looking at me in my car. Okay, so it may have been a coincidence in the eyes of some of you . . . but to me, God was sending a messenger that told me to spread my wings and watch this ministry soar.

When listening to the Higher Power, however, things are quite different. Sadly, there are still other voices that vie for my attention. These voices come from my ego. Friends of mine once told me that EGO stands for Easing God Out. This is so true. When the voice of my ego is sounding off inside, it wants to keep me off balance. It’s important that I find a way to recognize “who” is speaking in my head. Happily, once I started paying attention to whether it was ego or true self calling the shots, I received a new understanding. I am about to share it with you, so pay attention. 

The voice of ego shouts, while the voice of my God whispers.

Daily, I must get quiet to hear clear direction from my Source. No, it’s not always in thoughts and words, sometimes it’s an inner knowing that feels very right. Nonetheless, it is answered prayer. It is evidence of a working relationship between the Great I Am and little ole me.

In ancient days, a man named King David also arrived at this truth in his own way, and wrote it succinctly in the book of Psalms. There he said, “Be still and know that I am God.” Sometimes, the toughest part is allowing myself to be still. But look at the amazing payoff if I discipline myself to get quiet . . . I get to know God . . . not “know about” God . . . but really know God. I am so grateful for this opportunity. Now, I’d better go, sit silently, and expect the great connection which has been promised by spiritual giants that have gone before me.

Won’t you do the same?

Thursday, November 14th
We’re working on a January  event where we will bring local experts together to share information needed to help families navigate difficult issues that can come up with children between the ages of 10 and 18. There’s been a lot of changes in our society during this last generation or two, and some of us are uninformed with possible topics that can cause unrest in a family. This week I’ve been talking to professionals who will speak to the audience of parents of teens and tweens at our full day summit, and I am reminded of how much good can come from sharing information before it is necessary.

How did we get involved in this? Recently, a young girl of 13 tried to take her own life because she was hitting puberty and knew there was something about her sexuality that would be hard for her parents to accept. She thought she was broken. A family friend who suspected her challenge delivered one of the writings of our BethWE community to her in the hospital. The young woman began to weep, relieved that someone clearly saw her crisis – and chose to love her through it.

This story initiated plans for our Summit for Parents of Teens and Tweens slated for January 11, 2014. To date, we have experts ready to speak on many subjects that can throw an unsuspecting parent for a loop. Topics include peer pressure, puberty, future planning, mental illness, signs of drug or alcohol abuse, self-esteem issues, and nutrition. Each speaker will talk for only 15 minutes so the pace is thought-provoking and attention-grabbing. We plan to serve lunch to the 300 participants and to provide spiral-bound booklets with handouts from all experts so parents will have a reliable guide in their homes in the event one of the themes becomes a family issue at a later date.

We’re asking you to please pass the word about the summit and suggest it to people with kids in the age group. The young person in the story above is doing great. Once she realized that she could be understood, she told her parents her truth, and because of their great love, they supported her. Her life has been spared. We are so grateful to have had a hand in this action, and we thank God for the opportunity to reach out to other families so they can succeed.

We are accepting help with volunteers and sponsorship. We will accept your prayers and well wishes, for  us, and for the families who will receive great information from local experts. Keep the day covered in your prayers. Registration is available on our UPCOMING WORKSHOPS page, and scholarships are available to those in need.

Blessings to all!

Thursday, November 7th
If you are blessed enough to have a pet that loves you, you are blessed enough.

Tonight, I was feeling a bit out of sorts. I wandered into my room, sat down, and booted up the computer. My daughter Emily has a little cat named Maus, who wandered into the room after me and gave me “the look”. She wanted to be held. Jumping into my lap, the purr machine began.  

For a few minutes, my world consisted of a soft, gray and white kitten in a comforting snuggle with the sound of her miniature motor running as smooth vibration. The sound  was clearly designed to calm my weary nerves and reassure me that all is right in the world. Her big eyes looked to my face, and she gave me the littlest squint – her way of saying, “I love you.”

In that moment, the difficult day melted away, and I felt at peace. None of my circumstances had changed, but this wee companion had allowed me to feel the sense of homecoming that re-created my experience.

Thank You, God, for conceiving four-legged friends that bring me back to Love when I wander away from the security of its unconditional nature. I will be forever grateful.

Thursday, October 31st
It's time to talk about fear. Sometimes, when we are afraid, we cover it up with other activities. We eat; we drink; we escape; we isolate. As we take these actions, we remain unaware of what is driving us. We want something to change so badly that we make ourselves feel different by becoming numb chemically or communally.

We deserve better.

To attain a better result, however, we will have to become aware that we are fearful. Many of us are so used to exchanging one feeling for another that we never delve deep enough to find out what is motivating our damaging actions. At the base of these behaviors, usually, is the simple fact that we are afraid we will not get what we need. 

What do we need? There are a few human needs common to all men, and they are most certainly God-given and normal. They call to us to feel safe and secure, to find our place in relationships, and to have fulfilling sexual lives. The fact that these needs are sometimes not met is totally human. We are always in a state of flux . . . plus or minus . . . and sometimes even hovering around balance. Go figure.

When we are powerless to get these needs met, we have choices. Many of us forget that fact. We dive into action without a thought or a prayer. So, my request is simple. Stop. Take a breath and give yourself a moment for introspection. Practice tough love with yourself. Ask the question: "What am I afraid of losing?" Then, stay quiet and wait for answer. It will come.

Love trumps fear every time . . . but only if it is given the chance.

Thursday, October 25th
My friend Kathaleen told me about a preacher she heard on Sunday, and I've been thinking about the message all day. His theme asked the listeners to consider the difference between destruction and distraction. What an interesting question. Granted, I did not hear the sermon. Nonetheless, these are my thoughts on the subject.

Destruction means desolation; there is no hope of recovery. Whatever can come after destruction will be in the form of rebuilding. Many of us have gone through times of destruction in the physical, mental/emotional, and physical planes. To overcome these horrific events, we had to go through a period of creation. It can take years to overcome. Think of one of the major hurricanes. So many lost their homes and lifestyles. They were actually wiped away, and to create home, people had to start from scratch. It takes time.

Distraction also slows us down. Distractions eat our time and energy in a completely different way. Nonetheless, they can steal as much time from some of us as a major destructive event takes from others. Distractions keep us unfocused on our priorities, and cause us to spin our wheels. We lose our drive, and even though we haven't lost homes or lifestyles, we forget to value those prizes regularly. We don't lose them, we just overlook them. 

The difference between destruction and distraction is great, but either one can steal years of your life. Dealing with destruction involves the aftermath of something out of our control. Dealing with distraction involves choosing to control the interruptions in life that make us discount our most valued relationships.

Destruction or distraction? Which one is worse? The first wakes us up so we have to take care of the devastation and recreate our lives. The second allows us to sleep through our lives, or to create devastation by ignoring the important. At this writing, I think I'd take the hurricane.

Thursday, October 17th
When I am out of sorts, one of the first things I do is review my daily walk. Have I become complacent?

I heard a friend speaking about getting complacent recently. Those of you who know me well know that I took the time to take the word apart. (I’ve been doing this since high school when my best friend, Gary Giniat, took Latin. His lessons always allowed me to excel in any standardized test, like the SAT or ACT. If he’s reading this, he’s probably shocked that I’m still auditing his Latin class in my mind.) Anyway, what I found is that com, the prefix, means “with” . . . and plac, the root, means “to please or satisfy”. So, complacency means being satisfied with the status quo. Okay, so some of you already knew that. But, I have a question for you. When is that a bad thing?

In the spiritual circles in which I travel, I understand that complacency is the enemy. To elaborate, I think the sort of complacency that can harm is when we become so comfortable with how things are that we sleepwalk through our lives. It is the opposite of awareness or enlightenment. To the Buddhists reading this blog, it could be termed UN-mindfulness.

I thought I’d list some signs that point to this special kind of complacency – a type of spiritual sleepwalking. Those of us who have been there will recognize these markers. Do not consider this a complete list, by any means. These are only the indicators that I have recognized in myself. You might be even more twisted than me, and have a whole new lineup. Who knows?

Spiritually Asleep a la BethWE:

  1. Blaming is a way of life. When I am spiritually asleep, I look for culprits. I see what is wrong and I point a finger.
  2. For the old Star Trek fans:  Resistance is no longer futile. When I am spiritually asleep, I meet life’s challenges with resistance. “I don’t want to” becomes my theme song.
  3. When I am spiritually asleep, I become a “should head”. I look at the lives of those around me and think about what they should be doing. I stop celebrating and encouraging. I begin judging.
  4. When I am spiritually asleep, “peace of mind” is replaced with a “piece of my mind”. Enough said.
  5. Forgiveness is out of reach when I am spiritually asleep. I hold grudges and begin to practice tit for tat. This is the ultimate step away from Love and true connection.

Throughout the ages, many spiritual leaders have told us we need to wake up to experience abundant life. Personally, I’m all for it. Won’t you join me? Let’s set the alarm clock in our hearts by asking God for Truth. Let’s allow ourselves to go to the next level and impact this world with selfless Love and true connection.

Cock-a-doodle-do! Let’s rise and SHINE!

Thursday, October 10th
When I was eight years old, the neighbor who lived behind us came home from Vietnam. His name was Tommy Weiss, and we called him "Mot" for short. Everyone in the neighborhood was so happy to get him home. I had been learning to bake with my grandmother, and I decided to make him a special treat. I spent most of the afternoon concocting this cake from scratch. (Remember, I'm old. We didn't have cake mixes back then.)

I added and mixed, I stirred I poured, I timed and I baked. I was so pleased with the outcome of my endeavor. Clearly, any adult looking at it would have seen that I had left out an important ingredient. I had left out the baking powder. My cake appeared like a slab of rubber, but it didn't matter to me. I couldn't wait to present it to Mot with all the love and gratitude in my heart.

Mot was a perfect gentleman. He received the cake and even cut out a piece of the rubber, and ate it in front of me. He said it was yummy, and my heart soared. Today, memory of that cake is as clear as a bell in my mind. As an adult, I know that Tom Weiss was encouraging my creativity and desire to show gratitude. He saw the big picture, and he made sure that for me it was a Kodak moment.

So, why am I telling you the story? Many of us do the same thing with our lives. We leave out an integral ingredient, and we expect our "cakes" to rise and deliver. If you had to list the ingredients to create a wonderful life, what would they include? Certainly, we need the staples – the flour and oil of our creation. But depending on what kind of cake you are trying to make, you need other important ingredients. For example, if you are a recovering person trying to stay clean, sober, sugar-free, without nicotine . . . you may need some ingredients that others do not. Attendance at meetings, working the 12 steps, being honest with the sponsor, helping other people find their way, these are just some of the ingredients you will need to allow your "life cake" to rise. If you are a workaholic, your ingredients may be different. Conscious time management, discipline to shut off the phone or computer, planned family events, scheduled leisure activities: these are just some of the ingredients you will need to add to your mix. Do you get tangled up in relationships? The ingredients for your life cake may include understanding boundaries, journaling about feelings, practicing the art of not saying what is on your mind.

We could go on with these examples ad infinitum. The premise here is that we come to know ourselves well enough to know what we need to create lives that are rich and delicious. Take the time today to do the work. Get quiet, and allow your mind to wander. Where did it go? Obsessive thoughts are sometimes wonderful indicators of what we need to work on.

Connect with other people and tell them your truth, even if your voice shakes. Let them help you find your way to wholeness and health. Trust a Higher Power, and develop a relationship where give-and-take is normal. Believe in yourself. You are so deserving of a life that is sweet down to the last crumb. But let's start at the beginning, let's start with the list of ingredients. Let's have dessert first. Why wait for the finish to find out what's best?

Thursday, October 3rd
I have been called to find quiet lately. Sometimes, it feels like my head may explode with all the many thoughts that are carousing up there. Some thoughts are from True Self: empathy, hope, desire to help others connect to all God had in mind for them to be. Others are from my false self . . . the ego: stress, angst, fear masquerading in one of its lesser guises.

The head is busy, so the body responds. Am I tired? Am I hungry? The head is busy, so the spirit responds. Get quiet. Retreat. Refresh. Renew.

The spirit wins today. Thank God, the Spirit wins.

Just for today, I will do only what is necessary to connect the dots of awakening and laying down to sleep. Just for today, I will retreat into solace and quietude so that I may feel the nearness of my God. Just for today, I will put myself, a tool of Source, back in the shed so that I may be sharpened and shined by my Maker. Just for today.

Tomorrow, or the next day, when I come back to the front line, I will nurse your wounds. I will pray for your connection. I will rejoice in your victories. But for today, I’m going to care for this “skinsuit” I call me. I am being called to take a break, and for once, I will obey without question.

See you soon.

Thursday, September 26th
Why worry about becoming complacent? Often, I hear seeker friends talk about complacency as the enemy. Because of that, I spent some time thinking about the perils of inactivity.

My thoughts led me to a vision of sitting on a pedal boat on a beautiful lake. The sounds of the birds, the bubbles from fish beneath the water, the soft breeze blowing all enhance the image as I pedal rhythmically. I am moving peacefully across the expanse, and a slight smile is on my face as I breathe in the experience. From time to time, I stop pedaling for a moment, and lean my head back to allow the sun to warm my cheeks.

Suddenly, the wind picks up and clouds move in. Alert to the change, I remain motionless as the boat begins moving swiftly away from the safety of my starting point, the dock I call home. I feel anxious and afraid. My beautiful day has become dark and threatening. My only chance at security is to pedal fiercely. My adrenaline pumps, and I get to work.

Life is like this scenario. If the winds of circumstance begin to blow, you can be pushed off course – backwards or sideways into places of little or no security. Action is the solution. Begin pedaling, and work to arrive at the sanctuary you know as home.

Bad weather will come and go, just like life’s circumstances. Complacency in the midst of storm is a recipe for defeat. When the winds of change blow, pedal hard and aim for home. As some friends of mine always remind me, “it works if you work it.”

Thursday, September 19th
Happy Birthday to me! For years when friends would talk about getting older, I would not identify with their fears. I was excited at the prospect of becoming 55 or older. Most women I know at that age are settled in themselves, comfortable with what they bring to the world and confident enough to speak their truth when their boundaries are crossed.

Well, here I am. I’m a 55 year old woman, and it has happened to me. Don’t get me wrong . . . there are still days when I struggle with the marvel of being Beth Walsh Eriksen. Ha ha! Nonetheless, I am more settled in myself and with my place in this big, beautiful world. With my temperament, my accomplishments are more “mission” based than “material” based and I am overjoyed that the Higher Power could use my skill set to impact society. Reaching the “double nickel” mark on the timeline of one’s life offers other rewards, as well. Sitting in-between young and old, I am able to act as a bridge between thoughts. I can tell the youth about memories of those who changed the world before their time, and I can offer the elderly the hope of a less limited future reality created by this new generation coming up.

How about you? Are you able to translate with love? I know this is an honorable gift from God, and not of my own making. Before it came to me, I didn’t know that I wanted it. Now, however, I see the gift of my placement and I embrace it with hope and enthusiasm. I’ve always had choices, as my friend Hazel reminds me. I just wasn’t always aware of them. I can be a speed bump or I can be a ramp for the youth of this world. I can use irritants in life to create wounded blisters or callouses that will help me grip without pain. I can hold tight to my opinion or open my mind to your version of the truth.

In the end, I understand why the BethWE community exists. We are always making the choice to connect or to separate. Just for today, just for this hour, just for right now . . . I choose connection. Wanna’ join me?

Thursday, September 12th
We had a wonderful workshop in Fairfield, CT. A big hello to all the folks up there who just discovered BethWE.com. We are thrilled to have you in the family!

I have been teaching the 12 Steps to Wholeness for 25 years now, and everyone who first attempts this work must take a personal inventory in Step 4. This vital instruction reveals the instinctive needs given to humans by Creation. Just like a bird has the innate knowing that it must fly south in the winter, human beings are born with drives to allow us to feel safe and connected. The most obvious three needs include sex, emotional and financial security, and a place in the society of our fellows. 

Later, when doing the work for Step 8, we are called to uncover patterns that act as default settings in our lives. These patterns develop naturally in the ego to help us get our same instinctive needs met, but before long we act on them without thinking. Sometimes, the very action that helped us in earlier years will hurt us today. It's as if what was once a tool has morphed into a weapon.

For example, imagine you were a child whose feelings were hurt when you joined a baseball team and couldn't get a hit. Did you stop playing baseball? Later in life, did you always quit things at which you didn't excel? That is a pattern. When an action becomes a "repeat performance" and you don't even have to consider a different response, a pattern is in place. Patterned responses are mindless and automatic. Looking at this illustration, you quit because you fear poor performance, and in so doing, you miss new experiences, personalities, and learning opportunities. You lose out. The very thing that may have saved you from hurt feelings in the past could now be robbing you of abundant life.

Recognizing patterns is paramount in completion of Step 8, and it awakens your mind to new ideas. Challenge yourself. What do you do over and over? Is it even working? If not, why not go back to Step 7 and ask to have the pattern removed so you can bloom?

Thursday, September 5th
Don't get in your own way. The speed bumps on the road to happy destiny are often constructed of our own false beliefs. Take the jack hammer of Truth, and knock them out. False beliefs crumble when Truth drives into error. It may take time. It may be slow-going. Don't give up on the work. You deserve to live free in body, mind, and spirit. Like a vehicle, personal growth moves more swiftly when we don't have to slow down for unnecessary speed bumps. Go big. Go real. Let your life be smooth.

Thursday, August 29th 
Today, instead of my usual blog, I will offer you a prayer. I hope you will consider reading it out loud, utilizing your creational power given to you by God. Only man can speak words to change mindsets. We are gifted with being created in the image of the Source of all we know or can experience, and when we speak our thoughts out loud, we are exercising that creational stance that most delights the One True God. Just like a parent enjoys hanging his/her child's piece of art on the refrigerator, God is happy when we use our talents with intent.

"God, I praise You first. I know that my life is better when I look first to You. I choose to forgive those who have harmed me, whether the hurt resides only in my heart or there is actual injury in my physical world. I ask You to bless those people with grace and power. Let Love come fully into their lives so they may experience peace of mind and hope. Help me to live into a time when I can feel forgiveness for them, because right now my emotions are far from this conscious choice I am making. God, don't hold them accountable for the harms they have done me and those I love. Amen."

The first time I said a prayer like this was about thirteen years ago. I couldn't say the last sentence out loud for almost a week, and I was praying twice a day. You aren't the only one who doesn't want to forgive when the injury is sharp. Nonetheless, take the high ground and begin to say the prayer. Choosing to forgive is the action necessary to live into feeling at peace with all men. That is what God wants for us.

I wish you peace of mind and deep connection with God so that you might live into connection with others and with yourself. (After all, some of us are praying this prayer so that we can quit punishing ourselves for past errors.) Forgive today. It is a choice. If you don't feel at ease immediately, it doesn't mean you won't get there. Love like this just needs to take root so it can grow strong. An avocado tree once planted may take seven years to fruit, but the fruit will come. It is the wise homeowner who moves in and plants for future harvest. Plant your tree of forgiveness today. The fruit will come, I promise.

Thursday, August 22nd
Today my friend Mike made me think about an interesting ping pong match. On this side, we have ACCEPTANCE. On the other side, we give you EXPECTATION. Back and forth goes the ball, kerplunk, kerplunk, kerplunk. The match will never end.

Acceptance means that I willingly embrace the here and now. Expectation means that I have lost today in the planning of tomorrow. Acceptance is a power stance. Expectation knocks me into powerlessness. When I accept what is, I can take action in the NOW to correct and improve my next moment. When I live in expectation, I lose track of the point of power - the NOW - as I clamor for a distant, and maybe never-arriving, moment.

There is One who has all power . . . and that One lives in the present moment. Leave expectation for little ones on Christmas Eve or Hannakuh so their dreams are sweet. After all, one of my favorite teachings is: IF IF'S AN BUTS WERE CANDY AND NUTS, WHAT A MERRY CHRISTMAS IT WOULD BE.

Thursday, August 15th
When something needs to change, and we cringe . . . what are we resisting? Often, laziness is the culprit. We want a new lease on life, but we don't want to practice the discipline to make it happen. Couldn't someone just serve it up on a silver platter? Doesn't that sound more palatable?

Instead, we get stuck in our old ways like a rat on a glueboard, unable to make the move that would set us free. Like the rodent, we whimper and cry, waiting for the end to come.

Last week my friend Gravel talked about a kaleidescope. There we are, looking in the viewfinder at a picture when suddenly, with a slight twist on the cylinder, the entire image looks completely different. Mind you, nothing has been added or taken away, but the image has changed. Perception is a lot like that kaleidescope. One simple twist, and we see things in a new light.

I invite you to ask for God to twist the eye piece on your personal kaleidescope so that what you resist takes on a new shape. Don't wait until you're in pain to make the change. Allow your loving Higher Power to show you how a thought can be transformed in a short time, if only you are willing to change your approach.

A good friend came to me because he was worried about his weight. He knew his health was in jeopardy and he needed to drop at least fifty pounds, but he wasn't successful staying on a diet. I suggested he change his approach. On my recommendation, he began to ask God to help him love his body. That's it. And so it started.

Each day, he made the same request. One little prayer at a time, my friend began to change. Eventually, his prayer was answered. As he began to love his body, the way he thought about that body and what he fed it began to change. In the end, he didn't lose a thing. He gained a new attitude and a lower number on the scale.

Sometimes, changing our approach can enable us to achieve our heart's desire . . . even if our degree of willingness is slow on the uptake. Are you dragging your feet about making a life change? Break it down into bite size pieces. Start with a simple prayer that honors the Higher Power because it supports love and life. Be your own mediator between sloth and drive. Don't minimize your potential because you're slow to get started. Ask for help to implant the necessary passion to become all God had in mind for you to be.

Thursday, August 8th
The lesson of my week can be summed up in a simple sentence written thousands of years ago by a Jewish dude who was watching a friend change the world, and feeling the changes in his own heart. His name was James, and what he said was succinct. "You have not because you ask not."

Do you ask for what you need? Truly, I still struggle with this, sometimes. It's tough telling other people when I'm behind the eight ball. Happily, I do have a small network of people with whom I can share any angst I am feeling. This didn't just happen. It started when I gave one person a chance. That one person was consistent with me, and I began to have faith in her friendship. Time passed, and the consistency continued. I'm not sure how it happened, but I grew to trust her. Once I learned how a trustworthy person behaves in relationship with me, it was easier to select others in whom to put my confidence.

What about spiritually? Do you ask God for what you need? Does it seem "un-spiritual" to ask God to meet your needs . . . and even further off-base to ask God to supply your wants?

In Bruce Wilkinson's book, The Prayer of Jabez, a popular spiritual teacher is caught backstage before going in front of a huge audience by a wandering devotee. The listener feels excited to be privy to the thoughts of this great man as he goes to God in prayer. Surely, he will ask for world peace or the end of hunger. Instead, the listener is shocked to hear the words. "God, bless me indeed." The spiritual giant is praying for himself . . . literally asking the Higher Power to grant his needs.

When is the last time you prayed for yourself? It's time to ask God for what you need. If you grapple with this idea, try this. Write a letter to God. Talk to God like you would talk to a distant friend who doesn't know the ins and outs of your daily efforts. List what would make it easier. Ask God to send help. Be loving and thorough. Build a relationship that will grow to trust.

Keep the letter, if you choose. I have found letters to God from years gone by, and they encourage me greatly. Always, the issues I was so heartily fearing are mere memories now. There is no more pain, and sometimes, there is even laughter. I have been completely healed. And it all started when I asked for what I needed.

Today, dear God, please give all who read this what they need. And God, me, too!

Thursday, August 1st
Fill the empty space inside you with the Spirit of the Universe. No, actually do it.

There's a prayer I've been saying since October, and I was moved to share it today with a friend. I was wondering what to write about tonight . . . and I decided to share this prayer with you as well. WARNING: This is spiritual warfare. What's that? Am I losing it? Calm down a minute. Just take it as it's written. Decide later if you can live with it or not. But keep your mind open enough to try it before you make judgment.

Ready to start? Say, "In the name of the Living God, I command name your biggest problem to leave me NOW. Come out of my conscious, unconscious and subconscious mind, all parts of my body, personality, emotions and will. (Take a deep breath in and breathe it out fully. After you breathe it out, continue speaking.) God, fill this now empty space with the gifts and fruits of Your Spirit so that I may overcome any difficulties that keep me from living my best life. Amen."

Say this prayer every morning, and trust that your Higher Power will keep you growing toward your highest good. The spiritual realm is part and parcel of our human condition. We are physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual. All parts need to be exercised to live a full, happy life.

Give it a go. What could you possibly lose . . . except a big problem that is rooted in spiritual complacency?

Thursday, July 25th
Identity is an important aspect of life. We formulate ideas about who we are based upon our experiences, beliefs, and emotions. Sometimes, I think that is where I go wrong. After all, that's who I decide to be in this world. Is that all there is?"

Who am I in God's world?

I am the beloved heir of all this universe has to offer. I am a child of God.

Why would I struggle to come to see myself as anything more? Can my standards ever top the standards of Creation? Can I ever "act" my way into a higher level of worthiness? Can I ever "think" my way into a more conscious connection while on this planet? Can I ever "feel" my way into a state of belonging that tops being one with the Source of everything?

I am. These powerful words preceed my truth. How will I choose to finish that statement today?

I am holy and whole. I am enough. I am fully hooked up. I am a willing arm of God operating on this physical plane. I am alright, and everything is alright. I am a child of God.

Who are you today? Won't you be God's kid with me?

Thursday, July 18th
“Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like the eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”   -Isaiah 40:31

I’ve heard this Old Testament verse from the Bible since I was little, but this morning I had a new understanding of it. Funny, you would think I would have come to this years ago . . . but here I am with the understanding today.

I’ve been told that God’s timing is perfect. Okay. So, why am I waiting?

I got my first job when I was thirteen years old. I was a waitress at the Piccadilly Restaurant in Hinsdale, IL (outside of Chicago). My dad told me I should go to college, but since he had six boys that would need to support families, he would not have the funds for a girl. (Clearly, a good man . . . my father could not predict the future to see women fill the workplace and that many would take the role of head of household.) At the Piccadilly, we had the local businessmen who came in for coffee each afternoon. I had the pleasure of serving them for years, and they were kind and generous in their interactions.

Today, I am waiting for something to change in my life. Higher Power has promised provision and care for me, but I am not experiencing that reality in this moment. In my head, worry slips in and tries to lay claim to my thoughts. I reject worry. I am strong enough to usher it out and close the door. There are times when I have to deal with the issues of running on empty, either financially or emotionally. Somehow, I am able to rise above those concerns and see the big picture. I can see how this season will benefit me in the future because I will understand others and their issues at a deeper level. I overcome negativity by soaring above it to see how each small thread creates the tapestry of the long run. It appears that I am living the promises of the verse.

All this time, I was thinking that I was supposed to be waiting for God to move and make the change for me. What came to me this morning was a vision of the table of businessmen being waited upon by me. Suddenly, I realized that my job isn't to wait in a cosmic hallway, but to actively serve the Higher Power with eagerness and a big smile. I am not waiting for God to move . . . I am literally waiting upon God – in the restaurant of the world, I am God’s waitress. As I wait for my life change to come, I should be refilling the empty cups of those seated in my station.

Another vision I have about this verse includes a tree. I don’t just plant the thing and show up years later to pick fruit. If I want good fruit, I tend the tree in all seasons. I nurture it. I prune it. I battle pests that threaten its well-being. I water it. I feed it nutrients. If I tend the tree in all seasons, when it is time to pick the fruit, it will be abundant and juicy. To cry that there is not enough fruit in this season is short-sighted. I need the long vision of my Source. That takes trust.

I am learning to trust God at a deeper level. I believe this season will be instrumental in the provision of bountiful fruit in my life. Want to tag along while I do some pruning?

Thursday, July 11th
"There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading to the same place, so it doesn't matter which path you take. The only person wasting time is the one who runs around the mountain telling everyone his or her path is wrong."
                                                                                   -Hindu Proverb

It can be difficult to allow others to make mistakes on the road of life. Especially when we love them. 

Today, I had the opportunity to talk to someone who loves another, but cannot stomach the lifestyle choices he makes. If only the beloved could think the way the first one thinks . . . then, clearly the choices would change and all would be better.

Why would someone choose the lonely road marked with worn signs that declare DANGER when they could travel a well-marked path where they would never travel alone? It's hard to explain. Some of us are broken in a way that you don't understand. Though we want to please you to earn your favor, we are unable to attain the life view you achieve without effort. Though we love you, we don't know how to love ourselves. We choose the way of briar and brush, even though it scratches and wounds because we don't see the other options.

We hurt you on the way. Love us anyway. We make life complicated and when you offer your hand to help, we pull you down with us. Love us in spite of it. The journey will change us, but only if there is love along the way. Like watering holes on a long hike, your love will keep us going.

2000 years ago, St. Paul wrote a little about real Love. He said it was patient and kind. He said it didn't keep a record of wrongs, but delighted in Truth. He said the real kind never fails.

Keep it real, will you? Love the slow ones anyway. Ask the Source of All Love to keep you strong and able to help the weaklings along the way. It will be hard. You will have to learn to forgive us and to grant us the space we need to learn what you so readily know. There will be days we won't want to continue, and it will be your voice that speaks the words that encourage us enough to start again.

How will we ever repay you? Believe it or not, when you see us make it to the mountaintop, you will forget the sorrows and pains. You will rejoice because we made it. You will know bliss. No, you will BE bliss.

And in case we forget to tell you . . . we are so grateful for the blessing of you in our lives. You 'da bomb.

Thursday, July 4th
Happy 237th Birthday, America!

Those who knew Thomas Merton say that he thought the most important spiritual question was not, "Are you happy?" but rather, "Are you free?" True freedom is a gift that few experience 24/7.

So, as we celebrate our nation's freedom today, I have a question to ask you. When is the last time you asked God to bless America? Perhaps it was earlier today, while you watched a parade or hung the flag in front of your house. Maybe you were at a sporting event, and put your hand over your heart as the National Anthem played. The words, "God bless America" have crossed many lips . . . even when we are singing the "other" national song that has notes that are easier to hit for the high-pitch impaired.

I'm asking you to do something else. Today, on the day we commemorate our right to freedom of speech and religion, I ask you to turn the phrase inside out. America, bless God.

Merriam-Webster.com defines the word bless in numerous ways. One is to hallow or consecrate in religious word. Another is to praise and glorify, or to speak well of. My question to you is, are you blessing God? If you are not happy with the state of affairs in our nation, begin to turn the tide by becoming responsible for your little corner of the United States. Bless God. Bless God in your words and deeds. Bless God in front of others without embarrassment or shame. Bless God because you know it is the right thing to do. Let's do it alone or together. Let's make it a normal part of our life.

America, bless God. After all, God surely deserves it. Happy Fourth of July!

Thursday, June 27th
We all believe in being kind, but all of us have trouble being kind to ourselves. What's up with that? We were experts at self-condemnation and well-versed in self-criticism, but each of us expressed discomfort when we had to focus on our personal worth.

Obviously, not everyone struggles with this issue, but so many do. So, as a group, we decided to list ways we had learned to be kind to ourselves. The list may seem simple, but for those who struggle to know their true value, it will be helpful. This blog is dedicated to YOU.

1) Sleep enough, and eat three healthy meals each day.
2) Give yourself a break, or at least, the benefit of the doubt.
3) Be present in the moment, not planning a later event or rehashing something in the past. Be here now.
4) Don't isolate.
5) Take an hour for yourself every day. 
6) Reach out to others you admire.
7) Get at least a half hour in the sunshine, or even better, in a natural setting that you love.
8) Step in and break up the fight when you start "beating yourself up." 
9) Let go of negatives: drug or alcohol abuse, hurtful relationships, bad self-talk, obsessive thoughts, detrimental habits. If we skipped the one you're dealing with . . . add it here.
10) Practice affirmations: "I am healthy and whole." "I am worthy of love and respect." "I am the beloved of God."
11) Face your demons, and get help: therapy, 12 Step meetings, EMDR, chiropractic, medical assistance . . . don't let a speed bump become a stop sign.
12) Ask God for connection, and seek spiritual gifts. Love is a present you give yourself.

Hopefully, our list will speak to you. If you're still struggling, Google the Desiderata and let those words soothe your broken soul. We are here for you. Be at peace.

Thursday, June 20th
I had a lot of fun earlier in the week talking to some of my favorite folks about FOOD on the radio while Rhett Palmer was vacationing. I decided to post some of the mp3 files on the website so you could listen to them at your leisure. Stay tuned . . . I'm not sure how to do it, but I will get them online as soon as I can.

In the meantime, let's look at the purely physical realm. What are you doing to help your body out these days? Have you incorporated the disciplines of life that allow you to live in your healthiest stance? I have to admit, this is one of the most difficult areas for me. I have skated through life leaning heavily on the prowess of my mental and spiritual natures. My physiology is the "abandoned child" that clearly displays my dysfunction.

This year, our benevolent Higher Power is rewriting my base programming on this level. Suddenly, the way I think about food has changed. I'd love to take credit for this incredible healing, but frankly, I have had little to do with the new way I eat. For example, I love steak, chicken, and seafood . . . but I have been eating an ovo-vegan diet since November. Weird? I thought so, too. Nonetheless, it seems easy to follow for some reason. The last thing I feel is restricted. And though I can watch a filet mignon go by in a restaurant and have total recall about the delectable qualities of the entree, the thought of actually ingesting beef makes my knees feel weak. By God's grace, I have become a vegetarian. I'm not sure if it's temporal or lasting. I do read about spiritual fasting with new fervor, however. I can't explain it, but relinquishing my control of the foods I eat has changed the manner that I can be used to impact humanity. Okay, I'm going too deep and losing some of you.

Anyway . . . I guess the good news is that when folks tell you that God does for you what you can't do for yourself . . . it seems to be true in this case. I have fought the battle of the bulge since I was nine years old. I have used fat as a means of protection . . . keeping would-be heartbreakers at bay. My body became a weapon to protect me from allowing my emotions to be hurt. Unfortunately, my body took the hit for the team. Seemingly overnight, however, I acquired a new way of thinking, a gift from the God of my understanding. It is letting my three natures (physical, mental, spiritual) come into harmony. I am hopeful that I will live into a new day of health and balance because of it.

Hard facts? Okay, I've lost 53 pounds and I can walk the Barber Bridge in Vero Beach without busting a gut. I still lay my hands on my belly fat and pray that the matter be used to make more birds when it's no longer a part of my body. Hey, it's going to become something, right? I love birds.

Insanity? Not according to the definition given by Einstein. He said insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. What I'm experiencing is sanity. Because the bad pattern lasted so many years, it feels strange and insane . . . but I think this is how some of you think about food and body naturally. Your "abandoned child" region may be in your spirit or in your mind. 

If you have a "lost" nature, seek healing. Pamper that little dude until you find harmony. You deserve it! But remember, it starts with admitting the weakness and asking for help. If I can do it, so can you!

Thursday, June 13th
When I was only eight years old, I spent three months in the hospital with a large growth in my intestines. The only other person on the children's ward the entire time I was there was a burn victim named Sandy. I came to believe there is no worse pain a person can experience than being burned, and there is no slower recuperation process than overcoming the loss of over half your body to fire.

I remember how my eight-year old brain spent hours wondering if Hell was described as burning flames because of this horror. When it was so described, was being burned alive the worst pain language could portray?

I believe that Hell is the absence of God. Because we were created to be in relation with our Source, when we are denied that connection (by self or others), we are in Hell.

When my son Luke was in second grade, I went to pick him up at school. His teacher accosted me and asked, "Mrs. Eriksen, what are you teaching your children at home?" One of the children asked her if she thought the mother that drove her car into the water in Texas and killed her children was going to Hell. The teacher reported that Luke's hand flew into the air. She called on him, and he turned to his classmate and cried, "She just killed her kids . . . don't you think she's in Hell right now?"

So, if Hell is possible right now on this plane, how and why would we arrive there? Why don't we just maintain our spiritual connection and live our best lives each and every day? One answer can be found in an acronym used by those in 12 Step Recovery groups:

E.G.O. = Ease God Out

Our ego, or false self, tricks us into separating from God. What's worse, the whole time we're moving away from Source, ego tells us we're doing the right thing to afford us security, power, or prestige. As ego balloons, we move closer to our own personal Hell. Clearly, God doesn't live in our egos . . . but neither does true self. Once true self is out of the picture, we automatically lose our passion, our innocence, and our ability to assess our real value in this world. Ego leads us away from all that . . . sometimes with grandiosity, sometimes with inferiority. It matters not which way you swing . . . when you land after your ride with ego, it will be in Hell.

Pay attention. To avoid Hell, stay connected with your true self. Your true self is an amazing child of God, and won't deny the "family" connection like your ego will. Two thousand years ago, the Christ remarked that the Kingdom of God is at hand. At hand means close by, right? So, now what should we do? I have an idea. Let's turn on the music, put on our soft-souled shoes, and dance with Fred Astaire as he sings, "Heaven, I'm in heaven . . ." After all, that's where you belong. ~wink~

Thursday, June 6th
Tropical Storm Andrea is approaching Florida's west coast, but we are experiencing the bands of weather over here on the Atlantic. Somehow, there's something familiar about the pounding we are taking. It's the same with some forms of family dysfunction, right? A member of our family or a close friend is stumbling around with a serious issue miles away from us, but we are feeling the bands of the brokenness where we are. They have a saying in 12 Step: "Dysfunction isn't a solo sport. Eventually the whole family gets to play."

Those of us who experience this truth regularly wish we could live by the other old adage:  "Out of sight, out of mind." Unfortunately, when you love someone, it is of little consequence how far away they are in their misery . . . we feel it with them all the same. Granted, we may be spared the up-to-the-minute blow by blow of the painful behavior, but the bands of their private storm still dumps loads of emotional rain on us many miles from the center of the squall. Try as we might, we cannot always affect a change in their lives. Though we want them to find peace of mind, they could care less. Their dysfunctional patterns are the only "normal" they know, and they fight to keep them. Sadly, unless our loved one is ready for change, it matters little what we do. Recovery and growth are not for those that need them . . . they are for those that want them.

What to do? Though the solution is simple, it can be very difficult to master. Let's talk about detachment. My Buddhist friends tell me that detachment is letting go of one's normal identity and status. Though it sounds deep and distant, that definition can help us. Our family member or friend is sick, and we have been too close for too long. We have "caught" their illness, though our symptoms appear different. The sickness we have acquired affects the way we see ourselves. We take on a role that calls us to become a manager of sorts . . . we try to manage the circumstances that occur because of our beloved's actions. We feel responsible for something over which we have no control. Let's face it, if your business had a manager that could exert little or no control, wouldn't you let him go?

Detachment is the ticket. We must let go of that role, and let God take it over. Fire yourself NOW. Give the job to the only One who can take contol. Remember, the Higher Power respects personal will . . . so the only change you may witness at first is a worsening of conditions without your input. Generally, desperation is the final emotion before someone seeks healing. Let desperation come. It is their best chance at finding wholeness.

The only measure of how well we do this is wrapped up in how we allow the outcome to transpire without our influence. Allow your special someone to hit their bottom. Don't throw a mattress under them again. The bumps and bruises are necessary to make them WANT to change. Their only chance is to want a new way of life. As my friend Kate says, "As long as there's breath, there's hope."

Thursday, May 30th
I’m listening to the birds as I write. My current favorite is the brown thrush, whose reddish-colored feathers delight me, making his little twit-twit noise. I know he’s there in the backyard, happy to be at the end of the day, singing to me. If I weren’t here in the Florida room writing, who would be thrilled by his noise?

Earlier this week, I was walking at the Greenway Lagoon in Vero Beach with my daughter, Emily. We see an abundance of wildlife on the three-mile trek, and it makes us forget that we are actually exercising. (Will it ever become a welcome diversion?) Anyway, I asked my soon-to-be-twenty-years-old child if she felt closer to God when in nature. Now, I ask you the same question. Consider your answer before you read on.

Emily said that she did indeed feel more spiritually connected when immersed in the unprocessed trimmings of this great Earth. I agreed. Then I wondered aloud, “Since God created everything, why don’t I get this same close feeling when surrounded by people?” We walked on in silence for a few minutes, and many thoughts leapt through my fertile mind. Within moments I longed to be able to look into the eyes of another and see God with shameless abandon. I want to see the Christ in you, but I find it hard to move your ego out of the way so that I can. As a matter of fact, when I look in the mirror, my ego steals the show as well.

A couple of days later I was hanging out with girlfriends and I posed the question to them. My buddy Donna, whom I lovingly call ‘Aloha Donna’ because she hails from Hawaii, caught me privately to impart her answer. She counseled me with great love when she shared that it is more difficult to celebrate creation when I identify with the created. How wise her words! She is right, of course. At an unconscious level, I am a walking comparison study. I have not grown close enough to God at this writing to tell you that I automatically see the Christ in you. First, sadly, I see me in you. And let’s face it . . . the me I see is based on my humanity – constantly wanting to see how I measure up to the visible standards of a similar beast. Am I better or worse? Am I stronger or weaker? How do I rate?

Perhaps, the day will come when that is not my first query. Perhaps, the Higher Power will see fit to allow me to live into the day when I look at you and see Him. I await the opportunity to know you at that level, but in the meantime . . . want to arm wrestle?

Thursday, May 23rd
Someone I love is struggling because they feel that they have to “settle for” something important. For a number of reasons, the “first choice” was not going to be available, and they were counseled to seek the next best choice. Now, it appears, the “second choice” may be out of reach, and my dear one is dancing in resistance. When he cried out that he doesn’t want to invest himself again only to have his hopes dashed, his mentor replied, “It is in God’s hands.”

That phrase has taken on so many meanings. “You’re in good hands with” a certain insurance company. Americans understand the slang meaning – that resting in the hands of another means you will be safe and protected, even when you are no longer in control of the outcome. Now, think of the mentor’s comment. “It is in God’s hands.”

It comes down to this . . . do you trust God? Some of you reading this have heads a-bobbing and a knowing “yes” etched on your lips. Others want to turn off the computer, or at least run the mouse over the red X in the corner of the page and return to Facebook where there are no big questions in life. Some want to settle for not considering the Big Picture at all, and make the trek with as little pain as possible.

What have you settled for? Now, with that in mind, which of those circumstances turned out to be the foundation of a better world for you, your family, or the entire family of man? Let’s take an example, and follow it through to arrive at my hopeful end point of this blog.

Let’s say, you didn’t get into the college of your dreams, so you had to choose again. Oh no, don’t tell us, but your second choice was out of reach – not because of your qualifications, but because of the finances. So, you made another choice. You attended the University of Third Choice a bit apprehensively, but then you began to make friends. One of the professors turned out to be the very person who sparked the fire of passion in you that made your career life explode. You married a sweetheart you met six years after graduation, and the reason your beloved even crossed your path is because you were wearing a University of Third Choice tee-shirt, and your spouse-to-be had an alumni sibling. Do you have children? They are a direct result of not getting into the college of your dreams. This example could continue on and on, but you get the drift. In some cosmic realm, you were meant for that academic choice. “Settling for” turned out to be the bedrock for your highest good.

Why do we call it “settling for” when it is more likely “being redirected by Source?” There’s a verse that says, “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes.” All things? Even the ones I settle for? Go figure.

Cheers to all the “could have been’s” that turned into “as it was meant to be’s” in our lives. The funniest part is that all we had to do to see them that way was to adjust our perspective.

Thursday, May 16th
Losing faith is like letting the air out of your bike tires. You can’t really keep going until you deal with the immediate problem. Happily for us, faith is a FREE GIFT from God, and if we need more, we just ask. The journey back to spiritual faith is forged with signs and markers designed to get us back on track, and our Source is gracious to send us mentors and shaman in the wilderness to share their truths that all is well, and we will find our way if we seek. But, how do we recover from losing faith in a person?

When we lose connection, the initial disappointment may feel like a dark shadow descending upon us. Certainly, some would call it a form of situational depression – a specific form of depression caused by circumstances. Even though this temporal slump is the result of stressful situations, like all other forms of depression, it changes basic body chemistry. Our first need is to help our physical selves regroup.

How can you change your own body chemistry? Amazingly, we do it every day. There’s an old saying in recovery circles: Move a muscle, change a thought. This axiom speaks volumes when we feel our chins dragging on the floor. The last thing we want to do is exercise, and yet, that is the very thing that will release the new brain chemicals that will help us combat despair. Go for a walk. Believe it or not, just that simple action will allow your mind to free itself of the chemistry that may have it “locked down” in despondency.

Another easy fix is to watch what you eat and drink. Anything you want transported out of your body has to follow the design route. In short, water is necessary to flush the negative chemicals that are parlaying in the synapses of your brain. Flush those bad boys by drinking enough water. Why water? Simply stated, water won’t add any other elements to the mix. It is not “hooking up” with your negative neurons, it is there only to wash them away. Food has the same potential. Everything we eat breaks down into smaller particles that either nourish or neglect the needs of our flesh. There are foods that help fight the gloom, and those that make it seem darker. That late night ice cream isn’t serving your body’s quick turnaround. Go for strawberries, apples, and pineapple. Even the delicious grapefruit of Indian River County, FL, can aid your recuperation. Good fats are also important. No, the ice cream is still out! Go for nuts, avocado, and fresh fish. To get the energy pumping again, add some spinach and whole grains to your menu plan.

In the end, overcoming this crisis will take a little time. The grieving process is natural, and it is a PROCESS, not an event. If you haven’t spoken your truth, do so. Perhaps, a trusted friend with big ears and a loving heart will hear your dilemma and offer an objective perspective. Then, when you are ready, broach the subject with the person with whom you are struggling. Remember, connection takes work sometimes. It’s easy to “pitch” a broken relationship, but challenging to “heal” one. Be adventurous. Take the challenge. The friendship you save may be the most valuable of your future.

Thursday, May 9th
When is the last time you went to the landfill? If you're one of the lucky ones, you never have to make that trek. Your provider shows up with regularity and removes all the debris from your curb, and you never see it again.

But is it really gone? Somewhere, miles away, it is piled up. Pipes are inserted into the mess so the gases that are emitted from the rotting waste can escape. Some municipalities will cover the mountain of mess with sod, giving new meaning to the song that begins, "The hills are alive." Try as they might, these makeshift knolls don't put us in mind of picnics and playtime. We know the reality that we are creating more rubbish than can be eliminated, so we attempt to hide it away.

Many people do the same with unwanted and unwelcome feelings. Like the landfill, they deposit the "leftovers" in a heap, usually deep within their souls. They hope no one will get a whiff of the gas emissions that escape as pockets of rage. Trapped rubbish releases toxins. So do trapped emotions.

Do yourself and everyone around you a favor. Find someone to trust. Tell one person your truth, withholding nothing. The last thing we need is another toxic waste dump. We love you too much to let it happen inside your heart. Come clean with us. The cover-up is always unsightly, and you deserve so much more.

Thursday, May 2nd
It was a tough week for some people close to me. Situations unfolded, and it was not in keeping with what "they wanted" or what "they thought would be best." So where does that leave them? Were they duped by God?

I knew better than to quote the verse that "all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes." They probably would have slugged me if I had. When something unwelcome first happens, it's hard to see a BIG picture view of it. At first, we just need to allow the pain to surface. We need to cry or scream or throw something. We need to feel however and whatever is there. We need to get it out.

It WILL pass. That is our experience. Bad things happen, but they eventually become a part of the past, and we are blessed that we can only really live in the present. Oh, c'mon. I've tried living in the past and the future, but it's no good. There's no power there. I can't change a thing there, and God doesn't operate there. My money's on the NOW.

But first, I'll have to grieve the loss. Maybe it was a dream that won't run its course. Maybe it was a hope that was shot down. Whatever the loss, I can survive it if I love myself enough to feel it fully and not stuff it away where it will rot and drain into my peace of mind. I will love myself enough not to go it alone. I will tell someone how sad, bad or angry I feel. I will love myself even if I'm the one who made the mistake. I will be accountable, and I will remind myself that almost everyone wants a pencil with a good eraser. We all make mistakes.

It will pass, and until it does, I will treat myself with love. I've been talking about myself here . . . but it could translate to you . . . if you let it. Won't you let it? I'm right here if you need a target to aim at . . . or a shoulder to cry on . . . I'm right here. And it WILL pass. I promise.

Thursday, April 25th
Paula Deen is an amazing cook, but almost every meal she plans includes a couple of sticks of butter. Recently, she had to take a long look at this way of life. Her heart started to act up, and the doctors told her it was time to reduce the fat intake if she wants to continue to live. Her whole world turned upside down because a crisis demanded that she rearrange her priority list.

I was thinking about heart disease and how it starts when plaque starts to build up in the arteries. The plaque blocks the flow of our life-giving blood supply, and will eventually take us out. There are lists of things to eat to help your heart stay strong and your arteries plaque-free, usually whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. What we feed our bodies makes all the difference in the world to the way we will live and move.

A closed mind is a lot like a clogged artery. The old ideas block the flow of life just like plaque does in our hearts. Similarly, the old ideas could be broken down and removed by the way we feed our minds. Nutrient-rich thoughts abound, but many refuse to take them in, stuck in the rut of what they prefer.

This spring, I challenge you to recognize the old ideas that are separating you from others, from God, and from your True Self. Watch for worlds like "always", "never", "all", and "none". Old ideas often reek of black and white thinking. Notice how you speak of yourself and others. If you find the words "should" and "if only" when making commentary, your old ideas may be wrapped in judgment - an automatic switch to disconnect.

Ask God to help you with your negative thinking and watch your world change. Often, we are stuck only because we forgot how to ask for help. It's not that God could and would . . . it's that God can and will. Ask away. Freedom is at hand.

Thursday, April 18th
Happy Birthday Arlie!

"Everything's got a space between it, the planets, trees, your eyes. Your eyes get too close together, it's a whole different world. You can lose perspective."  - Mos Def

Perspective is a life changer. How you view a situation, a person, the world at large . . . it affects EVERYTHING. We need to step back and regain perspective sometimes, if we want to live to our highest good.

This week I heard a man say that he had a complete change in the structure of how he lives his life. The way he described it, he said, "In the old days, I didn't think too much of myself, but I only thought about myself." Wow! His words perfectly describe the unexamined life. Lost in self-centered fear, we can lose days, weeks, and even years of opportunity because we think only of ourselves, but think so little of ourselves.

Ego is the culprit that slips faulty perspectives into play. Ego loves to make us feel separated from the whole . . . in it on our own . . . comparing with others . . . never making the cut. Happily, once we open our minds to the possibility of more, we can begin to allow our perspectives to shift. Denial melts in the heat of real awareness, and authenticity becomes our goal.

Many of us suffer from diseased perspectives, and they keep true humility and an open mind at bay. Let us consider the opportunity to truly embrace the unique gift each of us is to this needy world, and step into our roles as healers. Let's start first with that face in the mirror. Let's cut him/her a break, and love without condition.

Thursday, April 11th

This will be reprinted in the May Issue of Treasure Coast Parenting Magazine.

No one has recovered yet. When an unexpected tragedy happened this week, an entire extended family became paralyzed and unable to respond. It took our collective support to do the next right thing, and even then, we were just going through the motions. Our hearts could not catch up with our understanding. Reality was suddenly surreal, and we didn't know how to respond.

My wonderful sister-in-law, Heidi, went out to tend to her garden. Life in the Chicago burbs is punctuated with spring days that remind the masses that summer is on the way and screams at them that the yard needs work. Heidi was quick to respond. She was proud of her home, her husband, her family, and her neighborhood. That 60 degree weather called, and she answered in a pair of old shorts and a tee-shirt, with a garden spade in her hand.

Heidi Walsh died out there in her garden that day.

As I write, we're awaiting the autopsy results that will tell us what stole her from this world . . . perhaps, a weak heart that no one knew about. Whatever the cause, she has left this world. My brother and his four children under age twelve are the hardest hit. But there was one thing that no one can ever take from them. Her love.

Heidi spoke her love honestly and often. I, who live 1400 miles away, knew she loved me because she never failed to tell me so. Heidi knew God, and that relationship colored all others in her life. She exuded great love, and it was easy to feel safe in her company. Heidi knew the secret of living her priorities. Being a wife and mother was her calling, and she embraced the role with passion and drive. She knew two things that so many of us forget. Heidi knew that there is enough in this world -- she would always be taken care of. Heidi knew something more important, too. She knew that she was enough -- she didn't feign interest or attempt to be something she wasn't. She was the genuine article, and comfortable in her own skin.

In her memory, I dedicate this missive. Take a page from her daily walk, and tell the people closest to you how much they mean to you. Each day is a gift, not a given. If you had to leave today, would others know how much you love them? If there is any question, tell them now. Write them a note. Sing them a song. Snuggle up close and speak your truth. Don't assume they know. Tell them.

If you are led to help this family, donations can be made to:
The Bob and Heidi Walsh Childcare and Education Fund
c/o Clarendon Hills Bank, 200 West Burlington Avenue, Clarendon Hills, IL 60614

Thursday, April 4th

If you had to start a new relationship today, would your "baggage" be more like a "carry-on" or a "steamer trunk"? Hopefully, this question made you giggle and not cry. The reality is that most of us operate in patterns that come so naturally that they occur without our intent or consent.

Unlike character defects which can be lifted out of us by a Higher Power, patterns have to be exposed, unraveled, and then dug out. This emotional work requires a desire for a new level of self-knowledge and awareness. It also requires a faith that works. The beauty of doing this deep work is that it brings BIG rewards.

Those who have faced their patterns in relationships are more quickly to understand others. This may sound minor, but it brings an ability to forgive more easily, as well. "Pattern pounders" get to know themselves at gut levels, and this knowledge makes living in the present more natural. Those who have confronted their own knee-jerk reactions to life's situations make it a point to live mindfully. They are at liberty to develop the best possible relations with every person that shares their life journey.

Wondering if YOU have these patterns? What do you call it when you want to be the "BOSS" of a romantic relationship? Does that make you a "CONTROL FREAK"? If you are smirking at the thought, let me ask you what you get from maintaining this sense of power? For most that operate that way, they trust they won't be hurt as easily. It gives a sense of security. And while that may be comfortable, it is also limiting. True partners share the load . . . there isn't one who is more "in charge" on a regular basis. A pattern like this will eventually lead most to isolation, and isolation is contrary to our creational stance. We were born to be connected.

Other patterns include competing, quitting, inciting anger, playing the victim, being super responsible/or super-irresponsible, comparing with others, depending upon, running/escaping, entitlement, emotional inavailability . . . and the list continues. The constant in this list is that these patterns made us feel safe when we first started them, but as we continue to use them later in life, they separate us from ourselves, our fellows, and our God.

Becoming aware of your patterns will begin the magical change. To start with, an awareness this deep will change your approach to your relationships. If you need professional help, don't hesitate to see someone. Traditional counseling, NET (neuro-emotional technique), and EMDR are some pattern-busters I have witnessed personally. Love yourself enough to be brave. Open your eyes and your mind to the triggers and snags that send you into your own default settings. Then, ASK FOR HELP. Asking for what we need is one of the highest forms of wholeness we will ever know, because it is how we find our relationship with God.

Do this work, and reap the benefits. You will begin to provide maximum service to God and to your fellows, and believe it when I tell you, THAT WILL FEEL GREAT! Get busy!

Thursday, March 28th

Sometimes, we need to get quiet. Life gets busy. Chaos ensues. We expend energy trying to keep our heads above water.

Take a deep breath. Close your eyes and breathe deeply again. Next time, when you breathe in, imagine yourself breathing in PEACE. When you breathe out, imagine yourself breathing out CHAOS.

Repeat as needed. Get quiet as often as you eat. Three meals a day . . . with maybe two snacks? Get quiet just as often. You know how to feed your body, now it is time to feed your mind and spirit.

Breathe.

Thursday, March 21st

It takes great love to practice courage. I used to think bravery was about strength and fearlessness. Now, I realize that you don't have to be unafraid to practice courage, you just have to love more. When love trumps fear, which it will do EVERY time, courage blossoms.

Ask the soldier on the front line if he loves his country.
Ask the smiling mother holding her child's hand during chemotherapy.
Ask the missionary who washes the leper's wounds.

Surely, you have exhibited courage in your life. You were created for love, and therefore, created for courage. Are you shaking your head? Clearly, you have forgotten how remarkable it is to love and to be loved, and how good you are at it. Face the new day in LOVE, and fear will never stand a chance.

Oh, and in case you forgot, God is absolutely crazy about you, too. You 'da bomb.

Thursday, March 14th

Getting quiet is difficult in a busy life. Nonetheless, we all need to connect in spirit if we are to live whole lives. Emotional and physical connections are wonderful, because they are the building blocks of relationship. Without spiritual connection, though, a person will not be complete. 

Go ahead. Get quiet. Don't do anything but reach out to Source in the quiet and calm. It will make all the other hours of your day richer. Don't just do something... sit there. ~wink~ 

Thursday, March 7th

Why "Higher Power" and not "God"?

When people come to 12 Step Programs, they find a group of people overcoming behaviors and dependencies that they couldn't surmount alone. It starts with admitting powerlessness, and coming to believe that there is a power greater than self that can restore the sufferer to wholeness.

One of the most beautiful parts of the 12 Step journey is that it allows each person to define his/her own God based on what he/she can accept and embrace at the time. Like all relationships, a personal relationship with God starts with an introduction. When someone has arrived at the place of desperation where they look for help, there is a willingness to seek a Higher Power. 

For some of us, this can be scary. We find ourselves at a painful bottom daring to hope things can improve. At this point, our history can play games with our thoughts, and we can resist old memories where we felt powerless in the past. Unfortunately, this may include childish resistance to God as defined by people in authority who were "hell-bent" on making us accept their belief systems. This is where the wisdom of the 12 Steps really shines.

Imagine going on a blind date. Already, the anxiety is mounting as you meet the new person. Now, imagine you need to trust this person with your deepest secrets and failures. Will you do it?Many times, people who come into recovery feel this scenario with God. Human relationships take time to come to a place of trust, and so do spiritual ones. Living the 12 Step life gives those suffering that time. Because we don't demand a newbie to accept any specific description of God, the new one is able to move forward toward wholeness without the fear that could keep them from seeking Love. With time, the recovering one will develop a personal, intimate, and strong relationship with God, as they understand God. Many will return to the church of their youth because the new knowing precludes fear because it is personal. Others will seek new ways to connect more fully with their Source, and expand their beliefs beyond their wildest imaginings.

God is in the business of connecting with His people, and it's only natural that we want to tell others how to move into that place of belonging. Sadly, not everyone can hear us and follow our path. Though some find God in an instant, others develop their relationship with God over time. This process may not be like the one you know, but it is, nonetheless, a process that works. The process allows us to respect the beliefs of others, too. Even more important, it allows us to give people time to come to believe.

In the end, I trust God. I believe the promise that those who seek, will find. I believe the statement that if you knock, the door will open. Just like an old married couple, what started as a blind date has ended up as an understanding between Sugarpie and Sweet Baboo. Don't settle for less than that with your Higher Power. Hang with it until you are intimate with God. Eventually you'll have a pet name for God, because that's how relationships grow. God is absolutely crazy about you. Never doubt it . . . even if you're still at the "Higher Power" stage of the works.

Thursday, February 28th

When the Christ walked the earth, he told us that there were only two things we needed to do to get connection with God. "Love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and love your neighbor as yourself." 

It's two things. How tough can it be? 

Unfortunately, for many who have grown up in dysfunction, these two commands are very difficult. The first issue is loving with your whole heart. Let's face it, we've got to think it over first. Act based solely on what our heart says? Are you crazy? 

Then, there's the whole thing with "your" God. What is that supposed to mean? Are you assuming that we have a working concept of God? You know what ASS-U-ME stands for, right? How are we supposed to live out this command if we don't have a personal relationship with Creation? 

The second command is equally confusing. Some people would be punished severely if they treated others the way they treat themselves. For some of us, we have to learn how to love ourselves so that we can follow the teaching of the Master. That might not seem like a big deal to those of you who love yourselves. For those who struggle with self-esteem, this can take a lifetime. 

Happily for us, the work is not ours alone. The Higher Power does the heavy-lifting. Give God a shot. Ask for help. 

Thursday, February 21st

For some of us, we missed an important lesson in early life. Instead of learning how special we are to someone, we learned we were a burden. This knowing can enter us at a very young age, even before conscious memory. When that happens, the child grows into adulthood re-feeling a base disconnection. This is the stuff that false beliefs are made of.

False beliefs in the mind can act like default settings on a computer. No matter how much work you place on top of them, if there comes a time of meltdown, they will again form the basis of all other programs you will run. The belief that you are not valuable goes against nature. We were all created for connection; we were all born to love and to be loved. That is the great plan of the Higher Power.

A long time ago, the Christ taught that we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This sage spiritual teaching is hard to live if you don't believe you are worthy of love. While other people are struggling to love their neighbor, people with this false belief are struggling to treat themselves with half the respect they feel for others automatically.

To overcome this belief system starts with recognizing it is in place. Awareness of the lie is the first step at eradicating it and rising above its hold on how we think. Next, we need to get to work. Invest in yourself and get some professional help. These formative lies are deep-rooted and difficult to overcome on your own. Traditional therapy may be your solution, though you might want to seek out a therapist that practices EMDR. This technique allows you to go deep with the help of rapid eye movement and pulsating  paddles that allow your mind to release early memories and put them in the right place. Another wonderful therapy offered by Acupuncture Physicians, which has nothing to do with needles, is called NET, or neuro-emotional technique. Again, this work goes deep quickly. An effective practitioner can help you change this base belief and move into a new phase of life where you accept your true value. You are a rare gem of high price, and you deserve only the very best.

You are someone special. That's right, YOU. We are so glad you are in our lives.

Thursday, February 14th

Happy Valentine's Day! The day has its roots in the early Christian church. Valentnus, made a saint in later years, was known for sneaking around behind the Roman empire and marrying soldiers and their lovers who were forbidden to marry. He was imprisoned for this civil disobedience, and later put to death. Before he went, however, he sent a note to his jailer's daughter to say goodbye. He signed it . . . "from your Valentine".

So, what did you do to celebrate the day of romance? Were you clever enough to select a red or pink shirt this morning when you dressed? This week, I'm going to keep the blog short, and let you go snuggle on the sofa with your someone special. If you haven't got a certain someone, cuddle up with yourself. After all, you ARE someone special.

Hug sent.

Thursday, February 7th

It's an interesting feat, allowing others to help you. Okay, so some of you may be a bit more well-adjusted, and you have completed the entire yin yang of giving and receiving . . . but I am still learning. It's an odd realization about myself. I am very willing to give, and I will go to any lengths to help someone in need. What is difficult for me is to allow others to help me when I need a hand.

Last week, two freinds of mine fixed the air-conditioning at my house to save me some money. It was a selfless, kind act, and it immediately affected the well-being of my family. I am thrilled that the unit is working again . . . not because we need it this week, but I did run the heat one night to get the chill out of the house.

When I review my discomfort in receiving help, I have to ask God to remove the false pride that still looms in my life. False pride is a form of dishonesty, because I tell myself and others that I am something I am not. In this case, I was not able to handle this problem by myself, but I didn't want that to be my reality. Had I acted in humility, I would have been able to accept myself, good points and flaws. I would have been better able to accept help, because, let's face it . . . everyone needs help.  The fact that I don't like to admit my vulnerability doesn't mean it doesn't exist. False pride has a negative impact on my life because it whispers to me that I should be good enough, strong enough, smart enough . . . to get through life unassisted. That idea goes against the way I was created. Humans are social beings - they need other humans to thrive. That's how we were created. That is the BIG PICTURE view.

False pride limits my world, and I want to be done with it. I want to walk more fully into authenticity and embrace my imperfections as the perfectly designed opportunities to connect that they are. Want to come with me?

Thursday, January 31st

Appreciate what you have, and the Universe will bless you with more.

Thursday, January 24th

My brother Jim attends a church up in Lincolnshire, IL where the minister once told them a story about coming to know God. The story instructs that when first in relationship with God, it's a little scarey, because we see God in an atmosphere of justice - you get what you deserve. As we spend time with God, the atmosphere changes to mercy - you don't get what you deserve. Once fully intimate with God, the atmosphere shifts to grace - you get what you don't deserve.

I realize that this wonderful story also lends itself to self-understanding. When I first began seeking higher understanding, I treated myself with disdain, because I believed I didn't deserve any better. My mindset was all about justice - and that mindset made me swim in judgment. I judged everyone . . . you, God, and especially ME.

As I continued my pursuit of spirit, my mindset shifted to mercy. Suddenly, I was able to see others and have compassion. For the first time in my life, I wasn't so self-absorbed that I didn't notice the others walking this road beside me. Until the atmosphere shifted to mercy, I was selfish and self-centered, as if I believed the world revolved around me. When the shift happened, I become one with others - a real part of the human race.

Recently, I was blessed with new awarenesses, and my mind moved into the field of grace. Grace is more than I can comprehend at this writing. It really is life on a different plane when I can maintain awareness of it. At those times, it's as if I am a drop of water, and no matter how I move, the grace remains whole inside me. Then, as soon as I can see that image in my mind, it changes, and the drop  of water becomes part of a moving sea. I'm surrounded by grace and very much a part of it.

Obviously, I can only venture into this high spiritual thinking for brief intervals. As long as I'm wearing this skin suit, I will always be more human than divine. Nonetheless, knowing that I am inherently connected through grace is comforting and freeing. It encourages me to move forward knowing that all will be well - both here, and hereafter.   

Thursday, January 17th

We are blessed to have numerous methods available to us so that we can find our True Self and find peace of mind. For some, the Twelve Steps are invaluable tools for connection. Today, I'd like to mention two of the off-shoots of working this program to enable self-discovery and freedom from the bondage of addiction.

In the writings of Dr. Silkworth, a doctor who treated many alcoholics at the time Alcoholics Anonymous was being formed, the words "psychic change" were used to describe a phenomenon necessary to overcome dependency. In the writings of Bill Wilson, one of the two men who founded Alcoholics Anonymous, the words "spiritual awakening" were used to describe a phenomenon that occurs when the sufferer works through all twelve of the steps of recovery.

Sometimes, people confuse these two terms, and while both are intrinsic to evolution of uncovering, discovering, and recovering - they are very different events. Dictionary.com describes the word pyschic as "pertaining to or noting mental phenomena". So, the good doctor reported that unless a person has a change to the way he thinks, recovering from alcoholism is unlikely. Bill Wilson promised that anyone who worked the twelve steps of recovery would experience a spiritual awakening as a result.

Though two completely different experiences, there is still connection to their occurence. As a person's spirit begins to "wake up", the way he thinks begins to change. Consider the stories told of near-death experiences. Often, when someone remembers a tunnel of light and a peaceful feeling that accompanies the out-of-body state, they often return with new insights and thoughts that totally change the way they see the world. The spirit world affects their mental world . . . and in the end, the physical world reaps the reward.

It is the opposite of what appears to happen to an alcoholic who recovers. At first, the drying out period makes a difference in their physical appearance. The bloat leaves. The whites of the eyes clear up. The hands stop trembling. If the person attends 12-Step meetings, new ways of thinking begin to filter in once the body has detoxed. He/she may remember what was said, and utilize the information later to help him/her avoid picking up a drink. Eventually, the spiritual tenets behind the steps will become important tools to living well.

Either way you travel, from physical to spiritual or from spiritual to physical, there seems to be a stop in the middle where thinking is affected. It's one of the most beautiful gifts you will ever see, when someone trapped in old ideas is set free to become all they were intended to be. The psychic change and the spiritual awakening change the actual man, and frees a slave in the process.  

Thursday, January 10th

The Women of Worth Conference was a success, and I am enjoying hearing from others how the information presented is helping them make changes in their lives. One of the teachings we presented impacted everyone in the audience. The teaching was on shame.

I feel there is a big difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is a personal judgment of self. Guilt screams for change. It says, "I feel bad because I did a bad thing." Guilt moves us to action, and allows us to make amends where necessary.

Shame comes from outside. Usually installed very early in life, shame is someone else's judgment, and as we try to make it our own, it morphs into a false belief about ourselves. Shames induces inaction, because it screams, "I feel bad because I am bad." It attacks our self-worth, leaving us believing someone else's lie.

Of course, the first thing we have to do is recognize we are suffering the symptoms of shame. Then, we need to do exactly the opposite of what we want to do. We have to get to work. This work will include outside help like counseling, EMDR, NET, and support groups. If this talk about shame is ringing your bells, don't hesitate to ask for help. Overcoming shame is possible, and you don't have to live like this alone. Look for a counselor in your area with the letters CAP after his/her name. Those stand for Certified Addictions Professional - which means the therapist is trained to help people who grew up in dysfunction.

For now, start talking to God about your realization. Ask for help. Ask that the people who can help you overcome this issue show up in your life. Next, tell a human being you trust that you are struggling with old issues that seem to affect you today. Get support. Then, start asking for recommendations for outside help and make an appointment.

Shame is the gift that keeps on giving, until you take a stand. Today is your day, and you are not alone. There are so many of us doing the same work, and we are ready, willing and able to offer our support.

Peace.

Thursday, January 3rd

Have you ever been victimized?

Being victimized feels bad, because it reeks of deception. When one person takes unfair advantage of another, a perpetrator is created . . . and so is a victim.

Bill Wilson, the cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous, wrote about being victimized by erratic emotions. When an emotion is strong enough to make a victim out of the person feeling it, powerlessness reigns in a twisted way. As we look back over our records, we can see that erratic emotions have driven us to extremes. When feeling financially insecure, we may have stolen from a loved one. If emotional insecurity rears, we may talk dirt about someone else in an effort to feel better about ourselves. Unrequited sexual energy can cause infidelity or the need to own sixteen cats (just kidding.) When our social status is questioned, false pride can push us to shun the ones we really love so we can appear with the ones we think will give us prestige. Erratic emotions can take us to our 
limits . . . and beyond.

What to do? The first solution is to get quiet. That's a hard call when the committee is buzzing in your head. Try some deep breathing to get you started. Next, talk to someone you trust. Blow the fears out and get the feedback from an outside source. Last, put off your reactions. Count to ten, or ten thousand if need be. Wait for your connection with God to kick in and help you deal with it. Until you're spiritually centered, don't react. These emotions took you by surprise. Give yourself time to know how you want to respond.

 Beth's Blog 2012

Thursday, December 27th

I was having breakfast with my friend Ruben the other day, and he said something very interesting to me. He said, "Everybody is worried about how we leave the Earth for our children . . . what about how we leave our children for the Earth?" It began a spirited discussion on how family life has changed over the last five decades, and how the kids of today have more stuff but less time and structure.

Because I published a parenting magazine for eight years, people think I have the "inside track" on how to care for family. Let's face it, it's like anything in life. If you want to be good at it, you've got to spend time on it. If it's slap-dash, you'll reap rewards that show your lack of attention.

So, for the New Year, I wish you the ability to really live your priorities. We all say we know what those are, but take stock this week. Where do you invest your time? If you say your family is most important to you, how do you show it? Let's all consider a resolution to walk our best talk and love without limits. And better yet, let's start at home. After all, isn't that where the heart is?

Happy New Year from all of us at BethWE.com!

Thursday, December 20th

Recently, I've been speaking my mind with boldness. Unfortunately, boldness sometimes sounds cranky. It's as if I can't deal with drama. I've been asking God to temper my words, and to allow me to return to tolerance. A favorite book of mine suggests, "Restraint of tongue and pen carry a high priority rating." What that recommends is for me to not say anything if I can't say anything nice.

Sometimes I wonder if it is part of my process to get to this place so that I might grow out of it. When I focus on what is wrong instead of what is right, I move into the realm of separation, which I believe is outside of Love as I understand it. My hope is that one day I will be able to stay completely connected at all times, but it may be that I won't ever attain that while wearing this skin suit.

In the meantime, I choose connection to true self, others, and God. When my ego rears up and wants to take over, I have to be careful. I have  to watch what I say and allow myself and others to make mistakes. I have to celebrate our humanity. Especially this week, when we remember that Source took on human form to walk among us and teach us how easy it really is to love your neighbor as yourself.

Be kind to yourself, and I'll try to be kind as well. ~wink~

Thursday, December 13th

"Let us not make a mistake - that the hunger is only for a piece of bread. The hunger of today is much greater; for love - to be wanted, to be loved, to be cared for, to be somebody."                                                                                                                                       - Mother Teresa

Please, feed the hungry. 
Give comfort to the forlorn. 
Give hope to the powerless. 
Give peace to the frantic. 
Give acceptance to the hated. 
Give honesty to the deceived. 
Give healing to the broken. 
Give solutions to the desperate. 
Give eye contact to the overlooked. 
Give love to the fearful.

Give love.

Give.

Love.

Thursday, December 6th

Recently, I had an interesting experience during meditation that has changed the way I live. In the moment, I was overwhelmed by the intense connection that I felt. When I continued through my day, I knew something had changed. I felt different, and I even found myself thinking along expanded lines.

It made me think about a list of "Hidden Rules" that my friend Tom had shared with me. This list looked at how there seem to be different "rules" for members of different socioeconomic groups. It chronicled how people of low income most value other people. They almost view the people in their lives as part of themselves. If you steal a girlfriend, for example, it's as if you have struck the most personal way possible. Your face time may never recover a break like this because it feels as if it actually changed their sense of self. Middle income folks most value achievement. For this group, you are rated by what you do. Loss of a job or position can really rock the boat, because it can be equated to loss of self. The wealthiest group values connections most of all. You are who you know, who your grandparents are, where you attended college, and where you fit into society. People in this social group punish by shunning or cutting people out of their social strata.

This week, I was thinking about this list, and I realized that perhaps there is a similar trend in the spiritual world. People that are spiritually impoverished think mostly of themselves. Their spirit world is small because it is based on self. There seems to be a middle group that has some pull toward the spirit world, but keep their feet firmly planted in the physical world. This group has the potential to concentrate on community - maybe a church family or favorite charity. The spiritually wealthy are those who have given themselves fully to finding alignment with Source. This group has the ability to see globally, and is not confined by the limitations of the physical world. Their belief system carries them beyond what can be seen with the eye to what can be known only in spirit.

Many people born in a lower socioeconomic group will work to overcome adversity and to attain those things that are valued in higher economic groups. They will list achievements and build contacts. We all know of a rags to riches story. These stories fill us with hope and possibility.

Happily, many of you reading started your spiritual journey in poverty as well. Today, however, you have worked to overcome adversity and to attain alignment with God's plan for your life. Your limitations are reduced, and you are gifted with new abilities and beliefs that will carry you, and your new world view, to new heights. It is exciting to watch it happen, and I am blessed to see many spiritual rags to riches stories. They fill me with hope and possibility, too.

Thursday, November 29th

I've been blessed with the awareness that darkness is part of the spiritual journey. If we haven't experienced the darkness, why 'on earth' would we look for the light?

Recently, I've worked with two different people who know darkness at deeper levels than most. One of them calls it "the lonely place", and has recognized that when she descends to this frame of mind, she is at risk for chemical solutions. Clean and sober again, that option no longer offers relief because being numb doesn't take the loneliness away . . . it just puts it off until later. When later comes, it has progressed to a new low.

Watching her navigate her way through this new understanding has been profound. It is very clear how important it is to be aware of what we are really facing. For my friend, the "lonely place" first presented when she was a small fry. Like most patterns, it progressed because she continued to use it to survive. What was once a way to mitigate pain has now become the actual cause of the pain. The beauty of facing this demon is that it cannot continue in the light. Its growth and constancy depend on regular periods of isolation and secrecy. Once she was able to see the place of pain (honesty), she was able to come to believe that it could change (hope). To date, she is actively seeking the help of a Higher Power to further alleviate the knee-jerk desire to retreat to loneliness when life gets bumpy. Her every moment is changing. This decades-old behavior has been exposed to the light of love and connection, and it is beginning to dissipate.

This is no small matter. My friend is moving into new territory, and she is spending more time in the light. As her personal darkness lifts, she is able to shine into the lives of others. The ripple effect is setting in, and her world is changing.

The other friend has chosen to stay in the darkness. From time to time, she peers out at those of us holding out our hands to her. She wants to want the light, but she is afraid to give up what she knows. Like an abused baby in a dirty diaper, she has no idea how much better it would be if she could make the change. Some of sit in our own excrement and call it comfort. If you identify at all with this, please join us in the light. We'll lend you our shades until you get used to it.

Peace.

Thursday, November 22nd

Happy Thanksgiving!

After a long day of excess, I am exhausted. I took a long drive with my two kids so we could enjoy turkey dinner with Grandma in Daytona Beach. Round trip, that's a five hour drive. Add tryptophan to that equation, and you've got one sleepy gal.

I promise to catch up later, but tonight . . . I'm going to give in to my eyes' greatest desire. I'm going to get in bed and let them shut for the night. Sleep well, all.

Thursday, November 15th

I'm sitting at the counter in a mountain home outside of Blairsville, Georgia, sharing digs and dinners with sixteen other women who have signed on for the Wake Up in the Mountains Retreat hosted by Vero Quest - a mind, body, spirit group made up of Vickie Shannon, LMHC, CAP, Kate Hoffmann, AP, and me. We have only been here a few days, but the experience has really affected each of us in our own ways.

For me, I am really feeling close to the Higher Power. The beauty of this landscape draws me closer simply because I am in awe. Walking leaf-strewn paths that end with beautiful vistas remind me of a metaphor for my spiritual journey. I have forgotten how many leaves fall in a forest. It doesn't matter if they make a sound in this blog; my only concern is what they are covering that might trip me on the trail.

In my spiritual life, I also travel trails in hopes of attaining higher ground. Often, my path is covered up by something immediate . . . something that needs to be taken care of right away or I fear I will trip. Those little, niggly fears can drive me to distraction, which is exactly how I lose my focus on what really matters. In an earlier blog, I mentioned something I learned from Stephen Covey's book First Things First: Never sacrifice the important on the altar of the urgent. In the spirit world, the leaves on my path are the insignificant distractions that pull me away from my time with God. TV, iPhone, and almost any activity I plug in to create a mindless noise are examples. Having this time away from most of the call of technology . . . I am alert and aware. I stand ready to learn from this beautiful mountain landscape, where Spirit tickles red and yellow leaves so they float delicately to the ground. I'm trying to look up to see them let go of their branch home so they can find their place under my feet. I am trying to allow the natural order that surrounds me become my teacher.

Here, when God speaks to me, it is in the gentle voice of nature. By the way . . . God is crazy about me, so He made the leaves hang on until I could see them fall. I just know it's true. And when I make it down the path these beauties cover, I'm probably going to see a waterfall, because that's just how Higher Power rolls. (BTW - God is just as crazy about you. Think I'm making it up? Why not ask Him to prove it.)

Thursday, November 8th

In my town, we load up all the waste into man-made mountains, and then plant grass over them to hide the fact that the landscape is made of trash. The birds circle overhead, smelling the possibility of feeding frenzy, and long pipes are inserted at various locations in the "hills" to let gas escape as the waste that can degrade does. The landfill is a monument to excess, and it grows larger every day.

I used to be like a landfill. I was full of crap and as long as I looked good on the outside I would tell myself I was okay. Working the 12 Steps started the process of dismantling the mess. Work is still underway, but the Higher Power is busy on the forklift, deciding which parts of my mess to remove. With each pass, HP changes the topography of my being. Today, I am not a slave to excess, but I am enough and I have enough.  

Thursday, November 1st

First of all, happy birthday to my brother, Tom Walsh. I am blessed to have him in my life, and I trust this will be his best year yet.

Tonight I am studying from the Torah, and I have encountered the blessing of "mitzvah". A mitzvah is the way the Torah is translated into action as the chosen of God follow the commandments He set down for them. The observance of a mitzvah is the way to connect to God. For those of you who may not know or remember the story of Moses, he was given stone tablets with commandments carved into them. This is the origin of the phrase "written in stone". The beauty of this image remains in the belief that the commands handed to Moses were not "divinely inspired" or "channelled" through a human, but actually written by the Source of all creation. They are a direct link to God, and the path to enlightened living. For most devout Jews, all of life is a series of mitzvahs, all designed by God to build relationship with Him.

No matter what my personal beliefs are, I must be honest and tell you that I am intrigued by this way of life, because I, too, believe the purpose of my life is to grow closer to the Higher Power, and to let my life show others that realtionship is not only possible, but desireable.

This ancient wisdom is speaking to me lately. It describes levels of intimacy with Source that are attainable by gaining responsibility through living according to the plan that was passed directly from the I Am to man. We are blessed today to even question this sort of study, because it used to be limited to men over forty who had shown their worth at synagogue.

Should you choose to look into these teachings to enhance your own relationship with the Divine, you might take a lesson from Moses and remove your shoes. I have found it is no light matter to desire insight from this passionate and empowering teaching. If you are scratching your head and wondering why my blog is about the teaching of the sacred words of the Torah . . . nevermind. I will move onto another subject next week, and you can catch up with me then.

Until then, shalom.

Thursday, October 25th

"We often need to lose sight of our priorities in order to see them." - John Irving

My perspective has been shifting quickly in the days that made up the past week or two. Somehow, I allowed the words of other people to help me look at parts of my life from different vantage points. Oddly enough, the experiences moved me so that I can no longer see the situations the way I used to see them. I received the gift of new perspective.

Without an open mind, I could not have "heard" another share with me about my life. My open mind expands slowly and continues to spread into new psychic real estate, allowing me to see the world around me with new eyes. I believe this is part of living the second step of the 12 Steps to Wholeness which asks that we come "to believe that a Power Greater than Self could restore us to sanity."

Restoration to sanity for me often involves a shift in perspective. My Higher Power achieves in my mind what I could not achieve alone . . . and from time to time the software that runs the mental computer in my head is rewritten by God using the words of other people. Before this miracle could happen, though, I had to stop debating. I had to realize that every pencil I ever treasured had a quality eraser on the end of it. That was the beginning of humility - a place where I can accurately assess myself, and accept where I am, where I've been, and where I could go. Pair that understanding with the open mind - a place where I can accept others where they are, where they've been, and where they could go, and God has created the magic of restoration.

A shift in perspective is no simple thing. It is a mighty miracle from a Source Power that loves me enough to want me to see the world through the eyes of Love.

Thursday, October 18th

Recently, it seems that Higher Power wants me to remember to get quiet and spend time alone with Him (Her, It, or whatever pronoun floats your boat.) That being said, I realize how much I love this Source Energy that I don't really understand. I can be transported to another plane when I take time to still my active mind and nestle in with God. This downtime is similar to a good night's rest . . . it doesn't really change any circumstances, but I am better able to handle them with finesse when I'm right with HP.

I will make sure I get that quality time, because like sleep, it is necessary for my health . . . my spiritual health.

Thursday, October 11th

There was an emphysemic patient named Ted who wanted to live a full life. He needed to have oxygen 24/7, and he thought that made it hard to live his dream. One day, Ted decided to treat his chronic illness a different way. He doubled the flow of the cannula oxygen on Tuesday so he could travel light on Wednesday. On Tuesday, he focused on allowing his lungs to fill with the life-giving gas, knowing that what he was absorbing would have to last for 48 hours.

The next morning, he unhooked the oxygen and left the house a free man. For the first time in many days, he realized he could do whatever he wanted because he was no longer tied to an oxygen machine. He started the day visiting some old haunts, places he couldn't visit attached to his air machine. Ted ran into old acquaintenances and shot the breeze. He ate lunch in a bar, and no one felt sorry for him. He was back.

When he was heading home close to suppertime, his car went off the road and hit a tree. Luckily, he was only going about 15 miles an hour before he veered off the street, so the impact wasn't the cause of death. He had died a minute earlier, fighting for air. Ted's emphysema was chronic. It needed daily treatment, and the idea of doubling up one day to cover another was flawed. Had he asked another emphysemic patient, he could have known his plan wouldn't work.

There was an alcoholic patient named Fred who wanted to live a full life. He needed a recovery program 24/7, and he thought that made it hard to live his dream. One day, Fred decided to treat his chronic illness a different way. He doubled up on meetings and readings on Tuesday so he could travel light on Wednesday. On Tuesday, he focused on recovery tenets, knowing that what he was absorbing would have to last for the next 48 hours.

You know how Fred's story will end. Right? That's why 12-Steppers work it one day at a time.

Thursday, October 4th

I've been thinking about my friend Mary McPeak who passed away a few years ago. In her younger years, she took the vows to become a nun. When I met her years later, she had left the convent and had married a peach of a man named Harry McPeak.

I was always in awe of the life that Mary had lived. Like me, she was often led by a faith that gave direction before it gave full understanding of God's plans. Mary taught me a great deal about living the love affair with the Higher Power by taking small moments of willing service and knitting them together into a warm blanket of trust. Mary had the ability to challenge my thinking with short statements of fact. "The will of God doesn't always feel good." She'd say it, and then light a cigarette, and there was silence while the smoke curled around her head. She never messed up. I always knew when the HP was speaking through her because her words were always followed by silence. She waited for me to break it . . . to ask a question or voice my resistance. She was an obedient servant of the Most High, and I learned so much.

Mary and Harry attended some classes I facilitated for years. Finally, I asked them to become teachers so that others could benefit from Mary's brand of service. It wasn't gentle, but it didn't hurt. It wasn't always clean, but it never left a scar. Mary was one of those spirits having a human experience, and she changed my life. Her counsel made me want to become all that God had in mind for me to be.

Thursday, September 27th

There's a story that reminds me a lot of recovery. Two frogs fell into a tub of cream. One took action and started kicking to stay afloat. The other did the bare minimum, and finally threw in the towel and sank to the bottom and drowned. Meanwhile, frog #1 continued his work trying to survive. Eventually, the cream in which he swam became stiff and whipped, and allowed him to rise to the top of the tub and jump off.

I have many friends that wanted to make their lives better, but wouldn't perservere when the going got tough, and stopped working the 12 Steps and settled on their personal bottom until they faded away.

Kick for dear life, friend! Work the Steps to Wholeness over and over again. If you do, it won't be you that's whipped in the end . . . it will be the cream.

Remember: FROG = Fully Rely On God

Thursday, September 20th

I celebrated a birthday this week, and it was the first time that I had the experience of turning another year older in front of the Facebook community. It's amazing that so many people can connect in one mindset. This week, it was birthday wishes winging my way. But what could happen if that wonderful connection of minds and hearts was harnassed for the greater good?

"Whatever is pure, whatever is noble, whatever is of good accord . . . think on these things." Maybe the world will be a better place if we're all laughing at the same joke at the same time. Maybe the world will be a better place if we're all admiring the same photo of a sunset at the same time. Maybe if we all connected with the Higher Power at the same time, the entire world would change for the better.

Let's imagine it. Let's collect our conscious minds and decide to live in love and connection instead of fear and separation. It seems almost plausible to me at this moment . . . of course, I'm the one who was reading a long list of birthday wishes that arrived from all corners of the earth. Maybe I'll blow out the candles again and my wish will come true.

Thursday, September 13th

The Course in Miracles says "come with empty hands to God." I understand the premise that life seems to work better for me when my desire matches up with the desires of my Higher Power. For example, when I watch a program on HGTV, a designer can recreate a room so that the homeowner doesn't recognize it. Invariably, however, the homeowner loves it. What would happen if the homeowner demanded that old pieces of broken furniture be used in the design? Obviously, the designer would do the best he/she could given the obstacles. The homeowner's inability to let go of historic decor could spoil the final outcome.

I am the homeowner and HP is the Designer. The old, broken furniture pieces are my old ideas and manipulations. If I want the "room" of my dreams, I've got to give the Designer full reign. When the Christ walked the earth, he said, " in my Father's house there are many mansions. I'm going to prepare a place for you now." Let's face it . . . he knew this blog would come up one day and wanted me to have the perfect quote to finish it up. 

Today, I will allow the Great Designer to reign. God, help me if disposing of the old furniture is painful. Help me to not grab onto it, demanding that it remains. Help me to let go for good this time. I trust you with the outcome. Please give me more faith so that last statement can "feel" true in my core. Amen.

Thursday, September 6th

We begin learning to trust as soon as we're born. We must trust our caregiver to provide food, warmth, and touch. As we develop, so does our ability to trust. Unfortunately for all of us, we also learn NOT to trust. Since all of us are walking through life trying to get our needs met, sometimes we step on the toes of others to achieve satisfaction. Our instinctive drives for security, sex, and a place in society are always asking for more. At times, we limbo pretty low to make sure these desires are fed, even if it means stepping on the trust someone has given us. 

When this happens, we arrive at a place where trust becomes less likely, and sometimes impossible. We are cautious, trying not to allow someone else to hurt us. We build on past experiences, feeling a whole string of events each time someone we trust fails us. It's as if every past failure rises up inside our memory and an inner voice scolds us for letting our guard down.

I believe that faith is the answer. When I first received the free gift of faith, small changes started in my life. I took a few more risks. I opened my mind to other avenues. I became a real seeker. I was actively looking for more, and because of that, I found more. A lot more.

Then, miraculously, faith grew. As if I planted a seed of faith, and it took root in my heart and then began its upward growth, pushing me beyond the limits I had always accepted. One day, my faith blossomed, and the flower it revealed was trust.

Now, when I want to trust, I ask for faith. With friends and loved ones, I am faithful and I see if they are faithful. It sounds too simple, doesn't it? As our friendship grows, the faithful relationships blossom into trustworthy companions. The physical course of action works much the same as my spiritual experience.

From time to time, I meet someone who is not faithful. I do not try to trust that one, but instead pray that they will come to receive the free gift of faith that is theirs for the asking. As I mature spiritually, I see how the many gifts from the Higher Power morph and take me more deeply into my walk. I learn things in the spiritual world, and then practice them in the physical world. It's amazing, because the lessons are so similar, and very simple. Plant faith. Reap trust. What a harvest!

Thursday, August 30

"I understand." Is there any better gift another person can give?

Today, I want to talk about the miracle of identification. When I'm going through a difficult circumstance, a little voice in my head tells me that there's something wrong with me, I'm an ineffective loser. This voice, an agent of my false self EGO, wants me to go it alone so no one else will have to witness my shortcomings. It delights when I feel separated from others and from God. Somewhere in my history, I picked up the little booger, and it has been a parasite ever since, sucking nourishment from my self-esteem. Each time I land in an emotional jackpot, this voice becomes loud and critical. Identification with another person, however, cuts through its tough exterior. When someone else affirms that they have experienced similar feelings and lived to tell the story, it's like the volume knob on my EGO is turned down, and I can once again hear the voice of possibility. 

Dysfunction teaches us, "Don't talk. Don't trust. Don't tell." Delivered to us at young, impressionable ages, these messages take root and grow into false beliefs. I want to eradicate those lies and live into the promises that the Higher Power makes to us. Don't you agree? And if you gave me a nod, thanks for "getting me". I am once again awash with understanding, as the miracle of identification strikes again. 

Thursday, August 23

dis·ci·pline  noun Ëˆdi-sÉ™-plÉ™n

Definition of DISCIPLINE

1: punishment
2  obsolete : instruction
3: a field of study
4: training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character
 
                                                                     -Courtesy of Merriam-Webster Online
 
Maybe that's why I dislike discipline. The first definition is punishment, and the second is obsolete. I had to get all the way to the fourth definition before I found what it means to me.
 
It's important that I maintain the disciplines that keep me growing spiritually, but sometimes I'd rather take a nap. Does it sound familiar?
 
This week, I will follow through on my daily journal and make it to the gym three times. Okay? I'm telling you, and if you're so inclined, you can ask me next week if I lived up to the promise.
 
All I know is that when I commit myself to these little personal efforts, my life is good. Better yet, all my interactions with others become better, too. Everyone benefits when I practice discipline. Why then, would I ever avoid it?
 
Where's that dictionary? Maybe I should look up laziness.
 
Thursday, August 16

It's been a tough week because I've been stirring up the psyche . . . studying books on family dysfunction and polling the general public about family history, roles, and patterns that people develop to survive amid the chaos. You can't help but look at your own childhood memories when the pot is stirred. Worse, you look at the chronicles of your own kids and thank God that He made children resilient.

One of the key traits of those that survived a dysfunctional childhood is the inability to know intimacy. This loss affects the sufferer in relationship with God, with others, and even with self. The question, "Who am I?" taunts him/her as he/she strives to create a more balanced life. It's so much easier for the survivor of emotional clutter to answer the question, "Who do you want me to be?"

Happily for all, there are twelve steps to wholeness. If you are struggling with old roles that no longer serve your present situations, dig in. There are loads of people that will understand and offer their experience, strength, and hope. Don't let the past rob you of the present. Do the work and move forward. You deserve it. 

Thursday, August 9

What do you see when you look at your life? Do you see success or failure?

About ten years ago, I stepped down from a higher-paying position because it precluded me from being home with my children at night. I was newly divorced, and I had to weigh the options and choose which was most important.

At that time, I was reading First Things First by Dr. Stephen Covey. This wonderful book gave me the answer I needed. Stephen's words were, "Never sacrifice the important on the altar of the urgent." Take a moment, and read that sentence again slowly, really considering what it means.

For me, my children were my number one priority. I opted for the lesser job with the lesser pay and the greater amount of family time. There would be times when I questioned my decision because I felt the urgency that comes when there was more month at the end of my money. Had I not had the wise counsel of Dr. Covey, I may have settled for material success and sacrificed the emotional wellbeing of my two kids.

In the past month, both of my children have taken the time to tell me how grateful they are that I was there with them. Both told me that in their eyes, I am one of the greatest successes they know. It felt good to hear that, sitting in our modest home with our beat up van in the driveway. To quote my friend Toni, "My cup runneth over."

We said goodbye to Stephen Covey last week, and although he has left this world, he is still alive and well in the way I think. I thank my God for his life's work that touched my family, and gave us the gift of priority. What price could I ever put on that?

Farewell, Stephen. You will be missed.

Thursday, August 2nd

I do not apologize for my truth, nor should you. We are shaped by our physical, mental, and spiritual realities, and we come to believe that which we come to understand. Today was a rough day to be me. Over thirty years ago, I had a close encounter with God that changed the way I see the world. This spiritual experience turned out to be the revelation of the Living God in my heart. Since that time, I have worked hard to develop an effective relationship with my Source. You don't have to be holy to hang out with God. Hanging out with God makes you holy. Wholly.

Today, I went to the mall to meet up with a woman who asked me to write an article for a local magazine. What a sight! Hundreds, if not thousands, of people were in line in front of Chick-fil-a in a peaceful demonstration. I began to weep. Not because I fully understood the reasons they had gathered. I wept because I knew that it was indicative of the break. What break? The chasm that is beginning to separate the church from the people it is meant to serve.

Casting Crowns just came out with a new song, and its lyrics echo my gut feeling about so many interactions I witness in the name of God. Singing to the church, the song warns: "Nobody knows what we're for, only what we're against when we judge the wounded. What if we put down our signs, crossed over the lines and loved like You did?"

Today, I was wounded. I was caught between love and judgment knowing that they should never intersect. I wondered if the great showing at Chick-fil-a's around the country would serve the great mission of Jesus - to love my neighbor as I love myself, or if it would drive the stake of separation even deeper.

My picture had been snapped and posted on Facebook. Some applauded my presence. Others condemned me on the spot. No one asked me why, how, or what I believed. Already clothed in battle regalia, they drew the sword and aimed at me or patted me on the back and suggested I scored one for "the team". Both sides had it wrong.

Everyone was hurt today. The message of love was tainted with self-righteousness. The crowd stood, rocks in their hands, and no one got to see the plank in their own eyes. The Casting Crowns song also cries, "Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours." My heart broke today. To all my Christian friends, I ask you to personally examine your methods. To all my gay friends, I ask you to forgive us for we know not what we do. To all of you, I ask you to put down your weapons and let people seek God because your life makes them want to know more. Be the message. 

Peace to all. 

Comments? Experience? Questions? click here

Thursday, July 26th

We talked a great deal about the instincts this last weekend, so they are ever present on my mind. It's amazing that humans can be reduced to their quest for sex, for a place in society, and for emotional and material security. But, it seems to be the case for everyone I have ever worked with on the road to wholeness. Understanding what makes us tick is imperative if we are going to be happily and usefully whole.

Some people use one instinctive behavior in an effort to get another need met. For example, some people will have sex to get their bills paid. Others will use money to buy power. Whenever we do this, we will not find relief. Each instinctive need must be met on its own merits.

Another interesting note about relationships is that the more instincts a person affects, the more difficult they will be to let go. Ask any divorced person about their former partner, and you'll see what I mean. When you have had one person help you attain satisfaction of your sex, societal, and security instincts, they are going to piss you off when they leave.

Be gentle with yourself while you grow in understanding of your basic needs. God gave you these instincts to make your life better - not to throw hurdles in your path. It is only when we clamor for more than our share, or fear that we'll never have enough, that we are broken anew. Take a deep breath, and ask yourself this question, "What was my motive?" As you mature in understanding, you will begin to ask yourself, "What was THEIR motive?" 

Learning to understand what is driving the train of your life will automatically help you understand others better. That's when this deep work will pay off. And the pay will be handsome.

Thursday, July 19th

Gratitude is a function of the open mind. 

Take some time and think about that statement.
 
If you are debating it, follow these steps. Open your mind and allow the thought to wander through the halls of your pysche, unlocking doors you forgot you closed, dropping bits of joy along the way, and inviting you to wrap your mind around the words until they become part of your truth.

It takes so much work to keep a mind closed that there is little time for gratitude or joy. Lighten up. Notice something you might have missed that gives you momentary delight. Bask in that moment. Know the open mind, and you will know joy.

Thursday, July 12th

Consider a quilt pieced together lovingly with small bits of cloth and short, discarded pieces of colored embroidery floss. Each small part is of itself insignificant, but when they are all joined together in the quilt, they become a piece of art. That is my life. Its very fabric has been woven together with the broken threads and miniscule swatches of choices and actions. Sometimes, it looks like a mess to me, but my Higher Power looks down upon it and smiles knowingly, seeing the beauty of my personal efforts.

Thursday, July 5th

I heard a valuable line today. The person shared, "Suffering opens the heart to willingness."

Ouch. It even hurts to hear it, but nonetheless, I know that it is true in my life journey. If I really believe this, how come I try to rob those I love of their pain? Surely, I know that pain is the starting point of change. Few people will seek a new way of living without some degree of suffering. But, when someone I love is in pain, I want it to end. I want to wipe their tears and their slate so they can move away from that which hurts them. Sadly, when I step in like this, often the move away I activate is not forward in motion. Often, my interference makes them circle around the pain, inevitably destined to return to it when I'm not there to meddle. I cannot relieve them of it, I act only as a buffer, or worse, a temporary stand-in. Nobody can do the healing for someone else. It doesn't matter how much you love them . . . they have to do their own work.

I will allow my loved ones to suffer, knowing that it's not just that God could and would for them . . . but that God can and will, if only I get out of the way. If I feel pain for them, and I am a flawed individual, can I even imagine how their pain breaks the heart of God, who is all Love? 

Dear God, help me to move out of the way so that Your healing can reach those I love and relieve them from any burden that keeps them from connecting fully and living abundantly. Amen.

Thursday, June 28th

The question of honesty rings in my head today. How can I be honest if I don't know who I am?

As a child, I was proficient in certain areas of life. Those areas gave me identity. I was an artist. I was a volleyball player. I was an honor student. Looking back at those early roles seems to have nothing to do with who I have become today.

In my case, I was robbed of my identity. Addiction sneaked into my life posing as a friend and snatched the most valuable asset I ever had . . . a sense of self. Once I stopped seeking chemical connection, I was unable to connect because I didn't remember a time when I was "okay in my own skin."

Thank God for the Twelve Steps of Recovery. Through working those at first, and now living those on a daily basis, I have come home to myself. I am not an empty shell of a person, wondering what I can pour inside to create a memorable being. I am reborn. I am on the path to wholeness. I am enough.

Perhaps that statement is the most important one for me. I am enough. Because, in the end, I always was. I just lost sight of the truth . . . and without truth, how can one be honest?

Thursday, June 21st

Traveling across the country with two teenagers is interesting. It's almost like traveling alone, because they both have headphones on. One of the reasons they give for the earbuds is so they don't have to hear "my music." The other goes without saying . . . they're teenagers, and earbuds are a way of life.

I was traveling through Tennessee early in the morning and really enjoying the beautiful view of the mountains. Talking to the Higher Power, I was praising the handiwork of the treelined vista. As I continued on, I saw an even higher mountain up ahead, and dotted along the uppermost peak was a row of houses. Granted, these are not the Rocky Mountains, but they are still high enough that my ears were popping as I drove along. I began to think about man's creative power that allowed him to build homes on that terrain. The dedication and vision were evident, because just getting the materials to that elevation would have been a chore. It was almost like God created the mountain, and man increased the visual interest by adding the homes.

Earlier today, I was speaking to my buddy Lee on the phone, telling him about it. I likened it to a father who has a business and passes it on to his son. The business is changed when he lets the son loose on it . . . to be sure. Do the changes enhance or detract from the original creation? Each case is different, I'm sure. However,  I was thinking specifically about my friend Charley who took over  a business his parents created together. In this case, Charley used his parents great beginning as a springboard, and really brought new ideas and success to the already thriving business. I wonder if that's how the Higher Power feels looking down on our lives? Clearly, we were given everything we need to excel. Whether we do or not is up to us. Are we aware there's a springboard included if we want to soar to new heights?

In Tennessee, there's someone who built some beautiful sactuaries on top of a mountain, and I appreciated the handiwork today. I'm so glad to be aware of my surroundings, and able to develop gratitude for things that I would have missed in the foggy past. As my friend Lorelei says, "God is good, all the time."

Thursday, June 14th

Going to any lengths is a subject that needs to be addressed. How far will you go to live your best life? Oddly enough, some people have caps on this. These same folks will go to absolutely any length to live their worst life. Running after a buzz, cheating loved ones out of their peace of mind, stealing a heart and then crushing it when it gets in the way of the chase . . . these are things I know about. I was one of the people that used to do them.

Today, I have to decide how far I will go to stay connected to God, to others, and to my true self. We all need to know the limits - or lack thereof. What's your primary purpose? Would others be able to guess it just by the way you live?

For today, I'm on the beam. But each morning, I have to make the decision to be the best Beth that I can be. Some mornings, I'd rather pull the shades and make the world go away, telling my best self to take a leap. That's when it hits me. My simple thoughts order my actions, and my actions become my days, and my days merge together and create a life.

When I can't take it one whole day at a time, maybe I can take it one thought at a time. And if the first THINK is messed up, I get two more tries to get it right. Usually, that's enough. And when it's not . . . you'd better answer your phone, because I may be calling for a sanity check. Can you even imagine that you're the one I'd call for that? ~grin~

Thursday, June 7th

When I write the weekly thought to send out to our website community, I take one of the entries from the first volume of g.o.d. (group of drunks) speaks. Generally, that's wonderful fodder for the inspirational note.

This week, however, when I flipped to the next entry, the words of my friend, Liz, came back to me. Liz serves the mentally instable in her role as nurse. The entry in question used to sit in my mind as comical and cute. But, after Liz commented on it, I now have mixed emotions.

The quote is: "If you've never been lonely, you're probably schizophrenic."

Liz filled me in on the intricacies of dealing with such a diabolical illness. She said, "I will never laugh at a comment that makes light of their burden." So, I am taking this blog spot to raise my thoughts to their highest in hopes of relief and understanding for those who suffer from this debilitating disease. I only hope my words have never struck a chord of pain for the families of those so afflicted. What I thought was a clever quip was never meant to injure.

I wish you all peace of mind. If you are able to attain that from time to time, don't minimize that incredible gift. Be grateful. Be aware. Be empathetic to those who will never know your freedom. 

Thursday, May 31st

A wise woman who was mentoring me always said that becoming your best self wasn't about adding layers, it was about peeling them away. She used the analogy of peeling an onion. With it's many layers, it can take quite a while to get to the sweetest part of the fruit - the core.

While considering this recently, I saw a further analogy. When I peel onions, I tend to cry. Scientifically, the reason is that a gas is released when the flesh of the onion is cut. Though I can't see this gas, my eyes tell me it is present, and the tears come.

Likewise, in life, I often cry when I'm peeling back the layers of false self that have accumulated. I have added many layers over the years in an effort to keep my core safe. Now, as I peel back all that is unnecessary, something invisible is released, and it can make me cry. Like the onion, each layer reveals another layer . . . and my heart and mind get closer to living my core values as these outer layers are removed.

In my onion analogy, Higher Power is the Master Chef wielding the knife. At first, I was afraid to be cut, and I hid out among other onions developing bruises and losing my fresh flavors. When I finally surrendered, the Master Chef cleaned my onion self with love and care, releasing my zest and making my aroma more tantalizing. Then, I was able to rest for a bit, knowing that the blade would eventually rid me of other unsavory parts of myself, but that the blade was in the hands of LOVE.

In many recipes, onions are the enhancer that make the dish memorable. In life, it is we onions that know the pain of the sacred cut that can season all around us. We are so blessed, even though the peeling process can be painful. It is just that action that removes the husk that keeps us from connection.

Bon Appetit! Live with full flavor and zest!

Thursday, May 24th

I was working on a project for our June 2nd seminar, and I asked a bunch of people to tell me about a movie scene that really touched their heart. If you're reading this now, I ask you to consider this question before you continue reading the blog. What movie did you connect with at a gut level?

The answers I received were so varied. Out of about 40 who answered, I didn't have one duplicate response! Isn't that amazing? So, let's look at some of the scenes that make the hair stand up on the arms of some of our local residents, and if the response suggests an instinctive motivation.

A lovely lady about 70 was quick to respond. "Pretty Woman," she said. When asked what specific scene, she said, "The whole movie." I asked why, and she had a far away look in her eye as she said, "I know what it's like to be treated like a thing until one person comes along and finally sees who you really are inside." Clearly, the instinct for a place in society was piqued by a movie that made her remember how that felt. By watching Julia Roberts act out feelings with which she could identify, she was transported back in time.

Another young man about 25 knew right away, too. "In Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, when they were all making fun of him at the reindeer games. I've been there," he uttered. The look on his face was really sad, letting me see that when he couldn't get his social instinct met as a youngster, it affected his sense of personal security. He identified with a claymation reindeer who was bullied because he was different. My heart went back in time with him, and I felt his pain.

Connection comes when we identify with others. Favorite movies, books, and even television shows can show us that when our instincts are unmet, difficult feelings can follow. Even years later, we can call to mind the emotion - joy or pain - and feel it palpably again.

Pay attention. The emotion you're feeling may be twenty years old. Face it head on and move on. You deserve to be free. 

Thursday, May 17th

We said goodbye to Jennifer P. on Wednesday, and I've sobbed on and off throughout the week. She was only fifty when she picked up the first drink of her last spree. Her organs shut down while those closest to her sat powerless in the hospital. Everyone who knew her feels a sense of loss, horrendous anger at the disease that robbed us of her presence, and the sad relief that she won't be suffering in active alcoholism anymore. Jennifer loved us all, and was quick to let us know it. It breaks me, because I see how loved she was, and how little she could feel that love. Perhaps her dilemma was that she didn't love herself, or worse, that she didn't think she deserved our love. We'll never know for sure why she couldn't find peace in this life, but we trust she has found it in the next. Rest in peace, dear friend. Rest. Finally, rest.

Thursday, May 10th

I had the honor of hearing a Fifth Step yesterday. That's when an individual admits to God, to themselves, and to another person the exact nature of their wrongs. The woman who asked me had only told one other person in her whole life what she told me. There were tears, fears, anxiety, and finally . . . Truth.

Today, her world is different because she told me. When Bill Wilson placed the word "rigorous" before the word "honesty"in his writings, he wanted to make sure no one held back on releasing darkness. Rigorous honesty means allowing the Truth to permeate every area of life. It doesn't mean it won't be uncomfortable. Let's face it, if you hid a box in your closet with a turd inside for a few years, it wouldn't be pretty when you removed the top to show someone else. Chances are pretty good the other person would say, "EEeewwwwww!" But, then, you'd look again. And you'd see the mold, and the decay, and you'd smell the odor, and you'd be more willing to get rid of it. 

Same thing with the Fifth Step. I think the girl who shared her story with me is going to move beyond her secret very soon. And who knows? A year from now, she may find herself next to a dark closet waiting for someone else to show her what they've hidden in a box for a long time. And she'll be the one to say, "EEeeewwww!" And when her friend cries to think about disposing of the offending secret, she'll throw her arm around her and tell her it will be alright. She'll know for sure from experience. 

Because Truth is the ticket to real freedom, and willingness is the ramp that gets you on the plane. Fly high!

Thursday, May 3rd

Pyschic change makes the difference in how I see the world. I can remember a time in my life when everything looked hopeless. Right now, I can palpably feel the pain when I think about it. Hopelessness means nothing can make it better.

I found a bunch of friends who suggested I look outside myself for power. They promised that if I would give up the role as god, another REAL ONE might show up. The REAL ONE has the power I need. They promised.

I thought they were crazy, but I was in so much pain that I gave it a go. The first psychic change was miniscule . . . but it paved the way for greater changes down the road. In the first change, suddenly I didn't feel hopeless. I felt helpless. Helplessness means that I can't make it better. Such a small shift, but it was the beginning of my open mind. It was only a crack, but it was the start of my journey to wholeness.

Can you see the difference? When I'm hopeless, I'm alone and doomed. When I'm helpless, I have to look up and out for the help I need. But, at least I'm not doomed. Better yet, I am not alone. 

Once I had a buddy tell me he thought he was getting better. I asked him why. He said he used to be so self-involved. He was suicidal, but now he was thinking of others. I told him that was great. Then, he laughed and he said, "Yeah, now I'm homicidal." Only someone who's been there will laugh at that line. Did you laugh? If so, I'm so happy to share the road with you.

The psychic changes keep coming. And with each one, I am closer to the God of my understanding, and better able to help my fellow trudgers. I am so grateful.

Thursday, April 26th

I live in an area where many people come to retire. Our beautiful beaches call to them, promising golf, a slower pace, and like-minded citizens. I laugh at that last entry, because it's an election year, and it doesn't matter who you support or why. That's not what this blog is about. But just remember, I live in Florida. Check any political poll to see how the majority of citizens vote here. That will give you the background for this little ditty.

Last week I met a woman who needed help. She has not had a drink in three years, but she told me she did not accept her alcoholism. This worried me, because all lasting life changes start with acceptance. I noticed she was wearing a badge on her lapel that spouted her political stance. I used the information and went to work.

First, I took her hands in mine. Connection starts so quickly when human touch is concerned. Then, I squinched up my face in mock concern and told her, "I have to tell you something important. And it's going to shock you." Her facial response was grave. She nodded. I continued, "I hate that I have to be the one to tell you this, but there's a Democrat in the White House. And he's black." She tilted her head as if relieved, and said, "I know that." 

"You do?" I squealed, leading her down my twisted path to enlightenment. "And you accept it?" She nodded her head. "But do you approve of it?" I asked. Her head shook so hard I thought her earrings would fall off. Then, I smacked her with the Truth. "So you accept it, but you don't approve of it. Could that be what's going on with your alcoholism?" The light of understanding spread over her face, and it was quickly followed by peace. Then, the tears came. She got it. 

Acceptance in not approval. I can accept some horrible facts about reality, but that doesn't mean I will ever like them. When I confuse the two tenets, and think that my acceptance of something means I'm going to like it, well . . . that's the point where insanity gets a foothold in the doorway of my mind. Insanity and Peace of Mind are never neighbors. One of them always dominates the neighborhood. I choose Peace. Okay, so sometimes I only choose it after insanity has beat my behind. But I always know where home is, and eventually, I make my way there. Won't you join me?

Thursday, April 19th

God is sending me birds. 

My Grandma, Mary Walsh, never lost her brogue even years after she got off the boat from Ireland. She embraced many interesting superstitions from her native land, and the one I remember most was her belief that angels sometimes took the shape of birds.

Whether it was the weekly visits to her house as a little girl, or the fact that I always thought I was her favorite because I was named after her little sister, Grandma's beliefs influenced me. So, this week, when I was inundated in close encounters with birds, I decided to look up what they symbolized.

Once again, the Higher Power was playing with me. Why is it when I think something spiritual might be a bit "hokey", God makes sure it slaps me across the face with meaning? LOL! Anyone who doesn't know that Creation has a sense of humor is in for some upcoming fun.

Anyway, as I prepare to go away for the weekend to teach a workshop in Sarasota, I'm getting up close and personal with bluejays. They're everywhere. Usually, a stand-offish bird, these beauties are almost dive bombing me. You know what Native Americans say about them? They're the symbol of the teacher or the public speaker. Confirmation from God that I am on my way to do the very thing I was created to do.

Then the cardinal showed up. Native Americans suggest the cardinal calls us to walk with pride - but not ego. It's appearance is to remind us to step forward confidently, because we were born to lead with grace and nobility.

My day ended with not one, but two red-headed woodpeckers landing right in front of me. I chuckled when I read that the Native Americans think this bird stands for opportunity knocking, and is also a call to be aware of our core impulses and basic beliefs.

Something tells me this is going to be one heck of a conference. Thanks, Gramma!

Thursday, April 12th

Bill Wilson said that "fear was the evil and corroding thread in the fabric of our lives." That's a pretty heavy statement. I can just imagine a beautiful tapestry created with that thread in it, and all of the sudden it starts to unravel - it starts to fall apart. 

Once, someone told me that faith was the opposite of fear. I don't agree. I think that faith and fear are two different responses available to me when I am met with a given circumstance. They are not polar opposites . . . but when I choose one over the other, I am definitely setting myself up. These days, I want to set myself up for positive returns. These days, I want to choose faith.

And the beauty of the whole thing is that if I choose the wrong response in the pinch, I have the opportunity to choose again. Fear wants to sneak in and take control when I have something big on the table. But, with just a whispered prayer, in comes faith and turns on the light, and the something big on the table melts to insignificance. Well, if not insignificance, at least it is exposed, and I know what it is. One of fear's greatest weapons is the "not knowing-ness" of a situation. One of faith's greatest blessings is the willingness to "not know and not panic."

Faith is a free gift. God, please give me more NOW. 
IJNIP

Thursday, April 5th

I was in a cleaning frenzy today. It seems that I have a lot going on in my mind and spirit, and I needed to do something physical and immediate so I could let the "other stuff" simmer on my back burner. I love to clean when I need to take a break from thinking. When I'm done, the house looks great, and I usually have come to some understanding because God loves to hang out with me while I'm cleaning house.

I've been thinking about obedience lately. I know. It's one of those topics where you'll probably skip down to the next section to see if I have something more "fun" in my bag of tricks. Nonetheless, obedience is important to consider because on occasion, I am gifted with a sense of knowing that comes directly from Source. The Bible calls it "the gift of knowledge" in 1 Corinthians 12, and I am grateful that God sometimes whispers His secrets in my ear. The only problem, though, is that the "knowing" often comes with directions. Now, I'm not of the belief that if I disobey I get reprimanded or loved less by the Big Guy. It's just that my experience is that when I walk in alignment with the will of God, I am happier, more useful, and more at peace. So, why wouldn't I follow through on the suggestion? 

The answer is selfishness. Self-will run riot is what some of my friends would call it. I have an EGO the size of New Jersey that tells me to blow off the "knowing" and go with what is easy. But this week, I've been considering how the great Spiritual Masters who walked this earth also had to obey. Let's look at Abraham from the Jewish Torah. "Go up on the mountain, and kill your only son as a sacrifice." Now, that's some heavy "knowing"! Still, Abraham went. Most of us know the end of this story. God stops him just as he is ready to slay his son, and they sacrifice an animal caught in the thicket instead. Obedience. Abraham had it, and he walked more closely with God than most will ever have the opportunity to experience, and is called the Father of Nations. Of course, Jesus, the Christ, also exercised obedience. In Gethsemane, Jesus asked God to "take the cup away" from Him. Then, He added, "Not my will, but Thine, be done." And we know where that obedience led Jesus, and He went anyway. Just look how many lives have been changed because of His act of obedience over two thousand years ago. Mohammed was a party animal until he received his gift of "knowing". He caroused with the best of them. But, when he heard the call, he obeyed. He walked into his destiny without looking back. Even the Buddha was obedient to the inner knowing. Why else would he sit under a tree for years on end? Yes, throughout history, the Masters have known obedience.

Then, there's you and me. LOL! We struggle. We justify. We forget. And, then we finally follow through. We want to walk in alignment more than we want our way, so eventually we give up resistance. And in surrender, we become strong. I love to break words apart to get more meaning from them. The prefix SUR means above and beyond. The root RENDER means to make. So, I've come to believe surrender gets me above and beyond that which I could make on my own. Every once in a while, I don't struggle, wiggle, or justify. Every once in a while, I obey immediately. And that is making all the difference, because Love grades on the curve. St. Augustine said, "Wanting to please God, pleases God." I want to please God, because I have been the beneficiary of His unfathomable grace. I've lived without knowing God, and I've lived in relationship with God. There's no comparison, and I never want to lose this phenomenal hook up that allows me to live a life I could only imagine years ago. As my friend Lorelei says, "God is good, all the time."

Thursday, March 29th

Recently, I've been thinking about some earlier times in my life. It's funny that even as a child, my perception was a bit skewed. LOL! Looking back, I realize there were many times that I put on my "Beth-colored" glasses to view situations and events. Even then, my brain was steeped in selfishness, and I could only receive information or ideas if I could pass them through the processor that asked, "But, how does that affect me?"

Like putting steak through a grinder, this mental processor ground the experiences into little chunks . . . and although I could pat them together into a patty, I was left with memories that were much different than the actual event I started with. Some of my history has been recreated by this magical mind of mine. This selfish way of viewing the world changed my world. I often absorbed when I should have witnessed. I carried the pain and burdens of others, when their pain wasn't my work. Even today, when I call up some memories, I can feel the emotional refuse.

Maybe that's why it's so important for me to journal my personal inventory with regularity. On paper, I can see the tell-tale signs of the changes created by a little girl's mind with big people fears. Even then, being powerless was distasteful to me. But it was my lot in life, and it still is.

Today, though, I can celebrate powerlessness because I know where to get Power. Thank God for God. And thank God for the ability to look back and see the flaws in my thinking, knowing that when I need to see the Truth, it will always come to me in Love. My six-year old self can put down the basket of woes she was carrying for another, and skip off into the sunlight. My adult can connect more deeply with knowledge of who I really am.

I am safe and secure today. I am able to handle life as it comes, and when it seems too much to manage, I can ask for help. Help always comes. That is my new reality.

Thursday, March 22nd

They say the longest trip is from the head to the heart. Could it be that journey is long only because we're moving backward?

There have been a few times in my life when I knew something for sure in my heart. Then, the knowing made the trip to my head in an instant. What my heart seems to know immediately, my head accepts readily.

My head, on the other hand, has lied to my heart. My head creates false evidence and presents it as Truth. Could that be why my heart resists? Like any other journey, it's the resistance that burns up time. Go figure. 

Thursday, March 15th

Just checking in with some thoughts. This has been a week of more discovery. A new technique in the hands of my friend and Acupuncture Physician, Kate Hoffmann, opened up some memories of a tragic time for my family when I was only six years old. The pain has been sitting dormant inside me all these years, wrapped up in the impermeable paper and ribbon of denial. It's funny how I learned to minimize tragedy to deal with it. No wonder I used drugs and alcohol as tools for so many years. Unfortunately, one can never get high enough to change the past. Only walking into it with your eyes open and a BIG HIGHER POWER at your side can soften the edges enough to make it bearable.

Step Eight taught me to look for the patterns in my life. There are so many, and minimizing the unpleasant is just one of the tricks I learned as a kid to get through life. Back then, this pattern was a survival skill. Oddly enough, the older I get, the more these old "skills" morph into "weapons", hurting me and others. Sadly, the thing that saved me as a kid now stands in the way of my usefulness to God and my fellows.

How great is it that I don't have to figure this out or manage it alone? Geesh. I'm so glad I hired a new manager. My stuff used to manage me . . . but when I really got into recovery, I turned all "my stuff" over to a new manager. I "Let Go and Let God" as they say. Twenty-three years later, it's still working for me. Now, though, my Higher Power is way more than a life manager. Now, we're like old farts who have been together for so long that if I snort, HP knows what I'm laughing at.

If you haven't had the opportunity to get to know God up close and "in Person", you are really missing out. Knowing about God is not the same as knowing God. Don't settle for less. I used to think God was way out there somewhere . . . busy smiting people and judging all of us, but no more. Now that I've had experience with the Creator of the Universe, I realize they may be right when they say, "God is LOVE." And getting to know God isn't like studying catechism or following rules, it's more like building a friendship or working on any other relationship in my life. As a matter of fact, it's a love affair.

There's a song by Jason Gray out, and I love the lyrics. Here's a snippet of them, and a link to see him recording in studio, should you want to hear more:

Give me rules, I will break them
Show me lines, I will cross them
I need more than a truth to believe
I need a truth that lives, moves, and breathes
To sweep me off my feet

Its gotta be
More like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart
Than giving my allegiance
Caught up, called out
Come take a look at me now
Its like I'm falling, Ohhhh
Its like I'm falling in love
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mA9IfB7coKg

 

 

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