Friday, July 25, 2014

Searching For Your Spiritual Path? You're Already On It.

In my last post, I wrote that spirituality is about our personal relationship with the energy of the Universe, whether you call it God, the Tao, Great Spirit, Physics, Law of Attraction, or Source. Trips to foreign lands or to a guru are not necessarily required to explore this relationship (unless that is supremely appealing to you). Spirituality begins with us, where we are, in the moment. And it's up to us to nurture this relationship in ways that encourage and promote our well-being and growth. Of course, there are many ways to do this; it's a matter of finding what resonates with you.

As we awaken to our spiritual nature, life takes on new meaning and things begin to happen in inexplicable, mysterious, even miraculous ways. We begin to see things differently as our awareness expands beyond the trappings of our ego. We come to "know" things that can not be quantified or fully explained. There is a surety to this inner knowing that can not be shaken. It's the kind of surety that made martyrs out of some of Jesus' followers.

Years ago when I traveled to Israel, I was baptized in the Jordan River, the same river in which Jesus was baptized by his cousin, John the Baptist. No dove descended from the heavens. No voice announced, "This is Penny, in whom I am well-pleased." I felt...nothing -- even though others cried with happiness, raised their arms in praise, or were "slain in the spirit" as they convulsed on the ground. This experience didn't resonate spiritually with me.

What did resonate with me was realizing that whatever spiritual path I was to follow, it wasn't going to be the same as everyone else's, and that was okay. I found immediate comfort, freedom, and relief in that realization. I knew there was more, whatever that more was, and something deep inside was driving me to explore it.

The spiritual path, while accessible to all of us, is different for everyone. But, searching for you particular spiritual path is irrelevant because you are already walking it, being the spiritual being that you are. It may not seem spiritual to some, but that is because they may have a skewed perception of what spirituality is and what the path entails. Every action you take moves you forward on your particular path, even when it feels like you are going backwards.

What can you expect on the path? Each experience is unique to the individual. The lessons you learn on your path may not be the lessons I learn on mine, though we may share similar experiences.

There is no "normal" when it comes to spirituality; we have the freedom to believe and practice whatever we choose. As we awaken (return) to our natural state of spirituality, we release the need to judge other wisdom traditions and religions that exist today. We realize that are all on the same journey; we're just taking different roads to get there. There is no "right" or "wrong" way, and Spirit will call you to what is best for you. Spirit expresses Itself in unique and different ways, and you just happen to be one of those expressions. Trust the path that you are on because it is leading you to the highest expression of yourself.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Not Sure If You're Spiritual?

If you think taking a trip to India or seeking a guru is needed to live a spiritual life, think again.

Spiritual living is accessible to all of us simply because we all are spirit.

Spirituality is our personal relationship with the energy of the Universe. It is not religion; it doesn't mean following a specific set of "rules" to reach "enlightenment." Spirituality arises from deep within. It's when you come to know that there is much more to life than what is; and even though you can't fully articulate it, you have felt it affirmed many times. It just is, and it is not reserved only for those who have had some kind of awakening or who are the most zen.

Call it Source. Call it God. Call it Universal Intelligence. Whatever we choose to call it, when we get in touch with this spiritual side, we find ourselves living more harmoniously with others, our environment, nature, and much more. Life begins to flow in magical ways. Even a trip to the local supermarket can turn into an enlightening experience.

It's not about how to become more spiritual, but knowing that you already are. We naturally call spirituality into our lives. Many of us don't realize that we are doing it.

Ever look up into the expanse of night and feel nothing but awe under a sky peppered with millions of stars, wondering what set all of this into motion?

Ever help someone in need because you were moved to help, without expecting anything in return?

Ever been guided by your intuition, only to find out that it spared you from some kind of danger?

Ever felt the power of forgiveness?

Ever felt compelled to seek the truth in situations?

Ever become so absorbed in a creative endeavor that time didn't matter, and hours passed by in what seemed like minutes?

If so, then you have felt your spiritual energy in action. It's moments like these that demonstrate your connection with a powerful, inexplicable source of energy and life. It's a connection that is always there, whether you are aware of it or not.

Acknowledge it. Explore it. Embrace it. Honor it. Spirituality is our natural state.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Great State Of Appreciation

Whenever someone asks me what state I am from, I say "the great state of appreciation."

I often get quizzical looks.

What is appreciation?

It's the intention to live with gratitude in our daily life.

It's the conscious acknowledgement of the value within and around us.

It's the willingness to notice all that is good in our lives.

And it's the desire to experience all of life with this attitude.

Appreciation is where real pleasure comes from, and it is a dynamic magnetic energy that when activated and when really felt will bring bliss to your everyday life. The more you feel it, the more you create because that which you focus on will expand in your life. Universal Law does not budge on this point.

Underneath all positive emotions is the state of appreciation. Likewise, behind all negative emotions is some sort of dissatisfaction or fear. Here's a test: Do you consciously seek to enjoy the present moment, seeing value and worth and giving gratitude for what you already have, or do you look around at your life and constantly see everything that is missing? Understand that whichever state you are in, your attitude affects both your consciousness and your energy. You are either filtering everything through an awareness of abundance or of lack. And as mentioned previously, the energy you give is the energy you get.

We can't experience joy without appreciation. To shift from a state of dissatisfaction, discontentment, or fear to a state of appreciation requires a shift in perception. This means taking responsibility for your own happiness by harnessing your power of choice to cultivate your appreciation.


Search for things to be grateful for throughout your life and deep within yourself. Write them down in a notebook or journal. Big things. Little things. Do this in the morning when you arise and in the evening before you fall asleep. Your willingness and participation in this activity is part of your consciousness and energy production. Cherishing the simple things will magnetize an abundance of joy. Whenever you get lost in the stress of everyday life, read over this list to remind you of all that you have to be grateful for.

You can also use (or create your own) visualization techniques. Take a few deep breaths to relax your body and mind and imagine your problem (as a bird or a cloud or smoke) floating away to the Light for healing and transformation. Use whatever imagery feels best for you. As you continue to relax, think about something you appreciate. It could be a memory, a person, a place. Visualize all the details and immerse yourself in the center. Allow yourself to feel the peace and joy that this imagery brings. Stay with it and feel that resonance. As you do, you open your heart to receiving more.

When you live by filtering everything through a genuine sense of appreciation, you create a highly attractive vibration to which the Universe will respond. Your energy of gratitude will only attract more to appreciate in the future.

As you appreciate your life, the value of your life appreciates, too.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Breaking Free

When I hear the term "social programming," I immediately think of someone caught in a hamster wheel of social controls, always reaching for some kind of prize. He may get the prize, only to find it fizzle away as he sets his eyes on the next one.
hamster wheel
Such is the rat race.

What's the long-term affect of this?

We end up seeking external approval and external goals in our lives, and we forego living in the present moment because we are fixated on some future outcome. We mistakenly believe that happiness is obtained only by achieving those external goals.

Social programming is the set of instructions we learn (from others) to fit in with society. It comes from family members, teachers, peers, colleagues, and others. We end up doing what most people we know are doing rather than explore the many options that are available to us. Perhaps we are overwhelmed or pressured by those around us to do things "their" way or because "that's the way it's always been done." If this is the case, then our decisions are made by default, meaning they are not "conscious" decisions; we don't always take the time to explore them to determine what is right for us. This is intellectual laziness.

It's not always easy to make decisions that go against the grain. Oftentimes, those close to us may feel threatened or confused by our choices when we diverge from the ones they are making. And we may find ourselves frustrated and defensive when we feel unsupported and misunderstood. It can be downright exhausting having to explain (or reexplain) ourselves (though we do have the right to tell them to respect our choices).

It takes testicular fortitude to break away from social programming. The key is not to eliminate all of your external goals, but to create goals that are meaningful to you, ones in which you enjoy (not dread) the day-to-day process of realizing them.

To break free, choose your own goals, not the goals you were programmed to adopt. Examine your values and principles. Are they yours, or society's? Here's a test: if a goal makes you feel unhappy or distressed, then this goal may not be for you. If, on the other hand, it excites and energizes you, then it's worth pursuing. How aligned do you feel with those goals?

Once you've selected your goals, follow your vision. Move forward by taking the necessary day-to-day steps. This will take persistence, consistency, and courage. Following your vision can leave you feeling alone, but the more you think independently, the higher your self-esteem and confidence will be. Independent thought is by no means a social process; it is a solitary one. If you find yourself feeling alone, it's okay. Embrace it and remind yourself of what's important to you in your journey.

Understand that breaking free doesn't happen overnight. It is a life-long process. If you are feeling enslaved by societal norms, perhaps it's because you are feeling enslaved within. Look honestly at your life. Which habits, beliefs, and expectations are holding you back from excelling in life? How is your past holding your hostage? If you're willing to challenge the mental constructs that enslave you, a natural desire to do something about it will arise within you.

Your life belongs to you and so do your decisions. As you take control of your consciousness and learn to think for yourself, you will grow in your awareness of the programming that surrounds you on a daily basis; and by remaining steadfast to your vision, you will begin to make choices based on what is real and true for your -- and others' -- highest good.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Money As A Spiritual Practice?

Money is a highly charged topic. Whether we are spending it or making it, it is an intimate part of our lives.

Some would think that money and spirituality are mutually exclusive.

Are they?

How you perceive money has a great deal to do with how much you have and are able to create.

Take a moment to examine your thoughts, feelings, and attitudes about money. How do you choose to use it? Do you squirrel it away for a rainy day? Do you overspend, maxing out your credit cards only to grow resentful at a mountain of debt when the bills come in? Do you consider it evil? How would you sum up your relationship with money?

Do any of the following statements apply to you?

I'd rather be poor and happy than rich and miserable.

A penny saved is a penny earned.

I resent others with money.

I'll always be in debt.

I'm no good with money.

Following the spiritual path means taking a vow of poverty.

Believing such statements will not bring you any closer to prosperity. Nor will it heal your relationship with money. And it's this old, limited thinking that keeps people stuck. Perhaps you grew up with these beliefs, but unless you consciously release them, they'll stay with you, bringing you more lack.

True prosperity is a state of mind.

Building a relationship with money (or healing it) is sacred work. To do this requires a change in perspective.

Money is energy. It's not a thing to be despised or resented. It's meant to be put into action; it's meant to flow. I like to think of it as Spirit vibrating at a slower frequency. When we use it in a spiritual way (one that is not associated with greed), then it can be put to work to help many. Honor the exchange. Think about how many people you are supporting as you circulate the energy of money.

Give gratitude for each dollar that comes in and goes out. Thank whoever gave you the money, and thank whoever performed the services or sold you the products you are paying for. Love your bills! Many people treat bills as punishments, but a bill is an acknowledgment of our ability to pay. Thank those companies for trusting you to pay. If you pay with resentment, money has a hard time coming back to you. If you want to open the free flowing channel of abundance, then pay with love. Treat your money as a friend, rather than an enemy.

Accept the idea that you "deserve" to prosper. There is an inexhaustible supply in the Universe. The Universe sees you as deserving; it responds by giving you what you feel you deserve, good or bad, positive or negative. Whatever we concentrate on, increases. If you concentrate on lack and debt, then you will create more lack and debt; the Universe will respond in kind because of your vibrational offering. When you are grateful for what you already have, you will find that it increases.

Money is one of the many gifts of prosperity. It's okay to cultivate a healthy, working relationship with it. Only you can allow it to work for you or against you. As you consciously release old attitudes, you will find your relationship with money (and yourself) growing. When you can appreciate its value and the positive things it can do in your life and in the lives of others, your relationship with money will become a spiritual practice that will benefit all of humanity.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Spiritual Pampering 101: 5 Ways To Rejuvenate Your Spirit

Life can pull us in many directions. If we are not mindful, we soon find ourselves overwhelmed with obligations, impatient with ourselves and others, short-tempered, nutritionally challenged, and burned out. It’s important to take a break from the stressors of life so that the body can detoxify and relax and the spirit can expand and grow. If we are to be our best, we need to take time out of our busy schedules for some “me time.”

“Me time” is Spirit time. It is in no way a selfish act. In fact, spiritual pampering is sacred work. It is an act of self-care and self-love, and it is vital to our emotional and physical health as it helps to keep us balanced and connected.

BREATHE. Life is absolutely dependent upon the act of breathing, yet it is a gift that is often taken for granted. Deep breathing exercises can be done anywhere, at just about any time. Inhale all the way down to your stomach, hold it for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly. Repeat until you feel relaxed and relieved.

“MENDITATION.” Quiet meditation is a mental time-out to help us mend the mind and spirit. Guided visualizations are excellent mental escapes to help you focus your energies on more positive imagery. Picture yourself in a relaxing place like a palm tree lined beach, a desert oasis, or a forest path. You can also practice a moving meditation such as tai chi, qi gong, yoga, or simply walking, all of which will help you to connect with your inner resources.

YOUR BODY IS A TEMPLE. It houses your Divine Self. Your physical body is the vehicle that has been loaned to you for you to live out your life while tending to the spiritual energies within. Love and honor your body, exercise, and give it the proper nutrition, rest and respect it deserves. Let nothing in that will desecrate it.

DISCOVER OR REVISIT A HOBBY. Hobbies provide a nice diversion from stress and help you to stay in the moment which helps to reduce tension.

A CHANGE OF SCENERY. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to get away from your everyday surroundings. It doesn’t have to be an exotic, expensive vacation. Take a day, a weekend, or longer and spend it in nature or go on a spiritual retreat where you can focus on renewal. If you can’t get away, designate a sacred space in your home to which you can retreat, and “train” your other family members not to disturb you during your “me time.” Create a personal altar, luxuriate in your tub, and/or light scented candles. Allow your mind to drift in peace.

There are many ways to recharge your inner battery, and these pampering breaks will make you feel better about yourself and elevate your mood and vibrational level.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Born To Create

We are deliberate creators.

We create the world we know. We were born with the ability to project our thoughts outward into physical form.

This means we are responsible for what happens in our lives. Not society. Not your boss. Not the neighbor across the street.

If you don't believe me, ask yourself how you feel when someone attempts to thwart your own creation. You feel an immediate discord within yourself. This is because you were born knowing that you are the creator of your own reality. It is innate.

But when you began to integrate into society, you began to accept others' ideas of how your life should unfold. Over time, you allowed others who seemed convinced that their practiced ways were more valid (and better) than yours to pressure you and dissuade you from your own powerful impulses.

In society's attempt to make you fit in, you adapted to their ideas and relinquished your freedom to create. Is it any wonder that you feel so disconnected, disinterested, or disheartened? This is because you are living someone else's version of life, not yours.

Remember who you are. The Source within you is the same Source that created this planet. No one else can create in your experience. It's not possible for anyone else to create your reality. The Source within you wants to create through you; it wants to express itself, but it can't and won't unless you allow it. Otherwise, its power (and your power) remains dormant.

Own up to your responsibility. Whatever the circumstance, you created it. Good, bad, or indifferent, you gave it life through your thoughts. That's why it is important to investigate exactly what it is you're focusing on. The Law of Attraction states that like attracts like. If there is more negative in your life, it's time to change your thinking and your priorities. The thoughts you transmit are signals to the universe to attract what you are thinking about. Take deliberate action in the direction of your goals instead of engaging in unconscious reactions and distractions. Your mind is a tool for you to use in any way that you wish, which means you can train it, untrain it, and retrain it. Every thought you think is creating your future.

Your success--or lack of it--manifests in your consciousness first. Look around you. Do you see failure and difficulty? If you do, it's a product of your mind. Do you see abundance? That's a force of your own, too. The Law of Manifestation is clear: If your consciousness creates your reality, you can't manifest anything that doesn't exist fully formed inside you first. You can't experience abundance or success without an unconflicted knowledge of what that looks and feels like first. Open your eyes to your choices. Everything exists in consciousness first.

Consciousness is always a choice. There are many people who are clueless about why they do what they do, or even what it means. They move through life, reacting out of some unconscious (unaware) and largely unconsidered approach to life. These are what I call "sheeple," blindly following others with no mind of their own. They live in a zombified state, trudging through life day after day in an unaware state. They have forgotten that they have the power to awaken from such a deadened state. If you don't like what you're creating, you must change what you're conscious of. When you catch yourself focused on the negative, that means you're mind is creating negative results. This is when you must shift your thinking through methods that produce more positive energy and results.

You are a vibrating force in a quantum world that is pulsating with power and endless possibilities. Harness the cosmic energy within, the energy with which you were born. As you align yourself with Universal Laws, Source will express itself through your creation in unique ways.