Have A Good Day

 Do you remember when everyone said to you, “Have a good day?”  In those ancient times, I thought it was a silly thing to say because it was an impossible dream. But no longer.

I have a lot of good days. In fact, most of them are pretty good or better. Yesterday was a very good day. I went to church and Rev. Mattie was brilliant – she talked about how we could be the Light in world events –  among other things. Starting my week with church is very important, I’ve found.

Then I listened to my old Emerson lectures on VHS tapes that I created about 20 years ago. I am going to edit them and put them on a DVD soon. While I listened, I finished the illustrations for my friend’s book on love and sex. It was a day made in heaven for me. What does your good day look like?

One of the most important ideas we teach in Science of Mind classes is that you are always making choices. These choices create your life. In other words, you are either consciously or unconsciously designing your own days. Most people don’t know that but those of us who follow the teaching of New Thought are at least familiar with the idea. Some of our days may not be perfect but we know they can get better if we apply the principles of positive thinking.

For me, the New Thought teaching is all about helping people take charge of their lives and make conscious decisions based on their true desires. I have come to believe you can design your days, at least most of the time.

I was a child who loved to read books and play paper dolls. I eventually got to be a creative adult who loved to write books and make funny drawings. I am not a child any more but I honor my child-nature. The journey to that honoring was a long one and I had to release a lot of accumulated ideas before I got there. I also had to get to know myself well in the process.

Truth is, I love to engage in creative work. I don’t enjoy a lot of things “they” told me I should and it took Religious Science studies to help me fully accept who I was and what I wanted to do with my time and talent. My latest big decision was to retire so I could be healthier and concentrate on my own creative endeavors.

Many people, especially women and ministers, have a hard time carving out a piece of their day for themselves. We see the needs of others and our heart responds and surely that is a good thing. What is not so good is losing ourselves in the process of trying to help others.

I hear it all the time. “I’m too busy with my job, or my kids, or my volunteer work to take that class or trip or whatever.” Whether it is to travel, to enjoy outdoor exercise, to take art lessons or to write a book, many people have a hard time putting themselves first long enough to enjoy their dreams.

I want everyone of my readers to have a good day today, tomorrow and the days that follow. In order for that to happen, I suggest we all look at our true priorities and where our current time is going. Won’t you take a moment and think about your life right now?

Ask yourself whether you are doing a lot of things to please other people. Then ask yourself if you are pleasing yourself. Of course, we must compromise in order to be in successful relationships with our families, friends and colleagues at work, but we must first of all, be in a good relationship with ourselves.

Here, in this moment, you are at a point in time when you can decide to take charge of your life in new ways. You can make some different choices. You can take a little time each day to honor your own desires and dreams. You are capable of making positive choices on this day and the many that follow.

My dear friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best. He said, Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.

Ask Yourself

Do my time choices please me?

What would I like to change?

What can I do about it today?

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Awakening & Friends

In my dream, I got a clear message that awakening is not a solitary enterprise but something that happens as a group. The dream felt important, although I wasn’t sure what it meant. Soon after, two friends visited who were part of an extraordinary change in direction (my conscious awakening) many years ago and I understood the dream message better. It takes a spiritual community or shanga to open up most of us and we need others to help us accept the gifts of Spirit.

The friends who visited were instrumental in some very great changes in my life. I met one friend in 12 Step circles because I sponsored the sponsor of her sponsor.  I’m sort of her sobriety grandmother. The other friend was my shrink for a couple of “blast-off” years in my life.

We all believe people can change and we’ve all changed in many ways. Notably, we each changed careers. I was a full time writer then. Now I am mostly a minister and spiritual counselor who writes. The shrink now writes full time and speaks all over the world. The 12 step friend is a substance abuse & family counselor.

Most importantly, we are each expressing our Divine selves in ways that would not have seemed possible back then. I am happy to have been a part of their awakening to their higher expression of life and I am very happy they are a part of mine.

As I look back at my life, I see how important friends have been in helping me step out of old patterns and into new ways of living. When I think of the amazing, talented and fascinating people I’ve counted as friends I realize how fortunate I am.

Every step along the way, no matter how alone I felt at the time, there was a friend to guide me. From the very beginning, teachers and mentors were a big part of my life. I had good friends who supported the best of me. No one needs friends who see them as victims or in hopeless situations.

When I got serious about sobriety, the charming man who was my sponsor until he died a few years ago appeared, out of the blue, into my depressing life in  Oaxaca, Mexico. He was a writer, a New Yorker, a Buddhist, and loads of fun. He might have been sent from Central Casting to help me.

When I began to study the ministry, my friend Carol Carnes was two years ahead of me. She was a single mother, had a dry wit and loved jazz. She was my spiritual guide all the way through my studies and early years in Religious Science International. She might have been sent from Central Casting to help me.

There were many others who seemed to suddenly appear in my life at exactly the right time as though they were sent from Central Casting to play an important part in my journey.

Ever notice how you get an idea and a series of supporting props will show up in your life? Maybe you decide to take up gardening and your new neighbor turns out to be a Master Gardener at the local university. He might have been sent from Central Casting to show you how to do it. Or maybe you decide you want to know more about opera and you run across a series of lectures on ITunes. That’s what I call help from Central Casting.

Your life really is your movie and you really are the star but you need co-stars to make it work. That’s when you send a telegram to Central Casting. Prayer works even better than telegrams but the important thing is to have a vision of change.

All you have to do is get the greater vision and believe in it – even a little bit. The Law of Attraction will kick in and support your evolutionary journey. And when your friends who are a part of your awakening show up, be sure and remember to be grateful and treat them well.

Our friends are treasures and they will be there when we need them but they should also be enjoyed for themselves. Don’t wait for an emergency to be grateful or tell them you love them. Tell them often because love is good. God is Love. God is good. All the time. Love is good. All the time.

I enjoy my friends and I also marvel at the ways in which they change and grow.  I do not need them to stay the same, nor do I need them to agree with me.  I need them to be more and more of themselves and to support me in my quest to be more of myself. Friends are a major joy in my life. They are also a major part of my spiritual understanding.

The longer I live, the more I am convinced that our relationships to each other mirrors our relationship to God.

In New Thought, we believe that God lives within every human being on the planet. It is wonderful to contemplate that idea and try to see God in everyone. Sometimes that is difficult so it is especially good to start by seeing God in your friends. I see my friends as Godsends even though it seems as if they might have come from Central Casting.

God is Love. Love expresses in many ways and one beautiful way is through friendship.

Ask yourself 

Is there a special friend I want to contact today?

What do I want to tell this person?


Does Money Really Grow On Trees?

Money certainly didn’t grow on any trees in my childhood.  I had very little money and I didn’t have any trees at all. I lived in a housing project that was all stucco and sidewalks. Everyone I knew was poor. I thought my high school friends who lived in actual houses were rich. It was not an auspicious beginning for a prosperity teacher.

My grandmother used to tell me that my face was my fortune and she meant that I was pretty enough to “marry up”. My mother, said, “It’s just as easy to love a rich man as a poor man.” That wasn’t statistically true but I tried. At age 18, I dropped out of college to marry the richest boy in my poor town.

That didn’t work out well for me financially but eventually, I my world grew wider. As time went on, I met people with inherited wealth and I noticed that they took their riches for granted. Instead of being obsessed by lack and limitation, they simply expected the money to be there. Although I had achieved some financial success, I was usually broke because I carried my poor girl mentality with me. Expecting money to be there was an amazing and exotic mindset to me.

Over the years, I also met people who created a lot of money through their work. The ones who were able to hold on to it seemed to be both cautious and grateful for what they had. Although I’d mastered the art of creating wealth through money, I hadn’t mastered the art of caution or gratitude. Like many people, I was beset by old limiting ideas that made me fearful and erratic. Ambition was a good beginning but it wasn’t enough to create a happy ending.

Since I became a New Thought minister, I have found that many people come into our teaching because they are experiencing very similar prosperity problems. That’s fine because there is nothing as clear as how Change your thinking and change your life works.

Prosperity principles may sound preposterous but there is no area of living that is as easy to prove. Releasing old ideas about money and expanding your vision to accept more wealth brings definite results you can count them.

We have to accept some new, more expansive, ideas about the nature of the Universe before we can begin to solve the puzzle or why hard work and/or thrift doesn’t automatically bring big bucks. If we are stuck in a mentality that keeps telling us that money is scarce or that, “Money doesn’t grow on trees”, the Universe will find a way to make money scarce.

Once we accept that the only Source of all Good is God, we can begin to assume the mental attitude of expectation that those fascinating people who inherited their wealth had. Affirmations help to turn our heads around so why not start your day with an affirmation like this one, “I expect great things today and that includes more money”. Expectation is important.

Gratitude is also really important. Consistently appreciating what you have rather than bemoaning what you are lacking will really help build your emotional and financial health. Learn to see the glad half-full rather than half-empty and you are on you way. Here’s another affirmation you can use. “I am grateful for all the abundance in my life.”

Spiritual laws are always working and they will create more of whatever you are thinking about. That means that you need to expect the best and feel gratitude as much as you possibly can. Worry really won’t help. Feeling grateful really will help. No matter what your bank account is, changing your thinking so that you point the Law of Attraction in the direction you want to go can increase the balance.

Actually, I believe gratitude is the most powerful tool in your repair kit. You can use gratitude to create more positive living in every area of your life. All you have to do is remember to keep your thoughts on the sunny side of the street. Staying in the state of continuous gratitude is a great way to live.

One of the simplest ways to express gratitude is to say thank you. Many people do a gratitude prayer of spiritual mind treatment before they pay their bills. Some even write little notes, such as “Thanks for the great service,” on their checks.  This puts the writer in a prosperity mindset. Thanking people sets the law of attraction in motion and brings more money and better service to you.

It is especially important to acknowledge all gifts and accept all offers.  Thanking people for their gifts ensures that the gifts keep coming. Thanking God for the financial abundance in your life every morning sets the tone for the whole day. Genuine gratitude greases the wheels of life!

Dare to dream of being solvent! Expand your thinking so that you can envision yourself as a wealthy person. Dare to imagine yourself as rich! Let your God- given intelligence work for you instead of against you. You can do it.

Here are some simple suggestions for greater financial expression that will work if you focus on them long enough to create habits.

  1. Keep a daily gratitude list and include financial items.
  2. Give an extra tithe to your church to express gratitude for what the church teaches you about prosperity.
  3. Send thank you notes for all gifts. Include lunch invitations and hand me down clothes.
  4. Take someone you love to lunch or give a gift.
  5. Share your wealth by giving away old clothes and other items.

I Make Mistakes

I made two mistakes on my last blog about the Wise Woman Celebration on May 12 in Tustin, CA.  Here are my corrections. The place to go to for more information is http://cwwevents.org/ . On March 15 the price goes up to  $60. I hate it when I make mistakes but it happens. So all I can say is I’m sorry and move on.

 Mistakes don’t just happen. Someone makes them. In this case, I failed to do the research and rushed to print. It was very apparent to anyone who cared and I got more than one comment. I am doing my best to make amends.

 Making silly errors like that used to drive me nuts. I still hate sloppy mistakes but it takes more than that to upset me for long. Life is shorter than it used to be and I don’t sweat the small stuff. I learned long ago that I am human and I must learn to love me “as is”. While I know I’m perfect at the level of the Absolute (in God’s eyes) I see plenty of room to improve here on Planet Earth.

I’ve learned to handle the actual mistake as quickly as possible and move on. Step number 10 in the 12 Step Program says, “Continued to take a personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.” I have found great relief in that particular step because it freed me from having to always be right. It is literally exhausting to need to be perfect all the time.

We all learn to defend our egos and some of the ways we try to do that don’t work well. The best defense is to be careful about your work and I wasn’t. My ego took a hit and I could only make it worse by holding on to the mistake longer than I needed to. We can get in a lot of trouble defending our egos. I could try to find someone else to blame and make someone else unhappy. Or I could stop writing the blog and sink into depression, saying, “I made a mistake – I’ll never try again.”  We are familiar with those techniques – we see them in our own behavior or others.

Defending the ego by refusing to admit you are wrong is common and doesn’t work well. We all know people who are difficult to live with, work with and have fun with because they couldn’t admit they were wrong about anything. I had a friend who insisted on picking all the restaurants and then defended his choice, even when the service was bad, the food was mediocre and the price was high. He was fun in a lot of ways but not when it came to dining out.

Never being able to admit you made a mistake is a dreadful burden. The worst of it is when you are stuck defending an indefensible position. When Nixon was forced to resign, one devout Republican I knew never talked about politics again. I have known more than one person who avoided marriage after one failed attempt.

Some people seem to think that they owe it to themselves to defend every action and they never admit making a mistakes. What they are really doing is defending their egos by insane or pathetic or belligerent behavior. Warmongers can’t back down. Bullies can’t say they are sorry. Experts can’t see the flaws in their own work. Beauties can’t adjust to the changes of time. Parents can’t correct their children. Teachers can’t see that they have failed when the student fails. And so it goes.

Right now, there is a lot of political jargon flooding the airwaves and one favorite expression the commentators are using the phrase, “double down”. It comes from playing blackjack and means splitting your cards and playing two hands. What that seems to mean in political language is making a preposterous statement more preposterous by defending it.  Of course, politicians can never say they were wrong.

I think seeing my mistake, taking responsibility for it, and doing my level best to make amends is the sign of emotional maturity. That’s apparently not a goal of politicians but it is my goal. My guess that it is also your goal. You and I try to live our lives in integrity and harmony. If we double down, it is because we truly believe something.  We may eventually change our minds but we don’t try to bluff the law of cause and effect. We know that spiritual laws are inexorable and the mistake will come back to haunt us if we don’t acknowledge it.

There is usually a real cost to a mistake. That cost can always be lessened if the mistake is acknowledged and corrected quickly. Doubling down almost always makes a mistake worse.

So I made the mistake, I’m sorry, and if you contact me quickly, I’ll try to help you not suffer from my error. That is the end of it for me. You can always make a comment on the blog if you have an opinion. But I’m letting it go. I will try to be a bit more careful but chances are good this isn’t the last time. I love you all.

Ask Yourself

How do I react when I make a mistake?

How quickly do I let go of the mistake?


Wise Women Gather

In two months, on Saturday, May 12, a group will gather at Unity in Tustin CA for an all day Wise Woman Celebration. My good friend, Rev. Rachel Lampert organized one of these all day conferences a few years ago and it was such a success that she is doing it again. I am happy to be delivering the keynote talk and as far as I am concerned, this is a great time to remember we have the power to change. We are the majority!

            When I wrote the book, Wise Women don’t worry, Wise Women don’t sing the blues, sixteen years ago, several people told me the topic was too late – that women’s issues were all over. I was amazed at how certain they were that women had marched in a few parades, burned a few bras and then lived happily ever after. Many of the women I was met in my ministry were struggling with balancing time, family, and work and needed to learn how to set successful boundaries. Many needed clarity and courage.

It seemed to me that Women in New Thought had some real strengths because their belief system allowed them full power by right of Divine Inheritance. Since we define God as the Creative Energy of the Universe (non-gender), women could easily accept that God wanted them to expand and grow and have wonderful lives. On the other hand, we all came from somewhere and we all carried a lot of that “somewhere thinking” with us into our days.

It also seemed to me that Women in New Thought had an especially confusing task of being loving and not letting people trample on them. They also had a higher vision of what their lives could be like and were ready and willing to change anything that needed to change. The book’s most important message was that we are not victims. We can use simple metaphysical principles to take charge of our lives. We model a balance of love and power that is unique in many ways.

Wise Women don’t worry, Wise Women don’t sing the blues, is still in print and the book still sells pretty well. It is the genesis of this May 12 th conference (although there will be many independent women presenting their specialties). It has been the genesis of many Wise Woman weekends in the past. I trained over a hundred women to lead Wise Women groups and there are several Wise Women groups still operating. I get messages fairly often from readers who tell me how the book helped them. At this point – I count the project a total success. But not finished!

The conference in Tustin is another new beginning. It will be my privilege to be keynote speaker and there will be talks and workshops by others on sexuality, music, storytelling and many other subjects. If you want more information go to celebratewisewomen@yahoo.com. If you register before March 15 the price will be $36.00. After that, I think it goes to $50 but you need to check that out for yourself.

As far as I am concerned, this conference could not come at a better time. Ideas and cultural beliefs change slowly and only if we are persistent. When we elected Obama, we had a choice of a black man or a white woman. They were both exceptional and well qualified. The very fact that they were our candidates was thrilling. But that wasn’t the end of the story.  I think some people thought that we could put the whole civil rights issue in a big sack and store it way up on the top shelf. That’s clearly not happening.

Sometimes resistance to change gets stronger in reaction to apparent gains. I think that is apparent right now. Civil rights issues are in the limelight. And there is a lot to heal. Unemployment is greatest among minorities. We hear quite a bit about same-sex marriage and don’t-ask-don’t tell policies in the military. Civil rights for same-sex couples in a long way from achieved.

Nor is the issue of women’s rights healed. If you watch the news, women seem to be losing ground. Now basic choice and health rights are threatened. You notice that there are very few boards of corporations or educational institutions or governments or any other seats of power even if the women members are in the majority. Nor is the representation of blacks and Hispanics anywhere near their statistical numbers in the United States.

This Wise Woman Celebration on May 12th will be about personal issues. It is not political. Every one of us will have a chance to take a look at our lives, our choices, our boundaries and limits and our hopes and dreams. The whole day will be devoted to personal empowerment and it is open to women of all political persuasions.

However, I am already planning my few choice words. I believe there is nothing more political than the issue of personal freedom. Women must not submit to becoming victims in any way. We must find the courage and clarity to take charge of our lives. It is time to wake up and speak up. There’s nothing like a good book or good conference to wake us up.

My plan for May 12th is to take a look at the future as well as be happy about the past. How about you? What are your plans for that day?

Ask Yourself

Do I want more information about the conference?

Do I want to read Wise Women don’t worry, Wise Women don’t sing the blues? ( Note – order it by going to the New Thought Works bookstore on this blog).

How am I feeling about my personal freedom?

Is this an issue for me to speak up about?

How shall I begin?


Thanks For Your Thanks

 

A Facebook friend asked if I was also Jane Claypool Miner who wrote a teenage book called, The Boy For Me. When I acknowledged my past identity, she sent me a lovely thank you message. She told me how important the book had been in helping her learn to read books for pleasure and that she still had the book. Her thank you was the most pleasant gift I’ve received in a long time.

 Nothing is a delightful as hearing a thank you from a surprising source. It has been at least 25 years since I wrote those 80 books for young adults and most are out of print but I do remember that period of writing success very fondly. It was a tremendous ego satisfaction after a long struggle.

After I got sober, my life appeared to be in failure mode. I’d sold one adult novel that was never published and nothing else. Ten years of studying the craft and making stupid mistakes made me feel as though I was a complete failure at life and at writing. At age 43, I left Mexico and went to NY to make my fortune.

I worked hard and it was important for me to build a successful writing career. I was, at one time, a very well known writer for teenagers. I was on the NY Times bestseller list for months and spoke at librarian and teacher conventions all over the nation. It was an ego-gratifying period but I don’t miss it.

When I moved from the East Coast to the West Coast I had a definite intention to do something that seemed more worthwhile. I studied for the New Thought ministry and wrote New Thought books and curriculum. I’ve never been sorry and I’ve never looked back.

What gave me pleasure yesterday was not memories of past glory but the idea that my book had been useful to someone. When I selected the New Thought ministry as my fourth career (I began as a classroom teacher and spent a few years in real estate) it was with the definite intention to help enlighten up the world. I thought I could use my skills to lighten and brighten people’s lives.

My Facebook friend’s compliment may not have impacted the whole world but it certainly lit me up. I love to be thanked – as do we all.  I have heard much about my New Thought books but it is seldom I hear anything about those teenage romances. That thank you is embedded in my heart. And I thank the one who thanked me!

Thanking people is contagious and it is a very simple and effective way to light up the world, one person at a time. As a recovering alcoholic, I try to live my life in gratitude and express my thanks to people who have helped me over the years but I don’t think anyone can ever sincerely say thank you enough.

Thank you is the easiest expression in the world if you want to lift people’s spirits. Because of the way it works, saying those words to others will also make the speaker feel good. Gratitude really is catching because we all desire to experience love. If you want to attract more love into your life, you can begin by making it a point to say thank you to a few people every day.

Feeling cranky and need a lift? Send out some thank you cards. Feeling tired and need a pick-me-up? Call a friend and tell him or her how much you thank them for whatever. Need to feel better physically? Lie down and mentally thank your body parts for working well. Start with your toes and work up. Need more money? Write TYG for, “Thank you, God”, on every check you write.

Learn to live in gratitude by saying thank you. You can spread your thank you words around as though you were spreading jam on bread and butter. It may be a small thing but it will make all the difference.

Ask Yourself

 Whom shall I surprise with a thank you today?

If I make saying thank you a game this week, how many ways can I find to express my gratitude?

Shall I keep a daily tally or record?


I Am One With You

 

Of all the gifts I’ve received from New Thought, my sense of connection to others is probably the greatest. I used to feel very, very separate from you. I was afraid to let you know me and, at the same time, I yearned to be loved and accepted for my true self. Like many young adults, I had a bad case of what we called alienation in those distant days.

I first attended Religious Science church when I was in college. But I didn’t really understand much until later – after I’d been through two bouts of alcoholism and forced to grow up a bit.

In those early days, I would go to church and the minister would say, “We are connected,” or “We are One,” and I simply didn’t believe it. When I looked around that room, all I could see was that I wasn’t like any of those people. He was a guy and a Republican. I was a Democrat. She was a financial genius and old. I was younger and broke. Everyone seemed happily married. I was widowed twice and had a string of bad romances to think about. The list went on and on.

It took me a long time to hear and understand that I could be different and still be connected to others as a spiritual being having a human experience. I finally got it that God – the Creative Energy of the Universe – didn’t want clones but created an infinite variety of people who shared the basic experience of being human. I began to understand that while we were different in surface ways, we all dreamed of better lives.

Our dreams were basically the same. We wanted love and life and laughter and good health and good prosperity. The Science of Mind philosophy brought us together and I first felt a true connection in church on Sunday mornings. It was great to hold hands and sing Let There Be Peace even if I couldn’t carry a tune.

I began to understand that all humans share access to the Infinite Potential that we call God. I began to understand that all humans shared the same dreams that my church friends and I shared. I saw that we all yearned for greater lives and that we all had access to the Infinite Mind of God.

My horizons widened eventually to encompass all other humans. It was still easier for me to talk to people in New Thought, but I realized that all people dreamed of bigger and better lives.  Little by little, over many years, my sense of connection grew.

A lot of the wisdom that I’ve acquired is simply learning to see with clear eyes. I give most of the credit to Religious Science but spiritual wisdom has been around a long time. Anyone can see that all humans are connected. John Donne wrote his famous poem in the early 1600’s. He started with, “ No man is an island entire of itself; …. And ended with, And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee”

If I had been ready, I could have seen the connection between humans very clearly simply by looking at the famous book of photography published in 1955. It showed people all over the world, eating, working, sleeping, loving, parenting and engaging in other normal human activities. It was amazing to see photos of mothers in Africa behaving just like mothers in the Ukraine.

The Family of Man was sold everywhere and is still in print.  The photographer, Edward Steichen said his photos were “a mirror of the essential oneness of mankind throughout the world.”

So the information was always available. We are connected to each other and we are essentially alike and we are responsible for living together in peace and prosperity. Even the least thoughtful of us understands that he or she is connected to the rest of the planetary inhabitants through economy, politics and medicine.

What desperately needs to be added to this knowledge about our connection on an earthly level is the spiritual wisdom that we need to love each other.  I have found it in New Thought and I know we can find it in the core of every religious and spiritual tradition worldwide. We are connected in God and God expresses itself through us as Love.

Learning to love means giving up our feeling of separation and fear and extending our boundaries. Right now, we are involved in a great evolutionary movement of love. We are all expanding. We are growing up. Nearly everyone loves his or her family and possibly his tribe, nation and race. It is a bit trickier to look beyond the difference and see our connection to other tribes, nations and races but we can do it. We must do it if we are to save the planet and each other.

I believe that the United States can lead the way in the extension of our love to the rest of the world. We already celebrate diversity. We are also the greatest charity givers. We are the birthplace of New Thought and our whole teaching is built on our loving connection to God and each other. We are the natural leaders in the movement toward seeing similarities rather than differences. The idea that we are connected in God is growing. We are One!

Ask Yourself      

 Do I feel connected to the wide world?

How can I reach out this week?