Blog on Blogging

powerquote_nMy blog is two years old this week and I’m still a happy writer. The subscriber base is at 250. While that readership isn’t what I hoped for, it is definitely more than I expected.  I love the instant gratification of blogging. On the other hand…

I have always been impatient. Being in a hurry runs in my family, so I suppose it is in my DNA. Or maybe we were just birds in a flurry who flocked together and called ourselves the Whitaker-Claypool species.

All I can tell you is that nothing I do is ever enough at the same time I’ve always enjoyed every job I ever had. I find work fascinating. When I followed my bliss it turned out to be more work.

In my lifetime, I’ve had excellent jobs in fashion sales, teaching, folk-art shopkeeping, real estate, writing and the ministry. Work was always a source of enjoyment for me and probably will always be. I am especially happy writing my blog although I’d hoped to sell more of my books off the blog bookstore than I have so far. My plan was that if readers liked my for-free blogs, they’d love my for-sale books. Ah well, the best laid plans of mice and writers.

So far, my business plan hasn’t exactly worked. But, it really isn’t about the money. It’s about connection – connection to God, to you, and to myself. Work is about expressing my God-given nature – Love. Every job I’ve ever had was of use to others or I had to move on. I could not imagine only helping myself.

Retirement frightened me. When I moved into the Minister Emeritus position at church, I wasn’t well. Actually, I was very ill and I got better. I taught a few classes and spoke some but I still had a lot of free time and it scared me. Does free time frighten you?

In the beginning of my semi-retirement, I read a lot of silly novels and watched a lot of silly movies. That was fun but then it wasn’t so much fun anymore. I wanted to be useful again.

I did start a book on Spiritual Practice and, once again, I was impatient. The project seemed like a big commitment, and I was busy helping other people write their books. (My Spiritual Practice book really is almost finished and I’m telling myself not to be impatient.) Books are not short adventures – they are a serious undertakings.

In contrast, blogs are pure fun. My blog has been well received. After a bit of practice, I can write and publish a blog in four to six hours. That’s a good day’s work for a retired person.

I know there are more readers than those listed as subscribers. I get nice comments and people they tell me they enjoy the essays. At our recent CSL Conference at Asilomar, several people I didn’t know complimented my blog. Recently, a few ministers asked me questions about writing a blog of their own. I definitely encouraged them.

I believe everyone can enjoy blogging. It is a chance to help others and learn more about yourself. It is useful. The time involved and the subject matter are optional. I am fussy and I write long  posts. Many people write only a few daily lines.  Nearly all of us have used journaling as a self-discovery tool.  A blog is only a couple of steps away from journaling. Blogs can also be a spiritual practice.

One difference stands out. Your journal is personal while a blog is intended for others to read. The writer must offer something that amuses, inspires, instructs, or connects with his readers. That said, no topic is for everyone but there is someone for every topic.

Are you interested in writing a blog? The first step is to imagine what your might like to write about and who you think your audience may be. Freedom to write whatever I wanted was important to me. I decided I could include memories and opinions about political and social issues as well as spiritual principles. I would aim for twice a week but give myself permission to skip once in a while.

Blogging  is a great if you have something unique to say. Whoever you are, no matter what you know, you must plan before you begin. This stage will be short for some  and take a long time for others but it must be done.

Your chosen topic should also be something that will hold your interest and something you know about. Simply musing about the good old days will bore your readers unless you are as clever as Andy Rooney. I do write about them sometimes, but I attempt to make the old days relevant to my reader’s current life.

Whether you are interested in blogging or not, you might enjoy perusing other blogs on the internet. Individual blogs have “tags” so you can run searches easily. Keep your searches current and subscribe to the ones you enjoy.  I subscribe to several blogs about books and history. What topics would you like to explore?

If you are personally interested in blogging ask yourself what topics you know about. Why not spend  time for a few days making list of subjects  you know about as a part of your spiritual practice?

Topics for blogs are fascinating but they don’t have to be rocket science. There are blogs on cooking cassarole dishes, grammer, Greek history, raising triplets, aiding the elderly and losing weight, and thousands of other subjects.

Blog subjects are so creative they amaze us. One writer wrote a blog for my local paper about living on the State’s food subsidy money. There was a movie about Julia Child and a young woman who set out to cook every recipe in Child’s cookbook. It was based on her blog.

What do you know about?  It will be a great spiritual practice for improving your self -esteem to list topics. You will be surprised how many activities and interests you are proficient in when you do this.

Before you begin to actually write your blog, learn from every writing class I’ve ever taken by imagining your ideal reader. Who is she?  What do you know that she doesn’t? That’s a great way to find your  topics for posts.

The next writing lesson I can pass on is to ask yourself what you enjoy reading . That may give you a clue about what you should write.  F/Y/I  I read two spiritual blogs every day and although my blogs don’t resemble them, they inspire me. These blogs are from Dr. Carol Carnes and Dr. Maxine Kaye. You can access them by going to ccinlove@aol.com and drmaxinekaye@constantconnections.com .

Just for fun, pretend you believe you have something to say and you know you are powerful . Your pretense or   “acting as if”  will be exciting and instructive. Go through the suggested blog planning steps and see what happens.

Ask Yourself

Do I journal now?

Would I like to blog?

What blogs do I read?

What do I know about?

Who would like to read about my knowledge?

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Change Happens

scan024As a part of my morning spiritual practice, I like to re-read a few pages of the classics. I am reading Treat Yourself to Life by Dr. Raymond Charles Barker today. On page 103 he says, “The most important thing for you to know about your mind is that it can change.”

I must have read the book at least a dozen times in the past twenty-five years and on this morning the simple statement that minds can change jumps out giving me some down-home wisdom.

Think about it – it is actually the nature of the mind to change. Human thought and beliefs change all the time. When we get new information, we switch our beliefs. We think the world is flat until we learn it is round. We think children are stupid until we understand they think differently. We think women belong in the kitchen until we see what they earn in the work place.

People get interested in New Thought principles because they want something new or different so they are not essentially resistant to change. But even the most open of us sometimes hit resistance? If that happens, what do we do? Here are some tips…

Don’t complain. Refrain from telling yourself or others how difficult it is to change your mind.

Go back to basics and remind yourself that minds can change – it is what they do. This is the time to double up on your spiritual practice and thank God for any progress. All your mind needs more information.

Remind yourself of your goals. Won’t it be wonderful when you switch from fear to love? From financial struggle to prosperity? From ailing to healthy? Never give up!

If you are near a Center For Positive Living or other New Thought church you can get the support you need. They offer wonderful wisdom talks and sociable gatherings on Sundays. You can connect with others and learn about their successes. That’s the kind of information that will help you change your mind.

Consistent attention to this wisdom teaching is important. If you don’t see dramatic changes, be patient. Enlightenment comes in mini-drops for most people, including me.  One day at a time, one insight at a time, and we can go far. The changes keep coming and our ability to use Infinite Power keeps increasing.

If you need help understanding and using the teaching, my book, Science of Mind Skills, gives you the basic concepts. It is laid out simply and the ideas the build on each other. There are short exercises and affirmative prayers. It is set up for independent study and you can buy it in your church bookstore or on this website.

As I  look back I see that my understanding deepened in small increments and in many ways. Certain moments in my own journey stand out for me. Early on, Dr. Carol Carnes told me we don’t treat for things, we treat for the consciousness to attract and hold on to what we desire. I’ve always been grateful to her because until then, it seemed to me that people only used prayer to get a new car or better boyfriend. Dr. Carol pointed the way to a spiritual expansion that I truly desired.

Another time, Dr. Robert Bitzer, former President of RSI and a colleague of Dr. Ernest Holmes explained to a group that the Science of Mind Textbook wasn’t really difficult to read. He said sometimes Dr. Holmes wrote on the absolute level and other times on the relative level (our human experience). Maybe that’s a simple idea but it helped me understand what I was reading.

It is amazing  how a simple statement can be easy to ignore until light strikes and the door to wisdom opens. This morning, Dr. Barker’s words lit me up!  We may believe change is difficult but it is really easy. Minds change – that’s what they do.

We  choose to give our mind new direction through our spiritual practice. We pay attention and set aside  time to create new pathways toward a deeper understanding of how Spirit impacts our lives. We don’t need to push the river after all.

There was a time when I thought I should use will power to pray to fix my life. Up until then, my achievements mostly came through will power and hard work. I thought I had make it happen. It was really a new idea to imagine, believe and accept that God did the work.

Once we really get it that God is Love working through Spiritual Law and that Spiritual Law is responding to our prevailing belief system, we have the basic knowledge for creating a happier, healthier, wealthier and more creative and loving life.  It is important to consistently deepen our understanding of that basic belief.

I am happier, more self-loving, more in awe of life, and less frightened now. Trusting God is a continuing process in my life. I write this blog because I want as many people on this planet as possible to have the wisdom that Science of Mind teaches. Learning to look at the world from a spiritual perspective is so empowering.

Our teaching is all about accepting the best and in order to do that, we must accept new information about life. We seek spiritual information from prayer, other people’s talks, workshops, classes, and eventually everywhere we look we can see the goodness of life.

I’ve been around a long time and I’m still getting new insights. I believe in continuing education and  I wish everyone would continue reading and meditating and praying even if they think they know it all. Wisdom deepens.  Life just gets better and better with spiritual practice and that’s why I’m writing my new book on the subject.

Spiritual practice refreshes our minds and brings us new information. Sometimes we need to release old idea before we can accept new goodness. New information is a part of the process. We cling to the old ideas out of habit or ignorance until we  learn better ways. Releasing old ideas, even those we’ve held since childhood, doesn’t have to be difficult. All we need is to open up to new information.

Changing our minds is not a struggle or a puzzle. Our minds are built to change! Learning more is the most human and natural thing in the world. One of the great gifts of living in this 21st century is the knowledge that we are never stuck. Our minds will change and we stretch and grow because it is our nature. Life is a journey and the quest is for greater wisdom.

Ask Yourself

Where do I think I am I stuck?

What belief stands in the way?

Am I willing to switch it?

What’s a better belief?


A Servant’s Heart

Love

I was happy the actress Julianne Moore won a prize for the TV movie, GAME CHANGE last week. I thought she deserved it for making Sarah complicated rather than a cardboard celebrity. I still don’t know much about Sarah Palin and the only scene I remember is when she agreed to run as Vice President. She said, “I have a servant’s heart.”

That phrase, servant’s heart stuck in my mind as if it were a line in a song that repeats itself over and over, without permission. Do you remember, “you get no bread with one meatball”? That line has been popping up in my peculiarly unique brain for about 70 years.

The phrase, servant’s heart, must mean something to me since I still remember it. I suppose Sarah intended to convey the idea is that politicians work for the people and I agree with her on some days. Other days I just marvel at their actions.

Never mind Sarah. What I need to ask myself is what having a servant’s heart means to me personally. After all, I have spent most of my life as an educator, self-help writer, and minister. Whom or what have I been serving all these years?  Myself? Others? God?

The answer has to be all of the above.

I serve myself because I am living up to my own personal potential in wonderful ways. I have the gifts and abilities and I love to use them. Work is one of the great joys of my life. I love to work and that’s the truth.

I serve others because I believe we all are connected and we can help each other on the journey to enlightenment. We are connected to each other through our spiritual natures. We are all travelers and we are all one.

People like me who have taken on the role of spiritual leader or Science of Mind teacher know that we can use spiritual law to change what we call our reality. Our work is to show the way to others, as we travel our own path to higher realization of our God nature.

I serve God because it is all God. Everything comes from Spirit and we are all connected in Spirit. Once we accept that God lives full power (even if not fully activated) in every one of us, then we know that anything we do to help ourselves must also help others.

We all serve God when we express love for ourselves and for each other. We are serving because that Creative Energy which we call God is constantly expanding and moving toward greater good. God expands through us because we are eternally connected to God and to each other. We are One.

That’s the Truth. The mystics knew it and people in New Thought know it. We are connected here and now on Planet Earth.

There are times when we may feel separate but that is not the spiritual truth. In Truth, there is no separation. What that means is exactly what philosophers and poets have been telling us for centuries. No man is an island…. Do not ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.

I may not always enjoy the idea but at the level of Spirit, Sarah Palin and I are One. We are sisters in spirit and this is true for everyone else on the planet. Despite the prevailing beliefs in our society, we really are all connected. There is no “other”.

President Obama gets kidded because he’s so fond of saying, there are no red states and blue states, and that we are one America. People may think it is just rhetoric or that he’s naïve but he is correct on a spiritual level.

Utah may vote one way and California another, but we are all connected. We say we are children of God. We must also be each other’s brothers and sisters. We are also the keepers of all our siblings at some level. And.. we also are separate individuals. We must lend a helping hand, trust God, and let each one discover his own path and her own power.

I may be a preacher or teacher but I don’t get to make you do it my way. My job as a teacher with a servant’s heart is to demonstrate my belief system by living my teaching as I attempt to show the path to others by walking my talk.

What that means in daily action varies from one New Thought person to another, just as it does for Muslims or Jews. I follow politics because I am connected and I believe I should monitor what’s going on. Some colleagues don’t open the newspaper. We are following our own inner guidance. We both have servant’s hearts.

Living life out of a servant’s heart can be a complicated undertaking. One of the biggest dangers is shared by politicians.  A respected teacher can become so used to authority that she forgets she is actually just one more pilgrim on the spiritual journey.

Whether we are parents, teachers, ministers, politicians, or anyone in a position of authority, we have a responsibility to serve in integrity. We must retain our servant’s heart. We need to remember that we do not always know what is right for the other person. Each must find his own path and what works for me may not work for everyone.

People in authority are wayshowers. We need to constantly renew our personal spiritual practice and avoid judging others. We must lead with a clean heart. We must also be willing to change and grow because that is what we teach.

Anyone who has tried to live a life according to spiritual principles knows there is a delicate balance between following your individual guidance and conforming to your group. We need to stay grounded and not begin to imagine we have all the answers.

My prayer partners and metaphysical friends are precious to me. I trust them to tell me the truth when I ask. My family helps me remember who I am and where I come from. I need these relationships that help me keep my balance.

During these last few years when my health has not been as good, many people have helped me in many ways. One of the gifts of this physical experience has been learning to ask for help and admitting that I cannot do it alone. I want to serve others and I now realize the circle is not complete until I also allow others to serve me.

Having a servant’s heart and knowing we are connected to each other in Love is a wonderful way to live. I am grateful to this wonderful New Thought teaching and to Dr. Ernest Holmes. I am also grateful to some very “downhome” leaders who taught me not to take myself too seriously. They include Dr.Raymond Charles Barker, Dr. Kennedy Shultz, Dr. David Walker, Dr. Nancy Anderson, Dr. Carol Carnes and many others.

Ask Yourself

Do you have a servant’s heart?

Do you feel connected to others?

To God?

How do you keep grounded in Truth?