Kindness News

JoyFlowerMy helper was waiting in the driveway cradling the cutest, fattest, little Cocker Spaniel. “His people are coming for him,” she said. “I’ll be in as soon as they get here.”

Later, she told us the doggie was in the street and she’d almost run him over before she rescued him. Then she read his tags and phoned his owners.

The doggie’s owners came quickly, thanked her, and that was the end of the story. No tragedy. No reward. Just a kind-hearted young woman who protected a darling dog.

There is nothing very remarkable about the episode. Our young heroine might tell her boyfriend about it that evening, but that would be the end of the tale.

I decided to write about it because it seems like an important story to me. It is an example of the kind of interaction we depend upon in civilization. Our lives depend on cooperation, courtesy, and kindness, all of which are milder examples of Love – or God -in action.

This story depends on trust and kindness. My helper trusted and wasn’t afraid to call the number on the doggie’s tags. The owners trusted her to return the dog. There was nothing unusual there.

Most of us trust most people most of the time and we think little or nothing about it. We trust the strangers we contact during our normal day.

I trust the person at the check out counter to put all my groceries in my bag. I trust the water company employee to read my meter correctly. We trust our teachers to educate our children. And so it goes.

Civilizations are built on cooperation, mutual agreement and trust. While my sweet helper went a bit farther to help that doggie than some people would, it certainly was not a rare or exceptional story.

We find feel-good stories everywhere, all the time. We may not notice, but we count on the civility of others. The stories of robbery, car-jacking, and vandalism are on the local news because they are unusual. Good deeds are not scarce so they are not TV news.

It’s important to remember that there are many, many more happy encounters than bad ones. If you doubt this, try an experiment. Pick a day and count the pleasant and unpleasant exchanges, then compare.

These days, I am very aware how much people love to help. I’m using a wheelchair lately and it almost seems like a joke the way people rush to open doors for me. My helpers and I laugh sometimes when it looks like slapstick comedy – especially when grown men seem to race to see who gets to the door first.

My doggie rescue story is cheery but it won’t be on the evening news. I’m writing about it because I want to remember that it might have had a very different ending. A small dog in the middle of the road could be killed. A dog without tags could end up in the pound. A different person might not return the dog but keep it for herself. There are other dramatic endings possible.

There was not much drama in the real story but it made a lot of people very happy. The kindness expressed in that ordinary deed made me happy. I thought about it several times during the day and smiled every time I remembered.

My helper was thrilled to have been the rescuer. The owners who looked for hours for their beloved pet were even more thrilled. It was a lovely event that brightened several people’s day. It was wonderful to have an example of how kindness lights up the world.

I heard a lot of New Thought – New Age people talking about Random Acts of Kindness a few years ago. It was a very popular idea within my circle of friends. Once, my friend and I discovered our tickets to the movies were paid by a generous stranger who was ahead of us. We never knew who performed this typical deed.

There were Random Act of Kindness cards anonymously distributed on cars. I heard a couple of Sunday talks on the subject and there was a movie based on that idea.

I hadn’t heard much about Random Acts of Kindness lately so I looked on google, and I discovered more than anyone needs to know. There is a website, a long article in Wikipedia, and many, many other resources.

It seems some woman thinks she invented the concept in 1982. Actually, the Jews had an idea like that at least 3000 years earlier. They call it the mitzvah. You can check it out for yourself but you don’t really need to know a whole lot of history to see it is a great idea.

Judaism teaches that the world is built on kindness and Christianity teaches that Jesus, was the Master Teacher of Love. Performing kind actions anonymously toward strangers is a practice that shows up in most religions somehow. Think of all those nickels dropped into all those poor boxes throughout the centuries.

In New Thought, we teach that God is Love and Love is the Source of all creation. We believe in something called the Law of Attraction which means that the good you give out will come back to you.

The Law of Attraction operates something like a boomerang. For example, if you do something nice for someone, Spiritual Law will prompt someone to do something nice for you. Whether your deed is anonymous or not, it may not be quid pro quo. You will not always get your reward from the recipient of your kindness, but Love will definitely find a way to reward you.

You don’t really have to know anything about organized religion to see the value in performing acts of kindness. All you really have to do to appreciate the uses and delights of acts of kindness is to experiment. Haven’t you ever noticed how people who do a lot for others are happy? Check it out.

Try being especially kind one day and note the results. I guarantee you will feel better internally. I also believe you will find that kindness is returned. The Universe always finds a way to pay back what you put into life.

One of the things I know and love about New Thought beliefs is that they are not complicated. You can test them in your daily life, one day at a time. Why not make kindness your hobby for the next few weeks or month? Do something kind for five people every day and track the results in your own life.

Opportunities to be kind are all around you. Opening doors for those with physical challenges is kind. Telling someone how much you appreciate or admire them is kind. Giving away clothes you don’t wear to the Salvation Army is kind.

There are so many opportunities to practice kindness and there is so much to be gained. Why not start today?

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Happiness Teachers

Yay“I’m not so interested in stuff anymore. These days, I’m after experiences,” she said.

 When I heard my friend speaking, I thought she was expressing  wisdom  that usually comes with age. Eventually, most of us  do learn that happiness comes from the inside.

Plenty of studies  show older people are happier than youthful ones and I can see it is true for many of my friends. I’m certainly happier than I was when I was seventeen. Aren’t you?

Do you remember the desperate search for happiness you went through in high school? If you look backward for a moment, you may very well discover you are happier now than ever before.  We don’t have to wait until a certain age or go through troubles, but we do need to understand happiness is an inside job.,

You can be cheerful at thirty or sixty as well as ninety. Most of us learn things as we travel through life and, if we are observant, we learn that happiness doesn’t depend on what we have. It depends on our inner wisdom, love, and strength. If we are lucky, we encounter a Happiness Teacher early who helps but that’s not as common as wish it were. 

Most of us learn  as we experiment with getting what we think we want. We figure it out alone. Our journey probably includes  letting go of false idols; popularity, success, romance, beauty, social status, recognition, and money. Even good health isn’t  the complete answer. The answer lies within our thinking and understanding.

Somewhere along the way, we stop putting our faith in appearances and begin cultivating other, less tangible, but more important values. Look around at your friends and you will  see the happiest ones aren’t the ones with the most stuff. Pretty houses and fancy cars are fine but they don’t delight for long. Happiness is based on who we are, rather than what we have.

You don’t have to be any particular age to learn to be happy. Happiness is based on deeper, long lasting values  that give us a sense of control over our lives. While it is true that nothing is permanent, the love you feel always stays with you. So does your satisfaction if you choose work you love.  So do qualities such as a good sense of humor and curiosity about life.

These ideas are not secret. You don’t need a special guru, a secret code, or a million bucks to grasp the key to happiness. People who learn to savor the moment and feel grateful  know everything they need to know to keep on the sunny side of the street. Happiness is a gift and it depends on skills just about anyone can learn.  Gratitude and appreciating the moment are two wonderful tools. So is letting go of the need for other people’s approval.

Most of us have to learn these lessons as we go along and we can do it faster if we find genuine Happiness Teachers to help us by demonstrating.  Our parents taught us what they knew but many did not know how to be happy. They meant well, but they couldn’t teach what they didn’t know.

Happiness Teachers are all around us. Some are neighbors and some, like Maya Angelou, are on TV.  Others, like me, write books and blogs. You can recognize them by the wisdom they share and the fact they aren’t selling you “stuff”. They are happy themselves and they are happy sharing what they know.

If you are happy most of the time, you are a Happiness Teacher yourself. You know how to be content and that is what most people hunger for. Others can learn from you, just as you can learn from others. It’s that simple.

We humans learn naturally from one and another. Look around at your happiest pals. You will probably see they have developed the ability to live mostly in the present moment. You will probably notice how often they express gratitude.

We can all be happier if we pay attention. Some of this extra happiness will be based on a loss of innocence. There comes a day when we must stop believing that a new shampoo or a different mustache brush will make people love us more.

When we stop being true believers in the great American Consumer Creed, we will be happier. When we stop believing the high priests of products and start selecting activities and relationships that are joyful, we will be happier.  When we begin to  look within for our Love and Light, we will be happier.

I have many friends and the one I quoted at the beginning is an outstanding Happiness Teacher. She doesn’ t offer classes or advice but I’ve learned  by observing her.  My friend is not a wealthy woman but she has a busy and fulfilling life. She learns new things, meets interesting people and has a lot of fun. She always seems to be happy.

She chooses experiences that keep her interested in life without requiring fancy clothes or expensive tickets. Her life is valuable to others and it suits her well. I admire her intelligence, her resourcefulness, and her creativity. I have learned a lot about available community resources from her. She lives alone, far from family, but she is never lonely.

Two organizations provide the basics for her lifestyle – AA and our church. These two groups provide the spiritual and social backbones for her rich lifestyle. Not only does she meet wonderful people but also she is steeped in the spiritual teachings of gratitude and mindfulness.

Alcoholics Anonymous teaches us to be consistently grateful for the many blessings we receive. . The Spiritual Living Center also values gratitude. The Law of Attraction is a spiritual principle that describes a process for attracting more good. For example, if I desire more friends, I don’t complain. I give thanks for the friends I have. God responds to my gratitude by sending me more friends.You can observe this law in action in your own life if you experiment.

My friend is happy with AA and the church but she doesn’t stop there. Our local library is a place for gentle yoga, interesting lectures and her book club.  She not only finds free books but she enjoys a variety of lectures, workshops and classes. The library is a rich source of great experiences. There are many other venues she knows about because she is awake too opportunities. She never complains about lack of any sort. She is busy and happy on a limited budget.

Her life demonstrates how wisdom grows and opens us up. When we stop yearning for things and begin to appreciate what we have, we can achieve happiness. She looks inside for guidance and strength, and makes happy choices.  I’m grateful for her because she teaches me how to live well.

Ask Yourself

Are you as happy as you want to be?

Is there a Happiness Teacher in your life?

Are you a Happiness Teacher  to anyone?

Do you have a plan for more happiness?


Farewell, My Ladies

Cocacola-5cents-1900_edit1It was a happy coincidence that Dr. Gina Ogden and Rev. Dr. Maxine Kaye were visiting at the same time of year and an unhappy one when they departed on the same day.

They are each my long-term friends and although they don’t know each other, the three of us have much in common, including optimistic attitudes and impressive resumes. It’s true that birds of a feather flock together and I’ve noticed that my highflying friends tend to resemble eagles. Nearly all of them are independent women of a “certain age”.

When I met Gina in Massachusetts, 35 years ago, we both lived in the Berkshires. She now lives in Cambridge, MA and travels all over the world giving speeches and workshops. She’s become a leader in her field of sex therapy and has written many books including her first, the classic, Women Who Love Sex.

Gina is a therapist who helps people change and, unlike most experts, she’s not afraid to change herself. She walks her talk.When I met her she had a modest practice and she published a Women’s Newspaper. Her outlook mostly political and she promoted the women’s movement. She was the perfect therapist for me.

Next, she stepped into the role of self-help/psychology  writer with amazing speed. Our friendship deepened because of our mutual writing interests. The next years brought her much success, including appearances on Oprah and awards in her field.

During the last decade or so, she’s opened up to a more spiritual side of life. She studied with a South American shaman for a while. Now she’s developed a wonderful new approach to therapy that considers the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of life. She has a large following in her Isis Network. For more check out www.GinaOgden.com

I’ve known my friend Maxine Kaye for about twenty-five years and I admired her from the day I met her. It is a pleasure to be in Maxine’s company because she consistently sees the bright side of life.

She grew up in the Science of Mind teaching and became a minister at a very early age. Everything about Maxine speaks to the power of a strong spiritual teaching. She is intelligent, beautiful and one of the most loving people I’ve ever met.

Maxine has been my unwitting mentor for many years. As a late-comer to a spiritual approach to living, I had a lot of work to do and I was quite critical but even before I met her personally, I could see her integrity. Maxine’s example was inspirational. She showed me it was possible to truly internalize spiritual living principles.

Over the years we served on many, many Religious Science International committees together, including the Board of Education and Board of Directors. She always saw situations from the best possible viewpoint. She never condemned, gossiped or criticized. I admire her because she also walks her talk.

Maxine and I have travelled our unique ministerial paths as friends. I stayed in the center I founded in Carlsbad and she moved around a bit, but she was always in California. Now she is moving to Boca Raton, FL where she will write her daily inspirations and be a guest speaker and workshop presenter. One Sunshine state loses what another one gains. Whenever Maxine’s in the room, it is lighter and brighter.

She not old enough to retire, of course, so she’s just changing her methods of working. If you want to know how old she is, you’ll have to buy her book because I think of her as a teenager. I will tell you this though – her chronological age is simply numbers. Maxine looks and acts amazingly young. She is living proof that positive spiritual living is truly good for you and for every aspect of your life.

Maxine has written an excellent book, Alive and Ageless and she shares many of her ideas how to stay young. These ideas include diet and exercise tips but everything is truly based on building a youthful, healthy consciousness. You can buy the book from Maxine’s website www.TheConsciousConnections.com, or from http://www.LULU.com or from most Center For Spiritual Living bookstores. Follow her wisdom and I think you will be very happy with the results. You can also subscribe to her daily inspirations, ConsciousConnections.

If you met my friends, Gina and Maxine, you would see they are not much alike. There are many differences but it is the similarities that are important to our new world. They are marvelous examples of an emerging pattern for wise women.

I call Gina, Maxine and most of my other friends the Breakthrough generation. We were born into a world where girls were  supposed to be “sugar and spice and everything nice”. Our goals were to marry young, have nice babies and support our husbands as they built their careers.

Breakthrough Wise Women began as good girls who “behaved ourselves”, but times change and our worlds flowered as we began to claim more of the action for ourselves.We were women who moved ahead of the times.

The women’s movement is taught as ho-hum history these days.  “There was the birth control pill, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinham, The Sixties explosion and the rest is history”. When we were in those moments, it was terribly personal.

Our journey is quite a story. It took a lot of courage to get from there to where we are now. If you don’t believe me, watch Mad Men.

We lived that history. Whether we were political or not, whether we knew it or not, we were deeply impacted by the women’s movement. For Jane, Maxine and Gina, and most of my other friends, it is very, very personal history.

Although they are several years younger and we are very different people, we share a common experience because we didn’t stick to the expected script. We made choices and we designed lives that were inconceivable when we started out. Think about it. No women ministers. No sexual revolution. No Oprah. No world travel.

Things turned out a lot bigger and better than we expected  because we stepped out on faith.  I love both my friends for many reasons but that shared history is a big part of it. I love it that we designed interesting and successful lives by making brave choices.

Even though I was sad when Gina and Maxine left town, I didn’t want to hold them back. It’s OK to wish people lived closer but it is not OK to try and cage them or to hold back their changes.

These two great ladies have been my friends since cigarettes were sexy and Coca-Cola was a nickel. We have always kept in touch before and we will continue to do so. They will always be in my life even if not in the next room.

I will miss them, of course but I’m glad they are doing what they want to do. I am glad they are living the lives they want to live. I am glad to be a part of the Breakthrough generation.

Ask Yourself

List three major ideas that have changed in your lifetime.

Do you have  friends you miss?

Do you have a friend you want to tell you are proud of?

Do you want to contact a distant friend today?


Appreciation

touch3Someone from New York City came to church yesterday. She’d been carrying around an article I wrote for two years.   She wanted to meet me because the article was important to her. I can’t tell you how much her visit pleased me.

It is a wonderful thing when someone reaches out to praise an author for something they’ve written. I used enjoy the fan letters when I wrote for teenagers. But this was different because the writing came from my heart and I had a clear intention to be helpful.

In fact, hearing that my work helped someone is just about the best thing that could happen to a spiritual writer. We are  dedicated to helping people and we don’t always hear from our readers. That young woman not only made my day, she made my week and a lot longer.

I felt appreciated and valued. It was quite different from having friends tell me they liked one of my blogs. This was a young woman I’d never met, from three thousand miles away, who carried my inspirational words with her all the time. She made my work seem very special.

I felt appreciated and I appreciated her. We had a great visit in a short time. I saw that exchange was like dropping a pebble of Love that rippled outward and outward. It was a bright spot in my day and I’m sure my good mood impacted others because good news travels fast.

Any honest expression of appreciation that we give or receive is a treasure that should be noticed and taken to heart. When were you last praised? Did you take the time to treasure it? Sometimes it is instructive to make notes of the praise and compliments you receive. You will brighten your life by paying attention to the appreciation others are expressing toward you. It will raise your self esteem.

On that same subject, ask yourself if you give praise easily? Or often?  When was the last time you wrote a note to your favorite author? How about your favorite teacher in school? Do you tell your friends how much you appreciate them? Giving appreciation feels really good. The emotional lift comes with giving as well as receiving.

The best part of telling someone you appreciate them because of something special about them or their work,  is that appreciation works both ways. Not only do you speak up and help someone see his or her own worth, your expression of appreciation is a message that goes into the Universal Mind. Spirit will find a way to return it to you. That’s the way spiritual law works.

Some people fall into the belief that there is a shortage. It’s as though there is not enough personal value to go around. They never express appreciation for anyone else. We all have known competitive people who try to make someone else bad so that they can feel good. They do not yet understand that there is no shortage of good will or personal value. Life is not a contest.

If Maxine Kaye or Carol Carnes is a good writer, that doesn’t mean I am a bad one. It means there are three good writers in this paragraph. And many more on this planet! If we start to talk about which writer is better, the conversation soon becomes nonsense! How can we compare Hemingway to Austen when they are so unique?

Life is not a contest. There is no shortage. We all have unique value and we can appreciate each other without diminishing anyone else.  In fact, the fastest remedy for a competitive attitude is to begin to compliment others. He or she will quickly discover there is enough praise to go around. The praise that is given will find a way to return, pressed down and multiplied.

What do you believe would happen if you added appreciation to your spiritual practice? Are you willing to experiment?

If you want to learn to appreciate yourself, you can start by recognizing the value of others and expressing gratitude. You will see a boomerang effect very quickly. Begin to make it a habit to say thank you to others. Make it a habit to express praise for the things that others do that add value to your life.

When you attend church, don’t just praise the ministers and musicians because they do another good job. At the same time, look for those volunteers who are generally ignored. They work on set up, bringing and arranging the flowers, making coffee, on the sound system, or teaching Sunday School. These people all do valuable work and so we should praise them for a job well done. Appreciate them.

In general, begin to notice the things that people do for you and give genuine praise for their efforts. Soon, you will begin to understand that you live in a loving world and your life is touched by many wonderful people. Our civilization is built on cooperation and trust. Praise the civilized people in your world.

People who serve you and your lifestyle are important to your well being. If you are alert, you can praise their contributions and brighten their days. Often, you will find that the service you receive becomes  even more enthusiastic. You and the recipient of your praise will be happier for the exchange.

The Law of Attraction is well known in New Thought circles. What you are focusing on is important. This is expressed over and over again, in every Sunday talk and in bestselling books such like The Secret. This spiritual law is also expressed in sayings such as, “What goes around comes around.”

I say, “Focus on the solution, not the problem.” You can train you mind to stop obsessing about what’s wrong and start believing that your desires are possible.  Let the problem stew in its own juices. You don’t need to add to the mess. Begin by asking, “What do I want to see happen?” If you focus on the desired solution, you draw it toward you.

You can experiment and prove the Law of Attraction in your own life. Make notes of your results. During the next month, make it a game to honestly praise as many people as you can. Thank people for the way they interact with you. File a favorable report on your favorite grocery checker’s work. Tell important people in your life (such as your children) how much you appreciate them.

Open your heart and make appreciation your way of life. Don’t hold praise back for fear it won’t continue to improve. Praise what you love and watch it grow.

The people in your life want to please you and they need your approval. Make it a point to notice the good stuff. Send notes and small gifts for special service.

If you are honest with yourself, you will see that your life is smoother as you learn to use praise as a positive living tool.

Ask Yourself

What happened today that I can praise?

How many ways can I thank people this week?

Do I see the unrecognized helpers?


Sunny Days

power2It’s been hot here and I don’t enjoy hot, humid weather.  I tend to forget San Diego has the best year-round climate in the continental US. I’m like the millionaire who complains when her stocks don’t rise fast enough.

It is easy to forget how comparatively fortunate we are. Whether it is health, money, friendships or climate, we don’t want to fall into a pattern of grumbling and make it worse. Let’s not take the good stuff in our lives for granted.

Sometimes it helps to see ourselves in relation to others. I don’t like to chortle because someone else is hotter than I am, but when I watch the weather channel it does put my complaints in perspective. Do you ever use comparisons as a basis for gratitude? I do.

As a child, I resented the idea of comparing myself to others. At supper, I was supposed to eat all my dinner because of the poor starving Armenians or Chinese etc. It just didn’t seem right that I should have to eat spinach because someone on the other side of the world was hungry.

My mother used to tell the story about a person who had no shoes until he met a beggar who had no feet. I wasn’t interested in shoes or feet, I just wanted my dessert. And I wanted it now!

Since I’ve learned more about how spiritual law works, I’ve been able to release the guilt I felt about my “selfishness”. It didn’t really help if I ate all my supper. (I’ve also resigned from the clean plate club and lost over 100 pounds.)

These days, comparison is a tool in my bag of gratitude tricks. When I remember to be grateful I don’t live in Arizona, it cools me off as much as an extra shower.

I am not a shaman and I don’t do a rain dance so I can’t yet control the weather, but I can control my thinking and my response.  Gratitude thinking changes the experience even when things are out of my control.

Gratitude trains the mind to be happy. Feeling happy is as welcome as a cool breeze. Believe it or not, it is possible to feel happy in any climate. It is also possible to feel happy before getting everything we want. In fact, it helps us get it.

Happiness really is a choice. We are in charge of our thoughts and that puts us in charge of our moods. The key is to manage our minds effectively, no matter what the issue seems to be.

Using gratitude to move away from the problem and toward the desired solution puts us in a mental space where we are guided to take new actions. It is perfectly all right to work for new goals and feel happy before you gain them.

I used a prayer of gratitude to control my response to the weather this week and it helped me a great deal. It didn’t change the temperature outside but it led me to make some discoveries. A mid-day shower helps. So does setting the fans correctly. I’ve also changed my work schedule so I’m in my air-conditioned office during the hottest part of the day instead of just the early morning.

Anyone who follows the teaching of Ernest Holmes has heard the expression, “Change your thinking and change your life.” Followers of  Science of Mind read books and take classes to learn how to pray effectively. Affirmative prayers change circumstances and solve problems. So does positive thinking. The key is to focus on the solution rather than the problem.

In Centers for Spiritual Living, we learn to use the power of our minds consistently to create positive results. We learn that there is a Power For Good and we can use it. We learn that our individual minds are connected to the One Mind. We learn that we are co-creating our lives.

We discover that positive thinking and affirmative prayer can actually bring improved circumstances into our lives because God is Love working through Spiritual Law. The Law of Attraction is always working and our prevailing belief system is creating our experience.

One aspect of powerful prayer is to see it so clearly in your mind and feel it so deeply in your heart that you accept it as real. Your prayer then closes with an expression of gratitude for the achieved goal. If you hold onto your belief, God does the work just as quickly as you can accept it.

The key is to look at what we want rather than obsess about what might go wrong or what we think is the problem. We cannot afford to be children stamping our feet and saying, “I don’t have what I want!” We need to be believers who are saying “Thank you God!” We need to trust in the power of prayer.

Many wonderful things happen when people focus on using spiritual law in their lives. Those who develop a habit of prayer and visualization attract great results because they are using unlimited God-power. Debt can change to wealth. Illness can change to health. Loneliness can change to love. All this comes through the Law of Attraction.

I have seen great demonstrations of the power to create new circumstances through consistent prayer and meditation during my years as a student and teacher of Science of Mind.  I know that the dedicated student achieves great results. Gratitude helps create dedicated students.  So do classes.

Classes are the best way to understand the concepts that lead to a consistent and satisfying use of mental power. This is the time of year to think about enrolling in a class at your local center or on-line. I am so grateful that it is now so easy for everyone to find an excellent class in this day and age.

When we focus on gratitude and look at desired solutions, rather than the problems, a great many good things happen. Great good can happen even if the condition cannot be changed completely. For example, I may not change the weather but I can accommodate myself to it. New solutions may become apparent. I may even decide to move North. The results of my prayer may not be exactly what I think I want, but I can gratefully celebrate the solution that emerges.

If I stamp my feet or whine because I can’t make it snow in September, I’ll be fighting the laws of nature and making myself miserable. Better to distract myself and move on. I can always choose to feel grateful for what I have and the results I get. That attitude will lift my spirits and make things better.

No matter how hopeless things look, prayer and positive thinking will create a better, not worse, situation. Stick with gratitude. It is the key to success.

Ask Yourself

What are my goals?

Do I believe they are possible with God’s help?

Do I have a solid knowledge of affirmative prayer?

How might I learn more?


Best Friends

bloomscan010Note… This blog was first published on 9/30/11. In that first month, I had about 20 subscribers so  I chose to post it again. There will be a fresh one  soon.

I hang up on from a phone call with a very good friend and I feel full of gratitude that she is  well and happy, that I am well and happy, and that we are in each other’s lives. Over the past twenty years we have been through many changes but our friendship has always been there. We have supported each other through good and not so good times. There have been laughs and tears and lots of shared history. My life is richer because of my friend.

Good friends are really important and they must be nurtured in order to thrive. When I was a girl, switching “best friends” whenever we got a new hobby was common. So was  dropping our girlfriends when we got a new boyfriend and I can remember how that could hurt.

Growing up means treating friends as though they are appreciated. Our good, long lasting friendships are precious. If we are not careful, we forget to tell them how much they mean to us. We should also understand that there are times when we need to be there for a good friend when they are in need, even if it is inconvenient. Friendship is definitely reciprocal if it is to work over a long time.

Treasuring a good friend is a lot different from building a network for our business or social ambitions. It is also different from loving our family because they were born to be our connections. Making friends involves choices and choosing good friends is a consequence of knowing who we are. There are plenty of people on Facebook and they may be listed as friends but it takes time and common experiences to develop a real friendship.

Not all friends from the past need to be carried into your world of today. It is wonderful to keep your friends from high school or college but if you want a healthy balance you will have to develop some new ones along the way. Especially as we age, people’s lives and situations, as well as interests, change. Some move away, some change, some die, some simply take a different path in life. So if you only stick with your old friends, you can end up with a very narrow world as time marches on.

It seems to me that we should try to cultivate new friends and, at the same time, treasure the old ones. As always, balance is the key to intelligent living. No one can have an unlimited number of close friends but beware the person who insists that he or she must be your only friend. “Best friends” works better in 7th grade than in adulthood.

One of the best ways to meet friends is to find a people you enjoy who have similar interests. These days, most of my friends are people I’ve met in my spiritual activities; once they nearly all came from my 12 Step program. Before that, most of them came from my writing activities. I still have a couple of friends from every one of those previous interests because they are a part of me and my history. Most of all, these treasured old friends have qualities that resonate in wonderful ways.

What kind of people make the best friends? I love the ones who are always there for you. They can be there in times of need and they are wonderful. On the other hand, the ones who make me laugh are fabulous. I also love the ones who are interested and excited about new ideas and activities. And then there are my deep thinker friends and my deep believer friends. It varies from day to day so I guess they are all my best friends.

Ask Yourself            

What old friend can I contact today?

What new person can I get to know better and maybe make a friend?

Do I nurture my current friendships?


Gratitude Lists Work

magicelephant_n*Note -This post is from 11/11/11 and it’s raining again today. I have so many more readers I thought I’d  rerun it and take a nap. I still  believe every word except the intro. My health is fine and I’m happy. …..  I wake before the alarm but I am not in great spirits. The weather has changed and it is cold. I’m worried about someone I love. My health isn’t as good as it was last year. I wish I had more money saved. Since these were my first thoughts of the morning, my first act is to make a gratitude list.

The first thing I learned in my first 12 Step program 38 years ago was to start my day with a gratitude list. It was a great spiritual practice and I still use it. Since I started, my life has truly turned around and I’ve found that a gratitude list works like magic. It will change my mood almost immediately and I have come to rely upon this simple practice.

Now that I’m a student of Science of Mind, I know that writing a gratitude list is a way of moving my mind as well as lifting my heart with the simple stroke of a pen or touch of the keyboard. It cheers me up to think about things I have instead of things I want. I am happier when I remember to focus on things I love instead of things I worry about.  It also sends a direct message to the Infinite Mind of God that I claim more of the good stuff in my life. I accept the best.

Expressing gratitude for the hundred dollars I have in the bank is a much more effective way to build prosperity than praying for the thousand dollars I think I need because the way spiritual laws work is that what I focus on is what I get. When I focus on lack, I get more lack. When I focus with love on the money I have, I will get more love and more money. Expressing gratitude is very effective way to work with the spiritual law of attraction.

The Universal Mind we call God functions on spiritual law. You attract what you are. If you are wrapped in a feeling of doom and gloom about money and your inner refrain is “Not enough” that is the message you are sending to the law of attraction. You are sowing scarcity and it is impossible for you to reap anything but more scarcity. While not everyone understands this, spiritual laws work exactly the same for us all. God does not take a vacation, play favorites or make exceptions.

Never mistake it, making a list of the things you love in your life is a direct prayer to claim more of that good. The best part of all when using gratitude lists is that you don’t have to believe in it or even be hopeful, you just need to make that list. This simple, straightforward spiritual practice does not require any deep intellectual conviction or religious faith. Just about everyone can find something he or she is grateful for, no matter how bleak things look.

I challenge you to make a list of 10 or more things every morning for a month and see how your life improves. You will obviously be more cheerful. That is a psychological fix that will help but a consistent practice of gratitude will do more than cheer you up, it will bring more of what you enjoy into your life. Keep your list simple and honest and it will work well.

My ten things for this morning? 1. The money I currently have in the bank. 2. The distance my loved one has already come. 3. The weather here in San Diego (even on the bad days). 4. My grandson visits today. 5. My coffee is good. 6. My beautiful home. 7. My new novel to read. 8. I’m going to a museum today. 9. My Science of Mind teaching. 10. My prayer partner. … Now that I’ve made that list I’m in a new place of heart and mind and could go on to list another 90, for sure.

Ask Yourself

How many things can you list that you are grateful for in the next fifteen minutes?

Will you try making a list of ten things you are grateful for every day this week?