Intuition (a poem)

Whenever I’m confused or lost,

     I take a moment, breathe and pause.

I listen to God’s voice within,

     to guide my choices and my wins.

I get guidance and direction,

     and respond with love’s affection.

I know what’s right when I listen

     to my Divine Intuition.

Copyright 2/22/14 Carla Ryan

Published in: on March 1, 2014 at 10:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Z is for Zenith… Spirituality A to Z

As I come to the final chapter of this series, I’m again surprised by what Spirit provides as inspiration and how perfect it is. When I think about “Z is for Zenith” it makes perfect sense that this would be the final topic of these many Spiritual ideas …and the culmination of this journey.

The Zenith of something can have celestial meanings, such as the “highest point above the observer’s horizon.” It also refers to a culminating point of success or achievement. It brought to my mind the idea that we’ve gone through these past 25 writings with the express purpose of developing a stronger Spiritual practice …toward greater enlightenment …toward deeper peace …toward whatever reason one takes such an inward journey…to arrive in this moment.

When we arrive at the highest point of understanding or a clear understanding of our God-path, we might think the journey is over or that enlightenment is now ours. We tell ourselves we have arrived! And perhaps, for awhile, we are satisfied with that achievement.

However, what this tells me is that this is the Zenith of this moment …of this understanding …of this stage of Spiritual development. Once our human thinking adjusts to the current mental state – and eventually gets bored, as it always does – it’s time to move along to the next Zenith, the next highest point of observation or growth.

There are times when I think, this is all I want to learn; this is enough. Call it laziness, complacency, or giving up. It never lasts long. It can’t. There is that Divine urging – sometimes referred to as Divine Discontent – that is continually pushing us forward. It inspires us. The still small voice guides us. The cosmic two-by-four might even knock us upside the head to get our attention in some way just so we don’t stay stuck in our smallness of life.

Whether you know it or not, there is always more of you to discover! Your mind and potential are vast, deep, and filled with possibilities. There are no limits to what you can do when you put your mind to it – and stay focused on your intention(s). The same is true for me …for everyone.

As I write this last installment of “Spirituality A to Z” the voice within is already directing me to my next form of expression …in writing …in living …in teaching or sharing …in being more of me and who I came here to be.

God’s not done with me yet. God’s not done with you either. Let’s give it all we have. Live fully and completely every day of Life. This is the only day we have.

Y is for Why… Spirituality A to Z

The more I explore the depths and intricacies of the ego-self, the shadow side, the more discoveries I make toward resolving any challenges it presents to my peace of mind.

One question, learned in early childhood by many of us, and that continues to present itself from time to time, is “Why?” At first glance this might be an innocent enough question.  We seek to discover the reasoning or motivation behind an action, behavior or decision. However, the more I’ve explored this question or any answer it might generate, the more I’ve learned that the ego-self will never be satisfied with the response…any response.

No matter how well a person answers “Why?” – there can always be yet another “Why?” that follows…to infinity. It’s the disbelieving child inside each of us that relentlessly pursues such a line of questioning. It’s that part of us that will never be satisfied with disappointment or past mistakes, which is often when “Why?” comes up.

There is NO adequate answer to the question “Why?” that will ever satisfy the ego’s discontent with the past or what is behind us.

Think about it: do we ask this question when everything has gone well and successfully? Do we dare consider any of the bad when all we see is good? It’s only when we have doubts that this question creeps into our consciousness…and then, repeatedly so. It can be very annoying. It also takes a concerted effort to stop this unproductive habit. Rarely is the question directed in support of or to validate a person’s efforts.

The question “Why?” looks primarily at the past, something that has already occurred and apparently requires some type of justification. You can’t do anything about the past anyway. If amends are needed or restitution is required, you can’t go back and do over what was done. If there are corrections to be made, you start in this moment.

Bring yourself into the NOW. Start by asking, “What can I do in this situation?” or “What change can I make in myself to resolve this matter?” or “What’s the next right step for me to make?” Start from where you are. And sure, maybe an apology is needed or doing some forgiveness work. The act of healing can always use a bit of compassion and understanding.

But posing “Why?” in nearly any situation is like rubbing salt in the wound; it just makes matters worse. It’s coming from the ego’s need to be right, to make someone else wrong, or to lay blame and then shine it in a spotlight so someone gets hurt or feels even worse about themselves. What’s the point? Where’s the love and compassion in that?

For your own peace of mind, ask a different question…and have it be one that starts with anything EXCEPT “Why?”  Then see what your ego-self does with that!

X is for “X factor”… Spirituality A to Z

While we may sometimes think of “X” as something to indicate stopping or a form of blockage, the meaning behind “X” has long been for me one of crossing-over or becoming something new. Recently, however, its meaning has reached even more significance. Perhaps you can relate to it as well.

Years ago I learned to use the capital letter “X” to mean “trans” whenever I was taking notes. Thus, words became Xportation, Xlation, Xfix or Xcription. This connotation can also be applied to words such as Xcendence and Xformation.  When I Xition it to the Spiritual realm, the meaning of “X” takes on a more powerful meaning.

The idea of “X” as representing a crossing-over (one form to another) is still apparent in my mind, but there’s something more. I see a movement of thought that is increasingly similar to multiplication. In fact, when I learned the multiplication tables in school, we often used a small “x” to indicate the exponential increase of two numbers. For example, 2 x 3 = 6 or 473 x 29 = 13,717. One little symbol that increases wherever it is applied.

When I use the big “X” to fill in for part of a word, it now represents a larger concept of that word, too. Transcendence (Xcendence) is not just going beyond or rising above, it’s GOING BEYOND!!! RISING ABOVE!! Somehow, using the “X factor” takes the root of the word to a whole new and expansive level.

The same is true for Xformation. There’s a lot more to it than what this word alone implies. I’m talking about a significant and revolutionary evolution that is worth noting. Something new and wonderful is being birthed, whether it’s an idea, a way of doing things, a project or goal, or a new way of expressing in the world. It is a crossing-over from past to future ways of being or form. It’s emerging from what was to what can be. That’s an exciting prospect!

It takes trust and sometimes great courage to initiate change from what has always been to an invisible future possibility of greater proportions. Anytime we add this “X factor” of movement, of going in another direction, we are faced with leaving something behind. That can be a part of us we choose to change, a habit we want to break, or a new way of living we want to experience, leaving behind the old. The cycle of life is apparent everywhere.

What is it for you? What part of you have you been thinking of expanding to a greater degree? Where in your life would you like to see it multiplied by “X”?

The letter “X” is no longer just a couple of well-placed sticks crossing each other. This is a symbol of movement and growth. It can be applied anywhere you can imagine. Play in the realm of possibilities. Your ideas expand in “X” ways and times. Just imagine!

W is for Wisdom… Spirituality A to Z

After asking the question “What should ‘W’ stand for in this series?” I decided to stick with the one that showed up first – Wisdom – because of its varied applications.

We indeed have available to us the Spiritual Wisdom of the Universe (God) through tapping into that intuitive knowing we carry around with us at all times. As we become more aware of our Divine Self, our God Nature, Spiritual consciousness expands to higher expression, increases in depth and intensity, and becomes our guide to living a life of truth, faith, and love.

The greatest of all Wisdom is the God Intelligence that expresses through all of life…through you and me and the rest of the universe. Its purpose is to create. Its direction comes from a divine intention and eternal presence of love, and moves only and always toward Good.

We have the Divine birthright to co-create, to get involved in this life-construction process and determine our own direction. Often the results show how we can so easily muck-up those intentions for Good …that we have a lot to learn. It takes a wise person to surrender to Divine Intelligence for our own highest and best good, and for the good of others around us.

Another expression of this Intelligence is the body’s Wisdom; its ability to heal, mend, and manage our human forms without any direction from us. When it seems to take too long to heal or we don’t care for ourselves properly so that it can, we have the option to seek outside resources (e.g., pills, ointments, infusions, etc.) to accelerate the healing process…or so we think. For some reason we have learned to avoid pain so much that we are often intolerant of even a little.

Pain is the body’s voice to let us know something is wrong, something needs our attention. I’ve often witnessed, however, that people would rather mask the pain than heal the cause of it. That applies to physical pain as well as emotional and mental anguish. From Oprah Winfrey we get, “Turn your wounds into wisdom.” Learn from what you’re doing to harm yourself…don’t hide it or suppress it. Go through it. Give your body the attention, nutrients, exercise, love, and support it needs to fight its unhealthy invaders and protect your soul’s carriage.

And finally, there is the Wisdom of the ages and sages; the philosophy that has been and continues to be handed down from one generation to the next through eons of time to guide us through the travails of earthly life. Aristotle said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” And from Socrates we learn, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

One of my life goals has been to become a woman of wisdom. I look at my past experiences and know I have learned much through this earthly journey. I would have been just fine without going through some of those situations, but I’m not sure I’d be who I am today without them. So I am grateful for all of it.

Some say I have achieved my goal, that I am a woman of wisdom. Perhaps. However, like Socrates, I continue to see that there is so much I do not know yet I am willing to learn, that this is just the beginning. In other cases, there is much to learn but through discernment or apathy, I have no desire to know. Would a wise person turn away from an opportunity to know more? In this case, yes. I’d prefer to follow the advice of Albert Einstein: “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.

Like Ernest Holmes, I believe that in all this getting of life’s achievements, it is best to get understanding. Through that endeavor, I will find wisdom. And so it is.

V is for Voice… Spirituality A to Z

When you think of “Voice,” what comes up for you? Is it the “still small voice” of your God-Self within that is first and foremost in your consciousness? Is it the ego-self with its critical overtones that jumps front and center? Or is it a combination of the two, a Spiritually-based yet human voice, desiring to be heard in the world?

One of the things I’ve come to appreciate more is a person’s desire to be heard. I’m sure that is the subconscious force that drives me to write this blog week after week. I’m validated by the blog statistics that show at least a few people have read some portion of these published thoughts… that we have connected on a topic for a few minutes.

My “Voice” or your voice takes many forms. It can be the spoken or written word…photographs…painted canvases… sculptures… music… dance… or reaching out to another through a hug or gentle touch. We express our Divine Nature and human nature in a variety of ways. When we do (and I know this is true for me), it’s validating to get some form of positive acknowledgment in return. It can be empowering, too.

While it would be lovely to have everyone agree with me and all my ideas, the reality is that doesn’t always happen. Yet, knowing I am heard through some form of acknowledgment or response encourages me even more to reach out to those around me…to share more of me…to serve.

This revitalized awareness has also impacted some of the ways I’ve been communicating and increased my efforts in other directions. I recently began a practice that is taking me beyond my routine methods of reaching out. I now write a short letter, a note card in length, to someone…every day. Well, at least five days a week. After I do my morning spiritual readings, add to my growing “gratitude list,” and spend a few minutes in contemplative meditation, I pick up my pen and share a part of me with someone I care about. The act of writing down some interest, viewpoint or recent experience (or memory)…of sharing it with just one person in that moment… becomes very intimate, very connecting.

I get to be with that person in consciousness, to share a common bond. Through this process I’ve discovered a willingness to reveal more of my authentic self. I find that my Voice – the “I AM” part of me – is getting stronger and more confident. I’m learning to trust the God-Nature, my Spiritual Voice, to a greater depth as I recognize the being I’ve become and am becoming. And it’s not about whether I get a response or not, although that would be an added bonus to enjoy.

My gift comes in the moments of connection I feel as I think about that person and share myself, my thoughts, with them. It’s in believing that their day will be uplifted when they open the envelope. My gift also is recognizing I have so many people in my life that I care about.

Other gifts that have come about include: creating time on my calendar to connect with friends and family in person, not just on social media websites; putting down my phone while having a conversation with the person in front of me; even leaving it in another room or turning it off (OMG!) during a social event. I’m feeling less concerned about the “what” of projects, and more interested in “who” is being served. I’m even thinking about taking vacations. Imagine that!

This new Spiritual practice has softened me…and at the same time, strengthened my connection to life. Through giving “Voice” to my authentic God-Self with those I love, I am more receptive to listening to those needing to be heard, wanting love, or desiring recognition and connection. I can do that. You can, too.

U is for Unification … Spirituality A to Z

Unification is an interesting word. It brings to my mind the ideas of connection, harmony, and just plain ol’ getting along with one another about things. This getting-along idea can be from something as simple as agreeing with someone about where to go for lunch…or…the next step in the vision of creating a corporation.

The concept of Unification – or unifying – does not mean we all do things the same way, with the same intensity, or via the same methods or skills. It does mean that we hold in consciousness a common purpose, vision or goal. It means we’re walking the same highway (bigger than a path) toward a greater expression of who we are and what we intend to accomplish. It means we do our best toward a common goal. It means the whole is greater than the individual parts. And Unification lends itself to having objectivity about the union.

When people connect or come together to work on a project, the object of their attention is what unifies them. For example, when I’ve had the opportunity to sing with an experienced choir or group, the song and its harmonies are where the attention is placed. It’s not about me or the person next to me or the musicians who support the singers. The song is the focus. The notes are what holds the song together and every person to the song. When all are striving for Unification, each singer performs their part with passion and skill; each is uniquely qualified for what they’re contributing to the whole piece. The perfect result is the quality of the song coming from such combined and passionate talents.

When everyone contributes for the highest and best of the desired music, the results are positive and the notes are glorious. It touches people’s hearts and emotions. It unifies the musicians and singers to the audience. The energy is palpable. It can bring people to tears and joy. We are connected in that moment. Unified in Spirit and song…hoping it will go on indefinitely. No one wants it to end!

However, there are times when we get in the way of this perfection and unity and the circle of Life unfolding. Emerson said we are to “…take our bloated nothingness out of the path of the divine circuits.” Good advice.

When we share a project with others, there’s likely to be someone in charge, someone who is directing or has the “big picture” in mind and can guide each person toward its final creation. This dynamic takes cooperation and surrender on everyone’s part, in turn. It means stepping up to do your share or assisting others to do theirs. I love collaborating with passionate and inspiring people to create something so much bigger or greater than I could imagine on my own, and have their positive input and assistance in the endeavor as well.

Yet even if we’re creating a project on our own in the privacy of our minds or the solace of a solitary space, there must be a unifying effort with the Divine Spirit within. I find my personal projects, goals, and dreams have a much higher success rate when I listen to the “still small voice within” to guide me…rather than my bloated ego.

Unification is indeed about harmony and cooperation. It’s about staying connected to a guiding Presence for a greater Good. Unity of one another. Unity with the One.

 

T is for Time … Spirituality A to Z

There’s no way I could look at the letter “T” and not think about Time as part of Spirituality.

I was reminded today about letting go of the pressures we place on ourselves toward achieving goals, completing projects, or meeting deadlines. Instead, it’s about creating an attitude of relying on the Universal Flow of Life to achieve all that is needed for our greatest Good…in Spirit Speed. This can be a difficult pill to swallow, especially if you’re determined to accomplish certain things by certain ages of life. It is for me.

I’m not sure exactly when it started, but I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Time. I love it when I have more than I need or expect, and hate it when there doesn’t seem to be enough. Of course, this is totally ludicrous. Every second, minute, hour, and day are exactly the same length for every one of us. It’s what we stuff inside those allotments or leave empty that determine our level of foolishness in dealing with Time.

It’s easy for me to recognize when I’m going over the crazy edge of trying to do too much in too little Time or for too long a Time (that workaholic tendency). There are obvious signs of frustration: conciseness in my conversations; deep breaths to calm myself; spinning or moving from one project to another; being easily distracted to the point that I don’t accomplish as much as I could if I just focused on one task at a Time…to completion.

I have clocks in every room. Time is noted on the computer, the cell phone, and in the car. Rarely do I go anywhere without a watch on my clockwrist. My weekly presentations are rehearsed and all segments are well-planned to meet the expectations of Sunday’s service staying within the 60-minute hour. In a culture that seems to thrive on short attention spans and instant gratification, the idea of long walks, leisurely lunches, long-term projects, or relaxing vacations can seem almost foreign to many people, including me. Such ideas of balance and rest actually bring more anxiety as my mind tries to “catch up” with what I’m not doing in a moment of relaxation.

The truth is the concept of Time will be around long after I’ve left this too-busy craziness. My greatest triumph over Time is to have as much of it and for as long as I can. While I agree with George Bernard Shaw in being “…totally used up when I die…,” I would prefer not to accelerate the process. As I seek a more balanced life in the variety of activities I pursue (or not), that includes how much Time and energy I spend on each of them.

There are moments when I see the futility of trying to force Life into being what I demand it to be rather than seeing it for what it is: a beautiful series of unfolding moments filled with wonder and connection, love and joy, and the completion of those things that are most important in that moment or stage of life…they do get done…everything in its own Time by the hands doing the work. The rest is finished in Spirit Speed.

S is for Spirit & Space … Spirituality A to Z

Whether it’s the beginning of a new year or a new day, the awareness of new moments in life allows us to connect with the Divine Space within…also known as Spirit or God.

Even if that pause is but a microsecond of time, such a pause in consciousness allows us the opportunity to birth a new way of thinking. I’ve noticed that I can fill that pause, that space, with joy, love, awe, gratitude or wonder… or something else. I can choose to bask in this space of Spiritual connection or skip over it and ignore its existence.

Years ago I didn’t even know such a space existed. As I’ve become more aware of the Divine Energy that is me at my deepest core, the void where Spirit lives has expanded and continues to do so. There’s a part of me that notices my God-Self getting bigger and in control of my thinking processes. It’s moving aside more of my ego-self, replacing survival instincts with eternal knowing. Fear is losing ground to Faith and Trust.

I like this change in control. I’m now aware that my life is directed with a positive power that creates for my highest and best good. As I learn to pause in the Spiritual space, the void of creation, and listen for Divine Guidance to speak through me and direct my worldly actions, I live with no regrets. I have more confidence in the decisions I make and feel the Presence of God supporting my every step.

It’s only when I get in the way of this Infinite Intelligence that life goes awry. When I don’t take the time to pause and be aware of that still small voice – whether to move forward in a new direction or to wait longer for the proper moment – that’s when I question my actions. It’s then that I notice, sometimes too late, other options that would have been far better for my life and the people around me.

Just as there is space between musical notes, garden crops, atoms, and the stars and planets, we need to have space in our thinking and in our lives. It provides room for Spirit to live. It allows ideas to expand and come into form. Space gives us time to rest and a sense of peace. Space provides balance and freedom of movement …to turn around and see where we’ve come from as well as where we’re going.

There is no such thing as wasted space or negative space. It serves a vital purpose in creation. Space is where ideas are born. It’s where God is. The more room I make for Spirit in my life, the bigger my life and my consciousness becomes. Oh, happy day!

R is for Reflection … Spirituality A to Z

This topic of Reflection first brought to my mind the process of looking back: of evaluating past history; noting how far my life has traveled; the experiences of accomplishments and failures; the lessons learned; the wisdom gained; and desires for my future path. All of that is part of what I mean as Reflection. It is why I chose this word as the title for these writings. It’s an ongoing process throughout our lives.

The other Reflection that comes from such a review of the past is how I see myself in the present – in the mirror of self-examination and in the physical world. I am my own worst critic. Maybe we all are. The itty-bitty committee inside my head is full of judgments, criticisms, and verdicts. It pushes me into unrealistic deadlines and perfectionism tendencies. This critic does not rest! It can be a challenge to find balance with the gentler part of me that wants to escape the self-imposed pressures of constantly achieving more and greater expressions of who I am now or on my way to becoming.

I want to see Love in my eyes when I look in the mirror…for myself and others, my life, and the world around me. I want to know that I make a mirror-lg-silverdifference in this lifetime. On most days, I do. And then there are days when I recognize that my personal and spiritual growth is not over yet. There’s much more that I can develop and learn, with the help of Divine Guidance as well as through the individuals around me…my teachers.

We are mirrors for one another. Positive or negative we reflect back that which we put out in the world through our energy, our words and behaviors, our thoughts and beliefs. I recently implemented a new practice where I now have a small mirror with me at all times, especially at my computer. It helps me to stay Spiritually-centered when I notice my facial expressions going awry during a phone conversation or when I’m writing emails about a challenging situation. If my expression in the mirror is angry or fearful, imagine what my voice must sound like or the tone of my emails. That’s not who I truly am. That’s not my God-nature. The small mirror in front of me reminds me of exactly that.

The goal of how I see myself is as a person who, easily and effortlessly, comes first from a place of Divine Love. (I’m getting there.) As happy as I feel most days, I see myself expanding this Joy even more deeply. I’m satisfied to feel Grateful so much of my time. Life is a precious gift not to be wasted or taken for granted. Each moment counts!

My times of Reflection also reveal a great deal of Forgiveness in my life…and this leads to Contentment in every aspect. It’s important to let go of the mental baggage we carry – that which keeps us from growing into a higher expression of ourselves. Contentment is part of not taking things, situations, and people too personally. Release and let go.

Finally, I choose to fill spaces in my Life with Divine Love, Joy, Gratitude, Forgiveness and Contentment. In doing this, I can once more reflect on whether I’m progressing through Life or remaining stuck in some area. All I need do is look in the mirror and my soul tells me what is so. And so it is.

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