Self-Improvement

Blessings Here and Now

“What’s the blessing here? Keep looking until you find it’s there.”
~John Morton

When in Eeyore days of the deep blues, a reminder to look for blessings makes me want to roll over and go to sleep. Or at the very least, roll my eyes.

Even in the barren “what’s the use?” desert, a stream of hope murmurs underground.  Maybe it has something to do with my attendance at events featuring John Morton.  He’s  nicknamed The Blessings Man. And the acclaimed author of You Are the Blessings and The Blessings Already Are.  (He’s also the Spiritual Director of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness.)

I’m not doing cartwheels. Still, whilst lying supine on the couch, a willingness to consider that maybe Life has my back bubbles in my brain. Case in point, last Sunday; as salty tears dripped onto my husband’s shirt, I had an OMG moment.

Decades ago I was in despair because I was 31, divorced and kissing only frigging frogs. My heart felt like a dartboard. I was praying to God for a proposal from an abusive boyfriend. (#Crazy!) I thought it was the best I could do. Fantasies of being a step-mom made me linger too long, too. Breaking up with the person was brave. But it was a smart move.

I met Prince Charming in dance class after years of showing up at studios with no romantic outcomes. Today I am married to the man of my dreams and mommy to two furry cat babies. As my husband will confirm, I continue to dip into droopiness. Maybe though with a couple of more John Morton seminars I’ll see more Blessings Here and Now. To quote Eeyore, “Sure is a cheerful color. Guess I’ll have to get used to it.”

If you’d like to multiply your blessings and see a few more bright hues, register for Blessings Here and Now with John Morton. Here’s the link: http://www.peacelabyrinth.org/events/jmseminar082518

Wishing you blessings of Love, Light and laughter.

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Soul Moments

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New York Times best-selling author, John-Roger says, “The Soul is that essence of us that is a pure extension of God.”

If God is Love, we’re part of the divine spark. Lovely! All settled. Life is fantabulous. Unless under the burden of sorrow, surprise attacks of judgments from self or others become buried shrapnel. 

Digging deep to discover a blessing or a lesson can bring healing.  Prayer is a great tool, too. Here’s one of my top ten:  Dear God, I’m tired of turning the other cheek; my favorite MAC blush is out of commission. Please help.

Maybe the words don’t matter. What is important is that Step One in 12-Step vernacular is taken. The white flag of surrender is raised. Falling to my knees seems to allow a portal for Soul moments.

What is a Soul moment? Beethoven’s music on the radio? One of his compositions evokes rumbling thunder with the whisper of a rainbow.  Perhaps it’s the streak of a divine paintbrush of white clouds against a sky of blue. Or your darling pet licking wet kisses onto your hand.

On Tuesday, August 7th, Dr. Pauli Sanderson will address the question of What is Soul Awareness? (And awareness of Soul moments.) The 7:30 pm evening event will take place at the Guasti Villa, currently the headquarters for Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens. (Scroll down for details.)

Dr. Sanderson is the co-author of When Are You Coming Home? She also holds an M.S. in clinical psychology and a Doctorate in Spiritual Science. She is well versed on the subjects of human shenanigans and spiritual Rx. Dr. Sanderson also has a B.A. in dance from UCLA. She is one Bruin who can bust a move!

Visit peacelabyrinth.org/events for $10 tickets to What is Soul Awareness? With Pauli Sanderson. Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens is located at 3500 West Adams Boulevard in
Los Angeles. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. 

Looking forward to more Soul moments…hopefully with you!

Exercising Conscious Direction

This article by PAL&G and MSIA Founder, John-Roger, was originally published in the Movement Newspaper, November 1982.


If you just want to get along with people, have success and gain wealth, you have to have a positive approach. No matter what your goal is, you will come closer to accomplishing it if your attitude is positive.
— John-Roger, DSS

The quest inside us is an eternal quest. We may speak different languages, go to different churches or worship different forms of God, but we all still want to experience joy and love inside ourselves because that’s the nature of the Soul.

It’s true that when people come together in a group, there is often an agreement which says, “We’ll function this way while we’re in this group because that’s the way it will work best for us.” But later you may go to another group or another job and assume another function or role there. Then you may go to yet another activity and assume still another role. But while you’re doing this, you should never lose track that inside of you there resides the eternal One—the One that always exists.

The problem is, however, that sometimes you will say, “If there is this eternal One within me, then why don’t I already know it?” My response is, “Why don’t you listen? Why don’t you hold still within yourself for just a second and open your awareness?”

And then you want to know, “How do I open my awareness?” One way is to close your mouth, eyes and ears so that you’re not distracted by all the distractions of the world. Once you can control the body, you can start moving into higher levels of awareness.

The physical body may be the first level to bring under conscious direction and control. You can hold out your hand and shake it and then you can stop it. And you might wonder who stops it. Does your body stop it? Maybe not. Maybe the body wants to keep shaking it. Does an emotion or a feeling stop it? Not necessarily, because you can feel like shaking the hand and still control the body and do the opposite action. So, obviously you’re more than your feelings. Perhaps it’s the mind that says, “Shake it,” or “Don’t shake it.” But your mind doesn’t really do the action. It can only have a thought about the action or potential action. All of these levels can function independently of one another.

You can be talking to someone while you’re looking at something in the opposite direction, and your hand can still be shaking. Different levels perform independently. The feelings can be independent of the mind. The body can be independent of the imagination. But when you stop all of those things, what is it that stops them? You stop them. That which is beyond all the other levels is you. Much of the time your expression is on the periphery of the real you because the mind and emotions kick up and the body gets upset, which pulls you into those lower levels.

What you must do is quiet the body, emotions and mind. You can do this through the processes of meditation, contemplation, spiritual exercises, chanting a mantra or personal tone. Often it is suggested that you take between 10 minutes and two hours a day for individual spiritual practices. The time varies with individual teachers, preferences, schedules, etc. Spending some time in meditation can be a tremendous key to self-awareness.

Another key to self-awareness is a positive mental attitude. If you want to learn to direct yourself consciously, bring yourself into a positive focus. You might say, “Well, how can anybody have a positive mental attitude in the mess I’ve created?” Nobody said it was going to be easy. Look at it this way: If you develop a positive mental attitude when there is no challenge, what have you really developed? If you develop a positive mental attitude in the face of a lot of negativity, you have developed great strength and integrity.

If a person says, “I’m going on a diet,” when he’s just finished eating a big meal, how long do you think his “diet” will last? There is no challenge in dieting when your stomach’s full. There’s no challenge to stop smoking after you’ve just had a cigarette. But how about the next moment coming up? How about the next time you’re hungry and you think, “Do I gorge myself or not?” If you are to gain in self-awareness, you must exercise a conscious direction and hold to it. At some point you must restrain yourself. It’s often easy to hold a positive direction for awhile, but do you have the ability to hold and hold and hold until the old negative patterns get tired and give in?

Too often you give in first—and that may be what you hate. Not having the strength inside that you’d like to have can bother you because you don’t feel worthy of all the goodness that can be in your life. Some people think that in order to feel worthy you must do worthy things. Spiritually you are worthy, just in your own beingness. But to experience the sense of worthiness, you must do worthy things. It’s difficult to feel worthy if you’ve been angry and resentful, screamed at everyone around you about how wrong they are, and generally behaved like a madman.

You are here to go through life and experience it, not to experience everything or fall in temptations of negativity, but to consciously make choices in your life that serve to uplift you. You unfold according to your divine right. When you meet the demands of life as they are placed upon you, and overcome them, then you are exalted because you have been tried and found worthy. Then your inner strength lifts you up. You stand higher, the body feels better, the emotions feel good, and the mind clears.

You meet the demands of life as they are created—this is your responsibility. If you create a dishonest situation, you meet it and clear it in whatever way comes forward. If you’re going to worry about what’s going to take place tomorrow and if you’ll get caught, don’t do anything that will lead to being caught. If you think, “Should I do this? What if this is bad? Which way do I go?” all you’re doing is swinging back and forth in your consciousness. Some people think that it is Spirit coming in and moving them. But it may actually be indecision moving you. Move toward what you are worrying about and see what it is.

If the action does not seem clear for you to do—don’t do it. If you are going to worry and be concerned about the outcome, don’t go into that area. Be smart in your approach to life. If you think of embezzling some company funds, but you’re losing sleep over what happens if you get caught, don’t embezzle. If you’re flirting with your neighbor and worried what your wife will do if she finds out, don’t be the flirt. Move if you have to, but don’t go into that area.

If you’re willing to put forward effort to increase your awareness, Spirit will move with you. You don’t get healthy, wealthy and wise with a negative attitude. Even if you’re just looking to be happy, you won’t get there with a negative attitude. If you just want to get along with people, have success and gain wealth, you have to have a positive approach. No matter what your goal is, you will come closer to accomplishing it if your attitude is positive.

Why not make your goal God consciousness? Why not learn about the inner realms before you die so you can know where you’re going? If you don’t move in that direction, you won’t get it. And if you do move in that direction, you’ll be moving that way all the time, every moment of your waking consciousness. And as you start moving into it, you’ll start making wise choices. As you make wise choices, your environment will settle down, and you’ll begin getting free of it. Then you’ll start to say, “Life is good.” It’s really been the same life all along. It’s just your attitude that is now creating peace and harmony.

Find your freedom by seeing what is going on right now and how to make life work for you, rather than seeing what is going against you. How can you make your life work better for you? You may not have a solution right now, because you might be in a level of experiencing a situation. You may still have to internalize it more and allow it to shake things loose inside of you, until you finally say, “I don’t need this anymore. I’m free of it.” Then the “negative” experience becomes positive as you use it as a stepping stone. Life is a challenge. You knew it before you came here. It is a challenge of fulfillment and a challenge of awareness.

More and more we are moving into a new area. Some people call it the Age of Aquarius or the Golden Age. It’s actually the age of greater loving. We’re living in the time of Biblical prophecy. It is said that in the latter days God will…”pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28)

Force isn’t going to make the changes you want to make. If you try to force someone, they’ll use force back on you. If you try to be the authority with them they will show you that they are as authoritative as you. The thing that will create the changes you’re after is when God’s energy of love flows through you and activates your love. You combine that with other people’s love, and it starts overflowing. It becomes an “epidemic” of loving. People are no longer afraid to love and they’re not afraid to say, “I love you.”

Life is to be lived. It is meant to be shared. It is not to be abused or inflicted upon anyone. It is meant to be joyful, not evil or sinful. Life is being present and just breathing in and out. The knowledge of how to solve problems, how to grow and change is within you. But you are the one who must come into the awareness of yourself to such a degree that you can activate that knowledge and use it for your own and others’ upliftment.

Baruch Bashan.

Keys to Creating Heaven on Earth

As I'm flying over the Pacific Ocean, I’m transported listening to the “Keys to Creating Heaven on Earth Seminar” with John Morton, MSIA’s Spiritual Director, that was Live Streamed from Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens (PAL&G). It was an invite to dive into God’s infinite ocean of love and mercy.

Even as rioters surface on the Gaza Strip (as is happening in the news right now), “Heaven on earth is a decision,” says John. “If I find any peace in the Middle East, then there is peace in the Middle East.”

One candle can spark a holy blaze, which warms cold hands and fills hungry hearts with comfort. All right. Maybe such idealism belongs to the Lovers, the Dreamers and Me (and Kermit the Frog!). However, given the alternative, I’ll say, “Yes, please” to John’s keys to creating heaven on earth.

Please Note: The following keys are this writer’s interpretation of information presented at the seminar.

1.  Get Creative!
   “We can create it [Heaven on Earth.]”
   ~John Morton

John’s seminars have always had creative contributions. Last night was no exception. PAL&G’s staff, George Scott (in his late 80s) and LeAnna Sharp (a beautiful millennial) performed like Fred and Ginger dancing "Cheek to Cheek." Their song and swing dance sparkled with Spirit. I jumped to my feet to join in a standing ovation for the duo who brought so much joy.

Amazing how a dash of imagination and a dance or two can elevate life to another level. Next time the doldrums hit, maybe I’ll turn up the music and foxtrot around the room.

2. Change the Channel
“Guess what? This is Heaven on Earth.”
~John Morton

How we relate to ourselves, each other, and our experiences informs our realities. A subtle switch of focus softens the rough edges. I’m not an advocate of sweeping emotions under the carpet and painting on a Pollyanna smile. But I believe in asking, WWTNTTHTYT? That’s how my great Uncle George would sign his letters. (Yes, dear millennial, once upon a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth, handwritten letters existed.) What is WWTNTTHTYT? What was the nicest thing that happened to you today?

3. Twinkle, Twinkle Divine Star
“Let us consider the Kingdom of Heaven is already here.”
~John Morton

Maybe heaven is always here. As hard as it is to swallow, I’m the one responsible for not seeing it that way. I agree with John that, “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16 KJV)

What happens though when rage and reactions to unjust accusations or attacks arise? “Call ourselves forward into the Light,” says John. 

Part of claiming heaven on earth (as I understand it) is allowing the divine to dance with us. To ask for the Light is to remember that we are one of the Creator’s precious kids. (Even when our oh so delicate ego begs to differ.) Enter the most excellent of tools – spiritual exercises (a form of active meditation).

4. Surrender, Dorothy
“We lay down whatever stands in the way of serving God.”
~John Morton

The big “F”…Forgive! The payoff is more freedom to have fun. Of course, there’s a caveat: Surrender pissed-offness and release resentments. My great Uncle George’s second favorite phrase was, “There ain’t no free lunch.”

“Patience is a virtue that will never hurt you” was his first favorite saying. So, when forgiveness seems impossible it’s time to double down on TLC from you to you.

When the hurt feels too deep: Besides therapy and crying to my husband, I hit my knees and free-form write like crazy. (Free-form writing is a technique to release negativity and unconscious blocks.) Then I repeat the process. Through gritted teeth I’ve also prayed for the allegedly antagonist one(s). Warning: Be ready for miracles!

5. Have Fun with Dick and Jane
“Come into the expression of loving regardless--it’s not the lamb ready for slaughter. It’s more, what would love do?”
~John Morton

The brilliant Master of Ceremonies of the “Keys to Creating Heaven on Earth Seminar” was David Bransky. He referenced one of the greatest mystery series of all time, Fun with Dick and Jane. (At the American School in Japan I attended, every first-grader read the books.) David spoke of the wonder on his child’s face as he poured over the big question, “Where is Spot?”

Spot was the dog. Dog is God spelled backwards. (Stay with me.) In the midst of growing pains, even saints like Mother Theresa have been known to cry out and wonder where the Loving Creator is hiding. Maybe we just need to keep turning the page. Along the way perhaps we’ll get glimpses into the Divine design. As we close the book, we very well may realize that God has placed the keys to creating heaven on earth in each and every one of us.


Love Is the Miracle Maker

“Miracles become the result of your Love.” ~John-Roger, DSS


A miracle is an unexpected but welcome gift. Course in Miracles friends say, “Forgiveness is the home of miracles.” It is indeed miraculous and surprising - for me anyway - when my heart floods with love for one I labeled “foe.”

Miracles are different though from magic. Grudges usually melt best when met with meditation. Work needs to be done before benefits surface. It’s kind of like a 401k. Hard-earned money is deposited into an account. In time, if invested correctly, lots of money appears!  

So, if I can go into meditation with the intent to touch the divine, angels kiss my forehead. Conversely if I continue on the war path of againstness …Well, you’ve probably heard the saying, “What you focus on you create.”

But you’ve also heard what you resist, persists. So when the war lords are drumming up strategies of revenge, I put my best Mother Mary/Shakti/Fairy Godmother game face on and have a little chat.

Wicked War Lords: (Shouting at the top of their lungs.) They are wrong, bad and we are going to withhold love from them forever and ever and ever. Here’s how we can get back at them…

Super Mother Mary/Shakti/ Fairy Godmother: (In a soft, soothing voice.) Er, excuse me for a moment. You sound like you’re really angry, hurt and in a whole lot of pain. It’s okay that you feel rage. You have a right to your feelings.

Wicked War Lords: (Stunned.) I do?

Super Mother Mary/Shakti/ Fairy Godmother: Mm-hmm. And I bet you thought when so-and-so did such-and-such, they did so because you were not (fill in the blank) enough or bad or not worthy of love.

Wicked War Lords: (Heads hanging and shuffling their feet) Yeah, kinda.

Super Mother Mary/Shakti/ Fairy Godmother: Well, their behavior is not about you. YOU are our precious one. We love YOU soooooooo much.

Wicked War Lords: Really?

Super Mother Mary/Shakti/ Fairy Godmother: Yes! So, would you be willing to chant Ani-Hu or Om or any one of the divine mantras designed to lift and heal?

Wicked War Lords: (Dewy-eyed) Yes.

The mystic Rumi had it right: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” And then, yes, miracles appear.


For more info about meditations, forgiveness, and little miracles, visit PeaceLabyrinth.org/Events. On many 2nd & 4th Tuesdays popular meditation instructor and author, Paul Kaye will holds meditation and sound journeys.

How To Meditate

With so much busyness and distraction available in the modern world, it’s important to take time for ourselves each day to focus on our spiritual nature. To drop the physical concerns of the day, and once again become aware that we are spiritual. That we are, through our Soul and our precious life breath, an extension of the Divine.

There are many meditation techniques available for tuning into your Spirit, or higher nature. Here at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens one of the primary ways that we learn to attune to and focus on God is through what we call Spiritual Exercises. Spiritual Exercises are an active technique of bypassing the mind and emotions by using a spiritual tone or vibration to connect to the energy that flows from God through all existence.

In Spiritual Exercises (S.E.’s) there is a focus on actively directing the attention inside, rather than attempting to passively quiet the mind. In our experience S.E.’s can assist a person to transcend illusions and limitations and move into the awareness of themselves as Soul: the pure, sacred, loving nature of who we truly are.

A recommended chant for spiritual exercises is the "HU," which is pronounced like the name Hugh or which can be said by pronouncing the sounds of the individual letters "H" and "U." The HU tone is an ancient name of God and is a wonderful way of attuning to the higher vibrations of Spirit.

The ANI-HU is a variation of the HU chant. Pronounced (AHN-EYE-HUE), the ANI-HU is also an invocation to God with an added dimension that brings in the quality of empathy and oneness with others. As you chant this tone, you may find the quality of empathy and connection with others increased.

We invite you to follow the instructions below and try doing Spiritual Exercises, and observe the results for yourself.

People who do Spiritual Exercises regularly often report experiencing a deeper peace and relaxation and a greater connection to the Spirit inside. You might try doing Spiritual Exercises daily for 10 or 15 minutes and see if this practice works for you.

Instructions for Spiritual Exercises

1.     Call yourself forward into the "Light" of the Holy Spirit, or a Higher Power, for the highest good, and ask for protection and guidance during your S.E.’s.
 

2.     Chant the HU (pronounced H-U or HUE) or the Ani-HU (pronounced AHN-EYE-HUE), which are sacred names of God. It’s preferable to do this inwardly (silently).
 

3.     While chanting, focus your attention in the “third eye” area, which is near the center of the head directly back from your forehead. It is in this place that the Soul has its seat and the Soul energy gathers.
 

4.     After you have chanted for about five minutes, stop and listen within. You are listening for the Sound Current, or audible life stream, which can be very subtle. You may hear it the first time you do this, or it may take years of practice. This is a very individual matter.
 

5.     If you find your mind wandering and you lose the focus of listening, you can focus the mind again by chanting.
 

6.     After about five minutes of listening, you can return to chanting again. The times are approximate, and the idea is to spend time in S.E.’s both chanting and listening.

For longer periods of S.E.’s, you can expand the time for chanting and listening to fifteen minutes each. For example, in an hour session you can chant for fifteen minutes, listen for fifteen minutes, and then repeat the chanting-and-listening cycle one more time.

All of the above are guidelines, so you can experiment with how you do S.E.’s, using what works for you at a particular time and not getting attached to a certain form. The focus is on doing your Spiritual Exercises with as much loving and devotion to the Spirit within as you can.

Again, we invite you to visit this peaceful place, and while you’re here to go inside in whatever way works for you, and tap into the riches within.

"Restoring peace inside of you allows you a few moments of quietness. Spirit can become present. There can be a great healing inside of you, and a re-attunement to the oneness which is the peace of Spirit."
John-Roger, PAL&G Founder, DSS
(From: Loving Each Day For Peacemakers, Choosing Peace Every Day)

The Great Dream for Happiness

“I have a dream…We will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
 

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We have video proof that Dr. King gave his famous I Have a Dream speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. Controversy, however, swirls around the veracity of a quote by President Abraham Lincoln: “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

No argument about the eternal quest for happiness though. Maybe it’s in our DNA. Whether it’s the wish for a hot meal or Aladdin’s Genie with his golden lamp, happiness is a weighty subject. (Sometimes a pricey one. Countless seminars promise happiness in its various forms: How-to-Squeeze Into Your Skinny Jeans, How-to-Make a Million Dollars Before You’re 12!)

The United Nations has given serious thought to happiness. Since 2013, March 20 is decreed to be the International Day of Happiness.  They’ve even complied "10 Keys to Happier Living" and created a clever acronym. The following is yours truly’s take on the “Great Dream.” Love to read your ways to happiness in the comments section.

- G R E A T  D R E A M -

1) GIVING creates a sense of abundance. No money is needed. An authentic smile or compliment to another reminds us that an unending supply of divine love lives inside.

2) RELATING reduces risks of heart failure! According to the researchers at the Action for Happiness, “Not having close personal ties poses the same level of health risk as smoking or obesity.”

Note to Self and You: It takes courage to reach out. Dark cloudy emotions make it harder. Take the chance. Spill the beans to a trustworthy one and get a hug. Let them share their Light.

3) EXERCISING releases endorphins and apparently reduces the perception of pain. No wonder doctors recommend physical activity for those prone to depression.

4) AWARENESS like mindfulness is a marvelous way to come present. It’s also a fab way to truly savor the sweet moments in life. And figure out the crazy times. (Eckhart Tolle wrote a whole book about the Power of Now.)

5) TRYING OUT new activities is a terrific way to keep grey matter from shrinking. Mastering ballet or the Chinese language might be daunting past the age of 5. Still, baby steps of achievement and accomplishment can lead to higher self-esteem and happiness!

6) DIRECTION gives meaning to life. With goals, there’s a reason to get up in the morning.  A few, maybe many follow a true North path. Even if the road swerves for those of us who have the need to redefine happiness; goals let us discover those deeper truths.

7) RESILIENCE is crucial to surviving inevitable losses. Psychologists cite faith and attitude as primary keys for springing back into Life. If circumstances haven’t helped to foster trust in a higher power, I humbly offer the meditation RX.  Start small. Same goes for the attitude. Just notice the tiny things you and others do right.

8) EMOTIONS are excellent for everything when they are positive.  A reservoir of good feelings produces success on all levels. No surprise that the folks at the Action for Happiness want you to focus on shiny, bright, beautiful things…I do too. 

As someone who has suffered the slings and arrows of guilt because ugly thoughts and emotions have surfaced; here are a few tricks: Allow them. Be authentic. The pain needs Love! Write out the nasties on paper and burn them. Imagine how a fairy godmother or angel would counsel the hurt, angry one.

9) ACCEPTANCE can be challenging. It’s soooooo tempting to compare my insides to others’ outside alleged perfection. What helps is remembering that a) I’m on planet Earth aka The Classroom b) The course is designed by a loving Creator.

10) MEANING is given to Life, according to the experts, by believing in something bigger than self. To quote Sesame Street’s beloved Cookie Monster: “Life is not all guessing games. Sometimes we have to care about friends, especially friends who love cookies.”

So what are you going to do today to fulfill your Great Dream? Love to have you join us on March 20th for The Way of Happiness with author, meditation instructor, Paul Kaye and communications expert, Anna Sugai. Click here for more info or visit PeaceLabyrinth.org/events.


What makes you feel happy? Post a Comment and we'll share on our "What makes me feel happy" board!

The Sound of Heavenly Music - Rx for the Stressed

Paul Kaye, Meditation Instructor and Soundscape Artist.

Paul Kaye, Meditation Instructor and Soundscape Artist.

 

Hop into a candlelit bubble bath.  
Sooth tension-weary muscles with a massage.
Stroll on the beach.
Gaze up at a night sky sparkling with stars.

All of the above works wonders. And so does meditation. Imagine soaking in sounds of serenity from faraway lands. Visualize an expert guide leading you through the chambers of your heart. Feel yourself shimmering in Light.

This is not fantasy. Paul Kaye’s Sound Bath at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens (PAL&G) embraces methods for de-stressing. You may hear instruments from the Himalayas and Japan echoing through a historic mansion. Riding atop the waves of harmony is the gentle voice of Paul. A teacher of forty years, he guides participants into a deep-dive meditation.

The event is titled "Introduction to Meditation and Sound, A Deeper Experience." However, even long time students of meditation exit the event declaring:

“For the first time in 10 weeks, I felt no pain.”

 “It took me to places that were frankly ineffable.”

“Best meditative experience this decade.  Left with a great sense of serenity, and crystal clarity.”

Falling in love and meditation are similar. Both are highly personal and individual. Yet, we all agree it can be a fabulous experience. Dating for most is about finding "the right one." It takes time. So does discovering the method(s) of meditation that work best for you. Of course (and thank God!), miracles can happen and some immediately experience their soul sing joy. Yet, like all relationships and practices, improvement is always welcome, right?

 

Experience an Introduction to Meditation and Sound, A Deeper Experience evening at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens.

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Forgiveness Is the Key

Wish I had a magic wand to make hurt go away. Well, as a human being on planet earth, it appears that uncomfortable feelings are a reality. Thank goodness, though, for forgiveness. I still can’t prevent emotional injury from harming loved ones. But I can dig into my bag of tricks and transform hell into heaven for myself. Or at least head in the direction of relief.

Here are a few tried and true methods:

Ø  Pray for the Person:
Pray for the person who caused you harm for 30 days. (A go-to for students of Course in Miracles teacher and author, Marianne Williamson as well as 12-Steppers.)

Ø  Perspective:
Imagine how you might react if you had the person’s upbringing and/or circumstances.

Ø  People are Trees:
Ram Dass, author of Be Here Now and a seminal leader in spiritual studies, says, “When you go out into the woods, and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn't get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don't get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.”

New York Times bestseller author, John-Roger, DSS in this video says that others are mirrors. When judgments arise, it’s because we have yet to forgive a similar quality in ourselves. His words about not expecting instantaneous forgiveness are stellar, too!

Love to see your thoughts about forgiveness in the comments section. Better yet, delighted if you can share them on Tuesday, February 20th. We’re dedicating a whole evening to the subject of forgiveness at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens. Click here for more details.



Love Is the Healer

Fletchers straighten arrows;
Carpenters bend wood;
The wise master themselves.
~Buddha

Almost one week before V-Day, Tuesday, February 6th , Valentines arrive in all sizes and colors at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens (PAL&G.) They’re here to attend a Loving Relationships workshop.

What’s your definition of loving? When “Loving” facilitators, Paul Kaye and Anna Sugai pose the question, immediately a hand shoots up. A man with a big grin (and a gorgeous girl at his side) replies, “Even on a cloudy day, I know the sunshine is always there.”

Paul invites everyone to “this exploration of Love.” I put on my safari hat; ready to go on an expedition through a jungle of passion, pleasure and pride. Oh, yes and maybe a few slips in the mud.

Time to pay attention. “Probably the most intimate relationship [you have] is with your phone,” quips Paul. The Eagles were prophets when they wrote Hotel California: “We are prisoners here of our own device.”

Anna suggests stellar connections are a choice. “The relationship out there,” she says, “is a mirror of the relationship with myself.”

In his crisp British accent, Paul observes, “The energy is a bit heavy in here.” Maybe it’s my imagination or the rebel inside; but there seem to be silent shouts of, “Who? Me? Nooo way!!” 

Cheerfully Paul continues, “One way to lighten up is Light” We can “dial in the higher energy.” Human beings are instruments. We can tune into higher frequencies like a radio syncs up with stations transmitting classical music.

Bowing his head, Paul says a Light prayer:

Just now we ask for the purest Light from the highest and purest source;
and we ask this Light surround and fill each person here.


Quietly, Paul says, “It can be as simple as saying that out loud. It’s a super power that we have.”

Anna proposes that, “We have everything we need right now.” 

In other words, loving is a choice. To help us along we’re given questions to answer in groups of four.

Two Simple Questions:

1.     What gets in the way of your loving?

2.     What is holding you back from moving into greater loving?

FEAR: False Expectations Appearing Real seems to take center stage. So what do we do about it? Paul says, “The antidote to fear and judgment is forgiveness.”

But why forgive when they hurt us???  “Resentment is the poison we take hoping the other person will die,” says Paul.

I understood him to say we are not condoning the evils of the world. Rather we are forgiving, touching into the center of our being and sending ourselves and the other a Valentine of compassion.  

Anna and Paul reiterate the importance of taking responsibility for our perceptions. Crooked experiences may have shaped ugly behaviors. Behavior of a “wrong-doer” may feel personal but it’s not. (It helps to remember Course in Miracles teacher, author Marianne Williamson saying, “Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to go to lunch with them.”)

Paul quotes popular Hay House author Alan Cohen, “To love yourself, just as you are, is to give yourself Heaven. Don’t wait until you die. If you wait, you die now. If you love, you live now.”

The groups of 4 charge into rounds of  “I forgive myself for judging myself for_____”

The facilitators note the lightness in the room. “Why do you feel better?” asks Paul.

One pipes up, “I tapped into my heart!”

Another notices the expansive feeling of freedom. “Loving is possibility.”

Freedom is the reward for choosing Love.  Early on in the event, Paul played a video. In less than 2 minutes I knew This is Love.

Heavenly piano playing by Lucy P. Dickinson, perfect for meditating on loving, captured my heart, too.

More songs of Love are expected on Tuesday, February 13th  at PAL&G.  A Valentine’s Music, Meditation and Sound Evening will be a great gift for yourself, your significant other…Or who knows you may find that a loving relationship blossoms on that very night!


Virgil, Veritas (Truth) & 100 Ways to Health & Well-Being

“Health is the Greatest Wealth”~ Virgil

Philosopher, poet and pal of Roman emperors is the poster child of wealth. His dad was a cattle farmer. (Think Texas in Rome.) He went to law school; switched majors and published popular epic poetry. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Aeneid. (It’s considered one of the masterpieces of Western civilization…which this writer didn’t know until researching the prolific poet.) Oh, yes, and Virgil hobnobbed with the elites of the 40s and 50s. (BC.) He liked parties. In fact, one of his works is called Copa (The Barmaid.) Hmmm. The point is the fellow knew a thing or two about living well. Virgil was sincere when he said, “Health is the greatest wealth.”

So, it makes sense that admired author and meditation teacher, Paul Kaye is sharing his 100 Ways to Health & Well-Being at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens. (Not 500,000 Ways to Strike It Rich in 5 Minutes!) Looks like there are no loopholes to: “Seek ye the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto to you.” (Matthew 6:33, KJV) Or as my Great-Uncle George used to say, “There ain’t no free lunch.”

The great teachers espouse the concept that when we are healthy and wise, there’s a greater chance for the wealth to slip in. Bravo, you may be ahead of the game and arguing that Tiffany rings and Mercedes are not the end-all, be-all. True enough. Seeing a baby smile is indeed a treasure. (But I still cherish the few times I’ve flown first class!) Whatever your goals or definitions of success, without health or a sense of good feeling, life isn’t fun. Fortunately, Paul Kaye lives in the New Millennium and we are able to receive his tips first-hand and in person at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens. Paul promises that attendees can “expect to go away with at least one additional key to bring greater health and well-being into their lives.”


For more info and tickets, visit PeaceLabyrinth.org/Events or click here. Or take a chance and show up in person on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 3500 West Adams Blvd., LA, CA 90018 for the 7:30 p.m. event.

5 Tried & True Ways to Sweeten the Holidays

“To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle.” ~Walt Whitman

Shadow fingers stretch across the sidewalk. Christmas carols blare as a car blasts down the road. Cinnamon and ginger, the star spices of winter, waft from the kitchen. The holidays must be here.

Sparkly diamond happiness is supposed to be the sentiment du jour. Yet when malls are jam-packed and competition for parking spaces mounts…Well, rekindling the childhood exuberance of the season can be daunting.

5 Tried & True Ways to Sweeten the Holidays:

1.     Give, Give, Give…to Yourself.
I know. This is a season for giving. Reduced sleep and increased sugar though may turn you into Mr. Grinch. Altruism is awesome but not at the expense of yourself.

2.     Take the Easy Path
Seriously. Your child will survive without homemade cupcakes. Swap time in the kitchen for conversations…even if it is via text!

3.     Be Sneaky
Slip extra time onto the parking meter. Tip your server with an extra dollar or two. Surreptitiously do something super nice for someone.

4.     Headspace Vacay
When the monkeys are chattering up a storm, turn up the meditation music. Even Western MDs agree that moments of Zen tune out stressors.

5.     Tell the Truth
“The Truth Shall Set Ye Free” Not a Bible person? Twelve steppers know that honesty is the key to healing. And the first law of Spirit is acceptance…which leads to cooperation…which hopefully leads to a happier you during the holidays!

Light the Menorah. Set the star atop the Christmas tree. Let your authentic joyful self shine.


Fabulous & Free: The Magic of Completion [with Video]

 
One of the most useful things I can say to you for living in this world is if you want to have greater health and more energy, move things toward completion.
— John-Roger, PAL&G Founder

Yes, I’m fabulous! And I feel freeeeee! How often do you catch yourself saying that? Even if affirmations are your strength, I mean, really, who doesn’t want more fabulousness and freedom in their lives? One of the magic keys, according to author and consultant, Martha Ringer is completion. In fact, she’s written a whole book about completing: Complete.Done.Finished. The joy of doing, the freedom when done.

Here at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens (PAL&G) Tuesday, Oct 17, Martha Ringer and Heartfelt Foundation Director, Skyler Patton explored Reclaiming Your Energy – The Magic of Completion. Just in case you missed the event, here are a few gems from the dynamic duo:

Freedom and Completion are a Tight Couple:

  • Unburden yourself of tasks that are not in your wheelhouse.
  • Cross off crocheting that doily for your elderly aunt. Buy one and call it complete!

Listen Deeply:

  • Remember to breathe – consciously. And listen deeply.
  • Where do I go next? Seems like a simple question. In reality, many of us go to overwhelm instead of action.

Break Down Your To-Dos into Mini Tasks:

  • Instead of doing a dance of dizzy confusion, break down your to-dos into mini tasks.
  • Promise yourself (and/or a pal) to do the small action by a certain date and time.
  • Focus on the task until done. Just do it!

Keep the agreement. This is soooooo key to freedom, trusting yourself and owning your fabulousness.

Tip - An Easy But Oh, So Revealing Exercise:

  1. Write down all the incompletes in your life. Including childhood dreams, bucket list items and doing the laundry.
  2. Once you’ve got your mountain of musts and maybes on your mobile or notepad; circle the most important one. Which one calls to you?
  3. Well, done! Now identify a mini-step that you can complete right now.
  4. Take your mini-step!
  5. Next, acknowledge yourself. Celebrate!!!

Key - Acknowledgment and Appreciation:

Major keys to continue charging ahead with your to-dos are acknowledgment and appreciation. Martha revealed her sophisticated method at the event. Jumping up and down, she shouted, “Yes, I’m fabulous!” She added, “The executives I work with always look at me funny but it works.”


Learn more Practical Tools for Everyday Spirituality at our upcoming events at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens.


Spring Into Action - Tips for Freeing Up Energy

Getting Your Energy Loose and Free

Excerpted from the book, The Rest of Your Life, Finding Repose in the Beloved, by John-Roger with Paul Kaye 

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“I cannot emphasize enough that completing what you start is one of the most worthwhile things you can do for your health and well-being. It’s a joyful process because, as you complete, the unconscious starts clearing, your energy is returned to you, and you begin to live in the present making conscious decisions and completing them on the spot.”
— John-Roger, D.S.S. with Paul Kaye

We humans don't like to think about our incompletions. So what we have not completed gets pushed down into the unconscious realm inside of us. Although that realm doesn't see, doesn't hear, and doesn't think or feel because it is asleep, it does have information and it does pull on our energy. You can feel it when it's time to do something about an area you have been avoiding or procrastinating about. As you approach that area, you will start to get tired, achy, and sometimes you will even start nodding off. That is because you are in the area that is sleeping.

This is the time for you to stay present and awake, for this is where you have been avoiding living. You have found the area inside of you that is unconscious, that's not aware, that's sleeping, and that has a large amount of your energy locked into it. Imagine getting that energy loose and free.

You can free that energy in this moment, by moving your body into action and starting the process of completing. As you start to do this, you will feel the energy coming loose and free inside of you, and you may find that all sorts of aches and pains will release.

This is a healing action, not necessarily healing in terms of disease, but certainly healing in terms of completing your life patterns and your goals. It's so extremely important because as an area inside of you that was asleep awakens, your energy stops leaking away into it and becomes immediately available to you as a conscious, awake person.


Reclaiming Your Energy--the Magic of Completion workshop was held October 17, facilitated by Martha Ringer, DSS, Productivity Expert, and author of Complete.Done.Finished. The Joy of Doing, The Magic of Completion. She may offer this workshop at a future time. 

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What does completion mean to you?