Daily Spirituality

SCENARIO

Is your daily routine so fast paced that you get caught up in doing and lose the art of being? It can feel like you’re losing your connection with your spirituality or forgetting who you really are heart and soul. At times you may even catch yourself, especially at work, going against your personal values in order to do what you believe is best for your work.

CONSIDER THIS

VICKI:
It’s so easy to get lost in the everyday, especially at work. The most important thing we can do is to let our personal values, spiritual or otherwise, lead the way in our work life as well. It’s the difference between doing and being; most of us grew up being taught to do rather than be.

Take time during the day to just be; here are a few suggestions:
1. Meditate for two or three minutes. It clears your mind and can help you refocus on a busy day.
2. Say an affirmation hourly if possible. It should be a statement of intention for yourself and your day. You may choose to use the same affirmation hourly or change it to go with the flow of your day.
3. Keep a reminder of your values in a place where you can see it through your busy day. It may be a book that sits on your desk, a sticky note with a quote on your computer, or the old rubber band around your wrist – anything that has meaning to you.

JILL:
There is no doubt that when Monday morning comes around our busy lives can find us losing touch with ourselves spiritually. On the weekends it is easier to find the time that you need for a spiritual connection.
Be more aware of your weekly schedule and where your time is being spent. Are you doing something that you don’t have to do or don’t want to do? Can you instead use that time for yourself?

If a pocket of time cannot be found you may have to look for it in smaller increments.
Here are a few suggestions to help reframe your day:

1. Utilize unused time; get up earlier in the morning, 15 minutes at lunch or before going to sleep.
2. You can bookmark websites that have daily inspirational messages. I googled ‘daily spirituality’ and some helpful websites came up. Here are two –
New Spirituality Network
Belief net
3. Have a spiritual book, book on tape or meaningful music with you during your day. One of these is perfect while you are waiting for an appointment, on a coffee or lunch break or in a traffic jam.
4. After finishing your work try to take a few minutes to sit quietly.
5. Practice spiritual consciousness in your daily routine. Speak to people that you might not otherwise talk with, see opportunities for small acts of kindness & courtesy and be more aware of your imprint on the world.

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Vacation Plans: Hers vs His

QUESTION

My boy friend and I are trying to plan our first summer vacation together. He wants to go whitewater rafting. Not only does the thought of that really scare me but I don’t consider that a vacation; I’m a lay on the beach and do nothing sort of girl. Should I just go along with him or tell him how I really feel?

ANSWER

VICKI:
Stop, cease and desist! If it’s your first summer vacation together then you’re in a fairly new relationship. I can’t think of a worse way to start then to hide your truth. How is your boyfriend supposed to get to know the real you?

If you start putting aside your desires to please a man in the beginning of a relationship what will you be giving up of what you want in three years time? Remember something really important – relationships are not about giving yourself they’re about sharing yourself. You can give the person you love everything and still have shared nothing with him; that’s because in sharing you give part of yourself which includes your likes and dislikes.

Look at your boyfriend as a soul partner; all souls are on equal ground with no one being more important than the other.

JILL:

I would tell him how you feel and then suggest a trip that is a compromise.

1. Vacation in a place where you both get something. You relax on the beach or by a pool, while your boyfriend is out doing water sports or other physical activities that may appeal to him.
2. Plan a vacation doing something completely different for both of you such as a horse back riding or bike riding vacation, tour a wine area or travel through a country, state or province that appeals to you both.

If you just ‘go along with him’ you will both end up having a miserable time.

Law Of Attraction Not Working

QUESTION

I’ve watched The Secret and read as much as I can about the Law Of Attraction. I keep trying to make it work for me but the problem is I can’t stop negative thoughts from coming up all the time and it feels like I’ll never be able to attract what I want. It seems to be working for so many people, what’s wrong with me? I feel like a complete failure and I know beating myself up isn’t going to help it’ll just make it worse. What can I do?

ANSWER

VICKI:
I have unfortunately heard this too many times from too many people. Having a negative thought is not the enemy. Looking at your thoughts without emotion can help you to understand what it is in your belief system that you need to tackle.

There isn’t anyone on earth who can rid themselves of all negative thought. I realize that it appears that the speakers of The Secret only have positive thoughts however that’s not that true.

When you have a negative thought acknowledge it, as you have no control over the thought, and then choose again. By choosing again I mean make a positive affirmation of what it is that you positively intend.

There’s a great new book out by Neale Donald Walsch called “Happier Than God”. It explains how the Law Of Attraction works – you can call it the secret behind The Secret. It covers everything in great detail. This book is an absolute treasure and a gift that you should give yourself.

JILL:
Maybe you are trying too hard. Take a deep breath and relax a bit. You obviously get the concept and how to put it into your life, obsessing and worrying about it is actually counter productive because that is what you are putting out there. So you are actually attracting what you are thinking “It seems to be working for so many people, what’s wrong with me? Therefore based on the Law of Attraction what you are getting back is – it isn’t working for you.

All self-help advice such as The Secret is only a tool intended to help you build a better life. They are presented as one size fits all when in fact you have to figure out how to make them work for you because everyone’s life is unique.

When Being True To Yourself Means Saying No

QUESTION

My best friend and I have had a wonderful relationship for the past 18 years. We have been there for each other through thick and thin. She recently asked me for a favor that I feel is not in line with my spiritual beliefs and values. How can I be true to the both of us?

ANSWER

VICKI:
When we are true to ourselves we are always being true to the other; this is because we are all one. By giving yourself permission to say no to your friend’s request you model speaking your truth. That is an amazing gift to give someone.

If you were to go against your own principles it would be difficult for you to feel good with yourself and your friendship. There would be a good chance that resentment may come between you and your friend in time under those circumstances, possibly ruining a great and long-term friendship. Following our own inner value system is crucial to all of our relationships.

When you decline your friend’s request remember that it is not what you say and it’s how you say it. Remind your friend of your good feelings and wishes for her and then let her know that you cannot go against your own belief system. Someone who loves you would never want you to do that.

JILL:
Honesty is the best way to be true to yourself at this time and it will also mean that you maintain the integrity of your long friendship. Arrange to meet your friend in a restaurant that you both enjoy. A neutral place is the best backdrop in which to talk openly.
Once you are both there I cannot improve on Vicki’s advice “its not what you say and it’s how you say it…..”
Allow her to react, don’t be defensive, she will with time understand because as you wrote you have been through thick and thin together before.

Moving And Letting Go Of The Past

QUESTION

I am moving from a house to a condo and I have so much stuff! Every time I start to pack a box I get overwhelmed, there are so many memories but I just won’t have room for it all in my new place. How do I decide what to get rid of?

ANSWER

VICKI:
Purging is great for the soul. When we release what we no longer need from the past we make room for growth in the present.

Here are a few thoughts on purging:
1. If you haven’t used it or looked at it for a year then you no longer need it.
2. Memories live in you and while keepsakes help us to relive our best times only keep those that remind you of the most precious of people and times that have helped you become who you are today.
3. Never be afraid to let go of something because it is the only piece you have of someone you once were. Who you are now in this moment is the only thing that matters and letting go of who you were only makes room for you to grow further.

I wish you well on your move and your new life.

JILL:
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Moving is overwhelming and one of life’s primary stresses and added to that is the fact that you have to downsize.
Here are steps to make the process easier.

1. Make sure that you have all the supplies needed for an efficient move.
> Boxes, tape, magic markers, strong garbage bags, Rubbermaid containers in a variety of sizes plus some attractive containers with tops for keepsakes.

2. Pack one room at a time. It is best to start with the least used rooms and go from there.

3. In each room sort things and put them into different piles:
> To pack, charity, garbage, put in containers
a. Charity – and let me say that doesn’t mean giving them your junk. Contact the charities in your area and ask them what they really need.
> Old and clean blankets for the SPCA
> Toys, reading material, small appliances to shelters
> Good career clothes – see if there is an organization like Dress for Success in your area
> Other clothes to Goodwill etc…
> Find out who recycles old computers and printers but first be sure to have a professional wipe out the hard drive where your personal information is stored.
b. Decorative items, framed photos etc……..
> Only keep what gives you pleasure when you look at it. What will fit into the new downscaled rooms.
> Give away or throw away Aunt Berta’s pink china elephant that you have always hated.
c. Memorabilia – As Vicki said the memories live inside you. So sort accordingly
1) Check your true feelings behind each article
> Is the memory really a deeply happy one?
> Are you just holding onto to it because you feel that you should?
2) Don’t keep a lot of one type of thing. For instance you don’t need every picture the children drew. Keep a few special ones, even get them framed for your new spare room or home office
3) If you are really unsure about certain things put them in the containers that you bought. Later after you have unpacked the boxes and settled in, re-visit them and see if they fit somewhere or if you are now ready to give them up.

Cultural Holiday Differences – Can’t We All Get Along!

This is a post that we did last year for the holiday season on our Too Real Musings blog. We felt it was worth repeating and we hope you enjoy it.

Jill’s View:
Peace cannot be realized if we come at it from a “my way” is right vs. yours is wrong perspective, that only serves to generate more friction. Peace, in any conflict, whether it is in the home, on the streets or international will only come when we meet in the middle. That is the neutral place, the place of acceptance and respect for what is different. That is the place where we learn about each other. Strife comes from ignorance, knowledge is were the power of peace will lay its foundation. We need to educate the children and empower the women so a home, a community and ultimately a nation become the core of a more peaceful world.

Vicki’s View:
So often people of different faiths, races and sexual preferences look at each other’s differences. More importantly we see each other from a perspective of miscomprehension. We don’t understand the other person’s culture and we judge and fear it because of lack of information.
Yet what we really need to do is to come together and look at what we have in common because we need each other.

What we have in common is we love our children and want to see them grow up to be happy and healthy, we all need a planet that’s eco-system is in place for us to live healthy lives; we need family and friends to lean on in difficult times; we need peace of mind in order to move through the daily grind; we need to know that we are understood and loved; and we need to know that we live in a safe world.

I hope you recognize that our commonalities are not the way we worship, the color of our skin or who we choose to love. What we have in common are the desire that we have in our heart and souls for a peaceful and loving world. We only appear different on the outside.
All these needs we have in common can only be accomplished if we work together as the brothers and sisters that we spiritually are. We need each other.

In this season that celebrates miracles and self-reflection I urge you to look at those who appear different on the outside and hold a belief that I am quoting from Neale Donald Walsch from “The Conversation With God” book series, “Ours is not a better way, our is just another way.”
When we stop thinking that we’ve got it right or we are better we will leave room for the knowledge and acceptance of how other cultures live.

Before I close off here I heard something very interesting on the radio. I am unsure of who was speaking yet what was said made quite an impact on me. The man said that saying, “Peace on Earth and good will to men.” Was not the original statement and the meaning of the actual statement is “Peace to men of good will”.

May you be blessed this holiday season with the peace that comes from having good will towards others.

Jill and Vicki: We wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas, a (belated) Happy Chanukah and a Happy Kwanzaa.

Should Religion Be A Factor In Friendship?

QUESTION

My best friend doesn’t have a religion. I have one, the same I’ve had since I was a kid. I worry about her constantly. I’ve brought her to church with me but she just doesn’t want a religion. Is it wrong to have a friend who doesn’t have a religion?

ANSWER

VICKI:
This is one of those questions that no one can answer for you because the answer depends upon what you believe in your heart and soul. I would love to tell you that there is nothing wrong with having friends from all religious and spiritual practices, including those without a religion, however, that answer would be based on my belief system.

My suggestion is that you talk to the person or people who give the sermons at your church to learn how your particular religion sees this topic. Should the answers you receive not feel right to you please take the time to go within yourself and ask some questions to discover how you feel, because not even your religious leaders can tell you what feels right for you. If you meditate then meditate on the following questions.

Keep in mind while asking these questions that your faith is meant to help you feel good about yourself and all life around you:

1. Is there only one correct path to God or my Higher Power?
2. Does God love all his or her children equally?
3. Do I feel good with what my religion teaches about others with different spiritual beliefs or who have no particular religious practices?
4. Is it my place to judge others on their belief system?
5. What action can I take that would make my soul sing with joy?
6. What would love do now?

One last personal comment is that we must remember that when we hold the attitude that our way of doing something is the only right way this is how conflicts begin.

JILL:
I am going to come out and say, quite honestly, that at this point in my life I don’t have a religion. I am a person who is searching for answers to my religious and spiritual questions. I still consider myself a good person with ethics and integrity. What I’m trying to say to you is that even though your friend doesn’t have a religion that doesn’t necessarily make them unworthy of your friendship.

You have had your religion since you were a child and since you are practicing the same religion, I assume, that you are one of those fortunate people who have found peace & strength from it. The friendship in question, seems to bring you to a point of conflict founded in those religious beliefs. Have you been able to articulate what the foundation of this turmoil is? If you cannot find the answer I would recommend that you turn to a religious leader for guidance.

While life has given you what may feel like a dilemma; there is the possibility that the answer may change some of your world views. Consider that there may also be a middle area of compromise that will allow you both a resolution and a friendship.