Common Ground, Can We Find It?

As I was scanning through Facebook this morning, I saw several people who felt the need to voice their opinion, on other people’s posts. Have you ever felt so angry or strongly disagreed with something a friend posted on FB, that you just had to reply? I bet we all have. But have you ever replied with a snarky comment in response to someone else’s post? This is what I witnessed this morning and have many times before. Someone feels so strongly, that they not only need to respond, but respond with a fairly negative comment. I have been told these people are called trolls.

I do not believe this is a healthy practice. First of all, many people rallied to support the person this “troll” was attacking. They were not kind to the “troll” thus becoming trolls themselves. (I do not like name calling and I think calling these people trolls probably hurts real troll’s feelings. They don’t want that kind of reputation- even if they did try to eat the 3 Billy Goats Gruff… it’s the circle of life after all!) I think expressing our opinions can be a positive thing, when it is done in the spirit of working to understand one another and find a middle ground. Then it is a beautiful and mature way to deal with our differences in opinions.

I really believe we need to allow others to have their own opinions. In this human experience, we are all having, we are all in the place we are perfectly meant to be. No one is better than someone else. From a spiritual stance there are probably some flaws in all of our opinions. Instead of trying to berate or change the opinions of others, what would happen if we just accepted others “as is”? Imagine if we all looked for our similarities, worked together, and just agreed to disagree on certain issues. I believe there is a way. Through loving our fellow voyagers in this human journey, we can work together. We do it all the time in our ordinary lives. I have co-workers who have a whole array of various opinions and beliefs. Some align with mine and some do not. Yet we still all manage to work together and are a wonderful team that, not only supports each other, but is very productive as well. My parents each have beliefs and opinions that are different than mine but I still love them like crazy and respect for them as they are.

I believe it is important that we allow others to have their own opinions and beliefs as a practice in love and acceptance. I also believe that doing so will bring us more peace. We can’t change others and when we are constantly trying to, it messes with our sense of peace and security. I am not suggesting we tolerate comments that are hurtful to ourselves or others. I only want to suggest we deal with them in such a way that we do not also become hurtful to others as well. Accept that this person is in a different place on their journey than you are. Kindly provide them with education if you can. Perhaps right now, some issues are so big, we can’t get to a middle ground. On the smaller issues, keep trying. On the bigger ones; try by looking for the good, the Divine, the Human behind the opinion.

Yes, I understand this is my usual happy Pollyanna attitude about life, but if we don’t start changing our approach to others, we’ll never get beyond the superficial. I feel we are so much more than our beliefs and opinions. I encourage you to let others have their opinions and look for the common ground. It is there! Sometimes it just takes more digging to find it in others. When you do I bet you find we have more in common than what makes us different.

Thank you for reading my blog today! May you have a life of feeling loved and accepted, as if by magic! I love you!

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A Story of Remembering

I want to tell you a story. This might be a story of old or it might be the story of now. It is likely a story that has occurred countless times throughout history. It is a story of trust and a story of renewal, but most of all, it a story of remembering.

There was a young woman. She was a mother or she wasn’t. She had responsibilities as we all do. One day, as she was walking through the forest of life, she saw a path. This path was not into the light but rather was a path into the darkness. This path went deep into the forest and it looked very dangerous. It was jagged and had many curves. It would have been impossible to learn were the path would take her by simply looking. The darkness of this path called to her. It called to her and it pulled at her, although she knew pain and betrayal waited for her along this path, she felt oddly intrigued by it.

Now I have to tell you, this young woman had always been responsible. She had always done what had been asked of her, what was expected of her, and even more. Everyone in her tribe felt she was the perfect young woman. Every mother wanted to call her daughter. The older men all wanted to call her daughter and the younger men chased her to be their bride. She cared for the young and learned from the elderly. She was the definition of smart and responsible.

Despite her history, as such a stand up member of the community, the young woman felt she must walk this path. She had to voyage into the darkness, even though it meant walking away from her responsibilities. She had to risk being hurt and had to hurt those who had placed so much trust and pride in her. She stepped onto the path, dropping the baskets that she had brought into the forest, leaving them where they lay.

The path was arduous. She stumbled and fell many times. She met scary creatures who pretended to be her friends or help her, but in the end, they we leading her farther into the darkness. They hurt her, physically, emotionally, and separated her from the light. Sometimes she tried to find her way back but they kept pulling her deeper into the darkness. They kept pulling her further from who she had been. They caused her to feel like a completely different person. It did not take long before she forgot who she was. She forgot she was from the light and she believed she was a creature of the darkness.

This went on for many years. The village mourned her. They felt that she was lost to them forever. They feared she would never find her way back to the light. But one day, she stumbled into the village. She was wild and untamed. She was a mere shadow of the bright young woman who she had once been. The darkness hung all around her and her “friends” from there, watched from the shadows. They called to her and pulled at her.

There was something about the village that felt like home to her, although she could not really recall. The community did not trust her, they avoided her. They would not let her care for the young or spend time with the elderly. They did not want to claim her as they once did. When they tried to give her responsibilities she would wander off or never fulfill them. Even though she was back, they felt she was still lost. They still did not recognize her as the brave and ambitious woman she had once been.

One day the village wise woman (the witch) was working quietly on something. She had been watching all of this. She saw how the darkness pulled at the woman, but she also saw how the woman tried to resist the darkness. She knew something deep within the young woman wanted to live fully in the light again, but there was so much baggage from the darkness, she couldn’t seem to step away from it. It had become a part of her identity.

The witch touched her finger to the young woman’s brow. The place in front of where the third eye resides. “Remember” said the wise old woman, “remember who you are”. The young woman blinked at her elder. The darkness seemed to fall away. Her “friends” let go of their holds on her and slunk back onto the treacherous path. Light beamed all around the young woman and she suddenly did remember who she was.

From that day on she worked to gain the trust of her community. She became who she had been only better. She was wiser now. Having known the darkness and living among the darkness helped her better see how she belonged in the light. It helped her embrace and enjoy her responsibilities. She become one others looked to for wisdom, for she had lived what they could never imagine and returned to the light.

Time would pass and worlds would change. The young woman would become the witch in the future. The wise woman would become the young woman again. This story would continue to unfold throughout history over and over again. Is this your story? It is my story. It is many peoples’ story. Forgive yourself for the time in the darkness. It was a part of your journey. It is done or nearly done now. You are wiser for it. Remember who you are! Remember that you are of the light!

Thank you for ready no my blog today! May you remember your true nature, as if by magic!

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What Do You Regret?

I like to listen to music while I work. It helps me concentrate. Your Side of the Bed by Little Big Town was playing. In that song they ask “Are you sleeping with your own regrets?” It got me thinking about regrets. I have always tried to live a regret free existence. I have always felt that we do the best we can in the time and place we are in. Even with this philosophy, there have been a couple things in my life that I have struggled with. Sharing these regrets makes me very nervous. They are things I do not talk about. What is interesting to me as I reflect on this is that I don’t mind sharing with strangers but I am very nervous to have people who know me aware of them. I guess I fear being judged.
One of those things was related to my first husband’s daughter. She ended up in foster care. I, for a long time, regretted that I didn’t try and get custody of her. At that time in my life, I had two children that I was raising as a single mother. I felt I was not in a place to be able to take on another child. After this girl became an adult, I was able to make contact with her. I told her I was sorry that I did not fight to get custody of her. She was very gracious and said that she was just fine and that she has gone on to get a degree in social services. Perhaps her childhood was related to her calling in life. Perhaps that is why the Universe conspired for me to feel I could not take on raising her. Maybe her upbringing turned out to be better for her than anything I could have provided her with.
Do you believe in soul contracts? The idea that we come into this life with set experiences we are meant to have. When I first heard about the idea, I was not so sure about it. Now I find it is a good fit for my belief system. It makes sense to me. If I had saved her from foster care would I have cheated her out of one of her soul contracts? Or would I have cheated myself out of the experience of regret and trying to make amends? Do soul contracts mean we do not try to help others? I do not think so. Helping others could likely be one of our soul contracts. Do you think regret serves a purpose? Does the avoidance of regret help us make better choices?
Another time in my life, I regretted, was when I was a teenager. I was depressed and was going to commit suicide. One of my friends realized what I intended to do. She told the counselor who drove out to my house. The close call made me re-evaluate the importance of life and I have never been suicidal since. My friend saved my life and I am eternally grateful for the action she took. My regret is in the action I took after the counselor was alerted. I lied. I told the counselor, my mother, everyone, that my friend was wrong. It made her look foolish. We were never friends again after that day. I lost my best friend as a result of that lie. I have since contacted her and expressed my gratitude, as well as, apologized for lying. She forgave me.
I recently wrote a blog called Beneficial Forgiveness.  Dealing with these regrets is a perfect place to practice forgiving yourself. Remind yourself that you did do the best you could, in the time and place you were in then.
How have regrets shaped your life? Do you have regrets? Are there some you can’t seem to move past? How can you work on forgiving yourself for these things?

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Beneficial Forgiveness

Who are you unable to forgive and why? What things do you consider to be unforgivable? What mistakes have you made in life that you are still holding tight to because the pain is too much to think about? Being able to forgive others and even more so, to forgive yourself, can be life changing.

Most people do not set out in life to be a pain the the you know what. As humans, I believe we do the best we can, in the time and space we are in. But because of what we are holding on to, sometime the decisions we make will cause pain for ourselves and or others. I think if we realize that people do the best they can in the time and space they are in, it’ll help you leg go of the anger, regret and disappointment in order to find it in your heart to offer forgiveness.

I was in a toxic marriage once. There was verbal and emotional things happening that have had a lasting impact. I stayed in the marriage because I really believed that my children needed a home with a father and a mother. I also did not believe I could be successful in providing my children with a home and the other things they needed without two incomes. I was wrong about both of these things. I stayed because I didn’t know I was wrong. I stayed because I didn’t understand the lasting impact that this environment was having on my children. I stayed because I did not have enough self worth to believe I could leave. Eventually, I found my self worth and did leave the marriage. I am only now starting to fully understand how my children were hurt and affected by this.

So who do I need to forgive as a result of this story. I need to forgive myself for staying way to long. I need to forgive my ex-husband for the way he treated me and the children. I need to forgive my daughter who still holds so much anger at me for staying too long and for not protecting her more. I need to forgive my catholic up bringing that made me think I couldn’t leave. I need to forgive myself for feeling like a failure, because I couldn’t fix it.

I will tell you I have worked through this and have been able to forgive. Much of this processing and healing took place in the BWCA, with Emy’s support and love. I was able to touch those very painful emotions that were pushed down deep inside. I was able to feel them and understand them and eventually let them go. I was able to understand that my ex-husband was doing the best he could in the time and space he was in. He had learned how to be a family from his own family. Perhaps what had been modeled for him, when he was a child, was also not healthy. I came to understand that he had his own inner demons and probably did not like himself very much. He did not know how to deal with or heal these things. So it came out in these ways that harmed our family. Once I had some understanding of why he acted the way he did, I was able to forgive him. This forgiveness was a gift to him but more importantly it was a gift to myself. Forgiving him freed me from wallowing in the hate and self loathing. Forgiving him allowed me to get to the place where I could forgive myself. Forgiving him allowed me to let go of that “failed” marriage and give it blessings for the experiences I had and the things I learned as a result of it. Forgiving him gave me a new found freedom and a new found peace. Forgiving him was far more beneficial to me than it will ever be to him. Forgiving my daughter is easy. I pray the someday she will forgive me. Not because I feel I need forgiveness but because it will free her and allow her to heal. Forgiving my catholic up bringing was easier once I realized that it was a result of good intentions on my parents part. They were doing what they thought was right. They were doing the best they could to raise their children. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. I think when we can see the good intentions behind the things that hurt us, it is easier to find forgiveness.

The hardest forgiveness that took place from the story I shared above was forgiving myself. We hold ourselves to a higher standard. We do not allow for our own mistakes. We take these perceived “failures” and hold on to them. We often feel they are unforgivable. None of us are perfect. Once I was able to realize that I too did the best I could in the time and place I was in, I began to see that I was able to forgive myself. I forgave myself for staying too long, for “failing” at marriage, for the mistakes I made in the midst of the marriage that made situations worse. The freedom of no longer holding on to these things allowed for a sense of freedom. The chains had been released. I was able to move on. I was able to work on myself and become a healthier version of me. I was able to find a relationship that is happy and healthy.

What in your life are you not able to forgive? Yourself? Others? Situations? Is there a way that you can see these situations from another perspective and find forgiveness? It will change your life. Forgive others, not for their benefit but for your own benefit. Free yourself from having to hold on to that disappointment any longer.

Do you have a story to share about how forgiveness improved your life? Do you have things you are currently working on forgiving yourself for? Do you have things you have learned along the way you would like to share with others?

Thank you for reading my blogs today. Feel free to share it with others you feel it may help. May your life be filled with healthy forgiveness. Blessings, Stacy

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STOP Shoulding Yourself

We all are so busy telling ourself what we “should” be doing, how we “should” be acting, what we “should” be saying that we make it impossible to live up to the expectations we set for ourselves. When we can’t live up to the expectations we set for ourselves, we start beating ourselves up. We start telling ourselves things we would never tell our friends. We call ourselves names like “failure”, “lazy”, and “dumb”. We hold ourselves to standards we would never hold our friends to. How do we stop this practice and heal our relationship with ourselves?

I have started to write this blog three or maybe even four times. It is a topic I feel strongly about. So why am I having such a hard time getting the words out? Why am I having trouble expressing myself around this particular topic? Does it have anything to do with the fact that I feel I “Should” write this blog? I want to help people with the blogs I write. Inspiring others to find ways to improve their relationship with themselves, is a huge part of my mission in doing this. Perhaps, because of that, I have my own list of “shoulds” around this topic.

I am the queen of high expectations! My husband will try to tell me I am high maintenance, but I am not. I am high expectations. For myself and everyone around me. While attending Buddhist meditation, the monk shared this teaching. He told us that we get upset with others because of the expectations we set for them.  Then because we have these expectations of others, when they don’t live up to them, we feel frustrated. If we didn’t have these expectations of others we would not be upset when they don’t live up to them. He illustrated this with a story of meditation. If you are editing in the forest, you do not get upset with the bird because you do not expect the bird to be quiet. You do not think you can control the bird. If you are meditating at home and others in the home are making noise, you feel frustrated because you feel they should meet your expectations. But I digress. I really want to talk about the expectation, like this, that we place on ourselves.

How many times have I told myself I did not get enough done in a day? I am constantly saying I “should” exercise more, meditate daily, practice my yoga, and keep the housework caught up. If a friend of mine was telling me she felt badly for not doing all of these things, I would tell her to stop being so hard on herself. Why is it that the expectations we hold for ourself are so much harder than what we expect from others. Eat the right things, say the right things, do the right things. We set expectations for ourselves that no one could live up to, and then we beat ourselves up when we are not able to accomplish it all. Stop it! Just stop! Love yourself the way you love your friends. Give yourself the same respect you have for those dear people in your life who trust you with their concerns.

Everyday we all “should” do the best we can in the time and space we are in. We “should” forgive ourselves. We “should” love ourselves. There will be times when we can not live up to these expectations. There will be times that we can not do our best, love ourselves, or forgive ourselves… but there will be moments that we can. There will be blessed moments of clarity when all seems magical and we can be the best version of ourselves. The rest of the time we must be patient as we continue toward our own wellness. The blessed time when we love and accept ourselves as is.

I want to share my appreciation for Paul and Maria in Warrenville, IL. I appreciate you listening to me talk about my blog and my mission to help others find wellness.  I appreciate you sharing your stories with me. I wish you blessings and personal wellness in your lives. You both have such potential; I can see it within you! Don’t “should” yourselves.

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Do You Feel Alone? Do You Think You Are the Only One?

Do you feel alone in your mistakes? Do you ever think you are the only one who has made a poor parenting decision, eaten or drank too much, or spent money foolishly, racking up massive debt? In her book: I Thought It Was Just Me(but it isn’t), Brené Brown says, “I don’t tell anyone the things I have gone through”. This is how Emy and I stumbled upon the idea for our book, Lessons Through Forgiveness. Emy wrote a heart felt chapter for another book. In this chapter she share a story from her life. It was full of regret for choices she had made in the past. It was so raw that it touched me in a way that few stories ever have. We all have these moments in our life that few, if any, know about. We are all not perfect.
Just think about all the things you are or ever have beat yourself up for. What mistakes have you made in the past that you feel are unforgivable or that you would never want to see the light of day? Do you judge yourself a failure for these things? What is so taboo to talk about; so we all most suffer alone in silence?
Parenting – Nothing can hurt you like your children. I have found that parenting has been the most painful experience. There is joy too, but everyone shares the joy. Few of us can really talk about the way we feel we have failed our children.
Sex – Sex is so often used for the wrong reasons. So many of us think sex will bring us love or boost our self esteem. I am sure there are many people out there who feel they slept with the “wrong” person. It might have been a poor choice in a partner or maybe they cheated on a relationship. Did you know that 25% of Americans have an incurable sexually transmitted disease (hivplusmag.com)? Yet no one talks about this.
Substance abuse – 23.5 million Americans are addicted to drugs and alcohol according to drugabuse.gov. Unless you are attending a recovery program you are unlikely to hear anyone share these stories.
Eating disorders – I am an emotional eater. Others forego eating when they are stressed. Depending on the website you look at it is estimated anywhere from 8 – 30 million Americans have an eating disorder. I can think of many painful stories related to my dysfunctional relationship with food that I have NEVER shared with anyone. When I have felt safe enough to share some stories with others, I learned that my stories were not all that unique.
Mental health – Even today, when we know so much more, there can still be such a stigma around mental health. 1 in 5 adults in this country has a mental health illness. The rate is about the same amongst teens. So many people are afraid to share when they are experiencing mental health issues. There are even those who are afraid to seek treatment for fear of what others will think.
Financial issues – Money troubles, crippling debt, gambling addictions, bankruptcies, Stockmarket missteps, foreclosures, even the good old “retail therapy” are ways that financial woes can creep into our lives. Many are busy beating themselves up for a history of poor or impulsive decisions related to money.
So many ways we judge ourselves and others. I am not saying you should run out and share all your stories. What I am saying is you should forgive yourself for your missteps. Know that you are not alone. Love yourself even if you feel like you have made mistakes, even if you think those mistakes are unforgivable.

Thank you for reading my blog today! I wish you a life filled with self acceptance.

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In Their Shoes

I recent listened to a group of family members discussing what it is like to work in customer service. As a nurse I also have been in jobs where pleasing people is a part of the role. I have seen people be extremely rude and even verbally abusive to people working in stores, all in an attempt to get their way. I am ashamed to admit, when I was younger, I also had occasion where I lost my patience with people just trying to do their jobs. What can we do and how can we think to help us have empathy for those who cross our paths in the course of a day?

Think about how different the world would be if we all followed the Golden Rule. Treating others the way we would like to be treated could help transform some of these frustrating interactions to be better. The Golden Rule is in some version in almost all major world religions. If we could see ourselves in that person, we would act the way we would want others to treat us, if we were working that job.

Nisargadatta Maharai said, “ The consciousness in you and the consciousness in me, apparently two, really one, seek unity and that is love”. We are better able to give love and acceptance, when we see that we are that other person. Can you put yourself in their shoes? Can you feel empathy for what it must be like to be in that place and having to deal with that situation?

Today I challenge you as you walk through your day to imagine yourself in the shoes of those you cross paths with. I would be curious to hear how this changed your perspective on the world around you. Did this make any impact on how you dealt with people or situations? No matter which side of the counter you are on, there is room to try and see the other person’s persecutive. Eckhart Tolle said, “If you are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others”. Try seeing yourself as the other person in a way to gain acceptance.

Thank you for reading my blog today! May your day be filled with love and acceptance.

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Are You Positive?

What do you practice daily? This question showed up in my facebook news feed as a video by a young boy. I was so impressed with the wisdom of this youngster. I shared the video to our Adventure Sisters Facebook page. He was asking people if they had a daily practice. He went on to tell them that, whatever they practiced daily, they would become expert at. He gave example like; joy, anger, and complaining. He gave example of how practicing complaints and anger could make you very skilled at these things. It was really amazing insight for such a young person. Obviously an old soul resides in that young body. You can see his video on the Adventure Sisters Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/BWCAdventureSisters

So what do you practice everyday? I think it is a good thing for us to look at and really talk about. Our brains are predisposed to see the negative around us. When you think about it from a survival stand point it makes sense. If you are always looking for the danger (aka the negative) you will be able to flee to safety. The habit forming potential of negative thinking is probably something we have all experienced. So how do we shift our focus? I consider myself a pretty positive person. Am I really, though? If I sit back and watch myself, do I complain as much or more then I express joy and delight? It is winter where I live. I do not tolerate the cold as well as I do the heat. I think I probably complain more in the winter then I do in the summer. Winter is beautiful. I love the way the fluffy white snow sits on the prickly branches of the evergreen trees. There is a simple serenity in the the near black and white color palate of winter in the north. So why do I spend my time bitching about the cold?

Others expect negativity from us as well. Have you every been excitedly telling someone about the positive things in your life and you get a sense of disapproval from them? So you throw in a couple negative aspects. The other person will accept you now. If I told you: I love my job, I work for a great company. I have supportive collaborative teammates. My boss has my back and helps mentor me to further success. I get paid well. My benefits are good. I get plenty of vacation time and my job perks are out of this world. Would you feel jealous? Would you feel I was bragging? Would you think I was trying to convince you or me that my job was great? Would your eyes glaze over and would you secretly be plotting my death? Would I notice this look in your eyes and feel the need to think of a couple of negative things about my job in order to feel a little less like a crazy person?

Do we not want our friends and family to be happy and have lots of blessings in their life? We say that we do. What is it that makes us not want to trust happiness, joy, good fortune, and miracles? Of course nothing is perfect. Given the opportunity, we can find something to complain about in any situation. But the opposite is true too. Given the opportunity we can find something good to talk about in any situation. I challenge you to be Pollyanna. (Do you know who that is?) Look for the silver lining. Turn that frown upside down. Make a decision to be the happiest person in the room. Embrace the madness of a positive attitude. “It is only through mystery and madness that the soul is revealed” ~ Thomas Moore.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May your daily practice bring you joy!

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The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, like so many beautiful areas, may be at risk from exploitation. If you feel so moved please sign the petition below to save this amazing natural resource!

https://www.savetheboundarywaters.org/tell-department-interior-and-bureau-land-management-protect-boundary-waters

But, Just Think, What If?

Have you ever found a book, that so transformed your way of thinking, that you keep buying it to give away to others? I have one such book. It’s a children’s book. I was having an especially hard time letting go of some anger. I felt this person had not treated me right. My friend, Theresa, suggested that I read this book. It gave me a whole new perspective. I was able to see people who caused me pain in a new light.

The book was Neale Donald Walsch’s, The Little Soul and the Sun. Have you ever read it? If you have not, I highly recommend it. If you have not read it for awhile, you should read it again. My husband was lucky enough to get a live reading today. I got choked up reading it. It just touches me on such a deep level. The artwork in the book is stunning and the message is deep. The basic premise of the book relates to soul contracts. It shows, in a beautiful way, how souls make agreements with one another to “play” certain roles in their human experiences. By doing this each being gets the opportunity to try on different masks.

One of my very favorite lines in the book is when God is talking to the little soul. He says to him, “Always remember: I have sent you nothing but angels.” What a thought! What if we thought about the person who cuts us off in traffic as an angel? That person, who took credit for your project at work, they are an angel too. How about your ex, who did that unforgivable thing? Yes, they are an angel too. It really changes the way you look at the world. If you think about those people you are holding resentment, hate, or bitterness towards as a perfect creation of Love, maybe you can forgive them. Maybe you can move on.

There are people in this world who do really terrible things to other people. I am as human as anyone else. I do not condone these acts, in any way. But just for a moment, what if we thought that we had signed a contract to have that very bad thing done to us. It would give us an opportunity to experience and grow from it. Learn from it. I know there are people reading this thinking I am crazy. How can I think that these terrible things could be part of a spiritual experience. But, just think, what if? How does that change everything?

The premise in the book is kind of like the idea that a fish doesn’t know what water is. It is surrounded by it, but only through having a lack of it, could the fish a truly appreciation the water that surrounds it. We would not appreciate what we have if we had not experienced not having it. If everyone and everything is the perfect energetic embodiment of Love, then how could we truly appreciate that? We would need to have experienced it’s opposite.

I hope I have fairly illustrated this touching book through this post. Please give the story a chance. May you be able, at least some of the time, to look at the person who is making you mad and remember that they are an angel. “‘Always remember,’ God had smiled, “I have sent you nothing but angels.”’

What are your thoughts? Do you believe in reincarnation? Have you heard of the concept of soul contracts? What emotions did this bring up for you? Have you read the book or do you plan to?

Blessings!
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7 Techniques to Keep Spiritual Ego in Check

Have you ever run across a spiritual teacher who believes they have all the answers. They may even bad mouth other spiritual teachers? Perhaps they do things or treat people in ways you do not agree with? This is what I call spiritual ego. It is when a person believes they have all the answers and use that to justify their actions. It may even cause a falling out between people.

Spiritual ego is certainly not something that just happens to spiritual teachers. Any of us can fall prey to our own spiritual ego. How can you avoid this?

1.     Know you do not have all the answers.  There is a lot of mystery in spirituality. Accept that the mystery is a part of it.

2.     Be willing to listen to others view points. We all want to share the things in our own spirituality that give us peace, comfort, or joy. Others do to. By listening we may hear or learn something that deepens our own spirituality.

3.     Accept others where they are at. Everyone is at their own place on their spiritual journey. They are at the exact place they are meant to be in this time and place. Just because their journey is different than yours does not make it wrong.

4.     Don’t judge. There are many types of spirituality out there. They range from giant organized religions to highly personalized, individual relationships with a greater power. If you study major religions you will see there are more similarities than differences. Recognizing that we are all the same, in the most basic ways, is a huge step to laying your judgments aside.

5.   The golden rule. “Do unto others as you would have other do unto you”. This has always resonated with me. Did you know most of the world religions have a version of this.

6.   Allow for expansion. When we allow ourselves to expand it is easy to be more inclusive. We allow change within ourselves and open to the possibility of becoming a bigger better version of ourselves.

7.   See yourself in the other. When we allow ourselves to see aspects of us in the other person, it creates empathy and understanding.

Spirituality is a beautiful thing and can be very comforting. Believing we have all the answers can be dangerous and can lead to spiritual ego. I know atheists who are more kind, giving, loving, and altruistic than some religious people I know. Be open to others individuality and personal journeys. This will help you to keep your own spiritual ego in check.