Hazelnut Mocha or Vanilla Cream: Journey of Gratitude – Day 40

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

Love is always with me. I focus my whole Self on being entirely with Love. I tune out distractions and place my entire focus on simply being with the Love that is always with me. This is the return. This is eternal Comfort and Peace: Being with Love, as Love is with me.


I realized something this morning. It was about due, this new way of putting things together.

It began with this question: Are you co-creating with Spirit/Soul/Divine Love? As you may have noticed, this is a big focus of my current evolution.

The answer was a resounding, “Nooo…not really.” That was the honest answer, unfortunately.

How do I know I’m not co-creating with spirit? Well…as much as I dislike the subjective nature of this answer: I can feel it. It’s more than my “normal” distractions, my usual fumbles, my normal level of doubt and skepticism. With those “normal” things I can feel that I am actively working to evolve or transform them; they are stumbling blocks that I am fairly familiar with, and there is a corresponding normal level of “working through”.

But there is something new and different now, something deeper, which has been consuming me without my full awareness. I realize it has been active for at least the last round of this Journey. My subtle emotions (I am using my behavioral barometer that I mentioned a couple of days ago!) are: rigid (“I don’t want to change!”), pessimistic (“it’s never going to get better”), and stagnant (“and I’m stuck here”)…do you see how being stuck in a place that is never going to get any better can be a very bleak outlook? Feeling the futility, the final subtle emotion is destructive.

Let me be clear: as I mentioned the other day, I can identify my emotions without identifying with my emotions. I am simply recognizing thought patterns that are influencing my current emotional outlook.

These emotions are very quiet. I can identify them because I have worked hard and long at feeling and understanding. They are very, very subtle. However, I can now also see the connection between these quite emotions and some other, louder, emotions I’ve been having. Uncharacteristically, I have been feeling belligerent and seething. Belligerent is like feeling opposed to everything, and seething is that smoldering burning that is not outright hostility or infuriated, but it’s still a fire just under the skin.

These feelings are those I have identified as the ones showing me I am resistant to co-creating with Spirit.

Now comes the good part.

It has been a long, long time since I have had such unconscious (lack of awareness), resistant, opposing, belligerent emotions.

And now being aware is a wonderful and amazing thing.

The second thing I realized this morning was that I have dug up something that is now ready to be released.

As you know, I am One. We are One. I am Whole. We are Whole. There is nothing other than Oneness, Wholeness, Love, and the Fulfillment, Joy, and Peace that go with them.

But here we are in a human body! A body that thinks, perceives, divides, categorizes, separates things out, and comes to conclusions about what to think about all of the things we have divided, separated, and categorized! And none of it is True!

Every perception that we have divided and categorized is a candidate for evolution into Oneness. How many thoughts have you had today that have separated “this” from “that”? Do I want hazelnut mocha coffee or vanilla cream? Even that! Even that! —every single one is a candidate for transformation.

We can’t/don’t transform them all at once—if we did, well, we would BE in Oneness, wouldn’t we? So we transform them one at a time, and a little bit at a time, one thought becomes transformed, another thought becomes transformed, then those thoughts join together for yet another transformation and on and on, until EVERY division is enfolded into the Oneness of All.

Thus, my belligerence, resistance, and opposition is good news. It means I had gotten to some level of comfort with all of the thoughts/divisions that I have thus far transformed. It means that it’s time to join together even more. And to do that, I have to see it. In order for me to look at it, it needs to be loud, to get my attention.

I am now willing to be patient with myself. Opening up a new place of transformation can be a very vulnerable place. I must remember to be gentle with myself—I am not quite in my “right mind” as much as I am used to being at the moment. I must remember it’s OKAY to go slowly. It may take some time for me to take my small steps. I must be kind and forgive myself. I may not “get things” as quickly as I often do. I may feel stuff that is uncharacteristic. It’s ok. I’ll remind myself it’s ok. Now, this too is transforming. It’s not a coincidence that a Journey of Courage is just 10 days away.

Am I co-creating with Spirit? Not quite, but it seems Spirit is co-creating with me.



The World is Waiting: Journey of Gratitude – Day 39

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

Gratitude makes all things new! When I am aware of my Source in Love, I see its activity everywhere. It is the Substance of Life itself! I am in the flow and create and expand with Love, in Life!


Light and love are everywhere, if we but open our eyes!

My Source is Love! I AM the Substance of Life itself. Life itself is within me, around me, and beyond me. I am both earthly and heavenly! Every activity embodies all of life, of which I am part, of which I AM.

Everything is joyful in Life. Everything sings in praise of Life! Do you hear the song? Do you dance the dance? Do you laugh the laugh? Every expression of Joy praises Life. Every expression from the heart creates Life. Every sincere devotion expands Life. Let us joyfully devote our hearts to Life!

What is there not to love? What is there to fear? What time do we have for impatience and anxiety? Life is here now. Love is here now.  Here, now Love.

Love yourself, love the truth within you. See yourself in all; see the truth in all. If you do not see the truth, take the plank from your eye. Remove the dust, brush off the cobwebs, wake up! Any love you do not feel, any truth you do not see is there waiting for you, waiting for YOU. Remove the dust! Jump in a cold bath! Wake up! Love and truth are waiting for you…

There is so much important work happening now. The world needs you. The world needs your love. There are so many people seeking, and you can help them. Some are out there right now waiting for you, looking for you, wanting your help. You are Light. You are Love. Share your light. Be it. Bring it. The world needs you!

The Power of Choice: Journey of Gratitude – Day 38

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

I seek only to Love in Unity. Love is Pure in Oneness. Let me Love All including myself in Oneness, that I may Know gratitude as the result of Being Whole in Love.


“How do you feel?” This is a simple enough question for most. Most people have a baseline for how they feel in general. When asked, “How do you feel?” if they are at this baseline, they will simply answer, “Good.” or “Fine.” If they are slightly above this baseline, they may respond, “Really good.” and if they are well above the baseline, the response might be, “Really good!” or “Excellent!” or “Fantastic!” If they are slightly below the baseline, they may respond, “Okay.” or “Okay.” —with a slight facial twist to indicate they are not quite baseline okay; if they are well below the baseline, they may simply respond, “Eh.”

Everyone has a baseline and a corresponding response. It’s almost as though it’s woven into the fabric of social relations that we understand the responses. Most of the time, the responses don’t really answer the question.

When I was about 8 years old I remember being in a fairly traumatic situation (this is a relative view, the perception of an 8-year-old. With maturity, hindsight, and a bit of inner work, it was not that bad). During this situation, I was not-gently prodded to express my feelings. I froze in that moment. I remember thinking to myself, “FINE. Then I just won’t feel”. In that moment, I made the decision to disconnect from my emotions.

Until I was about 23, when I was asked question, “How do you feel?” my emotions froze…completely. I never knew how I felt. I took the question literally, not as a social interaction, because the situation as an 8-year old made the question literal in my head. When someone asked me how I felt, I was not wired to give the expected social answer, but to analyze my emotions and try to answer the question, but I couldn’t, because I had shut myself off from them.

At age 23 I was introduced to a tool called the behavioral barometer. This has been the single greatest tool for me to identify my emotions and to work through them. With it, when someone asked “How do you feel?” I could pull out my barometer, look at the words, do an internal assessment, and answer the question (the full use of the tool goes way beyond this, but this is the simplest explanation for the current purpose). Though I still keep a barometer with me about 75 percent of the time, I can now feel and identify the feeling without it most of the time; it has become a natural tool for me.

For every emotion on the barometer (the right hand column), there is a corresponding “State of Being” (the left hand column). The goal is to work through the emotion and to realize (in the fullest sense of the word) one’s own state of being. The catalyst is choice.

When I was 8, I made the choice not to feel. Since age 23, I have been choosing to feel more and more, because I understand feelings as a clue to understanding my true state of being—who I really am.

Emotions are not who I Am. Emotions flow through me; they are not me. Emotions pass and I can watch them. They are an expression of something, but I do not have to define that something as me. If I am feeling, I am not being.

I can choose.

Who do I want to be? How do I want to be? Ultimately, I know that I will need to dissolve even the concepts of “I” and “me”…but I am not there yet. For now, it’s enough to want to be more. This goes beyond being a better person, a kinder colleague, a more loving and understanding friend, a compassionate teacher.

I want to be whole. I want to be pure. I want to be Love.

I choose. I am.

Que the Cute Puppy Video, Please: Journey of Gratitude – Day 37

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

Life is beautiful. There is nothing other than Life. Life is within me; Life pours out from me. Everything everywhere is Life. Life is Being. I am Life. All that I am, I offer in praise and thanks to all of Life.


Expanding the consciousness takes attention and effort.

Attention means to concentrate in a certain direction, or to direct your senses or thoughts toward something. Sometimes this is active: listening closely, reading carefully, or trying the hottest spice you can. In these cases, intention causes the direction.

Sometimes attention is passive, when something draws attention without intention: a fly that sits on the computer screen, or a mosquito by your head after you have turned out the lights, or Facebook beckoning you to watch just one more cute puppy video.

Active attention does not mean judging a thought or behavior as “good” or “bad”. It does mean noticing those thoughts or behaviors. I have a friend who has made a game of this. I call it a peek-a-boo game; he calls it the “I see you” game. When he notices something in his attention that he might be inclined to judge, instead of judging it he simply looks at it like a 2-year old who has popped out from under a blanket and says, “I seeeee youuuu.”

Attention alone requires effort. It is the mental effort of staying focused.

Expanding consciousness takes effort because it requires a willingness to increase active attention toward higher ideas and ideals, and to decrease passive attention to things which do not serve those ideas or ideals. It requires determining for yourself which direction you want to go and then looking at your thoughts, beliefs, and actions to discern if they are assisting your chosen direction, or inhibiting it.

Watching the next cute puppy video may be a passive use of intention, but in noticing it, I can decide if it is serving my chosen direction because I am simply tired of paying attention all the time, or if it is not serving my direction because I am using it to avoid something or to escape from having to direct my attention; even in this, the noticing and decision requires effort.

When I am on a Journey, everything goes through the filter of my active attention and I do my best to keep everything—thoughts, behaviors, emotions—directed toward my chosen ideas and ideals. Does this serve what I say I am doing? If the answer is negative, I make an effort to change my thoughts, emotions, or energy about it so that it comes into alignment with what I want.

Sometimes I don’t know. I don’t know if something is heading me in the right direction, I don’t know if what I am doing to shift is the thing that will ensure my chosen direction. The peek-a-boo game helps with this; I just notice, make no decision, and continue with the process.

Sometimes I feel the strain of the effort. My brain gets tired and can’t think; I want to recede into passive attention.

I trust myself. I trust the process. I trust my intention.

Now, another cute puppy video…



Where Did This Come From: Journey of Gratitude – Day 36

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

When I look within and see the radiance of Love, I remember my wholeness. I am wholly loving and wholly lovable. In the purity of Love lies peace, which I share with all in gratitude.


First “I” begin with “me”

I look.

I see.

I remember.


In looking, I see.

In seeing, I remember.


I would not see if I did not first look.

I would not remember if I did not first know.

I see and remember what I know, but first I must look.


I am wholly loving and lovable.


This is what I see!

This is what I remember!

I remember

I remember

I remember!

My essence!




Mine is not mine

Yours is not yours

Whole is All.

I am wholly


Are wholly


Are Wholly



Shares with All.


As All

“I” share

With Gratitude as

The reminder

That I am not I


You are not you


That we are we


Then, I look and see and know

We are whole.




Waking up Snoopy: Journey of Gratitude – Day 35

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

When I am aware of my Self of Love, I see the world through new eyes. Love is the Source of all I see, all I experience; it is the very activity of Life itself.


I have been way too serious lately. I see it now. That figurative >slap< yesterday woke me out of more than just looping.

I do have that tendency, being too serious. “These are very serious topics…” I tell myself. “How will others take me seriously, if I don’t take myself seriously?”

The problem is “being too serious” can be an excuse, a rap, a groove that I use to maintain my comfort level, to prevent myself from growing. I can feel it, now that I am looking at it. It’s this energy of fear, shrouded by “serious”.

Is that too cliché, calling it simply “fear”? But that is really the only way I can describe it: I am afraid of the future, I am afraid of right now, I am afraid of what’s going to happen, I’m afraid of failing, I am afraid of succeeding; I am afraid of unknowns, I am afraid of acting on my knowns…

There are moments when I do these Journeys that something comes up and I realize, despite myself, that I have uncovered something that was working really hard to remain hidden, and there are usually tears. This is one of those moments; there are just a few tears. The tears are acknowledgement, recognition, but also the result of relief from a weight removed—“Ok, it’s ok, it’s out in the open now and I am still alive; I did not self-destruct, and I can look at this more clearly now.”

I can also now look back and notice this theme has been building since day 31; I’ve been writing about keeping myself down, my own self-deception, my own self-victimization. As Charlie Brown said, “This is my depressed stance. When you’re depressed, it makes a lot of difference how you stand. The worst thing you can do is straighten up and hold your head high because then you’ll start to feel better. If you’re going to get any joy out of being depressed, you’ve got to stand like this.”

I wondered why I was so bogged down. I’ve been in my “depressed stance” and didn’t even realize it. No more! =) I’ll let Snoopy say the rest:

"Snoopy" Created and Illustrated by Charles M. Schulz Copyright owned by Peanuts Worldwide, LLC
Created and Illustrated by Charles M. Schulz
Copyright owned by Peanuts Worldwide, LLC

Thankfully, Out of the Loop: Journey of Gratitude – Day 34

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

Through gratitude, my consciousness of Love expands, connecting me with All. Gratitude increases my awareness of unity; gratitude shows me our Wholeness. Gratitude is the bridge to knowing others as my Self. What a gift you are!


Yes, what a gift you are. I am so thankful for my friends and loved ones right now. What would I do without people who can talk me through stuff, help me process, give me pep talks?

There are characteristics that I am particularly thankful for at the moment:

Letting me be: I spin sometimes. It’s true. Not something I necessarily like, but, well…there it is, it happens. I get into an internal loop that I have a hard time escaping. My friends let me be. They let me spin… for a while…

Honesty: Brutal honesty. Go ahead. Give it to me. I can handle it. I know I’m being a pinhead, I know I am moping. I mope and spin and become quite downtrodden when I know where I want to be, but I am having a hard time talking myself into it. It’s when I want to remain apathetic, a victim of my own making, when I am too tired or lazy to pull my own self up by my boot straps.

My friends tell me like it is. They give me that emotional slap to wake me up, the kick in the rear to jar me out of the loop. What’s funny, is they generally don’t tell me something I don’t know… they just say it straight up, no holds barred, and I have to look myself in the eyes, through their eyes. I really, really appreciate this part of my best friendships. There are maybe 3 people who see my looping-mess well enough to lovingly and gently (most times) give me that brutal honesty that is like throwing me in an ice bath to wake me up.

I generally respond like this:Day034

But I will take this over someone sympathetically agreeing with my attempts at Self-negation any day.

Support: I am learning the difference between supporting someone’s “ego” (or “lower self”) and supporting someone’s Self, their “higher Self”. The apathy, victim-mindset, weakness, tiredness which I mention above—those are my “ego” or lower self, trying to keep me down. By being brutally honest, my friends are supporting my higher self. They are encouraging the better part of me. It takes courage a) to give the type of honesty that lifts people, despite their self-destruction tendencies, and do it in a way that they can receive it. It can be so easy to comply and agree with people’s ego-based emotions, rather than helping them grow out of them and b) to accept this kind of support and not become defensive fearing the pain of growth or that someone else sees you so clearly.

Experience: I have great honor and respect for people’s personal experiences, when they are able to advise me through my own. Sure, sometimes I don’t want to hear it (especially if it’s unsolicited!), but when I am in my loop, and someone who has felt what I feel and has come out the other side: yes, do please. They have this way of saying, “It will be ok, you’ll get through this” or “YOU CAN”T LET IT GET TO YOU!!!” in a way that is believable. It’s believable, because they’ve done it, and if they’ve done it and are okay, there is some assurance you can do it and be okay too.

Thank you to all my friends, family, colleagues who help get me out of the loop.


Happily in Service: Journey of Gratitude – Day 33

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

I fill my mind with the Light of the Truth of Love. What more is there? In the Light of the Truth, I am Free. What more is there? My consciousness expands in the Truth of Love, forever One, forever Joyful, forever in Peace.


“Does this Guiding Thought have anything whatsoever to do with Gratitude?” I asked myself while reading it.  “There is nothing about gratitude in it!”

Ah, but look more closely! Truth is the source of gratitude: would you be grateful for anything but Truth? Would you have anything to be grateful for without Truth, without Love?

I have been thinking a lot about the idea, “No man can serve two masters:” and in the context of today’s Guiding Thought, this is about serving Truth. I suppose it’s always really about serving Truth. It doesn’t even matter what the other “master” is: money, the devil, or ego; the only thing to know is that Truth (God, Love), is the only master that matters, the only choice to make.

“I fill my mind with the Light of Truth. What more is there?” When my mind is filled with the Light of Truth—really filled—with the Light of Truth, I am serving the only master there is. How do I know if my mind is filled with the Light of Truth? I am at Peace, and in Joy. The depth of the experience of peace and joy reflects the degree of the commitment to Truth. If I say I serve Truth and Love, yet have hostility, resentment, or anxiety in my experience, I have deceived myself and called something I have made “truth”.

“Serving a master” sounds weak, doesn’t it? It sounds so…subservient. Maybe this is one reason why it’s so difficult for humans to serve Truth—Truth must be served, and we think we are degraded in service, that if someone “dominates” us, we have lost our self.

Yet Truth asks for service to itself only to give us our Self—the Love we are, with the Freedom, Joy, and Peace that accompany It.

The Truth of Love is the Truth of our Self, who we are, the Love we are, in all its Wholeness, Oneness, Power and Glory. We are this Love! We are this Truth! We Are, we Are, we Are Life itself.

Bless this Life! Bless this Love! Bless You! Bless All!

What more is there to be grateful for?

Thanks for the Coffee: Journey of Gratitude – Day 32

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

I lift my mind and heart to the Truth of Being, to all that Is, to All I Am. I accept my Self in Truth and offer my Self to All in gratitude for Its Being.


I look around me, or take a breath, or feel the warmth of the sun, and appreciate Life. This has been the essence of this Journey for me: appreciating life, every aspect of it, anything that contributes to it. Emerson said:

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

I like that even though he starts by saying “every good thing” he ends by saying “include all things in your gratitude”. Don’t just be thankful for things you think are “good”! Find reasons to be thankful for challenges, lessons, or even things that are unwanted. Gratitude may not transform the experience, but it will transform your interpretation of it.

The end of Emerson’s quote reminds me of the Buddhist concept of interdependent co-arising. This, simply put, is the idea that everything is interconnected. When I make coffee in the morning, it is not just “me” making coffee; it is every thing—every experience, every effort, every action, every substance, every person—who has gone into creating that moment of “me”, that moment of “coffee”, that moment of “mug”, that moment of “water”, etc. When I give thanks for that invigorating black liquid, I give thanks to every person, every action, every effort used to bring me those beans, this mug, this water, the electricity to run my coffee maker…every single thing!

When I read the part in the quote, “…all things have contributed to your advancement,” I think about it in terms of interdependent co-arising. Nothing is apart from Being. Nothing is apart from Life. In some way, everything has contributed to who you are, who I am, today; everything deserves thanks and gratitude.

Gratitude is both being thankful for what we have now, as well as striving to create the conditions for feeling gratitude. What are you thankful for? What more can you bring into your life that you can be thankful for?

Prepare your mind for gratitude; appreciate whatever you can, remember everything connected to it, and be thankful for those things as well.

Nurture your environment in gratitude. Openly express thanks to anything and everything. Silently thank anything and everything. Everything is of Life, for us.

Rejoice in Retaliation: Journey of Gratitude – Day 31

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Welcome to Round 4! We are in the last 10 days of the Journey!

See an explanation for how the Guiding Thoughts change for this round here.

Guiding Thought

I remember my Self and recognize the Love within me, the Love I Am. I see this Love as all I am and all there is, the reality of me, the reality of you, and the reality that is the Life of All. I honor this Love and this Life, and offer my gratitude for Its Being. What Joy there is in Being!


This Journey is now my eighth Journey in the past 2 years. I am learning so much! On individual days I can be really hard on myself, “I’m not doing enough…” “I’m not getting it fast enough…” “I’m not doing everything I can…” But when I look back over the past two years, I can’t help but acknowledge my progress, my growth.

This is one of the values of these Journeys: I am unable to deceive myself into believing “I’m not doing enough”. Every day, despite my self-condemnations, I am working to grow out of them. I have the proof…every day.

My mind and my ego would keep me in the chains of fear, doubt, confusion, and uncertainty by trying to convince me I am inadequate, weak, or blind. But every day of taking the time to focus on and to feel the Truth of Being, the ego’s hold weakens. For that I am thankful.

This Journey of Gratitude was an outgrowth of the Journey of Freedom: When I am aware of the Truth of Being, I am Free, and all I can feel is the joy and gratitude of Being in that Truth; gratitude for Being raises my awareness of Truth of Being, which brings about gratitude for Being.

Likewise, the next Journey, a Journey of Courage will be an outgrowth of this Journey of Gratitude. It does not take courage to Be the Love we Are—that is natural and easy. It does take courage to overcome the fear, confusion, uncertainty, and doubt of a mind trying to convince us we are not the Love we Are.  “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” -Rumi

Each day we spend time remembering our True Self and being grateful for it…and then feeling an obstacle—distractions, doubts, faithlessness—we must take courage! We must deny those fears any power over us!

“Ignore those things that make you fearful and sad, that degrade you back towards disease and death.” -Rumi

“Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” Frank Herbert, Dune

This is one reason I encourage small steps, just a drop each day. With every step forward, with each drop of Truth realized in our consciousness, the ego, the mind’s fear, will likely retaliate to draw us back into itself.

It will rattle its chains to keep its hold; it will try to convince you of your worthlessness without it; it will remind you of failures and doubts. The larger the steps or the bigger the drops, the greater the retaliation; rejoice in its retaliation, for that means you are letting it go! But, you must gauge each step forward to keep the retaliation manageable. Too much fear and you may hide from the Truth, thinking the Truth is what is causing the pain.

Undo the ego slowly through love, kindness, and teaching it true Joy. Even small steps take courage.

After many small steps come leaps. After small steps, the ego becomes acclimated to the progress; it no longer feels threatened with a new understanding of Being, and it no longer retaliates. At those moments, there is an opening and an awakening, a cool breeze, a noticeable quiet, stillness, peace, and joy that assure you of your growth.

After you have advanced, there is a new level to which you must acclimate the ego; the small steps begin again. We may go through this “advance-retaliate-take courage!-LEAP!” cycle many, many times before the final undoing. Take courage.

Let every undoing be an advancement that opens your mind and heart to the Truth of Being…and be grateful you are serving Love’s purpose.