Journey of Gratitude– Why? (2.8.0)

Greetings in Love and Light! Welcome to a new year.

Today begins Journey of Gratitude. Let’s go! I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad I’m here. I am already so thankful to be here, with you now, doing this work.

Think and write about why you would like to spend 40 days thinking about, contemplating, and practicing gratitute. Feel free to share with me privately by email, or publicly below.

Why

Back in December, during Journey of Rest, I was having intense waves of gratitude almost daily. I would think about my life, about the support and love that I have, about my relationship with the Great Mystery; I thought about Jesus and what He brought into the world; I thought about being a drop in an infinite ocean, aware of itself, of the ocean, and of its relationship with all the other drops; I would think about how beautiful this life is, the inter-connectivity of everything, and how amazing and wondrous it all is,  and I would (sometimes) just weep with love and joy at how thankful I felt.

At that time, I recognized how gratitude was a doorway for Love. If I didn’t feel Love, I could focus on feeling thankful, and then Love was a breath away.

I thought, “I got this. Journey of Gratitude is going to be so easy. Do I even need a Journey of Gratitude? I just need to stay in this space forever!”

But you know, “this too shall pass”. I usually say that when something is a struggle, but really, it’s true otherwise, as all things are impermanent and changing (until we realize and live our True, eternal selves, anyway).

For the life of me, I have not been able to re-capture that intense feeling of gratitude since around December 23 (right before Christmas). I’m not saying that I haven’t felt thankful. But there’s a difference in mental-practices of gratitude and recognizing things to be thankful for, and the kind of gratitude that overwhelms with emotions of love and joy so much that tears flow.

I think my experiences in December (pre-December 23) were the teaser. “You see? This is what is possible. Are you there yet? No? Keep going.”

So here I am, an ideal in mind as a carrot on a stick, slogging toward it.

I knew I was going to have to write Why today, and I’ve been thinking and thinking about where I’m at with this, juxtaposing my recent loving/joyful gratitude experiences with how I actually feel right here right now.

It would be a cop out to say simply, “I want to work toward that (the ideal, mindlessly following a carrot on a stick). Yeah. It is that, but it’s also more than that.

I want to open my heart to expand in giving and receiving more love.
And gratitude does that.

I want to be of True Service–recognizing and living in the space of knowing what an honor (and responsibility!) it is to serve All in Love.
And gratitude does that.

I want to serve joyfully, inexhaustibly, according to my True, Highest Purpose.
And gratitude does that.

I want to remember my commitment–remember what I really want–which is to continue reaching every day, every hour, every minute with 100% of my being toward Infinite Love and Light.
And…I’m not sure if gratitude does that, but I’m going to treat this like an experiment to find out.

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Tomorrow is the commitment and dedication! Then we start the 40-days of contemplation. Remember with this Journey  to get out your crayons, markers, pencils, and get ready to draw/create. Gratitude is especially pre-disposed toward the right/creative/aesthetic brain.

 

 

 

Why can’t we just get there already? -Fulfillment (1.6.21)

Copyright Tam Black 2018
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Welcome to Round 3!

We’re halfway done! How are you doing? Seriously…how is your life going? How’s your Journey going? I feel like this week I have felt the weight of the world…so much going on politically and environmentally; have you felt it? There’s a lot of “fear” in the air. I don’t know…I’ve never been “sensitive” to that sort of thing, like feeling those etheric emotions that hover about, but I have no other explanation for this heaviness I’ve been feeling this week. It’s like there is a part of me that is my usual happy self, and this other part of me that wants to run and hide. The “usual” part can identify that the other part is “not me”, but at the same time the person who’s feeling the fear identifies as “me”… Someone said to me today that I should not “let it get me down”. I get that, and I don’t let it get me down. But at the same time, I feel like the awareness of this “fear in the air” brings me responsibility. I am not blissfully ignorant: if I am aware of these less-than-loving emotions, it’s my responsibility to bring light and love to them. So…I’ve been especially vigilant about “my” own emotions, and I’ve been playing mantra on very low volume all day. The more light and love I bring to it, the faster we will move through it. Join in. Add your light and your love, let’s get through this.

See this page for information about how this round changes.

Guiding Thought

Everywhere fulfillment is, we are. Fulfillment is everywhere. Fulfillment is. We are.

Sharing

(Q) Why can’t we just get there already? If Fulfillment is everywhere, why aren’t we there? If we are All One, and Love is Oneness why are we not All living in Love right here, right now? I don’t get it.

(A) People use and have used their free will to deny the Love they Are. In doing so, they have forgotten who they are. In forgetting, they have made a substitute and believed in the substitute (sometimes called “ego” or “lower self” or “lower mind”).

To rectify this, people must choose to use their free will to stop denying the Love they Are, or in other words, to accept the Love they are.

People are at various degrees–or percentages–about how much they are willing to do this. Some people have more ego than others; some egos have a stronger hold.

We are all moving in the same direction, to 100% Love. But we all must participate at 100% in order for us all to be there.

If one person participates at 75% s/he has 25% to go, and probably has very strong momentum toward that 100%. This person is probably unaffected by most “worldly cares”, and has good habits and practices that maintain the momentum.

If another person participates at 25%, s/he probably has more trouble staying the course than the person at 75%, often waylaid by upsets and distractions.

Since we are All One, even if one person reaches 100%, there is still work to do! Until everyone reaches that 100%.

Everyone is both an individual expression of Divine Consciousness and the Unity of Divine Consciousness. In order for the Unity of Divine Consciousness to be expressed in every living being, every living being’s individual expression must choose Divine Consciousness as its own.

 

Enriching Life -Abundance (1.5.28)

Copyright Tam Black 2018
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

We focus our minds and hearts entirely on the Divine Presence within. We think, we speak, and we act in accordance with Divine Will, releasing Divine Substance into all our activity, ordering all our financial affairs.

Sharing

I ran into an old boss today at the supermarket. She was my supervisor from 2003-2008, and the best boss I have ever had. She valued people; she understood how to bring out the best in people; she believed in encouraging people to become better colleagues to each, and better human beings in the world.

Right around 2008, leadership in the organization changed, and her boss (who valued her and supported her vision) was replaced by someone who did not have the same values and principles, someone who valued money and personal advancement over people and cooperative effort. Needless to say, work became very stressful for my former boss, and since then she has been up and down, and down and up,  trying to find a place where her strength and leadership style could be valued again.

As we were taking leave of each other today in the supermarket, she said, in her resilient and tenacious spirit, “We just rise…again and again…”

I have known several people–myself included–who have been bullied and beaten down by bosses who cannot seem to fathom the value of employees, the value of people, the value of relationships. I feel sad for this state of the world (but I feel like it is beginning to sigh its final breath); I feel angry that people don’t know how to treat other people; I feel sad for all of the really good people I know who have experienced this.

But I cannot, I refuse to, believe that this is our future.

There are way too many people out there making changes, doing the work, being kind, building relationships. Just today, I found these folks, who look absolutely amazing:

I know that over the past week or so, I’ve diverged from the topic of abundance in my writings. At first, I thought I was totally off base, and that I should try harder to stay on topic.

But that’s not how the Journeys work. The writing (this) is about what is inspired within, what wants to come out and be expressed, regardless of whether it is on topic or not.

Because it’s always on topic. These things come out for a reason. You may not know it when you’re writing, you may not understand today, but everything is connected, and there’s a reason that your mind/brain prompts you in certain directions.

Here’s what I currently think about my so-called off-topic musings: The world is changing…big time. There are a lot of beliefs, behavior patterns, systems, structures, etc., that are passing; they are dying, and they are fighting against their inevitable death knell. What we are experiencing is this final fight before their end.

This has to do with abundance because so many of those dying patterns have to do with greed, corruption, selfishness, pettiness, domination, and abuse…and it’s those patterns that are dying, to be replaced with new patterns of cooperation and community, appreciation for diversity, love of life and all that entails, sharing, helping, caring, and building sustainable systems that support and encourage these values.

Abundance is so much more than money or wealth, and I think that is what I’ve been getting at over the past few days. Everything that enriches life is abundance. And that’s where we are headed.

 

Namaste -Abundance (1.5.12)

Copyright Tam Black 2018
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

Choose now to expand your consciousness and open your heart to Divine Love’s flow within you. Realize your own Divine Presence. Know God as the Source and Fulfillment of all your good.

Sharing

“Namaste” (pronounced Nah-mah-stay) is a Sanskrit word that means “I honor you” or “the Divine Presence in me honors the Divine Presence in you”.

Namaste was imported to the United States with other traditional Hindu practices like yoga, chanting, and meditation.

As a white person, born and raised in the United States, I am going to make the claim we don’t get it. White people–or any person–socialized in the superficial, consumer-driven, materialistic United States do not get it.

Namaste, like yoga, chanting, or meditation in India, is part of a multifaceted philosophy, medicine system, culture, spirituality, and way of life. Like so many things appropriated by (predominantly white) people in the United States, the (very deep and traditional) meaning of Namaste (which is accompanied by a feeling deep in the heart) has been sterilized, made into a superficial trend, and been completely disconnected from its essence, its heart, its dynamic-presence lived every day in a culture that is thousands of years old.

We (people born and raised in the United States…) don’t know any better. This is our culture, borne out of centuries of white-European patriarchal imperialism and colonization: seizing and appropriating other cultures is kind of the white-European thing.

And, we can stop. (Yes, we can). The problem with appropriation is not (IMHO) the fact of the appropriation–cultures and societies have integrated, meshed, and blended for as long as there have been people in societies. The problem is with the mind-set of dominance and the accompanying dilution of the culture and the traditions being dominated.

Namaste is the case in point. Americans think Namaste is just a word. But it’s not just a word. It is a feeling of deep respect offered to another. This feeling comes out having self-respect, so that when one says, Namaste (“The Divine in me honors the Divine in you”), the feeling accompanying the word is the sharing of this knowing and understanding of the Divine within. If you can’t feel it, you’re not using the word with its intrinsic depth and meaning.

Cultivate that sense of feeling in your heart, in your mind. Expand your awareness of the Divine within. Connect to your Inner Divine. Then, and only then, say “Namaste”.

 

 

 

 

No Rest for the Weary -Healing (1.4.27)

Copyright Tam Black 2018
Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Guiding Thought

Love is Wholeness. The essence of Love is Peace. The essence of Wholeness is Unity. Our essence is Love, therefore, our essence is Peace; our essence is Unity. Since our essence is Unity, we share Love and Peace wholly. Knowing the Unity of Whole Love and Peace with All is the essence of holiness. We choose to be aware, to understand and to Know our Whole and Holy Self, which is Love.

Reflection

Do you feel like giving up? Do you feel like throwing your hands in the air and saying, “nope. I’m done. This is not mine anymore. finis”? 

I don’t mean just about the Journey. I mean about anything in your life.

Are you tired of the stress? Tired of the responsibility? Tired of trying to figure out what the next step is? Tired of doing the work? Tired of being the one who always steps up? Tired of being the one who speaks out?

We all get to that point at some time, don’t we? Me too.

A line from the Bhavanyastakam just came to me:

I do not know how to be righteous or find your abode.
I do not know how to achieve freedom by dissolving my ego.
I am devoid of the will to fight; I surrender.
I am not strong enough to make any vow.
O Mother of the universe – You are my saviour, my eternal refuge.

There is something relieving about acknowledging limitations, or surrendering, or admitting, “I can’t do this…(alone)”.

I have felt like I have reached my limits, and I don’t know what to do. (I mean this mostly energetically/emotionally–you can’t do this kind of [spiritual] work without having more and more come up for release). But this type of energetic/emotional stress of “too much” is not unique to me–there is so much going on, so many ways we (all) are feeling an energetic onslaught of attack to our highest and most human values.

But there is no stopping. There is no going back. There is only moving forward. I know this; I bet you do too.

Because this is who we are: we can handle whatever comes at us, and we know it.

And because we know it, we know we are responsible. No one else has the responsibility that we have, because most people keep themselves ignorant–and if they don’t know or understand, they don’t have to do anything.

We do not have that luxury. We do not need to judge “them” (…even they are beginning to wake up), or be too hard on ourselves. Just do your work, as you always do. You are so important to all of us, and more powerful than you know.

Keep doing it. Giving up is never an option. You are not alone. 

This is for you:

 

 

 

Every Day a Better Day -Healing (1.4.25)

Copyright Tam Black 2018
Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Guiding Thought

Our own Loving Presence is our personal connection with Divine Mind. Attuned to our own Loving Presence, we Know ourselves as Whole and Holy. As we feel our Inner Unity, we know: this is all we want; we have found all we seek.

Reflection

Between 2005 and 2013 I studied A Course in Miracles pretty intensely. I don’t mean that I stopped at doing the daily lessons. I did those, then I read the text, took notes and wrote…and wrote…and wrote. That was before I was doing the Journeys. In a way, at least a portion of these Journeys grew out of that study. Part of what I wanted (and still want) to do with the Journeys is to do a cross-reference research project for a bunch of the themes in ACIM, to answer questions like, “How does purpose relate to atonement“? or “How does atonement relate to forgiveness“? or “How does forgiveness relate to healing“? or “How does healing relate to purpose“? You see how nicely that would fit within the framework of the Journeys? Everything is interconnected; each “theme” gives insight into other “themes” and those links bring greater understanding to both those themes and all others.

I had the good fortune at that time of having a flexible job schedule, and often did not have to be out of the house until 10 or 11 am. I would read-study-write from 5 or 6 am until 9 or 10. I would be completely absorbed, completely focused, never getting tired, but rather getting energized. I remember often thinking, “This is all I want; this is all I want to do”.

That feeling, “this is all I want; this is all I want to do” has recurred in my life more broadly with spiritual practices, and spiritual writing and studying.

As with a lot of spiritual practices, like meditation, the practices connect a person to their Loving Presence, their link to Divine Mine, their link to their own Inner Divine.

It’s a great place to hang out, there, with your own Loving Presence. It’s a high, really. I was thinking earlier today that it’s sort of like the runners high: you have to push through certain mental (chemical-hormonal-energetic) barriers, but once you get into “the zone” it feels amazing and you can just coast for hours, and the high carries you through other parts of your day and life.

Another similarity with running is that, like an endorphin high, the spiritual high eventually wears off. We go out into the world, where there is drama, among people who do not connect with their Loving Presence, who don’t and can’t understand wholeness, unity, compassion…so we end up not only losing the high, but expending more energy to protect ourselves from an onslaught of other people’s emotional energy. It’s a good day when I don’t get sucked down; it’s a better day when I can not only maintain my own Inner Harmony, but can also share it with others–where I can actually perceive that their energy is lifted and lightened through our interaction.

believe that we–all people– are headed to a time when the high does not wear off and every day is a better day. I think that the intense emotional energy in the world right now is a mass purging. All the crap is coming to the surface, so that it can go away for good.

More people are meditating. More people are doing spiritual practices. More people are realizing that it’s a great place to be, connected with Love, connected with others through Love.

What takes you to your zone? What are the practices that you do that take you to the place where you say, “This is all I want”? If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. It’s there, waiting for you.

What do you do when you’re wrong? -Healing (1.4.9)

Copyright Tam Black 2018
Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Guiding Thought

I am the Light of Love. Light saturates my mind and body, surrounding every thought, and radiating out to All. Everything radiates Light in return. Everywhere is Light. I rest in Peace, Being Light.

Reflection

Have you ever thought, “What if everything I think is true is false?” or “What if everything I believe is wrong?”?

I ask myself such questions sometimes to keep me on my toes.

For everything I believe, or for everything I think is true, there is someone who believes the opposite, or thinks that I’m wrong. But it’s also more than that.

There are people who have been in long term relationships, even marriages, who wake up one day to find that everything they had been believing in, and building their lives on, was not what they had thought. The other person did not feel the same way–and suddenly the relationship was over. I know people who have gone through this.

I wonder–in my current relationship–what would I do, if this was all false? What if I were to become one of those people who wakes up one day to find my life turned upside down?

So, you see…this is a fairly practical reason to keep myself on my toes and ask “what if things aren’t what I think they are”.

This is not an exercise to promote fear or suspicion–I hope it does not come across that way. It is, rather, an exercise in expanding how I live, think, and make choices.

People do not always share the same opinions, the same perspective, the same understanding–even when it seems like they do. People are people, living the best way they can. Not everyone is honest with other people. Not everyone is honest with themselves. Sometimes people are simply uninformed. Sometimes they are taught something that is not correct. Sometimes they stand adamantly by something they have learned, without even thinking they could be wrong.

That is why, sometimes, I play this game, wondering “what if I’m wrong?” I give myself that space, that option. I play it out in my head…what would I do if I am wrong?

There are two ways then, to approach this: 1) Would I regret my actions from the past, if I found out everything I thought was wrong? 2) Would I change my future if I learned something I believed was wrong?

As for #1: If I woke up tomorrow and found out that my relationship was not what I thought it was, would I regret anything? Would I think I had wasted my time? Would I feel resentful? No. I would not change anything. Of course, life would change because I would no longer make the same choices, but I would not regret anything about the past.

As for #2: I just learned that some things (spiritual practices) that I have been doing have been “incorrect”. I am in no way a traditionalist, and I have learned my practices mostly through reading and practicing. But in these, I either had not read enough to find more-correct information, or I missed it if I did read it. What I thought was correct- isn’t. I feel a bit embarrassed and angry with myself…but how was I to know? I was ignorant, uninformed; I was doing the best I could with who I am and what I have. Now I feel like I must change my behavior; I must forego habits that I have developed for years and do something new and different. Will I see a difference? Do these spiritual practices make that much of a difference? (FYI: I generally believe that what is in my heart is what translates to the Divine, and my heart has been in the right place. I also believe the Divine is very forgiving!)

What is “right”? How do we learn? What do we do when we are wrong? Can we change? Can we grow? Can we do something different?

Change is the only constant. Being “right” or “wrong” is part of that territory.

I may be wrong, but…

There are things that I believe in so strongly that they are the cornerstones to my personal philosophy, and they help to assuage me, when I find I am wrong, and I need to evolve my thoughts, actions, or beliefs.

  1. Living with pure intentions establishes all actions in the right (higher) direction.
  2. Love does not mislead. Anything done with Love is worthwhile. Doing things with Love is a way to live with no regrets.
  3. The heart is the best guide. People can only make decisions for what is true and right for them at any given moment. This is the best we can do.
  4. Learning matters. When I am willing to learn–even if it means acknowledging that I’ve learned something “wrong” in the past–I can learn and grow into better and better versions of myself.