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.


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.


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.




Walking Through Tar, Enjoying Food. -Healing (1.4.37)

Copyright Tam Black 2018
Designed for
Guiding Thought

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


I am very thankful for wise friends.

As you probably are aware, we humans are not “just a body”. We are a mind, emotions, and a Soul, or Spirit. Each of these aspects of us receive and transmit energy, and we have an “energy field” for each of these aspects, often called an aura. Some people can sense the aura’s energy, some people can see it, some people can discern the very subtle variations between the mental aura, the emotional aura, the physical aura, and the spiritual, or etheric, aura.

Whether or not you are able to sense the energy, you are still receiving and transmitting it, and the energy is affecting you.

I am not currently able to sense energy fields to a large degree. To a small degree, yes–but I think of it more as empathy or simply paying attention to a person’s physical cues–so it may not be aura stuff. This is why I am thankful for wise friends, friends who have these perceptions, and can talk to me, support me, about energy stuff that is affecting me, but at such a subtle level I can’t explain it or wrap my head around it.

Through this Journey, I’ve been feeling mired down–not physically (my body feels good and energetic), not even emotionally (my emotions have been “normal” or “even”). The mire has been more mental and etheric (at least that is what I now understand after emailing with a wise-friend). He confirmed what I wrote about yesterday: that I am growing into something new, the old is out-of-place, and there are some expansion pains.

In this transition, I have not wanted to think (very unlike me); I have not wanted to do anything that requires mental effort. I have also not wanted to do many of my usual spiritual practices–they feel wrong. The only real spiritual practices that I have been doing are 1. this Journey (which has been difficult for me to delve into mentally/emotionally) 2. Baths (“Hara Ganga”!) 3. Fire. 4. physical work while trying to keep my mind on God 5. fasting one day per week. That’s it.

It seems like the physical practices are ones that I can do, but the mental/emotional practices feel like the spiritual equivalent of rubbing my palm with sandpaper–they just do not feel good.

My friend described feeling the energy like “walking through tar”. Everything is heavy, and slow. That’s how I feel. When a new self/new energy is emerging, it’s important to be patient, loving, and generous with yourself. That is pretty much what my goal was for this Journey. But at the beginning, I had no idea what I was getting myself in to!

He reminded me to “allow the disintegration” (of the lower/ego/selfish-self), and he recommended that, if I feel I need to, it’s okay to just stop doing my spiritual practices. He explained that sometimes, pushing oneself, only irritates the process and enrages (like adding fuel to a fire) those parts that are having “growing pains”.

This feels right to me, though I do not feel like I need to stop all my practices. I feel like I need to do the ones that feel ok–the physical practices. There have been many days over the past 6 weeks when I have been so comforted and relaxed doing the most mundane things, like laundry, mowing the yard, or dishes.

I have also really been enjoying eating (a very physical thing, though not generally a spiritual practice!). I know that sounds a bit odd, but it wouldn’t if you knew me: I don’t generally enjoy food. I am more utilitarian when it comes to food: I eat for nourishment. But this summer, I have been really enjoying food. And I’ve not given myself a hard time about it–I’ve been letting myself take pleasure in food. I am not sure how this fits with the transition, but I am ok with enjoying this lesson.


All in…or not–Journey of Gratitude 2017, day 29

“Whatever you accept into your mind has reality for you. It is, however, only your acceptance of it that makes it real.” (ACIM)


Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for

Guiding Thought

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


There is a theme throughout A Course in Miracles that goes something like this: When you accept the Atonement (At-One-Ment), when you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, and only the voice of the Holy Spirit, when you See with True perception (which is not really a perception at all, but simply “Truth”), you will have attained the Peace of God.

These three things–accepting the Atonement, hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit, Seeing–they are all just kind of ways that you can gauge “how close you are” to attaining the Peace of God. (“how close you are” is only necessary in time, in a relative world). But once you attain one of these three completely, you will have attained all of them. There is no in-between. It’s all, or…you’re still “getting” there.

The language in the Course goes back and forth between talking to us in a way that represents how we experience time and relative reality, but then telling us that once we accept the Atonement, relative reality becomes obsolete, we no longer need it, so we no longer experience it (we experience Freedom, the Peace of God).

While we experience time and relative reality, we make choices within those frameworks. But the point is to step out of those frameworks completely and into the Atonement.

  • Learning is only necessary in time, in relative reality; we no longer need to learn, when we Know God.
  • Forgiveness is only necessary in time, in relative reality; we no longer need to forgive, when we Know God’s infinite all-encompassing Love.
  • Healing is only necessary in time, in relative reality; We are already Whole.

The only real choice is between relative reality and the Atonement. All of the choices we are making within relative reality only serve to keep us here, in relative reality. When we begin, more often, to choose the Atonement, that is when we experience things like healing–we are choosing the Peace of God more often. What we choose to accept into our minds has reality for us.

Gratitude behaves the same way as forgiveness or healing: in relative reality it acts as a bridge to Love, to the Peace of God. This is why Gratitude makes all things new. With gratitude, our minds and hearts open to Love, to our Source; when our minds accept Love, Love becomes our reality.

Similarly, once we achieve the Peace of God, we no longer “need” to be grateful: It is a constant state of Being, as we are in the flow and create and expand with Love, in Life!

Journey of the Heart – Day 39

We are on round 4! These last ten days, the Guiding Thoughts return to using me and I for the pronouns. See how your perspective of your self has changed through using you or we the past twenty days. See if your sense of self is bigger; if you can include a broader vision of “you”.

You may also choose to continue to take a moment before the Journey to listen to this quickly—it is a thought for others, so that the effects of this Journey ripple out!


Spend about 15-20 minutes with the guiding thought, and then let your heart speak through words, pictures, colors, shapes, whatever feels right. I’ve supplied a link below to an audio of me doing the guiding thought–use it if you like to create, while listening to it play on a loop (that’s what I do). Scroll to the bottom for my sharing…

Day 39 Guiding Thought

Gratitude strikes my heart like a bell, resounding love through my being.

Gratitude opens my heart to Love’s purity, my very own essence!

I experience such deep gratitude for my heart, my essence, my ALL of Life!

Click here to access the audio file.

You can download this and play it in a loop while you allow your heart to speak to you :).   I suggest Windows Media Player (I have not tested other players).

Journey of the Heart - Day 39 Susan Billmaier for susanwithpearls
Journey of the Heart – Day 39
Susan Billmaier for susanwithpearls

The center of this picture is a pearl. The word “essence” was very powerful today, and as soon as I started listening to the Guiding Thought, the word essence immediately brought to mind a picture of a pearl—my essence—in my mind!  It was really neat to connect with my Susanwithpearls essence through this Guiding Thought. I really felt it. In fact, this was one of the deeper-feeling days that I’ve had.

As it seems to go at those times when feelings are predominant, I’m a bit at a loss for words to describe the effect.

However, I will say that as I was drawing, I was wishing for you to feel a similar connection with your essence, with your “pearl”, whatever that is for you. I felt so satisfied, calm, assured, happy, and loved; I want you to know that part of yourself…the part that brings you these kinds of feelings. I want you to know peace within yourself.

Gratitude came naturally from this connection to my essence, too.  I was so thankful for the love that I was feeling, love I wanted to share, and I know is possible for everyone.

When I feel like this, I know this is the right path. Oh, what the world would be like, if everyone knew themselves as the beautiful pearl-essence that they are! Connection with others would be heartfelt and sincere. People would want to do things in such a way that would unlock other’s ability to unearth their (sometimes deeply) buried worth and beauty. People would aspire to co-operation, helping each other, sharing; in short, to being kind… it’s a beautiful thing to imagine.

May you know peace in your essence today…and always.


Journey of the Heart – Day 27

We are on round 3! For this round, the pronouns for the Guiding Thoughts change again; we will use the pronoun “we” or “us”, instead of “I” or “you”. When you listen to the Guiding Thoughts (or read them), unite yourself with me, and I will unite myself with you. We are the “we”!

Before you begin each day, take a moment and think about this from Day 08’s Guiding Thought: Love-as-light streams from my heart to your heart! We are connected by Love; we are One in Love. You may even choose to listen to this quickly—it is a thought that will turn your mind to the right attitude for the day’s endeavor.


Spend about 15-20 minutes with the guiding thought, and then let your heart speak through words, pictures, colors, shapes, whatever feels right. I’ve supplied a link below to an audio of me doing the guiding thought–use it if you like to create, while listening to it play on a loop (that’s what I do). Scroll to the bottom for my sharing…

Day 27 Guiding Thought

We focus our heart-love in the service of each other.

As we serve each other through our deepest heart-love, our own love expands and becomes amplified.

There is always more love to share, to give, to experience!

Joy and gratitude fill us, when we open to our heart’s love!

Click here to access the audio file.

You can download this and play it in a loop while you allow your heart to speak to you :).   I suggest Windows Media Player (I have not tested other players).


Journey of the Heart - Day 27 Susan Billmaier for susanwithpearls
Journey of the Heart – Day 27
Susan Billmaier for susanwithpearls

My emotions grew more joyful as I drew this picture today. It was pretty neat, actually…and I think you can see it in the figures. The outer-most circle of figures has a lot of dance and joy expressed. I started drawing figures with poses of “service”—at least, in my imagination. But then, the figures’ poses took on a life of their own, and they just started doing stuff. And the stuff seemed to be big, expansive movements of joy and gratitude.

The final piece I did was the partial spiral of hearts and infinity signs. I did not intend for it to be a spiral, but then it started working out that way, and it made sense for the hearts to get bigger and bigger.

I know that this process of listening and drawing has an impact on my psyche, on my consciousness. Today was special. My consciousness definitely was very perceptibly lifted in doing this. I think that is the whole point of this guiding thought—to realize that when we lift others (“in the service of others”), we ourselves are lifted. Then we realize how wonderful it is to be lifted and there is joy and gratitude…then more service, because who doesn’t want to be lifted some more? And on and on it goes. But it begins with our actions and attitude of service to start the upward spiral.