Success! on my terms– Journey of Gratitude 2017, day 10

This one Guiding Thought is all I would need. It, alone, is enough for enlightenment. If I could master this one thought, that would be enough…


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

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 couldn’t do it. I did not succeed in focusing my whole Self on being entirely with Love. I could not tune out the distractions  (most of which were my own mind); I could not place my entire focus on the Love that is always with me.

My mind drifted. My mind asked, “what is Love, anyway”? My mind thought, “What constitutes my ‘whole Self'”? “OK, focus… tune out distractions…” Then I realized that thinking about tuning out a distraction is itself a distraction.

This is one time, when not succeeding is also not failing. On a Journey, there are only steps. There is no individual success, or failure, when each step brings about forward movement, when each step increases my awareness.

Each step demonstrates to Love, my commitment to It, my commitment to Knowing It. Each step is its own success, because each step brings me closer to the Ultimate Return.

One of my favorite Lessons from A Course in Miracles is Lesson 68, “Love holds no grievances”. Today, it has a different import. It says, “If you succeed even by ever so little, there will never be a problem with motivation again”.

The same is true with today’s Journey. If you succeed, ever so little, you have succeeded (I paraphrase…). You see, every step of these Journeys strengthens your True Self. Every step gives you a bit more of a glimpse of the Love you are, as you are. If you succeed even by ever so little, you will want to keep taking the steps toward that Self of Love. That is success: continuing, every day, small steps.

Highest vision for the world: (on Twitter, #pearlsofvision. What is your vision?)

How would the world be, if everyone were happy, and they acted out of happiness? There would be no jealousy, no greed, no deceit. Everyone would be satisfied, content, relaxed–able to give others encouragement and support, able to help others if they should need it, able to make decisions and take actions without worrying about the outcome, without trying to figure things out in advance, without trying to manipulate or control–there would be no reason for any of that. Happiness overrides the need to want something else.


“Whirlin’ Swirlin'”: Journey of the Heart 2.0 – Day 27

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

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!

-Play the Guiding Thought here (loops automatically).
Journey of the Heart audio created by Brad Vanlandingham for Susanwithpearls-



I felt really good this morning. I felt a lot of self-acceptance: I like myself. And I felt happy. The two seemed related—liking myself and being happy. But what’s the relationship? Does liking myself make me happier or does being happy make me like myself more? Or are the two completely unrelated, and I just happened to like myself and be happy this morning?

Let me note, these feelings (liking myself and happy) were totally organic and natural this morning. They were just there. I didn’t think about them; I didn’t do anything to make them “happen”. There was simply this bubbling up of self-acceptance and happiness.

I don’t experience that kind of happiness all the time—but it is my pursuit! In fact, feeling happiness is one of the things that started this whole Journey “thing”. One day, back in 2013, I wrote this regarding happiness:

“Let me be clear: this was not just a moment of waking up and just feeling good (although it was also that). It was not a moment of looking at all the good things in my life and being thankful (although it was also that). It was not a just moment of being proud of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve accomplished (although it was even also that). It was a moment of deep, deep, satisfaction that rippled out infinitely as JOY. It was so peaceful and real that I want to share it with everyone. I want you to be happy, so deeply happy that your peace is unshakable, your joy is overflowing, and all you want is for everyone to know the joy you know.” (see full article here)

The happiness I felt this morning was only a fraction of what I described back in 2013. Happiness is so real and so amazing. We just don’t know, most of the time. Even I live “happiness” as more of a clichéd hope than a real feeling. But I know it’s real, and I keep coming back to it; it keeps feeding me, reminding me how real it is…and I’ve needed the reminders. There will come a time when happiness is the natural state, for all of us, all the time. We are bringing it closer every day.

In that same post, I said, “Happiness is tied to purpose”. I do not think it is a coincidence I got the HUGE reminder about how happiness feels this morning, and the next Journey is going to be Journey of Purpose 2.0 (beginning on February 22). I am SO happy about these Journeys, so thankful for them. I am thankful for your participation, for you being here, doing your part; we are doing it.

Journey of Purpose is going to be great; we are building the foundation for it through our hearts of joy!

I hope you are beginning to see either through my Journeys or on your own, how themes recur, how we revisit ideas, learning about them in new and different ways each time they come up. Each time as new parts of ourselves are revealed, or old parts are released, we keep moving forward. Moving forward intentionally, with purpose, together.

This last bit is not directly related to what I’ve written today, or to the Guiding Thought, but since I am feeling some anticipation for Journey of Purpose, and since I have talked about my occasional impatience, this seemed important to add today:

“On the spiritual path, things which ordinarily appear contradictory become complementary. Be impatiently patient, or be patiently impatient; but both have to be together. If you choose one, there is danger. Patience alone is going to become laziness; impatience alone is going to become unnecessary anguish, anxiety. They both are needed, balanced; so impatience keeps you longing, waiting, and patience keeps you from becoming tense, from creating anxiety. Both have their parts to fulfill on the spiritual path.”


The Rebellious Spirit, Chapter Seven

more here:

“The Mating Dance of the Gourded Carrot”: Journey of the Heart 2.0 – Day 15

Journey of the Heart - Day 15 Susan Billmaier for susanwithpearls
Journey of the Heart – Day 15
Susan Billmaier for susanwithpearls

Guiding Thought

Bring your awareness to your heart and resonate with its love.

Naturally and easily your heart-love radiates through you.

Love is present now—rippling in to the future, releasing the past.

-Play the Guiding Thought here (loops automatically).
Journey of the Heart audio created by Brad Vanlandingham for Susanwithpearls-


Today, I continue with the exploration of happiness, and its relationship to the heart and to love. I know that this Guiding Thought does not have anything obvious to do with happiness, so why is happiness taking center-stage (for the moment) during this Journey of the Heart?

The heart is the seat of Love—this of course is not new. But my intuition (dare I say my heart?) tells me that Love is the seat of so much more, beginning with Joy and Happiness. Love, by way of the heart, is the springboard: one leap, and you are swimming in Joy.

I have been opening my heart to Love, and happiness has seeped through the cracks filling all my spaces.

What is interesting to me is that it’s so subtle. I am not giddy. I don’t feel excited. I’m not laughing and smiling uncontrollably. There is nothing happening. In fact, it’s more like there are things not happening. The things not happening are things like: busy-ness, pre-occupation, distraction. These things not happening, are to me indications of what the Guiding Thought is indicating with releasing the past.

I drove the long way to the store today, because the long-road cuts through farm land. There was so much appreciation and gratitude simply for being on a road through farm land. I was happy—oddly satisfied, noticeably peaceful, and simply thankful to be alive, “Naturally and easily your heart-love radiates through you.”

These Journeys are consciousness journeys. Today, I have gained a new understanding of love through happiness; I also have a new perspective of what it means to be on a consciousness journey.

One definition of a consciousness journey is: the process of becoming aware of the Love you already are. This definition encompasses both being and becoming. We already are infinite, Divine beings. If we knew it, and lived it, there would be no need for such things as consciousness journeys; but we are learning to remember—and consciousness journeys help us do that.

Since Love (our Divine Self) is infinite, and can express itself in infinite ways. Happiness is one of those ways I am learning to understand Love…

Love and Happiness…

I think it’s time for some Al Green…

“Whirlpool Dreams”: Journey of the Heart 2.0 – Day 14

Journey of the Heart - Day 14 Susan Billmaier for susanwithpearls
Journey of the Heart – Day 14
Susan Billmaier for susanwithpearls

Guiding Thought

How can you deepen and expand your relationship with your beautiful, blissful heart?

How can you give your love, your wisdom, your compassion more openly and freely?

How can you know your heart of love, as yourself?

-Play the Guiding Thought here (loops automatically).
Journey of the Heart audio created by Brad Vanlandingham for Susanwithpearls-



Emotionally, I feel as though today is a direct continuation of my writing yesterday on happiness, but from a different angle.

Yesterday, I explored what it means to be happy. Today, I am exploring how to “benefit all”—and the answer today…is…happiness.

Let me explain. A common prayer is one of invoking “the highest good of all” or of “doing no harm”. On a practical level, how can we achieve this? I started thinking: how I am to take into consideration every detail, for every person involved in any situation, and try to figure out how that person will best benefit?? It sounds exhausting…and impossible. So, what am I supposed to wish for, specifically, for someone, when I am wishing for his or her highest good? I realized there is no way I will ever know. But then it came to me: the highest good for everyone is whatever makes them happy. Whatever makes them truly, purely happy, at 1000, on the scale of 1000 I wrote about yesterday.

And I realized also that on that scale, that “true” and “pure” happiness scale, what makes me happy is precisely the same thing that makes an earthworm happy. So, when I wish for “the highest good of all”, in the sense of all beings being happy, then I am really able to wish in a pure way their highest good, equal to my own.

I am not sure how this all fits with either the Guiding Thought, or today’s drawing…but I think it’s safe to say happiness is key.

“Life with Confetti”: Journey of the Heart 2.0 – Day 13

Journey of the Heart - Day 13 Susan Billmaier for susanwithpearls
Journey of the Heart – Day 13
Susan Billmaier for susanwithpearls

Guiding Thought

Follow the guidance of your heart and experience life anew!

Express love, and experience love everywhere.

Find new ways to love.

Recognize new depths and nuances of love.

Be patient. Be kind. Be wise and respond to life with love, as love.

-Play the Guiding Thought here (loops automatically).
Journey of the Heart audio created by Brad Vanlandingham for Susanwithpearls-



Although it is not my primary practice, for many years I have worked with the Buddhist “loving-kindness” meditation. It goes something like this:

May I be peaceful.  

May I be happy.  

May I be well.  

May I be safe.  

May I be free from suffering. 


May all beings be peaceful.  

May all beings be happy.  

May all beings be well.  

May all beings be safe.  

May all beings be free from suffering.


The loop I play in my subconscious often is simply, “May all beings be happy.”

Recently, I began thinking more about what it means for “all beings to be happy”. What does it mean for a bird to be happy? What does it mean for a bear to be happy? What does it mean for an earthworm to be happy?

For a period of time now, I have been looking within, asking myself what it means for an earthworm to be happy. When I think about “all beings being happy”, what am I really wishing for, for the earthworm? I think: when I can figure out what it means for an earthworm to be happy, I will really be understanding happiness.

My study is by no means concluded, but I have learned something. This feeling we call “happy” is so much more than how humans generally think of it or experience it. Happiness is wrapped up in “peaceful” and “soothed” and “comforted”. It’s an inner smile and lightness, un-burdened-ness, a feeling of being connected with everything, yet with nothing intruding.

I feel like “real” happiness is a feeling that is foreign to us—to all beings, and in its purity is quite literally unavailable to us at this point in our collective development. That sounds really pessimistic, doesn’t it? But let me explain:

Every being on this planet is feeling the effects of our pollution, of our atmosphere filling with carbon dioxide and radiation, of our rivers, lakes, and oceans filling with our waste. Every being on this planet is affected. It’s a heaviness, a weight, an effort, a sludgery (I just made that word up) we are so accustomed to we don’t know any better. So when we think about being happy, it is within this environment we are accustomed to. On a scale of 1-10 I am happy at a 7! And ecstatic at a 10! YAY! But, guess what? The real scale goes up to 1,000. It is possible for us to be happy up to 1000, but all we are able to access in our consciousness, in our environment is a 10.

We have work to do. We have healing of our minds, our hearts, our social/economic/political systems, our environment, our everything. I want to be happy at 1000; I want a culture and environment that supports my happiness at 1000. I want the earthworms to feel happiness up to 1000.

I decided the picture today was about happiness. To me, it’s whales, diving deeply (“depths and nuances of love”), spraying, and rejoicing with the confetti. If whales can rejoice (even if it’s my imagination), I am hopeful.

May all beings be really, truly happy, all the way to 1000.


Listing About

Copyright Tam Black 2009 Edited for July 2013 by permission
Copyright Tam Black 2009
Edited for July 2013 by permission

I don’t know what I’m doing!! Like a ship that lists about, a rudderless boat on a vast ocean, I have been catching wind in the sail and been cast about. I do stuff. Life is full of activity.  I make lists and cross things off, add more to the lists, cross more off. I accomplish things. I am productive. I am efficient. I am gettin’ shit done. Activity has increased; there is so much to do!

Everything feels important, but also pointless. Why am I doing all this stuff? I’ve been happy, but not satisfied; satisfied, but not content. What is the purpose? What is the meaning? Where am I trying to get to? Do I know? Can I get at the “knowing”? Am I stuck? Am I just where I need to be? Why am I doing this or that? Where am I going?

In order to answer these questions—especially the knowing—I ask myself, “What do I need to do?” and I am back to an activity.  When all activities, even the ones which normally focus, calm, center, and balance seem pointless… what do I do?

My mind races along with my life, even my thoughts have the energy of activity. I can’t/don’t want to be still. There are tools I have which I could utilize, but none feel quite right.

There is deep wonder and curiosity at what this is all about.

  • Is this my “old” consciousness, which is safe, warm, and comfortable spinning in circles to keep me from growing into a new level of awareness?
  • Is this a new level of consciousness pulling at me, telling me my old tools no longer work, and I need to expand to find new tools?
  • Is it my ego that is simply afraid of life and is using these tactics to keep me occupied so I don’t feel that fear and don’t move in any direction?
  • Do I need to force myself to relax and be quiet?

This place is a particularly difficult one for me. Do I forge ahead with activity, be patient and wait, be diligent in customary practices that have proven consciousness-directed results, or try new practices that might “work” better than other ones?

Part of the problem is I am being blown about: I don’t know where I am going; I have stumbled in staying focused in purpose. There is no flow.

How do I change this?

Step one: Being aware Check. I am aware. I’ve described it pretty well, I think.

Step two: Thinking there is a better way – Check. I know there is a better way. I may go through ups and downs, but they are all part of the flow, and I understand how they fit. That is better.

Step three: Deciding to change – Hrmph. I guess I found my sticking point.

What does it take to decide to change? I already know there is a better way, so why would I want to stay here? Ah! It’s not about wanting to stay here…it’s about not knowing where to go (that was pretty clear in the second paragraph above, I see it now). What is my purpose? What is important to me? What do I want? Now, it’s about remembering and reminding myself of what I want. What do I say? My purpose is to be truly helpful. I want to be happy and happiness is tied to purpose; I want to embody my purpose. I want to explore life, share it here, in hopes that your life might open for you through my discoveries, that you might know your purpose, and be happy in living it because that joy is too amazing to hold on to.

It’s important for me to be consistent in words and actions. If I do not, right now, decide to change, I am creating an inconsistency in my life. SO, I declare:

This moment I decide:  to be true to my purpose. I decide: even if I do not know the details of my purpose, I will hold my purpose in mind with singular vision. I choose: to release all barriers that restrain my consciousness from knowing my purpose. I choose: to actively engage my consciousness to be aware, to understand and to know my purpose. I choose life; I choose to live in life’s flow; I choose to learn how to allow life to show me its highest flow, my highest purpose.

Step four: Committing to actions that bolster this decision – Hmmmmmm.  I have a little push-back to this one. Didn’t I say that actions feel like part of the problem…? I must go back to basics. This step is again about consistency.  Just because I say I make a decision, doesn’t mean I have to follow through. BUT, if I do not follow through with actions, I am telling my consciousness either my words were not important or that I did not mean them. The action(s) does not need to be big or fanatical; it just needs to be solid—consistent. It does not need to be geared toward increasing my awareness and understanding or toward expanding my consciousness (I could just commit to brushing my teeth every morning to the tune of Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All”), but if I am going to take an action like this I am going to make it as solid and moving as possible. I’ve made the decision, why not go for it? And the truth is, now that I have gotten to this point, I really want to change. I want to get through this. I want to move my consciousness into a new understanding and knowledge! YAY! OK. Now, with firm commitment and conviction, I declare: for the next 40 days (40 days is generally a good number for me; the decision really sinks in to consciousness after that time) at least one time per day, I will turn my mind to my Inner Divine Presence and contemplate my being and my purpose (using prayers/affirmations/songs/mantras) and invite my Inner Divine Presence to express my highest purpose through me. After at least 5 (but preferably more like 15) minutes, I will write in my journal any thoughts that come. Then I will take one deep breath, smile and live my life.

Would you like to join me?