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Spiritually Refined

I’ve been lax in posting for a few months – I’ve been in both a creative process and a refinement process.  My hand has been in many pots and I’ve been slowly pulling back my energy and refining my vision for The BlueRoof Path. But the refinement process doesn’t end there. I have also been being refined spiritually.  There have been times of darkness when I believed I had no purpose, times of light when I could see the path clearly, and times of peace when I stopped to surrender and be led by Spirit.  The latter has made all the difference.  The Yoga Philosophy calls it tapas; the Bible calls it the Refiner’s Fire…they are speaking of the same things.  It is the process of spiritual refinement that we souls-in-human-form undergo on our journey.  As humans, this refinement process can be incredibly uncomfortable.  Did I put enough emphasis on incredibly there?  The big growth – it doesn’t often feel warm and fuzzy and in fact can feel like a tilt-a-whirl caught between dueling fire tornadoes.  This discomfort is a signal that something is on offer  – that you have the opportunity to clear away some of those pieces that don’t fit the puzzle that is you.  When you are attached to the little i-ness, that is – the ego-self, then you can get caught up in the heat feeling lost, scattered, overwhelmed, and alone.  But when you surrender into the bigness of you – the I, or Higher Spiritual Self, then you have an inner knowing that can sustain you.  You can then not only withstand the heat – but you can relax into it and see what it has for you.  Deborah Adele says, in The Yamas & Niyamas, that tapas is “the willingness to be both burned and blessed.”  Zechariah 13:9 says, “I will refine them like silver and test them like gold.”

This refinement, the heating up in life, carries a blessing.  If you resist – it can get quite hot and uncomfortable, much like when you resist surrendering into Warrior II and become rigid.  When you relax into the posture, just like when you relax into what life is offering you, then you can refine your experience of the posture, refine your experience in life, and allow yourself to be refined spiritually to relax into the Truth within you and see the lesson (gift) on offer.

Have you experienced your own Spiritual Refinement?  Could you tell a difference from when you surrendered and when you resisted?

I see you,

Rev. M

The Blessing Tree

Writing out your blessings can be a powerful thing and, for those who are more visually inclined, putting those written blessings on display to view can make the experience even more powerful. Why not add a Blessing Tree to your Blessing Altar?  I used dried magnolia leaves and gift card tags to add written blessings to twigs I got on clearance at Family Dollar.  You could also use sticks and twigs from your yard or a small tree. You could also make your tree a garland instead and string your blessings up to hang on the wall. There are so many options for how you can visually see your written blessings on a daily basis.  Both writing and seeing your blessings cultivate daily gratitude.

And remember, you are writing blessings for all events, circumstances, and people in your life.  Here are some examples of blessings on my tree that show how you can cultivate gratitude in all ways and all things:

  • I am grateful for a low bank account because it teaches me to be financially aware.
  • I am grateful for lack because it teaches me I am not living in my abundance.
  • I am blessed by Mitch because he mirrors what I don’t like in myself.
  • I am grateful for my childhood because through it I learned to overcome and have been able to help others.
  • I am grateful for Crystal because through the ebb and flow of our friendship I have learned I am not in competition with anyone.

 

Use magnolia leaves, or similar, for your longer blessings.

(I use a metallic marker to write blessings)

 

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Use smaller bay leaves to write blessings that you like that can be portrayed in one or two words.

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Use gift tags to add the names of people you’ve been blessed by – remembering that even those we believe have hurt us also brought us blessings. Use the back of the card to write how you were blessed.

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You can also use the tags to write about how certain emotions or behaviors brought you blessings, like looking at how noticing resentments offers you a chance to practice forgiveness and acceptance.

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I will add blessings to my tree throughout the month until I put my Yule tree up. Then, I’ll transfer my Blessing Tree branches and blessings to the Yule tree. 

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More Blessings posts to come – if you want to see these posts in your inbox subscribe!

Gratitude for All Blessings

November has become the month of gratitude; we see Facebook status updates changing daily with posts on gratitude. But often, people only look at one type of event in their lives with gratitude – the events that they liked!  When events in your life occur that you didn’t want, that you didn’t like, or that you believe shouldn’t have happened – it’s often hard to have gratitude for them.  In some ways these events brought you pain, sorrow, unhappiness, anger, or hurt. Why should you be grateful for those events?  Many would argue that not only should they not be grateful but they should be downright angry the events occurred.  This is a victim mentality that comes from a space of fear and resentment.  All events in your life are for you – yes, even the ones you didn’t like and didn’t want. And yes, even the ones that were painful.  Even if you couldn’t see it when the event occurred, and even if you can’t see it now – chances are, the event offered you some sort of growth. That is a blessing.  All events in life are a part of your journey; they helped shape you.  How they shaped you is a result of what you believed about the event.  When you look at all events in life from the standpoint that they are all blessings then you are shaped in a much different way than if you see yourself victimized by life. You are no victim. Life is always for you and playing the victim limits you and keeps you from expressing as the beautiful spirit that you are.

Instead of just expressing gratitude this month for the things in life that you like I challenge you to also find gratitude for the things in life you don’t like.  A blessing altar will allow you to honor both the events that you wanted in your life – the events that you liked and have obvious gratitude for, but also the events that were perhaps painful and unwanted.  Both offered you blessings. By having gratitude for all the events in your life you can truly live in peace and acceptance of any moment.

This is a picture of my blessing altar. Yours can look similar or completely different; that choice is yours.  I will be adding my blessings to the branches on my altar (these additions will carry forward to my Yule tree) and will be journaling about the events and people in my life that were blessings. You may choose to also add to your altar, to journal, or to simply speak your blessing out loud. Whatever your process, a blessing altar can be a powerful way to shift into a space of forgiveness and acceptance that you can take forward into the reflective time of Yuletide and Solstice night.

Blessings Altar Main

Morning Minutes

Walking in public we wonder what others see

How we appear

If we measure up…

Unless we just do not care

But…we do…

For we lie to ourselves over and over when we

Look in the mirror

Fretting over make up or wrinkles

Stomach pudge and thinning hair

Sagging breasts or dimpled thighs

Judging ourselves part by part in those few morning minutes

before we rush out to start our days in the sheep herd…

Unless…

We instead look in the mirror

Say I love you instead of I hate you

And be firm in our imperfect perfection

As we smile wider to make the wrinkles more pronounced

Slide our hands along our lush thighs and love what we feel

Celebrate the grace of our softness

Noticing that our hair doesn’t change our faces

And our faces don’t change our hearts

And that our breasts are stunning curves of wonder

Unless…

We walk out into the world and block the judges

Seeing them as amazing humans

Letting our own humanity shine forward

Say “I don’t believe you” with a smile

To anyone who dares push their judgment on us

That we are anything less than

A remarkable piece of a beautiful cosmic puzzle

That IS and always has been…and always will be

Flawless with its dignified flaws

A concept that so many don’t understand

But can … if instead those morning minutes were

Filled with love instead of contempt

For when we truly love ourselves…we truly love ourselves

The thoughts of the judges won’t matter

because we are our first and only true judges

We are the ones who look with eyes of disdain

We are the ones who look in the mirror…

We are the ones who break our own hearts

(c) M. Gatlin/Gatlianne 2012

Satisfied with Life

When I fall down the spiral of the human condition I get lost in the darkness of what might have been, could have been, and should have been. This limits me and holds me back. All of my choices held gifts for me. All of the times in my life when I thought it couldn’t get any worse – it got better. All of the things I’ve gone through have shaped who I am.

I am here; I am now.

I am where I have been.

I am who I will be.

I am where I am, and where I am – I am.

There is no other place I could be, no other person I could be. When I really stop and consider that and trust it then I am completely satisfied with myself and my life.

Other People’s Opinions…and What I Think of Celery

Other people’s opinions of you are none of your business…

Well, how about that? Opinions are basically judgments – someone’s perception of something. Judgment’s often come with or as expectations…one’s judgment on how something or someone “should” be.

But – what other people think you should do or be, or another person’s opinion/judgment of you is none of your business…unless you make it your business by getting caught up in a pleasing drama “trying” to live up to someone else’s judgment or expectation.

Another person’s judgment, belief or expectation is based off their life, beliefs, path, and where they are in their own growth. These things are often based off reaction and not truth.  It comes down to perception. I like waffles. Someone else may not like waffles. This doesn’t mean that waffles are good or bad – it simply means that one person likes them and another doesn’t. I do not like celery. In fact, for a long time I refused to even look at it in the grocery bin. Celery to me was the ultimate in awful. Now replace celery with something else.  I do not like _______ . This could be a person, an event, a race, a movie, a decision someone made, etc. The only truth about celery for me is that I don’t like it. Celery keeps right on being celery in all its celery-ness. My opinion of celery doesn’t change anything because celery doesn’t react to my opinion of it.

What other people think of you doesn’t actually change anything – unless you react to it. But then, it’s not the other person or their opinion fueling your reaction. It’s your own belief about yourself that is.

So, be like celery. Be you in all your You-Ness, and let other people’s opinions be theirs. Focus on your beliefs about yourself instead.

Popped Into Perspective

*Re-post from from one of my previous blogs – dated September 2012*

I’ve read on two different sites tips regarding ridding yourself of fear that comes in the form of self-talk…that annoying mind chatter – also known as the monkey mind, that creeps in and wreaks havoc on your normally calm and rational psyche. The tip was to wear a rubber band around your wrist or arm and pop yourself every time you noticed the self-talk. The point is to literally snap yourself to attention and get into a place of truth instead of being in the monkey mind that most often feeds lies about the self, life, and others.

I too go through emotional and trying times. The past few days have been challenging and though I could have easily submitted to the mind chatter and succumbed to my fears I instead chose to see what was under the fear and go for truth.

Today I put on the rubber band. I’ve become proficient at noticing and being aware when my mind is telling me things that aren’t true.  The plan was that every time I noticed a judgment, self-talk, limiting belief, etc. I would pop the rubber band to bring me into a different state of being and tell the mind chatter No! And then to tell myself the truth.

The first time I noticed the self talk I popped that rubber band on the inside of my arm! WOWZA!  It was not only a wake up from the mind chatter but it called me to attention. I sat up straighter, I was more awake, I was definitely more aware of what was going on within me, as well as around me.

Fifteen minutes later I still had a red whelp on my arm.  I pondered the mark and thought that the mind chatter is doing the same thing to my heart and mind. Every time I allow the self talk and untruths to take over it’s leaving a mark on my spirit.

So, the next time you’re sinking in fear, in limiting beliefs about yourself, in judgment, in resentment, in untrue self talk – ponder the red whelp theory. Don’t allow the lies of mind chatter to leave marks on your spirit.

Taking Responsibility to Awaken

Yesterday I led a beautiful group of people in the Awaken the Goddess workshop at Yoga Fire. This workshop was all about waking up the power we all have within us. One way I helped this group claim their power was by helping them take responsibility for ways they’ve given away their power, or dis-empowered, themselves in the past.  A piece of this experience came to me on the fly as, though my workshops are structured and outlined, I leave space for organic aspects to evolve. Asking each person in the group individually if they were willing to take responsibility for how they’d given away their power in the past, and if they were not only willing to take back their power but also willing to give up the ways in which they had given away their power. It was an aspect of the workshop that set the tone for the rest of the time we had together.

By taking responsibility for our lives we step out of our victim story and stop living in victim consciousness. By doing this, we wake up more and more to our authenticity.  Sometimes the victim story has so much hold on us that even when we believe we’re past it something happens in life and the hurt comes rushing in and we step right back into the story. So how do we get back to truth when we’re struggling in the web of victim?

Remember, we are the weavers of the web but we are also the web. The web is the story – all of our history bound together. But we wove the web, so we can also unbind those aspects that are not true, that hold us back, and that keep us living as the victim.

We are not victims.

We are spiritual warriors.

For me, doing practical work to unbind the false parts of the web helps me the most. There are many ways I do this and I offer them to you as well in hopes that you will find for yourself the miraculous growth that I’ve gotten from doing this type of work.

Radical Forgiveness:  Colin Tipping’s book, Radical Forgiveness, and it’s accompanying worksheets changed by life. When I read the book I had a basic concept of true forgiveness that the teachings in the book helped refine. By living by the principals of Radical Forgiveness and turning to the very user friendly worksheets I have been able to get deep growth and help others.

The Work: The Work of Byron Katie offers a different aspect from Colin Tipping in that it goes more specifically into the limiting beliefs we have about ourselves, others, and life. Her books and worksheets offer me similar growth opportunities as the Radical Forgiveness work. Both philosophies present ways to re-frame a situation in order to get to truth.

The More to Life Weekend: This is where my true growth began. I took this weekend training the first time in 2008 and learned more about myself and how to deal with life than I could have possibly imagined. This training is powerful, intensive, experiential, compassionate, and moving. I’ve retaken this training twice since 2008 in order to recenter and regroup when life handed be some pretty big changes. This training is presented in many states in the US and many countries around the world. In fact, there is a training upcoming in my area in September 2015 about which you can find more information here: MTL Huntsville.

You have the ability to create change in your life. Are you living with resentment, fear, hurt, pain, sorrow, grief? Are you willing to be willing? Are you ready to at least put a toe in the water and take responsibility for your own life in order to create the life you deserve? If so, I deeply encourage you to research any (or all!) of the three options above. I utilize the Radical Forgiveness work, the Work of Byron Katie, and the workable tools and processes I received during the More to Life Weekend in my life daily.  With these tools – I empower myself and wake up to my Truth.

You are a Brave Warrior

Be the beautiful, brave spirit that you are. Allow your humanity to go into things that hurt so your soul can flourish. It takes strength and courage to swim the deep rivers and do this kind of warrior’s work. It takes courage to be on a path of self mastery. And that path doesn’t mean you don’t have times when you’re lying in the floor. It means that you don’t stay there and you love yourself if you are. It means being vulnerable and allowing someone to lie there with you or pull you up. It’s warriors work – the path of self mastery. You’re a warrior even when you feel hopeless. Your soul knows it’s not hopeless…that’s why it keeps handing you life experiences. The soul knows you can handle it. It knows you’re strong. It knows you’re enough because it knows enough is a judgment and could never truly express the capacity of you. Because you ARE. And that’s big. We’re going to react; that’s a part of our humanness. It’s what helps us grow. Love your humanness. Your soul does.