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!

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.

I held his hand in stillness…

My husband and I have a commitment to nightly meditation together. Though our morning meditations are solitary, we do not miss this nightly experience. We don’t necessarily even meditation “together” really. Instead, we are in the same room, focused on our own breath, meditating in our own way. We are simply making the commitment to sit in stillness together to connect to God.  Just in the small amount of time we’ve been doing this our relationship has changed…evolved. We are more connected within, more connected with God, and thus more connected to each other because we come to each other with the spirit of consciousness and unconditional love instead of fear.

Last night we were a bit late for our session, and though we were both very tired it never occurred to us to just skip a night. That’s not the commitment nor the intention that we came to this with. Tired or not we sat down for meditation but instead setting up on our respective mats we chose to sit on the bed, side by side.

Just a few breaths in I reached over and took his hand. Then the energy changed. Suddenly we were so very much connected while still being in our separate meditations, on our separate spiritual journeys.

I held his hand in stillness…and that makes all the difference.

What I Want For You

My blog yesterday offered great growth for me – and the promise of more to come if I am committed. Today, the growth comes in an unexpected way but the Universe can be a subtle thing!

I received an email from Janet Bray Attwood regarding an upcoming 21-Day Meditation on Love Journey. I skimmed through the email and scrolled to the bottom where I saw the most fitting quote:

I want for you… what you want for you.

Well, there’s that. How very simple. Not, I want for you what I think you should do or have. Not, I want for you what I want you to have. Not, I want for you what I want for you. But, I want for you what you want for you. Wanting nothing more than what the person wants for themselves.

What a beautiful idea.

Unconditional love at its best.

Make Your Own Path

I kept thinking about putting an edge in place to “give Mitch (my husband) space” but just that didn’t seem to fit. So I looked at it more and it went beyond Mitch. When I got the email requesting my February intention for the Intentional Prayer Network I sent “I intend to allow others their paths.”

But this morning that didn’t quite seem to fit either. Then it hit me – I’m still making it about something/someone outside of me.

A Growth Edge is something I learned from the More to Life Program. It is an intention you put into place in order to create change in your life. For example, someone who is typically the wallflower might put an edge into place “To Be Seen” then choose to put himself or herself into leadership positions or get on stage and perform, or speak up in a crowd, etc. Growth edges evolve; as you begin to gain the lessons and growth from what you put into place that edge will run it’s course and you put something different in place.

The growth edge I’m putting in place is based off a quote that has been a part of my life in some way for a very long time. – “Make Your Own Path.”

So, my current growth edge is: Make My Own Path

How do I look when I’m not on my own path?
I’m judgmental, critical, and full of expectations on others (and myself). I feel angry. I see what’s “not right” how others “should” be.  I play the victim. I blame others for my lot in life, for where I am, for how my life is. I don’t take responsibility for my choices. I don’t see that life is for me and do not see the big picture. I don’t see the divine plan in it all. I believe that if others would change then I would be ok, better, life would work out better. I’m not accepting or tolerant. I’m demanding and controlling. At times I am even vindictive. I am not focused on my path and my growth. I am focused on the other person’s path and growth. I believe I know better than them and that they should listen to me. I believe that if they would listen to me and fix what I believe they’re doing wrong then my life will be better. When I’m not on my own path I feel more hurt, anger, discontent, unhappy, sad, sorrowful, guilt, fear, anxiety, worry, and shame. When I am not on my own path I am disconnecting even to the point of walling myself up, not allowing others in. I don’t hug or touch as much. I stay to myself, isolate myself even. I withdraw.

How do I look when I’m on my own path?
When I am on my own path I feel free and alive. I am compassionate, empathetic, connecting, loving, and caring. I take responsibility for my life and my path. I trust life, God/the Universe, my Self. I trust that all is happening just as it is meant to and I feel a deep peace with that trust. I feel connected to myself, life, and others. I feel connected to the Oneness of it all. I make conscious choice instead of reacting. I breathe deeper. I flow with life and allow life to flow with me. I feel softer in my body, less stiff, sore, and tense. I worry less and accept more. I take more time for me instead of using my time to “fix” others. I let go more. I smile more. I connect; I laugh; I dance; I frolic  – I Live! I am open. I hug and kiss and touch. I love and open my heart. I am childlike in the world. I am magical. I am My Self. And I allow others to be who and how they are without judgment. I am in my authority. I am present – Here. Now.

I think before I took “Make Your Own Path” to mean living my life, being free, doing things my way in the world, living Me! But somewhere along the way I came to believe that it meant separating myself – mostly from Mitch, that making my own path meant being away from him- that it was an either or – him or my path.  Now I see that by not being on my path I am separating myself from others and life and Mitch and that by not being on my own path I cannot be fully on my path with him. I see that it’s not an either or but a beautiful merging. I lost sight of the braided path: My path, His path, our path – braided together to make one strong bond.

What work/processes will help me with this edge?

  • Radical Forgiveness Worksheet when I notice I’m judging another, or I see the mirror of another.
  • Radical Self Forgiveness on the Mirror I find or when I am judging myself.
  • MTL Mirror Process to look eye to eye heart to heart and SEE me
  • The Work of Byron Katie process to get to the truth
  • Yoga to connect to my body and breath
  • Meditation to connect my mind and breath and spirit
  • Reiki Self-Healing to connect my spirit with the Divine
  • Chakra healing to align my energy

What will I put into place to support me on my path?

  • Daily Yoga and Meditation
  • Daily “I am that, I am.” Exercise
  • When I notice I’m walling up – open up my body and reach out to connect physically
  • Breathe – focus more on abdominal breathing to bring in calm  and grounding
  • At least one written process/work per day be it MTL, Radical Forgiveness, The Work, or an exercise from another book such as Mind of the Soul.
  • Reconnect and Recommit to My Path.
  • Look at my vision board weekly – sit with it; be with it; breathe with it.
  • Take time out for me