Tag Archive | excitement

God or doG Wisdom? Ten Life Lessons According to Canines!

IMG_20150120_144936franny.jpg

We should never underestimate animals and what they have to teach us about life!

Recently, after observing my two dogs – Francesca, a 7-year-old Maltese, from the Island of Malta and Jack (Jacque Cousteau), a 6-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, from England – I have come to the conclusion that they have many lessons about life – and about God’s love – to teach me.

Here they are listed Letterman style:

#10:   When you wake up in the morning, before you do anything else, S-T-R-E-T-C-H!  A big long, extended stretch and Y-A-W-N!  This increases blood flow to our muscles and joints and oxygen to our brain!  I also believe reaching our hands above our heads is a way to surrender the day to God and ask him to ‘stretch’ us each day in those places where we’ve become atrophied!

#9:  Have a bowel movement and keep regular.  Need I say more?

#8:  Eat breakfast – and thank God for our DAILY bread each morning just as my dogs thank me for providing them their breakfast by coming up and licking me afterwards.  The dog-food breath is not great, but at least I know they’ve eaten what I have given them.  I think God also needs to know that we have received our nourishment from him each day and that we appreciate what he gives us on a daily basis.

#7:  Walk.  Run.  Play.  Get exercise and get excited about life!  My dog Jack literally squeals when he knows we’re going outside.  He is so excited from the moment he wakes up in the moment that he buries his head in the blankets and snowplows through them, not caring that his hair and his big ears are completely dishevelled – looking a little bit like the Tasmanian devil.  He’s completely ready for the new day, excited about the simple things in life: Eating, playing, running, eating some more, napping, playing some more and chewing on his bone!  Let’s get excited about our day!

#6:  Be Affectionate:  The first thing my dogs do, is come up and shove their little faces in mine in the morning, ready to give me a kiss and pat me with their paws for me to reciprocate their love.  Who wouldn’t want this kind of love and affection when we wake up in the morning?  Do we give our partner/spouse this kind of attention before we get out of bed in the morning?  Maybe we should!  And if we are receiving this kind of attention, do not take it for granted or push it away!  First of all, it hurts the other person and if you knew tomorrow that person might be there to give you this kind of love; you might be very glad to receive it.  At the very least, do it for all of your single friends who don’t have that kind of affection in their lives at the moment!

#5:  Be Persistent:  If you want or need something, don’t give up or give in!  My dog Franny will pat me with her paws, whine and carry on until I finally notice her and put her on my lap.  Although it’s not always convenient to have her in my arms, especially when I’m writing, she won’t give up until I do!  She always gets what she wants – eventually out of sheer persistence!

#4:  Be Single-Focused:  Although sometimes it’s frustrating when my dog Jack will not let go of his bone, even when I’m trying to give him a better, new one; I admire the fact that he is single focused on it when he has it!   Perhaps if we were like this, we would demonstrate more excellence in certain areas of our lives, instead of multi-tasking and doing a mediocre job at many things.  If you’re having a conversation with someone, put away your phone. If you’re talking with your child; stop whatever else you’re doing and really see your child.  We need to be more single focused in our relationships with people.  My dogs NEVER make me feel like there’s someone else or something else they’d rather be paying attention to – I wish I could say I never make them feel this way!

#3:  Look People in the Eye:  My dogs always look me in the eye and it makes me melt.  There is something powerful when we look people in the eye because we make a connection with them that says, I see you and I am allowing you to see me.  Be transparent and open with people!

#2:  Be Forgiving and Forgetful!  Jack and Franny, even when I scold them or spank them for peeing or doing something they shouldn’t be doing; they might disappear into the bedroom for a short time, but they never stay there long nor do they go ruminate for hours about what a terrible person I am!  They are right back out in my presence, loving me as if they’ve completely forgotten – maybe they actually do – and forgiven me.  How wonderful would life be if we all had short-term memories sometimes?

And #1:  Drumroll please…

Remember God loves you!  If you’ve ever had a pet, you know that even though they may do wrong or go off the trail and get themselves into burrs, thistles, fleas or ticks; and it might drive us crazy when we have to spend hours grooming them, picking through their fur or getting soaked when we bathe them; we also know that nothing they do diminishes or takes away our love for them.  If we, in our limited human capacity for love – can feel and exhibit such great amounts of it for our pets even when they “miss the mark”; how much more loving is our God?  How much more can he look past our inadequacies and “bad” behaviour?  This is called Grace and He promised us that it would “super-abound” from Him!

And that, my friends, are just some of the things that my dogs have taught me about life and about God’s love.

Want a new “leash” on life?  Go observe your pets for a while to remind yourself of how loved you are!

Franny and meOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

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Do NOT fear or worry: Jesus is in the SAME boat as us!

 

Jesus was in the SAME boat!

Jesus storm - The painting

Often when we are in trouble and we share our woes with others, we hear the expression, “I know, I’m in the same boat!”

This is said usually to bring comfort that someone else is going through a similar experience, and we can know that we are not alone in our time of need.  Similarly, the Canadian musician, Avril Levine sings:  Watcha Crying for? It’s all been done before!

There’s not only comfort, but truth in these words: Being part of humanity, we can be sure that someone, somewhere has gone through what we are going through – or far worse for that matter!   Knowing this can be a sobering reality for us.  It also gives us an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and to hear possible solutions.  If we are blessed enough, God will send us someone who knows exactly what we are going through, if not to offer answers, than at least to offer support.

However, sometimes we feel like just when we need someone the most, our phone never rings; no one knocks on our door and we’re convinced that we could drop over dead and it would be days before someone finds us!

Well, what we need to remember is that even though we feel alone, someone is listening and someone is with us.  This is made evident in the story when the disciples of Jesus, find themselves being tossed to and fro in the sea; scared for their very lives.  Meanwhile, Jesus is at the front of the boat, sleeping!

Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.  But Jesus was sleeping.  The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”  He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”  Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.  The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” {Matthew 8:23-27}

Theologians and pastors have often comforted us with the truth that no matter what storm we go through Jesus can calm it.  Well, here’s even better news:  Did you know that when the disciples were in that furious storm and they cried out “Lord save us! We’re going to drown” they temporarily forgot one important thing:  Not only was Jesus able to calm the storm.  HE WAS IN THE SAME BOAT!

He wasn’t far off somewhere enjoying a drink on the beach!   He was in the boat with them.

More so, amidst a storm, here he was, sleeping, seemingly oblivious to the fears and the imagined doom of his friends.  It wasn’t because he didn’t care about them or that he was neglecting their needs.  It was because he knew what they should haven known; that he, in his faith, was able to calm the storm.  He was their protector.

He would never jump out of the boat and leave them to fend for themselves.  He was sleeping because he could rest in knowing that whatever the conditions of that storm, his power was greater.  And yet, what did Jesus say to his disciples – and all of us – just before he ascended to heaven:

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  {John 14:12} 

What we need to realize is that we too have authority over our own storms.  We can go to bed at night, knowing that if we speak that our storm will pass, truly believe that God’s “got it”, we can also sleep as Jesus did, without worry.  This is exactly what God wants us to do and that is why he had Jesus asleep in the boat – to illustrate this point to us.

It’s not like the disciples didn’t know this wisdom too!  They had seen him perform many miracles greater than calming a storm.   It would seem that even his disciples needed reminding of this fact on a regular basis – as do we sometimes – and that’s okay.

As Jesus says:  “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest…learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  {Matthew 11:28-30}

Jesus assures us that as long as we are in the same boat with him, he will give us rest also.   He too has experienced his own storms and his own burdens.   He doubted; he was tempted.  He even said to his father in heaven before his crucifixion, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”   {Matthew 26:38}

If even Jesus can feel such sorrow, surely he knows how we feel.  He is in the boat with us and he is resting because He knows no storm is greater than his power.

So when you find yourself in a boat that feels like it is sinking, put aside your own little Dixie cup and let Jesus bail you out!

Our Words are Boomerangs: What are You Throwing Back at Yourself?

    Do you know the origin of the boomerang? 



The History of Boomerangs
Contrary to popular belief, the boomerang did not originate in Australia. Historical traces of boomerangs have been found throughout the world. Boomerangs are considered by many to be the earliest “heavier-than-air” flying machines invented by human beings. Australian Aboriginal boomerangs have been found as old as ten thousand years old, but older hunting boomerangs have been discovered throughout Europe. The famed King Tutankhamen of Egypt had an extensive collection of boomerangs over 2000 years ago.   Although historians are not certain of the exact origin of the first boomerang, it is speculated that the boomerang was developed from a flattened throwing stick, used by early hunters. The returning boomerang was most likely discovered by accident by an early hunter trying to fine tune a hunting stick.
(Boomerang.com)

It is interesting that while the boomerang was originally used as a hunting tool; now has become something used for fun.  I think this is apropos in terms of it being symbolic of our words:  They can be used for “hunting” or hurting people; or they can be used for fun, laughter, joy and expressing positive messages.

We need to realize the power of our words (and our thoughts, as they also contain vibrational energy that impacts our environment) and realize that they are boomerangs; which essentially means that whatever we speak out does not come back “void” or “in vain” and affects not only the people and situations in our lives, but ultimately, ourselves and our cells!

The great news is, with this promise from God, we have the power to create, transform and build our own lives:

So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace;  {Isaiah 55:11-12}

There are two reasons why many of us do not want to believe that we have the power to change ourselves and our world, with our own words:

Firstly, it would mean taking responsibility for the events, people and situations in our lives at present that we have created through our own thoughts, words, beliefs and behaviours.

Secondly, it would mean that we would have to look within and change something about ourselves – simply, raising our consciousness and let’s face it, we often feel powerless to change or refuse to hold up the magnifying glass in case of what we might see.

According to Emmet Fox (died 1951), who was a New Thought Spiritual Leader,  we do not need to be afraid of change or strive to achieve it IF we have God’s power – the Holy Spirit – at the centre of our lives:

God is not merely a matchless power that will come to our rescue, but He will actually be our own strength, operating through us to the overcoming of difficulty when we call upon Him in the right way.  Every student of Truth must understand that God always acts through us by changing our consciousness. We learn in divine metaphysics that God never does anything to us, or for us, but always through us.  (Emmet Fox)

In other words, God becomes “a very present help in trouble.”  {Psalm 46} and says this to us:  My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. {2 Corinthians 12:9}

The only thing we do need to do is finally wake up and realize the power we have in our thoughts and words and begin to surrender and allow God to do the work, simply by raising up our hands and saying:  “God, I surrender my thoughts and my words up to you, please transform them so that I can be a boomerang of kindness to myself and to others today and every day!”

Let’s make a choice today to be Boomerangs of kindness; not of harm.  For inspiration about how every little act we do becomes a boomerang out into the world, and eventually leads back to us, please watch the following video.  Pay attention to the construction worker at the beginning!  I hope it helps to inspire you today!

The Kindness Boomerang Video:

Recalculating our Inner GPS: God Positioning System

An Introduction to listening to our GPS: 

God Positioning System through Gratitude, Prayer and Surrender

We cannot recalculate our past.  We can only bring about transformation and turn in another direction in the immediate present; and hope that this brings us to our preferred destination.

In order to “get out of our own way” we need to SURRENDER our thoughts and allow our mind and body to be recalculated!  Generally, we believe our thinking begins in our minds – our brains; however many scientists are discovering that our body – or the ‘mind’ of the subconscious, which works without us having to think at all – and is an operating system that has been developed since our conception and trained since birth to run our digestive, respiratory and cardiovascular – to name only a few – is the same operating system that learns to control our thoughts, based on consistent programming, which eventually turn into words, actions and habitual behaviours.

For many reasons, we should be grateful that throughout the day, we have this operating system to manage our bodily functions and that we do not have to think or worry about making our own stomach digest food, our heart beat living blood through our bodies or commanding our lungs to convert oxygen to carbon dioxide and thereby allowing us to go about our daily lives.  Can you imagine what it would be like to have to think about these things?

We would not be able to focus on anything else – or get anything accomplished! Perhaps, in one sense, this would be beneficial. Isn’t this why the very ancient buddhas and sages encourage us to focus on our breath – in order to help us feel more connected to these miraculous cellular cases – our bodies – that keep us “together”; and also be aware – and grateful – that something with a greater intelligence – a greater love – than us, is always taking care of us whether we are aware of it or not!

However, while we need this operating system to sustain our bodily functions throughout the day and when we sleep; we are quite capable of thinking for ourselves regarding our decisions and actions – and yes, even our thoughts.  We can think about and reflect upon our own thoughts.   The problem with letting an over-riding operating system determine our thoughts and therefore our actions, is that this system is often rooted in our past and works from automatic responses to thoughts, desires and fears based on our experiences.

I only need to ask how many times we have found ourselves at the refrigerator door or about to open that package of cigarettes without asking ourselves if we are truly hungry or need to inhale toxic smoke into our lungs.  Or how did we drive the last 15 blocks while thinking about the argument we had with our friend before we realize we’re already home?  How does this happen?

The answer is that our body mind – has been trained to be on autopilot in order to allow us to function on many levels. The problem with this is that while it can allow us to do many positive things – it can also cause us to create what I like to call GPS glitches where we need to constantly recalculate ourselves to get back on track.  This often takes a lot of time, energy and self-inflicted pain that we needlessly go through in our lives.

This is because our bodies have become like unruly, spoiled brats that have time after time, demanded something and to quiet the discomforting tantrums we feel inside, we defer to autopilot and give them what they want without even truly considering the long-term effect.

The fact is that the long-term effects of the thoughts we already chose in our past, have now manifested themselves as issues in our present, such as bad habits, weight issues, health and money issues, or feeling trapped in emotionally un-supportive relationships.  How many of us, because of an impulsive choice to spend money in the past, are now working to pay debt off in the present?

Recently, I heard Joyce Meyers say this:  “Our body only loves what we allow it be introduced – and get used to!”

If we do not think one small choice can make a huge decision, how is it that one potato chip or one cookie turns into an entire bag being eaten?  Now, this isn’t to say that we shouldn’t enjoy these things in life.  However, if we introduce our bodies to something without consciously thinking and exercising will-power in the beginning, it isn’t long before our body goes on autopilot and begins to crave more and more.

Imagine introducing a good friend to someone who you know to be toxic or untrustworthy.  Then ten years later, you hear how much that friend suffered because of that relationship.  This is what we do to ourselves in every given moment when we choose to introduce ourselves to a person, situation, or thing without checking into our own GPS:  God Positioning System – or intuition as many call it – about whether it is the best path to go down.

How many times have we made a choice to eat, drink, reach out to that toxic friend, say yes, when we really mean no; or get back together with someone based on automatic reflex, simply because our bodies crave the “high” or the praise we receive and very conveniently forget or push aside the lows or the chaos that soon follows?

We need not focus on regrets or past decisions, but we do need to empower ourselves in this very moment, taking ourselves off autopilot from our thoughts, our feelings and our “knee-jerk” reactions and begin making conscious choices – to step back if you will and truly look at the paths we are about to step out on – before we choose one.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. {Romans 12:2}

In other words, instead of conforming to the patterns of the world – thinking and behaving like everyone else – or to the patterns we’ve created in our own lives; we need to take time to listen to our intuition – our GPS – and pause to hear what it is guiding us to do, so that we start off on the right path to begin with and do not have to recalculate ourselves once we realize; oops!  I’m going down this rugged, arduous path again!

Is it possible for us to recalculate ourselves from ill to healthy; overweight to active; negative to positive; judgemental to accepting; controlling to allowing?  Yes.  If at each moment, in awareness, we catch each thought; look at it without judgment; thank it (because it’s our body or ego trying to keep us from change as it perceives it as a threat) and then let it pass through our mind without acting on it or letting it hook onto the next negative thought, we will train our body mind to begin sending more positive, peace giving thoughts.

We know that once that feeling of fear, anxiousness, anger, dread or desire is produced by the rapid onslaught of thoughts; it is not easy step back from that path.  In fact, we often make decisions in this place that lead to more problems such as cursing someone (which hurts our cellular bodies), sending a not-so-nice email or over-reacting and beginning an argument.

The good news is that it becomes easier and easier to catch the first thought and gently sweep it away and replace it with a better, more healthier one.  This may not work every time; but it will work sometimes and the more and more we can regain our peace rather than allow our thoughts to steal it, we are making progress.

Next Post:  Refund and Exchange Policy – How to exchange our negative thought for positive ones!

Loving Ourselves as God Loves Us

We are Divine Beings and need to begin to see ourselves as God sees us! 

We are NOT our house, job, car, money, possessions or our THOUGHTS!

I want you to imagine for a moment that you are just you. Imagine that you are sitting on a bench and you have no job, no career, no family, no clothes, no car, no possessions and you have to rely simply on who you are as a person. Now ask yourself these questions:

1. Who am I?  What qualities or attributes do I possess within me that make me who I am?

2. How have I used my possessions to tell myself, my family and the world who I am? Can I live with myself without all of these “things” representing me?

3.  Without my thoughts, who am I?

There is nothing wrong with being blessed and having a home, job, career, car – even two or three cars, a family, lovely clothes and lots of possessions. We are entitled to our divine inheritance as is everyone on this planet.

However, there is something wrong with tying our whole identity as a human being – the organic, molecular structure and the spirit within us – to a series or collection of physical man-made items that we call ours. Why?  Because we get so tied up and stressed out with the purpose of obtaining – and then maintaining and sustaining these things, that we forget our own self-worth – who we truly are without these things.

I am convinced this is why many people who become wealthy or famous or politically successful fall into the temptation of corruption – it’s because they forget who they are at the core – they’ve lost sight of their inner self that has integrity and honesty – in the pursuit of fame, fortune and prestige. The rest of us who live moderately successful lives also do this – perhaps not on the same scale, but we forget or resent spending time with our families because work is more important; we don’t take care of our own health because we are too busy running around to actually run.

What good are any of these things, if we are lying in bed with a disease caused from the stress of obtaining and keeping them or we have lost our families because of our negligence?

It all comes down to this:

Net Worth vs. Personal Currency:

Have we put our “Net Worth” before our own Personal Currency – what we are worth as a human being? I am here to tell you that your net worth is not – and never will be – worth more than your own personal currency which consists of your character, your spirit, your ideas and the love you have to offer to your fellow human being.

We can easily lose our jobs, houses, cars, family and all of our possessions; but the real tragedy is when we lose ourselves – our humanity, our integrity, our kindness, our patience towards others and our own families. So today, go sit on a park bench during your lunch and take inventory. If this bench was your home, could you live with yourself?

The third and most important question flies in the face of what Rene Descartes – a French philosopher from the 16th century wrote: “I think therefore I am.”  We as humans have come to believe that because we think – we exist and we pride ourselves on the fact that we appear to be at a much higher cognitive – the ability to think – level than our animal and plant friends.

However, it is often amusing to me that it is our very thoughts that cause us the most discomfort and pain and also when they manifest from our mouths in the essence of words and out of our beings as actions, they are what gets us into a lot of trouble sometimes.

What if I told you that you are NOT your thoughts and you exist with or without them.  In fact, many sages and ancient philosophers might say that when we are not thinking, we are the most enlightened.  We are probably the most relaxed and true to ourselves when we can manage – even for brief moments in time – to not think. When we are not thinking, which usually also entails, judging, worrying, fretting, trying to solve a problem, critiquing or torturing ourselves – we are more aligned with our true essence than at an other moment.

Usually, when we do think, we are re-visiting the past or conjuring what we want now or what we don’t want in our future.  Rarely are we thinking – or being – in the present moment of our lives.  And the present is the only moment that counts, creates or co-exists with our true being.

Think of a child who has just had something taken away from him; he reaches out and cries for it as if he relies on it for his very existence.  All the while, his mother wants to hand him something else in the present moment.  The child is so caught up in what he “had” that he can not stop crying and appreciate what he has been given.

It is true if that same mother were to give him a toy in the present moment and then show him a cookie and say, “You can have this in five minutes.”  The child would begin to cry for the cookie and demand it now.  He cannot wait for the five minutes to unfold as they are meant to; nor can he enjoy the toy he has, because all the while he is looking ahead in the future and wanting the cookie pulled into his “now” moment.

Does this sound familiar?  Yes? Yes, because we do not seem to be able to let go of this ego-centric behaviour even as we become adults.  We often are pining away, thinking about or crying over something in our past or commiserating, anxiously awaiting or dreading something in our future.  All the while, the present moment is passing us by – only to be cried about tomorrow when we realize we cannot get that moment back.  We must recalculate from any given, present moment.  We can not worry or regret any decision made in the past; nor does worrying about the future change anything.  Only being aware of our thoughts, choices, decisions and actions in this very moment can transform and recalculate us in the direction we want to go!

Why are we so fixated on the past and the future?

Next Post:  Our fixation with what’s behind and ahead of us, meanwhile we walk into a pole that’s ahead of us.