Monthly Archives: April 2018

Money Is Like A Language

“Money won’t make you happy… but everybody wants to find out for themselves.” ~Zig Ziglar …

Although there are many things that money can buy that can get us close to happiness, most of us can agree that that happiness is fleeting. And one of the main reasons for this is because our happiness comes from inside us–from a place where nothing like money can affect us. Thus, our perception of money is truly the only place where happiness and contentment can be found.

When I was a child, my idea of being rich was having a job. My idea of money consisted of something like this:
$5 = allowance for doing housework and chores on days when I was good. A dollar netted me about an hour worth of candy at the local convenience store.
$20 = Money I received from my grandparents and godparents on my birthday.
$100 = About the total amount I have saved up in my piggy bank.
$1000 = Amount of money in a savings account my parents opened up for me that I could not use.

Fast forward to now and it looks something like this:
$5 = The cost to eat a meal for myself only.
$20 = The cost of fuel for about 5 days local driving in one.
$100 = The cost of a day’s worth of groceries for my family.
$1000 = Almost enough to cover a month’s domestic or personal workers.

As we grow older, our needs for money change. Activities for the kids, tuition, doctor bills… the list goes on and on. And although the amount of money we need changes over time, our perception of how necessary it is in our lives does not have to change–for we truly only need enough to be able to get by. And when we allow ourselves to place our trust in God and life, and believe in our hearts that we are deserving of financial stability and that our abundance is ours to share, we will come to know happiness and peace.

Come up with a rewarding way to spend one dollar today and then go for it.

Questions to consider:

Think of a time money has recently bought you happiness? How long did that happiness last?

Why is it difficult for us to change our belifs about money?

How might you go about changing some of them to our benefit?

For further thought:

“Money is like any other language through which people communicate. People who speak the same language tend to find each other. If you are one whose money speaks of protection and hoarding, you will find yourself involved with others whose money speaks the same language. You will be staring at each other with hooded eyes and closed fists and suspicion will be your common value. If your money speaks of sharing, you will find yourself among people who want their money to speak the language of sharing, and your world will be filled with possibility.” ~ Kent Nerburn

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Shape Yourself As The Embodiment Of Peace, Love, and Reverence

“It is foolish to try to shape the World; shape yourself as the embodiment of Peace, Love, and Reverence. Then you will see all as Love, Compassion, and Humility.” ~ Atharva Veda …

Trying to shape the world into something we would like it to be is an exercise in futility. For one thing, everyone has their own free will to make the choices they feel are best for themselves; thus, trying to control the choices and decisions of others is quite impossible. Secondly, the world is filled with so many unknowns and constantly changing things; and if we try to place our purpose on changing or controlling the world around us, we will have little luck and will soon see ourselves trapped beneath an avalanche of insurmountable tasks. Instead of trying to shape the world, Atharva tells us that our energy is best spent shaping ourselves into something with great purpose, such as “the embodiment of Peace, Love, and Reverence.” We do have the power to change ourselves, so why not?

When we walk with peace, love, and reverence, we begin to bring great riches and prosperity into ourselves. And as we create an abundance of these riches–peace, love, and reverence–they begin to overflow from our own cup and fill the world around us. It is through this building up of ourselves that we begin to lift ourselves and those around us out of a life of poverty–a life that is void of love, compassion, and humility.

Living a life of peace, love, and reverence is the shortest path to finding fulfillment and happiness. Think of how wonderful it feels to be able to touch the life of someone you love who is in need… and just imagine how wonderful it would be if you were able to do so every day of your life. Instead of worrying about changing others, taking on the troubles of this world, or other similarly endless matters, we have the ability to place our focus somewhere in which it can make a difference–on knowing peace within our hearts, on loving other human beings and ourselves, and on revering all that exists in this beautiful world.

Because we are eternal beings, it is important that we work on the eternal aspects of life and who we are. Life is but a short journey on our way home. And someday when we pass from this life to the next, much of what we possess will be left behind. However, things like our peace, love, and reverence will continue with us… and that truly is time well spent.

Build up the peace, love, and reverence within yourself today.

Questions to consider:

How can we shape ourselves as “the embodiment of Peace, Love, and Reverence?”

What kinds of things keep us from focusing on peace, love, and reverence in our lives?

How can we develop our ability to keep our minds and hearts focused on peace, love, and reverence?

For further thought:

“Just as white light consists of colored rays, so reverence for life contains all the components of ethics: love, kindliness, sympathy, empathy, peacefulness, and power to forgive.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

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Your Wants Vs. Your Needs

“As you move into the day, be aware of how you treat yourself. As you shower or bathe, be aware of how you handle your body. Are you gentle? Or are you rough? As you eat your meals today, be aware of how much time, energy, and attention you give to nourishing yourself. When it comes to self-nurturing, are you attentively conscious? Are you unconsciously rushed? Be aware of what you do to and for yourself, because you set the standard for others.” ~ Iyanla Van Zant …

What an empowering concept–“I set the standard for how others treat me.” This means that I can increase the good and positive things that others do to me, and for me, simply by doing the same for myself first. And this only makes sense as everything else in our lives works the same way–when I give love I will receive more love in return, and when I show others compassion, concern, and respect they in turn will show me the same. And as creations of God, we all deserve the love that we are given, regardless of whether it came from others or ourselves.

So how do we go about effectively treating ourselves right? Iyanla gives a few good places to start–gentleness, proper nourishment, finding a healthy balance of our time and energy. It ultimately comes down to spending time getting to know and understand ourselves, so that we can receive the proper nourishment required in our lives. And this applies to all aspects of our lives–spiritual nourishment, emotional nourishment, physical nourishment, and intellectual nourishment.

By getting to know ourselves, we truly are doing the world a great favor, for we are enabling ourselves to approach the world from a position of wholeness and completeness. And once we are whole, we can serve to help others reach their own wholeness in life.

Our journey in life calls for us to discover and love ourselves. And as Jesus tells us below, without such knowledge and love, we will always be living in poverty. With it, however, we will possess enough riches for ourselves… and for all of those around us.

Take some time to gain a better understanding of your wants and your needs?

Questions to consider:

How much time do you spend really trying to get to know yourself better?

Why might others treat us better if we were to get to know, love, and trust ourselves fully?

How can not treating ourselves right lead to us living in a spiritual poverty? What other forms of poverty may it keep us in?

For further thought:

“If those who lead you say to you, “see, the Kingdom is in the sky,” then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, “It is in the sea,” then the fish will precede you. Rather, the Kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons and daughters of the living Father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.” ~ Jesus of Nazareth

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A Step Beyond Attitude… A Shift In Consciousness

“Do everything you can to preserve and protect love so that it endures forever.” ~ Jennifer Smith, The Unveiled Wife …

Love cannot endure on its own… it needs our committed efforts to sustain it and keep it alive. Just as any other gift we possess, love requires us to develop it–to grow it and to use it. If I am a gifted singer, then I must practice, and develop my skills, and then above all… I must sing. This understanding encourages me to ask myself this question each day, “How much time and effort am I putting into preserving love in my life today?”

Unlike our gifts and talents, the ability to love is given to all equally. You and I both have the same capacity to love, and to be loved. But we have to do so or that “gift” will not grow… and it will not be there for us when we need it most in our lives.

When we take care of our love, however, it comes to strengthen our relationships with one another. Moreover, it becomes a friend–a comforter–for when we are at our lowest points in our life. When we are filled with a “love that endures forever,” we have nothing to give but love to others in our lives, even if they mistreat us.

Love is a way of living our lives to the fullest; and when we are in tune with it, it can be an unstoppable force of goodness, generosity, mercy, and good will. But we must remember to give it our attention each day, lest it wilts like a malnourished flower and fades away.

Build up and strengthen the love you hold within.

Questions to consider:

Why do we say that “love is a verb?” Can love exist without our actions to preserve it?

Think about the love in your life. Do you nurture it enough, or do you store it away in a box where it appears safe and alone?

How can we separate our ideas of true love from our ideas of romantic–or even sexual–love?

For further thought:

“Love is not just another attitude…. Love is actually what we are. It is a step beyond attitude. It is a shift in consciousness.” ~ Michael Exeter

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Is Your Direction In Life Taking You To Where Your Heart Wants To Be?

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” ~ Henry David Thoreau …

Being lost is a scary experience–not knowing where to go, what to do, or how things will ever work out. During a recent excursion to the zoo, my five-year-old daughter Ella strayed a bit from the family and was lost for about a minute. And after she was found you could see the fear and panic in her face. When I asked her about it at home, it was apparent how scared and lost she felt.

Of course, Henry is talking about a different, yet closely related type of loss, one that we generally think of as a bad thing–losing our direction in life. When we were children, it seemed as if all adults already knew exactly where they were going and what they wanted from life; and if they did not, something was wrong. But the truth is that we have only a vague idea of where we are going, and no idea of what the future holds in store for us. And sometimes it takes being lost in life to realize that we truly are not sailing towards our desired destination.

When we feel we know exactly what we want in life–what we are going to do and how we are going to do it–we are not open to listening to our hearts and trying to find new directions in life. And why should we… we are already sure of where we are headed. But perhaps our true calling in life is something yet to be discovered; and unless we are open to that possibility, we will never know.

Take some time to quiet your mind and ask yourself if your direction in life is taking you to where your heart wants to be.

Questions to consider:

How do you feel when you become lost or without direction in life?

What messages might you hear when you are lost and do not know which way to go?

Do the majority of important messages in life come when everything seems to be going well… or in times of great difficulty?

For further thought:

“It may be when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.” ~ Wendell Berry

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Be Proud Of Who You Are… Both The Strengths And Weaknesses.

“Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing the best you can. Breathe.. And be grateful for small blessings.” ~ Vicki Reece …

We often times hold ourselves to a higher standard than we hold others, perhaps because we are ultimately responsible for ourselves. We fall into the practice of imposing unrealistic expectations upon ourselves, and when we fail to meet those expectations, we become harsh and judgmental towards ourselves for coming up short.

“Be gentle with yourself,” as Vicki says, for you are doing the best you can. Life is filled with failure, and that can be a very good thing. Because failure means potential growth… it means becoming stronger than we were yesterday. And the failures that we are presented with, often times, are exactly what we need to get us moving in the right direction.

If we wish to be the best possible version of ourselves, and we wish to be able to be there for others in life and help them out to the utmost of our abilities, then we have to be honest with ourselves. That means looking at the whole of ourselves–the faults and the strengths, the successes and failures–and acknowledging all that we are truly capable of. We each have great potential. However, we must acknowledge it and cultivate it so that it might grow into a fruitful harvest.

Be proud of who you are today… both the strengths and weaknesses.

Questions to consider:

What things keep us from looking at ourselves honestly and being gentle with ourselves?

Why are some people unwilling or unable to look at themselves with honesty and respect?

Are you fully aware of your feelings and attitudes towards yourself, or are there any areas about yourself that you are perhaps unsure of?

For further thought:

“We usually look outside ourselves for heroes and teachers. It has not occurred to most people that they may already be the role model they seek. The wholeness they are looking for may be trapped within themselves by beliefs, attitudes, and self-doubt. But our wholeness exists in us now. Trapped though it may be, it can be called upon for guidance, direction, and most fundamentally, comfort. It can be remembered. Eventually we may come to live by it.” ~ Rachel Naomi Remen

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Are You Now The Person You Want To Be?

“If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.” = Michael Jackson, Man In the Mirror …

I love to listen to songs such as this… songs that have such a wonderful message to share: The world around us is a reflection of who we are; and if the world around us is bad, then we need not look far to realize why. My attitudes, the way I treat others, where I place my focus and attention, how I spend my time and talents… all of this helps create the world I live in.

Some people are miserable in life and they want to spread that misery. They harbor anger and resentment, bad attitudes and negative outlooks, lack of compassion and concern for others, and on and on. And if you know anyone like this, I am sure you also know that many of those feelings begin to rub off onto you simply from being around such an individual. No one enjoys being in such a world. But it does not have to be that way. As Michael tells us through the words of his song, we can make the world around us a better place by changing ourselves for the better. It is as simple as that.

Shed the burdens of fear, intolerance, judgment, resentment, regret, and any feelings that negatively affect you spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Today can be the day we choose to live our lives to the fullest–finding all the joy and happiness available to us and experiencing peace, fulfillment, and contentment.

Look at yourself in the mirror today and ask yourself if the person you see is the same person you want the world to see.

Questions to consider:

Do you have a desire to make the world around you a better place?

What are some ways in which you could do so?

Think of someone you know who is positive and someone who is negative. Who do you prefer being around more?

For further thought:

“Our attitude tells the world what we expect in return. If it’s a cheerful, expectant attitude, it says to everyone with whom we come in contact that we expect the best in our dealings with the world. You see, we tend to live up to our expectations. And others give to us, as far as their attitudes are concerned, what we expect. Our attitude is something we can control. We can establish our attitude each morning when we start our day–in fact, we do just that, whether or not we realize it. And the people in our family–all the people in our world–will reflect back to us the attitude we present to them. It is, then, our attitude toward life that determines life’s attitude toward us. Cause and effect. Everything we say or do will cause a corresponding effect. If we’re cheerful, glad to be experiencing this miracle of life, others will reflect that good cheer back to us. We are the kind of people others enjoy being around.” ~ Earl Nightingale

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