Who’s gonna nab the real burglar in Cambridge?

The furor over the arrest of renowned Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has been painful to watch, even from the balcony of Life’s dramas: Scenes littered with suspicion, mistrust and accusations of racial profiling morphed into outrage, defensiveness, retaliation and, alas, some unfortunate mug shots. None of it—not the incident, the race-based commentary or what was really happening behind the scenes—was spiritually enlightening or positively evolutionary.

If you resisted the urge to jump onto this stage and fuel the flames of racial bigotry, if you maintained some distance and climbed into the balcony of the mayhem, then you had the benefit of being detached enough to see the character stealing each scene. You could almost hear him chortling. Uh huh, it was our devious friend Ego, the Anti-Christ, gleefully yanking everybody’s chain. Yes, I said it: Your, my, our ego is the Anti-Christ.

I didn’t think that I was the first to link the two; but just to make sure, I Googled “Ego Anti-Christ.” The numerous results included books such as Real Jesus, the psychology of anti-christ, and articles. One, “How to Recognize the Anti-Christ Within” leaped from the page. There was even an Oprah.com Community post, “The anti-Christ is NOT a person.”

Millions are waiting for the Anti-Christ to arrive, but it’s been here all along. It sits where we sit, stands where we stand, walks where we walk. And all too often, it speaks when we speak. It prods us to do and say things to others that we would not want done or said to us. It picks fights, fuels dissension, and causes us to choose angry force over peaceful power. It justifies righteous indignation over effective conflict resolution. It’s like a magnet, spinning our moral compass out of control.

Ego is the antithesis of the Christ spirit. It upstages maturity and intelligence. It stirs up mess, and through mass and social media, engages millions in divisive bickering that keeps us mired in the drama of Earth, distracting us from the greater reality of who we are and what Life is. Heaven forbid that we should choose peace, bliss out, and discover that we are more powerful than our egos led us to believe!

Ego is winning its battle for our souls, though not on merit. We’re forfeiting without even showing up.

Ego has a vested interest in highlighting our differences rather than our unifying divinity. It tells us that others are less human, less intelligent, less prosperous or not as beautiful as we are, and we should treat them offensively. We obey. It tells us that someone thinks they’re better than we are, and we should be offended. On cue, we shake our fists in rage, hearts pounding, glands sweating, blood pressure rising, literally making ourselves sick.

Ego doesn’t care whom it hurts. After all, hurt people hurt people. Hurt people also create more drama, so the ego’s manipulative mission has been accomplished. Ego will act a fool and make a fool wherever humans allow: in the opulent offices of global government and business leaders, in the squalor of tent cities, refugee camps and urban ghettos, and in quiet upscale neighborhoods such as Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In every case, the human mind makes a conscious decision to relinquish control to the devilish ego. We are not as conscious of the corresponding consequences, but that can change. At any moment, we can choose to act in our own best interests.
“I can be changed by what happens to me.
I refuse to be reduced by it.”
Whenever we let the ego force us to focus on the superficial, we volunteer to be reduced—sometimes in front of huge gawking audiences. Whenever we handcuff and book someone for screaming at us, we reduce ourselves to mere ego. Whenever we ask, “Is it because I’m Black?” or retort, “I’ll talk to your mama on the porch,” we’ve let the ego win. Whenever we label ourselves as anything other than children made in the image of the Love that is God, we’ve bought into the ego’s false claims that we are only humans, defined by our differences.

Situations often arise to help us remember who and whose we are. These teachable moments allow us to practice calling on the Light of God within to anchor us to our seats so that we won’t leap onto the stage of someone else’s ego-driven drama. These are times when we can work on perfecting the art of seeing the omnipresent God Light in everyone, no matter how they’re acting.

Truth has its rewards. Without these challenging or confrontational situations, when would we have an opportunity to demonstrate our values, stand firm in the truth of our own divinity, and refuse to be diminished by anything said or done?

Whatever your reaction to the lamentable drama in Cambridge, did you observe your own values on display when you spoke or wrote about it? Others certainly noticed. While responding to my comment about the incident on Denrique Preudhomme’s blog earlier this week, a woman declared that she didn’t believe that we should turn the other cheek and let God handle our problems. Furthermore, she said, God would not want us to back down from a fight with our tails tucked between our legs.

If she had not written that, the rest of us would not have known that she, like George W. Bush, perceived God as pugnacious rather than the Prince of Peace. I didn’t argue. We must give loving allowance for folks to believe what they believe. However, I did acknowledge my awareness that there are many who, like her, do not believe in the teachings of Jesus. (OK, so I also added that this is why we create, nurture and repeat these hurtful dramas. I admit that it might have been a bit judgmental. I’m working on that—mean it. Hey, if my soul was fully evolved, it wouldn’t be wearing this body.)

That brief online exchange was just another of my many self-awareness tests. Sometimes I pass, sometimes I fail. The most difficult part for me is maintaining conscious awareness that many times each day I will encounter these opportunities to speak and act from my empowering Divine-Self or my destructive Ego-Self. Each decision has its corresponding consequences, which should be incentive enough. And it is, when I remember instead of getting caught up in the drama.

It’s infinitely easier to detect these growth opportunities when I watch other folks’ dramas from the balcony of their lives. Recently, several friends have approached me for support after encountering dehumanizing individuals who hadn’t simply hidden their God Light under a bushel; they had buried it in a different zip code.

One friend wondered if the vile nature of her client’s in-your-face communication warranted an equally caustic and profane response “to show him who he was dealing with.” After all, she was no chump!

Because she was no chump, I suggested, wouldn’t it be a greater demonstration of her strength if she refused to allow him to blow out her Christ Light with his belittling rants? Any chump can throw verbal garbage or physical blows. Any small person can try to feel bigger by diminishing the worth of others. Only the strong can turn the other cheek, knowing that the power of the Almighty is within them. She liked that idea and accepted the challenge to flex that muscle.

A few days ago, another dear friend and mentor, a phenomenal manager in the business world, demonstrated that he is also an awesome leader in the real world. His boss, frustrated that he did not have the authority to fire my friend, spewed venomous, demeaning language in his face.

My friend didn’t react, no matter how disrespectfully the man behaved in this professional setting. He refused to relinquish his power. He refused to allow the out-of-control being on the other side of the desk to force him to abandon the refuge of his Christ-Self.

He calmly observed his boss’s tantrum. In fact, he said, he felt sorry for the man—and with good reason: Despite his considerable education, this man did not know what he was doing to himself physically or spiritually. He did not know that his fury was creating a chemical time bomb in his body. He did not know that this is a reap-what-you-sow world: Whatever you do will be done to you. He also did not know that your anger cannot control others’ bodies, minds or behavior unless they allow.

Luckily, most of us can exist an entire lifetime without being subjected to scenarios with this level of toxicity. I can’t say with certainty that I would have responded appropriately if I had encountered this situation before my mentor modeled—with a capital “M”—how to exude sheer power. If he can do it, we can do it.

He didn’t simply accept the opportunity to be Christ-like, he owned it. He was like the proverbial tree that’s planted in the water: He would not be moved. Despite his boss’s numerous attempts to drown him in darkness and goad him into responding insubordinately, my friend stood strong and tall in the Light, knowing that Darkness and Light cannot occupy the same space at the same time. By making this choice, he and the Light actually became One.

The irony here is that one man was a Christian minister. The other wasn’t. Guess which.

It was Ego who walked off that stage with his tail tucked between his legs—a defeat that did little to spoil its high batting average in many other places in the world, including Cambridge.

Perhaps we can further diminish its influence and impact if we simply shed light on other instances in which we held the Anti-Christ at bay. (Now wouldn’t that be a Revelation?)

What challenges have you faced that you’ve overcome in a powerful way? Or if you missed an opportunity, with hindsight, how would you have handled it more effectively?

Who’s gonna nab the real burglar in Cambridge?

The furor over the arrest of renowned Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has been painful to watch, even from the balcony of Life’s dramas: Scenes littered with suspicion, mistrust and accusations of racial profiling morphed into outrage, defensiveness, retaliation and, alas, some unfortunate mug shots. None of it—not the incident, the race-based commentary or what was really happening behind the scenes—was spiritually enlightening or positively evolutionary.

If you resisted the urge to jump onto this stage and fuel the flames of racial bigotry, if you maintained some distance and climbed into the balcony of the mayhem, then you had the benefit of being detached enough to see the character stealing each scene. You could almost hear him chortling. Uh huh, it was our devious friend Ego, the Anti-Christ, gleefully yanking everybody’s chain. Yes, I said it: Your, my, our ego is the Anti-Christ.

I didn’t think that I was the first to link the two; but just to make sure, I Googled “Ego Anti-Christ.”  The numerous results included books such as Real Jesus, the psychology of anti-christ, and articles. One, “How to Recognize the Anti-Christ Within” leaped from the page. There was even an Oprah.com Community post, “The anti-Christ is NOT a person.” 

Millions are waiting for the Anti-Christ to arrive, but it’s been here all along. It sits where we sit, stands where we stand, walks where we walk. And all too often, it speaks when we speak. It prods us to do and say things to others that we would not want done or said to us. It picks fights, fuels dissension, and causes us to choose angry force over peaceful power. It justifies righteous indignation over effective conflict resolution. It’s like a magnet, spinning our moral compass out of control.

Ego is the antithesis of the Christ spirit. It upstages maturity and intelligence. It stirs up mess, and through mass and social media, engages millions in divisive bickering that keeps us mired in the drama of Earth, distracting us from the greater reality of who we are and what Life is. Heaven forbid that we should choose peace, bliss out, and discover that we are more powerful than our egos led us to believe!

Ego is winning its battle for our souls, though not on merit. We’re forfeiting without even showing up.

Ego has a vested interest in highlighting our differences rather than our unifying divinity. It tells us that others are less human, less intelligent, less prosperous or not as beautiful as we are, and we should treat them offensively. We obey. It tells us that someone thinks they’re better than we are, and we should be offended. On cue, we shake our fists in rage, hearts pounding, glands sweating, blood pressure rising, literally making ourselves sick. 

Ego doesn’t care whom it hurts. After all, hurt people hurt people. Hurt people also create more drama, so the ego’s manipulative mission has been accomplished. Ego will act a fool and make a fool wherever humans allow: in the opulent offices of global government and business leaders, in the squalor of tent cities, refugee camps and urban ghettos, and in quiet upscale neighborhoods such as Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In every case, the human mind makes a conscious decision to relinquish control to the devilish ego. We are not as conscious of the corresponding consequences, but that can change. At any moment, we can choose to act in our own best interest.

“I can be changed by what happens to me.
I refuse to be reduced by it.”
                                                                       Maya Angelou

 Whenever we let the ego force us to focus on the superficial, we volunteer to be reduced—sometimes in front of huge gawking audiences. Whenever we handcuff and book someone for screaming at us, we reduce ourselves to mere ego. Whenever we ask, “Is it because I’m Black?” or retort, “I’ll talk to your mama on the porch,” we’ve let the ego win. Whenever we label ourselves as anything other than children made in the image of the Love that is God, we’ve bought into the ego’s false claims that we are only humans, defined by our differences.  

Situations often arise to help us remember who and whose we are. These teachable moments allow us to practice calling on the Light of God within to anchor us to our seats so that we won’t leap onto the stage of someone else’s ego-driven drama. These are times when we can work on perfecting the art of seeing the omnipresent God Light in everyone, no matter how they’re acting.

Truth has its rewards. Without these challenging or confrontational situations, when would we have an opportunity to demonstrate our values, stand firm in the truth of our own divinity, and refuse to be diminished by anything said or done?

Whatever your reaction to the lamentable drama in Cambridge, did you observe your own values on display when you spoke or wrote about it? Others certainly noticed. While responding to my comment about the incident on Denrique Preudhomme’s blog earlier this week, a woman declared that she didn’t believe that we should turn the other cheek and let God handle our problems. Furthermore, she said, God would not want us to back down from a fight with our tails tucked between our legs.

If she had not written that, the rest of us would not have known that she, like George W. Bush, perceived God as pugnacious rather than the Prince of Peace. I didn’t argue. We must give loving allowance for folks to believe what they believe. However, I did acknowledge my awareness that there are many who, like her, do not believe in the teachings of Jesus. (OK, so I also added that this is why we create, nurture and repeat these hurtful dramas. I admit that it might have been a bit judgmental. I’m working on that—mean it. Hey, if my soul was fully evolved, it wouldn’t be wearing this body.)

That brief online exchange was just another of my many self-awareness tests. Sometimes I pass, sometimes I fail. The most difficult part for me is maintaining conscious awareness that many times each day I will encounter these opportunities to speak and act from my empowering Divine-Self or my destructive Ego-Self. Each decision has its corresponding consequences, which should be incentive enough. And it is, when I remember instead of getting caught up in the drama.

It’s infinitely easier to detect these growth opportunities when I watch other folks’ dramas from the balcony of their lives. Recently, several friends have approached me for support after encountering dehumanizing individuals who hadn’t simply hidden their God Light under a bushel; they had buried it in a different zip code.

One friend wondered if the vile nature of her client’s in-your-face communication warranted an equally caustic and profane response “to show him who he was dealing with.” After all, she was no chump!

Because she was no chump, I suggested, wouldn’t it be a greater demonstration of her strength if she refused to allow him to blow out her Christ Light with his belittling rants? Any chump can throw verbal garbage or physical blows. Any small person can try to feel bigger by diminishing the worth of others. Only the strong can turn the other cheek, knowing that the power of the Almighty is within them. She liked that idea and accepted the challenge to flex that muscle.

A few days ago, another dear friend and mentor, a phenomenal manager in the business world, demonstrated that he is also an awesome leader in the real world. His boss, frustrated that he did not have the authority to fire my friend, spewed venomous, demeaning language in his face.

My friend didn’t react, no matter how disrespectfully the man behaved in this professional setting. He refused to relinquish his power. He refused to allow the out-of-control being on the other side of the desk to force him to abandon the refuge of his Christ-Self.

He calmly observed his boss’s tantrum. In fact, he said, he felt sorry for the man—and with good reason:  Despite his considerable education, this man did not know what he was doing to himself physically or spiritually. He did not know that his fury was creating a chemical time bomb in his body. He did not know that this is a reap-what-you-sow world: Whatever you do will be done to you. He also did not know that your anger cannot control others’ bodies, minds or behavior unless they allow.

Luckily, most of us can exist an entire lifetime without being subjected to scenarios with this level of toxicity. I can’t say with certainty that I would have responded appropriately if I had encountered this situation before my mentor modeled—with a capital “M”—how to exude sheer power. If he can do it, we can do it.

He didn’t simply accept the opportunity to be Christ-like, he owned it. He was like the proverbial tree that’s planted in the water: He would not be moved. Despite his boss’s numerous attempts to drown him in darkness and goad him into responding insubordinately, my friend stood strong and tall in the Light, knowing that Darkness and Light cannot occupy the same space at the same time. By making this choice, he and the Light actually became One.

The irony here is that one man was a Christian minister. The other wasn’t. Guess which.

It was Ego who walked off that stage with his tail tucked between his legs—a defeat that did little to spoil its high batting average in many other places in the world, including Cambridge. Perhaps we can further diminish its influence and impact if we simply shed light on other instances in which we held the Anti-Christ at bay. (Now wouldn’t that be a Revelation?)

What challenges have you faced that you’ve overcome in a powerful way? Or if you missed an opportunity, with hindsight, how would you have handled it more effectively?

Is Truth more important than facts?

In the coin section of my wallet, I carry the tag from an old teabag. It’s a quote from French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire: “A witty saying proves nothing.” Amen.
We love clever sayings—even if they don’t make sense, even if our own life experiences have demonstrated something to the contrary, and even if we don’t fully understand the implications of the claim that is being made. We just pass these sayings to others on without thinking, especially if it threatens us.
In the e-mail world, this is done by clicking “forward.” I’ve repeatedly received a Bible verse claiming that Jesus said something judgmental and threatening. Each time I’ve received it, I ask the sender if she (it’s always a woman) really believes that Jesus would say something so unChristlike. Those who respond always say that they hadn’t thought about it. That’s the part I don’t understand. It’s the thinking faculty that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom.
Some of the other oft-repeated sayings that fill me with wonder are those surrounding the spiritual Law of Attraction. These witticisms preach that you can have anything you want: Think it, believe it, visualize it, hold it as a dominant thought, and it will manifest out of thin air. That is the message of these sayings.
Some not only believe that this is true, they believe that repeating these witticisms actually gives others some hope that they can turn things around. Is it hope or a headache that they’re giving them?
According to the Law of Attraction prophets (many of whom are focused solely on profits), you can have anything you want—even if it’s not yours. You can have anything you want—even if it is not for your Highest Good to have it. You can have anything you want—even though your soul desires something totally different. You can have what you want—even if there’s only one of it, and more than one person wants it. Then that leads to the “blessed and highly favored” sayings that imply that Our Father plays favorites.
Witty sayings prove something if they are true 100% of the time for 100% of the people. If it happens for some, but not for everyone, it’s a possibility, not a truth. And they should be regarded as possibilities and nothing more.
How about this saying from the Loud Mouth: “What’s yours, you will get—at the right time and in the most perfect way—and no one can keep you from it.” While I have no proof that this happens 100% of the time for 100% of the people, there is some empirical evidence that reveals that it’s more probable than “you can have anything you want.”
Anyone who’s ever had a disappointment had to have anticipated a specific outcome: They visualized it, made it their dominant thought, and they believed that it was going to happen. But it didn’t—or it happened for someone else.
Two weeks ago, hardly anyone knew who Kesha Ni’Cole Nichols was. In her world, in her mind, and according to her plans, she was going to be honeymooning with NBA star Richard Jefferson right now.
This young woman had planned a $2 million wedding day. (The thought of a woman spending that kind of money for a ceremony and celebration that were going to last a few hours might have made any young man choke: Would he have enough money to sustain her for the rest of the year?) But I digress:
How many times do you think Ms. Nichols visualized herself proudly walking down the aisle with a church full of high-profile folks looking adoringly at her ridiculously expensive wedding gown? In this scene, the love of her life was always waiting at the end of aisle, eagerly waiting to say, “I take this woman.” Not once did it cross her mind that Jefferson would dump her the night before. In order to spend that kind of money, you could not have spent time thinking about anything but that wedding day. It was certifiably her dominant thought. And look what happened.
Ms. Nichols is not an exception. These things happen all the time. Heck, they’ve happened to you. It would be crass and untrue to say, “If you want to make God laugh, just make plans.” But you have to admit that it’s witty–and o are clever motivational sayings and formulas touting dominant thoughts, visualizations and other predictors of success, prosperity, and wellness that cannot be proved.
In fact, experience has proved otherwise. With the misperception that we are merely mortal creatures, and that acquiring stuff while we’re in these bodies will make us happy, these witty sayings steer us in the direction of material joy.
In actuality, peace of mind is what truly brings joy. Few things disturb our peace of mind more than getting, having stuff and keeping stuff. What we need are some sayings that give us peace of mind when we can’t pay our bills or when we face health challenges–sayings that have nothing to do with changing the circumstances, but understanding why we created them in the first place. Hmmm, how about: “Trust that whatever you are experiencing is designed by your soul for its Highest Good. Allow it to fulfill its purpose.”
I admit, it might not be very inspirational, but if I know that I am eternal and that the problem I’m facing is not, I am more likely to relax and trust that the soul and the God Spirit within me know what they’re doing.
Maybe it’s the Virgo in me, but I like to understand and analyze my experiences. Based on my belief that things don’t happen to me, they happen for me, I always ask the God Within: “Why did I create this situation, and how does it serve me?” Invariably–usually within 24 hours because I’ve practiced this so long–it is revealed why I am having that experience, and how it is benefitting me. As a consequence, I am rarely disturbed when things happen. I accept that it is happening for my growth and Highest Good. That doesn’t mean that I am delighted that I’m having the discomfort. For added measure, I frequently say something like, “I am open to experience something more pleasant, at the earliest and most perfect time.”
Challenges build muscle, teach lessons and stimulate growth. The last person you want to be around if things go wrong is someone who has not faced a challenge or a disappointment before. Problems are good. Disappointments are good. Not getting everything you want is good. Learning from every experience–and seizing the growth or practice opportunities they present–is even better.
What advice have you been given, based on a motivational saying, that was fact but not truth? How did you respond? Share so that we can all grow?

Is truth more important than facts?

In the coin section of my wallet, I carry the tag from an old teabag. It’s a quote from French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire: “A witty saying proves nothing.” Amen.

We love clever sayings—even if they don’t make sense, even if our own life experiences have demonstrated something to the contrary, and even if we don’t fully understand the implications of the claim that is being made. We just pass these sayings to others on without thinking, especially if it threatens us.

In the e-mail world, this is done by clicking “forward.” I’ve repeatedly received a Bible verse claiming that Jesus said something judgmental and threatening. Each time I’ve received it, I ask the sender if she (it’s always a woman) really believes that Jesus would say something so unChristlike. Those who respond always say that they hadn’t thought about it. That’s the part I don’t understand. It’s the thinking faculty that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom.

Some of the other oft-repeated sayings that fill me with wonder are those surrounding the spiritual Law of Attraction. These witticisms preach that you can have anything you want: Think it, believe it, visualize it, hold it as a dominant thought, and it will manifest out of thin air. That is the message of these sayings. 

Some not only believe that this is true, they believe that repeating these witticisms actually gives others some hope that they can turn things around. Is it hope or a headache that they’re giving them?

According to the Law of Attraction prophets (many of whom are focused solely on profits), you can have anything you want—even if it’s not yours. You can have anything you want—even if it is not for your Highest Good to have it. You can have anything you want—even though your soul desires something totally different. You can have what you want—even if there’s only one of it, and more than one person wants it. Then that leads to the “blessed and highly favored” sayings that imply that Our Father plays favorites.

Witty sayings prove something if they are true 100% of the time for 100% of the people. If it happens for some, but not for everyone, it’s a possibility, not a truth. And they should be regarded as possibilities and nothing more.

How about this saying from the Loud Mouth: “What’s yours, you will get—at the right time and in the most perfect way—and no one can keep you from it.” While I have no proof that this happens 100% of the time for 100% of the people, there is some empirical evidence that reveals that it’s more probable than “you can have anything you want.”

Anyone who’s ever had a disappointment had to have anticipated a specific outcome: They visualized it, made it their dominant thought, and they believed that it was going to happen. But it didn’t—or it happened for someone else.

Two weeks ago, hardly anyone knew who Kesha Ni’Cole Nichols was. In her world, in her mind, and according to her plans, she was going to be honeymooning with  NBA star Richard Jefferson right now.

This young woman had planned a $2 million wedding day. (The thought of a woman spending that kind of money for a ceremony and celebration that were going to last a few hours might have made any young man choke: Would he have enough money to sustain her for the rest of the year?) But I digress:

How many times do you think Ms. Nichols visualized herself proudly walking down the aisle with a church full of high-profile folks looking adoringly at her ridiculously expensive wedding gown? In this scene, the love of her life was always waiting at the end of aisle, eagerly waiting to say, “I take this woman.” Not once did it cross her mind that Jefferson would dump her the night before. In order to spend that kind of money, you could not have spent time thinking about anything but that wedding day. It was certifiably her dominant thought. And look what happened.

Ms. Nichols is not an exception. These things happen all the time. Heck, they’ve happened to you. It would be crass and untrue to say, “If you want to make God laugh, just make plans.” But you have to admit that it’s witty–and o are clever motivational sayings and formulas touting dominant thoughts, visualizations and other predictors of success, prosperity, and wellness that cannot be proved.

In fact, experience has proved otherwise. With the misperception that we are merely mortal creatures, and that acquiring stuff while we’re in these bodies will make us happy, these witty sayings steer us in the direction of material joy.

In actuality, peace of mind is what truly brings joy. Few things disturb our peace of mind more than getting, having stuff and keeping stuff. What we need are some sayings that give us peace of mind when we can’t pay our bills or when we face health challenges–sayings that have nothing to do with changing the circumstances, but understanding why we created them in the first place. Hmmm, how about: “Trust that whatever you are experiencing is designed by your soul for its Highest Good. Allow it to fulfill its purpose.”

I admit, it might not be very inspirational, but if I know that I am eternal and that the problem I’m facing is not, I am more likely to relax and trust that the soul and the God Spirit within me know what they’re doing.

Maybe it’s the Virgo in me, but I like to understand and analyze my experiences. Based on my belief that things don’t happen to me, they happen for me, I always ask the God Within: “Why did I create this situation, and how does it serve me?” Invariably–usually within 24 hours because I’ve practiced this so long–it is revealed why I am having that experience, and how it is benefitting me. As a consequence, I am rarely disturbed when things happen. I accept that it is happening for my growth and Highest Good. That doesn’t mean that I am delighted that I’m having the discomfort. For added measure, I frequently say something like, “I am open to experience something more pleasant, at the earliest and most perfect time.”

Challenges build muscle, teach lessons and stimulate growth. The last person you want to be around if things go wrong is someone who has not faced a challenge or a disappointment before. Problems are good. Disappointments are good. Not getting everything you want is good. Learning from every experience–and seizing the growth or practice opportunities they present–is even better. 

What advice have you been given, based on a motivational saying, that was fact but not truth? How did you respond? Would you like to share so that we can all grow?

Can you make it through the “tough parts?”

It happened Thursday. I was taking my daughter to the airport after a blissful weeklong Independence Day vacation from everything. I even played hooky from the home-church:
“Uh oh, here comes the tough part.”
I looked at Maiysha and instantly felt a little knot in my stomach. I had forgotten how much she dreaded goodbyes. As I pulled up to curb outside the American Airlines terminal at O’Hare, my mind instantly flashed back to the TV Guide documentary about her journey to the Grammy Awards as a neophyte nominee.
That video gave me the first glimpse into what happens every time my little girl and I leave each other and head to another city: I watched her close her hotel room door as I left to go to the L.A. airport. Then she sobbed. She revealed to the producer that it has happened ever since she was four.
Separation is a heartbreaking ritual familiar to all children of divorce, particularly if their parents live in different cities. While excited to see one beloved parent, they dread leaving the other.
At this point, this heartbreak seems to have lodged itself in Maiysha’s memory because, even though she’s grown, and we’ve lived in different cities since her freshman year in high school, she still cries the moment I leave her sight. Now that the TV Guide cameras have shown me what that looks like, I cry, too.
Letting go. It’s one of the toughest things we do, and it can be painful if we don’t understand that there is always a time for departure. We cannot go to the next level without leaving the last. We forget that we’re on a path, and only a fraction of a millimeter of that path is here on planet Earth. Some of us exhaust a lot of energy, much of it negative, trying to control that blink of an eyelash moment in Universal Time.
Perhaps you’re displeased with your current circumstances. What led you to this moment and these circumstances? Sure, you can trace your physical path to this spot—your decisions, educational preparation and the skill sets, the places you went and organizations you joined, the previous jobs you held, the network of people who influenced your personal or professional lives—but that doesn’t always answer the “How’d I get here from there” question, does it?
You did all the right things for all the right reasons. You gave your relationship or your job all you had to give, and more; but it didn’t last. In the immortal tearful words of Nancy Kerrigan: “Why? Why? Why?”
I get this question from many who seek my counsel. For each, the response is specific to their situation, but the core of it my answer is always this: If you were supposed to have a different experience, you would be. What you’re experiencing now is the result of all of the choices you’ve made throughout your eternal life, times that you cannot even remember.
That’s the “tough part,” the “letting go” part: releasing old ideas of how things are “supposed to be,” based on the choices we’ve made in these bodies. As far back as we can remember, we’ve treated people well, worked hard, and followed the Golden Rule. Well, mostly. Still, the few times that we veered from the straight and narrow don’t explain why our lives look like this. Or maybe it’s the other way around: I know, as I sit here perched high, high above the crossroads of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, with a horizon so rich with possibilities that I can barely sit still, I wonder: What in the Universe did I do to deserve this fabulous life?
That would be a clue: There’s something happening that we cannot see and cannot remember. The tough part is accepting that whatever we’re going through right now is either the unfolding of our souls’ plan or our bodies’ decisions to throw a monkey wrench in that plan; everything we do right now impacts us at some point on our journey. If you don’t believe, just do something that you don’t want done to you. Go ‘head. We’re watching.
We forget that Life is invisible and infinite; bodies are not. To help us remember, we’re granted ample opportunities to learn to get out of our soul’s way, go with the flow, and accomplish the goals that the soul intended when it showed up on this drama-filled planet wearing a body costume or, as it’s called in Genesis 2:7, a “tunic of skin.”
That’s another tough part: We think we’re only visible and we focus all of our attention on the visible. This is your soul’s life. Your body and all the physical trappings that you’re fixated on are merely trappings, and you can get sucked into a gooey vortex by allowing those trappings—the job titles, the car, the house, the endless quest for financial prosperity—that distract you from why you’re really here. Prosper that.
At the end of the day, all of us will leave behind all the stuff we fought so hard to own and far too many of us will be just another carcass that got tricked by the devious ego, who stuck his leg out and made us trip over the props. While they put our worthless physical remains in a box and plant it, we’ll schlep our vacuous souls over to a corner and mourn the growth opportunities that we blew.
Everyone is here for a unique reason. What’s yours? Are you fulfilling your mission? How close are you? This is urgent, so let me “go Loud Mouth” for a minute: Are you walking around with a big ball on your head, deluded into thinking that only what you can see, touch, smell, hear and taste is all that exists, and everything you ever wanted resides inside that ball? You can let your ego keep “punking” you—or you can become more intimate with Life’s unlimited reality.
I was counseling a distraught young woman the other day. She graduated with a high GPA from a very good university a year ago, and despite her strong work ethic and high acumen, she has been unable to find a job. Many of her friends are similarly situated, but just as many friends are enjoying what she perceives to be successful careers in the corporate world.
Unhappy that she was not enjoying the same success, she told me that she has repeatedly prayed to God, “What am I doing wrong? What am I not doing? Please give me some direction.” After asking, what did she do? She actively looked for ways to follow the same direction as her “successful” friends. She was so busy that she probably wasn’t even able to hear the direction she was being given from the spark of God within her. She expected the direction to take her where she thought she should be going.
Like most of us, she wanted God to do her will. We’ve been taught to do this. It’s what we think prayer is: “Ask and it shall be given.”
What if it’s not yours? What if it’s not the right path for you? What if your body’s desires aren’t in alignment with your soul’s? What if you tried to release your human understanding of the situation? You might see things differently.
My young friend, for example, had been mightily blessed; but she appeared to be unaware. After graduation, a relative reached out to her and, acknowledging how hard she had worked to complete her education, made her an offer that her friends probably would envy: She was invited into the relative’s comfortable home and told not to worry about paying a thing. Yep, I’m talking free room and board. Blessing, or no?
This young woman could hardly wait to move out on her own. She was desperate to be like her friends who have income, independence, and are now accumulating rent receipts, credit card debt, car notes and all of the bills associated with owning a late model car, suitable business attire, furniture and appliances.
I asked her several questions: First, why are you here on this planet, in this country, in that place at this time? Like most of us, she wasn’t sure. Exploring some possibilities provided tremendous insight for her. You might find this exercise helpful, as well. Try to look at your situation from a different perspective, higher than the ego-level.
I wondered if this talented, ambitious young woman had considered the possibility that living in her relative’s home might actually have been a blessing for her relative. She paused, a bit confused. I tried to clarify: I asked her to tell me what it feels like when she presents someone a gift—an unexpected, generous, selfless gift. She could feel it instantly—and it felt GREAT. I asked her to imagine that she had blessed her relative with this incomparable feeling. Her spirit began to brighten at the empowering thought that she might actually be delivering the gift in this situation.
Then I asked her to look deeper, look at the scenario spiritually, beyond the physical appearance and consider the possibility that the eternal soul who currently is wearing the body of her relative is one that her soul has known for a long time. I didn’t ask her to accept it as a fact; I just wanted her to write a script with this scene.
Next question: What if, at some point in your eternal life, you did something selfless for this soul or another and the Universe was returning your generosity? What if you refused to allow this soul to repay its debt?
She then began to stop resisting her situation, but actually embrace it.
Like most of us, this young woman had focused her attention on the drama on her life’s physical stage, where the ego-self is only capable of rearranging the props on the stage or trying to direct the actors to do what it wants. Those who are heavily controlled by their egos even try to manipulate situations and people in a forceful rather than powerful way.
When something goes awry and things aren’t going as our egos desire, those who believe there’s a God cry out for help. They look up rather than within because they’ve been told that God is a being that looks like a man, which is a limiting portrayal of Spirit or Love. They say that “He” is far away in the heavens, and will come down here and intervene, or will favor us over “His” other kids. They confuse us and confound our search for a close relationship with God and complicate our search for divine answers to our most troubling questions.
We pray and pray and pray for God to do our will, and we feel rejected, abandoned or even angry when “He” doesn’t comply. At that point, we’re ripe for the pickin’. Our egos convince us that we have to take control. WE have to make it happen, since we can’t count on God.
We don’t give a thought to the possibility that things are the way they are because it is for the Highest Good of our souls to have this experience. Through it, there is a wonderful growth lesson for the only Life that really exists: the eternal life of the soul.
Maybe, if we made uncharitable choices during a period that we can’t remember, this is an opportunity to settle that debt. If given the option of paying off a debt or carrying the burden throughout all eternity, which would you choose if you know that physical life is not real life?
We don’t know what our soul’s plan is, and we haven’t done the spiritual homework to figure out how to neutralize those debts painlessly. If you’re interested, I provide those tips very simply in “Crossing an Unseen Bridge: The Law of Attraction Secrets No One Wants to Talk About.”
Taking full responsibility for our life’s circumstances is tough. Letting go of our limited vision of a God who is off in the heavens, instead of within us, is even tougher. We have to leave behind that ancient caricature borrowed from Greek mythology, if we’re going to get to the next level in our spiritual development. At that level, we revere each individual as a spark of the living God and we treat each individual with the divine respect that we would accord God if “He” was wearing a tunic of skin. As a consequence, what returns to us in this “reap what you sow” world is always divine.
Our every thought, belief and action has a corresponding consequence, and the only thing that you really can control are the consequences of your thoughts, beliefs and actions. Be still, seek peace, and you will hear the directions rising from the Divine within you.That’s what happened to my young friend:
Because she had left her iPod at a friend’s earlier in the week, she found herself jogging in silence, the realm of the Divine. As a consequence, she was better able to hear the Divine speak to her.
She wasn’t sure why, but as she ran that day, Spirit moved her to call me. After we gained some clarity on her situation, it occurred to me that I knew someone who needs an energetic, hardworking entry-level public relations person with events management experience. The position would require frequent travel, which she loves.
Because she and I had not spoken in a while and she lives out of town, she had not crossed my mind. Apparently, she was supposed to. I hold a lot of influence in determining who gets that position.
This was just one of many reminders that there are no accidents; there is a Divine Plan. It was written before our souls entered these bodies; in fact, our souls co-authored it.
If we could pull our contributing chapters from a shelf and find the pages that explained how our current circumstances serve our souls’ growth, if we could remember that we are not finite bodies and that this is just a momentary experience in this tunic of skin, we could relax and go with the flow. We wouldn’t be upset when things change, no matter how abrupt or seemingly unfair the change is.
If we could trust God enough to know that everything serves our Highest Good, we wouldn’t be angry when un-Christlike Christians or other ego-driven souls try to harm us. We called them onto our stages to push us onto another one because it was time to go. Our ego-selves don’t like change that they don’t orchestrate; we needed these souls’ help. As mean-spirited as they seem, they are fulfilling our missions in meaningful ways. If we could remember that, we would know peace beyond all understanding. We would be joyful when things change.
Nobody on this planet has achieved Enlightenment. If they had, they wouldn’t be here. No matter what our level of spiritual understanding, new, sometimes greater challenges await us down the path. Stretching can be uncomfortable. But if we trust the divinity of the God within us, we will never again perceive them as “tough parts.”

Do you know how to make it through the “tough parts?”

It happened Thursday. I was taking my daughter to the airport after a blissful weeklong Independence Day vacation from everything. I even played hooky from the home-church:

 “Uh oh, here comes the tough part.”

 I looked at Maiysha and instantly felt a little knot in my stomach. I had forgotten how much she dreaded goodbyes. As I pulled up to curb outside the American Airlines terminal at O’Hare, my mind instantly flashed back to the TV Guide documentary about her journey to the Grammy Awards as a neophyte nominee.

That video gave me the first glimpse into what happens every time my little girl and I leave each other and head to another city: I watched her close her hotel room door as I left to go to the L.A. airport. Then she sobbed. She revealed to the producer that it has happened ever since she was four.

Separation is a heartbreaking ritual familiar to all children of divorce, particularly if their parents live in different cities. While excited to see one beloved parent, they dread leaving the other.   

At this point, this heartbreak seems to have lodged itself in Maiysha’s memory because, even though she’s grown, and we’ve lived in different cities since her freshman year in high school, she still cries the moment I leave her sight. Now that the TV Guide cameras have shown me what that looks like, I cry, too.

Letting go. It’s one of the toughest things we do, and it can be painful if we don’t understand that there is always a time for departure. We cannot go to the next level without leaving the last. We forget that we’re on a path, and only a fraction of a millimeter of that path is here on planet Earth. Some of us exhaust a lot of energy, much of it negative, trying to control that blink of an eyelash moment in Universal Time.

Perhaps you’re displeased with your current circumstances. What led you to this moment and these circumstances? Sure, you can trace your physical path to this spot—your decisions, educational preparation and the skill sets, the places you went and organizations you joined, the previous jobs you held, the network of people who influenced your personal or professional lives—but that doesn’t always answer the “How’d I get here from there” question, does it?

You did all the right things for all the right reasons. You gave your relationship or your job all you had to give, and more; but it didn’t last. In the immortal tearful words of Nancy Kerrigan: “Why? Why? Why?”

I get this question from many who seek my counsel. For each, the response is specific to their situation, but the core of it my answer is always this: If you were supposed to have a different experience, you would be. What you’re experiencing now is the result of all of the choices you’ve made throughout your eternal life, times that you cannot even remember.

That’s the “tough part,” the “letting go” part: releasing old ideas of how things are “supposed to be,” based on the choices we’ve made in these bodies. As far back as we can remember, we’ve treated people well, worked hard, and followed the Golden Rule. Well, mostly. Still, the few times that we veered from the straight and narrow don’t explain why our lives look like this. Or maybe it’s the other way around: I know, as I sit here perched high, high above the crossroads of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, with a horizon so rich with possibilities that I can barely sit still, I wonder: What in the Universe did I do to deserve this fabulous life?

That would be a clue: There’s something happening that we cannot see and cannot remember. The tough part is accepting that whatever we’re going through right now is either the unfolding of our souls’ plan or our bodies’ decisions to throw a monkey wrench in that plan; everything we do right now impacts us at some point on our journey. If you don’t believe, just do something that you don’t want done to you. Go ‘head. We’re watching.

We forget that Life is invisible and infinite; bodies are not. To help us remember, we’re granted ample opportunities to learn to get out of our soul’s way, go with the flow, and accomplish the goals that the soul intended when it showed up on this drama-filled planet wearing a body costume or, as it’s called in Genesis 2:7, a “tunic of skin.” 

That’s another tough part: We think we’re only visible and we focus all of our attention on the visible. This is your soul’s life. Your body and all the physical trappings that you’re fixated on are merely trappings, and you can get sucked into a gooey vortex by allowing those trappings—the job titles, the car, the house, the endless quest for financial prosperity—that distract you from why you’re really here. Prosper that.

At the end of the day, all of us will leave behind all the stuff we fought so hard to own and far too many of us will be just another carcass that got tricked by the devious ego, who stuck his leg out and made us trip over the props. While they put our worthless physical remains in a box and plant it, we’ll schlep our vacuous souls over to a corner and mourn the growth opportunities that we blew.

Everyone is here for a unique reason. What’s yours? Are you fulfilling your mission? How close are you? This is urgent, so let me “go Loud Mouth” for a minute: Are you walking around with a big ball on your head, deluded into thinking that only what you can see, touch, smell, hear and taste is all that exists, and everything you ever wanted resides inside that ball? You can let your ego keep “punking” you—or you can become more intimate with Life’s unlimited reality.

I was counseling a distraught young woman the other day. She graduated with a high GPA from a very good university a year ago, and despite her strong work ethic and high acumen, she has been unable to find a job. Many of her friends are similarly situated, but just as many friends are enjoying what she perceives to be successful careers in the corporate world.

Unhappy that she was not enjoying the same success, she told me that she has repeatedly prayed to God, “What am I doing wrong? What am I not doing? Please give me some direction.” After asking, what did she do? She actively looked for ways to follow the same direction as her “successful” friends. She was so busy that she probably wasn’t even able to hear the direction she was being given from the spark of God within her. She expected the direction to take her where she thought she should be going.

Like most of us, she wanted God to do her will. We’ve been taught to do this. It’s what we think prayer is: “Ask and it shall be given.”

What if it’s not yours? What if it’s not the right path for you? What if your body’s desires aren’t in alignment with your soul’s? What if you tried to release your human understanding of the situation? You might see things differently.

My young friend, for example, had been mightily blessed; but she appeared to be unaware. After graduation, a relative reached out to her and, acknowledging how hard she had worked to complete her education, made her an offer that her friends probably would envy: She was invited into the relative’s comfortable home and told not to worry about paying a thing. Yep, I’m talking free room and board. Blessing, or no?

This young woman could hardly wait to move out on her own. She was desperate to be like her friends who have income, independence, and are now accumulating rent receipts, credit card debt, car notes and all of the bills associated with owning a late model car, suitable business attire, furniture and appliances.

I asked her several questions: First, why are you here on this planet, in this country, in that place at this time? Like most of us, she wasn’t sure. Exploring some possibilities provided tremendous insight for her. You might find this exercise helpful, as well. Try to look at your situation from a different perspective, higher than the ego-level.

I wondered if this talented, ambitious young woman had considered the possibility that living in her relative’s home might actually have been a blessing for her relative. She paused, a bit confused. I tried to clarify: I asked her to tell me what it feels like when she presents someone a gift—an unexpected, generous, selfless gift. She could feel it instantly—and it felt GREAT. I asked her to imagine that she had blessed her relative with this incomparable feeling. Her spirit began to brighten at the empowering thought that she might actually be delivering the gift in this situation.

Then I asked her to look deeper, look at the scenario spiritually, beyond the physical appearance and consider the possibility that the eternal soul who currently is wearing the body of her relative is one that her soul has known for a long time. I didn’t ask her to accept it as a fact; I just wanted her to write a script with this scene.

Next question: What if, at some point in your eternal life, you did something selfless for this soul or another and the Universe was returning your generosity? What if you refused to allow this soul to repay its debt? She then began to  stop resisting her situation, but actually embrace it.  

Like most of us, this young woman had focused her attention on the drama on her life’s physical stage, where the ego-self is only capable of rearranging the props on the stage or trying to direct the actors to do what it wants. Those who are heavily controlled by their egos even try to manipulate situations and people in a forceful rather than powerful way.

When something goes awry and things aren’t going as our egos desire, those who believe there’s a God cry out for help. They look up rather than within because they’ve been told that God is a being that looks like a man, which is a limiting portrayal of Spirit or Love. They say that “He” is far away in the heavens, and will come down here and intervene, or will favor us over “His” other kids. They confuse us and confound our search for a close relationship with God and complicate our search for divine answers to our most troubling questions. 

We pray and pray and pray for God to do our will, and we feel rejected, abandoned or even angry when “He” doesn’t comply. At that point, we’re ripe for the pickin’. Our egos convince us that we have to take control. WE have to make it happen, since we can’t count on God.

We don’t give a thought to the possibility that things are the way they are because it is for the Highest Good of our souls to have this experience. Through it, there is a wonderful growth lesson for the only Life that really exists: the eternal life of the soul.

Maybe, if we made uncharitable choices during a period that we can’t remember, this is an opportunity to settle that debt. If given the option of paying off a debt or carrying the burden throughout all eternity, which would you choose if you know that physical life is not real life?

We don’t know what our soul’s plan is, and we haven’t done the spiritual homework to figure out how to neutralize those debts painlessly. If you’re interested, I provide those tips very simply in “Crossing an Unseen Bridge: The Law of Attraction Secrets No One Wants to Talk About.”

Taking full responsibility for our life’s circumstances is tough. Letting go of our limited vision of a God who is off in the heavens, instead of within us, is even tougher. We have to leave behind that ancient caricature borrowed from Greek mythology, if we’re going to get to the next level in our spiritual development. At that level, we revere each individual as a spark of the living God and we treat each individual with the divine respect that we would accord God if “He” was wearing a tunic of skin. As a consequence, what returns to us in this “reap what you sow” world is always divine.

Our every thought, belief and action has a corresponding consequence, and the only thing that you really can control are the consequences of your thoughts, beliefs and actions. Be still, seek peace, and you will hear the directions rising from the Divine within you.That’s what happened to my young friend:

Because she had left her iPod at a friend’s earlier in the week, she found herself jogging in silence, the realm of the Divine. As a consequence, she was better able to hear the Divine speak to her.

She wasn’t sure why, but as she ran that day, Spirit moved her to call me. After we gained some clarity on her situation, it occurred to me that I knew someone who needs an energetic, hardworking entry-level public relations person with events management experience. The position would require frequent travel, which she loves.

Because she and I had not spoken in a while and she lives out of town, she had not crossed my mind. Apparently, she was supposed to. I hold a lot of influence in determining who gets that position.

This was just one of many reminders that there are no accidents; there is a Divine Plan. It was written before our souls entered these bodies; in fact, our souls co-authored it.

If we could pull our contributing chapters from a shelf and find the pages that explained how our current circumstances serve our souls’ growth, if we could remember that we are not finite bodies and that this is just a momentary experience in this tunic of skin, we could relax and go with the flow. We wouldn’t be upset when things change, no matter how abrupt or seemingly unfair the change is.

If we could trust God enough to know that everything serves our Highest Good, we wouldn’t be angry when un-Christlike Christians or other ego-driven souls try to harm us. We called them onto our stages to push us onto another one because it was time to go. Our ego-selves don’t like change that they don’t orchestrate; we needed these souls’ help. As mean-spirited as they seem, they are fulfilling our missions in meaningful ways. If we could remember that, we would know peace beyond all understanding. We would be joyful when things change.

Nobody on this planet has achieved Enlightenment. If they had, they wouldn’t be here. No matter what our level of spiritual understanding, new, sometimes greater challenges await us down the path. Stretching can be uncomfortable. But if we trust the divinity of the God within us, we will never again perceive them as “tough parts.”