Are you fantasizing failure?

This morning a facebook friend, frustrated by his results from an obviously important endeavor, wondered how many times he should keep trying before he writes off the effort as a failure. The overwhelming response from his fb family was that whatever he was trying to do wasn’t working because it wasn’t supposed to: We concluded that he must be attempting to accomplish something that was not in his best interest or for his highest good.

If he was exerting his best effort, conducting himself with integrity and good intention, and he wasn’t achieving the desired outcome, perhaps that route he’d chosen was not the best for him, and he was being guided in a different, more beneficial direction. He’d also chosen to label his outcome as failure–and he could choose to perceive it differently.

Some of us learn the hard way, like me: I’m a do-it-yourselfer, been one for years. I have several tool boxes and a couple of drills—cordless and corded. About the only thing I won’t mess with is plumbing. I always get this vision of a geyser pummeling me into a wall if a make a mistake. Not cute, and mopping is not one of my favorite DIY tasks.

Years ago, I rarely read the step-by-step assembly or installation instructions before starting projects. If it looked like a no-brainer, I dug right in. Often I made a mess that took twice as long to undo or clean up.

Too often, we handle our lives like DIY projects. We just charge ahead, making our plans—sometimes a Plan A and Plan B—without asking for divine direction. As a result, we end up with results that we didn’t expect from either plan. We get in our way. We block the good that’s coming our way; we make life more difficult and disappointing.

Sometimes we suck it up and correct our error. Other times, we lack the skill, experience or the guts to admit that we blew it, so instead of salvaging what we can, we throw it all away as if it never happened. Sometimes, as was the case with my dear facebook friend, we keep doing the same thing—just from different angles or with different people. You don’t have to be Einstein to figure out that doing the same thing and expecting different results is, well, simply insane.

Thinking can prevent that. It’s prudent to think before we act, and prudent to think before we react. If we show up and exhibit our best effort and our highest-selves, and things don’t turn out the way we desired, it doesn’t mean we failed. It only means that the outcome we expected or desired wasn’t the best one for us—at least not at that moment.

The concept of failure exists exclusively in the physical world. It is merely a figment of our imaginations, created in our physical brains. Failure is a misperception, a misinterpretation of the truth about you and that situation. Thomas Edison understood it well: “I have not failed,” he said. “I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

It’s natural that an inventor without an instruction manual, who’s experimenting with outcomes, would draw that conclusion. Why don’t we? After all, we’re winging it, too: trying this, trying that without seeking any guidance. Of course we don’t have to figure it out ourselves. We’ve chosen to lean on the understanding of our physical brains. Consequently, we are more likely to find 10,000 ways that won’t work than ten ways that will.

We can choose differently and respond differently to our outcomes by looking at, working through and responding to situations from the perspective of our unlimited eternal (soul) level rather than our limited physical (ego) level. You can determine how well you are doing that now by answering five simple questions:

  1. Who am I?

a.  Do I have a soul?

b.  Am I a soul?

2.    Who’s leading me?

a.  Do I believe: If it is to be, it’s up to me?

b.  Do I wait on God for guidance?

3.     When unpleasant things occur that I didn’t expect…

a.  Am I disappointed?

b.  Do I ask how the situation serves me, what growth opportunities does it present?

4.     How do I attract things and people into my life experience?

a.   Do I pray for specific things, visualize everything in great detail, and focus on accomplishing my goal?

b.  Do I gratefully accept all outcomes, knowing that they serve me in some way?

5.      What I most desire right now is __________________________________.

Did you answer “a” to questions 1-4? That means that you perceive yourself, make decisions, respond to situations and manifest things into your life from a limited physical perspective and you’re receiving the corresponding results. If you answered “b” to questions 1-4, you perceive yourself as an eternal soul temporarily experiencing life in a temporary world, and you are less likely to rely on your brain and more likely to rely on the Divine to help you out of a jam. If your answer to number five was something tangible, that reflects an ego-level desire. If it was intangible, it reflects a soul-level desire.

If your answers included “a” and “b,” chances are, you’re probably in a growth stage. And your outcomes appear to be  inconsistent. You have an awareness of yourself as more than a body, but because you’ve perceived yourself as only a body for so long, you often default to the limitations of physical actions, responses and outcomes. That’s only natural.

We have to discard the old information about who we are and replace it with new information. Until then, we’re going to have a “new wine in old skins” experience. There will be trial, and expect error. Just be patient with yourself–and love yourself unconditionally, no matter what mess your body has created. Forgive yourself for getting into the jam. Most important, resist the urge to declare defeat, no matter what your outcome looks like.

In reality, your soul has never experienced failure–only your ego.

How to Speed (Spiritually) in Neutral

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A spirit of uncertainty has wafted into our personal space, our nation and our world. It has surprised even the most positive of thinkers, and has made the fearful even more apprehensive. Amid reports of foreclosures, plummeting housing values and unemployment figures, an article in Sunday’s New York Times claims that millions of jobless Americans don’t appear in the official labor statistics. They are the ones who have tried unsuccessfully for months or years to find work, and have given up hope. They’ve stopped saying, “What do I do now?”

Actually, there are a few things they can do that they probably haven’t even tried. The first thing I’d suggest is spending at least one day a week volunteering with an organization whose mission and values reflect their own. Make some little corner of the world better. Like everything we do, helping others cycles back to us through the Law of Attraction/Reciprocity. There is always a payday of fulfillment when we serve others. Fulfillment is a mighty antidote to repeated rejection, self-doubt and hopelessness.

There’s something else that all of us can do to speed us along the path to greater fulfillment: become neutral. I practice being in neutral, not judging circumstances and human beings as one thing or another. Being in neutral allows me to hear the “still small voice” that responds to, “What do I do now?” In neutral, I am open to more possibilities and much greater outcomes than my physical brain can fathom.

Friends frequently remark that no matter what happens, I always land on my feet: The greater the adversity, the more magnificent the rebound. Bring it on! I am so encouraged by the outcomes that I have consistently experienced that I’m trying to adopt neutrality as a lifestyle. My soul appears to be supporting me in this endeavor.

While practicing neutrality this past weekend, I’ve received a daily “Loving Each Day” email that urged neutrality as a means to accomplish much:

“[N]eutrality does not mean inaction. It is putting all of your energy in the proper direction. You can accomplish much in the state of neutrality because you won’t be wasting time fighting yourself.” John-Roger

Hours later, I attended an elegant birthday luncheon for 85-year-young Floncia Sutton,the mother of four of my absolutely fabulous girlfriends. As the program progressed, Mrs. Sutton’s longtime friends and church members spoke about her grace and strength. Her pastor revealed that he had adopted her as his grandmother, occasionally seeking her wise counsel. Everyone marveled that Mrs. Sutton rarely speaks above a whisper; she commands the attention, respect and obedience of young and old with a look or even a clearing of the throat. They frequently attributed the source of her power to Isaiah 40:31, her favorite Bible verse:

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary: and they shall walk, and not faint.”

And there it was again; Isaiah was talking about neutrality: The space where we can calmly and peacefully wait for every challenge to be resolved, every decision to be made, and every hurt to be healed in the most perfect way, at the most perfect time. Neutrality is a spa, a holy place where we enjoy the All-Knowing Benevolent Spirit within our very souls. We come here to melt away stress and anxiety; we find total peace, no matter what drama surrounds us in the physical world. In neutral, we ask for guidance from the God within and we hold only one expectation: The outcome will be divine and on time. In neutral, it’s impossible to be disappointed or rejected, even if the outcome is not what our physical bodies—Ego-Selves—desired. In neutral, we are aware that we are not merely finite bodies; we are infinite souls, invisible spirit, made in the image of our Creator. In neutral, our desire is to fulfill our soul’s mission, and we want to know more about that.

When I’m in neutral, I am sometimes we are guided to do something very specific: call someone, investigate something, or go somewhere. Other times, it appears as if I’m receiving no response at all. While it frustrated me at first, I’ve learned that the silence is an opportunity to practice patience. It simply means, “Be still—and know that I am God.” Over the years, I’ve observed that my challenge was being resolved in the most perfect way and at the most perfect time, with no help required from me. My job is merely to stay in neutral, stay open, ready to receive, and ready to shift into gear when prompted, not a moment earlier.

Surely you’ve noticed that when a car must be in neutral, even if the engine isn’t running, if it is to be pushed or towed to another, usually more suitable location. Neutrality is an active state of readiness. It doesn’t mean that we’ve shut down; we’re idling, not idle. Our arms are wide open, ready to lovingly embrace the guidance or inspiration that comes from within.

We can only receive the benefits of neutrality’s peaceful space when we completely trust God. Neutrality has simplified my prayer in all situations: “I lovingly allow this matter to be resolved for the Highest Good of all concerned, and I await divine direction for any next steps.”

Disappointment is only possible when we allow the Ego-Self to make the decisions and judge the outcomes. That’s when we find ourselves in the “If I woulda, coulda, shoulda” dramas. The Ego wants us to rely on our limited human understanding. It is entertained when we frustrate ourselves, trying to fit square pegs into round holes, trying to bring God into alignment with our physical desires. I’m sure that Soul is looking at our bodies and wondering, “What part of ‘This is not working’ don’t they understand?”

It works when we allow, when we gently sit our Ego Self down and allow ourselves to be divinely led instead of trying to lead the Divine. We experience one victory after another when we relinquish control of our outcomes to our Higher Selves, when we “wait on the Lord,” when we’re able to maintain our integrity when we say, “Thy will be done on Earth.” In neutral, we always get what we want—because we want what God wants. Funny how that works.

Life on Earth provides us plenty of opportunities to practice neutrality. No one on the planet experiences a life without challenges. I call them “growth opportunities” because each offers us the chance to respond differently than we have in the past, and get a different result. The next time you experience disappointment, you’ll know that you aren’t in neutral. When you become angry because something didn’t go the way you wanted, you aren’t in neutral; you’re not open to allowing your soul’s experience on Earth to unfold in the way that it desires.

I have a mantra: “If it’s mine, I’ll get it. If it’s not, I don’t want it.” That frees me to focus on other stuff instead of obsessing over a particular outcome. I totally trust God to resolve everything divinely. I can keep it moving.

Try neutrality next time and notice how utterly peaceful you are as you journey through your many “growth opportunities.” Do it consciously and consistently, and you’ll notice that no matter what happens, no one will be able to rob your peace—no matter how much they clown or how un-Christlike they behave. You’ll be able to climb into the balcony of their drama, and love them anyway. I often find myself feeling sorry for these bad actors “for they know not what they do” to themselves through the Law of Attraction/Reciprocity.

Notice how empowering this is. See its effects on the body. Take a look at a woman who’s been “waiting on the Lord” longer than many of us have been in these bodies: Head high, shoulders back, standing tall, Mrs. Sutton is fearless, full of power, full of grace, full of joy and unshakably peaceful.

She wasn’t born to privilege, and she’s had her share of “growth experiences.” But she has not accumulated burdens, anger, resentment or regret; she is not broken or bowed. Mrs. Sutton carries herself with the dignity, grace and loving demeanor of someone who knows and trusts God so totally that she is content to wait. She has mastered the art of speeding in neutral.

What would you look like if you seized every opportunity to respond differently to your growth opportunities? How peaceful, how strong would you be if you asked for divine guidance, listened for and accepted the response and followed the directions? Try practicing today, and see if you can learn to speed in neutral from now on.

How to Speed (Spiritually) in Neutral

A spirit of uncertainty has wafted into our personal space, our nation and our world. It has surprised even the most positive of thinkers, and has made the fearful even more apprehensive. Amid reports of foreclosures, plummeting housing values and unemployment figures, an article in the New York Times claims that millions of jobless Americans don’t appear in the official labor statistics. They are the ones who have tried unsuccessfully for months or years to find work, and have given up hope. They’ve stopped saying, “What do I do now?”

Actually, there are a few things they can do that they probably haven’t even tried. The first thing I’d suggest is spending at least one day a week volunteering with an organization whose mission and values reflect their own. Make some little corner of the world better. Like everything we do, helping others cycles back to us through the Law of Attraction/Reciprocity. There is always a payday of fulfillment when we serve others. Fulfillment is a mighty antidote to repeated rejection, self-doubt and hopelessness.

There’s something else that all of us can do to speed us along the path to greater fulfillment: become neutral. I practice being in neutral, not judging circumstances and human beings as one thing or another. Being in neutral allows me to hear the “still small voice” that responds to, “What do I do now?” In neutral, I am open to more possibilities and much greater outcomes than my physical brain can fathom.

Friends frequently remark that no matter what happens, I always land on my feet: The greater the adversity, the more magnificent the rebound. Bring it on! I am so encouraged by the outcomes that I have consistently experienced that I’m trying to adopt neutrality as a lifestyle. My soul appears to be supporting me in this endeavor.

While practicing neutrality this past weekend, I’ve received a daily “Loving Each Day” email that urged neutrality as a means to accomplish much:

“[N]eutrality does not mean inaction. It is putting all of your energy in the proper direction. You can accomplish much in the state of neutrality because you won’t be wasting time fighting yourself.” John-Roger

Hours later, I attended an elegant birthday luncheon for 85-year-young Floncia Sutton,the mother of four of my absolutely fabulous girlfriends. As the program progressed, Mrs. Sutton’s relatives, longtime friends and church members spoke about her grace and strength. Her pastor revealed that he had adopted her as his grandmother, occasionally seeking her wise counsel. Everyone marveled that Mrs. Sutton rarely speaks above a whisper; she commands the attention, respect and obedience of young and old with a look or even a clearing of the throat. They frequently attributed the source of her power to Isaiah 40:31, her favorite Bible verse:

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary: and they shall walk, and not faint.”

And there it was again; Isaiah was talking about neutrality: The space where we can calmly and peacefully wait for every challenge to be resolved, every decision to be made, and every hurt to be healed in the most perfect way, at the most perfect time. Neutrality is a spa, a holy place where we enjoy the All-Knowing Benevolent Spirit within our very souls. We come here to melt away stress and anxiety; we find total peace, no matter what drama surrounds us in the physical world. In neutral, we ask for guidance from the God within and we hold only one expectation: The outcome will be divine and on time. In neutral, it’s impossible to be disappointed or rejected, even if the outcome is not what our physical bodies—Ego-Selves—desired. In neutral, we are aware that we are not merely finite bodies; we are infinite souls, invisible spirit, made in the image of our Creator. In neutral, our desire is to fulfill our soul’s mission, and we want to know more about that.

When I’m in neutral, I am sometimes we are guided to do something very specific: call someone, investigate something, or go somewhere. Other times, it appears as if I’m receiving no response at all. While it frustrated me at first, I’ve learned that the silence is an opportunity to practice patience. It simply means, “Be still—and know that I am God.” Over the years, I’ve observed that my challenge was being resolved in the most perfect way and at the most perfect time, with no help required from me. My job is merely to stay in neutral, stay open, ready to receive, and ready to shift into gear when prompted, not a moment earlier.

Surely you’ve noticed that when a car must be in neutral, even if the engine isn’t running, if it is to be pushed or towed to another, usually more suitable location. Neutrality is an active state of readiness. It doesn’t mean that we’ve shut down; we’re idling, not idle. Our arms are wide open, ready to lovingly embrace the guidance or inspiration that comes from within.

We can only receive the benefits of neutrality’s peaceful space when we completely trust God. Neutrality has simplified my prayer in all situations: “I lovingly allow this matter to be resolved for the Highest Good of all concerned, and I await divine direction for any next steps.”

Disappointment is only possible when we allow the Ego-Self to make the decisions and judge the outcomes. That’s when we find ourselves in the “If I woulda, coulda, shoulda” dramas. The Ego wants us to rely on our limited human understanding. It is entertained when we frustrate ourselves, trying to fit square pegs into round holes, trying to bring God into alignment with our physical desires. I’m sure that Soul is looking at our bodies and wondering, “What part of ‘This is not working’ don’t they understand?”

It works when we allow, when we gently sit our Ego Self down and allow ourselves to be divinely led instead of trying to lead the Divine. We experience one victory after another when we relinquish control of our outcomes to our Higher Selves, when we “wait on the Lord,” when we’re able to maintain our integrity when we say, “Thy will be done on Earth.” In neutral, we always get what we want—because we want what God wants. Funny how that works.

Life on Earth provides us plenty of opportunities to practice neutrality. No one on the planet experiences a life without challenges. I call them “growth opportunities” because each offers us the chance to respond differently than we have in the past, and get a different result. The next time you experience disappointment, you’ll know that you aren’t in neutral. When you become angry because something didn’t go the way you wanted, you aren’t in neutral; you’re not open to allowing your soul’s experience on Earth to unfold in the way that it desires.

I have a mantra: “If it’s mine, I’ll get it. If it’s not, I don’t want it.” That frees me to focus on other stuff instead of obsessing over a particular outcome. I totally trust God to resolve everything divinely. I can keep it moving.

Try neutrality next time and notice how utterly peaceful you are as you journey through your many “growth opportunities.” Do it consciously and consistently, and you’ll notice that no matter what happens, no one will be able to rob your peace—no matter how much they clown or how un-Christlike they behave. You’ll be able to climb into the balcony of their drama, and love them anyway. I often find myself feeling sorry for these bad actors “for they know not what they do” to themselves through the Law of Attraction/Reciprocity.

Notice how empowering this is. See its effects on the body.

Floncia Sutton, 85

Floncia Sutton, 85

Take a look at a woman who’s been “waiting on the Lord” longer than many of us have been in these bodies: Head high, shoulders back, standing tall, Mrs. Sutton is fearless, full of power, full of grace, full of joy and unshakably peaceful.

She wasn’t born to privilege, and she’s had her share of “growth experiences.” But she has not accumulated burdens, anger, resentment or regret; she is not broken or bowed. Mrs. Sutton carries herself with the dignity, grace and loving demeanor of someone who knows and trusts God so totally that she is content to wait. She has mastered the art of speeding in neutral.

What would you look like if you seized every opportunity to respond differently to your growth opportunities? How peaceful, how strong would you be if you asked for divine guidance, listened for and accepted the response and followed the directions? Try practicing today, and see if you can learn to speed in neutral from now on.

Love the Loud Mouth LIVE at an Upcoming Event in Chicago!

If you missed the three-day Women’s Conference in June, I have good news: By popular demand, authors Shirley Lawson, Stephanie Wilson-Coleman and I will conduct sessions at “The Women’s Conference Follow-Up” on Saturday, September 19. This time, it’s in Chicago, at Power Circle Center, 9350-64 S. South Chicago Avenue.

This special event is presented by the Training, Development and Networking Team of the Alpha Omega Sisterhood, a ministry of the Power Circle Congregation, the Rev. Joseph E. Hill, founder and senior minister.

For more information and to register for only $40, visit Drama Queen Workshops.