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Practice Is

Practice is “anything done repeatedly and with a clear Intention”. This can apply to anything from piano practice to Yoga practice to Gratitude practice. There’s more to practice than simple repetition. There’s more to practice than Intention. It’s the combination of the two that makes practice so valuable.
Practice is for the days you don’t want to do practice. Practice is for the days you would rather do anything but practice. Practice is the Faith that carries you through the initial struggle into Intentional effort.
Practice is for the days you can’t practice. Practice is for the days when your schedule is so crazy that you have to cram 25 hours into 24. Practice is the Confidence that what you did on some other day (or days) is enough to carry you through the daily struggle into a Grateful Peace of mind.
Practice is for the days you can practice. Practice is for the days you Love everything about your Life. The days when Life flows as it is intended to. Practice is the Abundant thinking that moves you from unconscious struggle into consciously creating your Life.
Practice is for the days you must DO.
REMEMBER – I AM creating My Life through My Practice.
And So It Is!
~ Inspired by events in My Life.

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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Being Love Is Not Easy

I’ve been taking a crash course on Unconditional Love this week. My Mother had surgery on Monday, and has been in the hospital since then. There was an issue with her care, and I have to admit, Loving All of Creation was NOT the first thing on my Mind.*
As I have said before, it’s all well and good to say, “I AM Loving All of Creation”, and quite another to actually do the Love thing. When the issue of Ma’s care came up, I had to take a deep breath and remember that nothing that had happened was personal. In this day and age of tight budgets, nobody seems to staff at adequate levels anymore.
A real Blessing in dealing with a challenging issue is to remember your Intentions. Does getting angry manifest Intentions of “ I AM Peaceful” or “I AM Patient” or “I AM Kind”? I think not. So taking a minute to think on each of these Intentions helps you to actually be any or all of these aspects of personality. You can better manifest Peace in dealing with people, bring Patience to any situation you are contributing to, and exhibit Kindness toward everyone I encounter.
Always remember that you are contributing to the situation you are challenged by. Your own expectations are extremely important in the creation of any situation you encounter. Expecting perfection in an uncertain environment is a recipe for creating stress in yourself. Creating from a stressful place isn’t conducive to manifesting Peace out into the world. Remember that the starting point for creating your world is the energy that YOU put out into the world. That’s the energy that comes back to you after mixing and mingling with the energy of the other people in the situation. Being in a situation like a hospital, where so much pain and stress already exists, is not a good place to be angry.
This doesn’t mean you must be passive to Love anyone. Love is one of the most active states of being I have ever experienced. Speaking your truth from a place of Love brings a very different passion to a situation than speaking from anger generated by fear. That Love should include everybody in the situation. Remember that Love in this sense doesn’t have to include Like. But it does mean treating others the way you would want to be treated. This can get complicated, and as Anne LaMott said once, “gives an unfair advantage to nice people”. All the more reason to work on that “ I AM Kind” Intention, I suppose.
Remember that we are creating our Lives every day. It’s our choice to do that consciously or unconsciously. Creating “I AM” Intentions and then USING those Intentions helps us to create a Life worth Living.
REMEMBER – I AM Loving ALL of Creation. My Intentions are the tools I use to manifest Love out to all of the world.
And So It Is!
~ Inspired by events in My Life

Peace, Grace, & Love, sometimes imperfectly,
Jeff

*In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to say, I’m not a fan of hospitals. They don’t make sense to me as places of healing. Apologies to my friends that work at hospitals.

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Do The Work

Joseph Campbell said in “The Power of Myth”, that we are called to “participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world”. Life brings us tragedy and disappointment. We get assaulted by the sound and fury of modern life. It’s tough to avoid the miasma, the fog-like atmosphere of negativity, fear, hate, and frustration that current culture creates. It’s there, no use in denying it.
We can choose to be a part of all that or not. We can choose to dive in and wallow in the fear and angst of modern life. On the other hand, we can choose a different journey. We can choose to create our Lives the way we want them to be. We can choose to look for the Good in Life, even as we experience the tragedy of an event. We may have to work hard at this. But working hard is different from struggling. Struggling connotes an adversarial effort with a person or experience. Work describes adding value and meaning to Life through what you choose to do.*
It’s pretty obvious from the meanings I gave the two words that I believe working through the challenges in Life is to be preferred over struggle. Having struggled for most of My Life, even as I had much more advantageous circumstances than most people, I have no interest in further struggle. So I choose not to. Is it that easy? Yes, but it ain’t necessarily simple.
Personal Mythologies and Intentions are the tools we use in making conscious choices in our Lives. But it’s in how we use these things, how we work with these tools, that the real participation is achieved. It’s all well and good to say “I AM Joyful”. But if you are thinking this with clenched teeth, are you living your Intention? Are you, in fact, Joyful? No, Probably not. But the Intention itself is working on you. Realizing that your teeth are clenched hard enough for you to notice is a big first step. It happened because your Intention is becoming a part of you and so you notice when you aren’t Joyful. You take action based on the Intention. You relax your jaw and unclench your teeth. You take a deep breath and repeat your Intention, “ I AM Joyful”. It helps to think about something, anything, that makes you Happy. Oddly enough, that works. You’ll begin to feel Happy again. You can also go and do something that makes you Happy. If you’re like me, you’ll need to repeat this many times. Many days, even. Every time you do this work, you take your Intention into your heart and your head a little more.
What if you have to do something that sucks the Joy right out of Life? Dealing with tragedy can do that. While there may be no Joy in a certain situation, being a Loving and Caring person doesn’t mean you have to be morose and gloomy. This is where “I AM” Intentions work their magick. Remember that Joy is what you are, regardless of experience. Being Joyful in this sense grows from Unconditional Love. It’s more a state of being, a Loving radiance that you can share with the world. The satisfaction of just being alive in this body on this planet in this time. It’s “the rapture of being alive” as Campbell put it. To get to this state of mind, you have to Love All of Creation, you have to Love Life Itself. Love Life with all of its imperfections, its…sorrows.
REMEMBER – I AM WILLING to Love My Life. To Love ALL of Life.
And So It Is!
~ Inspired by something unrelated to what I ending up writing about. It’s a long story.

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

*Note: Your work and your job are NOT the same thing.

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Let It Go

The whole concept of letting go or surrender or acceptance infuriated me for quite a while, even as I continually used the phrase, “It is what it is”. It smacked of defeat, of resignation, of a passive acceptance of whatever crumb society would toss your way. But that’s not really what it is at all. It’s detachment.
Detachment is Faith, a Confidence that “everything will be OK in the end, and if it’s not OK, it’s not the end” (John Lennon). Detachment is letting go of worrying about everything. Don’t use all of your energy worrying that something  you did in the past might mess things up. You can’t change that. Worrying about what might go wrong is an even bigger waste of time. Put that energy into positive action, creating what you want.
You’ll need the energy because detachment isn’t passive. It’s an active engagement with Life, while being fully confident that the engagement is done with no thought of compensation. It’s doing the things that make you come alive, simply because they DO make you come to Life.
Detachment comes from a Wealth consciousness. You have Faith and Confidence in yourself and know that the energy of Life on Earth is an Abundant force, always seeking to manifest itself in whatever way it can. You Live with a psychology of Plenty in a state of constant Thanksgiving.
The real nature of letting go is Loving All of Creation, participating Compassionately in Life, not worrying about success or failure or any of that stuff, and being Grateful for all that you have.
REMEMBER – I AM fully engaged in My Life. I AM detached from all of the worry of the modern world.
And So It Is!!!
~ Inspired by Chopra, Dyer, and Holmes

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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Intentions In The World 2

Intentions are the “I AM” statements that we can use to create our Lives. They are very effective at focusing your attention, and directing your energy toward Who You Really Are. You can also create Intentions for your career, too. Whether you choose to be self-employed or work for somebody else, Intentions help you with that choice.
Let me say here that your work and your job are two different things. Your work is the thing you have passion for, that activity that you just have to pursue. “Follow your Bliss”, as Joseph Campbell said. A job may be a part of your work, or it may just be a way to generate income. Creating a career Intentionally can allow you to do your work in whatever way fits your Intentions best.
Because you’re shaping a career to fit your Life, it seems only appropriate to create work that manifests your Personal Intentions. By doing that, Who You Are is manifested in your Personal Mythology and in your Actions in the world. For example, if one of your Intentions is “I AM Joyful”, you want to be Happy in your Life. So will you consciously decide to do things that make you unhappy in your career? No. Obviously, you’ll have things you enjoy doing more than others. You should also keep in mind that you may still be (and probably ARE) re-writing your Personal Mythology. You’re getting rid of old stories that don’t fit your Intentions and authoring the new tales that help you be Who You Really Are, instead of who others want you to be. Because of this, there will, in all likelihood, be times that you aren’t Happy. If one of your Intentions is to be Happy, then you can choose to only do things that bring you some level of Happiness.
Let’s say that one of your Personal Intentions is “I AM Abundant”. How does that manifest in your career? I know what you’re thinking, “Does that mean I’m Rich?” It might. But if what you want most is time with family, that might be your Abundance. You supply the definition of each of your Intentions. In that regard, it’s really important to be as clear as possible about how you define your Intentions. For our example, Abundance is having a flexible schedule, being able to travel, generating the income to pay bills. If you’re self-employed, you want to turn a profit. When we have an opportunity in front of us, we can evaluate it in terms of our Intentions. If the opportunity doesn’t manifest our Intention into the world, should we pursue it? My answer would be “No”. What if the opportunity does create Abundance for us, but doesn’t manifest one of our other Intentions? Maybe other Intentions are “ I AM Kind” or I AM Good”. If you have to push customers into buying things they really don’t need with money better spent elsewhere in order for you to be Abundant, I’d stay far away from that opportunity. But each of us can answer in our own way.
Creating a career in this way supports your Life. Picking a job or starting a business just for the money can mean your Life supports your job or your business. It’s your choice.
REMEMBER – I AM Creating a career that supports My Life.
OR
I AM Creating a business that supports My Life.
And So It Is!
~ Inspired by events in My Life.

Peace Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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Intentions in the world

In light of all the events in the world, I want to revisit something I wrote a few months back. It wasn’t posted on this blog, so I’ve included it here.

I’m not big on all these zombie/vampire/big explosion movies that are all the rage now. But I sat down to watch a particular movie with one of my kids awhile back. It was pretty much what I expected, except for this phrase. “Every person we save is one less zombie to fight.” That phrase struck me so that I wrote it down in my journal. It was said in the midst of absolute despair and chaos. Things were looking so bad that it seemed humanity was lost. But I heard it as words of Intention. This character had set his Intention to survive and for humanity to endure. He had no clear idea of how humanity would survive. He was simply certain that humanity must survive. And, of course, the hero saved the day. It’s a movie.

Before somebody gets offended, I’m not calling anybody a zombie. It’s the Intention that I want to address. So I’ll say it this way.

Every being we Love is one less person to fight.

If you pay attention to all of the sound and fury in the world, it seems we are in the midst of absolute despair and chaos.  Things are looking so bad that it seems humanity may be lost. We have no superheroes with capes and shields and hammers. But each of us has a superpower. It’s Love.
With Unconditional Love, we can overcome any negative emotion, surmount any obstacle, work through any problem, deal with anybody, stay energized for any project. It’s available to everyone, at any time. We can cultivate this superpower by suspending judgements of ourselves & others, by accepting what is in this moment, & by being Intentional in the Compassion extended to all of Creation.
Ultimately, this Love won’t change the world. It will change us, so we can.
“Yeah, but those people aren’t like us. They hate us and want to kill us all.” That is probably true. We can confront that danger in a spirit of Love that wants to preserve what is best in all of us. We can stop being afraid of any religion that is not our own by getting to know people of that religion. We can protect the helpless by not turning our backs when they need us most. We can live up to our ideals of Justice and Freedom by extending those ideals to everybody, including people of color here at home. We can seek solutions for everybody, and not strive simply to defeat others.
“Those are pretty words. Will they stop a bomber?” No. But actions based on those words might eventually create a world where bombers don’t exist. Or at  the very least, will cut down on all of the fearful people that are angry enough to do such things. Actions guided by those words can create a better Life for us all while we seek solutions based in Love for ALL of Creation.
REMEMBER – I AM extending Love & Compassion to everyone I encounter, even if they don’t look like me or even agree with me.
And So It Is!
~ Inspired by events in the world

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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Love & Gratefulness

The Fruit of the Spirit is Love and this Love is manifested in MY LIFE as Gratefulness, Love’s Pleasure.
If I remember it right, Rob Brezsny said, “Don’t just count your Blessings. Name Them, speak Them, savor Them, revel in Them, give thanks for Them!”
I Love having the opportunity to be Grateful. I spent a lot of years worrying about what I didn’t have. Then one day a friend “challenged” me to find 3 things to be Grateful for each day for 5 days. I enjoyed it so much that I’m still doing it many months later. I highly recommend this Gratitude Practice to everybody.
Thousands of things go right for us every single day. They happen every day, so we ignore them. Or at least take them for granted. But let one thing go wrong, and we obsess over every detail. As near as I can tell, that’s a leftover neural response pattern from our ancestors. They had innumerable obstacles to survival. For most of us, that’s not an issue anymore. But those neural pathways still exist. And humans use them unconsciously. We become negative, seeing the worst-case-scenarios wherever we look, even if nothing truly “bad” has ever happened to us (Ask me how I know that). And we pass this to our kids. We hear it in the media. We are inundated with toxic stories. This is the “sound & fury” that I refer to so often.
But we can train our brains to respond differently. Using affirmation, meditation, and conscious choice of the stories we listen to, we can begin to create new neural pathways that fire on positive thoughts and uplifting stories. These actions create positive beliefs that affect our perceptions of the world.
As we see more of the Good in our lives, the things we think change to a more positive outlook. And things change in our lives. And we think about things in a more positive way. And the effect builds on itself.
I’m not asking you to stick your head in the ground, ignoring tragedy. I’m simply suggesting that you give the Good in Life the attention it deserves. If 1000 things go right, and one thing goes wrong, what’s the appropriate perspective? I know that the one thing might be HUGE. That’s not what I’m talking about. It’s all the little things that we let upset us in any given day that I’m talking about. If we can handle all the little stuff, then we have the energy to deal with the big stuff.
Seeing the Good in life is just so much more fun! It’s so pleasant to dwell on all the Good things that happen in life. Savor that Blessing like you would a delicious meal or a fine wine. Recall Good things and revel in the pleasure of them. Say them out loud, naming the Good in your life. You’ll start to seek out new things, sharing your Abundance with the world. That’s important, because not enough people tell the stories of the Good. Maybe that’s our role in this life; to spread the Good News of what happened to us.
REMEMBER – I AM GRATEFUL for the thousands of things that go right for me every single day.
And So It Is!
– Inspired by The Letter to the Galatians, Rob Brezsny, my studies, & my experiences.

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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Love & Wisdom

The Fruit of the Spirit is Love and this Love is manifested in My Life as Wisdom, Love’s Power. Wisdom is the leavening of Knowledge with Experience. It’s not enough to know a lot of facts and figures. About all you can do with that kind of knowledge is win at Trivial Pursuit. I have to add here that I got a job once because I won at Trivial Pursuit. Buy me a cup of coffee some time and I’ll tell you that story.
Buckminster Fuller, the designer and philosopher, wrote in his book Critical Path that wealth is the result of ever increasing knowledge multiplied by the energy available to us on Earth. Here’s a bit from another post:

Fuller’s equation on wealth:
Energy x knowledge = wealth

Wealth consists of physical energy (as matter or radiation) combined with metaphysical know-what and know how. This is so since all physical energy is conserved, and the application of knowledge brings ever greater knowledge. This makes us all billionaires.*

Rieves’ corollary to Fuller’s equation:
Applied Energy x (knowledge x experience)= Wealth

*Taken from Critical Path, R. Buckminster Fuller and paraphrased by Laurence Boldt in Zen and the Art of Making A Living.

What I’m saying in the “Rieves’ corollary” is that Wealth comes from Wise action. In other words, be smart when you do stuff if you want to Live an Abundant Life. That means we control the means of creating True Abundance in our Lives. Note that I didn’t limit Wealth to money. Financial Abundance is a fine thing, and I strive for it myself. But there are many kinds of Wealth. Increased knowledge is both a type of Abundance and a source of Abundance, as are new experiences. So if you want to be financially wealthy, you’d be well-advised to learn more about financial matters, and take wise action in the world of business and economics. But remember that you can be extremely wealthy in family and friends and lots of other things that can matter more than just money.
So what does all this doin’ and learnin’ have to do with Love? Love is at it’s best when it is shared out into the world. When you take action, do it with a Loving Heart. When you Learn something, do it because you Love it. Do it because you want to experience Love. Do it because you want to offer the experience of Love to others.
Maybe the corollary should be written this way:

[Applied Energy x (knowledge x experience)] x Love

What is the result of this? A Good Life, I think.
REMEMBER – I AM Wealthy. I AM always increasing My Knowledge. I AM always having new Experiences. I AM always acting in Love.
And So It Is!
~ Inspired by Galatians 5:22-23, My Studies and My Experiences

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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Love & Self-Control

The Fruit of the Spirit is Love and this Love is manifested in MY LIFE as Self-control, Love’s strength.
In the midst of all the “sound & fury” that is modern Life, you can choose a different journey. You can choose to be, in Love. This choice allows you to offer Unconditional Love to all of Creation. No need for judgement, no need for expectations. You see the Divine in everyone and everything you encounter. And the toughest part is that there’s very little effort needed to simply Love. The effort comes in letting go of the need to judge others and yourself. Judgement is “No, you can’t do that”. Expectation is “No, you’re supposed to do it THIS way!”
But Love offers another way. A state of being that produces a self control created by “Yes”. YES I will send a Blessing to that person who cut me off in traffic. YES I will focus on all of the Abundance I have in MY LIFE. YES I will stand up for what I think is right in a Positive and Joyful way. YES I will Love Unconditionally.
The Power of YES is a moral & emotional strength. Moral in the sense of Loving others enough to allow them to travel on their own journey free from your expectations. Emotional in that as you let go of all the baggage of no, and replace it with YES, you become a more Joyful, more Peaceful, more Patient, Kinder, Better, more Faithful, Gentler person. In other words, you become a more Loving person.
REMEMBER – I AM Creating MY LIFE by the strength of YES!
And So It Is!!!
– Inspired by The Letter to the Galatians, Mitch Bleier, Ernest Holmes, my studies, & my experiences.

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

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Love & Health

The Fruit of the Spirit is Love, and this Love is manifested as Healthiness, Love’s Energy.
We are called in every spiritual tradition to care for All of Creation. Remember that we are included in that. YOU are included in that. In fact, you can’t do a very good job of caring for anybody or anything if you’re a big mess yourself.
One of the reasons advocates, activists, and caregivers have trouble with burnout is that they don’t Love themselves enough. I know whereof I speak. You can easily ruin your own health if you put all of your time into helping others. I’m not espousing an altruistic narcissism, I’m being practical.
All this talk of Loving yourself is probably making you uncomfortable. In fact, I’m shifting around in my chair while I write this. In the South, many of us were raised with a Calvinist-tinged morality that considered Loving yourself a form of “gettin’ too big for your britches”. The author Doris Betts offered a good starting point for Loving yourself when you don’t feel very lovable. “Cut yourself some slack”* she wrote. I can do that. I can suspend judgement of my every action long enough to do something for me. Hopefully, that works for you as well.
There are many ways of being healthy. I could write about a diet or exercise program or meditation style from now until the end of time and never cover them all. So I’m not going to espouse any particular regimen. What is important is to do some form of self care. The world needs you to do the thing that makes you come alive. Your offering is unique to you. What you say or do may be the thing that changes someone’s Life. If you “follow your Bliss”, as Joseph Campbell put it, then things begin to happen in the world that wouldn’t happen otherwise.
I know this sounds like a guilt trip, but that’s not what it is. It’s an invitation to Life, to doing the thing you’ve always wanted to do. As you do that thing, whatever it is, you’ll be an example to others to become Who They Really Are, too. You’ll be doing something you Love and helping others at the same time. As you do that, it gets easier to Love yourself, and from there to Love others. It’s not often that we are able to do what we want and help other folks at the same time, right? I suspect we could do it more often if we took the opportunity to do it.
Sure, you could get sidetracked and end up being an arrogant $#!+. But if you do what you do in Unconditional Love ( a Love for ALL of Creation, not just you), odds are that won’t happen. If you follow your Bliss with Conscious Intention, the odds of being sidetracked are even less.
Being a healthy person in Body, Mind, and Soul can seem rather daunting. Look at it as Opportunity to do good things for you and for the world. Then it’s more of an adventure.
REMEMBER – I AM Loving All of Creation. That includes me!
And So It Is!!!
~ Inspired by Galatians, my studies, and my experiences.

Peace, Grace, & Love,
Jeff

*At least I think that’s the quote. I can’t find my copy of The Christ-Haunted Landscape. If I loaned you my copy, Enjoy it, and maybe pass it along to somebody else that could benefit from it. But first, check the quote and let me know if I’m right.

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