One of the most common questions people ask me is some variation on: How can I overcome fear and take a chance? A caller to my radio show, for example, couldn’t decide whether to take a job in a new city. It was a good job, but it would require him to leave his life-long home. We all fear change and the risks it carries, but I have to say that everything significant I’ve ever experienced has involved change. Our soul wants to expand and grow. When we stay with the familiar, just because it is familiar, we are responding to a fear of failure that doesn’t support our growth.
I suggest you consider a radical idea. What if there is no such thing as failure? Failing is a judgment that we humans place on a given action. Rather than judgment, substitute this attitude: You cannot fail, you can only produce results. Then the most important question to ask yourself is, “What do you do with the results you produce?” It is better to jump in and experience life than to stand on the sidelines fearing that something might go wrong.
Consider for a moment what your original nature is like. As an infant, before you were ever subjected to the conditioning that leads you away from risks for fear of failing, your nature was programmed to learn how to walk. For a while you just laid down, then your nature said, “Sit,” and you did. Then your nature commanded, “Crawl,” and you obeyed. Continue Reading
Whether you are waiting to return a serve on the tennis court or listening for your name to be called for a job interview, your instinct is to stay loose. Be ready, be flexible, be poised to respond when the time is right. Staying loose is part of living in the present moment. Your readiness to move is part of your wisdom and gives you the power you need to live your best life. In the 76th verse of the Tao Te Ching, Lao-tzu describes the flexibility that living things possess: “All things, including the grass and trees, are soft and pliable in life.” He contrasts that living pliability with the dry and brittle quality of death. Choosing to remain flexible is choosing life: “A tree that cannot bend will crack in the wind.”
You may have been taught that strength is measured by how “hard” you are in your thinking or how inflexible you are in your opinions and that weakness is associated with those who bend. But when confronted with any stressful situation, keep in mind that being stiff won’t get you very far, whereas being flexible will carry you through.
Change the way you think about strength. Aren’t the physically and mentally strong those who can bend and adapt to life—especially as we age? The more you think in rigid ways, refraining from considering other points of view, the more you’re liable to break. As Lao-tzu reminds us, “The hard and stiff will be broken,” while “the soft and supple will prevail.” Our minds and our bodies need flexibility to thrive. When we see ourselves as flexible and supple, we are able to bend in harmony with our Divine source. By listening, yielding, and being gentle, we all become disciples of life.
Recently I participated in an interview for a documentary on the subject of aging. “Is 60 really the new 40?” It reminded me of a class I took in college where we explored the theory that what you believe about aging, your expectations, will determine what your experience of aging will be. Do we have to accept the notion that aging must involve deterioration of body and mind? I’ve always said that I will never let an old person into my body. That is, I don’t believe in “thinking” old.
Although I’ve transitioned through many bodies—a baby, toddler, child, teen, young adult, mid-life and older adult—my spirit is unchanged. I support my body with exercise, my mind with reading and writing, and my spirit with the knowing that I am part of the Divine source of all life. Don’t program yourself to break down as you age with thoughts that decline is inevitable.
On October 8th, one of my greatest role models will celebrate her 85th birthday. Continue Reading
“Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”
– Robert Frost
One of my favorite poets, Robert Frost, is the author of one of the world’s best-loved and most famous poems, “The Road Not Taken.” This poem about choosing an independent course applies in all areas of our lives. To me, Frost says be wary of following the pack, and don’t do anything simply because everyone else is doing it. Also, do what you do in the manner that you perceive it, regardless of how everyone is doing it, or has done it. The importance of choosing your own path is reflected in the poem’s conclusion—that taking the road “less traveled by” makes all the difference. Virtually all the people we revere took the road less traveled by, and that is why they were able to make a difference.
Frost himself was expected to be a farmer, lawyer, and then a teacher. He tried farming and left it. He entered law school to be the lawyer his grandfather wanted him to be, but departed almost immediately without notice. He left Harvard because of an illness, perhaps brought on by trying the road most traveled. But poetry was in his heart, and when he went down a road that few traveled with him, it made all the difference, and today we have his poetry because of that choice.
Frost’s poem invites you to forget peer pressure and instead know that if you truly want to make a difference in your life, you cannot do so by doing things the way everyone else does or because everyone else is. If you choose to lead your life just like everyone else, then what exactly is it that you have to offer? The road most traveled by is one that will allow you to fit in and feel accepted, but it will never allow you to make a difference. Continue Reading
It is fear of being divine that most often interferes with bringing spiritual energies into our lives. Fear of spiritual power seems to be universal. Perhaps it is because so much energy is focused on material power in the form of money, leadership, status, and prestige. In the pursuit of material power you will find virtually all the problems that surface in your life.
If you are willing to solicit spiritual guidance, then be willing to accept and implement that help even if it doesn’t correspond exactly to your picture of what life should be like. Otherwise, you are seeking spiritual energy to help you remain the same. So don’t simply dismiss as implausible spiritual answers that don’t correspond to the way you think your life should be structured. Be open.
In order to be able to commune with the divine you must be tuned in to that frequency! You cannot tune into an FM radio station while you have the setting on AM. Certainly, the higher frequencies of FM are out there playing away. But if you’re not tuned to them, you will conclude they are unavailable. It takes moving closer to the higher frequencies of God and away from the lower frequencies of materialism to access and use the spiritual energy we need to realize our potential.
We called our recent tour of Europe’s sacred sites “Experiencing the Miraculous” not only because of what had taken place there in earlier times. Miracles large and small can occur for us every day; and when we go into an experience expecting wondrous things, we won’t be disappointed. Here are a few of the miraculous events that happened for me on our trip to three of the spiritual centers of Europe last month when I traveled with 157 like-minded souls to Assisi, Italy—home of Saint Francis; Lourdes, France—where a teenaged Saint Bernadette saw the Holy Mother, and Medjugorje—site of a more contemporary visit from Mary in the Balkan country of Bosnia-Herzegovina:
- Journeying to these holy places with my three youngest kids who might not have had churches and monasteries on their list of top places to see this summer, but who came alive with the spiritual power we encountered and became fully engaged members of this pilgrimage.
- Meeting a woman from Slovenia who joined our group for dinner near Medjugorje and learning that she had just watched The Shift the night before and was carrying with her a Slovenian copy of You’ll See It When You Believe It.
- Lecturing in a 1000-year-old church in Assisi, reading a scene from Nikos Kazantzakis’ Saint Francis where Francis conquers his fear and embraces a leper, and suddenly sobbing uncontrollably while the audience stood with their hands extended toward me in silent sympathy.
- Seeing an endless number of orbs in the many, many photos that people took of the lectures and the sites we visited.
- Joining the thousands of pilgrims who waited patiently for a chance to bathe in the healing waters at Lourdes and emerging like everyone else with a renewed spirit and no trace of having been near anything wet.
The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “If we could read the secret history of our enemies we would find in each man’s sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”
Harboring anger and hatred toward anyone guarantees that you remain in low energy fields where problems will continue to crop up repeatedly in your life. Continue Reading
In terms of outward appearances there is something noticeable about people who have reached a high level of spiritual awareness. They seem to be in a constant state of bliss. In my own life I know that my state of cheerfulness is a reliable gauge of my level of spiritual enlightenment at that moment. The more cheerful, happy, contented, and satisfied I am feeling, the more aware I am of my deep connection to Spirit.
Ask yourself this key question, “How do I feel most of the time?” If your answer is that you feel anxious, anguished, hurt, depressed, frustrated, and so on, then you have a spiritual disconnect. This could mean you have allowed your personal energy field to become contaminated by the debilitating forces of low energy around you.
When you are spiritually connected, you are not looking for occasions to be offended and you are not judging and labeling others. You are in a state of grace in which you know you are connected to God and thus free from the effects of anyone or anything external to yourself. Continue Reading
Quietly communing with God, when we are searching for guidance, is a way of temporarily turning off our ego-mind. Instead of our ego-self thinking, “I can fix this,” we are willing to immerse our perceived problem into our higher self. For those of us who grew up believing life is a “do-it-yourself” project, it can be hard to admit that we need help just to survive. Like a drop of water separated from its source the little mind is unable to create and sustain life. When the drop of water rejoins the ocean it has all the powers of its source. The drop of water separate from its source symbolizes our ego-self when we are separated from our source of omnipotent power.
With our divine connection we are always in touch with the solutions we are seeking. Problems persist when we fail to recognize, realize, and finally, quietly commune with our own source, power, spirit, God.
I think of Abraham Lincoln watching his beloved Union crumbling under the energy of hatred that engulfed this country. He wrote, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go.” He is saying, “I surrender to my source and turn this huge problem over to that same power that moves the stars.” You can do the same thing in times of strife. “Let go and let God,” as they say in the recovery movement. Continue Reading
Sometimes there are things you can encounter on your spiritual path that may surprise and puzzle you. About a year ago I started to notice that bright circles of light, “orbs,” were showing up in the photos people took of me at speaking events. (For a prominent scientist’s view of the fascinating phenomenon of orbs, check out the work of Klaus and Gundi Heinemann in their book, Orbs: Their Mission and Message of Hope.)
Some of the photos people showed me contained gigantic orbs; others had as many as 20 of these light circles clustered around me on stage. Another photo surfaced of a woman at our Australia event. She had a serious weight problem. I had put my arms around her and was looking into her face, telling her about how she was going to change. The photo showed a huge orb hovering over us. From my talk in Vancouver last spring came photos of me and my daughter Skye with beautiful orbs around us that almost looked like they had faces. At another event in Calgary, orbs appeared in a photo of a girl on stage who had been healed of facial paralysis.
The appearance of these orbs is only one of a number of “things intriguing and bizarre” coming into my experience. The final chapter in my upcoming book Wishes Fulfilled (scheduled to release early next year) is about opening yourself up to all possibilities and realizing that there’s nothing out there that’s impossible. The New Testament says that, with God, all things are possible—that leaves nothing out.
So why are these orbs showing up now? Continue Reading
In a small village not far from Florence, Italy, a thirteenth-century soldier was imprisoned. The son of a rich merchant, this young soldier had been “lost” for most of his life when suddenly he had a vision to serve God in an unconditional way. He gave up all material possessions, ultimately living and teaching the message of Jesus of Nazareth. This was the man who would come to be known as Saint Francis of Assisi. He became renowned for helping many by simply being in their presence. Wild animals and birds became tame near him, meekly tickling his fingers and flying into his open hands.
On a pilgrimage many years ago, I went to Lower Assisi to visit the tiny chapel that Saint Francis had prayed in every day. The chapel still stands in its exact condition from that time. Today it is surrounded by a spacious building with glorious stained glass windows and an ornate ceiling. Thousands of people mill about in this outer structure; all are in Assisi to pray and pay homage to the thirteenth-century saint. The visitors come and go every day from all over the globe, in solemn, somber, loving tribute to this divine being.
I was escorted into the tiny chapel Continue Reading
If you want to be a voice for peace in the world, begin by making peace a permanent condition of your own life. Your higher self knows the way, and all it takes is awareness and a determination to listen to the calling of love, forgiveness, and kindness as you move through your days. Here are a few ideas to think about:
- You must offer peace to have it. Think of yourself as a peaceful person. Watch out for your ego’s inclination to take offense and ramp up confrontation and disturbance in the lives of others. Try saying, “You are really having a rough day,” to a harried clerk, rather than, “I’ve been waiting for fifteen minutes already.” Let your loving presence, not your ego, guide your words and actions.
- Remember that grievances bring turmoil while communication brings peace. You can shed grievances by letting go of your own self-absorption and practicing forgiveness. If you are angry toward someone in your life, work at communicating with that person. A few moments of discussion and forgiveness can send the turmoil away and weaken the influence of your anxiety-loving ego.
- Give yourself the gift of a silent retreat every day. Even if it is only for a few moments, experience this key to higher awareness. Shut down the inner dialogue and see the difference between the constant chatter and the bliss of your silent connection to the Universe. This is the surest way to ease control away from ego and move into the inner vision of peace that is your birthright.
- Remind yourself that the greatest technique for bringing peace into your life is to always choose being kind when you have a choice between being right or being kind. This is the single most effective method I know for having a sense of peace. And you have that choice in all your interactions.