Monday, January 31, 2011


I believe that forgiveness is a powerful and important part of life.  I know that when you forgive, you let go of all of the turmoil and negativity that you have attached to that person or event that caused you pain.  Without forgiveness you keep that past alive along with all of the hard feelings and hardships.  Forgiveness is not for the other person, it is for you.  It also doesn't mean that you are okay with someone hurting you or that you will allow them to be a repeat offender.  Forgiveness means that you have the ability to see the situation from a healthy perspective and that you are able to surrender, knowing you are not in control of other people at all.  Forgiveness creates a sense of pride, a lighter heart, a sense of also allows the person who hurt you to be impacted in a different way.  This is how positivity creates a ripple effect and creates an outcome that is more beautiful than you would have imagined!  This is all true, but a story may be more poignant than this explanation. So, story time....

My parents divorced when I was not yet two years old.  There was domestic violence, substance abuse, and in general my parents were young and did the best they could with the resources they had.  Shortly thereafter, my parents both remarried and my mom moved my sister and I out of state.  Lots of fighting between my parents began over visitation.  At first, we saw my dad and step-mom every summer and during the holidays.  Before long, we saw him less regularly and then when I was about ten all communication with my dad stopped.  This was difficult, although I knew that many kids went through it, and at least I had my sister to share the experience with.

Fast forward about nine years and you'd find me at college.  I was dealing with a lot within my family of origin and I was self-destructing pretty rapidly in the party scene at school.  I wanted to hurt...and I did.  At this time, I decided to contact my dad.  I had questions...I was curious, and I was angry.  As you can imagine, the contact with my dad was tumultuous and short-lived.  I was very impressed by his sorrow and regret regarding our estranged relationship, however, I could not let go of my anger at that time.  I had no intention of forgiving him.  I certainly contributed to this failed attempt to know my dad.  I remember asking him why he hit my mom and he said that it wasn't that bad, because he never used a closed fist.  I was mortified and disappointed.  I vowed to never talk to him again.  As you can imagine, my path to self-destruction became more serious.

Fast forward another decade or so and I was doing much better.  I was married with a sweet daughter and my darling son on the way.  My best friend...and I were taking good care of each other, and I was beginning to learn how to take good care of myself.  This is when my sister and I got the phone call that I was always nervous about receiving.  My uncle was on the line letting us know that our dad had suffered a major heart attack and was in the hospital in critical condition.  My heart sank as his struggled to keep him alive.  Was this really how my story with my dad would end?  I was overwhelmed and not able to go visit him.  My sister and I decided to send flowers...a decision that I knew was wrong.  I felt disappointed in myself and I knew that somewhere inside of me there must be more courage.  I could not find forgiveness.

After this, there was no more contact with my uncle.  My sister and I were left not knowing if he had survived or what his health was like. I hoped in my heart that I would have been contacted if there was a funeral, but the not-knowing was something that was always hard for me.

At this time, I began to focus on myself in a whole new way.  I was learning things in graduate school that I am passionate about, AND I stumbled upon The Principles of Mind, Thought and Consciousness.  This is what really began to transform me into a happier person, a wiser person, a better mom, a more fulfilled wife, a courageous daughter and a trailblazer for my sister.  All of a sudden one day, with this healthier outlook, not knowing my dad didn't make sense anymore.  I found myself writing him a letter.  I can remember that I had no expectations and now attachment to our past.  I had the sole purpose of reaching out to him in order to express peace and forgiveness.  I wanted him to know that I thought about him often and that when I did I always thought of him with kindness. Without a second thought, I mailed it, and I felt sure that nothing would come of it.  The letter was really for me.  I was not attached at all to any outcome.  I felt so good!  I knew I was following my instincts and the most peaceful feelings came over me.

What happened next truly illustrates the power of forgiveness.  My dad and I became pen-pals.  We sent each other photos and got to know each other.  Because of what I had understood about The Principles, I didn't let our conversations on the phone or in our letters be about the past, and I quickly stopped the guilt and shame that my dad felt the need to express.  In addition, my mother was supportive and very proud of me.  It hit me right in the heart to see that she could put her personal thinking aside in order to support me in something that was so important to me.  My sister also benefited from my act of bravery...this is the ripple effect that forgiveness creates!  She is not ready herself to know our dad, but she has been thrilled to read my letters, see the photos of him, and hear all about her dad.

The ending of this story is not really the ending at all, but it is beautiful.  Last week, my dad came to visit.  The man I thought I'd never know was right here in my living room.  My kids know their grandpa...and they love him.  My dad looks like me and my kids look like him.  My heart is full and I am so proud of myself.  The visit was overwhelming and we were all nervous, but it was probably one of the most amazing things that I've created just simply by having a healthy mindset.  It was so fun to learn about my dad, my step-mom & step-brothers, my grandparents, and cousins.  It was also really cool to see how, even though we missed out on a big chunk of each others lives, we actually knew each other quite well on a deeper level.  At the end of the trip we were both exhausted, but full of joy.  He let me know that he is proud of me and that he loves me.  I didn't know how good this would feel, but I can tell you that I am choked up even now as I type.  This feeling of forgiveness was the start to something so extraordinary.  A family was reunited, and it all came from knowing about The Principles so that forgiveness made sense, while holding a grudge became senseless.

Who can you forgive in your life?  Who can you see as innocent rather than guilty?  We're all spinning around on this earth together & I urge you to remember how much we are all alike, rather than focusing on the issues from the past that pull us apart.  I guarantee you that beautiful things await you when you find yourself in the feeling of forgiveness.  Don't be afraid to take that leap of faith!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Wisdom of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. has long been one of the few historical figures whom I've always felt an intense respect for.  Even as a child, I can remember fighting back the tears in class as I learned of him.  I was in awe of how beautifully he spoke with such a combination of grace and power.  His courage and unwavering non-violence got my attention, and inspired me.  He served as a much needed role-model for me at one time.  Now, although I have stopped searching for guidance outside of myself, MLK Jr. remains a most enlightened and wise person whom I am encouraged by to this day.

I have chosen four of my favorite quotes from this lovely man.  Each one convinces me that MLK Jr. had an understanding of The Principles.  I am aware, of course, that he knew nothing of "The Three Principles" as I am speaking of, but he knew about their essence.  These quotes I've chosen seem to speak to the insights and/or experience that I've had as I've come to understand mind, thought, & consciousness

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
Sometimes, this is the hardest part.  Faith...having faith in something because you feel it.  Many would not consider it.  Others take a path of carefully planned tests of faith.  In this way, they never really have to notice their fearful thinking or control issues.  It is only for the brave and courageous of us, to leap into the unknown because we feel it is the right thing to do.  I say, "not guts, no glory".  How can you get what you want when you do not go for it with your actions? 
To much time is spent by to many of us doing "what is right" or "what we're supposed to."  It stops the masses from experiencing and realizing that when you follow the insights from your own mind, you are absolutely on the right path.  Things like prosperity, abundance, success, etc will come with it...not everything can or should be planned.  I promise you...but that doesn't matter, you'll have to just take the first step of faith.
A story: In my work as a counselor I was very insecure and nervous about teaching The Principles to my clients at first.  I knew in my own life, that this understanding had opened me up to a different kind of existence where I had clarity, peace of mind, and a new-found excitement for life.  So, it wasn't a question of whether I believed that The Principles could help those who came to me for relief.  Instead, I was focused on my supervisors and colleagues...paperwork and meetings...expectations and personal insecurities.  I gradually began to discuss mind, though & consciousness with some of my clients.  The results were similar to the ones that I had felt personally.  Soon, I found myself at a cross-roads.  I either needed to focus on The Principles 100%, which was what my mind was telling me to do, or I'd have to settle for less than what felt right in my work.  I'm proud to say that I took that leap of the faith and I am continuing to do so today.  Regardless of whatever insecurities my personal thinking can conjure up, I am not focusing on that.  Instead I am starting my own business, marketing myself to people I used to be intimidated by, and enjoying the ride!  I don't need to know where the ride will take me anymore...I'm too busy enjoying it!

"The time is always right to do what is right."
This is so true.  For me this quote speaks to consciousnessConsciousness refers to your awareness.  The point is that, you always have your mind guiding you and giving you answers and insights that are valuable and perfect for you.  There is now technique or way to tap into your mind, but there is a connection between it and your ability to be aware in the moment without personal thought distracting you.  Consciousness has levels and you move through them all of the time.  When you are at a high level of consciousness you may feel creative, in the zone or flow, in the now, clarity, quiet, etc.  When you are at a low level of consciousness you may feel overwhelmed, caught up in your thinking, stressed, frustrated, detached, etc.  It seems that MLK Jr. must ave lived in a pretty consistent state of high consciousness, because it is in this state that one can not only see what is right, but also give others the courage to see it for themselves.

"Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words.  Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart."
This is stated so eloquently that I can barely dare to comment.  So much of the power behind gaining an understanding of mind, thought, & consciousness

"If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values-that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control."
To me this is a way of pointing out how we are all connected.  We all share these same Principles, that explain our experience of our reality.  I very rarely speak about The Principles in spiritual terms, although I am fully aware of their spiritual nature.  This is because I have a natural connection in my brain between religion and spirituality.  I also have some negative memories related to religion, so the whole picture has the potential to get skewed for me.  However, I do believe in my own spiritual existence and I do know that there are many things that I cannot explain, yet I don't need to, because they are simply true to me.  I see this truth in myself, in others, in animals, in all of us. 
According to MLK Jr. we are to go back to the simplest ideas of goodness.  To me this is what we all are at our essence.  We all have something that I'm calling mind, but you can call it whatever you want.  How else, but in spiritual terms, can you explain something that we all have innate and equal access to, that gives us insights and direction in life...if only we listen.  This is not intelligence, retained knowledge, or memories.  This is something that is bigger than us, yet it is is ours and every one's. It is mystical, and beautiful...and if MLK Jr. couldn't define it with perfect clarity for you, than I'm not even going to try!

Here's to the late Martin Luther King Jr...may we all be encouraged to have faith, do what's right, and believe in that which no words can describe.

Monday, January 3, 2011

It's NOT Positive Thinking

It's been a while since my last blog...the holidays were much to rich to sit in front of a laptop.  We even celebrated a birth in our family!  Such a gift to hold a new, sweet baby! 

The holidays gave me a chance to visit with family.  In my family, I suppose because I'm a I can't say's been true since I could speak, I am the one people go to for advice.  The graduate degree just makes it official now. 

I've found that my understanding of mind, thought & consciousness has been ongoing, and has had a ripple effect on those around me.  In the crazy spin of things, my family of origin has been last to feel the ripple.  I've struggled most to speak to them clearly about my understanding.  I believe that this is because they really matter to me...I want them so badly to hear beyond my words that I focus on the outcome.  The result is that I am not listening...and then I feel insecure (or is it the other way around?). 

While "home" for the holidays I began to notice that I was really enjoying the process of advice giving.  I was really good at hearing a complex question and boiling it down to the simplest terms by my understanding of mind, thought & consciousness.  I was having quite a good time being the professional know-it-all! 

As I observed myself, I realized this sense of grandeur.  Translation, I was off the mark!  I sat up in bed....the bed I had grown up in...thinking about what I really wanted to say to these family members.  It was something like, "You know more than you give yourself credit.  What do you think?".  

So, the next night with my mom, the perfect moment came my way.  She said she wondered if there was any hope for teens who had experienced serious and/or ongoing trauma.  I wanted to yell out, "Of course!  Each of us has the power to be our birthright!  The past is only alive in our thinking!  Haven't you been listening?" :)  Instead, I asked her what she thought.  A nice conversation followed, in which I pointed out her mind and how she already depends on it for guidance.

Soon after my trip, she texted me a couple of cute things about positive thinking.  It was clear to me that she was on the right track, but that she was missing something key.  I knew this, because it was familiar to me...I, too, once thought The Principles were about controlling the matter of your thinking.  It's an easy pitfall, but I couldn't find the words at first to put her back on the right path.  That's why I love texting...a non-reply is okay for a while!

(I love this next part!) As I sat to write my blog today, I felt unsure of what exactly to discuss.  I did what I often do, which is to pull a book out from my Principles library, flip to any page, and read for inspiration.  Today I chose Our True Identity...Three Principles by Elsie Spittle.

And I read, "Please understand the process is not about controlling thought.  It is about realizing that you are the thinker.  Realizing this allows you to be more an observer of behavior, yours and others, without becoming attached to the behavior."

Brilliant!  Exactly!  This is what I was doing with my own thinking when I realized that I needed to listen to my family members and help them tap into their mind.  This was also what I was unable to put into words to help my mom differentiate The Principles from positive thinking.  Aw, now if that wasn't an insight, I don't know what is! 
Gotta go...texting my mom now! :)  Enjoy your observations of yourself and others in this hopeful 2011!