positive outcomes are approaching

Non-discriminating. Futile resistance. Complex. COVID-19. Separation and isolation have flattened the curve for the spread of the virus, yet our humanness is left confused, caught and confined. The virus has forced us into situations we could not have imagined. However, we may gradually understand the upshot of slowing down, pondering topics we have been avoiding, or appreciating the smallest things in life—all lessons in flow.

Many of us spend  much of our time resisting. Complaining. Pointing fingers. Denying. We want things to go our way, all the time. We want guarantees: No surprises. No directives. No changes. We want to be in control. However, this is not how life comes to us, and, when we are honest, we realize that life has never been this way. The pandemic underscores that life is continuously in flux. 

When we trade control for flexibility in mind and heart, we trust beyond what we can see. Allowing our hearts to be truly softened and open leads to feeling more balanced. A higher vantage shows life to be a swinging  pendulum. With patience, we stay out of fear and remain steady. We wait. In due time, the pendulum returns. Realizing that our circumstances will not remain in adversity, we hold to the confidence that positive outcomes are approaching—for all of us. Before we know it, we emerge from the chaos, intact, yet wiser.

It is undeniable that we may feel isolated, lonely, or separated from life as we once knew it, but these are external circumstances, ones that are visible.  An invisible force, Source, is in and around us. Source—also known by other names such as God, the Universe, our Life Force, or Love—is with us.

Let us trust the invisible—something that is difficult for us to do. To help with this, we look back on the milestones of our lives, circumstances that tested our existence, resilience, or relationships. More often than not, we discover that a presence we could not explain, yet one we definitely felt, was with us. Often hindsight is the perspective needed to truly recognize the influence of divine guidance. We came to this world to learn. Open hearts and minds encourage a sense of “knowing.” Recalling that Source was with us at earlier turning points in our lives, it naturally follows that Source is here with us now and will continue to be part of our journey.

Fears can hijack the best of intentions, causing us to waffle. We hold steady and trust that there is a greater purpose at hand, regardless of how things appear. During quiet moments, we allow the depths of our hearts to “speak” to us. We can handle more than we think we can. Inner strength gathers, and miraculously, we are able to bear chaos, dis-ease or other difficult circumstances.   

This is a time of calming, healing, and loving ourselves, of sending these vibrations to family members or friends, and of wishing the same to those within our community and beyond. This is hope in action.

From a higher vantage: Our relationship with Source gives us stability. Add to that, collaboration within a loving community. This is how we get through chaotic times.

© 2020 in the thick of things

fragrances, smoke, bubbles, and sunflowers?

Ahhhhh! Glorious longer days, increasing warmth, and the promise of blossoming trees, flowers, and gardens. Our outward focus celebrates the interdependence of life, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that trust is the light by which the universe unfolds.

Four times a year, we have an opportunity to honor the gifts of nature as she flows into a new season. For many of us, the Vernal or Spring Equinox is the highlight of March. The Minnesota shuffle, five layers of clothing, and snowshoes and skis are traded for sunny dispositions, rain, and park bench daydreams.

Let our intention be to honor existence, rather than dominance; equality with all living things; and a better understanding of ourselves so we can interact with others through that increased awareness.

The Spring Equinox in the northern hemisphere is a time when the sun shines directly on the equator, and the length of night and day is nearly equal. This balance also symbolizes new light, growth, new paths, and reflects hope in new beginnings. We look outward and soften our hearts. This year, the official first day of spring is March 19.

One of my daughters has a March 20 birthday. Jokingly, I once mentioned that Daffodil Iris might be an appropriate name for her—much to her shock and embarrassment–NOT!!! However, the story never fails to surface—and people smile.

Four energy forces within the physical universe sustain life: Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. They help us connect with nature and with an energy force greater than we are, as well as influence our personalities. When these elements are balanced, they offer physical and psychological well-being.

A short meditation guides us in honoring the four directions: north, east, south, and west. Giving thanks for Mother Earth’s gifts, we bless her as we explore how she connects us in oneness.

Let us begin. Ancient wisdom pairs the air element with the direction of the East. Air is represented by the colors of yellow or gray. This element appeals to our senses of smell and hearing.

Choose a meditation posture…Rest your left hand on your heart and your right hand on your abdomen. Now focus your attention on your breath and relax with my words:

Imagine the distinctive fragrances of Minnesota spring flowers and blooming trees: Hyacinths, Lily of the Valley, and Magnolia trees. Hear robins singing, and the delightful sounds of wind chimes.  P A U S E…

Now remember the aroma of air that is newly cleansed by a gentle rain. P A U S E…

Finally, recall the earthy scent of warm, hibernating soil that reappears after months under ice and snow. Fuse with each of these gifts. P A U S E… Feel the invitation, the richness, the Oneness. Say thank you!

The air element symbolizes communication, intelligence, perception, imagination, creativity, and harmony. Drawn by the element of air, you open to it, praising nature and the universe. You feel these smells and sounds. Give thanks!

P A U S E.

Fire represents the direction of the South, and its color is red or orange. This element appeals to our senses of sight, sound, and smell.

Settle into meditation and place your attention on your breath. P A U S E… Now, relax with my words.

Welcome unique flames of a controlled prairie burn for new growth. Crackling, popping and smoke are harbingers of transformation and purification. A more open heart, a result of the season of darkness, serves you. Like fire welling up in you, your passion ignites new visions, courage to discard the old, and strength to understand the meaning of it all. Meld into each of these gifts. P A U S E… In tandem with nature’s gifts, you feel the invitation, the richness, the Oneness. Say thank you!

The element of fire draws you to it, opens you, and fosters energy and creativity. Give thanks!

P A U S E…

Water represents the direction of the West, and its color is blue. This element appeals to our senses of sight, sound and touch and helps us to release emotions that are no longer useful, as we gather confidence and ease.

With your eyes open, settle into meditation and place your attention on your breath. P A U S E… Now, relax with my words. 

Imagine walking along and discovering bubbles under ice on a barely warm, sunny day. Feel yourself drawn to the bubbles, opening to them. What feelings and emotions come to you? Perhaps you are doubtful or carrying irritation or maybe you are simply remembering childhood adventures.

Sensing the flow of the bubbles, your body reaches out. You, too, want to be effortless as water. You want to flow in unconditional love, reaching places and people as you are led by the present moment. You trust an unseen energy. Like the bubbles during the spring thaw, regardless of your fear of rocky or slippery circumstances, you are guided by flow. You let go of control and resistance. Give thanks!

Now you move toward the light, softening and blending as you go. Individual energies combine in strength and harmony, expanding resiliency. Feel the Oneness. No need for striving or overthinking. Without trying, your energy influences others. Meld into each of these gifts.

P A U S E… In tandem with nature’s gifts, you feel the invitation, the richness, the Oneness. Drawn by the element of Water, you open to it, praising nature and the universe. Give thanks!

Earth represents the direction of the North. In the spring, its color is green. This element appeals to your sense of sight, touch, and taste. Earth represents fertility, stability, and nourishment—and treats every plant as nobility.

P A U S E… Settle into meditation and place your attention on your breath. Now, relax with my words.

Remember a time when you first cared for a plant.  Maybe it was a sunflower seed that you nurtured in elementary school. You gave it special attention with nutrient-rich soil, not too much water, and plenty of sunlight. You were so proud to discover some green poking through the soil one day. And what a mystery that it happened all by itself—as if by magic! As you worked with plants during your growing up years, maybe you remember the miracles of magnificent leaf texture or bounteous fruit. Perhaps you encouraged growth with song or words of kindness, feeling a kinship with plants. Give thanks!

Yet, it might have taken years for you to realize the hidden benefits that Mother Earth freely supplied: prosperity, dependability, and wisdom. Like the plants, parented by Earth, you have everything you need inside to unfold. Your wisdom and talents, like harvested sunflower seeds, are your gifts to the universe. All are miracles.

Drawn by the element of Earth, you open to it, praising nature and the universe. Fuse with each of these gifts. P A U S E… In tandem with nature’s gifts, you feel the invitation, the richness, the Oneness. Give thanks!

In honoring gifts, may you remember

  • the interdependence of life,
  • the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and
  • trust is the light by which the universe unfolds.

From a higher vantage: As you protect, use wisely, understand, and teach the value of air, fire, water, and earth, may you feel the web of interconnectedness.  

See Nature’s beauty,

Feel her inner nudges,

Taste her mysteries,

Smell treasures in her moments,

And hear her nurturing.

Above all, witness and give thanks.

© 2020 in the thick of things

each moment—more than you can imagine

Dear Reader,
2020! May it be a year and decade that brings love, clarity, new perspectives, and courage in the face of each moment. Yet, here is how the moments usually go…

During the Status Quo
• You are quick to agree completely with stories generated by ego.
• You automatically accept as truth stories read or heard from others.
• On the outside, you appear to be healthy, positive, and happy.
• So confident about life, you push it to the extreme: self-referencing, arrogance, competitiveness

After a Curveball
• You struggle, always justifying.
• You insist on your way, inviting long-term stress.
• You resist and act out (yes, even as adults!).
• So upset with life, you push it to the extreme: compromised immune system, criticism, depression, possible suicidal thoughts.

From Fear Emerges Inner Peace
• You are led into fear by a sneaky ego (personifies a habit) that fears change and desires only self-preservation. It likes power, control, and the status quo.
• Under your ego’s influence, resistance manifests as doubt, anger, comparisons, duality thinking (opposites: good – bad), escalation, and chaos.
• Your awareness to open your heart, leading to inner peace, has not yet reached the tipping point. It is more comfortable staying under the thumb of your fear(s). Defensive, you vow to cling to all that represents you and yours. Shadow thoughts, feelings, images, and actions lead, blinding you to inner peace.


Wait a minute!
Hold everything!
Is this the true you?


Stop! Your higher Self deserves greater reverence. Question the downward spiral. Soften your heart. Take time to look deeply within. Ahhhh, yes, there is another way to interact with each moment.

Without judgment, allow each moment to come to you. With the knowledge that everything is always changing, expand your heart and mind beyond the situation, beyond what ego and others say, beyond what you currently believe to be true. Acknowledge your situation with warmth and spaciousness (not necessarily easy!), knowing that another moment, full of options, is close at hand. Now you have offered an uncommon and approachable invitation to the moment, an opportunity that it will not refuse. With it, comes the knowledge of the universe. This is the true you.

During the Status Quo
• You are discerning about stories generated by ego. Stories that rely on the past and speculate on the future promote illusions. What stories support your circumstances in this moment?
• People offer well-intentioned advice; however, sometimes their ideas do not support your best interests. The most helpful feedback is that which validates your efforts.
• You’re well, happy, and accepting because your inner nature is to work with the will and timing of an energy greater than you are. Even though the universe is in continuous flux, you recognize that your inner nature is strong, light-filled, and capable of flowing with change. You feel at ease.

After a Curveball
• You acknowledge your situation, yet stop justifying and playing the role of “victim.” In small ways, you begin to accept what the moment holds. Resistance shrinks, creating opportunity for balance and increased happiness.
• You remain with that moment, regardless of how difficult or painful it is. This strengthens your heart and opens you to insights from the universe.
• Your immune system remains healthy, accompanied by uplifting thoughts.

From Fear Emerges Inner Peace
• You no longer follow your ego’s suggestions for distractions that take you away from the moment.
• Being honest with yourself, identify the stories underlying your fear(s). Hanging on to or pushing away things at will takes energy and is often painful. Flowing always trumps insisting and resisting.
• Intend to understand the stories behind your fear(s).
• You know what circumstances escalate or calm your fear(s); choose what makes you whole.
• Trust that your heart continues to open as your life unfolds; you experience greater inner peace.

You and I are community and need each other to share, grow, heal and love. As Antoine Saint-Exupery, author of The Little Prince, suggests, “Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” It begins with a single moment and the choices you make in its presence.

From a higher vantage: In love, I look outward with you in the same direction. We are one. Blessings in the new year!

Love, Barbara
© 2020 in the thick of things


awakening to source

Back in the day, I wonder if I could have entertained this quest—looking for ways that Source or spiritual energy show up in my daily life experiences and encounters with people. Could I have seen heaven on earth? I’m unsure. Even with diligent searching, my mind would have been consumed with thoughts, mostly concerning the “doing” of my day, the daily schedules, judgments and drama. How would I ever find Source amid all of these? Naturally, I would have needed to prioritize differently or something would have been left undone.

 

Everything was important, or so Ego told me. With four wonderful children, I juggled. Ever-mounting stress made me consider, just a passing fancy, what I might let go of and how. Yet there was only so much time, and it was essential that everything run smoothly. The kids’ dad paid the mortgage and utility bills, juggled finances, and taught and coached. I was the foundation for homework, piano lessons, laundry, cleaning, social calendar, and meals. Together, we shared getting the kids to sports practices and games.

 

My day as a corporate trainer began early, and I always seemed to be playing “catch up” as the day unfolded. Family dinner was usually a casserole, or hot dish as Midwesterners referred to it, and I rarely had time to sauté the onions and garlic. Church Choir and Confirmation teaching rounded out my responsibilities, along with four nights per week of supper club waitressing. I decided it was easier not to think about how to keep up with activities and responsibilities and just act on what needed to be done. I was on a treadmill where slowing down, let alone stopping, was not a choice. How would I have time to look for Source?

 

This was my life, thirty years ago—probably not too dissimilar from that of mothers today. I was aware of only one interpretation of Source—an almighty God that was “out there,” someplace where I might aspire to live my afterlife, should I survive the responsibilities of parenting, jobs, sports and community. For me, there was no other way to see Source. As I lovingly carried out my responsibilities, I was truly asleep to any other possibilities beyond my immediate world.

 

In my fifties, the kids left for college, one-by-one, and I was face-to-face with myself. I began to wonder Who am I? Do I have a purpose beyond the rat race? Is this all there is? My inner life was changing, and my outer life no longer matched or even complemented it. After much thought and listening to my heart, it was time to honor my inner voice, make some changes, and walk a new path. I divorced, began a new job that offered benefits to part-timers, and began studying New Thought spirituality. My soul soon felt nourished and uplifted. After several years I remarried, enjoying an equal partnership through common values, emotional support and creativity.

 

It was then that I began to learn the nature of integrating body, mind and ego. Only in hindsight did I realize that Source was in the thick of things in my life all those years ago. It was my inability to see. Perfection, arrogance in that I thought I knew best, and control were hallmarks of my cloudy vision.

 

Over time, I understood that I needed to meet life in the moment and stop worrying about the past or fearing the future. Everything was exactly as it needed to be, all was well, and a much greater plan of divine wisdom was unfolding me. Slowing down to reflect on my life and reassessing my thinking helped me to feel gratitude for all the people and situations that had contributed to shaping the person I am today. Equally important is the big picture. I learned that times of challenge revealed my positive, as well as negative characteristics; times that were comfortable indicated how much I had grown.

 

How reassuring that Source is in everyone and everything. It’s up to me to see. My vision is becoming clearer. Source or spiritual energy has been there all along, I just didn’t realize it. The decision to spend time in contemplation gave me an opportunity, an opening, to seek Source. Adding some “being” rather than only “doing” woke me up.

 

 

In the quiet moments: It takes a certain amount of life experience to gain wisdom, an on-going process. Gift yourself with some time for solitude and let your innate wisdom reveal how Source has been in the thick of things throughout your life.

 

 

© 2015 in the thick of things