Musings On The Path: Daily Spiritual Reading; January 1-7
January 1: A Time to Decide
“Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole move in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances: but on the first day of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past.” Henry Ward Beecher
The new year, so fresh and full of hope. Like a blank journal or a brand new pen, the year is full of promise and potential.
Rather than overwhelm yourself with a litany of changes you would like to start making today, instead take some time to enjoy a fresh new day and a fresh new year. In this moment, the year sits neatly as an unopened package full of hope and expectation.
While goals and aspirations are important and essential to your growth, today is not the day to quit your job, go to the gym, start studying a foreign language and become a vegetarian.
Today is the day to make a decision. Only you can decide how your life will be for this moment. Once you make up your mind, then your whole life can change. Until you make a decision, nothing will change.
Goals are good but you can’t set realistic goals until you decide what you want. Spend some quiet time today thinking about what you would like in your life. Think about all aspects of your life: your relationships, your own physical health and well being, your finances and work, your spiritual walk.
Spend time writing down exactly what your ideal relationships look like, with your family, friends and co-workers and even people you don’t know.
In terms of physical health and well-being, identify what your ideal is in terms of how you like to exercise, what you enjoy eating and how you would like to look. Don’t forget to include things that make you happy or feel good.
With regard to your finances, think about what you enjoy doing and how you would like to contribute to the world. If money were no object what would you be doing? How much money would you like to earn and what would you do with it? Write these things down.
Finally, in terms of your spiritual walk, what would you like to do? Nothing? Something? Spend time reading the bible every day? Spend time meditating daily? Write down the things that are important to you.
Today is not a day for “to-do” lists. Instead, make a conscious decision about how you would like your life. Then write it all down; the hopes and dreams and vain imaginings. Then, put your list aside and give the Universe a chance to make it happen.
For today, making that decision is exactly enough.
January 2: Timing is Everything
“You cannot afford to wait for the perfect conditions. Goal setting is often a matter of balancing timing against available resources. Opportunities are easily lost while waiting for perfect conditions.” Gary Ryan Blair
Have you ever heard the saying, “Seize the day” or “Carpe Diem”? As you move forward today remember to keep your eyes open for opportunity, serendipity and synchronicity.
Opportunities present themselves everyday, if you are willing to open yourself to them. Often, those moments of coincidence are God, showing Himself in your day and in your life. Unfortunately, that may be just the moment you turn and look the other way.
When unexpected events threaten your perfectly laid plans, or cause chaos in your choreographed life, consider for a moment that God may be trying to show you a different direction.
Your timing might be off. God and the Universe are always on time. God’s timing is always perfect and the Universe is never tardy. The circumstances in your life happen at exactly the right moment.
Rather than discount the unexpected out of fear, anger or frustration, take a moment to breathe deeply and explore the unknown. Instead of viewing interruptions in your plan as frustrations, consider them gifts from the Universe. Welcome interruptions as angels with an important message for you and consider the message as essential for whatever goal you are working toward right now.
God speaks to each one of us through people and events. When someone or something unexpected crosses your path, listen closely for the small, still voice of the Holy Spirit. These Holy Encounters may be brief, but they are perfectly placed for your greatest experience.
Today, be aware of the unexpected, whether it is a person or an event. Allow things to unfold at the perfect time, without trying to force your own agenda. Let your Higher Power guide you to the highest and fullest expression of Who You Really Are.
January 3: Daily Devotion
“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout to nurture your dream.” Lao Tzu
Enlightenment, awakening and even awareness doesn’t happen with a lightening. Not usually, for most of us, anyway. These things come gradually with daily practice, devotion, and dedication.
Changing a bad habit or adopting a good habit does not usually happen all at once. While it is true that some people can change the way they look at things in an instant, for most of us it takes a more concentrated effort.
First you must decide. Once you have decided to make a change, you have set the power of the Universe into action. By setting your intention you begin the process of change. Changing your mind is the beginning.
Right now, today, is the time to take a step toward your desired change. Today, do one thing the right way. And then do it again. Repeat these two steps every day. Every moment is a new opportunity to choose. Decide to take action. Do one thing the right way. Repeat.
In this way, taking small, balanced steps toward a desired outcome, you begin the walk of daily devotion. Whether you are making spiritual changes, physical changes or emotional changes, small daily steps will bring you to your desired outcome. Gradually, change will be upon you as you make gentle corrections to your behavior, attitudes and circumstances. In this way, you will succeed.
Today, take one positive step in the direction of your dreams. Don’t waste time criticizing your past or fearing the future. Take one step forward. In the next moment, take another step forward. Repeat as necessary.
January 4: Dare to Dream
“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” Carl Jung
As the new year begins, it is important to remember that this is your life. Today is the only day you have. Take some time today, not only to plan for your upcoming year but to sit in a moment of silence and reflect on the gifts you’ve been given.
Many people strive to achieve but never get anywhere. Today is a day to assess where you are and where you’d like to be. What would you like to achieve this year? What would you like to see change in your life? Look inside your heart and discover what makes your soul and spirit sing. That is a direction to head. You only have one life. Rather than wasting it, begin planning where you would like your life to go.
Today you can begin living the life you love by dreaming, visioning and moving forward toward those things that delight your soul.
January 5: The Power of Silence
“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature-trees, flowers, grass-grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” Mother Teresa
When you listen with your soul you can tap into the great creative stillness of God. We are surrounded at every turn by noise. From the ticking of clocks, the whirring of the refrigerator, to the traffic outside. It is nearly impossible to sit in silence.
Often, we are uncomfortable in quiet. We surround ourselves with noise: music, news, television. We talk to ourselves. We whistle. We hum. Even when we are alone, we have trouble finding silence. The constant buzz of cacophony gives our brains little time to rest. We don’t want to face the sound of silence because within that sound, we might find ourselves, and that is a terrifying thought.
Getting to know yourself is only possible in silence. Discovering yourself can’t happen when pressed on all sides by distracting noise. Take some time to enjoy the sound of silence. Don’t whistle or hum or talk. Sink into the depths of your own being. Discover the mystery of knowing your own secret self.
Today, take time to be quiet. Shut the radio off while you drive to work, or turn off the TV before you begin making dinner. Spend just a few minutes growing accustomed to the sound of silence, and face yourself completely without hiding behind noise.
January 6: Shocking Growth
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Viktor E. Frankl
Even when you want to change, growth can be shocking. It can be shocking for you when you suddenly see things differently. Growth can also be shocking for those around you, as they see you behaving in unexpected and unprecedented ways.
Within an acorn is the potential for an enormous oak tree and ultimately for a forest of oak trees. You have more potential than an acorn. You have the potential to change your entire world.
As you prepare for your own growth, be prepared for some to be shocked and even dismayed by the changes they see. Surround yourself with people who support and encourage your growth and distance yourself from detractors.
Also prepare for some shocking moments of self-discovery as you emerge from your shell and reach toward the sun. As you begin living the Truth of Who You Really Are, you will find your tastes and desires change, and along with them your relationships.
Today, realize that you have the potential to change your entire world, if you so desire. As you begin to grow, you will be amazed at how the world around you changes and responds to support your decisions.
January 7: Are You Happy?
“I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.” Martha Washington
Are you happy? Do you find that how happy you are depends on something happening at work, or your children doing the right things, or your spouse saying the right words? Is your joy and happiness circumstantial?
Being happy is just a feeling. Much like feeling angry, hurt or sad, you can learn to control your feelings. Rather than blowing like the wind, this way and that, you can learn to control your feelings. You can choose to feel happy, loved, grateful, peaceful or hopeful, just as much as you can feel angry, sad, resentful, or hurt. You have complete control over how you respond to situations and circumstances.
The Apostle Paul said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Paul suffered through poverty, prison, and punishment and through it all, he learned to be content.
Whatever circumstances you encounter in your life can be met with peace and joy or frustration and aggravation. You have a choice. Circumstances are neither good nor bad. Your perception of an event gives it meaning. You can shift your perception and realize that nothing is really happening to you. You can choose contentment, happiness and joy.
You decide how you will live. Nothing can ruin your day, unless you let it. Happiness is found in the present moment. If you feel yourself becoming tense, frustrated or angry, then pause, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you can choose to see peace rather than chaos.
Today, as life unfolds around you, remind yourself that you have every reason to be happy. Take a moment at the beginning of the day to express gratitude for the multitude of blessings in your life. It is okay to be happy. There is no spiritual virtue in suffering. We are meant to be joyful. If you feel yourself getting off center and unhappy, pause, breathe deeply and remember that you are free to choose again.