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Musings On The Path: Daily Spiritual Readings: March 8-14
March 8: The Voice of Truth
“It takes strength and courage to admit the truth.” Rick Riordan
What is the truth? For most of us, it is whatever we tell ourselves the truth is. We each create our own version of “truth” to get through our lives.
But what is THE truth? Is there such a thing as absolute truth? Is there an unchanging, immutable, universal truth? Yes, there is.
The voice of truth speaks to each one of us. It is up to you to listen to the voice of truth when it whispers gently to your spirit. The voice of truth tells you that you are a unique child of God, created to share love and forgiveness. The voice of truth tells you there is nothing to fear.
Truth speaks in a quiet inner voice. That voice often tells you when something is wrong. It reassures, confirms and convinces you of who you really are. You have a choice every day. You can listen and believe the voice of truth. You can believe the message of love. You can trust the truth. Or, you can easily shut out the small, still vice of God. It is easy to allow the clamor and din of daily life drown out the voice of truth. The world shouts loudly that there is no God, that it’s every man for himself, kill or be killed.
You can choose this day whom you will serve You were created for a special purpose. It is up to you to choose which voice you will hear. The answer is always love, and the voice of truth speaks love directly to your heart.
March 9: Setting Reasonable Limits
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” Brene Brown
One of the hardest words in the English language is “no.” It is difficult to say no to the people we love and for some of us, it is even hard to say no to people we don’t even like.
One of the steps of spiritual growth and healing is learning to set reasonable boundaries for yourself and other people. The world is full of givers and takers. Those who give want to please others. They give of themselves and sometimes put their own needs behind the needs of everyone else. The takers always ask for more. Neither of these personality types is a good or a bad thing. This is who they are. People learn that by giving more, or asking for more, they satisfy some need. Givers satisfy their need to please. Takers satisfy their need to get more. There is a healthier way, through setting boundaries we can begin to heal these patterns in our lives.
Recently I had a friend in need. His wife had left him and he was overwhelmed by the task of raising two small kids, running a household and managing his medical practice. When he asked for help, I gladly stepped in, cleaning, folding laundry, helping with childcare. For several weeks my own family suffered, I juggled my career and my personal business in order to accommodate his needs. By not saying no, and by not setting appropriate boundaries, I made myself crazy. AS I continued to do more, he continued to ask for more. My kids felt neglected. My house was a mess. My clients clamored for attention and my job was not getting done. I worked myself into a frenzied state of exhaustion. I was on edge, my nerves were frayed, and no one was happy.
After a few weeks of these mental machinations and physical stress and exhaustion, I paused. Sitting in the sunshine, meditating and trying to find a moment of clarity, I heard a small still voice. The Universe, God, The Holy Spirit spoke clearly to me as I sat in the sunshine, searching for inner peace. “You need to reclaim your personal power.”
My own mental darkness suddenly shone with illumination. I realized that to gain control and power in my own life, I would need to say no. A psychiatrist friend once told me, “Saying no to someone else’s request is saying yes to yourself.” By not setting reasonable limits on the takers in my life, I say no to myself. To gain control over your own life, you must first say yes to yourself.
A few minutes after my enlightened realization, my friend called with another emergency that only I could resolve. Could I drop everything and rush over to help? Taking a deep breath, I said, “I’m sorry but I cannot help you with that.” My heart pounded wildly in my chest as I said it. He was disappointed and persistent, but I finally stood my ground. When the conversation ended, I felt strong and proud of myself. I finally said yes to me.
When you begin to say no to the takers in your life, they will not always hear you. Takers are used to having you drop what you are doing to take care of their needs. When you begin saying no, you might find yourself repeating it. People may be incredulous. They may even get their feelings hurt. It’s okay for them to feel hurt. An important part of your spiritual path involves setting appropriate boundaries, even if someone acts hurt.
Today, practice saying yes to yourself. Begin with something small. Say no to someone and mean it. Set a boundary. As you say yes to yourself you will begin to grow and heal. This process is sometimes difficult and sometimes painful. Others may be hurt or angered, and they may call you selfish. They are going through a process as well and in the end, the relationship will either be healthier or it will dissolve. Either way, it is time to learn to say yes to yourself.
March 10: Family Ties
“In find the family the most mysterious and fascinating institution in the world.” Amos Oz
For better or worse, we all come from families. Everyone was born of a mother and a father and how we were raised by our family will affect us for our entire lives.
As a teenager, I had a young, cool mom. At least that’s how I viewed her. She went to concerts. She partied. She was beautiful. On the other hand, I was nerdy and plain. I remember a boy in high school asking me once why I wasn’t more like my mom.
Good question. I spent many years trying to measure up. Even amongst my siblings, we each had a different role: I was the smart one, my sister the pretty one and our brother was the baby boy. I think we all developed resentments of each other. We perceived lack in our own talents and looked upon our siblings with envy.
Families are the source of many of our beliefs about who we are. There are a variety of relationships between parents and grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, and our interaction with these people is sometimes the last place we find healing.
I have an aunt who terrified me. Looking back at that relationship, I shudder. She was tall and imposing. She was mean. She wasn’t afraid of anything or anyone. My last contact with her was in my early 20’s, when my sister was dying of cancer. True to form, my aunt was terrifying, imposing, loud and crass. Any time spent with her sent my anxiety levels soaring.
In my 40’s, I wanted to visit my mom, but this aunt was living with my mother. I worried for weeks about what she might say and do, and how she would treat my kids. When I finally saw her, my first thought was, “This is who you feared all these years?” Time had done a number on my aunt. She seemed smaller and less imposing.
In years past, seeing my mom and her sister was emotionally exhausting. I felt constantly critiqued and criticized by them, and I couldn’t visit without feeling like a 12-year old kid. This time however, I claimed my own power. I decided to stand tall in who I am, rather than shrink back to the girl I was. Both my mother and my aunt finally saw me for who I am now. And I learned a lot about them. My aunt, the victim of an abusive husband, had suffered silently for years, afraid to leave. My mom carried the burden of my sister’s death, even after twenty years. I learned that we are all the sum of our experiences.
Life changed us. I realized that we don’t have to be stuck in past roles. Although family members are the hardest to set boundaries with, it is important to declare who you really are and express that in your life. Your family may resist. They may poke fun or ignore your declaration or try to force you into a more familiar role. You control your life. You can set healthy boundaries with your family.
Today, seek inner peace with regard to your family. Remember that everyone lives out their role, but as an adult, you are free to be yourself. You are not a prisoner of your past. Your family can learn to love who you are now, and respect the life you have created.
March 11: Finding Yourself
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw
At some point during our lifetime, most of us have asked or at least wondered, “Why am I here? What is the point? What is my purpose?”
In asking those questions, your soul is longing for fulfillment. Many people search their entire lives, never discovering the truth of who they really are. Even sadder yet, some people live their whole lives never even asking the question. They don’t even realize there something much greater exists.
Back to the question, “Why am I here? What is the point?” The answer to that question is beautifully simple and once you discover your true purpose, you get to spend your life fulfilling your calling.
We are all spiritual beings walking a human path. In this life, we have all been created to fulfill our own unique purpose. Your life is a constant process of creation. In each moment, you get to choose and create the most fulfilling life for your own soul.
Ultimately, the purpose of your life and the process for finding yourself are discovered in the process of creation. The purpose and the process are the same. You are here to create and experience your life. God has given you a beautiful opportunity to create your own life and to experience it fully in every moment.
Is there something in our life causing you stress, unhappiness or discomfort? I am here to tell you that you can choose again. You have a choice about how you will create your life.
I was once in an abusive marriage. I felt trapped and fearful. One morning, while lamenting my plight to a group of close friends, one wise woman spoke up. She told me that I was exactly where I chose to be. She said if I wanted things to be different, then I needed to make different choices. At first I was stung by her blunt expression. Then I became angry. How could she possibly know anything about my life? For many days I pondered the veracity of her words. I realized that I did have a choice. I began to believe that I could make a different choice. Once I changed my mind about my circumstances, then I began to make different choices about the kind of life I wanted.
I created a different experience for myself. It was not an easy process, to get out of a 20-year cycle of abuse, but it was fulfilling and satisfying to my soul. Of course, there were times I was lonely and fearful. There were times I thought it would be easier to just give up and go back. The truth is, creating a new experience is not always easy.
Today, look for the beauty in the process. As you begin to seek and experience your highest calling, you will make choice that reflect who you really are and who you want to be. You know if you are unhappy, fearful, trapped, or sad. You can choose to have a different experience. You are exactly where you want to be. If you want to discover the real you, then it’s time to make a different choice.
March 12: Behold Beauty
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” Confucius
What do you see when you look in the mirror? A radiant beauty who glows with the light of pure love? Or maybe you’re more like me. When I look in a mirror, I immediately become critical of the reflection I see there. Wrinkles above my brow. Circles under my eyes. Strange gaps forming between my teeth. And don’t even get me started on my lumpy, bumpy figure.
What do you see when you look at your child, or a dear friend, or your grandmother? Do you search out their flaws? When I see my children, I may notice their physical appearance briefly, but I stare deeper t see how they are really doing on the inside.
I have a very close friend who suffered a series of serious health setbacks. I tried to visit regularly, to sit and hold her hand and give her positive, healing energy. Finally, after months in bed, she began to grow stronger. One day, during a visit, she was sitting up on the couch, finally able to get out of her bed. She lamented the weight gain that occurred due to her extended period of bed rest. I couldn’t believe my ears. I looked at her, never noticing her weight, glad that she still walked among the living. I was thankful to have her back from the brink. Finally, life had returned to her beingness, but all she could worry about was her weight.
In a moment of clarity, I realized how God must feel about us. He loves us so much and sees beyond our outward appearance. God knows who we really are, and he loves he beautiful life we have created. But we can be so small minded. We get trapped worrying about these little things that don’t matter in the scheme of eternity.
You are beautiful. You don’t need a mirror, a certain haircut, or different sized clothing. You are a beautiful child of God, created in his very image. You are beautiful because of who you are, not what you look like.
All of creation reflects the glory of The Creator. As you experience more of who you really are, then you will begin to see your own beauty. Even if you never see it in yourself, you can notice beauty in everything and everyone around you.
Let the world be your mirror today. The glory of creation reflects your beauty back to you. As you breathe a sigh of thanks, your beauty will emerge for all to see. And that includes you.
March 13: Waiting for a Sign
“’Wait on the Lord’ is a constant refrain in the Psalms, and it is a necessary word, for God often keeps us waiting. He is not in such a hurry as we are, and it is not his way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us more than one step at a time. When in doubt, do nothing, but continue to wait on God. When action is needed, light will come.” J.I. Packer
So many times, when facing a difficult situation, I ask God to show me what to do. Sometimes, in the midst of struggle, there appears no clear direction, no answer, and no easy out. God tells me to wait.
Sometimes, you just have to endure hardship. The form is different for each one of us: poverty, abuse, illness, pain, loneliness. Although you may ask God for an escape, for an answer, or for a solution, often the shortest path to growth and healing is the hardest one.
Life lessons are not always pleasant. Rest assured, however, that nothing lasts forever. As you walk through difficulty you are gaining strength, wisdom, and insight. When faced with similar circumstances down the road, you will know exactly how to handle the situation.
Often, we walk through difficulty in order to comfort others. A cancer survivor is uniquely equipped t offer comfort and help to someone suffering illness. Once you’ve escaped an abusive relationship, you are better equipped to help others trapped in abuse.
We are here to help shoulder one another’s burdens, to lighten the load, and to offer love and compassion. Even in the middle of the darkest night, God will provide a way through. Sometimes the lamp of hope is lit by someone walking through your life. Let them offer their gift of light and love. Let them share your burden. And when, in the darkness, you come upon another person struggling with their own burden, lay your own burden down, pick up the lamp and offer them hope.
Today, remember that waiting is not eternal. As you have been comforted, so too can you comfort others. When the burden seems heavy, and too much to bear, ask God for relief. It may come in a way that you are least expecting. So too, allow yourself to provide relief for someone else struggling under the burden of their life.
March 14: Loving Trust
“Trust yourself, then you will know how to live.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
There is within each of us a divine spark of creation. That spark of God is the spirit dwelling in each one of us. The spark of creation fuels our spiritual being.
Learning to trust yourself is one of the most important tools for spiritual and emotional healing. Unfortunately, trusting our own self is also one of the hardest lessons to learn.
God speaks to us in many ways. He didn’t stop speaking after the bible was written, or after Jesus’ resurrection. He still uses signs and wonders. He still speaks through people. And he speaks directly to you. That small, still voice in your head? That’s God. That gut feeling that something is wrong? God. That moment of intuition or inspiration? God.
When you learn to tune in to that voice of truth, you will find yourself deeply connected with Spirit. It is not always easy to trust yourself. Often when you have that moment of enlightened inspiration, it is easier to push it aside.
Even for something as small as recognizing when you are too tired to volunteer for another board, or take on an extra project at work, or bake one more batch of cookies for another bake sale, you can trust yourself. The small still voice might issue a gentle protest, but in your desire to please others, you ignore yourself and push harder. It is okay to trust yourself. In fact, it is divinely inspired to trust yourself.
God speaks to you. Today, listen for the voice. When you trust yourself, you tap into that place where his voice is. When you trust yourself, you are connected to the vast oneness of spirit, into which we all long to return. Trusting yourself takes practice. Most often, it’s easy to ignore the voice and do what you think others want. Instead of listening to all those other demands, today listen for the small, still voice. It will tell you what to do. And when you trust yourself, then you are walking with God.