Joyful Connections

“When conditions are sufficient there is a manifestation.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh

We made wonderful joyful connections! We talked and shared, laughed and danced and even shed a tear or two. 

Our Wisdom of the Heart Women’s Retreat was truly a celebration of the Spirit. Lauri Jones blessed us with her amazing voice, original music and united us in harmony. The beautiful forest at Alton Collins Retreat Center provided a sacred backdrop as we came together in love. We left uplifted, renewed, reconnected and recommitted to our spiritual practice.

Here’s what the retreat sisters had to say:

This retreat has opened up my heart to feel love again, to forgive more deeply and to further appreciate who I have become.

Connecting with other spiritually like-minded women was an enormous gift!

I call this retreat a soul tuning journey: being in the space which allows me to be completely protected while I explore the areas of my life that needs to grow.

I come alone and leave with a new tribe. The laughter, tears and very real sharing is heartfelt and I can feel it in the very core of my being.

I’ve been attending Rev Christine’s retreats for 10 years and they always take me deeper within myself.

I love the sacred, beautiful, healing container you create for us to come together and go deep into spiritual practice.

I love the mix of spirituality and fun, the peace of Alton Collins and the wonderful food that nourishes us.

I love Lauri’s voice, her style and her gentleness.

The Wisdom of the Heart retreats really do help reveal the Wisdom of one’s heart-self.

Rev Christine has a way of acknowledging each person’s experience in a way that values the person.

This was an opportunity to find time to rest and relax and deepen my spiritual awareness. I found new “sisters” and grew closer to the ones I already knew. 

This deeply spiritual retreat, as always, changed my life. It moved me from anxiety to wholeness and gratitude.

I appreciate the safe and trusting environment for all participants, allowing us to connect with each other and our souls.

Staying in the Flow

“When you get into the consciousness of the flow of the creative process within you, there will be a constant inner-direction in your life, leading to a deep sense of meaning…”  Eric Butterworth, In The Flow Of Life

Some days, I am more efficient at catching my thoughts moving in a downward spiral. I was working on a project recently and realized I was thinking there was not enough time, energy or resources to complete it. I felt my stamina fade and my brain start to shut down.

It is important to catch thoughts of limitation quickly before they have time to take hold. Thoughts that spiral down are similar to a runaway car speeding down the hill. If we let them go, they will run away with our imagination and make up all kinds of stories of worry and fear.

The practice is to stop the limited thought quickly and realign ourselves to the universal flow of life. 

These affirmations from In The Flow Of Life by Eric Butterworth lift me out of limitation and energize me back into the flow.

Be still and know…I am in the flow.

I move forward in the flow of life; unhurried and unworried.

I am in the flow of life, and I move easily with the flow. I am radiantly and enthusiastically alive.

I am free from tension, stress, and strain. I go forward in the flow of life—unhurried and unworried.

I am a child of the universe, established eternally in the healing stream. I am strengthened, renewed, restored, and made whole in every way.

I know my responsibility is to see with the eyes of love.

I am in the flow of life, and I relate easily and lovingly, patiently and understandingly with all persons.

I go forth in the joyous certainty that whatever person or situation may come to me this day, it will be good, for I will be in the flow of good. And if I should have even a fleeting moment of concern, I will simply let go…and let flow.

I accept the reality of this situation, but not its permanence. I know that this, too, shall pass away.

Copy these into your phone or print this page and keep it nearby. Use them as  reminders of being in the flow.

Most of all, know that you are loved.

Whisper of Divine Wisdom

“Those who are awake live in a constant state of amazement.” – Jack Kornfield

“How do I know if my inspirations are coming from God from my own thought?” A client asked me this great question recently.

There is a point of surrender on our spiritual journey where we know that the essence of who we are is much greater than the flesh body and more immense than our limiting thinking. When we connect with the infinite presence of God we know there is but one power, one presence, one life. We are not separate from God’s Presence but one with it.

We know that all activity, ideas, opportunities, come from this creative Source. One way to deepen this experience is the practice of gratitude. Every time we give thanks for something good, we acknowledge our greater connection with God.

There is no magic to trusting our intuition. It is a continual practice to listen to insights that we have. One of the reason’s why the time we spend in silence is so precious. Intuition comes as a whisper and a quiet presence.

I invite you to use this attunement from The Book of Love and Creation by Paul Selig:

I am choosing to live my life in accordance with my higher knowing. And I am aware that all that is before me is created in conscious choice in alignment with my Creator. As I move forward, I change my knowing to align into congruence with Divine Will and with my own requirements for my freedom. I am Word through this intention to stand in my freedom. Word I am Word.

As we develop inner awareness, we are able to discern the difference between the ego wanting attention or the whisper of Divine Wisdom. As we deepen in our practice, we trust the inspirations of the heart.

Affirm: I am grateful for Divine Wisdom guiding me each day.

Radical Compassion

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” Dalai Lama

Have you ever noticed that the minute you declare that you are going to do something powerful, renewing and uplifting, everything unlike that comes up to be healed?

You start the day with your heart open wide and willing to express love to those around you. And then stuff happens. You find out your co-workers forgot to invite you to the Zoom call meeting, and you were left out. Your brother failed to show up for his turn at taking care of your parents, leaving you to step up once again. Your spouse complains about the delicious meal you spent the afternoon preparing.

So the community that you were ready to embrace, love and be compassionate for just pushed your buttons and poked at your tender wounds. Your belief in unworthiness was activated, secretly making you feel less than, invisible and unappreciated.

One of the most important tools for emotional healing is self-compassion. Author Tara Brach says what we need is radical compassion,“recognizing the vulnerability of all life in our heart. It means having the courage to love ourselves, each other, and our world.”

We start by freeing ourselves from the stories of the past, letting go of blame and criticism. We can’t control anyone behavior but we can learn to respond rather than react. We find ways to nurture and encourage ourselves the way we would reassure and inspire our best friend. We learn to tell a new story about who we are and what we are capable of accomplishing.

The courage to love and appreciate ourselves, opens us to love and accept others just as they are.

Affirmation: I love and accept myself. I see my divine reflection in others.

Broken Open

“The great wisdom traditions are trying to teach us that grief isn’t something to run from. It’s a liminal space, a time of transformation.” – Richard Rohr

Years ago, my neighbor’s cat, Scooter, would wander over to my garden and watch me weed. At first I was irritated with her, but I learned to appreciate her company when I found out she was taking care of the mice invasion in the garden. I looked forward to her visits. One day I realized I hadn’t seen her in a while. I asked my neighbor where Scooter was. She sadly informed me that she was hit by a car and died the week before. I remember being so devastated by the loss of this cat. It didn’t make sense; she wasn’t my cat. I didn’t feed her or take her to the vet or change her kitty litter. But the loss for me was overwhelming. What is wrong with me, I thought? Am I crazy? Why am I grieving the loss of this cat so intensely?

Isn’t that how we think about grief? Why can’t I get it together? Why am I so emotional all the time? Why doesn’t life make sense?

We are so misguided when it comes to grieving. Grieving is a normal, natural and necessary way to deal with loss. We tend to be afraid of our emotions. From an early time, we are told, “Don’t cry. Crying is a sign of weakness.” We want to brush grief under the rug. “You should be over grief in two to three months.” “Grief gets easier as you get older.” There are so many myths about how to move through the grieving process. The greatest truth about grief is to learn to allow the process.

I was interviewed this week by Georgena Grace on her Integrated Wellbeing podcast. I appreciate her explanation of grief. “You are not broken by loss. You are broken open like a seed to self-awareness and new connections.”

Grief is not something to get over. We learn to include the loss, the pain, and the sorrow as part of life. We allow it to open and expand our experience of love. Feel your feelings of grief. Attend a grief group. Journal your innermost thoughts, fears and loss. Find a grief counselor. Reach out to friends for support. Be patient with yourself.

In the Book of Hope, Jane Goodall writes, “The depth of our grief is a reminder of the depth of our love.” When we allow ourselves to grieve, we expand our awareness. We open ourselves to more love.

Rest Well

“Your tiredness has dignity to it. There is no shame in admitting you cannot go on. You have been on a long journey from the stars. Even the courageous have to rest.” – Jeff Foster

In this hurry-up, catch-up, keep-up world, we rarely take time to rest. Technology enables us to  work from anywhere, anytime. Which is wonderful and distressing at the same time. When do we take time to stop?

Several years ago I was on vacation, hiking in a beautiful state park when I answered my cell phone and took the call from a congregant wanting to know how to register for the class starting that afternoon. I was glad to give her the information, but when I hung up, I wondered why I was compelled to answer a call. The call took me out of the present moment of the magnificent scenery and the dazzling bright sunny day. Can you relate?

It takes dedicated practice to be present, to be mindful. Living in the moment can be a rest for the busy mind. Getting my mind to stop thinking can be a challenge, but I can pay attention to where I am and how I am feeling. 

When I take a break, I allow myself to stop, breathe and open to my awareness of Spirit. When I rest, I allow the Universal presence of good to come into being. I allow faith to be the guiding presence in my life. 

From Ernest Holmes: “The Spirit within me is in perfect rest. The center of my being is quiet and poised. I let my inner spirit fill my whole being with peace and stillness. With this word, I now relax in body and mind.  Let the Divine Tranquility fill me.”

Stop. Breathe. Rest well. 

Affirmation: I rest in the joyous presence of radiant Spirit.