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.

Peace

The world is grieving.

Allow yourself to feel.

Reach out to a friend.

Find time to get outdoors.

Be gentle with yourself.

Connect with loved ones.

Remember to breathe. 

Remember to pray.

I see the world anew.

I see the world in peace.

I see the world in love.

I see love in all of my experiences.

Word I am Word.

–Paul Selig

***

Two peoples, one land,

Three faiths, one root,

One earth, one mother,

One sky, one beginning, one future, one destiny,

One broken heart,

One God.

We pray to You.

Grant us a vision of unity.

May we see the many in the one and the one in the many.

May you, Life of All the Worlds,

Source of All Amazing Differences

Help us to see clearly.

Guide us gently and firmly toward each other,

Toward peace. Amen.

–Rabbi Sheila Weinberg

***

Dear God,

Please pour Your love

onto a hurting world.

We need miracles now.

Remove our judgment,

that we ourselves might be

conduits for removing the 

pain of the world. Amen.

–Marianne Williamson

***

Soul Awakening

Heart Opening

Light Shining

Love Flowing

Wounds Dissolving

Peace Radiating

–James O’Dea

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.

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.

It’s None of My Business

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking,

the whole world belongs to you. Lao Tzu

As a new Science of Mind student, I would passionately pray my spiritual mind treatment. Immediately I would speculate how my prayer was going to be answered. My prayers were usually about money since I believed that there wasn’t enough to go around. I would wait for the mail to show up only to find an empty mailbox. I would check to see if any clients called with potential business, but no one called.

When I complained to my practitioner, she reminded that it was none of my business where or how my good will appear. She said, “If you continue to look for it, you haven’t developed your faith.”

I discovered there are three steps to building faith: Hope, trust and gratitude. Hope is a sense of doubtful expectation. We hope something good will happen to us but underneath,  doubt and fears linger. Those doubts and fears produce a type of anxiety called waiting. 

As we release the doubts and fears, we begin to develop trust. We have a deeper conviction in the creative process of life and develop greater patience. The stress of waiting is replaced by patience and a sense of calmness that all is well.

Here was the important part for me: not to look for the demonstration of good but to give thanks that it was already done. Gratitude is the expansiveness of faith.

I learned it was none of my business how my prayer would be demonstrated but I now give thanks that it is already received. Lesson learned. 

Affirmation: I give thanks that what I desire is already received.

Healing Emotional Wounds

Roses

“Wounds feed on wounds. Over time, if not dissolved, wounds form a constellation of anger, hurt and recrimination which implode in self-destruction  or explode in violence to others. We live in a world of wound contagion.” – James O’Dea

Physical wounds are obvious. We can see the cut, clean and bandage it and allow it to heal. Emotional wounds are much more difficult. We cannot see them and they often unknowingly direct and influence our thinking. Thoughts become emotions and emotions dictate our actions.

On the spiritual journey, our work is to be the observer and be aware of our thoughts, emotions, and reactions. As the observer, we are empowered to respond rather than react. 

In his book Soul Awakening Practice, James O’Dea states that most of the time we don’t understand our emotions and we try to manipulate and control the outside world so that we won’t be faced with uncomfortable emotions. The wounds of our past are often running our present circumstances and they can limit our relationships and experiences. 

There are a few helpful steps we can take to heal emotional wounds:

  • Be willing to look at the emotional upset. Just like a physical wound, we have to examine what is troubling us and bring it into the light to be healed.
  • Be willing to let go. Lay down any anger, separation, or belief and observe the situation in a new light. Be willing to forgive.
  • Be willing to write a new story. Claim your good and declare what you want.

We often struggle with how to forgive and let go. But the good news is — we don’t have to figure it out. We can surrender to Spirit and be willing for a new story to emerge. Give thanks for the gift of awareness and allow the wound to dissolve and peace to emerge.