Friday, July 29, 2011

Pain as Motivation to Remember My Reality as Spirit

The ego would have me think I am a body so that I will not remember my glorious, eternal, compassionate, loving, trusting Self. The ego wants me to forget who I am – a spiritual being, part of the Whole, and mistake my Self for myself. But what I have ‘forgotten’, I can remember. All the pain, horror, terror, frustration, fear, aggravation, hurt and sadness that is always lurking in the world and my consciousness can motivate me to awaken and remember who I am. A little willingness to seek something beyond the ego/dichotomy’s box can begin the process.

“If God is real, there is no pain. If pain is real, there is no God.” At the most basic, existential level, it is one or the other, ego or God. The ego’s purpose is to have me prove I am not like God – loving, changeless, eternal, so it gives me pain; or I, my decision maker, allows it to, accepting pain as real. Experiencing mental, emotional or physical pain firmly establishes the ‘fact’ of my physical existence, apart from spirit, which knows nothing of pain. And if my pain is very real, my identity as spirit must be an illusion.

“Thus is the body stronger than the truth, which asks you live [without pain of any kind] but which cannot overcome your [decision maker’s] choice to [identify with the ego and] die. And so the body is more powerful than everlasting life, [and spirit, God and] Heaven more frail than hell, and God’s design for salvation…opposed by a decision stronger than His Will.”

God’s design is the at-one-ment, the realization that we are with him now, and have never separated from him. When we have had enough of all the bullshit, pain and bloated nothingness, and with a little willingness to experience life differently, we can awaken, remember the truth and allow our decision maker to choose again. Even the ego’s anthropomorphic God of the bible says, “Today I have set before you life and death, choose life.”

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Defenses as Fragments of Wholeness

Every defense such as sickness and planning, takes fragments of the whole, assembles them without regard to all their true relationships, to construct illusions of a whole that is not really there. Defenses make up nonexistent problems such as sickness and the need to plan, which seem to be self-sustaining wholes.

In the case of sickness, the ego teaches that pain is localized in the body, an entity unto itself. The physical or psychological ‘body’ is the cause, so the body is treated. Thinking this way, keeps me, and you, from realizing that the true problem rests in the decision maker’s choice for the ego illusion, the dream of the body, not the body itself. In dreams effect and cause are interchanged. Here the decision maker believes that what he made is actually happening to him. He does not realize he picked a thread from here, a scrap from there, and wove a picture out of nothing. The parts do not belong together, and the whole contributes nothing to the parts to give them meaning.

The problem is not what we specifically think it is, bodily or emotional pain, injustice, unfairness, economic and political terror. The problem is the process of choosing the ego’s fragmentation. When parts are wrested from the whole and seen as separate and wholes within themselves, they become symbols standing for attack upon the whole; symbolizing the ‘fact’ that I, a fragment of the Whole, exist by having attacked the Whole, spirit’s power and separated myself from It. Because I think this, I am both guilty and afraid. I am not really guilty and afraid over what I have done or not done, the specifics are only symbols. I am fearful and guilty because of the decision maker’s choice for the ego which amounts to an attack on God.

“Let not your eyes behold a dream; your ears bear witness to illusion. They were made [by the ego] to look upon a world that is not there…. Eyes and ears are senses without sense…they but report. It is not they that hear and see, but you [the decision maker] who put together every jagged piece, each senseless scrap and shred of evidence, and make witness to the world that you want.”

This world of separate parts negates the Whole that is our reality as spirit. That is the ego’s purpose for defenses like sickness, fear and anger. Knowing this returns the power from outside, from the ego’s fragments, illusions and dichotomy, to the inside, to the decision maker’s mistaken choice and enables us to choose again and awaken to our wholeness as spirit. Shifting from the outside to the inside, going from the ego’s fragmentation to our reality as Wholeness Itself, is a process; a never ending process that must be done, moment by moment, each time we realize our decision maker has made the mistaken choice. No blame, no shame, no fear nor guilt, just ‘oops, there I go again….” And make the choice for spirit.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jesus and Judgment

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them,” Mother Teresa.
“The truth is that the Spiritual Man is already Perfect, no matter what the appearance may be,” SOM text.

Contemporary American society is big on judgment. We are overwhelmed by judgmental commentary in the media, and reality TV couldn’t exist without judgment. Our culture is saturated with judgment.

Yet spirit calls us to non-judgment. We are invited to turn away from the judgment in our culture, to a place in our hearts and minds where judgment is irrelevant. Finding and staying in this place is a challenge, but worth the effort.

When we judge others, we are denying their, and our own, divinity. Focusing on externals, makes the externals - appearances and temporary conditions, rather than our transcendent, timeless reality as spirit, real. Judgment distracts us from spirit’s truth and binds us to the ego’s illusion.

Consider the example of the master teacher, Jesus, who did not judge. He routinely saw through appearance and behavior to the essence of people whom society judged lesser beings. In his eyes, all were as divine as he was. The difference was that Jesus knew it and they did not. He was awake to his reality as spirit, they were not. He saw through the ego’s dichotomy and illusions to the truth and the continuum and they did not. But the good news Jesus brought was that at any moment they too, could choose to awaken, choose spirit and see through the ego’s dichotomy and illusions to the truth and the continuum as he did. Jesus was the great example, not the great exception.

Releasing judgment doesn’t mean tossing out common sense. Rather it means catching ourselves when we start to judge, pausing, inwardly affirming the spiritual truth and reality of everyone and everything, releasing judgment and going with inner guidance. In doing this, we go forward from the place of divine inner connection, rather than the place of the ego’s fear, anger and judgment. Practicing non judgment affirms our own reality and spirit as well as the spiritual reality of everyone and everything.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Judgment as an Ego Defense

I’m judging myself. Some of the things I want to do don’t match my values. I feel guilty about doing them and violating my principles, but do them anyhow. The ensuing guilt and judgment not only take the fun out of doing those things, but out of doing everything. I feel as if I’m being ruled by a tyrant. I’m trying to honor my principles and follow rules to be a ‘good, decent’ person. But none of it is making me really happy – following the rules and not following the rules. The Course says I’m never upset for the reason I think.

That means, its not the things of the world that upset me - the things I want to do that I judge ‘wrong’, or the things I want to do that I judge ‘right’, but the fact that I think I’m in the world in the first place; that I feel guilty over having chosen the world over spirit. Judgment is only of the ego’s dichotomous world and judgment itself is the problem. It’s an indicator, like the need to plan, that I’ve once again identified with my body, the world and the ego. Judgment is another meaningless defense against the truth of my reality as spirit, another ego ploy to keep me busy in the world.

But damn it, it feels so important, meaningful and right, so necessary, to judge and follow the rules, to be the ‘best’ person I can be, as the world and my ego define ‘best’. But I’m never upset for the reason I think, and if I can remember that when I’m upset, I can let the world and judgment go and choose spirit instead. For I remain as God created me. I don’t have to struggle with the oh so believable illusions of the world, dichotomy and ego as I do. If I can remember I remain as God created me, my experience of everything will be different. I’m still in the world and the illusion, but see it differently, without fear, anger, and dread, with spirit. When I remember that there is ONLY spirit’s loving will, then illusions of another, alien will, disappear. I don’t have to fight and struggle with them, I can remember the truth and let the illusions disappear.

“Truth has a power far beyond defense, for no illusions can remain where truth has been allowed to enter. And it comes to any mind that would lay down its arms, and cease to play with folly.” My responsibility is to lay down my arms, setting aside my defensive system and exercising a little willingness to go back to the place in the mind where I chose against spirit. Spirit cannot bring truth to us. It is already within us. If I can bring my illusions to spirit, and look without judgment at them, they disappear. Looking without judgment and with spirit, without struggle, that’s what I want to do.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Defenses Attack My Reality as Spirit, Not Protect It

My ego, my belief that I am in this body, in this time and place faced with pain, sickness, death and default, is upsetting me. I’m struggling to have “a meaningful encounter with the truth,” with my reality as spirit; but the ego, threatened by that reality, makes me worried, jittery, fearful, angry and upset so that I feel as if I don’t plan, something terrible will happen to me. The ego gets vicious as I shift away from it and does all kinds of nasty and terrible things to keep focused on it and the world and not on my reality as spirit.

The real threat to the ego is the power of my decision maker to choose against it and for my reality as spirit. In addition to keeping me busy and focused in the world of the dichotomy, the ego tells me that my plans will not only protect me here, in the world, but will protect me from spirit Itself, which is pissed off at me for choosing ego in the first place, and, in Its anger, will wipe me out. Actually, my plans, arising from my belief that I am a body in the world and need protection, are defenses against the truth of my reality as spirit - which needs no protection, and the unreality and illusory nature of the ego.

The ego doesn’t reveal that my defenses – plans – really protect me from recognizing I can change my mind and choose truth instead of illusion. What could I not accept, if I knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and future, are gently planned by One Whose purpose if my good? What if I could, as Byron Katie advises, simply love what is?

When I am angry, frustrated, fearful and seemingly stuck in the ego’s dichotomy, I am not my Self and have misunderstood spirit’s plan, for It would never offer me pain and doesn’t even know the world exists, since the world was created not by It, but by the ego. My defenses against the future, arising from my identification with the ego/body/world/dichotomy do not let me experience the present blessings that are my reality as spirit.

The love of God enfolds me, is something I say when I’m feeling stuck in the ego/body/world/dichotomy to remind me to shift and experience my present blessings as I identify with my timeless reality as spirit. Sometimes, I am able to shift effortlessly; most of the time I am not. Still, if I pause, breath deeply and really want to feel that the love of God enfolds me, I can. And the more I do that, the more it does.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Time & A Meaningful Encounter With the Truth

The Course says time itself is a product of the ego, that sin, guilt and fear equate to past, present and future – we chose for the ego and its dichotomy in the past, feel guilty about that choice now, in the present, and fear the future because we’re afraid spirit will punish us in the future for our mistaken choice in the past. The remedy is in the here and now, to choose spirit and our oneness with it and the continuum. The Course calls that, the “holy instant.”

“In the holy instant I choose against the ego’s sin, guilt, and ear, and therefore against time…. And tho my attention returns to the world of time and space, where my body seems to be, it is without the burden of sin, guilt and fear.” I have no need to plan on my own and become an “empty vessel” through which spirit’s love and guidance pours. It’s not that I don’t plan, but do so connected to my reality as spirit and with spirit’s guidance.

“What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good?” If I am worried, fearful, angry and upset, it is not spirit’s plan I follow, but the ego/dichotomy’s plan. Feeling those emotions is my cue to return to spirit, to shift from the ego/dichotomy to the spirit/continuum. Learning to understand and accept these cues and then make the shift is a process and takes time. I am not to beat myself up or blame others, but choose again – the real meaning of the word ‘repent.’ The more I do this, the more I am able to do this and the more health, less sickness I will experience.

This does not mean, I don’t plan. Normal people do. But when spirit is my identity, the planning is carried out without effort, anxiety or tension. I will be guided to do the most loving thing, what is best for all concerned. Since I believe I inhabit a world of time and space, I must plan, yet the source of those plans is the guiltless world of the holy instant. When my attention returns to the world, it is with spirit’s light-filled, loving presence beside me. Ahhh….. Big sigh of relief! This light and love inform everything I do, present and future, and my planning is not to alleviated anxiety or solve specific problems, but the natural extension of love and spirit as it expresses Itself in a world of time and space; and my life becomes “a meaningful encounter with the truth.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Planning & Metaphysics

Choosing spirit allows our minds to heal, to un-cloud, to use and appreciate our reality as spirit, right now, not when we die and go to heaven. “A healed mind is relieved of the belief that it must plan, [even tho] it cannot know the outcome which is best, the means by which it is achieved, nor how to recognize the problem that the plan is made to solve.” The healed mind realizes it knows nothing, and is grateful it knows nothing. It does not plan, does not arrogantly presume to know the problem, and therefore the solution. “Enslavement of the body to the plans the unhealed mind sets up to save itself must make the body sick.”

However, the true illness is in the mind, tho experienced in the body which is the ego’s defense of keeping us in the body and from our minds which hold the only real possibility of change. It’s not easy to perceive that self-initiated - ego-initiated, plans are defenses, but like everything we do with the ego, its dichotomy and the unhealed mind, serve the dual purpose of making the world and body real, while denying our ability to change, choose again and awaken to our reality as spirit.

Planning is, in and of itself, a natural part of living in the world, and like the body, is neutral, serving the purpose assigned by the decision maker, either, spirit or ego. The problem therefore is not planning nor the body’s condition but the purpose and meaning assigned to it by the decision maker. “The mind engaged in planning for itself [alone, without spirit, full of fear and guilt] is occupied in setting up control of future happenings. It does not think that it will be provided for, unless it makes its own provisions [unlike the lilies of the field]. Time becomes a future emphasis, to be controlled by learning and experience obtained from past events and previous beliefs. It overlooks the present [the only point a choice of a different teacher is possible], for it rests on the [mistaken] idea the past has taught enough to let the mind direct its future course.”

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Spirit AND Body

So, the mind that thinks it is only a body, that has chosen the ego’s dichotomy conframe, not viruses, poor parenting, germs, falls or bullets is the cause of sickness. Thus is the body healed by miracles, the seeming miracle of seeing the ‘problem’ where it is, in the projection booth, not the screen. The problem is seeking to correct our problem on the level of the body, rather than directing our attention to its source – the mind’s ongoing decision to identify with the ego and the dichotomy. This decision, by the decision maker, is the sickness; changing the decision is healing. Indeed, the decision maker’s awareness of the true nature of the problem and the willingness to chose again, is the body’s only real defense.

The more we seek to protect the body, without dealing with the mind, the more we reinforce the decision maker’s poor choice. “Of all the many causes you perceived as bringing pain and suffering to you, your guilt [at being unwilling to make a better choice] was not among them.” By “focusing on the body as either the problem or the answer, we deny the mind, the only thing that can save us; not Jesus, the Holy Spirit, God or a Course in Miracles, we alone can save us” by asking spirit for help and choosing a different teacher and conframe.

But we need to be careful what we ask for help with. Asking spirit to help us with a problem we have already established as real, doesn’t work too, well. Why? Because what requires solution is believing there is a problem from which we need saving. The only problem is why we would have chosen a teacher like the ego and its dichotomy conframe in the first place. The answer to that, would take more space and time than this blog allows. Suffice it to say that since mistaken choice is the problem, the correction is simply to choose the right teacher. It is for this reason that we are urged not to do anything – anything - without spirit.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sickness and Level Confusion

The body becomes sick and weak because by choosing the dichotomy, my decision maker first made the thought of separation and sin real in my mind, concluded I needed protection from it, was unable to fully protect it on my own and so became sick. Treating and healing the body is alright and even necessary, but it will only become sick again, for it is not the cause of the sickness, the mind’s decision is. Sickness masks the real question and keeps us busy in the world of effects, not causes. The real question remains hidden and is: Why did I choose the ego’s guilt and dichotomy conframe in the first place?

The Course says that choice was a mistake, and that seeing it as a mistake enables us to choose again. The thought in my mind that I am separate from spirit and thus sinful, guilty, fragile, and vulnerable is projected and seen in the world and my body, and my body becomes like my mind, sick and mistaken. The body sees and acts for the decision maker and it is frail and little by the decision maker’s wish. How insane it is to focus on the body either as a source of pleasure or pain, as an object of reverence or revulsion, when it is the mind’s decision making power that is both the problem and solution.

Nothing is so blinding as the perception of form. Form is of the ego and seeing it, content, our reality as spirit, is obscured. “Perceiving the form of the body is not seeing, for you but see what the ego tells you, and this is blindness. Judging sickness according to physical symptoms is an example of not seeing, for sickness is the belief in the reality of guilt [and the choice of the dichotomy, instead of the continuum]. If your mind is healthy, the body must be ‘healthy,’ despite appearances to the contrary, for the body was not sick in the first place. It simply obeyed the mind’s dictates.” This is the confusion of the causal connection between mind and body.

“Sickness or ‘not-right-mindedness’ is the result of level confusion, because it always entails the belief that what is amiss on one level [mind] can adversely affect another [body]. We have referred to miracles as the means of correcting level confusion, for all mistakes must be corrected at the level on which they occur. Only the mind is capable or error. The body can act wrongly only when it is responding to mis-thought.” Einstein said something similar. Isn’t it interesting how world-class physics and world-class metaphysics share a similar appreciation?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Paradox and the Energy Continuum

The body will be strong and healthy if the mind does not abuse it by using the dichotomy. The focus, though, should not be on a strong and healthy body, but on a forgiving mind. With a forgiving mind, looking from the continuum at the mind’s thoughts under the influence of the dichotomy, thoughts of sin, guilt and hate while, we are able to look with gentleness, patience and compassion and as we do, those qualities of spirit become our experience here regardless of the body. Shifting our attention from the body/externals which are designed to keep us out of our minds, within, to our minds, we can learn to distinguish between its two thought systems: the dichotomy and the continuum.

This is an ongoing process, never, ever truly done so long as I identify with the body and believe I am a body living in the world. But I can make progress. I can learn that when I choose the ego/dichotomy instead of my reality as spirit and the qualities of spirit, I will suffer, be upset and miserable, become angry and anxious and will neither sleep or eat well.

Part of the process is to learn to see my experiences in my body as a classroom in which I learn to shift the purpose of my body from teaching me I’m separate and terrorized to cuing me to connect with my reality as spirit. It’s a paradox, the body is a classroom in which I learn I’m not a body. As long as I believe I’m here, a separate ego in the world using the dichotomy conframe, my focus is the body; but this focus can be guided by a different teacher. I can shift teachers from the ego to spirit and shift from the dichotomy to the continuum. This in turn, shifts the body’s purpose, from fear, terror and separation to connection, compassion and the peace that passeth understanding.

That is why the Course describes the escape from the body as a quiet melting into the mind: “There is no violence. The body is not attacked, but simply properly perceived. You are not really lifted out of it. You go where you would be, gaining, not losing, a sense of Self. Come to this place of refuge, where you can be yourSelf in peace. Not through destruction, not through breaking out, but merely by a quiet melting inward.”

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Is That All There Is? The Ego and the Dichotomy

The ego, the part of our decision maker that chose the dichotomy instead of the continuum, and thinks we are only physical bodies, understands that if we choose to identify with our oneness, with all that is, with spirit and the love of god, life as we know it, our individual existence, will be over, for individuality and oneness cannot coexist.

But what wonder and glory might we – everyone of us – have instead? Our dualistic, dichotomous minds, can’t even conceive of what the freedom and joy of oneness might be!

So we are wrapped up in our egos and the ego experiences guilt because it set itself up by not only denying the glory and wonder of oneness, denying spirit, but by believing it actually destroyed oneness Itself. When we identify with the ego, we identify with its guilt, and that guilt and the fear that God is not really dead, but will rise again and destroy us, is so terrifying that our only hope of survival is to escape it by denying its existence in our minds and projecting it out into a world, seeing it all around us, in both our physical and psychological experience, but never in our minds where the decision maker is. It is only there, in our minds, where the decision maker is that we can make another choice.

The mind/decision maker’s fear, having chosen to believe it is an ego, dictates to the body what it should feel. All that we do for protection of the body: money, house, medicine, are fleeting and we will die. What we do for the body will never bring the peace of God. However holy it may seem, nothing we do in this world will bring the peace and happiness of experiencing our oneness with spirit, our reality as spirit. Only a change of mind, a switch from the ego/dichotomy to the spirit/continuum can offer that. The hit song that Peggy Lee made famous 30 years or so ago, Is That All There Is? captures this idea.

To say this another way, everyone walks around with terror, but tries to conceal it. The Course is designed to help us first and foremost, realize that we are in fact terrorized, see the source of that terror, the dichotomy, and choose again, the continuum. For if we do not know the source of our fear and terror is our decision maker’s mistaken choice, we can do nothing about it. If we think fear is justified, coming from hostile elements or people, we will strive only for external protections. Shifting to the inner decision maker and observing the ‘externals’ with spirit’s help is the meaning of true forgiveness. It is looking with spirit at the ego/dichotomy conframe as it manifests in the world and recognizing it as a projection of the mind’s guilt that has never left its source.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Problem Solving and the Energy Continuum

Using the dichotomy as our conceptual frame work [the two circles that never touch with space between them, instead of the continuum] and once we have chosen the material circle, separate from the spiritual circle, and the body is judged to be our sole identity and home, we have given up our invulnerability as spirit and become vulnerable needing defenses and protection. As long as I believe I am trapped in the dichotomy’s material circle, either material or spirit, but not both, and believe I am only a body not on the continuum of spiritual energy with options to move between the material and spiritual, the body’s essential nothingness will require defense, even tho the real problem remains in my mind and my choice of conceptual framework.

Once I realize I have chosen the ‘wrong’ conframe, a fact I need only accept and not judge, resist, or defend against, I can simply leave the insane thought system by choosing the sane one. “You do not leave insanity by going somewhere else. You leave it y simply accepting reason where madness was.” All I need do is look upon the problem as it is, in my mind, in my choice of conframe, not in the world; in the projection booth, not on the screen, and let go of the way my ego, which loves the dichotomy, set it up to be.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Self-fullfilling Propecy and the Energy Continuum

The Course says, “If I defend myself, I am attacked.” The purpose of defenses is to protect us from fear, yet building a defense reinforces our sense of vulnerability that, along with the perception of danger, justifies our need for defense. Without fear, there is no need for protection, and so having defenses means we are afraid. Thus we see that though the purpose of a defense is to protect us from fear, it only reinforces it. When I believe I need defense, I attack myself by denying I am the invulnerable spiritual being God created me as. If I am one with spirit and all that is, there could be nothing outside me, and certainly nothing that could threaten me. However, when I plan for my defense, I state I am not invulnerable. To the contrary, I say that I am. That is the attack. Defenses do what they would defend.

In terms of the continuum conceptual framework, this means I am not using the continuum as my conceptual framework where everything is one energy in the form of four ‘realms’, but rather I am using the dichotomy conceptual framework, in which distinctions are rigid and absolute, never the twain shall meet, either spirit or matter.

Using the continuum, it is possible to see that all attack is Self attack – attack on my reality as spirit. It cannot be anything else. Arising from your own decision not to be what you are, it is an attack on your identification. Attack is thus the way in which your identification is lost, because when you attack, you must have forgotten what you are.

As long as I use the dichotomy as my conframe, believing I am separated from spirit and living only in a material world, I believe the world is a hostile, threatening place in which I am vulnerable. I must believe this because ideas leave not their source, and with the dichotomy conframe I’m either in a world that is made of non-spiritual material, completely separate from spirit, or a completely non-material world made of spirit. Once the world of the dichotomy is in place in our minds, it is very threatening and we certainly need protection.

But there is an alternative: the continuum. We need not stop living as we do but look at life differently, with a different conframe, through the eyes of spirit, using the continuum as our conceptual framework, instead of the dichotomy. When we are feeling attacked, we can realize that we and only we are responsible, that we’ve done it to ourselves, lost the essential part of our identity by having chosen one side of the dichotomy, then choose to shift to the continuum. Then, once on the continuum, we can give it over to spirit and be guided from within, shifting from the right to the left, letting the specifics of the attack and the very idea of attack itself be handled by spirit. From that reality of wholeness and oneness we can be in the world, the world of the continuum, and be able to make a contribution to a world that works for everyone and everything.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Joanne McFadden writes in today’s SOM: “Taking our cues from outside only leads to disappointment, because contentment never happens from the outside in. Clarity in intention [what we’re living for, what to do with our lives now] comes from going within and listening deeply so that we can begin to know….”


Now, before returning to Joanne, here’s some good news/bad news from the Sierra Club. “On the one hand…. Polystyrene insulation makes buildings very energy efficient – no small matter, given that heating and cooling them generates a third of North America’s greenhouse gas. Eco-friendly builders like the stuff because, in addition to its thermal efficiency, it’s sturdy, long lasting, and water proof. Las year, the ecological design firm McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry awarded its silver level “Cradle to Cradle” certification to Dow’s extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation jjj- i.e., Styrofoam – because of its insulating ability, strength and “sustainable design.”

“On the other hand…. Polystyrene insulation is highly flammable, so it’s treaded with flame retardants. But fire experts say the chemicals don’t actually stop the insulation from burning. And when it does, highly toxic brominated dioxins are emitted. Another problem: data release by Dow are consistent with the widespread belief the Styrofoam insulation is made with HFC-134a, a gas whose global-warming impact is 1,430 times worse than carbon dioxide’s. Environmental Building News estimates it could take 65 years for the reduced energy consumption of an XPS-insulated home to balance out the climate effects of producing the insulation in the first place.”


Back to Joanne: “Only when we receive inspiration from within [visioning and meditation are two of many ways to do this] have we set ourselves on the path to fulfillment. Knowing what [is highest and best for you and a world that works for everyone and everything] is a matter of connecting with the Spirit within and feeling what It wants to express and experience as you. When we have made this connection, we will feel it, and the Universe will unleash floods of opportunity, carrying us to the fulfillment of our intentions with ease, grace, and joy.

“Know the qualities of God that you want to experience. Go within and take the time to be connected and crystal clear.”

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Context. A lot of meaning comes from context. Take something out of context and some or all of its meaning is lost. Taking things out of context seems to be the nature of contemporary American society. We don’t have time for the whole story or the big picture; it won’t fit in a 140 character tweet, or a 30 second sound bite. And besides, in our ignorance and limited perspective, we think we know already and don’t need facts, background, history or context.

After all, we already have our opinions – pre-digested, chewed up, and spit out for us in neat, tidy, cute buzz words and phrases like “Drill baby, drill!” by our families, religions, political parties and media. Who needs facts, background, history and context? All that’s so old, so time consuming!

Unfortunately, without facts, history, context and the ability to think independently, we’re simply consumers, governed by whims and emotions, fear and instant gratification, and lose some of our humanity, becoming like cattle, easily stampeded and misled.

So for example, work place bullying. Cindy Goodman wrote her Miami Herald column about it last week. The context and facts about workplace bullying are “costly to a company, but employers don’t understand those costs. Good people leave and there’s a cost to losing good people.” Workplace bullying may sometimes seem to work in the short run, but taken out of the context of over-all company survival and profitability, it doesn’t work. Few managers and supervisors however, see their day-to-day, minute-to-minute responsibilities in the context of over-all company survival and profitability. They know only that they’re short staffed with increased demands for better performance and don’t have the time to deal with it. Without the context of over-all company survival and profitability, employers don’t seem to realize the terrible toll bullies take on their organizations.

This lack of context is the same lack of context that plagues our ability to improve other areas of contemporary American society, such as unemployment, clean, sustainable energy, immigration and health care. There are too many narrow, special interests competing with out of context, pre-digested, instant gratification solutions to partial problems.

The reality is that like the four ‘realms’ of the Energy Continuum, the facts, background, history and context show that we live in an inter-dependent, web-like environment, and all our solutions are connected. We can’t solve one problem out of context, without thinking through the impact of the solution on the other opportunities that need seizing. Yes, we have to take one step at a time and we can’t seize our opportunities all at once. But the facts, background, history and context needs to be clear and supported - whatever we do must be done in the context of a world that works for everyone and everything, no trade offs, no serious harm, no more reducing things to 140 character tweet or a 30 second sound bit.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sierra Club: Good News, Bad News

Some good news and some bad news from the Sierra Club:

On the first anniversary of the BP disaster, dead and stillborn whales and dolphins continue to was up on the Gulf Coast at 3 times the usual rate.

Clothianidin the chemical chiefly responsible for the huge decline in honey bee populations in the US, banned ten years ago by Germany, Italy, France and Slovenia has still not been banned by the EPA.

The US slips to third in clean energy spending, behind China and Germany.

The TVA agreed to phase out 18 of 59 of its coal fired plants.

Net US greenhouse Gas emission in ’09 were 14% lower than in 2000.

Record prices for gold accelerate deforestation in the Amazon.

Since 1900, forests in North America, Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia have increased by nearly 100,000 square miles, an area larger than Great Britain.

The carbon foot print of a banana from ground to table is only one fifth of that of a pint of imported beer.

A paper bag has a carbon foot print 2-4 times larger than its plastic counterpart.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Finding Success at Work: A Business Coach's Perspective

Finding success at work is like that famous story about the lottery. A person is praying and praying – “Please, please, let me win the lottery! I’ve got four kids, sick parents to take care of and I’m working two jobs. Please!” After many months of this, a voice asks, “You really wanna win the lottery?” “Yes! Please!” “Try buying a ticket.”

Similarly, you can’t find success if you don’t know what it looks like. What is ‘success’ to you? How do you define it? You, not your spouse, your parents, siblings, friends, you. Sure, family and friends have a place in finding success, but your desire and passion, skills, talents and abilities, your style and constitution matter most.

How would success feel, taste and smell? Really get into it. What would you be doing, what would a typical day be like? How busy will you be? Are you working alone most of the time; in a team; supervising others? Will you be blazing trails and facing challenges or keeping things on a smooth and steady path? What kind of clothes are you wearing? What’s your work place like? What kind of customers are you serving? What are your coworkers like?

Objective self awareness, appreciation and analysis are also important because you, as you actually are – vast potential, dreams, skills, talents, warts and all, is what you bring to the job. The better you understand and appreciate what you bring to your work - can and can’t do - the more likely you are to ‘find’ success.

Finding, looking and seeking success – do these words seem a bit passive and hopeful, dreamy and wishy to you? People ‘find’ success in fairy tales. They ‘achieve’ it or ‘build’ it in real life. People take deliberate, strategic actions, based on who they are to achieve successes. No wandering around, trying this and trying that, hoping to ‘find’ success.

In my forty years of experience as a coach, a management development trainer and team building facilitator, the people who achieved success faster and more easily, were the ones who invested the most time in first understanding themselves deeply and fully – spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically, then matched who they were to the possibilities around them. Bottom line, you achieve success from the inside, out.

You can move forward without doing the inner work first, but true, richly rewarding and deeply satisfying success will elude you.
It’s quite normal to have an average career and life without being clear about who you really are – your values, passions, desires, talents, likes and dislikes. In fact, many people live this way.

They have some vague idea of who they are and what their hopes and dreams are, but they don’t take them seriously enough to commit to them, and think they can not be themselves at work. So they wall off their best talents, aspirations, and passion, denying them, down playing them or saving them for their personal time, and work just for the money.

This is so sad and so common. No one and no thing can stop you without your permission. You’re not a failure until you say you are. If God/Nature/the Universe gave you the desire and the vision, it has also made the means to realize them available. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Get your bloated nothingness out of the way of the divine circuits.”

Take the time to inquire deeply. Invest in yourself. Learn to accept yourself as the spiritual being you are, and claim your God given talents, passion and dreams. Know they are there inside you – as they are in everyone, and seek them out. Let this seeking be an adventure in faith, forgiveness, love and joy. Let this seeking develop the qualities of faith, forgiveness, love and joy within you. And as you develop them in yourself, for yourself, you’ll have them to share with others.

Of course there will be rough spots and difficulties, strains and struggles. Your bloated nothingness will not go quietly. Anticipate this, expect it and be kinder, gentler and more supportive. Remember, it is not for yourself alone that you do this. It is not being selfish, it’s nurturing and being responsible for a child of God. There is no higher calling.

As you nurture yourself and grow in kindness, patience, faith, passion, calm and clarity you bring these great gifts to life for those around you. They will take heart and inspiration from you. Seen in this light, achieving success at work is an inner spiritual adventure that begins within yourself and ends by benefiting you and everyone in your life.

Summary Bullets

• The idea of ‘finding’ success at work is too, passive; think in terms of achieving success
• Achieving success at work is best done from the inside-out
• Take stock of your talents, passions, strengths and weaknesses
• Have the courage to bring your passion to work, to use it on the job. Don’t fear expressing what matters most to you
• When you nurture yourself and come from passion, you’re not just empowering yourself or being selfish, you’re setting an example and inviting everyone in your life to do the same

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Energy Continuum, 15, Wholeness

Here’s another wonderful and empowering, peaceful and joyous experience that grows from understanding and working with the continuum – we can come to know that because we have everything and access to everything on the continuum, we are already whole, and appearances to the contrary, really need nothing. We don’t have to struggle and strive; our good will flow to us. Consider the lilies of the field, Jesus said, they toil not, yet they are fed.

The awareness and experience of our natural wholeness grows stronger and more powerful each time we allow it. It enables us to experience our lives as a process of revealing the wholeness that is already present within, as represented by the energy continuum, instead of as a struggle to mold or shape our needy, evil selves to some illusory, worldly standard of perfection. We are already perfect in God’s eyes. We need not put the wholeness and energy into things, it’s already there. Our part is to let it flow and remove the blocks within to its flow. As Emerson said, and I love to quote, our job is to get our bloated nothingness out of the way of the divine circuits.

Everything that I experience is part of the process, an opportunity to reveal spirit, get my bloated nothingness out of the way and shed anything that covers up my natural, beautiful state of being so that I can step into ever greater expressions of the One, which for me, means, making an authentic contribution to a world that works for everyone and everything! Happy Fourth of July weekend!