Has Life Become Too Serious

The question arises in my mind: What has happened in your life lately that makes you smile or laugh out loud?  Do we take ourselves and this human experience too seriously?  I know there are times when I have and do.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe we are in the midst of a great consciousness shift that requires us to take seriously our thoughts and actions — our thoughts and our actions.

We have been talking about what it looks like to live life on purpose.  Even saying, I’m living life on purpose, sounds very serious.  It can sound as if we are saying, there is a purpose for your life and you better get to it.  I don’t think that is exactly what living on purpose is.  For me, knowing my purpose is a way to live life from a freer more alive consciousness.

Being an introvert, I tend to put my more serious side forward more often than I would like to admit.  I have thought about this , because this serious side can be interpreted as snobby, judgmental, or uncaring.  I have spent many years judging myself as wrong for being this way, and trying every technique in the book to change it.  This judgment feels like a burden or as if I have a weight around my neck. It creates a spiral that is even more serious.  Recently I discovered a new thought about a way to live lighter, freer, and more joy-filled.

Teilhard de Chardin said, we do not become completely ‘reflective’…. except by being reflected in each other.

Paul in the 1 Corinthians 12 goes to great lengths to explain that there is one body with many different parts.  That no aspect of the body is less than any other, and that we are created differently in order to create a greater whole.

It is our diversity that makes us one.  It is by being in community that we reflect back to each other that which completes us?  When I have an argument with my husband, instead of making him wrong and the bane of my existence; I have an opportunity to see what he is reflecting to me that completes some aspect of myself.  When we see polar opposites not as either/or, good/bad, right/wrong, but as both/and we can embrace our differences to create a greater experience of wholeness and joy.

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When we are truly living on purpose —  being led by the indwelling Spirit —  everyone and everything benefits.  There is no separation, and there is a lightness that expresses through us.  It is time for us to see our diversity as a gift that completes the picture of humanity.  It is time for us to embrace our differences knowing that as we do so we will be in lightened.  It is this lightness that brings healing to our hearts and minds.

My invitation to you is to ask yourself who the people are in your life that you want to see as wrong?  Then ask, what part of the whole is being expressed through this person?   Just as the picture shows, where one decreases, the other increases and it is through these perfect fits we create a world that is a living expression of the Christ.

Grace-filled Blessings,

Rev. Charli

Forgiveness and Purpose

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Living our purpose is about fully engaging life at the level of consciousness that reflects and manifests who we are.  It is one thing to have an idea of who we are and another to fully step into the power of expressing that on all levels of being.   As our purpose becomes clearer and begins to unfold, we catch glimpses of  it coming into manifestation in our life.  During these moments we may experience great joy or a deep sense of peace, and we say yes to Spirit through our energy of fun.  And then… we begin to recognize those areas in our life that are not in alignment with our purpose.

These revelations can sometimes be painful, and we may at first think that all this work was for naught.  From my perspective, we can look at these revelations in at least two different ways. We can lower our vibration by thinking thoughts of accusation and shame toward ourselves and others, or we can honestly assess the circumstances with a willingness to see with new eyes.  In order to fully engage in true transformation we must be willing to honestly look at what thoughts and beliefs we are holding on to that are not in alignment with who we are.  This is the part of transformation that we so often want to skip over.  If I just change my thinking to positive, this negative will go away.  It appears to be a bit more complex than that in my life.

Spiritual principle tells us we are a part of the  natural flow of giving and receiving in the universe. Therefore, we must be willing to give in order to open space for new ideas, feelings, behaviors to take root within us.   We often think of giving in terms of the physical. The aspect of giving I would like to speak to is forgiving. 

Albert Einstein said, We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”  Jesus said much the same thing when he taught us to love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us.  (Matt 5:46)  When we raise our vibration to the level of affirming the One everywhere every-when presence and power of God, we open ourselves to see whatever is happening with new eyes — eyes of compassion and understanding.   This is true For-giveness. 

There is a paradox within this principle.  When we give from an open heart without expectation of return, we open ourselves to receive even more than we gave away. If we give with expectation of return, we draw to ourselves only what we expect.  Metaphysics tells us that there is always a greater good underneath appearance.

True forgiveness is about letting go and creating space within ourselves to express more fully our divine purpose.  It is only through expressing our divine purpose that we experience the fullness of who we are: Christ Consciousness.  Expressing that Truth is our purpose; our gift to the world.

 

Self Love And Discerning Your Purpose

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When I speak of discerning your purpose, I am not speaking of what we do with our lives as much as the energy through which our lives come into form.  My understanding is there is only one of us, and that one is here to express the fullness of God in physical form.  In order to do this, we must be willing to release our ideas of separation: separation from God and each other.

Love at this level is when we stop berating and thinking harshly toward ourselves and others.  This love is a gift.  It is not something we can earn, or make.  It is innate within us and as we release that which is unlike it, this love becomes manifest through us.Jesus taught that we are to love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves.

It’s a paradox that as we love ourselves we open to love other greater, when love other we open to love ourselves deeper, and this love that flows through us is the Divine.  Divine Love is the energy that takes us deep and wide, and of which there is no end.  Love at this level is more than being in love or being in a state of acceptance of what is happening.  Love at this level is an energy that expresses through us regardless of the circumstances.  This is the compassion and kindness the Dalai refers to when he says my religion is kindness.

There it is.  The work we are called to do: release that which is unlike love that comes up into our minds.  This may seem like an impossible task when we are talking about circumstances or events that we believe have harmed us, or someone we care deeply for.  In all spiritual traditions, however, there is a call for forgiveness, for healing, and for love.  This forgiveness and love does not condone someone’s behavior that is harmful to others.  This forgiveness and love does not put its head in the sand and pretend something didn’t affect us deeply.  This is a love that has a voice and takes action.  This voice and action come in the form of standing for what I believe, not against someone else.

It is much about intention.  When we set an intention it is more than just a good idea. Intention can be measured in the sense of whether or not we followed through.  Intentions are powerful spiritual tools, because when we don’t follow through, it is apparent.  We may feel uneasy in our belly’s or our critical mind will kick in and tell us where we fell short, or our focus turns toward someone else and what they are doing that we don’t like.  This is a time to be gentle and bring ourselves back on track with our intention, and take action.  This action may be doing a spiritual practice of loving-kindness or Metta meditation.  This action may be engaging in a process that allows you to forgive.  This practice always brings us back to the remembrance that we are all one.  This practice brings us back into the understanding that I am responsible for my thoughts and actions, and as I align my thoughts and actions with Divine Love, my purpose of expressing the fullness of God awakens a little more within each of us.

Dance of Life

I’ve never thought of myself as a dancer. I can remember as a child trying to learn to dance. My sister was graceful and had rhythm. Me, I didn’t think I did. There are many ways that I judged myself harshly as a child that I am coming to understand as not completely true. This has been a habit that I am not fond of. It is a habit that limits my awareness of the power within me to dance with/in Spirit.
Every one of us is born with the perfect abilities and gifts to dance to the cosmic music that sings within our souls. This music is the life energy that flows through each of us individually, and as a humanity collectively. It is the music that awakens our hearts to those precious aha moments and our ability to let go of what is not serving us as we move to the music.
When I think of learning to dance, I know part of my problem was I always wanted to lead. You know, be in control. One of us would be trying to do one dance, and another trying to do something else. As I tried to force my partner to move the way I thought I wanted, we would trip, pull, fall, or just feel silly.
Learning to dance requires communicating with your partner and being in touch with the music. From a spiritual standpoint, learning the dance of our life requires communion with Spirit which aligns us with our self and all of life. Dancing requires listening. We must listen to the rhythm of the music. Listen so deeply we feel the tempo of this cosmic music within our soul. We allow the ornament of the piece to move our lives faster and slower; swaying left and right, back and forth. Moving with the cosmic music of our soul in this way allows us to experience all the energies of life. And, of course, there is also the moment when this music piece comes to an end. Can we hear the cadence and move within it?
Learning to move with/in the music of the soul is another way of learning to discern our purpose in life. Our purpose is more than what we want or do. It is more than the goals that we set that will help us achieve certain experiences. Our purpose is simple and yet profound. Why does it feel as if it is a secret buried deep within us that is not easily accessed? I believe this is because we have spent so much of our energy trying to dance someone else’s dance. We haven’t asked ourselves; what would bring me joy to express?
From early on in life we have been taught to listen to the voice of other. What do our parents, siblings, friends, teachers, grandparents, society, race, culture all think is appropriate for us to do. As a little girl, wanting to be a minister was out of the question. Women aren’t ministers! That was the cultural thought that held me back for years. There were other limiting beliefs that kept me from believing that I could listen to my own soul and dance my dance.
Through the practice of mediation; of quieting the mind and allowing ourselves to just be in the moment, we give spirit permission to reveal to us who we really are. We open ourselves to the music that is so powerful, it has no audible sound, and yet it changes everything. It is the vibrations from this music that every thought that is not in alignment with our truth is released. It is through this vibration that we release others expectations and live in a true state of freedom. This sounds like I am making it easy and yet I believe it is the greatest work we can do. It is through this art of listening and dancing that we discover and live from our purpose.

Your Purpose Of Love

Each of us comes into this world with a purpose.  Our small mind might try to think of some grand purpose that will change the world.  And, some of us do.  When I think of purpose; however, I think of the everyday expression of what we are: Love.

Love is the innate power that has the capacity to change not only our lives, but race consciousness.  Love has the capacity to awaken us to a deeper and wider understanding of what we have come here to be and do, and to make a true difference  in the world.

The love I speak of is not love as the world would define love.  It is not sensual love that is based on the arousing of our senses and creating a desirable feeling within us.  It is not conditional love that is based on how I feel in the moment about what someone is or is not doing, and whether or not it meets my expectations.  Love is the ever present Presence expressing in, through, and as each and every one of us.

Love is impersonal.  This thought used to upset me.  My experience of the Divine has a great deal of personal meaning for me.  By saying love is impersonal, what I am saying is God, loves without conditions.  This love simply flows drawing to itself that which responds to its love bringing harmony to everything and everyone.   In truth, we are microcosms of the macro-cosmic Love.

It’s one thing to know intellectually that we are love, and it is something completely different to express that love unconditionally every moment of every day.  When we recognize that we may fall a bit short, we can experience the feeling of shame.   Since God is love, and love is non conditional; love never shames.  Love forgives and restores to balance that which we are ready to have transformed.

True love is the power that awakens within us deeper understandings of who we are and our connection with everyone and everything.  Love is the divine energy that brings life to our creations.  As the great harmonizing power of the universe, love brings into balance that which is out of balance, and it does it in ways that are meaningful for those involved.  Meaning, Love shows up precisely  as we need it to and exactly as we call it into form.

Love is more than God getting us out of a difficulty or challenge.  Love is more than creating the perfect experience of life.  Love is more than creating a world that works for all.  Love is the unbound energy that awakens us to our oneness with God, ourselves and our neighbors, which in turn results in creating the perfect experience of life for ourselves, our neighbors,  and the world at large.  Love is the way we make a lasting difference in the world.

What are the ways in which we can consciously engage the activity of love in our lives?  Find ways to express it.  Pray for others to experience love.  Imagine yourself sharing your love with them.  Feel that love within you grow.  Another way to express the love within us is to affirm the power of love at work in situations that our intellect judges as wrong.  It can be as simple as holding an affirmation that is higher than your current experience.  One that stretches your faith, hope, and love.

This week we are given permission to demonstrate our love for others by celebrating Valentine’s Day.  May you experience the unconditional love of God moving through you and making a difference in the world.

Who I’ve Come Here To Be

I was looking at and updating my website and saw this sentence: Rev. Charli is an ordained UNITIMG_0505Y minister whose passion is to inspire, enlighten, and empower individuals and groups as together we consciously awaken to the Divinity within.  The word consciously stood out to me: Consciously awaken to the Divinity within.  Spirit works in wondrous ways!  Being conscious of and participating with Spirit as we awaken to deeper truths of who we are and who we have come here to be can be a spectacular journey.  The question arises, does Spirit require my conscious participation 100% of the time for me to awaken?

I was recently listening to a Richard Rohr recording where he talked about the teaching of the dark night of the soul.  To paraphrase, he said that it has been taught that the dark night is a feeling of being separated from God.  Another understanding of the dark night is that God works in the dark within us in ways that we are unaware.  I appreciate this understanding of the dark night of the soul.  I believe there is a power at work within us that is beyond the conscious mind.  We commune Spirit in spirit with a wisdom that our conscious minds are unable to fathom.

There have been so many times in my life where the shifts and changes that have occurred were so drastic that if I had known of them in advance, I would have sabotaged it.  The human reaction and ego, which I believe is designed to keep us safe, will convince me to stay in the status quo.  Change is scary is the ego’s mantra.

I have been having a recurring dream where I am in a desert that is nothing but sand dunes as far as I can see in all directions.  Every day, I set out and venture out on the sand dunes looking for a way home.  After I go so far, I turn around and return to my base camp, or status quo.  On the 18th day, I go in a different direction and keep going until I am out of the desert.  I find myself at a friend’s ministry where she is conducting a service.  Her husband welcomes me.

I looked up the symbolism for some of the elements of the dream:

  • desert: symbolic of all the obstacles and hardships that stand between people and their dreams.  Sand represents creativity and artistic abilities of an individual.
  • 18: Hebrew word for Life.
  • Angel #18: time to act on your dreams and ambitions. Trust that the things that have been causing you pain, hardship, and disenchantment will no longer be present in your life.

I have, at times, gotten stuck in either or thinking.  We are either making conscious choices that take us in the direction of our waking fully to the Truth of who we are, or there is a power that is working within us that directs and guides us.  I would see these as two opposite ways of being.  At this time, I would say to both of those understandings, YES.  Yes, I am consciously doing the work that is mine to do, having a meditation practice, engaging in contemplation, and study.  Yes, Spirit is actively working in my life, through my life, and as my life in ways that I have agreed to that I may not be conscious of.   It is this activity of Spirit that takes me away from doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome.  It is this activity that opens my eyes to see a new direction to take that I could not see before.  It is this activity that opens my ears to hear the still small voice speak within my heart nudging me to love more deeply, give more freely, be true to my divine purpose. It is this activity that lines me up with those grace-filled moments where life flows.  And, it is up to me to consciously choose to follow that guidance, to make the choices to live life from the inside out.

Each of us chose to incarnate in these bodies, at this time, with these people, in this place for a reason.  It is the perfect alignment for us to step fully into expressing in new and deeper ways who we have come here to be.  It is the perfect time for us to share the gifts we are here to express. It is the perfect time for us to step out of the status quo and take a chance on living life more fully.

Later this month, I am teaching at Unity of Mesa for their SEE in the field program.  I will be teaching a class on discerning your purpose.  It is my intention to post segments of the class here in my blog.  If you are wondering who you have come here to be, or what the next steps are for your life, I welcome you to join me on this journey.

 

Happy New Year

I remember the first time I heard that all new beginnings start with an ending.  There is something we are saying goodbye to when we begin something new.  As we come to the end of one year, with all that it brought our way– the joys, the challenges, the ups and the downs– it is vital that we acknowledge what has transpired for us without getting caught in judgment.  Judgement shows up in a variety of ways.  It shows up as blaming someone else for something we perceive is not going the way we would like it to.  It shows up as regret for perceived missed opportunities.  It shows up as disappointment that we did not achieve more.  If we listen closely, we may hear judgment as projections of who we think we should be in the future.  It is this judgment that I want to address today.

A common practice for the new year is to make a resolution.  I’m going to lose that ten pounds.  I’m going to exercise more.  I’m going to take more time for myself.  I’m going to meditate more consistently.  Each of these comes from a judgment that if we were to do that, we would then be good, lovable, and closer to God.  The truth is, non of these will make you any more lovable or closer to God. You already are lovable by your very nature. Each of us is on the path that we are intended to be on, and are in just the perfect space for what our souls wish to create at this time.  When you let go of trying to be more spiritual, more loving, kinder, more organized, more creative, you make room for your authentic god-self to show up in the world.  This will feel awkward at first, and the ego will try to engage you in a way that pulls you back into thinking less of yourself.  This is when you are invited to lovingly let go again.

I remember when I was first learning to meditate.  I was taught that as my mind wandered, just gently bring my focus back to my breath, or sacred word.  The key here is gently.  Not giving it a lot of attention or creating a story around why my mind wandered or how to prevent my mind from wandering.  Just gently bring it back in awareness.  This is how we are called to live life.  How much energy would we have if we let go of judging ourselves from some artificial scale that is only in our own mind?

As you bring this year to a close, listen within your heart to what naturally wants to express through you.  Allow yourself to be fully present for a few moments with this feeling.  In your mind, give yourself permission to release all that you believe that is not in alignment with this expression.  Breathe into it, feel it, and when you notice that your mind has wandered gently bring your focus back to this feeling.

God is every where every when present expressing as faith, hope, and love throughout all creation.  May this New Year be one of a conscious awareness of this Power-Presence active in, through, and as your life.

 

HOPE, THE SPARK OF LIFE

Have you ever gotten an ear worm where a song or a phrase won’t let you go?  This happened to me this week, only it wasn’t a song, but the word hope.   For many yearsIMG_0363 I have wondered what hope really is.  In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul writes, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”  

 

We often talk about the power of faith and love.  These qualities are innate within us.  So, what is this hope that abides?  The dictionary defines hope as a feeling of expectation and desire for something. I looked up the Greek word which is Elpis: joyful and confident expectation.  

One idea about hope is that it is mere wishing and wanting something to be different than it is without seeing a possibility for change.  Yet, I have begun to see it in a new light.   For me, hope is the seed that carries within it the elements of what is desiring to be experienced or expressed in and through our lives.  This seed is ripe with divine ideas and the energy necessary to activate every innate quality needed to bring forth a full harvest.  True joy activates within us a joyful and confident expectation of fulfillment.  

What is the difference between a joyful and confident expectation of good and faith?  Faith is the assurance of things hoped for.  Hope must come first and then we feed our hope with our faith.   Without hope there is no need for faith, because there is no desire for anything.  People who experience hopelessness are desireless. 

Through the power of meditation, study, and connecting with others, we prepare the soil of our mind to receive seeds of hope.  These seeds are continually being planted in our subconscious mind.  Just as when we plant a seed in well prepared earth there is a spark of life that puts into motion the full unfolding of the seed, we too, through the spark of hope unfold into our highest nature. 

ONE SPIRIT

There is a lot of exciting talk these days about women stepping into their power, and a bit of fear that if we do, we will be taking power away from the men. Because, isn’t there only so much power to go around?  This is, like a lot of fears that come up in change, not true.  The Truth is there is one power and it is both male and female and neither male nor female.

Earnest Holmes in Science of Mind says: “ONE SPIRIT, ONE MIND, AND ONE SUBSTANCE; ONE LAW BUT MANY THOUGHTS; ONE POWER, BUT MANY WAYS OF USING IT; ONE GOD IN WHOM WE ALL LIVE, AND ONE LAW WHICH ALL OPERATE; ONE, ONE, ONE.  NO GREATER UNITY COULD BE GIVEN THAN THAT WHICH IS ALREADY VOUCHSAFED TO MANKIND.”

One Power with many expressions.  Some of these expressions we would interpret as female and some as male.  With more attention being put on empowering our feminine nature, we may experience a bit of fear that the pendulum is swinging too far from masculine to feminine; that we will find ourselves out of balance again just on the other side.   I don’t believe this has to be true.  We can change the story.  Anytime we experience a change in our energies, the ego pops up and tells us to be afraid.  What if we don’t come from fear and breathe into the possibility of balance?

The question becomes, what does balance look like, and how do I obtain this balance?  We are taught that we are co-creators with Spirit, but the Truth is, we don’t create anything.  Creating means that we start with nothing and bring something into form.   What we actually do is use the law of the universe and combine the right ingredients (qualities within us) to bring into form that which we want.   When I am baking a pie, I don’t create the flour, butter, sugar, fruit, oven and heat.  I use the necessary ingredients in the appropriate amounts, and wala, I have pie.  If I leave any ingredients out, or use too little or too much of an ingredient the results are less desirable. This is true with our lives also, it is because we are in Spirit and Spirit is in us that we have the ability to make whatever it is we want in life.  The key is knowing the ingredients that we have available to us.

Myrtle Fillmore says in How To Let God Help You:  ” God – my Father and your Father – has made me to know that no matter what I have done or what others have done to me, He has implanted within me the pattern of perfection. He has given me the life, power, intelligence, and substance out of which I may recreate my soul qualities and my physical structures, and so come forth a new creature. You, too, by studying and proving this Truth can do the same.”

Within me is the pattern of perfection for me to fully express that which my soul desires to express.  The qualities that are within me may be described as male or female.  The important piece is that we develop these qualities by calling them forth and using them to obtain our desired results.  When we call forth these energies, we free our mind from having to figure it all out.  Decisions become easier with incredible outcomes.

Life is not male vs female, us vs them and it is not about comparing ourselves with others.  Life is the experience we are making by combining our innate spiritual qualities, gifts and talents to live life full on, full out, right here right now.

I Am Willing To…

It feels as if it has been a long time since I have written anything, my journal, this blog…  I sit and question myself, why?  The answer that comes back to me is that there is a belief that if I write, it has to be earth shaking, mind blowing, the most inspirational writing or teaching that has come along.  No ego here.  At the same time, however, there is an awareness that there is something moving deeper within that is guiding me.  The thought comes that maybe being silent has been important.  If I am always speaking, I cannot hear the voice of my own soul.

My study of the women who supported Jesus has continued to be with me.  Mother Mary is the first support.  She represents willingness and the power of saying yes.  Willingness is more than an attitude.  Willingness is the energy that opens the doorway of consciousness.  To be willing means surrendering to a power beyond us that expresses through us.  To be willing means moving beyond the thinking process.  We hear about a challenge that someone is facing and willingness is the energy that gets us off the couch to take action.

As with all expressions of individuality, there are varying degrees of willingness.  On one end of the spectrum subservience is doing what we think others want us to do just to keep the peace.  On the other end of the spectrum there is the need to be in control at all times, not only of ourselves, but everyone and everything.  Willingness is the energy that moves us into the varying degrees of these two polarities in appropriate ways.  To engage in life willingly, we must listen deeply within ourselves to the inner voice that is always guiding us.  This takes practice, courage, and faith and is not as much work as one might suspect.

In New Thought, we are taught that we are creators of our experience.  This is not just a self-serving experience of me.  Our mind which is in the omnipresent omnipotent Mind of God, creates experience and since we are all one, we create this world the way it is.  When I first came to this understanding, I didn’t want to go there.  It’s too much responsibility.  I wanted to think of myself as an Island unto myself.  I create my experience, you create yours.  When we know there is One Presence, One Power, we understand that what we believe affects the whole. Jesus said, Let it be done unto you according to your faith.  In other words, according to what you believe to be true.  If I hold a resentment against someone else, I empower others to hold resentment.  The other is true also, if I forgive someone a perceived wrong, I empower others to forgive.

Willingness is the first step in any spiritual transformation.  We express that we are willing to see, hear, and/or experience life in a new way.  This is what Mother Mary brought to us: the possibility of birthing a new way of life.