Monday, February 7, 2011


What if we lived our lives as though we truly believed that everything that happened to us was required to bring us to the knowing we have of this exact moment?
What if we were truly at peace with that?
What if we trusted so deeply that we didn't fear what was to come because we knew it was required?

That is faith.

Personally, I find it difficult at times to have faith. To say I struggle with it is a blatant understatement. I don't necessarily revel in the unknowing quality of the universe. You see, I have a strong thinking mind. There is a certain comfort I feel when things make "logical"sense. Perhaps, I am comforted by the facade, as I reside in my little land of logic, where everything "makes sense". Which is hilarious really, because over and over again, I find that this is not the way life seems to work. I am repeatedly reminded that my mind is like a double edge sword, great for writing a blog, e-course, taking care of the many details of life and work, but for actually "living", not so much. In fact, when I am in my thinking mind I  have a history of being one of  those people that take risks after I am assured of the outcome. I don't much like climbing mountains, and I have no desire to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. When I am in my logical mind I am cut off to all the wonder, all the synchronisities, and the miraculous nature of a indistinct reality.

Real life isn't "planned". That has been a huge lesson for me. Storms crop up, the ocean gets wild, fog rolls in. At these times, we realize no amount of "thinking" is going to help us out. We don't have the answers, and whatever is happening often makes no logical sense. I have realized that me- my thinking logical mind- is one of my biggest problems. Whether it's the many stories I convince myself are true, the suffering I feel when I am attached to an outcome or specific plan, or the fact that I think I can do it better than source power, it's just not helping.. Inspirational teacher Wayne Dyer recalls the fact that we spend nine months being created without logical agenda. We do not logically tell the ears to form, or heart to start beating. Yet, at some point after birth,  there is a thinking part that takes over, a need to Edge God Out (EGO), as we say "we'll take it from here".

Life has both the capacity to bring us to our knees, and lift us to soar. Faith is the knowing that this is so.

“Faith dares the soul to go farther than it can see” ~William Clark

For a minute,  let us assume the position of distance, of perspective. See the world through the eyes of a bird soaring over the earth. From this lofty position we see the interconnectedness. We see the totality of the journey; its beginning and end. Perhaps, we see the jungle we must navigate, leading us to the desert, that leads us to a treacherous river crossing. Perhaps, we see the mountains in the distance we must climb. We see the beginning, we see the end, and the terrain between. From this perspective, we have a knowing that the mountains, the desert, and the jungle are all necessary steps on our journey. The obstacles are part of a bigger picture. We see how the skills we developed in the jungle prepared us for the desert, and the desert our preparation for the mountain. The journey makes total sense when we observe it in its entirety. Yet, when we lose our birds eye view, when we sink back into our earthly bound bodies, and find ourselves deep in that jungle, we often feel blinded by the trees, the vines, the fetid air itself. We cannot even locate the trail ahead. We even forget there is one. Perhaps, we tell ourselves a story about how very stifling hot and humid the jungle is. How scary the wild animals are, how very lost, confused, and alone we feel. Our logical minds tell us how we don't deserve a jungle again, and how it makes no sense. It's not fair. Our thinking minds tell us the jungle is NOT where we should be right now. Dammit!

And yet THAT is exactly where we are. We so easily forget the bigger picture.

But, as always, we have choices.

Maybe we listen to our ego selves. Maybe we try to think our way out of the jungle. Maybe we resist what is, we fight, and fight the vines. We tell ourselves the story of how horrible the jungle is. We say we “should be doing other things“, and “we are better than this stinking  place.” We think about how we got there, who's at fault for leading us there, what we are going to do when we get out. We think about how much better life is outside of the jungle, how when we are out, then we'll be happy. We keep our story of suffering alive, resisting what is, maybe long after we get out.


Maybe we don’t resist. Maybe we don't do anything at all but listen. We tap into that inner place beyond our thinking mind, the place that effortlessly created us in those nine months without our help, that place within that seeps truth, like a hidden spring. We get still and we listen and when we feel directed we take action. Maybe we just put one foot in front of the other and cut the vines, systematically clearing our path ahead, with a sense of determination and awareness. Maybe we even notice the beauty of the jungle at times. The birds, the flowers, awake to the subtleties of life. We allow rather than solve. Maybe we even get still enough to connect to a place within that knows what we need to do, so we walk, or we don't, paying attention to the lessons along the way. We know there is a reason we are in the jungle as we are open to what that is.

This is faith.

When you have come to the edge Of all light that you know And are about to drop off into the darkness Of the unknown, Faith is knowing One of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or You will be taught to fly”
~ Patrick Overton 
Faith is the ability to remember the bird’s eye view. That there is a gift in our lessons. That they are steps along the journey. Faith is the trust that we have in our inner compass to allow the path to unfurl before us without fear, without anticipation, without judgment, without conviction. All we need do is the next right thing, and then the next, and then the next.  There is no doubt we have peaks and valley's in our life terrain, and when we are in a valley it certainly doesn't feel like a peak. At our lowest, faith might be fleeting, like grasping at starlight in a midnight sky. It maybe as ambiguous to us as the traces of smoke left by an exhausted candle. Yet, always it is there, ready to lead us onward. Faith is knowing that the journey unfolds just as it should when we get out of our own way.

When I think back to those times when I was at my very lowest, when I thought I may not be able to take another step, what emerges is a  realization that what happened was indeed meaningful. There emanated a profound lesson that I needed to learn. The trials I walked through opened me up to a new understanding and compassion. It showed me I had the strength to heal, and to help others. I look back, and I see that life gave me exactly the circumstances I needed to be the person I am now. And it continues to, everyday bringing me to a new way of being. Your journey has the same gifts. There are absolutely no accidents.

Having faith doesn’t mean trusting everyone to do the "right" thing all of the time. Faith doesn't mean we don’t have fear creep into our lives. It doesn't mean we don't lose it, get angry, sad, frustrated, or lonely. Developing faith is a practice. For me, it is a constant dance of control verses allowing, of intellect verses intuition, of literal verses figurative. It means we repeatedly remind ourselves to recognize and honor the odyssey of ourselves and others. We remind ourselves that faith is not logical. We, time and time again, remind ourselves that we may not know the why behind every thing, all the time, yet all is as it should be. Faith is when we know at some point (even if that time isn’t now), that we can accept situations as both lessons and opportunities for growth. Faith is trust.

What if you knew without a doubt…

"If you knew who walked beside you at all times, on the path that you have chosen, you could never experience fear or doubt again."
— Wayne W. Dyer

Faith asks us to believe it as if this were true because it is

Today a story to reflect on as we ponder faith.
One that has given me faith even in my darkest times.
 It reminds me that even in my darkest moment there is always a light.

One day a small opening appeared on a cocoon, and a man sat and watched for the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened!

In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening was God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could have been. We could never fly.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Myth of Comfort Food

We are half way through the first food and feelings e-course and it is going so well. I wanted to include the following excerpt from the program, because it is a subject people may not think about that often, the myth of comfort foods. I use food here but in reality one could substitute any other thing outside ourselves we long for, use, buy, in an attempt to make us happy. There is another  e- program starting February 14th. I am also in the works of putting together a physical weekly group. Please feel free to contact me for more info on either.

We have to be very careful with the term "comfort food". Much like we have to be careful with the idea of a comfort drink, a comfort gambling session, or a comfort shopping trip. We get into dangerous territory anytime we start to look outside ourselves for comfort, for love, for feelings of peace.  The term implies it would be possible for food to give us comfort. That food has the ability to give us love. That it could brings us peace or happiness.The truth is we cannot find happiness in another person,  another job, another location, and certainly not in food.  If we think something “out there”  will fill us, we will always come up empty. And if it’s food we are using we will be continuously hungry,  because no amount of food is going to fill the emptiness we feel. We may temporarily suspend the emptiness for a moment but it will return. There is no possible way to fill an emotional need with food, or anything else in the world of form for that matter.

So, in my opinion, the term "comfort food" is a total misnomer. In fact, I would suggest that most times those "comfort foods" are in fact the opposite of "comfort". They perhaps should be called  “discomfort” foods, because they are anything but loving to our bodies or our soul. Those foods that we are eating to “comfort” ourselves, do not love us back. They distract us from feelings we are being called to attend to. They also typically,  fill us with chemicals, unhealthy fats, artificial ingredients, and other non-loving things and usually in large quantities. How does your body feel when you eat them? Does it feel loved? More important question, do you feel lasting comfort, peace, and contentment? Nope. Because nothing actually happened to those feelings that caused you do eat in the first place.Those feelings that wanted comfort do not disappear with a few bowls of macaroni and cheese.

We might even utter the phrase “I had a tough day (or a good day) so I deserve that …(fill in food here)”. Hmmm...ponder that statement for a minute. What we really deserve is food that reflects and respects our inner divinity, and food that supports our emerging authentic selves. What we deserve is to nourish ourselves, fully. That is real comfort food. Food that honors us on our path. We deserve food that supports us as we negotiate our inner landscape, not looking outside for fixes in the form of fast food, cake, skittles, or ice cream.

Now, that is not to say we can't enjoy our food, have fun with our food, and eat "unhealthy foods" from time to time, just that we cannot depend on food to make us feel better. You see, everything we do in life is a reflection of what we believe about ourselves. Our relationship with food is no exception.When we feel joy, when we are in love with ourselves, our food choices reflect this. When we are honoring ourselves we honor our intuition, and we choose foods that honor us. If we find ourselves eating in a way that is not honoring ourselves- eating for "comfort", eating until we are overfull, not eating when we are hungry, depriving ourselves, or simply choosing lifeless foods, we need to take a look at our relationship with ourselves. Our intention behind all our choices matter. Last week we spoke about love and fear and how every choice we make comes from one of these two places. Even what we decide to put in our bodies. What we choose to eat comes from either an intent of love or fear. But contrary to popular belief, comfort food (In the typical way we think about it) is not love. Some of the qualities of love we spoke about last week boil down to truth, non harming, and compassion. When we believe food can soothe us in these ways, or make our hurts go away, we are believing a myth. This is not loving. This is fear, which is far from comfort.

The truth is, our bodies yearn to be in alignment with our greatest selves. Our cells know what they need to function optimally. Have you noticed just how much our bodies when left alone do so much for themselves? We don’t need to tell our bodies how to breathe, or how to digest food, or how to see or hear. We just need to get out of the way. Yet, we so often override the system, ignoring the messages, by not trusting our innate hunger guidance system. We have hit the override button and decided we could not be trusted. We make loving choices when we honor our true selves.

How would your food (or anything else) choices change if you only ate with the intention of love?

“The choice to eat wisely is not important simply because it leads to an arguably more attractive you; it isn’t important because it offers the possibility of a smaller dress size; it isn’t even important simply because it’s healthier. It’s important because it’s an act of love. It’s a way that you feed who you want to be- the healthier you, the more beautiful you, the more comfortable you, the happier you. And what you feed you call forth. You are not treating yourself when you eat excessively; in fact you are withholding sustenance from yourself when you overeat, for in doing so you are withholding love. “ ~Marianne Williamson