Calling All Spiritual Leaders

Dear Spiritual Leaders,

We are born in this lifetime for a reason. We must help our fellow human beings – it is our most important task, especially now with the worldwide pandemic. Please step-up to your leadership role. There are several things we must do:

  • Show people how to develop consciousness (awareness) and how to retain it.
  • Encourage people to meditate every day.
  • Control and manipulation in energy form will come from the technology that we use every day (smartphones, computers, television, and smartwatches, etc.). Help people limit their screen time. The pandemic is pushing us more and more to use technology (especially children).
  • Teach people how to keep the love energy running – instead of fear-based energy. Give them the tools (meditation, Reiki, prayer, mantras, symbols, connect with angels/teachers, scripture, visualizations, love-mantras, etc.). Love energy is power and protection (armour = protection + amour = Love).
  • Teach people how to access their holographic brain. We need to understand the concept of living multidimensionally. We have access to the past, present, and future. We can heal past events.
  • Remember, energy is connecting to information. What kind of information is beneficial to us? And what kind of information is damaging?
  • Help people move the focus of their spiritual practice from yoga to pranayama (start with alternate nostril breathing). The breathing practices balance the human brain. Everyone should still do yoga and meditation every day.
  • Teach people how to use intention and how to open their third eye.
  • Help people realize there is strength in their religious and spiritual beliefs. Everyone needs to stay connected with their church or spiritual center.

Thank you.

Namaste, world.

“The Coronavirus is Ruining Everything!”

Yesterday, I went to my bank to have them look at my statement and order a new credit card. But when I got there, the person who greeted me at the locked door said that I needed an appointment. Usually, I can walk into a bank – no problem. I got frustrated and said out loud, “The coronavirus is ruining everything!” At that moment, I realized how much our world has changed since March 2020.

Right now, we all need a heavy dose of patience. The virus and the condition of our world will challenge us on every level. It is a good time to become centered and strong-minded. We must not give up on our integrity and goodness.

We all want life to go back to the way it was in 2019. The virus will make drastic changes in human life on this planet. However, if we look at history, the virus will subside. It will be interesting to see how the virus changes our technology, communication, and politics.

So, hang in there! Take one day at a time. Nothing can stop the power of love. Use your energy to empower yourself and others.

Namaste, world.

Quotes: Count Your Blessings

The mere sense of living is joy enough. – Emily Dickinson

Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding the third. – Marge Piercy

The single greatest thing you can do to change your life today would be to start being grateful for what you have right now. – Oprah Winfrey

The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you. – Robert Louis Stevenson

The vibration of gratitude attracts more positive things into your life. – Cherie Roe Dirksen

Thank God for dirty dishes; they have a tale to tell. While other folks go hungry, we’re eating pretty well. With home, health, and happiness, we shouldn’t want to fuss; For by this stack of evidence, God’s very good to us. – Anon.

If you can’t be thankful for what you receive, be thankful for what you escape. – Anon.

Welcome everything that comes to you, but do not long for anything else. – Andre Gide

Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is. – Maxim Gorky

Jesus, please teach me to appreciate what I have before time forces me to appreciate what I had. – Susan L. Lenzkes

Eden is that old-fashioned house we dwell in every day. Without suspecting our abode, until we drive away. – Emily Dickinson

Gratitude is the memory of the heart. – Massieu

It is possible to own too much. A man with one watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never quite sure. – Lee Segall

I wept because I had no shoes, until I saw a man who had no feet. – Ancient Persian saying

He who is contented is rich. – Lao-tzu

Everything has its wonders, even darkness in silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein in to be content. – Helen Keller

A man with ambition and love for his blessings here on earth is ever so alive. Having been alive, it won’t be so hard in the end to lay down and rest. – Pearl Bailey

‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. – Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Namaste, world.

The 23rd Psalm, by Bobby McFerrin (dedicated to his mother)

The 23rd Psalm, by Bobby McFerrin

The Lord is my shepherd. I have all I need. She makes me lie down in green meadows, beside the still waters. She will lead.

She restores my soul. She rights my wrongs. She leads me in a path of good things, and fills my hearts with songs.

Even though I walk, through a dark and dreary land, there is nothing that can shake me, she has said she won't forsake me, I'm in her hand.

She sets the table before me, in the presence of my foes. She anoints my head with oil, and my cup overflows.

Surely, surely goodness and kindness with follow me, all the days of my life. And I will live in her house forever, forever, and ever.

Glory be to our Mother and Daughter, and to the holy of holies. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world, without end.

Amen.

How are you?

Photo by Gina M. Gafford

Right now, it is a good time to check in with yourself. How are you?

Psycho/Social:

  • Family support. Right now with the Coronavirus, we need to make extra effort to keep in touch with family members. How are your relationships?
  • Keep a positive attitude. “We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same. – Carlos Castaneda
  • Perseverance. The pandemic might make you feel “down and depressed.” Right now, more than ever, it’s important to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Never give up!
  • Help people. Can you find one way to help people? Donate food, donate money to an organization, or volunteer.

Physical:

  • Exercise. Do yoga, walk, jump rope, dance, lift weights, or use exercise machines. Do you exercise every day?
  • Eat well and take vitamins. Make sure to take vitamin D.

Mental/Emotional:

  • “Go with the flow.” Be in the present moment. Learn to let go of your thoughts.
  • Share your feelings with someone that you trust. Create strong kinships and bonds. Do you express your love?
  • Laugh. Have a sense of humor. Watch funny movies.
  • Reduce your time on social media. Don’t get trapped!

Spiritual:

  • Pray or meditate every day. It is important to connect with your inner self and the divine. How do you feel about God (or the divine) lately?
  • Keep in touch with your church or spiritual center. Attend services each week (online or in person). As a group, we can be there for each other in challenging times.

Namaste, world.

Audio Blog Post Reading of “Fluid Emotions” (5-Minutes)

Fluid Emotions (February 28, 2017)

Last night I had the most amazing dream. I dreamt that I was breathing underwater. I was about 20 feet underwater. The water was clear, and I could see the sun shining on the surface. While I was floating, two other human beings were floating near each other. One of the humans told me that if I continue to breathe the water, I would die. I didn’t listen to the human, and slowly a bright, beautiful light started to descend into the water. As the light saturated the water, I realized I was dying, and I woke up from the dream.

So what does this dream mean? According to gotohoroscope.com: To dream that you can breathe underwater also shows that you have obtained complete mastery over your emotions. Many times in dreams, the sea, or the ocean, or any body of water, will be represent your emotional state. When you are on a boat, you are showing that you can navigate through all of your complex emotional responses. However, when you are swimming in the water, this suggests that you have greater mastery over your emotions than you thought. You are in touch with yourself. (See more at http://www.gotohoroscope.com/txt/dream-dictionary-breathing-underwater.html).

I agree with the above statement. I am in touch with myself and my emotions. I can experience my feelings, and then let them go. In the past, I was so judgmental about my emotions. In my mind, I think I should have felt a certain way or that I should not have shown a particular emotion to someone. Now, I realize that at that moment, I felt that way. I am responsible for my feelings. Therefore, if I didn’t hurt anyone, I can let them go.

I like the quote from Awakening Joy by James Baraz: “I’ve seen the Dalai Lama get very serious, even cry, upon hearing about a tragedy and then, as the subject changes, laugh a few minutes later. His complete openness to the sorrows of the world lets him also be touched by delight, goodness, and joy when these arise.”

I was so glad to read that even the Dalai Lama will cry sometimes. The Dalai Lama is fluid with his emotions; without being attached to them. He is present moment by moment.

Here is a mindful approach to working with difficult emotions (taken from the book Awakening Joy, by James Baraz):

RAIN -When you are in the midst of a strong emotion, take a few moments to try this approach:

  • Recognize what you are feeling and name it. Label it: Anger, fear, sadness, confusion.
  • Allow the feelings to be present, without pushing them away and without getting lost in them.
  • Investigate the feelings in your body and mind. Where in your body do you feel it? How does it feel in your mind – heavy, tight, open, agitated?
  • Non-identification is the key to freeing yourself from the emotion’s grip. What you are feeling is a human emotion that arises and passes away. It does not define who you are.

Namaste, world.

Be a Role Model in Challenging Times

Lake Superior, Minnesota (Photo by Gina M. Gafford)

Everyone is experiencing more psychological stress because of the Coronavirus. While shopping, my friend said she could see the stress in people’s eyes. This past week, I felt stress and frustration several times. I had to be strict and tell myself to “be a calm-ass!” I reminded myself that situations and feelings are temporary.

When I feel frustrated, it helps to look at the big picture of life. I need to ask myself, “What am I afraid of?” Frustration is another form of anger, and anger is another form of fear. Right now, there’s a lot of uncertainty and fear about the future. We all need to take one day at a time.

Along with my frustration, I’ve had a careless attitude. The issues around the Coronavirus doesn’t help (and it’s not an excuse to be rude or unkind). I must not let myself go down that path. I must keep my integrity and not give up on what’s important in life – like being kind, helping people, and making the world a better place.

Several things help me to feel more balanced and less frustrated, like increasing my self-care, be more mindful (do more yoga and meditation), and spend time in nature. I need to remind myself to be gentle with myself and others. We live in a unique and challenging time, and we need to be role models for others.

Namaste, world.

Audio Blog Post Reading of “The Magic of OM” (7-Minutes)

The Magic of OM (March 21, 2016)

Om (or Aum) is a sacred sound and symbol. Om is the universal sound, the first sound of creation. In the yoga sutras by B.K.S Iyengar (1993), “Aum is called Pranava, which stands for the praise of the divine and fulfillment of divinity.” Iyengar continues to say, “Sound is vibration, which as modern science tells us, is the source of all creation. God is beyond vibration, but vibration, being the subtlest of His creation, is the nearest we can get to Him in the physical world. So we take it as His symbol.”

I have been using Om in my pranayama practice. Yogic breathing is called pranayama in Sanskrit. Brown et al., (2005) defines pranayama as “meaning both control of energy and expansion of energy” (p. 189). In other words, Brown says that the breath is energy, and we have control over it. Brown (2005) states, prana is defined as breath or life force. According to Iyengar (1996), “pranayama by nature has three components: inhalation, exhalation, and retention. They are carefully learned by elongating the breath and prolonging the time of retention according to the elasticity of the torso, the length and depth of breath, and the precision of movements” (p. 33). Iyengar’s point is to learn to hold the breath for longer periods of time to increase the volume of oxygen in the body.

Breath links the body and mind. Yogic breathing techniques can be used to balance the autonomic nervous system and have a positive effect on stress-related disorders. When individuals are under stress, they restrict their breathing and decrease the amount of oxygen coming into their bodies (Wilkinson, 2002). Yogic breathing techniques increase the volume of oxygen in the lungs and help the body to relax and the mind to focus.

When I chant Om, I repeat it three times with a long expiration. Chanting Om has complex effects on the brain; especially in the Wernicke’s area and the thalamus (Brown, 2005). According to Brown et al., (2005), “Even just mentally chanting Om showed decreased metabolism, decreased heart rate, and increased peripheral vascular resistance in seven experienced yogic meditators” (p. 195). Chanting Om also increases the synchronicity of particular biorhythms in the brain (Zope, 2013). D’Antoni et al. (1995) state that “mantra production frequently employs the phonemes, m, and n, which are thought to evoke pleasant associations and feelings of release” (p. 309). The chant Om has the phoneme m in it.

Om is magical. I have experienced its effects on my mind and body. I am an emotional person, and sometimes I have a difficult time controlling my emotions. According to The Art of Living Foundation (http://www.artofliving.org), “rather than allowing the emotions to alter the breath (and cause physiological changes which may prove unhealthy), one can skillfully use the breath to transform one’s emotional state.” When someone is angry, the breath is short and quick. And when someone is sad or upset, the breath is long and deep. Om can be used to control the breath and balance the emotions.

I had a little health scare this past month. I found a few pink, scaly spots on my face. I was worried that I might have skin cancer. So, last week I went to the dermatologist. I made a plan that I would silently use the Om while I sat in the office, and during the consultation and treatment. I was surprised how chanting Om helped me to be calm and feel centered. I did not get upset, and my heart rhythm was strong.

I found out that I do not have skin cancer. I have Actinic Keratoses. It’s a common skin disorder from years of sun exposure. Actinic Keratoses is considered precancerous. If left untreated, Actinic Keratoses may turn into cancer. I am treating my spots (with liquid nitrogen), so hopefully, I will not get skin cancer.

I am counting on the magic of Om to balance the biorhythms in my brain and in my heart. I have to admit; I was scared that I was going to die from skin cancer. Deep breathing and prayer helped me connect with God and the universe. Life can be scary, so we need to learn to breathe through it.

Namaste, world.

References

Brown, R.P., & Gerbarg, P.L., (2005). Sudarshan kriya yogic breathing in the treatment of  stress, anxiety, and depression: Part I – Neurophysiologic model. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11(1), 189-201.

Brown, R.P., & Gerbarg, P.L., (2005). Sudarshan kriya yogic breathing in the treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression: Part II – Clinical applications and guidelines. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11(4), 711-717.

D’Antoni, M., Harvey, P., & Fried, M. (1995). Alternative medicine: Does it play a role in the management of voice disorders. Journal of Voice, 9(3), 308-311.

Iyengar, B.K.S. (1966). Light on yoga. New York, NY: Schocken Books, Inc.

Iyengar, B.K.S. (1993). Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Hammersmith, London: HarperCollins Publishers.

The Art of Living Foundation (http://www.artofliving.org)

Wilkinson, L., Buboltz, W. C., & Young, T. (2002). Breathing techniques to promote client relaxation and tension reduction. Journal of Clinical Activities, Assignments & Handouts in Psychotherapy Practice, 2(1), 1-14.

Zope, S.A., & Zope, R.A., (2013). Sudarshan kriya yoga: Breathing for health. International Journal of Yoga, 6(1), 4-10.