Sunday, November 21, 2010

Giving in Gratitude—An Affirmation of Abundance

By guest writer, Ariann Thomas

One day I was invited a friend to attend Sunday services with me when I lived in Portland, Oregon. During the service I had written a fairly large check to this church. He noticed how much I donated and afterward we got into a discussion about contributing to spiritual and charitable causes. He asked me why I was giving so much money away when I had bills to pay. He ended with saying that he had been taught, “Charity begins at home.”

I recognized this as a familiar attitude a lot of family and friends had. This man was struggling with prosperity as I had struggled for most of my life until I stumbled across a small book called “30 days to Abundance” by John Randolph Price. This book literally changed my life.

I proceeded to tell my friend that my contribution was basically about my feelings of prosperity. My giving was all about how I felt about ME! When I give away money, it means I have enough—I have enough money to buy food, to pay my bills, to have a roof over my head and I have enough to share. My contribution is an affirmation of my trust in Spirit that Spirit will continue to provide in the future.

I grew up in a lower middle class family. There were times when my family could not pay the bills and we went hungry. This didn’t happen often and it didn’t last long but the emotional experience stayed with me into my adult years. Before I read this book and changed my attitude, I was hanging on to every cent I made and constantly telling people how poor I was. I was living out of fear.

For decades I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough money tomorrow to buy groceries, or to make the rent payment. It never actually happened but the fear was always present. After I read the Abundance book I began practicing giving away money. I still felt my fear but gave freely without any intention of getting something back. I always affirmed I had enough money for me and enough to share. Fear had restricted the flow of love, grace, opportunity and abundance in life. When I let go of the fear, my energy was free. I was always taken care of by Spirit.

One time after I quit the job I had for 10 years, I traveled around the country looking for another. I found a new place to live and with some savings moved there without a job.

Six months later I still did not have a full time job, and my money was gone. I had interviewed for a job that felt really good. I knew I was where I should be. I knew this new job was mine. I just continued to pray and trust. I borrowed money for the rent and continued to give away part of what I earned. One week after I borrowed the rent money I was hired for the new job at more money than the job was advertised for and more money I had ever made. It turned out to be the best job I ever had. Thank you Spirit!

Now I have to say that Spirit doesn’t always follow my time requests. You know that old saying, “Lord give me patience…and I want it NOW.” I really would have liked to have gotten that job before I had to borrow money for the rent. However, borrowing money for the rent taught me interdependence and gave my friend the opportunity to be generous when I needed it. Spirit has His/Her own agenda to follow. I believe the agenda is about teaching me to truly trust in the Higher Order of the Universe.

When I first began this practice I started out slowly giving just a little bit. I got just a little bit in return. Then I began to trust more. I began to circulate more of my bounty in earnest. When I feel myself holding on to money or things I say an affirmation, bless what I’m holding onto and let it go.

I invite you to join me in releasing the fear that you do not have enough prosperity and abundance in your life for tomorrow. Embrace life by trusting Spirit and sharing the abundance you do have in your life. Spirit will move to fill your life with abundance in unexpected ways.

I wish you love and abundance to share.

Many Blessings to You and Your Family,
Reverend Ariann

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In Honor of Our Children, Living in the Age of Conscious Evolution

I watch my grandchildren with utter amazement in regard to the wisdom they have and the challenges they face. They have come into this world at a most auspicious time, with the planet teetering on the edge of self-destruction or the evolution of our consciousness into greater clarity and compassion.

Many children today have come in very much aware about what is truth and what is not, and they expect adults to be honest with them, even if that honesty is humbling for us or difficult. Many of them are highly empathic and as a result they can become overwhelmed by their emotions, as they pick up on the emotional turmoil around them. Some of them are quite psychic, gifted in their creativity and healing abilities, intelligent, and sensitive.

I’ve seen a lot of people attempt to qualify their children as crystal children or indigo children, etc. I know people that have taken classes to discover if they might not have been recognized as indigo children when they were young. As a former special education teacher I am intrigued by this need to define the children in categories commensurate with their talents. When I was teaching, I used the categories to help me understand my student’s particular challenges and the learning methodologies that would best support them. Then as soon as possible, I tossed the categories out the window and focused on relating to each child as a unique individual with unique needs.

Each child had something special to offer the world, even the most disabled child, and my job was to discover what that was and help them bring their gift into manifestation. Disabled or gifted made no difference to me. Disabilities bring some strenuous challenges with them, and so do our talents. Gifted children often had difficulty fitting in, were bored easily, didn’t know how to share their gifts constructively, and experienced adults that either expected too much or too little from them.

Some of our psychic children find me in the dream-time. They talk to me about their challenges as they look for support, encouragement and compassion from someone they perceive will understand them. They find it difficult when they are treated special, as though their insights are more significant than those of the adults that raise them. They find it equally difficult when they are treated without respect, as though their insights don’t matter. They don’t appreciate the pressure we put on them as adults because we believe they are more in touch with the Divine and have the answers we need.

They suffer emotionally when they are born into environments where people don’t understand them or know what to do for them. They don’t understand why we hide from our truths, and why we have done so much damage to each other and the planet. They look at what we are leaving for them to inherit and wonder why we haven’t done better. I’ve met children that were psychically quite open and emotionally ready to commit suicide.

All children deserve the best we have to give them, whether they came into this world disabled, gifted, or as “normal” children on their journey of awakening in this life-time. They are all special. And they need adult compassion, supervision, protection, provision, spontaneity, boundaries, playfulness, commitment, and understanding. And they need to know that we take full responsibility, in action, for ourselves and the world we create. They need our truthfulness, our authenticity and our love. They need us to be worthy of their respect.

This is no small matter, when we as adults are often challenged by our own conscious evolution—at times feeling we are adrift in the sea of the unknown. Yet, especially in the face of our challenges, they need to witness us being as present to the truth of the moment and ourselves as we know how to be. They need to learn what we know, so that they can go beyond what we have accomplished.

Some of our children have chosen to be born into some of the most challenging situations we could possibly imagine. Some of them as the heads of households; some have been sold into slavery. Others do not have enough to eat or no safe place to sleep. Some are being emotionally and sexually abused. Some are tempted by drugs at very young ages and some try to grow up too fast, because they think they are wiser than they really are.

I hold the children on this planet dear to my heart. They are all our children—children of humanity. This Saturday, November 20th is National Children’s Day. Will you join me in taking a few minutes to just hold them in your heart in gratitude for their precious lives? Whether or not they know we have held them in their love, their spirits will know they have been loved exactly as they are—as beautiful beings that have come here to discover the depths of love. We can be that well of love, if we choose, by opening our hearts deeper than we have opened them before, and welcome them in to find their peace and the energy to live fully.

Friday, November 12, 2010

When Our Loved Ones Cross Over

Today, a dear old friend made her crossing to the other side of the veil. She was with us for a long time, and turned a life of challenges into one of love for others. As I light a candle, I honor her inner light and the journey she is now making. Then I light candles for loved ones that made their journey last year, at this same time.

Winter is beginning now. It is the great inward season when we reflect upon what is most important to us in our lives in this moment. Some of us will make an effort to reach out to family and friends as the holidays remind us that this is the time to be with those we love. Some of us will engage in spiritual practices that call us into an evaluation about how we choose to live and express our love. As the New Year turns around once again, some of us will consider our purpose and what goals are significant for being the full expression of our true selves. Some of us will end relationships that no longer serve us well and create new ones that are more in alignment with our current development and desires. Still others of us will hear a calling from the other side, and leave this world for a more limitless experience of Divine love.

Many of our loved ones leave us in the winter, often near or during the holidays when we are gathering to be with family and friends. Winter is the inward season that calls us to hibernate a bit, and reflect upon our journey. It seems a natural and fitting time to decide to just keep going inward until we finally release ourselves from our bodies and into the arms of Divine awareness. And while this final capitulation is powerful and rewarding for those that choose to cross over, it can be quite difficult for those of us that are left behind.

We want our memories for the holidays to be joyful, warm and full of love. And they can be, even when our loved ones cross over during this time. I am not suggesting that you pretend everything is okay, when you are aching inside, but I am suggesting that even through the pain of your own loss, you can be happy for the one that has left. For those that choose to leave, there is often quite a process they go through in which they must finally trust that you will be all right if they go. This assurance gives them freedom to go on to their joy with the Divine. You can make that journey easier for them.

As I have held space for people to cross over and then held space for their family in their grieving, I have learned that there are some things you can consider doing to ease the transition of someone you love, and in the process, ease your own sense of loss. Here are some suggestions.

1) Whether you tell them in the physical world while they are still here, or you tell their spirits through your thoughts and prayers, thank them for the gifts they have given you through their lives.

2) Find it in your heart to be in compassion with anything they have done that has caused you pain, so that the lesson can be completed, and you can both be free from the past.

3) Find it in your heart to be in compassion with anything you did that caused them pain, understanding that life on earth is a journey of lessons for everyone that comes together. Most of the time, you and others are doing your best given your personal challenges, history and woundedness; however perfect or imperfect choices might have been.

4) Look for the ways in which the Divine is letting you know you will be all right. Then convey this to the one that has crossed over. Literally talk to them because they can hear you. Often, even if they have gone to the light, a part of their spirit remains to make sure you will be okay. As you can, bit by bit, let go of them, so that they can fully enter into the freedom and joy that is theirs on the other side. In other words, love them enough to let go of your need for them.

5) Create a special place in your house, perhaps for the next year, where you honor their life and memory. Focus on gratitude for the ways in which they made your life special, and the lessons you learned; however difficult or easy those lessons might have been. If you truly grasp the lessons, you are not likely going to need to repeat them again. So receive the full gift of their presence in your life.

6) Open to your loved one in the dream-time. Many loved ones will return to visit you, especially during the year after their crossing, as you bring closure to your earthly journey together. Once closure is complete, some loved ones become guides and helpers on the other side, while others continue on to new adventures.

7) During the year after their transition, begin giving away the things that belonged to them. If you do this with a gracious heart, by giving family and friends special treasures filled with memories of your loved one, you honor your loved one, honor those who loved them, and slowly let go so that you can open to your own new journey without them.

8) When the first anniversary of their crossing occurs, do something to commemorate their life and your acceptance of their new journey. Plant a tree or flower in their honor, hold a ritual and meal with family and friends, volunteer some time in service for their favorite charity, make a donation in their name, rent their favorite movies and watch them, or listen to their favorite songs. Let it be a day of fond remembrance.

9) Incorporate the best of the lessons you learned from your loved one into your life, so that the greatest meaning of their existence can live on inside of you.

In the end, death creates a great portal through which we can feel and experience more Divine love in our lives. The crossing of our loved ones can offer great gifts to us, if we are willing to receive. It takes great courage, but the gifts are worth it. Remember, as you light a candle for your loved one, light a candle for yourself as well, and receive the love that is there to carry you through.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Men That Honor the Sacred Feminine

It was many years before I finally attracted men in my life that truly understood what it meant to honor the Sacred Feminine. Oh I certainly knew men that loved me as a woman and enjoyed many aspects of my femininity, but that is different than deep respect for the spiritual essence of the Sacred Feminine. In my experience, in order for a man to truly respect the sacred within the feminine, he needs to, however he might define it, respect the Sacred Masculine within himself. He must see and know himself as a sacred being.

Honoring the Sacred Feminine is not something you can learn to do in order to be politically correct around women who are exploring this nature within themselves. Typically, a man treasures a woman’s decision to discover more about her sacredness, when he has, at some point in his life, committed to uncovering his own sacred nature. While there are tremendous intersections between Sacred Masculine and Sacred Feminine, and ultimately it is all One, there are distinctions between these two Divine energies. Becoming aware of the nature of these two energies helps us in understanding ourselves—our own inclinations and impulses.

Women enter the depth of their presence with the Sacred Feminine through their wombs—something that obviously, men don’t have. While men can still access the Sacred Feminine energetically within them, the direct physical doorway does not exist. When women explore the depths of the Sacred Feminine through their bodies, they relate to the sacred through the experience of being pregnant, giving birth, mothering, having miscarriages, their cyclic emotions, shedding blood for their people through their monthly cycles, and eventually experiencing a new power as their ability to have children ceases. These are aspects of a woman’s daily reality and spiritual opening that a man can only experience vicariously. Women’s bodies and cyclic emotions are doorways to spiritual awakening unique to women.

In the Sacred Feminine, women’s bodies and emotions carry them into the vast and dark unknown, where all of life is held lovingly in its potential. This is the sacred in which all possibilities of life are honored without judgment. Imagine this womb of all life’s potential as the vast and dark night sky—an endless, cool, and wondrous place in which life explores itself through repeated acts of new creation. This dark and beautiful aspect of the Sacred Feminine is best depicted today in the statues of the Black Madonna. The mystery of these statues found throughout Europe is not a mystery at all when a woman remembers, through her own body and emotions, that the Sacred Feminine is the birthplace of creation.

On the other hand, men who choose to encounter the Sacred Masculine through their bodies have very different experiences. The Sacred Masculine principle is that of light bursting through the darkness—life longing to become and know itself. This light is hot, fast, explosive and blissful in nature. I believe most men can relate to this principle energetically as it pulses through their bodies. To know how to be with this energy is as vital for a man as it is for a woman to know how to be with her cycles.

Can a man experience the depths of the Sacred Feminine, or can a woman discover the passion of the Sacred Masculine? Certainly. In fact, in spiritual practice, this is part of the journey. Ultimately, especially if we age consciously, we embody the full expression of both sacred natures seamlessly. We become the Oneness. We become present to the One by first fully experiencing both.

One reason women like me have looked for men that could honor the exploration of the Sacred Feminine is that this sacred nature has nearly been forgotten on our planet. For thousands of years, we have recognized and held the masculine sacred principle as holy, while minimizing the very nature of the Sacred Feminine. That is perhaps why statues of the Madonna were painted black—to gently remind us that there is another aspect of the Divine nature to be remembered—the forgotten one—the Sacred Feminine.

In order for humanity to once again fully accept both the masculine and the feminine principles as sacred, many women today recognize that we must know and remember this Divine essence within ourselves. Only then will we give birth to sons and daughters from our deepest sacred awareness. Because we are remembering, we look to other women to help us rediscover the ancient practices that teach us how to be fully present to this vastness of loving space we can access through our bodies and emotions.

Men that honor the Sacred Feminine seem to somehow sense or know the significance of this exploration that their women are drawn to experience. They become our great supporters and protectors, perhaps because they have had the courage to explore the power of their own sacred natures.

When the women come to my home to experience ceremony in the Sacred Feminine, my husband has helped me get ready by honoring my need for extra meditation time, assisting me in putting the house in order, and adjusting our meal time to accommodate ceremony. He likes to be there when the women arrive to warmly greet them at the door. Then he quietly slips away, giving us complete and private space. If there is any outside activity that might disturb our space, he handles it. And when ceremony is complete, we call him to join us to share food. He never asks about our experiences out of respect for our privacy, but will gladly receive blessings from the women if it is appropriate.

The women often comment on how wonderful he is when they arrive, and how blessed I am to have such respectful support. I smile, knowing that he is embodying the powerful and loving energy of the Sacred Masculine. To every man that embodies the sacredness within him, I give thanks. Because in your love, support and protection, we are truly free to remember our most sacred selves as women.