Neck Pain or Pain in the Neck?

June 6, 2018

painneckEver wake up with a stiff neck and wonder if you slept wrong or moved wrong in your yoga class… or perhaps doing sit ups at the gym? But did you ever relate that neck problem to a person who’s troubling you and have been thinking “what a pain in the neck?” What we think we create! As Edgar Cayce notes, first comes thoughts, then comes action; thus, what we think becomes what we concentrate on creating new possibilities that lead to other actions. Our world is a template of what is first conceived in our minds.

It’s not that our pains aren’t real. For sure, they are. Our physical world is composed of real stuff including real problems, real emotions and real physical issues. But where does it all start? As souls in a body, we are first spiritual beings with a soul plan and karma to be dealt with. Everything we do leads us closer to completing our karma both on the positive as well as on the negative side. Sometimes that negative stuff requires us to learn lessons that we are stubborn about learning. The universe is patient giving us many chances and creating many opportunities for us to go about learning these lessons. If one way doesn’t work, another way is tried. Have you ever felt as if you’re just in the same soup warmed over and over with different people playing out in a different place?

This has certainly happened to me whether at work, at my gym, at my aerobics class and even in my dance venues. People pop up and things happen, words are said, exchanges are made and I feel like – “wow, again the same thing. Why does this feel so familiar?” the answer is simple, because it has happened before, perhaps many times before. And you may have learned the lesson in one form but need to learn it again in another form. That person that is a pain in the neck may be teaching you a lesson but since you’re not learning the lesson, yet another person that is an equally difficult person – another pain in the neck comes along. And then you wake up one morning to find that you have transferred the emotionally pain in the neck to the physical pain in the neck. As Louise Hays points out in her classic book “You can Heal Your Life”, a pain in the neck points to “inflexibility, or failing to see an issue from multiple sides”; or “being stubborn”.

So the next time you feel someone is being a proverbial “pain in the neck” look at yourself in the mirror and ask, “am I being stubborn or inflexible?” and then wait for the answer. Your comments are welcome. Always in light, Rev. Joanne.

 

 

 


Stand by your beliefs and you will be supported

May 1, 2018

Recently I watched a TV evangelist talk at great length about how God promises us that we can be ten times better if we just “believe”. He then went on to give examples of how this can come to be; one of these stories was of Daniel, a well-known central figure in the Bible.

According to Good News Translation/The American Bible Society, the following passage tells the shortened version of the story of a young man who along with others of his day stood by their beliefs and came out not only momentarily victorious, but generally many times stronger.

The Young Men at Nebuchadnezzar’s Court
1 In the third year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia attacked Jerusalem and surrounded the city. 2 The Lord let him capture King Jehoiakim and seize some of the Temple treasures. He took some prisoners back with him to the temple of his gods in Babylon, and put the captured treasures in the temple storerooms.

 

3 The king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief official, to select from among the Israelite exiles some young men of the royal family and of the noble families. 4 They had to be handsome, intelligent, well-trained, quick to learn, and free from physical defects, so that they would be qualified to serve in the royal court. Ashpenaz was to teach them to read and write the Babylonian language. 5 The king also gave orders that every day they were to be given the same food and wine as the members of the royal court. After three years of this training they were to appear before the king. 6 Among those chosen were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all of whom were from the tribe of Judah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

8 Daniel made up his mind not to let himself become ritually unclean by eating the food and drinking the wine of the royal court, so he asked Ashpenaz to help him, 9 and God made Ashpenaz sympathetic to Daniel. 10 Ashpenaz, however, was afraid of the king, so he said to Daniel, “The king has decided what you are to eat and drink, and if you don’t look as fit as the other young men, he may kill me.”

11 So Daniel went to the guard whom Ashpenaz had placed in charge of him and his three friends. 12 “Test us for ten days,” he said. “Give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare us with the young men who are eating the food of the royal court, and base your decision on how we look.”

14 He agreed to let them try it for ten days. 15 When the time was up, they looked healthier and stronger than all those who had been eating the royal food. 16 So from then on the guard let them continue to eat vegetables instead of what the king provided.

17 God gave the four young men knowledge and skill in literature and philosophy. In addition, he gave Daniel skill in interpreting visions and dreams.

18 At the end of the three years set by the king, Ashpenaz took all the young men to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them all, and Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah impressed him more than any of the others. So they became members of the king’s court. 20 No matter what question the king asked or what problem he raised, these four knew ten times more than any fortuneteller or magician in his whole kingdom. 21 Daniel remained at the royal court until Cyrus, the emperor of Persia, conquered Babylonia.

Daniel

The point of the story is that Daniel and his comrades chose what they believed to be the correct behavior regardless of what others thought. In this case, the heavier food would indeed slow them down while a lighter diet kept their heads clearer and facilitated higher performance. In the end, Daniel rose up through the ranks as he aged and eventually became the leader of the city, while his comrades were also appropriately rewarded for their service.

What does all this mean for you or me? Well, it means that even under duress, if we take the higher ground, we will be supported by the positive forces in nature. Recently, I had 3 nasty things happen to me during a very short period of time. In just one week, a pipe burst flooding the lower level of my home; while the house was being repaired I was very sick with the flu; then at the end of the week when I finally went out my car was hit on the highway during a flash rain storm by an exploding semi-truck tire. It was almost as if it all was meant to happen to show me that I could live through lots of duress. Although each of these things were quite distressing, I kept my perspective and believed that it was all part of the divine plan. In fact, I believed that there was some lesson I was meant to learn. Perhaps that God had saved me – each time. I could have been away when the pipe burst; I could have gotten ill during a vacation rather than a week when I had to be home anyway; and the exploding tire hitting the car could have killed me. So I had lots to be grateful for. I continued to believe and stay positive.

The next month I left for a 2-week vacation and everything went very well… or at least the challenges I experienced were all kept under control. I had a wonderful time. I went on the trip believing that I had had my “three” bad things happen to me so that nothing else would happen this year! It was certainly one way to look at it! I believed and I was supported. We always have the choice to make daily how we will believe, and whether we will take the higher road when under duress.  

 


How Giving Back Helped Me Pay it Forward

August 23, 2016

Little did I know when I started interacting with a new friend last winter that it would lead to my fulfilling one of my life goals; which is to give back to the community after a very rewarding professional career in IT project management.  I decided that I needed to share some of what I had learned throughout my many years in the corporate world to foster workplace performance. Not only had I never lost a project due to my well-developed PM skills, I had loyal and dedicated teams. Sure, this may sound boastful, but it’s true. Being grateful for the experience, I wanted to offer tools and techniques that I had gleaned to others as my legacy to contribute to the improvement of corporate culture.

kids

Volunteering my skills and offering workshops turned out not to be so easy. After several lengthy failed attempts involving writing proposals, offering startup funds to get my “Enlightened Leadership” concepts into my university curriculum, and then to my spiritual organization’s mindful leadership program to no avail, the successful situation actually came to me. When my friend wasn’t able to take an assignment, he suggested that I coach summer school for kids. I had co-coached with him for several months providing me with a basic understanding of how to work with the kids, but teaching multiple times per week for eight weeks was a totally different situation. After a very brief negotiation with the head mistress of the learning center, I had to design 18 classes with only 10 days’ notice. It was at this point that I decided to use the backdrop of what I had wanted to present to the older group, just on a more modified scale.

My philosophy was to start with the youth teaching the basics of interpersonal skills, time management and planning projects as a foundation for being a more informed participant in the workplace. Hopefully, these skills learned at a young age would help these students grow into adults with better emotional intelligence as well as analytical understanding of the requirements they might face later. This material was ground breaking for 6th and 7th graders. And my interactive, problem solving and team-oriented style was new to them. That said, eventually we all got used to the program; I adjusted to them and in turn, they got used to speaking to each other and thinking more analytically. By the end of the eight weeks, the kids were all writing and presenting on the elements of a project plan using a model familiar to them – the five questions: Why? Where? Who? What? When? One of my life goals is now accomplished. I did it and they did it!

As I finished the summer session, I wondered what would come next only to see a brief article in the local paper advertising for STEMS (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) volunteers to help local teachers in the school system. I applied and was quickly accepted. My training is in a few weeks. So on to the next chapter of paying it forward to give back. My experience has been both exhilarating and exhausting. I expect the next experience with coaching kids to be equally rewarding.


Reaping What You Sow

August 9, 2016

A very long time ago a great man once said, that as you sow seeds, you reap what you’ve sown! There are many ways one can interpret this expression. The first is, of course, literally. Whatever seeds you put in the ground, you can pretty much expect that plant or vegetable to grow. But as most such sayings go, they are meant to be allegorical; that is, represent more to us than the literal meaning. So here’s where it starts to get interesting.

seedsFrom the esoteric perspective, reaping what you sow also means that as we treat others, we can expect to be treated ourselves. I look at this expression in a more karmic way; that is, if we are positive in our interactions then we bring positive energy to us; whereas, if we act in a careless fashion we could very well bring negative energy our way. This is also called the Law of Cause and Effect and is applicable to our three dimensional world whether we believe in it or not. This is a really important point. Just because you don’t believe in gravity doesn’t negate the effects of gravity! The same holds true for the Law of Karma (Cause and Effect). So how does Karma impact our lives?

It’s pretty simple really, as you want others to treat you, treat them. If you want to be respected, loved, nurtured, trusted, etc. then you need to be and act that way with others. Or, if you are harsh, mean, hateful, aggressively antagonistic, etc. then at some point in this life or the next, the Law of Karma will catch up with you. As Einstein figured out, energy is neither created nor destroyed. So the negative energy we create stays in the universe until it comes back to us somehow and some way. Sometimes we wonder why there’s a person in our lives that just doesn’t seem to fit – perhaps it’s because they are here to finish a karmic debt from another place and time. Or, if it’s you that’s dishing out the junk, then maybe in the future, you can have a person come into your life to do the same to you. In any case, it’s a lot better to just be nice, considerate and caring as if everything we do really matter. Since, in the long run, it does!

 


How we get programmed by simple actions

July 10, 2016

Ever give your dog or cat a treat? Do it once and they will demand it forever! So in the end, who is training who? I have a friend who taught his cat Sherman to sit up and give the paw before providing milk as a treat. Before too long Sherman was prancing into the kitchen, sitting himself down and offering the paw as if to say, “ok, big guy, where’s the milk?” If my friend ignored him, Sherman would resort to pawing the dishwasher and meowing loudly until he got what he wanted – the milk! It’s pretty funny, but that’s how it went.

Sherman with the paw for milk

Sherman with the paw for milk

Now I have a similar story relating to my own cat Skylar who, after getting crunches on top of his soft food only once as an incentive to eat would then refuse to eat without the added bonus. The cat could be starving, but would just sit and look at me like, “Are you kidding? You want me to eat that?” of course, not wanting him to go too long without food I’d give him what he wanted. Now the crunches are a stable and no longer a treat.

But isn’t this how life is? If we’re given a bonus at work too often, we come to expect it. Or, more likely, certain behaviors from friends and family say a significant other takes us out regularly or perhaps a child gets good grades in school. So much for that new behavior being special, since if rewarded too often, it’s expected and no longer appreciated. Thus we move into the taken for granted mode.

It’s easy to fall into this trap. Take a look around your life and see where you’ve been programmed or perhaps where you’ve programmed those around you. Do your kids expect multiple vacations, gifts and treats per year because you did it once and now they think it’s normal and so expected? Think about whether you should re-program certain areas of your life for the better to bring things back into proper balance. Is all that behavior, whatever “that is” really necessary?

Only then can we have true gratitude and appreciation for what’s truly special in our lives. That’s how it’s supposed to be! Let me know how it goes..


Doing the Right Thing

March 8, 2016

Life can be complicated. Heck, it’s most often complicated. And on top of it there is usually more than one way to get things done. When we look at all the variables and the options to attack our problems, sometimes there are short cuts, ways around the issues, or even methods that may be a bit nefarious. Ah oh! What happens when we choose to cut corners, snip a bit off the end of something to save time or take the low road rather than the high road? This is called taking the easy way out and is not the spiritual way; that is, thinking or doing in this manner will not serve us in the long run. Anything that doesn’t serve us, certainly doesn’t serve our soul growth, so why do it?

This leads us to a better understanding of doing the right thing. It’s obviously not easy to do the right thing when there are other options. If there were only one option, it would be easy. But this isn’t the way the world was built. We are usually given challenges so that we come out of the situation stronger than when we went in. As souls in a body, we’re given a choice – we can move towards the higher path towards the light or take the low road towards the darkness. Without a choice, there would be no challenges and therefore no way to ever overcome difficulties; thus, we would be in a world where we wouldn’t know the difference between the light or the darkness. So when we have issues, understand that these problems are not thorns in your side, but opportunities to grow and become stronger. Without hills to climb our legs would never have a chance to know their limits for example. The same is true of our spiritual and moral bodies. Only by stretching our limits can we grow, become better people and move forward on our spiritual path.

lightdarkIn the end, doing the right thing may be harder, but it is usually more rewarding. This has been my experience. I’ve found that with challenges in my life, moving through the tunnel of difficulty eventually brings me to the light; how wonderful it feels to get there. And, often there are unexpected rewards. It’s also my experience that when we follow the light and do the right thing, goodness follows us also.


Overcoming Negative Energies

May 6, 2015

Energy

Life would be so easy if we only had to deal with ourselves since it would eliminate not being able to get along with another. But by definition, this cancels out being in relationships, which are one reason that we are in the earth plane. So, no dice! Unless we are hermits, we must deal with other individuals outside of ourselves and in the process learn from them. If we are fortunate, we can overcome the negative energy we encounter buried within these challenges/lessons and open more to the light in the process. So how does this process of overcoming negative energies work?

If we take a look at nature, we can get some clues at how beings are supposed to be together normally. I use the word “normal” to mean when conditions are good, ok, or even average. Take my cat for example. If I’m nice to my cat by providing food, shelter, and morning kisses, he gives me love back; in fact, even if I put nasty medicine in his mouth, since he trusts me, he allows me to do this and still loves me back. Just to show that he has a real personality, if I don’t sit with him at night and watch TV together (which he really enjoys), he won’t come upstairs to sleep on the bed with me (which I really miss). Somehow he knows this. So when I don’t do something that he wants me to do, he doesn’t give me what I want in return. He’s a loving creature and expects love back just like I do. So he’s not stupid. If I ignore him, he will go in the other room and put his back towards me ignoring me. He’s even gone so far as to leave poopy by my bed to indicate that he’s really mad at me. I’m sure you can figure out what this translates to in human language! Anyone that has a pet is probably laughing in agreement with me right now, and for those of you that can hardly believe what I’m writing… well guess you have to be there.

So what’s the take-a-way? If an animal responds to love with love, then why don’t people do the same? The answer is that possibly it’s because we’re more complicated, but it shouldn’t be that way. It should just work like Newton postulated – each action has an equal but opposite reaction – if I love you then you should love me back. Well, why not? Why are people so full of anger, hate, commitment phobias, past hurts and unwillingness to be loved in the first place? It’s really a shame that we can love, nurture, care about, help, be present for others and then not get anywhere near this type of reaction in return.

According to Kabbalah and the more spiritual traditions, the reason that we do not receive love when we give love, is there is some challenge or lesson to learn. That is, there is a negative energy to overcome. In continuing to love even in the face of this negativity, we are maintaining our standing in the light and so furthering our own soul development. We are also helping to heal the person with the negative energy at a soul level. This is not easy to do; that said, once we feel that we have to get out for our own safety, then we are freed from any further obligation to do so, since our own welfare always comes first. In the end, each soul must be allowed to move forward in their own way, and in their own time. We can only hope that their negative energy can be overcome so that they can also move into the light. And so it is!


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