Thursday, October 30, 2008

Being Present - Living Present

We hear a lot about being present, living in the now, The Power Of Now. The term "be in the moment" is a commonly used one. But I think if we look at how we go through our lives, we'll find that there are a lot of times when we are not living in the moment or present with what is happening around us.

I realized how this happens to me – times that I am not present in my life – one day while I was brushing my teeth. With toothbrush in hand and mouth, I was wandering around the bedroom, making the bed, picking out what I was going to wear, straightening things up, putting this away and that away. And suddenly, I stopped and realized, "I am not being present with brushing my teeth."

And I realized that I had no idea if I'd even moved the toothbrush over all of my teeth or if I'd had it on the same group of teeth for the whole two minutes I’d been doing other things.

This is how we go through our lives for the most part. Someone is talking to us and we are not even hearing what they are saying because we are either thinking about that guy that cut us off in traffic yesterday or what we want to say to this person when they are finished talking.

We miss so much of life's experiences when we are not present, when we don't stay in the moment and really hear what the other person is saying, or focus on the project that we are working on.

Our experiences can be so much more enriched by being present with them, looking at each moment in time.

When we are not present in any situation, it is because we are focusing our thoughts on either the past or the future. When we do this we are putting ourselves in the experience of suffering. We are resisting what is. We are saying to ourselves that we are not happy and that something in the future will make us happy.

But if we are truly present with what is happening right now in our lives, we can still be happy. It doesn’t mean we want to stay in this job or experience or relationship. It just means that we are happy no matter what is going on around us or what experience we are having.

If we are in a job that we don't like and we spend our day wishing that the day was over, we will be miserable about being where we are and our day will drag on. But if we are totally present in each moment of our day, letting go of any desire to be in the past or the future, we will find that not only does the day fly by, but the job that we do is far superior to what we would do if we were looking forward to the end of the day. And there are so many more gifts we can receive from being present. People will feel us more present with them.

Think about this. Is there anything wrong right now in this moment? You probably cannot think of anything wrong in this very moment. Imagine what it would be like living each day in this moment where there is nothing wrong.

We are always wishing for something better to make us happy, but what if this is as good as it gets? Can we be happy, content, peaceful?

Living present can allow us to be in the place of pure contentment and acceptance of what is.

Letting go of past pain and future desires that we think make us either unhappy or happy, can lead to a feeling of peace within, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with what is in this moment.

Awareness is being present.

Take a look as you go through your week at times when you might catch yourself not being present. Then consciously bring yourself back into the present moment. Choose certain activities through the week where you will make the conscious effort to be present – with your children, your partner, your job, cleaning the house or even just sitting down to enjoy a meal, or even a piece of chocolate.

Have a wonderful week of total presence and awareness.

If you are interested in our weekly group meetings or one-on-one sessions please visit my website: www.bettinagoodwin.com

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Abundance

When we think of abundance we have a tendency to think of financial status. But abundance goes far deeper than how much money we have in the bank. Our abundance comes from a place within us that is connected to the peace and love that we all are.

This is not to say that there is anything wrong with having lots of money. People think that living a spiritual life or from a spiritual place within means living a life of poverty. This is not the case.

But there are far more aspects of abundance than financial. We have so much in our lives that make us abundant. But at times we don't see those things or even consider them to be a part of our abundance. If we think about it, we can probably not think of a time that we were not taken care of or supported in what we needed. Is there a time when you ever didn't have exactly what you needed at just the right time, whether it was money, support, love?

We can say, "Yes, but there was that time that I didn't get the house or the car I wanted, or the new clothes or job." But if we look back at the experience we can probably find that, in fact, we did receive exactly what we needed. Maybe it was in the form of a lesson or in bringing up something about our beliefs that needed to be looked at. Or perhaps, a better job, car or house came along after that.

We can look at abundance as something outside of ourselves such as money and material things, but when we desire these things to make us happy, we do not always feel abundant. There is nothing wrong with desiring something in our lives. But when we feel the desire for something we think is better, for example, "If I could make more money, I'd be happy," "If only I could get that great new car, house, pair of shoes, I'd be happy," this is coming from a place of neediness within, a place of lack. This is saying, "I am not happy right here, right now." When we come from this place of lack, nothing we ever desire will make us happy and we will search forever looking for the golden egg.

Desiring from a place of peace, love and contentment from within is different. We are no longer desperate to feel good about ourselves or our lives. Everything in THIS MOMENT is absolutely perfect. And anything we desire from this place can be enjoyed to it fullest.

It is from this place of peace that we can manifest our abundance. The richness of our lives, lies in the connection to our own peace, happiness and love – the place within us that is the truth of who we are.

So going back to what was discussed above about always getting exactly what we need at the very moment we need it, this can mean that what we get is not always what we THINK we need but what we REALLY need. If we desire from a place of lack or neediness, what we may need at that moment is not the thing we desire, but the lesson to look within at what the belief is about lack or need.

For instance if we say, "If only this person would change, I would be much happier." The person may not change and even if they did, we may not be any happier than before and we will desire something else to make us happy.

We cannot change another person. We can only look within ourselves and if we are not in a place of peace, contentment and pure love, we can look at the belief that is causing our unhappiness. If we find ourselves wanting to fix another person, we can look within and find out why we are driven to do it. Most often we will find something within ourselves that we feel needs to be fixed.

And as we take responsibility for our own thoughts, emotions and beliefs, we can shift them, leading us to a place of peace and love within. From this place we can then inspire others to find that place within themselves.

This is the abundance in our lives. The gifts we receive every day that guide us to that place of peace and happiness within, the joy in life when we accept what is, the love we feel that we can share with others, the worthiness we feel in receiving these gifts and a richness in our lives that we feel each day.

As you go through your week this week, take a look at any instance, experience or gesture which indicates your abundance. Try to look at the abundance from all aspects of your life and stay away from looking at it from a financial standpoint.

May you be surrounded this week by beautiful gifts of abundance.

If you are interested in our weekly group meetings or one-on-one sessions please visit my website: http://www.bettinagoodwin.com/

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Acceptance

How often do we truly accept what is? We can all probably think of many instances during our day when we do not accept what is. From our hair not going the way we want to getting stuck in traffic and being late for work. Why can we not accept what is? Usually, non-acceptance is accompanied by judgment.

Because we are always searching for happiness, love, peace, and contentment in our lives we are always finding ways to control what happens. Because we have certain beliefs, we are always looking for ways to support those beliefs. Judgment can help us to feed the flames of our beliefs, whether they are positive or negative.

When we choose not to practice acceptance, how do we feel? Usually we feel aggravated, agitated, restless, and out of control. How about when we truly accept what is? We feel the sense of peace in letting go of what we believe and judge and just allowing it to be.

Acceptance does not mean there is no action taken and that when someone is attacking us either verbally or physically that we must continue to let them do it. Acceptance comes more from the aspect of "This is what is happening right now and I cannot change it or the person doing it. It is what it is." If it doesn’t feel comfortable to us, then we can take action, such as to remove ourselves from the situation or ask the person to stop treating us in this way.

But when we accept what is happening we are coming from that place of peace within ourselves from which our request to the other person is more likely going to be heard. There will be no anger behind our words because we are not judging the actions, simply not wishing to be the recipient of them.

Another aspect of acceptance is that when we have an experience that is not a positive one, we can accept what is happening and if it triggers us or causes us pain, we can look at it as a great way to look within ourselves and most important of all practice acceptance of ourselves. When we learn to accept ourselves and how we think and feel, it is much easier to accept others as well. For when we judge another, we are also judging ourselves.

We cannot change or fix others. We can only look within ourselves and see where our beliefs no longer work for us and shift them to something that does work.

A perfect example of acceptance is meditation. When we are meditating we are aware of everything around us and can sit in stillness as life happens around us. And yet there is no need to change or fix any of it. We are simply aware that it is happening. Life can be a meditation. Can we stay in this state all the time? No, practically speaking, we are human and part of our human experience is to feel and think. But we can be aware of what is happening all the time.

We can hear the phone ringing and we can say, "That phone shouldn’t be ringing!" But we cannot stop it from ringing. It has happened. We can accept it or we can fight it. We can answer it or we can let it ring. If we put a judgment on it, like "I HAVE to answer the phone because it is ringing" we will probably not accept the fact that it is ringing. But if we realize that we have a choice to either answer it or not, we can accept that it is ringing without judgment.

Acceptance doesn’t mean we don’t have to take action.
Acceptance is not judging what is happening, as it cannot be changed.
Acceptance comes from peace, judgment comes from pain.

As you go through your week this week, be aware of times when you judge or cannot accept a situation as it is. Then take a breath and see if you can accept what is happening and if you cannot, look inside yourself to see what is preventing you from practicing acceptance. This is where the lesson lies.

Have a wonderful week of peace, love and acceptance.

If you are interested in our weekly Spiritual Group Meetings or private one-on-one sessions please visit my website at http://www.bettinagoodwin.com/

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fear

The two most significant emotions we ever feel in life are love and fear. Most other emotions are either a mask for the fear or lead to it.

Fear is simply the absence of the feeling of love. The love is always in us and can be felt at any moment. But fear can be the emotion that blocks us from feeling the love.

We tend to attach fear to certain situations and things to give it an identity because we often cannot get to the very basic fear. Fear of not being loved, fear of not being approved of, fear of not being good enough. Fear of dogs, snakes, speaking in public and the list goes on and on. But the most basic fear at the core of our beings, is fear of not existing.

We feel the void within ourselves, that great expansion, the perfect stillness and we feel the fear arise. The simple concept of being brings up our fear. We fear losing our identity if we drop our beliefs and let go of the thoughts and emotions that keep us from feeling our love. We think, "If I drop that belief about who I am, then what is left."

The place where fear lies is in that moment before we take the first step. It lies in the pushing back of the emotion as it arises in us. In that moment before we surrender to the feeling and feel it fully in our bodies, that is the moment when the fear is the worst.

To let go of this fear, all we need to do is let go of the idea of having to keep it hidden. To trust that we are supported and loved and taken care of and that nothing that happens can be as scary as actually taking the step into the fear.

Pushing against the fear and not allowing it to come up is keeping us in suffering. It is that pushing against the fear that causes the most pain. Letting go of the fear, allowing it to fill us, to consume us brings us to the freedom we all desire.

During this next week, take a look at any situations or experiences that may bring up your fear. And as the fear is recognized, step over the threshold and allow it to fully come up in your body, letting it go and see if facing the situation becomes easier than you originally thought.

Have a wonderful week full of freedom!

For more information about one-on-one sessions, please visit my website at www.bettinagoodwin.com

Friday, October 3, 2008

Worthiness

How do we measure the limitlessness of our worthiness? It is interesting that so many issues can be traced back to a feeling of unworthiness. How does this happen?

When we are children we learn that some actions or words will bring us what we want, while others will bring us what we don’t want. "Be a good boy and you will get a cookie" "Be a bad boy and no cookie." Reward and punishment teaches us when to feel worthy and when not to feel worthy. It teaches us judgment.

If our parents do not know how to take care of their own issues, such as anger, the energy of that anger comes through in their words. When children misbehave and feel this angry energy coming at them, they begin to believe that they are not worthy of love because of something they may have done or said.

This is where we learn to judge ourselves and others. We decide whether we are good parents, good employees, good wives, husbands, friends. And based on that judgment, we also decide whether we are worthy of love, approval, abundance, and freedom.

But the truth is that we are all worthy of all that the universe has to offer, no questions asked, no judgments made. There is no such thing as worthy or unworthy to the universe. As a part of all that is, we are entitled to experience all that is.

If we are living in a place of suffering, which is merely a place of not feeling the love within us, then we are not in total acceptance of what is. Judgment is non-acceptance. Judgment leads to feelings of not being worthy.

This becomes evident in our every day life. Someone pays us a compliment and we respond with, "Oh thank you but it’s just from Walmart." Or someone gives us a beautiful gift out of the blue and we feel ourselves welling up with tears because we don’t feel we deserve it. We are keeping this secret inside that we don’t feel worthy because of some thing or another that we have judged as bad.

Have you ever had someone give you a Christmas gift and you didn’t have one to give them in return? Was there that awkward silence in accepting the gift from them? That apology for not having bought them something and the guilt that is felt within? When we don’t feel worthy, we find it difficult to receive. We feel indebted, that it must be paid back, a balance or tally kept.

But when we feel and believe in our own worthiness, we can receive with grace. And when giving and receiving is done from that place of pure love, a natural balance occurs.

This week try to take a look at each opportunity you have to receive with grace. If someone pays you a compliment, can you breathe into that compliment and receive it simply as a true expression of another person’s feelings? If someone offers you a helping hand, to buy you lunch, to loan you money, to give you a drive somewhere, open a door for you, whatever it is, be aware of what you feel and how you accept these gifts. Know the limitless of your worthiness within and from that place receive with grace.