Image of The Seashore

How Discovering Truth and the Ocean are Related

I absolutely love going to the beach.

Growing up, it was part of my family’s tradition to take a summer vacation every other year to some sunny, sandy place, like the beaches of Florida or Alabama. I’ve also been to the beaches of Hawaii and Japan. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve heard the waves, felt the sand, and smelled the salty sea air, but I’ll get back to somewhere sunny and warm and sandy one of these days.

I love swimming in the ocean, enjoying the deeper waters, even though it terrifies me at times, but I also love to stand in the ankle deep water, feeling the waves rush in and pull back, bringing sand out from under my feet and new sand in to bury them once more.

There’s a process that takes place when you’re standing in the sand. You begin with your feet planted, usually a bit of sand between your toes. Sometimes you dig your toes in; other times you simply stand there and wait. You know though that, in that moment, you feel secure of where you’re standing.

Then, in the blink of an eye, the water pulls out, and that little piece of secure land you’re standing on gets pulled right out from under your feet. It really is one of the weirdest feelings. As the water goes, so does the sand, and there is nothing you can do about it.

You’re stuck with two small holes, where your feet are standing, and you have two choices. You can take a couple of steps and try to adjust to this new, less secure position, or you can choose to wait it out. You know that in just a moment, the water is going to rush back in.

And then it does, bringing with it a whole new pile of sand and shells and other small bits of the shore that were a little further out. No matter if you adjusted before, or you decided to wait it out, you have to step and adjust now. Sometimes the adjustment is almost unnoticeable, and you do it without thinking. At other times, a bigger wave brings in an amount of sand that is larger than usual, and you’re almost walking a bit to compensate.

You’re back on secure ground, your feet planted once more, but after you’ve stood on the shoreline, even for just a few moments, you begin to understand the process. You can only be secure for so long. The waves will come in and go out, bringing in security and taking it away, and you know you’ll have to keep adjusting.

All of this talk of the beach and the ocean is leading to a point, or maybe I’m just thinking of warm waters and hot sands to combat the cold we’ve finally received here in Indiana. As I remember the feel of the sand beneath my feet and the ebb and flow of the waves, I can’t help but reflect on my spiritual journey over the past couple of years and my desire for seeking after and discovering truth.

At first, I had no desire to expand; I was secure in my truth, and nothing was going to change that. Now, however, I am always wanting to go beyond what I already know and discover new and more profound things.

And now I am going to get all metaphorical. You see, the process that involves searching for and discovering truth reminds me a lot of the process you feel while standing on the shoreline. Each step that you go through when standing on the shore can be felt in one way or another as truth is being discovered and learned.

  • You stand secure in your truth. It seems that nothing can move you from your position.
  • Something more powerful comes along and pulls your truth out from under you.
  • You can try to adjust to the emptier feeling of not being secure, or you can wait and see what happens.
  • New truth pours in, mixing with the truth that is still there, that part of your truth that wasn’t quite pulled away.
  • It’s time to adjust, to become planted and secure once more.
  • But you know you can’t stay secure for long. As the waves ebb and flow, you become used to them, and you learn to be ready for the next one.

Standing secure

There are some people who are lucky, and they never have to experience a kind of staunch desire to stick to a certain truth. There are people who are fluid, and as they learn new truth, they gladly accept it, adjust, and get ready for the next discovery. If you are one of these people, the first few steps of this process may not apply to you, but if you are holding on to a truth, I know the feeling you are going through.

My secure truth was conservative Christianity. I had unshakable faith that:

  • we are all sinners in need of a savior
  • God loved us enough to send a sacrifice, His only son to be that savior.
  • Because Christ lived a sinless life, He was the perfect sacrifice, and God accepted it on behalf of all people.
  • If and only if God called you to believe in Him, and if you followed that calling, you became His child and could inherit the kingdom of Heaven. I believed in the model of predestination.
  • Once in God’s kingdom of people, we were daily sanctified. We are still sinners, but God is daily making us more like Christ.

There was a lot more that I believed, but that was the nitty gritty of it. Even before I became a conservative Christian, I was a non-practicing Christian, so being secure in that truth was easy enough for me.

Everyone was a sinner in need of a savior, and it was my job to bring that news to those I loved. It was urgent, imperative, and my faith in this God, and this story for mankind was unshakable.

There are probably some of you who are in this stage, and that’s ok. If you are in this stage, and you’re comfortable where you are, then you may not have to worry about your security being pulled away from you. Sometimes that can be for the best. For those of us who know the process or are past the first step, you know what is coming next, and it’s definitely not comfortable or easy in any way.

Security is pulled away

This is the stage that begins the process of spiritual expansion. There is sometimes an event in your life that will trigger the start to this process, or maybe it begins to gradually take place. In either case, the truth you once knew starts to feel far too limiting, and you begin to desire a freer way of looking at everything around you. This transition for a lot of people can be difficult and lead to fear or anxiety.

The event that triggered it for me was the healing of my mother, after she had been very ill for a few months. In a matter of a couple of weeks, she had gone from staying in the ICU to being healthier than anyone could have thought possible. She still had to recover from the symptoms of her illness, but the cause of it was healed.

My mom was, and still is not, a Christian. I began to have questions: if God chooses who goes to Heaven and who does not, then why would he save a non-Christian and not save that person in the spiritual sense? Doubts about this limited form of faith began to surface, and I knew I had to find a less restricted and more inclusive form of belief.

The truth I had known for so long was being unraveled, and I was trying desperately to hold on to the tattered remnants while simultaneously desiring something more. It was one of the most confusing times of my life. Not only was this truth being pulled out from under me, but I knew I could never go back to that exact form of belief again.

This part of the process is the hardest; there is no sugarcoating or getting around it. When everything that tells you definitively how to think when it comes to the universe and the meaning of life, is ripped away from you, there is a sense in which it can be freeing, but it can also leave you feeling adrift and lost. In the midst of all this confusion, there are choices that have to be made.

Decision or indecision

This stage is where the emptiness is felt most strongly. You once had a truth that you clung to, but that has been pulled away. There are many ways you could choose to act during this time.

I prayed to God, a lot. I cried, I asked Him many times to take these doubts away from me. I wanted my truth back, but there was a part of me that felt relieved. I was allowed to not know, to not have a grasp on everything. This was a feeling that I wanted more of, and then I would feel guilty for thinking the feeling was wonderful. If I could end up in Hell for my unbelief, then I needed to find my old truth and quickly.

So I stood and waited, indecisively, unsure of which way to go. I could either adjust to a life of simply having no idea, I could try my hardest to find my old truth, or I could wait and hope there was something better, which is what I did.

Once I finally made it through the doubt and fear and uncertainty, I began to reach out to others who I felt had a way that I could get behind. I wanted to trade one truth for another, pull off the label I had been using and stick on something newer and more progressive.

This is the stage of decision making. Will you let your doubts get in the way? Will you stand paralyzed with fear? Will you decide that you don’t even need a truth and adjust yourself to the emptiness of no truth? Will you proactively begin to seek out something new? All of these choices are yours and yours alone, and everyone’s process is going to be different.

For those of us who choose not to dig our feet in to the sand and adjust to no truth, the next part of the process is where things really get interesting. It’s time for the spiritual awakening.

New truth rushes in

The more common name for this stage is the spiritual awakening. You’ve been reaching out, thirsty for new truth, hoping to find something that will bring you clarity in a confusing time in your life. Maybe you tried to readjust to this emptiness, to accept having no truth of your own.

In either case, there are many times when truth will rush in, taking the place of what you knew before, filling in the holes of your once sound and secure truth. This can be both extremely exhilarating and overwhelming as you try and put all of the pieces together.

When my spiritual awakening came to pass, I couldn’t believe there was so much out there that I simply had never heard of or had never studied in any depth. As I devoured books and talked with person after person about all of the new things I was learning, I began to feel that just maybe, things could keep making sense. Everything was changing: my energy, my perceptions, my beliefs. I was noticing more about the world than I ever had.

If I talked about all of the signs of a spiritual awakening, we’d be here for a whole other post’s worth of information. I have, in fact, already written a little post about some signs you’ll notice while waking up spiritually. Though it can be difficult and all of this newness can overwhelm you, this stage of the process can be one of the most fulfilling journeys of your life. Embrace it and go with it. I can promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised where it can lead you.

Learning to adjust

The confusion, the constant questions, the desire to read everything you can get your hands on about spirituality is starting to ebb. You are becoming more secure in the truth you are learning. It’s making sense, and you start to understand that you actually do have more answers than you expected you would.

The adjusting stage is that moment when you know that you’ll have to take a couple of small steps to make room for the new. Otherwise, it could bury you and take over. It’s an acceptance, a taking control of all that you have been learning and will continue to learn.

The hardest part about the adjustment stage is sharing your discoveries with others. Though you have come to accept where you are in your journey, there might be friends or family or others who are close to you that don’t have the open mind that you’ve recently acquired. After I learned to accept that I could never go back to a conservative Christian mindset, and that I had expanded beyond that point, the next step was to try and adjust and let others know where I was coming from.

This can be one of the most difficult things you do. You might lose people you love; others may not understand you at all. You should never express your views in a forceful way; simply tell them where you are on your journey, and ask that they please understand. This fear of letting others know was a huge struggle of mine, so soon, I will have a whole post devoted to this topic and how to combat this fear. You should totally be on the lookout.

the fluidity of truth

You can never hold on to the same bit of truth for long. The more you expand, the more you will come to realize that the universe is humongous and all-encompassing, as far as we know, and that’s not even getting in to what’s beyond our universe.

This whole “finding your truth” thing is a journey, one that, whether you like it or not, will continue until the very end of your life when you finally get to go home and see exactly what the truth is. It’s ok for us to say, right now, “I don’t always know.” That’s why the universe is a mystery, a vast, unexplored mystery that we should be excited to solve.

In this part of the truth seeking process, hopefully you will begin to accept the fluidity of truth, and that even in the moments when we don’t always feel secure, we are still secure in the fact that the universe has us and it always will. We will continue to learn and grow and the waves will come in and they will go out again. Sometimes that can be confusing. Sometimes it can be incredible.

In the end, know this:

  • You are expanding.
  • Your mind is opening.
  • You are connecting to the most incredible source: the energy of the universe itself.
  • You can use this new mindset to bring about abundance, light, and prosperity.
  • Even if you think you know as much as you can, with an expanded mindset, you will never stop learning.

This whole process is not always linear, it’s not always a come and go wave pattern, but as I stand on the shoreline, or unfortunately have to remember standing on the shoreline, I know that the waves remind me of my journey.

I had a secure, unshakable truth that I believed in without fail. That truth was pulled away, and I had to decide how to proceed. New truth came in, almost buried me in its newness and beauty. So I had to back up a bit, step up on to the new sand, sink back in to it, wiggle my toes, and become secure again.

And, I came to realize something: you will always grow. You will never think the same way you did a couple of years ago. If you are willing to have an open mind, the universe will surprise you in so many incredible ways.

A little story and discovering truth

The waters of Osaka bay in Japan were extremely calm. I was almost disappointed as I stood on the shoreline, listening to the small waves break, and felt the bits of sand move and shift under my feet. It had been a busy couple of days, and we finally had a day to visit the beaches. I mean, Japan is a group of islands, so not visiting the beach at least once, to me was almost a criminal offense.

I like strong waves, even if the water is unpredictable and makes me nervous at times. The tiny waves we were dealing with left me a bit underwhelmed. So, I stood on the shore, wondering what I could do in such calm waters, when a larger object than I was used to brushed up against my foot, washed in by a larger wave than was the norm for that day.

Being totally blind, this naturally freaked me out a little bit; I couldn’t just glance down to see what it was. So, what would any human do when faced with a big red button or in my case, a large, rough object on my foot that could potentially hurt me? I picked it up. We all press the button, right? Silly, curious humans…

The universe surprises us

I was holding a beautiful, live starfish in my hands. I couldn’t believe it. I had touched a dead, dried out starfish in my high school science class, and my science teacher explained that these creatures simply lay on the ocean floor, being washed about by the waves.

Everyone gathered around and I showed off my find. People passed it around, and though it’s probably not super rare to find a starfish, the fact that one was deposited right on to my feet was beautiful to me.

In the same way that the ocean can wash up treasures, right to your waiting feet if you’re patient enough, so will the universe continue to show you incredible truths and knowledge that you didn’t know before.

Meditate, read books, talk to people on a deep level, pray to God or source or the goddess, the angels, your spirit guides, walk through nature, be on the lookout for signs. Do these things, be open-minded, and just wait for the treasures to come to you.

Your feet are in the sand. Step lightly. Keep adjusting, and be ready for that starfish when it comes.

How about you? Where are you on your truth journey? What things helped you to get through the hard parts of your spiritual journey? Are you happy with where you are now?

main Castle Logo

Finding Your Passion: Advice you Thought You’d Never Receive from a Murder Mystery

Raise your hand if you’ve been told the advice “Figure out what your passion is and go from there.”

My hand is raised.
In conservative, Christian circles, where I spent a few of my formative years, it’s known as “your calling.” In the self-development world, people call it “your life purpose” or “the thing you’re passionate about.”

All of these have seemed allusive to me. I’ve wanted to be so many things, and I see life as many phases of a journey. Sometimes the roads overlap. Sometimes they merge completely. Sometimes, they go completely separate ways, and I am stuck taking a left or a right turn.

These forks in the road can lead to a lot of confusion and indecision, especially when the road that is being traveled on continues for a long long way when you turn around and look behind you. So what is someone with a lot of drive, a lot of dreams, a lot of ambition, but not a lot of actual direction supposed to do?

Enter the advice from a murder mystery

If you continue along this blogging journey with me, you’ll probably learn something rather quickly: I get a lot of my inspiration and wisdom from the books and TV I watch and read. Fictional stories are simply a platform to tell an experience, to teach a lesson, to bring some larger theme home to the reader or the watcher. Even the most fantastical, the most thrilling have moments where all we can do is sit back and reflect. The smallest paragraph, or the most insignificant scene can change the way someone thinks. Within the story, every character is learning and experiencing and figuring out life. And this is why the art of storytelling will never ever go out of style.

All of this is to say, I received an incredible piece of advice from the season 7 finale of Castle, a popular murder mystery show that airs on ABC. For the purposes of this post, I won’t go in to the plot, but if you at all like murder mysteries, and you haven’t watched this show, watch it, I say.

In this scene, Richard Castle, the main protagonist is talking to his daughter, currently a junior in college. Castle is a mystery writer, and he is about to win a prestigious award. By the time he was his daughter’s age, he had written his first novel. His daughter, Alexis, asks him a very important question: “What about me? What should I do with my life?”

She goes on to point out that she’s a junior in college and she has no idea what she wants to do with herself. Her struggle is so relatable; her desire to know where she stands, where she should go, the direction her life should take is palpable. I know that struggle. So many of us know that struggle.

With fatherly concern, Castle tells her that she will find her passion, or it will find her. Every mistake she’s ever made, every blind alley she’s traveled along, all of these things will lead her to this moment. Generic advice or not, I still like hearing this. We’ve all failed at something, messed up, made a mistake that seems insurmountable, but they all lead to the now, and we can always move forward. But, it’s the next bit of advice that really stuck out to me, the piece of advice that was the game changer.

Because you Already Are

After Castle tells her the ins and outs of moving forward after failure, and that passion is something that can either be sought out or can surprise you when you aren’t expecting it, he says this: “Whatever you do, you’re going to be amazing.”

I don’t have vision, so I have no idea whether or not this is right, but I can imagine in my mind Alexis, giving her father the most incredulous expression, maybe the eye roll, or the raised eyebrows. She sort of sighs, which does convey the right tone of disbelief to me. The “Really dad? This is such a cop-out,” kind of tone.

She asks, “How do you know?”

Castle says, without any hesitation, “Because you already are.”

Now, this could just be a cop out, or a dad just telling his still considered little girl, that of course she’s amazing. She’s amazing in his eyes.

Even if he is, and even if Alexis wasn’t quite satisfied with the answer, this simple advice can be taken in a very deep way. So, I should, and Alexis should, and we all should think about Castle’s advice in this way.

Two children playing chess outdoors
As a child, what did you love doing the most?

As a child, what made you feel amazing?

From our earliest memories, we were always amazing at something. As children, there were things in our lives that we just loved to do, that we were good at, that we felt amazing at. I want you to go back in time, and write down the things that made you feel amazing, the things that grown-up life might have taken away from you in some way. Then, list some memories associated with this amazing-ness. This will keep the disbelieving mind from thinking that it’s nostalgia instead of true childhood passion. Here are a couple of mine.

  • Writing: I wrote stories for fun. When I was nine, I had my own tiny murder mystery written out. I wrote poems. I wrote lists. I wrote a story about a Native American village hidden in our backyard. Not only that, somehow they went to war against leprechauns…don’t ask, I really don’t know. Writing made me feel amazing.
  • Singing: I realized I could sing when I began to learn Disney songs and sing along with them. It didn’t take long for my family and friends to realize I was musically gifted as well. I began performing when I was ten years old. It’s not hard to bring up memories of singing; I did it quite often. Singing made me feel amazing.
  • Other cultures: I have so many memories of pretending I was a Native American, or a woman living in Africa during a turbulent time, or a Japanese princess, or anyone else but boring old me in boring old Indiana. Every child plays make believe, but I wanted my session to be accurate, so I read books on these cultures. I told the friends I was playing with the dos and don’ts of different cultures to make sure they weren’t flubbing up my scene. Yes, I probably drove them crazy, but I wanted to make sure every culture was given respect. Learning about and teaching the ways of other cultures made me feel amazing.

There are so many more: other faiths, teaching in general, the outdoors, making recipes. So, make your list of childhood memories that make you feel amazing, memories where you’re doing something, and you absolutely love what you are doing, no restrictions, no social manners telling you that you have better things to do with your time. I truly feel that these are your passions, that you are already amazing at many things, and you just have to find them.

So what do writing, singing, teaching, learning about other cultures and faiths, making recipes, and the outdoors all have in common? I do have ways in which I can bridge some of those, but I’ll be completely honest with you and tell you that I really don’t know yet. I’m still on a journey of self-discovery, but what I do know is that it’s relieving to me that writing has always been with me, that my love of the world and its peoples and cultures and faiths have always fascinated me, that music of all corners of the world can bring people together, and this is the same with food.

How can this help you?

Begin searching for your childhood passions, and hopefully you’ll realize things about yourself that you didn’t know. You don’t have to search for things that you might be amazing at, simply realize the things that you’ve been amazing at since the beginning. Once you find those things, you can begin to think up common ground between them. This has been a huge relief to me, and it’s helping me to figure out where my life should take me.

Have any of you done anything similar to this? Do you think this could be helpful? What are some of your childhood passions, if you feel comfortable sharing? Let’s discuss in the comments. 

Disclaimer: The Castle logo is produced by ABC studios, all rights reserved. I’m just borrowing it to promote the shows awesomeness.

4 Ways to Help Discipline the Undisciplined

“What lies in our power to do, lies in our power not to do.” Aristotle

How do I stay motivated? How can I focus for long periods of time? How do I consistently reach my own deadlines? How do I form habits? How do I lose weight? How do I start meditating?

The answers to all of these questions come down to one word, a word that means something natural and easy to some, but detrimental to others: discipline.

I fall somewhat closer to the detrimental category. I have never been a very disciplined person; I have quite a bit of natural talent, and I don’t particularly like saying it, but it was easy, and sometimes still is easy, to get away with not doing all that I absolutely could to get something done. As I’m getting older, however, this is getting harder and harder to do, and adopting a disciplined attitude for getting my work done, starting and continuing lasting habits, and generally keeping my life together is becoming imperative.

Discipline is one of the most important qualities to possess for any part of life. Researchers found that self-discipline is even more important than IQ scores in knowing how successful a student would be academically, that higher scores in self-control would lead to a whole host of conditions you’re not as likely to partake in such as binge drinking or drug use, and that being discipline helps with relationship skills. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

So what are we as the undisciplined supposed to do?

In this post, I’m especially going to be talking to you, the undisciplined like myself, who has to keep your own deadlines, who has to motivate yourself in every aspect of your work, or nothing gets done. I’m going to be talking to you, the undisciplined person who might forget your wallet, go back in the house, grab the phone that you also forgot, feel proud of yourself for remembering what you went inside for, walk back outside, fish around to find your wallet, and remember what you actually went in to the house for in the first place.

You can’t just turn discipline on or off like a light switch. It is one of the most difficult things to learn, and I am still learning. There are however, a few tips to help the undisciplined be a little more disciplined in many aspects of life. Success can only come through learning how to discipline the mind, and how to bring discipline to your day-to-day activities. These are not instant fixes; they are however, tips with the undisciplined in mind, which does make it easier for us as the undisciplined to add these small things to our routines.

Before we begin with the actual tips, I do have one more thing to say. These tips are designed to help. If you start to feel bad because you can’t manage implementing tips about discipline in to your life because of your lack of discipline, you’ll begin a vicious cycle of frustration and self-deprecation. These are supposed to make you feel freer, and they should make it easier for us as undisciplined people to do more and remember more. That’s why there are only four of them, and even if you can only start with one, and it helps you, then you’re on the right track.

These are also not the only tips for becoming more disciplined. These are simply a few tips tailored to those of us who know that discipline will never come naturally. Each one of these tips, if put in to practice will bring change to your undisciplined life for the better. We can all be successful. Some of us just might need a bit more to keep going and stay consistent.

Write Everything Down

Have you ever had a conversation like this in your head?

“That was an incredible quote I just heard. I’ll remember that for my next post I write.”

“Maybe you should write it down.”

“I’d have to get the laptop out” or “my notebook is across the room” or “I’m busy watching TV” or “I like it so much, I know I’ll remember it.”

Do you end up remembering that perfect quote five days later when you’re sitting down to write that post? Most of the time, I don’t either.

Our brains are constantly taking in new content, and we’re always embellishing or creating something slightly different than what we originally knew. This makes that mental friend we’re always relying on to remember things, very unreliable. Also, when we write something down, we can unload it, and we don’t have to worry about it anymore, until we pull it out later.

For the undisciplined person, writing things down is an absolute life-saver. If we can’t even remember to grab our keys on our way out the door, why would we remember a random note that might be used later?

Whatever it is, quotes you hear, tips you read about, ideas that pop in to your head, images you see that spark creativity, your to-do list, your schedule for meditation, your schedule for work, the names of people you need to Email, the more you write down, the less you have to remember, and that’s a good thing, right?

This is one of those tips that does seem like more work, which almost sounds counter-intuitive to making it easier for an undisciplined person, but once you even begin to get in the habit of writing a few small things, you’ll immediately start noticing a difference.

Focus on One Small Task at a Time

The research on multi-tasking and its detriment to productivity is well-documented. Even if you focus on one task for a while, switch to another, focus on that one for a while, and then switch back to the first one, you’re losing valuable time that you could have spent on getting that first task done and over with.

For me, when I start a task, I get in to a certain mindset related to the exact work I’m doing. If I switch to a different task, even if it seems related to what I’m already doing, there is still a mental shift in my mind that I have to get past to begin working on the new task. This mental shift takes time, and it can take a while for the momentum to build up for the new task.
Focusing on one small task at a time can help with any schedule you’re trying to keep or habit you’re hoping to start. If you want dinner on the table by 6 PM, 5 nights a week, and you need a half hour to figure out what you’re going to cook, your shopping list, and what you already have in your pantry, checking your Email, putting a load of laundry in, and starting your exercise routine early won’t help you to get your shopping list written. Even if they are productive tasks, and they do have to be done anyway, putting them in the middle of another task will only slow both of those tasks down, and it will begin to feel as though you aren’t getting anything done at all.

For the undisciplined person, focusing on one small task, and being able to check each one off of the list gives tangible results. It is a way to make us feel productive, and we’re getting even more done. It’s a win-win.

Write down a list of tasks that need to be done for the day. Begin focusing on one small task at a time, and finish them step by step. If you do this, you’ll begin to see those productivity levels rise.

Always Have Something Enjoyable Nearby for Motivation

So bear with me on this one…I know that just about every article dealing with self-discipline tips tells us to get rid of temptations. I do agree with this; we don’t need to be in an environment where distractions can catch us at every turn, but I do believe that having something we enjoy nearby to motivate us can truly help with focus.

If you wake up at 5 AM for a morning run, and you enjoy music, play music while exercising. If you love listening to the news, and we think of the example of dinner at 6, 5 nights a week, that was stated above, you could play your favorite podcast while chopping the vegetables. While I’m writing articles and replying to comments or researching, I almost always have a cup of coffee sitting next to me on the table. I also enjoy listening to calming music that keeps me focused. So, I feel that both of these things are minimal in distraction, but can lead to a lot of motivation.

For example, I tell myself that I won’t drink my coffee until I get one section of my post written. If I’m really wanting coffee, I might take that down to a paragraph.  Either way, it’s tiny rewards for tiny bits of work. Each time I get a tiny chunk done, and I can take my tiny sip of coffee, I get a tiny serge of satisfaction. And that’s what the undisciplined needs to feel.

Temptations all around are bad, but one small thing to keep you motivated while doing your single task that you’re focusing on…you are going to do that, right…is a way to reward you for a small job well done. Revel in those tiny victories, enjoy your coffee, dance to your favorite songs in the kitchen…it’s all part of bringing more productivity to your life.

Finally, start meditating

“A disciplined mind brings happiness.” The Buddha

How do you know you’re an undisciplined person? What is telling you this? What lets you know that you forgot to turn the oven off and left it running for three extra hours? What nags at you, holding your failures over your head? What is it that keeps you worrying, wondering, constantly thinking of this and that and everything else that hasn’t been done yet?

It all comes down to your mind.

Your mind is the single biggest tool you have in changing yourself from an undisciplined person to a disciplined one. If your mind is a wild thing, constantly jumping from one thing to the next, it will be so much harder to bring yourself in to a state in which you will feel motivated to do anything.

This is why getting in the habit of meditating and trying to clear your mind of all these thoughts once a day will be more beneficial to you than just about everything else I’ve said in this post. Once we are able to keep our thoughts from always being scattered, and we start to use our minds in a more disciplined way, it’s amazing what will follow afterword.

It might be difficult at first to put meditation in to your day as a habit (we’re undisciplined after all.) When I started meditating, I told myself I would try it out, no skipping, for a month. At first, I had to set a reminder because I knew I would either wake up and immediately go do something else, or I’d get ready for bed, and completely forget to meditate. Now that I have been meditating for a long enough period of time, it would feel unnatural to not end my day with a way to relax and wind down.

If you aren’t meditating, and you feel as though your lack of discipline is part of what’s keeping you from chasing your dream, give meditation a try. If you aren’t even sure where to start with meditation, I’d ask that you follow my blog because very soon, I’ll be writing a post on how I got started, and in turn how you can get started with meditation from the very beginning.

Over to You

These are just a few tips that have helped me become more disciplined in many facets of my life. What are ways that help you stay disciplined?

What Singing Has Taught Me About Being a Successful Public Speaker

I began singing when I was eight years old.

I would hear the songs on the radio, or on my favorite Disney movies (Pocahontas was my ultimate favorite,) and I realized something: when I sang those songs, I could blend my pitch pretty perfectly to the other singer I was hearing. It just came, and still comes naturally to me.

I can walk on to that stage, smile at the audience, start singing, and I know that those in the crowd will remember my performance. I know I’m good at what I do. I’ve been told by multiple people, many different times, that I have a talent for singing.

There is, however, another type of performance that does not come so naturally to me: public speaking. It’s hard for me to relax, my palms start to sweat, I keep rehearsing over and over in my mind what I am going to say, I have to pee right before I start, I have to swallow a few times because I’m afraid too much saliva will flood my mouth, and the list goes on.

Then I came to a realization that has helped my public speaking tremendously.

Did you notice that I said public speaking was a performance? Whether you are interviewing for a job, giving a presentation in a college classroom, pitching a service to a client, explaining to your father why starting a blogging business is a good idea (that one’s terrifying,) you are performing in front of that person, or that group of people. And yes, talking to your loved ones about a blogging business is, so, an act of public speaking. 😉

I’ve been performing since I knew I could sing. Almost immediately, my family knew I had a voice that was above the ordinary, so they took me to service clubs where I would sing karaoke for veterans and auxiliary members of the American Legion, who would be there for the cheap beer and good conversation. Those older men and women had connections, and I began to perform at higher profile places by the age of eleven. I am sharing all of this so you know that I am not BS-ing you when I say I know my way around a performance.

My realization is this: singing and public speaking are both performances, and they have a lot in common.

I’ve had to learn a lot as a singer, and once I realized that many of these habits could be translated to public speaking, it has improved my skills in that area exponentially.

I am passing these habits on to you, hoping that they help you as much as they’ve helped me. You don’t have to be a singer to benefit from these tips; I’ve already done that bit of work for you. Simply implementing a couple of these tips in to your next performance, well, speech in this case, will give you the leg-up you need to do well or feel more comfortable.

Visualize Your Success

Create a vision of who you want to be, and then live into that picture as if it were already true. – Arnold Schwarzenegger

These are all extremely practical tips, but I am going to begin with one that is a bit more internal in nature (I do focus on the inner you after all.) Stay with me on this. The power of visualization is well-documented, and even if you don’t believe in the really spiritual stuff, imagining yourself in vivid detail walking on stage or sitting down across from that prospective boss and delivering that perfect performance, will make you feel more positive, comfortable, and confident about what you are planning to do.

I was visualizing my success as a singer even before I knew what visualization was. I would picture myself at large venues, singing for impressive numbers of people. I would visualize myself hitting the notes perfectly, paraphrasing a line exactly as I want it, being able to pull off a run that would make Whitney Houston proud. When I did this, my confidence would soar, and I’d be so much more ready to get up there on stage.

Visualization can help with any area of your life where you feel stuck, and this includes public speaking. Try visualizing yourself being completely prepared and confident, feeling at ease with the speech you are giving. Make your visualization detailed and vivid. Decide what outfit you are wearing in your visualization; you want to look good after all. Visualize your audience being attentive and engaged with what you’re saying. This is what will really help to change your negative beliefs about your ability to perform to positive ones.

Prepare your routine

“Confidence is preparation. Everything else is beyond your control.” Richard Kline

The first time I was asked to perform more than one song at a time, I was told that I would be singing for 45 minutes straight. That leap from singing a few songs with breaks in between at a karaoke setting to putting on my own small concert couldn’t have happened without some preparation. I had to prepare around ten songs that I knew without thinking about them, and I also had to pull together a few small things I would say in between songs.

When I arrived at the venue, a small, outdoor stage set up where people had the option to come and go while enjoying other attractions at the festival, I realized just how hot it was. It also took them forever to get my disc loaded and started up. During this time, I had to pull some of that prepped material to keep people entertained. There was also a little more space in between songs than I was expecting, so again, preparing was key.

Your speech will not go completely according to your plan. Nothing ever does. The PowerPoint won’t load properly, the mic will give that annoying feed-back sound we all dread hearing, you might forget the exact words you wanted to say, but having a basic prepared routine, or an order in which you want things to go, will help you easily remember where you are in your general routine, or transition to the next topic if you are super stuck. Preparation will keep you in control, even when you feel like you aren’t.

Know your audience

This tip was hashed out really well in a very good article on public speaking, but I’d like to illustrate how important this one is, even from a singing prospective.

Back when I was a devout Evangelical, I attended an event for my denomination. I was taking part in a conference of 3000 other born-again, bible-believing Christians, sharing ideas, learning new truths, and I was feeling pretty good. Open mic night came around, and I couldn’t wait to show off my talent to others I’d be spending a lot of time with.

I loaded up the song I wanted to sing, “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles. It was a song that showed my soul, I could dance a little, and it was fun. I started singing, and everything was dandy…until it got to a phrase in the second verse. In a confident voice, laced with emotion, and with a smile on my face, I sang out, “The way you move, it was a sin, so sweet and true!”

I was mortified. Somehow I finished the song, but I did receive a lot of comments like, “You sang well, Rylie, but that probably wasn’t the best song to pick.”

Knowing what songs to sing in the bars, and what songs to sing at conferences was a lesson I learned the hard way. Don’t make my mistake. Know your audience and what they want before beginning, heck, even before preparing your speech. This will allow you to relate to your audience without even trying.

Visually connect with your audience

Speaking of relating with the audience, even if you know an audience, and you can deliver a presentation to them, tailored to what they want to hear, do you think they’ll be interested if you aren’t engaging with them? This is commonly known as stage presence, and it is super important.

Here I am, a totally blind performer, and I’m advocating the absolute importance of visual communication. My mother always told me that, “even though you can’t see, you live in a sighted world. You have to know how to interact within it.”

Most of you have an advantage over me on this part of giving a speech. You can see your audience, so don’t wimp out on communicating with them. I can’t see my audience, but when I get up to sing, I still smile a lot, move around, and I always do my best to look good. I still have some work to do in this area, but it’s also the hardest for me.

I’ve had to learn stage-presence one small step at a time. There are times where it’s hard for me to know how to move or what to do because I’ve never seen another person do it. Because of this, I’ve learned how to do what feels natural to me, and then those around me who can see help me to make it look more visually appealing. Most of you don’t have to go through this process. Just look in a mirror. Make eye contact with yourself. Smile, gesture, see what feels natural and check to see if it’s not stiff or clunky. Implement this in to your next speech. Show the audience that you are interested in their reactions, and that you aren’t just speaking because you have to, but because you want to.

Be soulful

When I was able to record my first actual CD of covers that I loved singing, my young, teenage heart was bubbling over with excitement. I could show people just how good I was; I was given a recording gig after all. I handed the CD over to a musically competent person, and someone I respected a lot to receive feedback, and I waited for the positivity to role in.

The first thing he said to me was, “There is no soul in this music.”

I was confused. Of course there was. I spent hours recording that, and I loved singing those songs. I’d sang those specific songs so many times, I could sing them in my sleep

That, however, was the problem. I had let familiarity take over. I knew those songs so well, that they had become flat and uninteresting. I learned how to sing them, I practiced performing them, I loved those songs, but I didn’t know how to put emotion in to what I was doing.

When you are giving a speech, make sure you are using tone and inflection. Make your voice sound positive and up-beat. Don’t sound bored or under-confident. Your audience will be so much more interested in what you’re saying if you employ the use of emotion to help get your point across.

I am a much more soulful singer now, and I know it’s had an effect on the audience I sing for. People comment on how much my performance stirred them emotionally. Speak with feeling, and you won’t go wrong. Your audience will remember you long after you’ve given your speech.

There you have it, the few pieces of wisdom I have gained by being a performer, and how that can help you to be successful in your public speaking endeavors. I truly hope these methods work for you. Now I want to know: what are some tips you’ve used to make your public speaking better? Have you used other types of performance to bring better success to your public speaking? Let me know in the comments.

Working with the Angels Part 2: On Space and Time

In this post
Working with the Angels: Is it Even Possible?
I went over some of the basic questions skeptics have when starting out with their journey with the angels. I was a skeptic at first, so all of these questions ran through my mind before I decided to begin my own angel work. So, I know how it is.

One of the biggest questions I had to wrestle with, and one I’m sure some of you have as well is, how can the same angel help multiple people, at the same time? A variant of this question is, why would a group of angels help one person, when other people are in higher need for divine intervention?

It all has to do with space and time, our concept of Heaven, and how Heaven really is.

Earth: locked in space and time

Here on planet Earth, we are bound by the rules of both space and time.

Space is defined for us as three dimensions: up down, left right, and forward backward. Each of those dimensions is infinite as far as we know, but we can only conceptualize three dimensions.

We also live in a world where every millisecond is measured.

Ever since the dawn of civilization, people have not been content to see events as unconnected and inexplicable. They have craved an understanding of the underlying order in the world… Stephen Hawking

Once humanity began to realize that the sun and moon moved, and that the seasons changed, we began to understand that events could be measured and the world could be ordered. So began our perception of time.

Space and time are also related. Pretty much everyone is familiar with the concept of the space/time continuum and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. This, in theory gives us four dimensions to work with. It goes like this: space is three dimensions, time is its own dimension, so, mathematically, everything that exists in space, also exists in all moments of time. This four-dimensional object is known as space/time. Though this theory is extremely well-known, and though the math supports it, we can’t perceive the world in a four-dimensional manner. There is space, and there is time, and each event or moment or action or anything that is within this reality happens within space, measured by time. We simply have no way of bringing them together within our daily lives.

So what is Heaven like?

This is where belief comes in. During my years as a conservative Christian, I believed that Heaven was a very different place from our own. Somehow we had to travel there, and it would feel completely alien yet familiar at the same time. Because of the bible’s imagery, I imagined Heaven as a place that was still outside of our own dimensions of space and time, but that it was somehow above our world, but that puts it right back in to my concept of space and time.

I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. John 17:14

He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. John 8:23

Even though Heaven is portrayed as being above because the biblical writers couldn’t imagine the idea of “without space” or “without time,” Heaven is, as stated, not of this world. It is outside of the bounds of space and time. I mention the bible because this is what I believed in, and still do to some extent, and because when people of the western world think of Heaven, the biblical view is what is usually imagined. Many modern wiccans and other practitioners believe in The Summerland, a place that is neither good nor bad, but is where the soul goes before being transferred to a new body. In Judaism, Heaven is not all that important. The Torah doesn’t say much on what Heaven will be like, and much more on living our lives here on Earth. The body returns to the dust, while the spirit returns to its oneness with the divine. I could talk about so many faiths and their different interpretations of heaven, but we’d be here forever.

What does this have to do with space and time and the angels?

No matter what faith you ascribe to, Heaven is somewhere without space and time. Even the word somewhere gives it a sense of being in our world, “my phone is somewhere,” or “there is that exact green and brown and silver seashell somewhere; I just haven’t found it yet.” But, as I’ve stated before, it is very difficult to use language to pin down certain concepts. So, Heaven is timeless and space-less.

Angels are a part of this timeless and space-less, somewhere, that we call Heaven. They are completely spiritual beings who were created on this other plain, so they have absolutely no physical ties to our world. They have no space to define them, and time does not limit them. Because they are pure energy, they can enter our three-dimensional space, at any instance of our dimension of time by a mere thought. That same angel can then help someone, go back to the timeless-space-less plain, jump somewhere else, and because time is timeless, that angel can end up helping someone else at the exact same moment, or a few moments in the past, or the future. ,/p>

Angels can also watch our time stream, dissecting and understanding it and measuring it within an instant. It all has to do with angels living in that timeless plain. Time and space simply don’t matter to an angel.

Have you ever been working on something you love, and time just seems to fly by? You look at the clock, and two hours have passed, when it felt like mere minutes? Time ceases to matter to you, as long as you are doing what you enjoy. This is my understanding of what angels must feel at any given moment. I have no idea how to conceptualize the idea of not having space though.  Language can’t do that one justice.

So the next time you want to call on an angel, or multiple angels to help you with anything, know that they can and they want to. They aren’t limited in the way we are. They aren’t made like we are, from the dust of the ground. Though we are spirits living a human experience, part of that human experience is being locked in a space-time existence until we get to go home. Angels are already home, but they come to our plain to assist us when we call. Doff your limitations, and see what the angels can do for you.

I’m not a very sciency person, so I had to do some research on exactly how to succinctly explain the space-time continuum. This article did the best job, and I took some of the ideas from it to prove my point. Read it if you want to get all of the nitty-gritty on how space and time are mathematically related.

Angels have the means to help us, how can we validate that the angels are actually helping?

this is a question I have both asked myself and been asked. The next post in this series will give you tools to help validate that the angels are truly there and really do assist when asked.

Angel speaking with a dove

Working With the Angels: Is it Even Possible?

There are moments when we have a host of angels around us at one time. At minimum, we always have a guardian angel close by. There are well-known spiritual teachers who say we have two guardian angels with us. I like this idea: one on my left, and one on my right, or one in front and one behind. It makes me feel protected and loved. Angels come to our aid, when they are asked, always, without fail. They are celestial beings of energy, and their purpose is to bring messages, guide us, heal us, show us all of the ways we can live a life of abundance and success. If we only ask, they assist us in ways from what seems like the mundane to the extraordinary.

  • they can help us in times of grief.
  • They can guide us toward a new career path.
  • They can show us a way to make our current career path better.
  • They can line up events so they work out beautifully for us.
  • They can help us heal from an illness or injury.
  • They can guide us to just that right sale when shopping.
  • They can assist in any kind of energy or spiritual work. They are spiritual beings after all.
  • They are the best listeners.
  • They can show us love, and how to love.
  • They can give us that comfort we need when we are feeling afraid or down or worried.
  • They can help us with financial matters.
  • they can work inside of our dreams to bring us guidance and clarity.

So let’s think about this for a moment: we have angels, sometimes a host of them, all catering to our whims and our wants and our desires, and not just yours or mine, but every single person’s on the planet. There would have to be trillions or at least hundreds of billions of angels out there. Also, why would they want to help each and every one of us with all of our minor, annoying problems anyway? Don’t the heavenly hosts have better things to do with their time? I had all of these questions and more, which is why, even though I was waking up spiritually, it was difficult for me to call on the angels for assistance, simply because I thought I needed them. I’ve always loved the thought of angels, ever since I was little, but I believed them to be the messengers of God, only coming down for those very special moments to deliver a revelation to one of God’s chosen people. Even as my beliefs changed from conservative Christianity to a much more spiritual mindset, I still couldn’t imagine the heavenly hosts wanting to help us all the time. It all seemed too magical and wondrous and almost as though it would be arrogant of me to think I had angels to call when I wanted. I’ve learned since then.

I am going to start a series focusing on working with the angels, but even more than that, working with the angels even if you question whether or not the angels actually want to work with you. I was a skeptic, but now I work with angels on a daily basis. There is a verse in the bible that states, “I believe, but help me in my unbelief.” This man had faith, but he knew that he also doubted. If you have faith that those in heaven can be there beside you, but it’s hard for you to wrap your mind around the concept, the angels will still be there regardless. They won’t leave you. I’ll be writing about:

  • ways to start getting over your doubts
  • ways to know that your angels are around
  • ways to feel closer to your angels
  • how it’s possible for the angels to do all of the work they do
  • stories and validation of the angels’ existence
  • meditations and visualizations to help you get the guidance and help you need from the angels
  • and more

After this series, I hope you will come to the realization, as I did, that the angels really are all around us, and that their desire is to make sure we are at and we do our best in life. For now, if you are a skeptic, I want you to go over the list of ways the angels can help you. Find one that resonates with you. Begin forming in your mind a question you can ask the angels in relation to that item on the list. The angels want to give us all the guidance they can, and having a clear question about what you want or need helps bridge the veil between us and them. If you are not a skeptic, and you work with the angels as part of your spiritual practice, it’s always good to gain new insight on a situation or opportunity. Sometimes the hardest part is finding the right question to ask, so this simple exercise will work for novices and experts alike.

Next, I want to show how it’s even possible for the angels to do all of the work they do. This was one of the main questions I had, and I want to show you that it’s more than possible for each of us to have as many angels as we need at any given time. I invite you to open your heart and start this journey of angel communication with me.

Practical Signs of Spiritual Awakening

Articles, by the dozen have been written about the mystical, deep, fascinating experience of “waking up” in a spiritual sense. These many articles have helped me along my journey, showing me that I’m not alone, that it’s ok to begin feeling energy from those around me, that beginning to understand the connectedness of all beings is not just okay, but encouraged. Many of these articles are very in depth, delving in to what it’s like to wake up on a spiritual level, and we all need this level of deep reflection. There are, however, small, everyday things that one begins to notice as a person starts to evolve. I want to let you in on the things I began to notice, those things that seemed natural, but upon closer inspection, were actually a result of my spiritual expansion. If you are noticing any of these, you could be on a path to spiritual evolution. Embrace it, and begin to search yourself. You might be surprised at how far you’ve come.

You begin to take more notice of the natural world around you. Are you taking note of that unusual colored leaf? Does the smell of the autumn air make you feel more alive than it ever has? Do you notice yourself watching the birds more than you would have before? As I was waking up, the natural world took on more meaning around me. Everything became just a little more wondrous, and the simple things animals did seemed more magical to me. You may find yourself more interested in crystals, trees, animals, the things of this world that we could never have created ourselves.

You notice that you have become more invested in the people around you. I was taking a bus to my university campus, and I began to notice each person sitting near me, the way they talked, how they laughed, the feelings they gave off. I began to realize that every single person has something valuable to offer, and that every one of us is constantly learning and evolving. Basically, we’re all down here on this Earth learning lessons and teaching others their own lessons. We can’t learn without others to teach, and we can’t teach without students to learn from us. So, it made it easier for me to want to invest in others around me, to help teach them or to learn from them. There is a caution with this one though: don’t invest so much that you have no time or energy for yourself. This seems like common sense, but once we begin to want to invest in the people around us, it’s hard to stop.

You will have a hunger for sacred texts, and writings on sacred texts, and the interpretations of the writings on sacred texts. Once I realized that there was way more about God than I originally thought, and that each faith tradition has something to teach me about that limitless God, and that we have the internet and I can learn as much as I want, well, I went a bit crazy. You will want to read and to learn as much as you can, and maybe, once you start learning, you will want to express yourself. There are so many teachers out there, and there is so much to learn, so start learning, reflecting, taking in all that this world has to give.

You will want to find like-minded people. It’s one thing to read about spirituality and God and the universe in a book, but it’s another to talk about it with someone who gets it the same way you do. When I was first waking up, I very quickly realized that I couldn’t keep everything to myself. So I hooked up with a local spiritual salon. This gave me the opportunity to connect and discuss on a deeper level, and I was able to meet some beautiful people with the same passions as mine. Find a way to connect with a group near you. If there isn’t one, there are ways to connect online. You won’t regret it in the slightest if you do.

Finally, for the deepest one on the list, but one that is so important: you will begin to see the creative hand in everything. Everything around me took on a whole new meaning, once I took to heart the fact that God created everything, and it was very good. We live in a world that is full of hardship and suffering, but there is so much good in it as well. The signs of a creator are all around us, and if you are waking up, those signs will begin to become apparent to you. Start looking for them, and God will communicate with you in ways you would never have imagined.

Though experiencing a spiritual awakening can be confusing and difficult, even the smallest, most practical signs can show you that you are a lot further than you originally thought. If you are experiencing any of these signs, congratulations. You are waking up, and the world around you will become an even more crazy, beautiful, incredibly alive place.

Finding the Words

Take a look at the nearest thing to you. Your phone? Your chair? Your fingers on the keyboard? A candle? Your partner’s smiling face? The moonlight through the window? Listen to what’s around you. The tick of a clock? A chirping bird? Your child in the next room? A honking horn? It is so easy for us to look, to listen, to feel, and then to immediately put words to that vision, or sound, or object.

But what of the inner you, the being so full of emotions and desires and dreams and fears and experiences and lessons and energies that make you completely and uniquely you? Language can be so easy to pull together the perceptions happening on the outside, but every one of us struggles with just how to word our lives.

I feel as though this is the hardest when a well-meant person walks up and asks a question like, “So, what’s new?” or “how’s life been treating you?” When we are asked those questions, many of us, even though we have been through so much, felt and seen so much, helped so many people, followed our dreams just a little further, grieved, experienced immeasurable joy, and though we want to talk about it, there is a language barrier there that keeps our lips sealed to the customary three or four word answers everyone is used to hearing. Not to mention the idea of being as polite as possible, even to those we know on a close and intimate level. But what if we never had to worry about being too open or afraid of being judged? Would the language barrier still be there?

My spiritual awakening started just over a year ago, when I began to realize that the God I believed in was too small, that the love I was feeling was too inclusive, that the people around me were a part of me, that each and every person has something to teach. Even these small realizations are hard to put in to words because a spiritual shift is beyond our egotistic thoughts. I know though that the only thing we as spiritual beings can do is try, try and teach, try and use all resources at our disposal to show light to this world. Sometimes I worry, that my words are being categorized and judged, that I am saying the wrong thing, that though Spirit is patiently trying to teach me, I simply don’t have the language necessary to express the insight I am gaining, but I’ve been learning too. So, I have just a little advice for all of you.

Just keep speaking. Keep writing. Keep telling your beautiful, unique, fascinating experience on life. The gut feelings you have? Stumble through them as best as you can. The insight you gained during your meditation? Teach it to someone who needs it. Did you hear the most entrancing chorus of tree frogs while sitting out by a camp fire? Find a way to turn that in to an experience that can be shared. It doesn’t matter if it’s sloppy or inadequate in your eyes. It’s your experience, in your words, and only you can speak them in just that right way. We’ll be in this together. Deciding to write about my experiences and to pass on insight to you from my last year of spiritual awakening will be an exercise in finding the words. So, I invite you to do the same, to tell your own story in your own voice. If you want to be open, don’t be afraid of the words you are speaking. Let your voice be heard and your light shine forth.

It Begins With a Moth

When is a tale worth telling?

Does it begin the moment the events start to unfold? Or, does it begin when the teller gets a wish to tell the tale in her heart?

It starts for me on an evening at the very threshold of winter. Autumn tries its best to hold on to the land, but eventually even the swirling leaves are taken somewhere. I remember that evening, a few of the Autumn leaves still clinging to the grass or stubbornly whirling along the sidewalk as I began to fish my key out of my jacket pocket. It was cold too, not the biting cold of wishing to hibernate, but the delicious cold of wanting to snuggle under a blanket and drink hot soup. It was cold enough to where an insignificant event like this should not have been able to take place.

She was the one to put the wish of a story in my heart. She was the moon messenger bestowing a gift, and it all took place in about ten seconds flat. The key was out, dangling from its ring at the end of my finger. The next moment was miniscule, and I would imagine around 95% of the population would have missed it entirely. An insect landed on the back of my hand, and I froze for a second, unsure of what to do. Some insects smell bad when you manage to swat them. Some insects sting. Some insects buzz off only to land somewhere even more unpleasant, like the face. As you can probably tell, I really don’t like insects. The woman who walked with me up to the door must have seen my frozen state, for she offhandedly commented, “Oh, it’s just a little moth.” A little, nondescript, misunderstood, easily overlooked, beautiful moon messenger. Did I think that in my head at the time? Definitely not. But, I didn’t swat it away either.

I have a strange affinity or connection to moths. One memory in particular sticks out where a moth was prevalent. One Christmas, my mom bought a butterfly kit for me, telling me that we would have to take care of the little caterpillars, and eventually, we would experience them transform. I’m a pretty undisciplined person in general, but those little caterpillars received quite a bit of my attention. I remember them as worms, I remember them closing themselves up, getting ready for that transformation, the metamorphosis that no one sees. Only the butterfly in its cocoon knows what is happening. Or does it? Mom came to me one day and told me that somehow, every single one of my butterflies would not make it through the cocoon phase. They had all died during their sleep, except one. It was still hanging there, transforming, unaware.

The moment finally came, and we gathered around to experience our tiny friend’s new form. I was so eager to hear her describe the colors to me. What would the wings look like? Are butterflies sparkly? “Oh, it’s just a little moth.” She sounded disappointed, and I really didn’t know why. This was an even bigger, more extraordinary surprise to me.

”Moths transform like butterflies?”

“Moths change in exactly the same way. They just aren’t as pretty.”

“Why not? What does it look like?”“Well, it’s brown, almost black. It’s a good color though because it flies at night.”

“So it’s the right color?”

“I suppose so.”

“It’s daytime. Do you think it’s scared?”

“It has a new life, but it doesn’t know where to go. It sure is flying around like crazy.

“We weren’t supposed to get moths, were we?” In one way I remember feeling cheated. I had a vision of myself letting the butterflies go, the summer sun heating my face. But, in the same way, I know I felt the wonder of it. My little moth was special. It was different. “Are we going to let it go?”

That night we stood in the moonlight, crickets and tree frogs chirping their harmonious chorus. My mother carefully placed the small creature on the back of my hand. It fluttered its wings for a moment, the delicate feel of them barely tickling my skin. Then it took off, and rocketed toward the small light my mother held in her hand. She backed up quickly and switched off the light. “Moths love the light. I should have remembered that.” The moth, most likely sensing the natural light from the moon finally took off, beginning its new journey.

The key dangled from my hand, and the moth fluttered its wings, unsure of what to do. I stood there calmly as it crawled across my skin for just a moment before flying away, following a beacon of light, most likely the porch light we usually keep on. I would have been like the other 95% of the population, riding the incident off as nothing but a sweet little moment down memory lane and another visitation from a pesky insect. But, I was becoming more spiritually aware. The signs of a divine Creator and sustainer are all around us, and at this point, I was starting to see and understand the many synchronicities that make up life.

“I would look up moth symbolism if I were you.” The woman who was with me seemed almost to be joking and we both laughed. But we also knew that I would do it, begin to meditate on what this could mean.

So the journey of the moth begins, my story, right there on the front step of my tiny porch. I was given a wish, and a wish sparked an idea. An idea began a dream, and the only way my dream can start is by putting in to words my story, the events both before and after the planting of the wish. So I begin with the moth. May we all be transformed in to all that we are meant to be.

If any of you are curious, like I was, and want to know the significance of this little insect, the best post I could find was >this one.