Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

A Blue Moon

           There is a Blue Moon coming. A Blue Moon occurs whenever there are two full moons in a calendar month. The term refers to the second full moon. It is a bit of nonsense, because there is nothing special about the timing, it is inevitable in the calendar which we use. It is not particularly rare, it happens occasionally. That is why people say infrequent events happen “once in a Blue Moon”. The most important aspect of any full moon is the energy of letting go that it brings.

            For people who don’t believe that full moons affects our lives, hospitals and mental health facilities tell us that they are most active and patients become most violent during a full moon. The term “lunacy” comes from “lunar” or moon. Somehow the planetary alignments that occur during a full moon work on our conscious and subconscious mind. Perhaps it is the gravitational forces or the electromagnetic forces that affects our minds and behavior. I am not aware of any definitive explanation for why this occurs. However, it is undeniable that during a full moon many people “let go of or lose their minds”.

            It is also true that the full moon signals a new lunar cycle during which the moon will wane until it becomes a new moon. In other words it gets smaller and smaller until it disappears. For this reason many metaphysicians and astrologers recommend that the best time to commit to “let go” is during a full moon, as the full moon is symbolic of letting go. Most behavioral scientists teach that it takes 21 to 30 days to form a habit. I believe that is tied to the full moon cycle as well. When the moon makes a full cycle, from full moon to full moon, the habitual behavior becomes set in our conscious and subconscious mind.

            We have to commit to “let go” for a minimum of thirty days. If we stop whatever we are doing for that length of time there is a better chance of permanently letting go of what ever it is. Addiction therapists set goals for recovery programs, and one of the fundamental goals is to stop the addictive behavior for thirty days. Twelve step programs even reward reaching the thirty day goal with a reward.

            Letting go is simply focusing our thoughts on something else. If you have to let go of a person, we have to catch ourselves when we are thinking of that person and think of something else. One teacher I had recommended putting a rubber band around my wrist and snapping it whenever I thought of something I wanted to let go. I don’t necessarily recommend pain as a therapy for thought control, but it worked for me. It certainly brings you into the moment. In other words, we have to stop thinking about whatever or whomever we are letting go.

            There are other ways to stop thinking about someone or something rather than snapping a rubber band against our wrist. Whenever we have a thought, we can mentally say “cancel clear”. We may have to say this a few hundred thousand times, but our minds eventually get the message. A more positive approach that works for me is whenever I catch myself thinking about what I am letting go, I remember a particularly beautiful sunset. Our minds would much rather focus on something pleasant than something painful. If we catch ourselves thinking painful thoughts, it is relatively easy to shift our thoughts to something pleasant. Again, we may have to do this repetitively but we can train our minds to eventually jump over the painful thought to the pleasant thought.

            One pleasant thought that also helps me let go of a painful thought is the thought “God will take something away from me to give me something better”. This is true of people, jobs, things, memories or anything else. It is more important to stay positive, because trusting God is the most powerful manifestation of them all. There is no “secret” to this wisdom. It is simply true in my life, and some things are true whether you believe in them or not.

            Finally, mantras and affirmations are also good replacement tools to get your mind off of whatever you are letting go. If you catch yourself thinking of the offending subject, you can instantly start thinking of an affirmation or mantra that clears your mind of those thoughts.

            So tonight and tomorrow will be a Blue Moon. This is a most excellent time to commit to let go of anything and everything that causes you suffering. It may be an addiction; it may be a person. More probably, it is a thought that you are obsessing about that you need to replace. The good news is that if you replace that thought with a pleasant thought for the next thirty days, by the next full moon you will have changed your life. And isn’t that crazy!

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

Forgiveness is the Last Resort

             Many times in life we have experiences that hurt either physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually or any combination thereof. It could be because we lost something or someone that we did not want to let go, and it hurt because it felt like our heart was broken. Someone may have done something that made us feel betrayed, rejected or abandoned. Sometimes we didn’t accomplish a goal that was really important to us, and we beat ourselves to death over it. We fall into victim consciousness, which are thoughts that something happened to us that wasn’t fair or we didn’t deserve.

            The problem isn’t only that something happened that hurt us, we start to look at life with distorted lenses and project the pain into the future. We look backward at the past instead of looking forward to the future. We panic each time we see a mouse turd on the highway of life. Sometimes it rises to the level of post-traumatic stress disorder, or we experience general anxiety disorder.

            There are lots of theories and psychological methodologies for dealing with past trauma. I have experienced a lot of them in healing my past traumas. There is EFT (emotional freedom technique), NLP (neurolinguistic programming), EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), and many other methodologies with varying degrees of clinical success. (My radio show on Voice America has interviewed many of these practitioners).

            The problem as I see it is the ego. The ego judges and blames and obsesses on the things that we have experienced as the reason for our suffering. The ego is our suffering. The ego is a tool that we were given by evolution, god or the universe to help us deal with our environment. It is the ego that determines our personality and belief systems. It is the ego that determines our thought patterns. It is the ego that gives us confidence or makes us phobic. If we can control the ego (we can’t destroy it any more than we can cut off our leg to heal a broken toe); we can transcend suffering.

            The best way to deal with the past is gratitude. Be grateful you were traumatized. Be grateful your heart was broken. Be grateful that you went bankrupt. Be grateful for that cheating so and so that ruined your life. The greatest act of compassion we can experience is to be grateful for our pain. It is also the hardest. It is against human nature to be grateful for each and every experience, and that is because it is divine nature. If we can be grateful for everything, we leave the pain and suffering of this world behind. The Book of Job in the Old Testament is a good example of this.

            If you can’t be grateful, you can at least be neutral. Don’t judge what happens as good or bad. Of course if it hurts, it is difficult to not judge the experience as bad. However, sometimes the pain is simply a message to not do that again. Physically we have a huge capacity of healing and regrowth. Emotionally we can change how we feel about something if we have the tools and discipline to do so. Mentally, we can always change our mind. Spiritually, we can just not care and accept all that happens as God’s will.

            If you are not evolved enough for these concepts, you probably live in a world of judgment and suffering. The last resort for pain and suffering is forgiveness. Quite frankly I would rather work on gratitude than forgiveness. There are lots of “how to’s” on forgiveness, I like the term “letting go.” You just imagine that the person or event is in a bubble of white light and imagine it floating away. You can write a letter to that person or event and burn it in a forgiveness ceremony. You can send a letter to God or Santa Claus and let them know what happened and ask them to take care of it.

            The problem with forgiveness is that you have to forgive yourself and God as well. If your ego has you locked in a prison that believes that something happened to you, then you have to believe that you are a victim and God got it wrong. Of course, neither one of those theories works, but if you are stuck in the creek mud of judgment you have to let it all go. This is why gratitude is so much more powerful than forgiveness and forgiveness is the last resort.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

The Brightest Lights

            We all want to do the best we can, and to be the best person we can be. We all want to be admired and successful. We would love animals to come running up to us to be petted or hugged, we would love small children to do the same. When we love, we want our partner to love us with as much wild abandon as we offer, and we want them to be just as interested in our happiness as we are with theirs. Sometimes life just doesn’t work out that way.

            Oftentimes people devote their lives to divine conduct and devotion to our divine nature. We selflessly offer our time and efforts to help others. We meditate, pray, contribute to charities and help little old ladies cross the street. Yet our hearts get broken when our soulmate betrays us or lies to us, we are traumatized when someone cheats us and steals our life savings, and we suffer doubts and fears about whether there is a God or not. After all, if we spend all of our life doing good and selfless deeds for others, study scripture and meditate and pray, why do we have to suffer from immoral and dishonest people?

            There are several reasons for this. First, we may still have some suppressed emotions that we need to heal to advance on our spiritual journey. If we are greedy or lustful, sometimes people come into our lives to mirror those hidden emotions so we can heal them. What we don’t realize is sometimes these mirrors are “fun house” mirrors that distort the actual extent of the problem buried in our subconscious. They are distorted to make sure we get the message. Perhaps we are doing good deeds to be seen as doing good deeds or for fame and reward. If this is the case then the other person can help show us how we could be hurting others and not even know it. So the distortion helps break through our denial so we have to look at ourselves. Put down the microscope and pick up the mirror, in other words.

            Second, the other people may be here to show us how we may have lived in the past or in a past lifetime and they are here to help us clear our karma. Depending on how we respond to unkindness, dishonesty or betrayal, we can cut through lifetimes of karma. If we respond in kind, then the karma will not be cleared. If we respond in kindness and honesty, the karma will be cleared. If we can avoid judging the other person, we do not have to forgive. If we judge the other person, we would have to forgive. This does not mean, however, that we have to allow the other person to continue their behavior. Healthy boundaries with untrustworthy people are clearly necessary to love yourself.

            Third, the other person may be unconsciously or unintentionally reminding you of another relationship (parents, ex’s, etc) that you have not let go. If someone abandons or betrays you, this may be time to look at your relationships with your parents and yourself. Sometimes we get in relationships to expose our love or lack of love for ourselves. When we start loving ourselves, we may realize that we have to end the relationship with the person who came to show us this. If we love ourselves, we do not associate with people who are not appropriate to be with, for any reason.

            Finally, and this may be more common than you may think, the brightest light brings the biggest bugs. Just like moths are drawn to flames, damaged people are oftentimes drawn to highly evolved people. The brightest lights do not take the damaged people personally; they realize that the light always comes with the dark and vice versa. The brightest lights have healthy boundaries and do not let the damaged ones cross. So when a damaged person tries to hurt a bright light, the bright light just loves them and moves on. This certainly depends on the amount of confidence and self-worth everyone has. You can tell the bright light by the fact they don’t go into victim consciousness. They just go. In my case, I had to finally accept the fact that many people come to me for a healing. My problem is sometimes I fall in love with them. I am not supposed to be a white knight. There are a lot of people who don’t want to be saved. They are perfectly content in their misery. When I realized that being a white knight is a dead end job, my life got a lot simpler.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

Balancing Masculine and Feminine Energies at Work

         Many of us were brought up in families had clear male/female gender roles that were engrained into us. Boys were encouraged to behave in certain ways; girls were encouraged to behave in certain ways. Sometimes dress codes were determined and enforced differently depending on your gender. Even if we had loving and supportive parents who didn’t differentiate between genders with their parenting, society certainly has rules and regulations about how one should behave. These rules and regulations may be obvious, or they can be subtle and subconscious. All you have to do is look at the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in the United States; unless something has changed they don’t offer seductive photos of men in thongs frolicking on the beach. Each culture may have different unspoken rules of behavior, dress and expectations, but there still are differences between male and female.

            In the workplace, while women are generally becoming more equal to their male counterparts than ever before, there still are differences based on subtle energies that are known as masculine energy and feminine energy. These energies show up in various proportions based upon culture, gender, experiences and belief patterns. If a woman contains primarily feminine energy she will behave one way, but if she contains primarily masculine energy she will behave in other ways. This does not necessarily have anything to do with sexual orientation, but how we behave in relationships and choose our sexuality will depend on the masculine/feminine energy that we carry.

            If we have too much masculine energy we can appear to be aggressive, competitive, non-cooperative, selfish, or bossy. If we have too much feminine energy we can appear to be weak, non-productive, chatty, unfocused, or indecisive. The ideal combination would be a balance of masculine and feminine energy. For men, this means that they need to be more in touch with their emotions, more team oriented, and more understanding and compassionate, as well as developing patience, playfulness and humor. For women, it means setting and enforcing boundaries, being more action oriented, being leaders, developing self-confidence and self-worth. In other words, masculine energies need to learn how to say “yes” more and feminine energies need to learn how to say “no”.

            For women in the workplace, it is very important that they establish appropriate boundaries and enforce them. This means having a clear understanding about what your job description is and not being pushed around. For example, being the only woman in the room does not mean you have to make the coffee, unless that is part of your job description. Feminine energy is patient, kind and nurturing, but to be successful in the workplace masculine energy is required to earn respect. There are many examples of how people jostle and adjust the pecking order based upon respect and boundaries. The co-workers that have no boundaries will not rise very far. Boundaries are a clear signal of self-respect and self-worth, two hallmarks of leadership.

          The feminine trait of communicating needs to be tempered by the masculine trait of action, which means less gossip and more focus on your job. Feminine energy loves to analyze and discuss, masculine energy is more targeted on accomplishment. When you balance these two energies, you have an effective leader with great communication skills. When the energy goes to far to one side of the spectrum, the person is less effective because they are either talking too much or not talking enough.

         Being in touch with our emotions is also an important aspect of success in the workplace. Masculine energy is all about action; it doesn’t have time to feel feelings. The problem is that by denying emotions or burying them in our psyche, problems arise later because people appear to be emotionally unavailable and uncaring. One of the most important skills of effective leadership is empowering those you lead, and to do that you have to be able to relate to your co-workers. Successful relationships require a balance of the masculine/feminine energies, which requires empathy and feeling. If you can’t understand how your co-workers are feeling, you will not be able to lead them. Just because you have a huge dose of masculine energy and can ignore pain, you will find out very quickly that you are the leader of an army of one. Whether you are a man or a woman, it is critical that you understand the emotions of your co-workers, and that requires the feminine energy of compassion.

         So be focused, clear, and compassionate. Discuss your job description with your supervisor/employer and understand your role at work. Be dependable, trustworthy and honest. Above all be confident and understanding. With this balance of energy you will go far.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

Slowing Down

            Since the passing of my father several days ago (it seems longer) I have had a chance to reflect on my life and where I go from here. My brothers and I are going through the process of making arrangements for the funeral and making decisions like what kind of flowers to have, what food to serve at the reception, and whether to speak at the funeral service or not. It seems like time has slowed to a crawl and every minute is filled with contemplation whereas in the past we all were going as fast as we could to somewhere. I definitely feel like I have come to a complete halt and looking around to see what direction I want to go in next. Being single and living in an apartment (my cave in the sky) gives me a lot of flexibility in that area. The main realization that I have come to is that I need to slow down and continue to spend as much time as possible in contemplation.

            Now that I am old enough to understand on a conceptual level that I probably won’t live forever, I am considering how to slow the aging process and make this journey last a long as possible. This is a project that will require the participation of my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies, because aging accelerates when there is imbalance in these aspects of our life. I need to let go of the thoughts that bring suffering, to let go of the physical habits that bring pain, to let go of toxic emotions, and to remember to be grateful to the creator of it all.

           I am also considering the concept of mindful awareness. This is the practice of being with full presence, to know exactly what I am doing, thinking, speaking and acting and the why for such behavior. When I walk, I no longer am going somewhere; I am walking. Perhaps I can say a prayer for the earth with each step. When I speak, I am no longer letting my mouth run away with me; I consider the effect of my words before they leave my mouth. I remember the teaching that whatever comes out of my mouth is much more important than what goes in it.

           I enjoy being with myself more, where my pattern was to surround myself with people that may not have my best interests at heart. At this point in my life it is far better to get to know myself without interruption and to love myself unconditionally. It is much easier to be grateful for all that I have experienced than to have to forgive. Gratitude does not judge, there is no right or wrong. Forgiveness requires a judgment that something was wrong that has to be forgiven. So I focus in gratitude for my broken heart and the experiences that caused that gift of grace.

           A great way of practicing grace is the Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono. When a problem arises, we say “I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.” When we focus on love and forgiveness, it doesn’t matter what we are experiencing in life. We may not have done anything to require forgiveness, but if we are experiencing pain or suffering of any kind I have found that these simple words can bring peace and calmness back into my life. It is a way of slowing down and radiating peace and harmony into the world.

           I also have been looking more at my patterns, both conscious and subconscious. I am better off not being around people while I do this. I can get distracted by other people and as I slow down and start to apply a more mindful approach to my life, I need to focus as much as possible on cleaning up what I am responsible for. I am starting to really enjoy sitting in meditation and contemplation more often than not. I tend to cause less trouble that way.

            I am grateful for my aloneness. I am grateful for my friends. I am grateful for those people who do not act kindly to me. I am grateful for my parents, may they rest in peace. I am grateful that I no longer have to subconsciously compare myself to the standards of my parents. I am grateful that I am good enough. I am grateful for needing less and enjoying less more. I am grateful for those who think I am an ass. I am grateful for those who think I am a saint. They are both right. I am grateful that I have nowhere to go except Dewachen. Perhaps I am becoming a more balanced, younger person. I am grateful to have the awareness to contemplate all of these things.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

Here’s To You Dad

           I got the telephone call from my brother this morning letting me know that the inevitable had happened, the spiritual being known as my father had left this lifetime. He had finally surrendered to a long struggle with what used to be known as old age. These days they call it lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, strokes, Alzheimer’s, circulatory failure, and numerous others. My father was the toughest man I have ever known.

            Being tough is good for many things. The New York Times referred to him as a “legendary trial lawyer;” as well he was. He was a graduate of the United States Military Academy, class of 1945. He was a survivor of 90 years of trials and tribulations, victory and loss, 55 years of marriage, four sons who became lawyers and a doctor, nearly 60 years of teaching Sunday School, the depression, World War II, and the leaps and bounds of the Twentieth Century. When I recollect all that he lived through and witnessed, the term “rode hard and put up wet” comes to mind.

            When he was born in 1925 in Sampson County, North Carolina, life was much simpler. There were few telephones and fewer automobiles. My father went to school on a horse. His father was a lawyer and judge and often was paid with chickens, produce and other foodstuffs. My father worked on his grandfather’s plantation picking cucumbers and training mules. It boggles the mind to consider the difference in the world he came to and the one he left.

            My relationship with my father was like two bull elephants in a china shop. He loved me; of that I am certain. He also had great plans for me and he used every Jedi mind trick in the book to make me submit to his desires for my life. As he told me one time he wanted me to have his life without his mistakes. As Buddha said “we are not our parents’ children and we are not our children’s parents”.  We each had to find our own path and be happy there. I inherited his toughness; I have endured many things as well. At the end, not too long ago, he blessed me with the words every child wants to hear from the father, “I am proud of you.” If you have the chance, tell your parents and your children “I am proud of you.”

            Freud said that boys couldn’t become men until their father dies. I don’t agree with that, but there is a certain expansion that happens for men when their father dies. I don’t know if it is the same for women, but I can understand that when the father dies, men have to step up and assume that role for themselves (if they haven’t already). It all depends on what I call the father/son power shift. When we are born, historically young children perceive fathers as the masculine authority in their lives (It will be interesting to see how gay marriages will effect that dynamic). During the maturation of the child, there should be a shift to where the child and the father are equal in power, and then at some point the child will take over the authority role. If the father never relinquishes that role, it happens when the father dies. So depending on family dynamics, the passing of the father can be anticlimactic or hugely liberating.

            For me, my father suffered through years of physical challenges and was in constant pain. At least he is not suffering anymore. It is poignant that as the nursing staff tucked him into bed, he finally left. He is finally at rest, a rest he so richly deserves. The United States Military Academy has a tradition that when a graduate passes on, they take the ring and melt it down to make new rings for future cadets. I happen to believe that happens to us as well. We leave this life to return if we so choose. I would prefer that there be no need for future cadets, but this is the world of our making. So it is comforting in some way to know that his legacy will live, on the finger of some future cadet. His legacy will certainly live on in my three brothers and me.

            It goes without saying that the true gift of his passing is the knowledge that life is fleeting and we should enjoy every moment of it. As I meditated this morning I was truly grateful for each breath I was taking. As we get caught up in the melodramas of day-to-day life, sometimes we forget how lucky we are to be alive. It certainly will be on my mind as long as I live. So give someone a hug today for no reason and know how special life is.

            Goodbye Dad. I am proud of you.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

Avoiding Approval

           I have realized that one of my biggest basic needs is approval. I do handstands, change my behavior, make myself into something I am not just to get approval. I subordinate myself, I try to please others, and I live with the anxiety that we will not get the approval that we want. I realize that this is something I learned early in my childhood; a defense mechanism that was finely honed to make sure that my parents liked my behavior. The consequences of the alternatives were not bearable.  It was much easier for a four year old to act like a tiny adult than to be disciplined.

            I realized after the end of my last relationship that I spent the entire time totally focused on making her happy. I could never relax because I was so afraid that she would leave me. Sometimes we enter into relationships with the higher purpose of learning that we need to love ourselves more. The irony is that when I started to love myself more, I had the courage to end the relationship. My stress levels have dropped to almost nil, my blood pressure is back to below normal, and I am sleeping again. All of this because I stopped seeking approval of someone I chose to get approval from. When I stopped seeking approval, I realized that the relationship was very abusive and I needed to end it.

            There are subtle ways that we seek approval and disempower ourselves and we don’t even realize it. One way is the word “just”. Do you ever say “I just wanted to follow up…” or “I just wanted to know how you are doing….” This is a clear signal of disempowerment, like a dog rolling on its back and offering its belly. Whenever we say “just” in this manner, we are acknowledging that we are not important and subservient to the person we offer it to. So we need to be careful not to use that word. Compare “I am just following up” to “I am following up.” Can you feel the difference in energy of those two statements?

            Another word that we misuse is “sorry”. I was trained by my parents to apologize even when I had done nothing wrong. It was an acknowledgment that they were more powerful than me. Oftentimes we apologize in relationships in an attempt to manipulate the other person, or to acknowledge they hold all of the cards. So we say “I am sorry” even though we aren’t “sorry” in an attempt to placate the other person. One thing I noticed in my relationship is whenever she would bump into me walking down the street she would apologize. I could not understand what that was all about. It was like there was something wrong with touching me. So you have to be very careful about what you are really saying when you apologize. Of course we should apologize if we did something we regret, but not just to disempower ourselves in an attempt to gain approval. A wise man told me one time that the person with all of the power in a relationship is the one who doesn’t care. That was certainly true in my case.

            The only one we need to seek approval from is ourselves. When I took an honest look at what I was doing, I realized that I had totally sacrificed my needs and wants and was not happy with myself for doing that. I had to get back to a place I approved of myself again, and that required letting go of the relationship. In the final analysis, if we don’t approve of us, we don’t have a hope of finding approval anywhere else. This includes not beating myself up for the experiences I came here to experience. Self-criticism seems to be a handmaiden with seeking approval. So I need to stop that.

            All in all, I am not looking for approval anymore. The lessons on that became painful enough that I finally got it. I had to overcome years of training and failed relationships to appreciate that fact that only I need to approve of my life. And that is easy.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

Desiderata

This poem always has been very special to me since I read it almost 45 years ago. Thank you Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

How to be Successful Without Money

          Here are some suggestions and blessings that I have collected over the years that can help you feel successful as we navigate the mind fields of despair:

(1) May you find serenity and tranquility in a world you may not always understand.

(2) May the pain you have known and conflict you have experienced give you the strength to walk through life facing each new situation with courage and optimism.

(3) Always know that there are those whose love and understanding will always be there, even when you feel most alone.

(4) May you discover enough goodness in others to believe in a world of peace.

(5) May a kind word, a reassuring touch, a warm smile be yours every day of your life, and may you give these gifts as well as receive them.

(6) Remember the sunshine when the storm seems unending.

(7) Teach love to those who only know hate, and let that love embrace you as you go into the world.

(8) May the teaching of those you admire become part of you, so that you may call upon those teachings when they are most applicable.

(9) Remember, those whose lives you have touched and who have touched yours are always a part of you, even if the encounters were less than you would have wished. It is the content of the encounter that is more important than the form.

(10) May you not become too concerned with material matters, but instead place immeasurable value on the goodness in your heart.

(11) Find time in each day to see the beauty and love in the world around you.

(12) Realize that each person has limitless abilities, but each of us is different in our own way. What you may feel you lack in one regard may be more than compensated for in another. What you feel you lack in the present may become one of your strengths in the future.

(13) May you see your future as one filled with promise and possibility. Learn to view everything as a worthwhile experience.

(14) May you find enough inner strength to determine your own worth by yourself, and not be dependent on another’s judgment of your accomplishments.

(15) May you always feel loved.

(16) Remember that God takes things away from us to give us something better.

(17) Strive to be childlike, not childish.

(18) It is okay to be selfish when you need to be. If you don’t love yourself, no one else will.

(19) Constantly radiate love, gratitude and compassion.

(20) Enlightenment is simply letting go.

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

Perfection

          I noticed on Facebook that someone posted a statement that “it is okay not to be perfect.” I  responded by saying that everyone is perfect, for which I was told “that is your ego talking.” To me, this is a fundamental misconception that guarantees suffering for anyone that believes that we are not perfect. In order to believe that you are imperfect, there is implicit in that belief that we are flawed and somehow have not lived up to some standard. Therefore the creative forces in the universe have created something that is flawed and subconsciously you believe God is failed. 

            On the other hand, if you believe that everything is perfect, you can believe that the creative forces of the universe know what they are doing and have not failed, creating perfection in all of its various manifestations. If you believe that you are perfect, then you cannot fall into one of the greatest traps of the ego, victimhood. God has not failed when it creates beings that many may believe are imperfect.

            To judge something as imperfect, you have to compare it to something else. Otherwise, how would you know something was flawed? When we compare beings or things to someone or something else, we are engaged in judgment and ego. You can’t judge something without engaging the ego. When we want to make ourselves okay with being imperfect, we still are engaging the ego. It is the ego telling us it is okay to be in the ego.

            I look at this whole debate as nonsense. Another way of looking at it is that perfection is the perspective of the heart while imperfection is the perspective of the mind. When we look at the world through our hearts, with love, we see nothing wrong, imperfect or flawed. When we look at someone through the heart, we can only love that person and not see anything but God manifested. On the other hand, when we look at the world with the mind, we engage the ego and created suffering. All we can see are flaws. If you see imperfection in the world, you are looking at it through your mind. When you see perfection, you are looking at it through your heart.

            The bottom line is whether your perception of the world brings you happiness or not. If you can look at the world and be happy, I suspect that you are looking at it more through the heart than through the mind. I am sure that there are a lot of minds that would debate that point. That is what minds do: debate, argue, attack, criticize and suffer. Hearts don’t care, hearts just love.

            I challenge anyone that believes that they are imperfect to simply look at themselves with love and compassion and then decide whether they are imperfect or not. The highest teaching of all is that we manifest our reality to become enlightened. Who are we to say that any manifestation is not perfect? If we do not like something, that is our mind and egos at work. To say something or someone is not perfect, including ourself, approaches arrogance. Who are we to say that anything God has created or we have manifested is not perfect? To do so implies that we know better than God. I wouldn’t want to explain that one when the time comes.

            It is easy to accept that we are not perfect. It is more important to accept that we are perfect. When we accept our perfection, we get out of our mind and ego and into our hearts. If more people would get into their hearts, imagine what the world could be.  However, here is the rub: the belief that something is perfect or imperfect is just a belief. If we could eliminate beliefs, then people or things could just be what they are. Whether we are perfect or imperfect is totally irrelevant. Those are just words and labels. When we can accept something as it is, without judgment or label, then we can experience bliss.