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June 12 – I Thank God For Closed Doors

when one door closes another opens

Well here’s our oddest pairing of quotes and inspiration for Daily Bits of Gladness. Tyler Perry and Pema Chodron sharing the same bits of wisdom, just said in different ways. Enjoy!

I was out just thinking about my life and all the times that I wished that a door had opened. All the times I had promoters and people lie to me saying that they would help me… I remember wishing the bank would approve my loan request for a house or a car (usually one I couldn’t afford at the time). I wished that this person would help me or that person would do something to help my business, or this person would help my dreams come true.

As I look back now I’m so glad that none of those situations worked out. I’m so glad God closed those doors because they forced me to find the right path for me. If you’re in this situation and you feel like doors are closing all around you and you are frustrated, here’s something I’d like you to think about: Life can be like a living maze. You know what a maze is. In a maze, you start out at one end and your objective is to find your way to the finish line.

Many times you may make a turn and hit a dead end and you have to go another way. Just like life, that door closing on you sends you another way. It doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen, it just means you need to go another way. If you keep moving, eventually you will get to where you’re going.

Another thing that is important when you’re in a maze, as in life, is to remember where you have been. If you get turned around and confused in a maze, in order to get out, you have to remember the dead-ends that you have already hit. Just like in life you have to remember all the doors that were closed so you don’t waste time going that way again. If you want to get to your dreams you can’t expect to get there by doing the same thing and going to the same spots. You must try something different. I’m not saying give up on your dream, I’m saying try another path to the same dream. Same maze, same dream, but take a different direction to get there.

I feel sorry for people who have a dream and give up because it gets hard. Let me tell you something, “IT’S GOING TO GET HARD!”  Don’t stop because a door closed. I have learned to thank God for closed doors.

-Tyler Perry

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What Does Spirituality Mean To You?

In this regular series, Glad.is asks leading thinkers, writers and scientists for their perspective on defining what spirituality means to them. Dr. Larry Culliford, psychiatrist, lecturer and author, recommends exploring spirituality like you would a “brilliant amusement park.” Sounds like fun to us!
It is not ideal to consider spirituality as a thing, an object. It does not have the nature of a specimen that can be dissected and analysed. Spirituality is better thought of as a boundary-less dimension of human experience. As such, it must be admitted, it is not open to the normal methodologies of scientific investigation. It cannot completely be defined. It cannot be pinned down. So… What are we to do?

Firstly, you don’t have to give up! You don’t have to be like people who equate spirituality with a religion they decide is false, then abandon. It is possible to look at spirituality another way, as something free of institutional structures and hierarchies, not so much about dogma and beliefs as about attitudes, values and practices, about what motivates you (us) at the deepest level, influencing how you think and behave, helping you find a true and useful place in your community, culture and in the world. Spirituality cannot be explored using scientific methods because it involves deeply personal, subjective experiences, and in this it differs from the over-riding ambition of science: to be objective. Both are necessary and appropriate, complementary formulas for discovering ourselves, each other, our environment, the universe… and especially an enduring sense of purpose and meaning.

This brilliant adventure park called “Spirituality” contains many related themes, such as the idea that the five dimensions (physical, biological, psychological, social and spiritual) are seamlessly interconnected.  And how about the spiritual themes of joy and wonder, dualism and holism, and the two ways of experiencing time?

According to researchers, children’s spirituality flows through their capacities for spontaneous joy and wonder. A sense of fascination, of mystery, awe and delight, are facets of adult spirituality too. However, by the teen years, most people have developed a powerfully ‘dualistic’ understanding of themselves and the world, as if standing outside it. In this ‘self/non-self’, ‘either/or’, ‘right or wrong’ vision of the universe, opposing features are emphasized: either young or old, for example, not both at the same time. Spirituality, on the other hand, involves a ‘holistic’ appreciation of a universe in which everyone and everything is connected seamlessly with everyone and everything else.

The familiar ‘yin-yang’ symbol demonstrates this principle of wholeness in all scales, from infinitesimal to cosmic, as follows: the dark ground (yin) has a small central white spot, and the light ground (yang) has a small central dark spot. The entire symbol is to be imagined as dynamic, constantly changing. Just as day and night forever precede and become one another, what is light gradually becomes dark, and what is dark repeatedly becomes light. The opposites counteract, balance and turn into each other, like the changing seasons of the year.

Yin Yang Symbol

The ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ can symbolize any two polarized forces in nature. Taosts believe that humans often intervene in nature and upset the balance of Yin and Yang.

According to Taoist tradition, Yin (the dark) and yang (the light) are extended to include several polarized forces in the universe, including night and day, earth and heaven, yielding and firm, feminine and masculine. There are many opposites that similarly define each other, among them negative and positive, hot and cold, dry and wet, north and south, east and west, up and down, in and out, ancient and modern, evil and good. Without one, there cannot be the other. Wisdom involves remembering that such pairs always relate to one-another and are inseparable.

The two Greek names for time, ‘chronos’ and ‘kairos’, represent two types of experience that also interpenetrate one-another like the white and dark parts of the yin-yang symbol. Chronos is the familiar, mechanical clock time, advancing steadily in linear fashion, day by day. Kairos was the name of the Greek god who symbolized chance, fortune and synchronicity. He habitually came calling at the perfect moment, when all was ripe and ready. Kairos can therefore be considdered as spiritual time (or ‘God’s time’), and has a different quality altogether from chronos.

Subjectively, when gripped by kairos, it may feel as if clock time has slowed down or stopped completely. Paradoxically, it may also feel as if it has speeded up, so that minutes, hours, even days go by in a flash. Some athlete’s experience this, for example, when they get ‘in the zone’ during a burst of peak performance.

Kairos is in play when things happen unpredictably, but at just the right moment. Eternity and clock time seem to intersect for human benefit and instruction. Such an experience, when something eternal appears to break through into everyday life, is an ‘epiphany’. Heaven and earth may seem briefly to coincide and… ‘Something happens’! Something new and profound, something inspiring and life-changing is revealed in an instant.

The new wisdom resonates powerfully with something already present, deep inside. It feels like a reminder and confirmation of something already known but forgotten. Such revelations herald a kind of awakening, a key moment of transition on life’s journey towards spiritual maturity. As the fallen leaf never rises to rejoin the tree, so is this a point of no return. The significance of these experiences is re-enforced by ‘synchronicities’ unexpected but meaningful coincidences; such as may occur when two people meet for the first time, who later become life partners.

Synchronicities and serendipities – unexpected discoveries – often go together. There is a kind of mystery about kairos. Kairos is spiritual time.

Joy and wonder, dualism and holism, and the two ways of experiencing time are just some of the myriad themes to engage with in the spirituality adventure park. Some of the rides may feel challenging, more intimidating than exhilarating at first. Later, with familiarity, the spirituality park may feel increasingly restful, like a beautiful paradise garden. Entry is free. We are all already in the park. Why not experiment using all five senses and your capacity for mindful reflection? Take advantage of life’s literally wonder-full opportunities for excitement, learning and growth. Why hesitate? What do you suppose a person might have to lose?

What does spirituality mean to you?  We’d love to know, Tell us below!

To read more of Dr. Larry Culliford work visit his happiness website.

 

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Can You Trust Your Intuition?

Faith and Fear

Knowing how to cultivate your intuition can help in every aspect of our lives. In his article, “Leap And The Net Will Appear,” Mastin Kipp asks us to listen to “the small and still voice within.”

You are extremely intuitive. Yup, you are.

You are so intuitive you scare yourself at how intuitive you are. So many times in my mentoring sessions my clients tell me they don’t know what their goals are or they don’t know what they should do. But that isn’t really true.

Almost 100% of the time my clients know what their goals are and what they should do, but they are too scared to act on it.

They aren’t seeking out clarity of their own intuition. They are seeking out a different answer, one that is filled with guarantees and an easy path. But as a Seeker, the Path is never easy and there are no guarantees. That is why Seekers rely on Faith.

The Path requires AVID faith in yourself and TRUST that you are being guided from within daily to the exact right space. How many times have you NOT listened to that voice in your head that knows what to do and ended up in the wrong place, or had life get all messy and twisted?

It happens to you in your choices of relationships, jobs, risks, the food you eat and even what path you should take to work today. When you listen to that small and still voice within you, your life will begin to change. The truth is that you are more afraid of change than you are of dying. So instead of asking for clarity of intuition, you ask for different instruction from your intuition.

Your intuition in The Uni-verse (which is INFINITE, HUGE, CONNECTED to everything and WAAAAY smarter than you are) is talking to you. If you want to live a creatively free life, if you want love, prosperity and joy – let your intuition guide you, no matter HOW crazy it might sound; there is always a reason for why you are being guided today. You might not find out the reason for years, but there is a purpose and a reason and your job is to show up and trust.

So, what crazy thing is your intuition guiding you to do today? Wanna go for a ride and trust it? Yes, I believe you do! Jump – the net WILL appear!

Mastin Kipp is the creator of the The Daily Love The site blends wisdom with style and delivers a daily email and Twitter messages for a fast paced lifestyle.

Reprinted with permission by the author.

 

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Life Doesn’t Get Better by Chance: It Gets Better by Change

Accepting change requires letting go of how we think things should be, embracing what we have, and trusting that we will understand why change happens. Start by learning to accept the things we cannot change, changing the things we can, and having the wisdom to know the difference. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

We can all use more serenity in our lives, whether we pray for it or seek ways to create it from the inside out. Acceptance lightens us up by shifting those all too familiar and pesky heart-heavy feelings of resistance, and transmuting them into clarity and direction, time and time again.

Change isn’t all bad though. If you’re unemployed, and a job you’ve wanted becomes yours then change is more than welcome, isn’t it? Accepting change also triggers a series of realizations that one might not have been able to grasp without first accepting change, or life as it may be. If you’re wondering, how do we know when we are resisting change? Check in with your heart. Just as the heart sends good vibes and lets us know when we’re right on track, feelings of resistance weighs like a pressurized knot in the heart.

Vibrational cues are sent throughout our body to let us know whether consciously, subconsciously or unconsciously there are misaligned energies to pay attention to and release. If you are in a constant state of physical, mental or emotional dis-ease then you need to LISTEN UP. Your body never lies, but at times the mind can either be misleading or unable to grasp the actual energies, or undercurrent of energies, at work, so always check-in with your internal compass, your center, your heart, for the truth.

Practicing acceptance is a mindful exercise, and depending on what needs to be accepted or let go of, it can be downright elusive when we want to accept change the most. These six steps can help with accepting change peacefully:

1. Pause. Accept. Now, Be in the Moment.

It’s true, we’ve all thought about how we could’ve made different choices leading up to those tough times – but we had to have been operating altogether with a different awareness in order to do so. This means the frequency from which we were functioning in that moment had to be different. Knowing this now, do you feel more accepting of your past and present? If you notice a heightened shift in perspective, then the energy of your thoughts is shifting, opening your heart, subsiding your negative ego (while strengthening your positive ego) and tapping into a higher consciousness where acceptance and better choices are more accessible right in this very moment. Stick with it.

2. Acknowledge That Big ‘Ol Ego.

Undesirable change can be unsettling, especially when it involves matters of the heart. However, the uneasiness needn’t last for long. Once you experience acceptance, there is an undeniable energetic shift in your heart as much as a cerebral shift in perspective. It’s natural to feel pain but we needn’t suffer through it, unless masochism is your thing (totally cool if it is, no judgment here). Just realize that any kind of emotional and mental suffering is a function of major resistance to change that only our injured ego and heart can perform so well.

But, wait…there is relief! You see, the opposite is true too. Embracing change will bring you to a state of balance and upliftment. Be mindful and learn to identify the interconnectedness of the ego, its relationship to change and how this interplay mutes or expands the heart. Identifying this releases us and gives us the internal freedom that only we can initiate and cultivate, if we choose.

3. Live Honestly. Learn to Let Go.

Let’s not kid ourselves, mastering the art of acceptance is a constant work in progress that requires an honest inventory of the current status quo and making iterative improvements to better handle life’s ups and downs with strength and grace. The beauty is, once we’ve spent some time identifying and releasing what no longer serves us, we never lose sight of what we can achieve and what we’ve learned. Consider this the “Art of Getting Unstuck”. It’s a muddy process but well worth the effort once we clean ourselves up, begin to see the forest beyond the trees and live mindfully again.

4. Give Away What You Most Want.

Acceptance can be a difficult lesson to learn, especially if we have unresolved issues from childhood, such as consistently being faced with not being accepted one way or another: either by our parents, peers, or anyone who played a meaningful and crucial role in our young lives. However, the experiences we want the most – acceptance, patience, understanding, love, etc. – are the ones we must put into practice by freely giving these acts of kindness to ourselves and then others (practice makes perfect), especially during times of adversity. Easier said than done, initially, but never impossible.

5. Allow Your Character to Prevail.

As we strive to be more authentic and accepting of ourselves, people, events or circumstances, our true caliber comes into play when faced with elements we either wish to prevail or learn to embrace. The mind is a powerful, powerful tool – don’t let it mislead you. Your (re)actions should always serve to enhance your life not drain you of vitality. Be mindful of your disposition in every situation and stand in your power. If the temptation arises to close your heart and build a great energetic wall of China around yourself (I’ve been there many times, my karmic passport can show you the stamps), opt instead for this exercise: silently repeat the word ‘acceptance.’ You’ll be amazed how it instantly shifts you right to the center of your heart, the safe zone. Take flight from there!

6. Don’t Be a Turkey, Cultivate Thanks Giving.

If you haven’t been able to accept change by giving thanks for past experiences and the people involved, then the growth or realization that is required to learn and move on (ie, detach) from those experiences has yet to fully culminate the valuable lesson it brought. This leaves within you an unidentified aspect of yourself that you either aren’t aware of, don’t like, or have yet to fully understand. Understanding comes with realizing your world is 100% a reflection of you, a mirror aspect, in order to accept the deeper truths about who you are. Who you are beyond the limitations of pain and suffering is absolutely more gorgeous than any “Photoshopped” image, more powerful than all the currency in the world and more lovable than Boo the cutest dog in the galaxy (and he’s terribly cute, it’s unreal).

Change can be welcomed or unwelcomed as any experience that we had not hoped for, planned for, or somehow requires us to alter our life as we know it. If I’ve learned anything from accepting change by now it is that my inner life has greatly improved following change. If you’re seeing the same manure on different days, then freedom comes when we, at very least, recognize that patterns of self-defeating behavior do indeed repeat for our enlightenment until the message clicks and we move on.

Often times, we break patterns through repetition to align us with our true or empowered self and the life we’re meant to live. Change also serves as an exercise to make us resilient – not resistant – to it. So, the next time someone asks, “Got change?”, say ”Yes” and give them change with the consciousness that what you are gifting will indeed initiate positive change in both of your lives. If you can remember to do this consciously, then on some level you’ve accepted change as a multifaceted opportunity to create even more freedom and deeper happiness in all areas of your life. Wishing you peace of mind and heart on your journey!

These are some excellent tools to help accept change and manage stress with ease:

  • Meditation
  • Truth and Higher Teachings
  • Open Mindset: Positive, realistic and honest with an attitude of gratitude.
  • Breathing: correct and conscious.
  • Learning and Reading: Educate and entertain the ego through insight from “out there” [hello article]; eventually the insight gained will facilitate a shift at the core of who you are making you rely more on your inner wisdom.
  • Physical Activity and Music: separate or together, depending on how you feel!

 

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Agape International Spiritual Center

“We are on the planet to be and express the Divine Love of God that is alive in every fiber of our being, waiting to be released through us onto our world. Living as love is a way of life that brings heaven on earth.”

Michael Bernard Beckwith, Founder and Spiritual Director

The essence of Agape is best described by its founder, Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith: “When I founded the Agape International Spiritual Center and community in 1986, we “visioned” it as a movement that would take a stand for love, for peace, for being a beneficial presence on the planet. That’s why it was named “Agape,” which in Greek means unconditional love. Agape’s vision is fueled by the love of God, the One, indefinable yet unmistakable Presence whose vehicle on earth is the human heart and soul. My aspiration is that every individual who is touched by the vibration of Agape is inspired to cultivate a heart of love as wide as the world.”

Since its doors opened in 1986, Agape’s active teaching and practice of the New Thought-Ancient Wisdom tradition of spirituality has expanded into a trans-denominational movement and community of 9,000 local members and 1,000,000 friends worldwide. Through Dr. Beckwith’s weekly services, Agape’s University of Transformational Studies and Leadership classes, ministries and other outreach programs, the heart of Agape reaches deep into local and global communities teaching individuals about the transforming, healing power of prayer, meditation, and selfless service.

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