In my deepest, darkest moments, what really got me through was a prayer. Sometimes my prayer was 'Help me.' Sometimes a prayer was 'Thank you.' What I've discovered is that intimate connection and communication with my creator will always get me through because I know my support, my help, is just a prayer away.
Today I would love to introduce you to the ancient Hawaiian Huna prayer. It's a very short prayer you do every day, for 30 days. I have finished my 30 days with it, and so many good and profound shifts happened for me during it! I got published on several popular websites, found myself more relaxed and trusting, and discovered so much renewed energy for my passions.
What I loved most about using this prayer was it got me to think about my intentions in a positive way, every day. I have such a habit of falling into worrying thoughts, and I made a habit of starting my day with this prayer. Starting my day stating my desire or wish in a positive way was a powerful shift in itself for me. Instead of waking up in the morning and thinking something like, "I hope xyz works out, I need it to work out - what if it doesn't work out????" I would instead start with (this was my version of it, see below for more ideas and examples), "By the power of God/Goddess and all the light in the Universe, I request I tune into the divine energy that is available to me now that will bring abundance into my life."
Whenever I would start to worry, focus on what could go wrong, or focus on lack or limitation in some way, I would reflect on how that felt versus how my energy felt when I was saying the Huna prayer. There is also something about doing something 3 times that really makes it stick. It's in fact a very subtle way of reprogramming your mind, but unlike with something like hypnosis, this makes you an active participant in the reprogramming. You start shifting toward the positive AND you build your sense of power, your sense of yourself as the creator of your life.
Update: 11/9/15 SeaWorld San Diego has announced plans to phase out its orca shows. It will be creating a more natural habit instead, which it says will open in 2017. Read more at AlJazeera.com.
SeaWorld’s revenue has gone down 84% in profits since the debut of the film Blackfish. The film debuted in 2013 and portrayed a highly critical view of SeaWorld’s treatment of orca whales. The dramatic dip in profits pushed SeaWorld to attempt a massive image overhaul. This attempt didn’t come cheap. Ticket prices were cut and they spent $10 million on a major marketing move. I saw many of the commercials myself, and the trainers and vets talking about the whales came across to me as a cheap ploy to white wash the truth: captivity of wild creatures is wrong. Always has been. Always will be.
The fact that people responded to Seaworld so clearly and so swiftly be taking their dollars elsewhere speaks of a larger shift happening in our collective consciousness.
It wasn’t that long ago that a film like Blackfish would have appealed to only the most hardcore animal lovers. In 1993 one of the biggest films was Free Willy. The theme of the movie? Whales should not be in captivity. It’s cruel and done only for profit. The message was so obvious that even a child could get it, and thus, it was made into a family friendly kid’s film.
The very fact that Free Willy was such a huge hit speaks volumes about how unmoved we were by the sacredness of animals then. Despite the message of the film, there was no national uproar that the star of Free Willy, Keiko, should actually be freed in real life. For the most part, orcas were seen as sources of entertainment. Even when they were being used to entertain us with the message that they should be free.
Keiko was eventually released back into the wild. But even once free, Keiko was not really free. According to a 2003 article in The Telegraph, he remained dependent on humans until the end. Keiko was never able to thrive in the wild and eventually became too ill to eat. He died of pneumonia a year after being released, at the age of 27.
The average lifespan for an orca whale is 50 years, with many orcas living well into their 80's. Although you will find reports to the contrary, studies show the orcas at Seaworld have an average lifespan of 41 years. That's not much shorter than the average in the wild - but that's hardly any reason to pat Seaworld on the back. A life of imprisonment, no matter how long, is still a life stolen.
If the backlash to SeaWorld wasn’t enough to make us wonder if we’re changing, the recent reviling of Walter Palmer, Cecil the lion’s killer, is further evidence we’re finally waking up to what we should have realized long ago: animals are not here for our entertainment and selfish use. They aren’t here for us to keep in cages and tanks, and they certainly aren’t here for us to hunt down for trophies. The fact that there was an uproar, rather than a mass movement of looking the other way, is very telling of our changing attitudes.
As a comparison, Tedddy Roosevelt was a passionate big game hunter. He did this for sport, and amassed quiet a collection of rhino, lion and elephant trophies. There was no national outcry that he be shunned and treated as a pariah, a la Walter Palmer. Rather, he became our top leader and later a beloved member of our nation's history.
The question behind all of this is, why the change? What shifted us into feeling more compassion for animals and the natural world?
The answer seems to lie in the fact that we are becoming more compassionate in general. As an example, anti-bullying movements have been spreading across the country. Bullying has come to the forefront of our minds because so many of us no longer have tolerance for that kind of behavior.
Perhaps just as important as the compassion we are extending to others, is the fact that we’re learning to be more compassionate to ourselves. Self-love, self-forgiveness and self-compassion have become huge topics. It’s often said that how you treat yourself is how you treat others. So if we’re learning to treat ourselves with kindness and respect, than we’re going to project that outwards.
What I find most amazing about the SeaWorld story is it’s a reminder that each individual person does have power. We cast our opinions every day with the dollars we spend.
It’s wonderful and encouraging to see that not only are we becoming more compassionate and heartfelt, but we’re walking the talk. We’re withholding money from companies we know do not treat animals as the sacred beings that they are. This is hopefully only the beginning. We’ve made a big step as a society in our rejection of SeaWorld’s actions, but we still have a long ways to go in both how we treat animals, and how important it is to see all lives as sacred and worthy of our respect and love.
In a world where it’s easy to ask ourselves time and again, Why bother? it’s uplifting to finally be getting some assurance that change does happen. It’s easy to feel that as an individual we don’t make a difference. But we do, and we make that difference in all of our daily actions and choices. The more each one of us chooses kindness and compassion over something else, the more we engage in a positive ripple effect. Eventually, we reach something that is called a critical mass. A critical mass is a tipping point, a moment when we can see our collective energy and focus has shifted in a new direction. It’s a moment when a movie like Blashfish isn’t ignored, but instead results in a powerful response from society.
This isn’t a perfect world, but the fact that we are waking up, shifting, and choosing different is proof that we can have a better world.
A world full of kindness and love. A world where not only all people feel supported and wanted, but one in which all of the animals, from the majestic to the miniature, are treated as sacred and honored beings also. We're beginning to live in a world where we recognize everything really is connected, and every part of this world is important, valuable and divine. This is a world full of not only hope for a better future, but of actual belief that things are changing and improving, and belief is a powerful thing.
Tonight I was watching a PBS special on Teddy Roosevelt. What I loved about it was hearing how confident he was in commanding his life be a certain way.
Although doctors told him he would be weak and limited in his life, he refused to accept it. He more or less commanded and demanded himself into beating life threatening asthma. He desired it, he chose his own reality, and so it was.
It was easy for me to see that Roosevelt created his own reality because of his strong sense of self. You don't have to be arrogant or self-centered in order to be the kind of person who confidently commands and demands. In one of the stories on the show, Roosevelt slept on the dirt floor of a cabin in order to ensure someone else had a bed.
In other words, he didn't feel more deserving than other people. He just inherently believed in himself.
I would love for you to practice commanding and demanding things show up in your life today.
This can really bring up a lot of resistance, as it will ask you to look at how much you truly feel into your sense of self-power. Do you believe that it's wrong to command things? Do you believe it's not up to you, and to command and create your life goes against God in some way? Do you believe you're too weak or limited to create?
Whatever conflicting beliefs you have to commanding and creating will come up with this. If it starts to make you frustrated, disappointed or upset, just take a deep breath and tell yourself you're taking a break from practicing, and you'll try again when the time is right. Don't force yourself to keep at it and charge forward, because you'll only feel worse in the end.
So today, rather than saying, "Please Universe, please bring me abundance," try this, "I command and demand abundance show up now. I'm not requesting. I am a divine creator, and one of my purposes in this life is to learn to step into my personal power, and so I am commanding. Thank you."
Once you command it, let it go.
Let go of time frames and ways you expect it to work out or show up. Let go of needing to understand how and why it'll work out. Let go and know, if there's something for you to do, you will be guided to it, but for now, your only job now is to feel good about yourself and stay aware of your beliefs and feelings.
Today I choose to align with my highest potential.
Today I choose to align with the highest vibration available to me.
Today I choose love over fear.
Today I choose to open & expand.
Today I choose to live from my heart, and to watch the magic unfold as I do so.
Today I choose to believe in infinite possibilities.
Today I choose to have the BEST day possible.
And when the sun goes down, I will say thank you, and choose to remember that I am the creator of my life, and that I can choose to do it all again tomorrow.
I choose to see myself and my life as having value, just as they are.
I am not going to tell myself I'm beautiful, smart, thin, curvy, strong, motivated, inspirational, handsome, rich or anything else.
I know those are things that can change and when they do, I may forget my sense of value.
I am also not going to hide the things I don't like for fear they diminish my value. I might feel depressed, lonely, sad, poor, ugly, fat, gross, angry and everything in between, but those are feelings, not definitions of who I am. I see them, and if they are in my past, I see and accept them there too.
I see it all, what I define as good and what I define as bad, because I know the truth:
I am valuable. That's all there is too it. In this moment, and no matter what may come, I know that myself and my life are valuable, just as they are.
Photo copyright James Benniger
On my homepage I discuss how my guided meditations use subconscious imagery that evolves with you and your spiritual journey. This morning I was thinking that for someone who is just beginning an inner journey (or even just considering beginning), the concept of a meditation evolving with you might be hard to picture. In order to help you get an idea of what this means I'd love to share an example from one of my meditations called The Blue Flame. A few minutes into The Blue Flame you hear the guidance, "Let your mind be like a drop of red ink that falls into a huge pool of crystal clear blue water."
Consciously, this line assists in your relaxation process. It helps you to imagine your mind being something that slowly opens and goes from red, a color often associated with intensity and even anger, to the color blue, a color associated with serenity, the sky, and the ocean.
On a subconscious level things get more interesting. When you first hear this line your subconscious might associate the pool with your soul or spirit. And so as you see the drop of red ink dissolve in the blue pool what you get on an inner level is your mind opening and dissolving into your aura or energy field. This helps your mind to no longer feel like it has to be in hyper drive, controlling everything, but instead opens it up and allows it work with your heart level, your chakras, and so on. This will help you to ease out of separation and return to wholeness, allowing all aspects of yourself to work in harmony. You will begin solving problems and building relationships in entirely new ways that involve more ease and grace and less struggle. This also opens you up to your intuition, to trusting that which you can't see but you can feel. In the meditation, you only sit with this image for a moment, but that's all it takes to plant the seed that will continue to grow long after the meditation stops. This is something that will take on its own evolution, leading you to new synchronicities in your life that enhance this journey.
On subsequent replays, taking you further on this journey, the imagery will evolve as you're ready for it. The pool can go from representing your energy body to representing your Higher Self. Thus you open even further into the real You, harmonizing more with who you really are, and welcoming in the divine insights your Higher Self can offer you on any and all subjects.
As you make this your new point of comfort you will be ready to go further. And thus the pool might come to represent the Universe. On a subconscious level your mind will be opening up to an entire new perspective on itself and life. It will in some ways feel like you are returning home, and in others, it will feel like the most exotic and epic journey its ever undertaken.
From here you reach for an even higher level of understanding and expansion. The pool can evolve into being Divinity, the Source of Creation, God, or All That Is. Your mind will thus open up and dissolve into something that it in truth was always a part of it. It will start to not just remember but come to understand what it means by, "You are the drop in the ocean, and the ocean in a single drop."
It might seem that having your mind become one with God is the highest level you can reach. What could possibly be past that? Is that the end? Not even close. You will never stop growing and evolving in your understanding of yourself, life and the Universe. There is no final destination, no point you cross off the list and proclaim, "Done!"
What happens is you go back to the first point, when your mind opened up and dissolved into your energy field. This might seem a little disappointing, but it's in fact incredibly beautiful and exciting. Imagine how different you will see your soul after the journey you've been on, after you've opened your mind up to becoming one with the Universe and God. It will be like seeing you and your soul for the first time. You will see, experience, and realize things you never did before. You will come to understand you aren't circling back to start over, but going ever higher, each step complimenting and amplifying the next.
Now you might be wondering how long it will take until you complete this cycle once. How long will it take before your mind opens up to the whole Universe? That's entirely up to you. It could be a few weeks, it could be years or it could unfold over your whole life. There's no right or wrong, no one way, because no matter what happens you will expand, grow and have the perfect experiences for you. And in truth, this might not be the experience you have with this meditation at all. What happens will be what's in your highest good. It will be what you and your Higher Self decide is best for your journey. The less you try to force something to happen the more you will receive what's trying to happen for you.
Also, I would like to note that you don't have to play one of my guided meditations every day until something like this happens. You might play a meditation a few times and suddenly feel an urge to do this course on manifesting you saw online. And then you get an urge to go travel somewhere, and this entire new path starts unfolding. I only suggest that you keep coming back to a meditation as it feels right. Follow your intuition and the Universe will lead you to unexpected places full of surprises and delight. I wish you all much joy and wonder on your meditation journey.
Never pick up a book because it's on a list somewhere of must read books. Pick up a book because it calls to your soul. Open the book that beckons you with the feeling that you must read this book, now, no matter where you are, you cannot go until you at least get a sense of what's inside of it. The book that makes you forget all else as you read its first words.
Words that go inside of you like a tantalizing whiff of a freshly baked pie that captivates your mind, holding you hostage until you've got your own slice, in your hands, ready for you to devour. Give your precious time to the book that, as soon as you touch it, you know, this is the book you've been looking for, and it has been looking for you.
This is why books are written in the first place. Not to be put on some list. But to have conversations with people's souls, to make their eyes twinkle with delight as they see and feel in the words an understanding, a camaraderie, a knowing, an opening, an expanding, a feeling of home, and at the same time, a feeling of adventure. A feeling that you get when you look at the brilliant expanse of stars on a clear night and you know, you are deeply connected in ways you can never explain.