Success and Failure

What we consider failure is merely a rehearsal for success

Belief is the greatest factor in whether or not we succeed in reaching our goals. Whether we believe that we are able to reach them or whether we believe that the tools that we have will bring us to our goals is the determining factor. There is a story about a German troop during World War II that was out of guns. The commander handed each soldier an imaginary weapon and told him that this weapon was superior to any other. He told them that they only had to point it at their enemy and say, “Bang bang” and the enemy would drop down dead. One day the soldier, as he was fighting in the field of battle saw an enemy soldier, pointed his imaginary weapon and said, “Bang bang” and enemy fell down dead. He was so excited that he charged after each enemy soldier that he could find pointing his imaginary weapon and yelling, “Bang bang” and they all dropped like flies.

Soon after he heard the Star Spangled Banner playing in the air, and he knew that the Americans were coming. He was ready, he pointed his imaginary gun at the first American soldier that he saw and yelled, “Bang Bang”, and nothing happened, the soldier kept advancing. He did it again and still the American soldier kept advancing. Soon the German soldier found himself on the ground dying, and as he slowly faded out of consciousness he heard the American soldier saying, “I’m in a Tank I’m in a tank, I’m in a tank I’m in a tank, I’m in a tank, I’m in a tank…”

One way to succeed at reaching our goals is to go forward with the belief that we ourselves are fully capable of reaching that goal. Another way is to believe that we have the tools, the abilities that are needed to reach that goal. A third way is to be so focused on our goals that we do not even consider that we cannot reach them. In this way we do not even acknowledge any obstacles and therefore they are not given the life that they need in order to be obstacles in the first place. This is how many people who do not have any great amount of belief in themselves reach their goals.

The main thing that each of the above ways of succeeding has in common is the fact that they are all moving in the direction of their goal. So long as we move, the Universe will assist us in getting anywhere that we need to go. That forward movement is in itself an act of believing whether or not we are aware of it. We are all given the same keys to success at birth. However we are all given different things to succeed at. There are, as many people who were born with money who do not make anything of their lives in the world, as there are people who are born without money and do.

What we need to achieve, and whatever it is that we want, are not things that come to us from the world it is what we bring from ourselves out to the world. Everyone has a talent. Everyone has that specific talent that is required to achieve whatever it is that they came here to achieve. Sometimes we must know exactly what it is that we want in order to find that particular talent that we each have. Sometimes we have a talent that we do not know what to do with. That may not even be the talent that is immediately connected with our hearts desire. Yet once we connect with our hearts desire, we will find where our talents fit in.
Pope John Paul II wanted to be an entertainer; I recently watched a movie based upon a story that he had written. To creatively enrich the lives of others was his heart’s desire. Through following his desires he was led to the Church. He has now as the Pope, written a book and produced a CD. He did not end up where he planned as a child to be, or even as a young man to be, but it was from following his own plan that fate was able to guide his success in the Master Plan. He certainly was not a failure, yet he is on a much different stage than he had dreamed of.

Success and failure are both part of a process, failure is the means to success, but succeeding is something that does not end with reaching one goal. It is only after reaching one goal that we are able to see the next one. Once we are in sight of our next goal we will fail and fail until we succeed. Again the process will begin.

The fact is that we cannot succeed without failing. Failure is actually nothing but practice. Failure is rehearsal. How would we ever learn to walk if we were afraid of falling? What would happen if we accepted falling down the first time that we tried to walk as a failure? If that were the case we would all be crawling failures. As children there was never any doubt that in order to accomplish whatever it was that we wanted to do be it sitting crawling walking or riding a bike we would have to fall. Falling was not an issue. And we did not stop and count how many times we fell, our eyes were on our goal and we knew that we would reach it.

The sense of failure is really a byproduct of living in comparison to others or to the standards set by others. We were taken from being the best that we could be to being better than someone else is. The thing that impresses me when I hear successful athletes speak is that they usually say that they are not competing with others they are competing with themselves. They seek to better their best. It is this going outside of ourselves, living in comparison to others that causes us to judge ourselves as failures. What we consider as a failure could merely be a redirection. It could be a turn in our path that the Universe intends for us to take. With each step, regardless of where we seem to be, we are gathering what we need for the next. We are gathering the strengths, the tools, and the abilities that we need to go on. The heavier the weight that we lift, the stronger our muscles will become, physically, as well as emotionally. Yet, we never lift it on the first try, it takes time, that is not failure, that is work.

Many people are afraid of failure, so in order to avoid it they do not try. They do not realize that once we take the first step the possibilities before us are endless, but if we do not take a step we will go nowhere. We do not have to know where we are going in order to get there. We are here to find our way. Even if we do not exactly know our destination we can be still certain that we won’t end up on the wrong place. In life anywhere we end up will be right. Sometimes we are guided by a light that we do not even know that we see. The only way to fail is to quit. So long as we keep going the road will lead us to success.
In actuality we are all in the process of succeeding. Some of us have a longer road than others have. If my goal is ten miles away and I am competing with someone whose goal is five miles away, logic says that he will reach his goal before I will. Yet there are two separate things going on here. If the object is to reach ones goal, the winner is the one who reaches his goal. Therefore the only way to win is to keep striving until the goal is reached.

If the object is to beat someone else, there is no winning because competition can never be fair. There will always be another someone else. Someone will always have an advantage and someone else will always have a disadvantage. There are no equal playing fields, yet the ultimate playing field is always equal. We can all reach our goals. We can use competition to help push ourselves, or to help keep ourselves motivated. We should not use it to compare or to judge our success or failure.

Living in comparison is not living. Sometimes as an astrologer, I will look at a chart and thank God that it is not mine. Yet I know how many astrologers look at my chart and feel the same way. Nothing is one size fits all. Each life is tailor made for only the person who is living it. I could no more handle what someone else endures as I could find happiness in what makes someone else happy. My life would be empty for anyone else who tried to live it, for it is my reality and everyone’s illusion. There is no point in comparison.
If something makes you happy I cannot assume that it will make me happy. It does not mean that there is something wrong with me. If your shoes are not comfortable on my feet it does not mean that there is something wrong with my feet.

We need to find within ourselves what makes us happy. We need to find within ourselves what it is that we want. Somehow, we need to start with our childhood and filter out what others told us was right for us and seek deep inside for what we know feels right. The guarantee is that if we seek we shall find. If we intend to find what our hearts desire is, it will be shown to us. Our task, our journey is to find our way to that hearts desire. We just have to accept the fact that it is out there for us. We will reach it if we sincerely desire it.
The greatest guarantee of success is to find ones road and to travel it. We each have a road and a destination, and each road leads to that destination. Success is promised to us. It is there, we just have to keep going and not give up. More than anything we must not compare ourselves to others. We should find hope in the successes of others not lose our hope because of them. The Universe gave us each exactly what we need. All we have to do is find a way to activate it.

What is the measure of success after all? It is not what we have but what we feel about what we have. Success is not measured in the things that we own but in the life that we live. Success is not in our pockets but in our hearts. More than anything else, the person with the greatest success is one who has the most to take with him when he leaves.

The Relay Race

My life is
Like a relay race
God gave my soul
Love
My soul passed it on
To the infant
Who added form
And passed it on
To the child
Who added faith
And passed it on
To the adolescent
Who added hope
And passed it on
To the young mother
Who added consistency
And passed it on
To the woman
Who added acceptance
And passed it on
To who I am now
To add gratitude
And will pass it on
To the me
Who crosses the
Finish line

THE AIR WE FEEL

We understand that the quality of our physical health has a great deal to do with the air that we breathe. When there is pollution in the air, it has an adverse affect on our lungs and our overall health. Too much pollution in the air can threaten our lives. Environmentalists have gone to great lengths to help us fight pollution in our physical atmosphere.

What about the air that our souls breathe, the emotional atmosphere? Just as we all share same air, our souls also share the same emotional and spiritual atmosphere. That atmosphere is the God stuff, which connects all of us. Our feelings of joy, sorry, indifference, pain, love, and hate all go into the common air that our souls breathe.

Everyone is not sensitive to the energy around them just as everyone is not sensitive to pollution or secondhand smoke, but many people are. Many people are sensitive to secondhand misery.

Animals are completely in tune with the earth and their environment. Notice how they act when there is an impending earthquake or hurricane or notice how a pet reacts when its owner is sad. Animals are at one with their environment, what happens around them happens to them.

There is an increasing number of souls who are also in tune with their environments, not necessarily their physical environments, but the emotional ones, which they share with every other soul on earth. They are tuned in and reacting to emotions that are not even their own and wondering why these unconnected feelings engulf them.

For a very long time, the greater emotional environment affected comparatively few people. Most were only affected by the emotions emanating from those nearest to them. However, children who grew up in the fifties and sixties grew up during a very critical time in this country. Women particularly mothers were in a state of transformation. Their unrest was repressed for the most part. Mothers who were raised to aspire to nothing more than being a wife and mother were questioning their choices and so their lives.

Not that they did not love their families, but there was a whole new adventure opening up for women, a whole new exciting world was appearing before their eyes but out of their reach. There were many feelings that women were unable to express or even make sense of within themselves.

This undercurrent of emotion jarred the energy in even the best of homes. Children grew up in an atmosphere where there was often as much going on under the surface as there was on the surface as their mothers grappled with the strange new desires that were boiling up from within. Being spiritually connected to mother, children needed to sharpen their antennae. They needed to feel what was happening around them as much as hear and see in order to maintain their sense of security and connection.

Beyond the intimate emotions affecting the mothers, the entire country was experiencing a heightened level of preparedness. The cold was looming all around while air raid shelters were built underground. This state of preparedness necessitated a heightened state of awareness never knowing when and from where the attack would come.

Children during the fifties and early sixties had to hide under their desks for air raid drills. It caused them again to open up their sixth sense in order to keep up with fear of impending doom. Just as children learn to walk and talk, these children learned to sense, to be always aware of what we could not see or hear because the enemy was somewhat invisible.

Thus, children began to have a heightened awareness that their parents did not have. They were affected by a much larger environment than had affected children before. These children grew up during a time when there was more to fear from that which could not be seen than from that which could and so they became tuned in to a higher frequency than their parents. This sense of fear and dissatisfaction having no recognizable source was perceived by the children as being their own when in fact it was much larger. These children drank in the general sadness in their country and simultaneously fed into it as well.

They were born in a time when the earth herself was accelerating her vibration, as the earth accelerates so do we as a part of her. This change in vibration creates a disturbance among the creatures of the earth and the physical properties of the earth herself. So, we have enormous earth changes disasters of great proportions. This causes suffering among the animals and mankind. As the suffering enters the energy field, those who are sensitive become depressed because they are so deeply connected to the energy.

Things have not become better, they have only become worse. The energy coming from the Middle East is one of intense suffering between terrorism, hatred, fear, despair and oppression. Africa is dying and the wails of the slow torturous death of AIDS are felt within all who are connected but especially those who are acutely sensitive.

There is more suffering than joy in the world today; more empty bellies and empty plates than full. The world is in a constant state of mourning and only the sensitive few are aware of it. Sadly, they don’t even know why they feel death in the pit of their stomachs and so they seek medication.

We believe that what we don’t see, does not touch us. Well we can only avoid being affected if we don’t feel. It is easy to say that it is God’s will. But if it were Gods will we would not be so sad. Joy comes from doing God’s will not depression. This is God’s challenge; it is God’s test of our connection to Spirit. It is Gods will that every creature that He loved enough to give life to, be given a chance to live and be fruitful. He created mankind and gave man the ability to reach across all boundaries and love, and told man to love his brother as himself. We will ease our own suffering by easing the suffering of our brothers. God created the earth and made her bountiful. But her bounty is only enough for all, if all limit their portions to enough. It is God’s will that we be given the choice of more for me, or enough for all.

It is the Universal energy that is clinically depressed; only a growing number of us are too sensitive to be immune to it. This country is suffering from EIDS, emotional immune deficiency syndrome. We cannot stay immune to the emotions that are all around us in the world. The country that we live in is not a place, it is an ideal. The souls born here and the souls drawn here are keenly infused with the ideals on which this country was founded. Those words held in the hands of the statue of liberty are etched in our hearts. We may try to turn our backs on those tired, poor, huddled masses, but we cannot turn our hearts, we were not built the same way as everyone else.

We have a greater privilege being in this country and along with that comes a greater responsibility to the world as a whole because just as it says in the song, we are the world. We here represent the hopes and dreams of every nation on this earth. The hearts of our founding fathers looked to the future of Americans to fulfill the greatness of their dreams of a better world. The founding fathers believed that if they created the Constitution, one day, we would exemplify it as a beacon to the world. This is the only nation in the entire world that was not established on a foundation of what was, but on a foundation of what could and even more, should be. And maybe one day we really will, but if we continue to extend our weapons instead of our hearts, that day may come too late for everyone. Because whether we know it or not, we are all deeply heart sick, and the rampant depression is a symptom of that sickness. We carry within our collective genes a bit of every race, creed, and national origin on this earth. Their cries are our cries. Their hunger is our hunger because in the greatest sense, they are us.

Why Relationships Don’t Work Out

Irreconcilable differences begin to accrue as soon as a person forgets that being entrusted with someone’s trust, love, self-esteem, growth, and happiness is a privilege and not a birthright. It is a precious gift to love and be loved.

Once we give something a name, we have given it a definition. Once we have defined it, it no longer has room to grow. What we call a relationship and what we call marriage must grow to meet who we have evolved into. When my first husband and I returned home from our marriage I did not recognize him. He had become a ‘husband’, which bore no resemblance to the man that I had been engaged to. I, on the other hand, did not know how to become a ‘wife’. And, I have to add that the husband he became was his father, a man that I would never have married. So even if I had known how to become a wife, I would have had to become his mother to make the institution function. We did not form a relationship, we entered an institution with strictly defined roles, at least, the ones that worked for my husband.

When two people enter into a committed relationship they create an extension of themselves, a midpoint where they unite. So, the relationship is not a thing, or an institution as marriage is called, but a place where lovers join, share, love and grow together. It is the third entity. It is the form of the bond through which their love flows, through which they share themselves and experience each others growth from that sharing and that bonding. This does not describe most relationships and it does not describe most marriages. The reason begins in childhood.

Children have their first and most important lessons in relationships in their family homes. They learn by watching their parents with each other, they learn by watching their parents with themselves and their siblings, and they learn through their interaction with their siblings. One of the first challenges that we are faced with when we enter into an adult relationship is that it is destructible. The relationship with our parents and siblings is indestructible, for better or for worse – they are always there. Even if we run away, they are still always there till death do we part. The relationship between parents and children is the only relationship that is relatively certain to be till death. Yet, somewhere in our subconscious minds we form, and act based upon a belief that a few words repeated before an official creates the same unbreakable bond. It does not and it has not for a very long time.

Divorce statistics show that eighty percent of marriages that end in divorce do so because of irreconcilable differences. Any relationship, including marriage will last as long as the needs of those involved are being met. This makes sense, but understanding those needs, grasping the importance of those needs and realizing how the survival of a marriage can hinge on the smallest thing is a little more difficult. This is because the smallest slight, or cruel word said in a fight never leaves the relationship. It never leaves the memory of the one who was slighted – never – ever, no matter what the person says. Put a person under hypnosis and you will find that throughout that person’s entire life there was not a leaf that blew by that is not remembered. We are, for better or for worse, memory keepers. No one knows for sure where all of the memories go, but what is a fact is that if the incident is repeated, the original one flies out to meet it and grow.

They say God is in the details, well, a relationship is strengthened or weakened by the details, the little tiny details and sometimes no one is aware of its condition until it snaps. One partner says, “What did I do”, the other partner says, “I don’t know, just a lot of things”. It is just a lot of little things. So many people think that the work ends when you say “I do”. This may be when we stop working, but it is also the time when the things that must be worked on begin to accumulate.

From the beginning of any relationship, we need to understand that if we have, ‘fallen in love’, then we are under the influence of a heavy intoxicant, maybe the heaviest. We are not in our right minds. The more that we struggle to see beyond our need for the next fix of the other person’s energy, the better chance we have at success. Clarity is the most important thing in having a successful relationship, make your needs clear – especially to yourself. My hand is a zillion times more mine than my husband will ever be. When it comes to another human being, we can’t take the word ‘mine’ too literally. No one abandons a relationship that makes them happy. No one cheats on a relationship that fulfils his or her needs. No one can be held down, held back, or controlled indefinitely. The only way to guarantee that the one you love is going to be there is to seek to make that person feel important, appreciated, loved, and most of all respected.

There are always two complete individuals and the relationship. The part of you that enters the relationship is the part of you who thinks first of the other – first my love, then us, then me. If you do this there will be times when you sacrifice what you want for your partner, but there will be equal times when your partner does the same for you. You don’t need to be in a relationship to worry about yourself, you can do that alone.

Forget about being right and never even consider winning. In a relationship if one person wins the fight, both lose the war. Sometimes we want our partners to think the same way as we do about everything. Only, if they really begin to do that we begin to feel that the person we fell in love with has been possessed by a member of the Stepford community. And sometimes if they don’t, we fear that we will lose our partner to someone who thinks the way that he or she does. If you are on opposing sides of an issue, respect the other’s right to see things from a different perspective than yours. If you have left your ego, and your baggage outside, an explanation, or saying, “These are the reasons that I feel this way…” may or may not convert the other person, but at least that person will have an understanding of why your beliefs are what they are and understanding in itself should make honoring your right to your beliefs easier.

Some beliefs, often religious or political are never going to become one. However, they are deeply charged with emotion and should not be criticized, discussed perhaps, but never critically. If there are little things that your partner needs that to you seem ridiculous – honor them. You will have you own share of ridiculous needs to be honored.

At some point in a relationship we realize that we do not want to continue without the other person. Not too long after that we have our first fight and realize that this unbelievable, one of a kind, made in heaven relationship is not indestructible. This causes that monster fear to raise its head. We become possessive, and jealous. At which point we remarkably do everything possible to alienate the person that we feel we can’t live without. We forget the most important thing, for some reason that can be articulated, this other person decided that he or she wanted to commit to us. What is important here is that whatever made that person, come to that decision was something about who we were, and what we did. It was never a specific thing, it was a mode of behavior, a way of being – what comes from the heart that beats inside of us. If you love someone and want to keep that person by your side till death do you part, be who you were when that person fell in love with you, and even more, when that person chose you to commit to.

We want to go to heaven but we don’t want to die. We want a guarantee that our partner will never leave us, but we don’t want to do the work to make them stay. If you are not sure as to what you should do, or if you have been fighting for so long that you have forgotten, ask your partner this, “What was it that made you want to spend your life with me?” “What can I do to make you want a life with me as badly as you did in the beginning?” This is not asking who else you should become, or, who else you should act like, it is asking what part of who you are that you have not been lately, or you could be more of.

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Changing our lives

To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.
Confucius, BC 551-479, Chinese

We may not like the course our lives have taken and feel that a radical change is needed. Perhaps we decide that we need to change our economic level, or that we need a change in our lifestyle. Then we pull out our affirmations and/or our prayers and begin the process.

While it is true that we manifest our own reality, we do not accomplish this in a vacuum. If we are going to survive in these times ahead of us, we will have to understand that it takes two halves to make a whole; there are two forces at work in the accomplishment of every task. Everything that you do whether it is acting from an inner thrust will or reacting to external occurrence – is one half of the equation. It is the act of throwing the ball, of placing the mail in the box, or hitting the send key on the computer. The other half is the energy which guides our action to a given destination. By destination I mean outcome. Some of us never act, whatever we do is an automatic response to stimulus that we either brought with us into this life from past lives, or were conditioned by a repeated act in the past of this life.

If, for example in your past life you suffered deeply from conditions of poverty – in this life you will act towards money and material possessions as though you had experienced this suffering yesterday. You might instinctively hoard, regardless of how generous you would like to be. After a past life regression, or simply a conscious act which is counter to your instinct, then you are actively taking control of your own actions, so, although you are not now, master of your life – you are master of your actions. Many people have past lives in which they were murdered or tortured for speaking out. If that happened to you, you would find that when it comes time to speak up or speak out, you are gripped by an overwhelming fear. In fact, any time that we find ourselves in an outwardly nonthreatening situation and feel overwhelming fear or anger – we are reacting to something that has no relevance in this life but came from the past. Understanding this motivation and acting upon it will aid us in acting consciously – it will not, however, change the fact that the outcome is not a direct result of our actions alone.

There is mounting undeniable evidence that we come in to each life to fulfill a plan that if not chosen was at least understood and accepted by each of our souls. I liken it to a giant mechanical clock with infinite gears. Each gear revolves and as it does so it turns many other gears. Those gears in turn cause the turning of many other gears. Yet each gear is not the same size and does not revolve exactly like every other gear. It is that difference, however slight it may seem, that makes the every gear from the tiniest to the largest equally critical in the functioning of the whole clock of Time. Each of our lives is made up of experiences and the totality of our individual experiences becomes our gear. The specific turning of each gear, in essence, turns the entire clock. We are able to incarnate when our needs and the needs of the whole are a match. Our experiences connect the gears and not our actions because it is the experiences which connect us to others. Soul growth comes as our experiences change our perception of life, but the whole clock, of which each gear is a part manifests our physical reality based upon the outcome of our experiences as we as a whole perceive it.

Because each outcome is equally necessary regardless of the size of the gear that generates it, each outcome is determined by the Source who is able to see and know the purpose and destiny of the entire clock. That higher Presence determining each and every outcome is influenced by the growth of the all of the souls in gear during a cycle of incarnations. What this means is that as each of us change our attitudes that energy combines with the energy of other souls in the process of the same change and all of the outcomes begin to evolve as well in a higher direction.

Our lives are always lived in context. As children, our lives are lived within the context of our families, whose lives are lived within the context of their community, which functions within the context of the nation and so on. We can only change our lives within the context in which they are playing out. What we can change is the way in which we live our lives. Today, we must all acknowledge the economic, social and environmental context in which our lives are playing out. When we seek a change in our lives, what we are seeking, all that we are ever seeking is happiness. It cannot be found if we are hungry, in physical pain or lack shelter , but if we are not lacking in those basic needs, happiness is available in abundance. It is as simple as beginning with a glass that is half full rather than half empty. Happiness will never become a state of being until we are satisfied, until we have enough.

So long as we seek more, we will be dissatisfied with what we have. As long as we are dissatisfied with what we have, happiness will elude us. Within the context of the world today, we must change our focus from having more to becoming more. What we have falls into the category of ‘outcome’. It is not a result of what we have created, or earned in the material world, all of that is only what we have been given. Who we are, who we have become and who we will become is the only outcome that is totally within our control. As we become greater human beings by increasing our reflection of the spiritual being within, we infect others with our growth and they in turn grow. As we grow spiritually we change the context of the world in which we live. Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and Bobby Kennedy were faces of the Civil Rights Movement. But the changes that occurred were the result of changes in the hearts and souls of hundreds of thousand Americans who, regardless of race, felt a need to move in the direction of truth. It was a subtle change in the hearts of many that moved the country in a different direction, from separatism towards a greater union. This was not the result of technological or material growth, but of spiritual evolution. It was this Spiritual growth, led by a few great leaders, who would have been unable to lead had it not been for that vast number of individuals who had already become in their hearts, the change before the leaders led to manifest in the world. Change in the whole is accomplished through the inner changes of thousands, perhaps even millions. We cannot be led into evolution, it is an inner process. Just as we cannot change our lives without the inner process being complete. Otherwise we just change place.

We are seekers by nature. We are creators by nature. It is our nature to love, because our true nature is that of God. The energy of fulfillment, of happiness, of self-worth comes to us through the strength and power of our creations. Our creations feed us as we ourselves feed our Creator. However, that sense of happiness, of fulfillment eludes us when we seek it through creations in the material world. There are three reasons for this. The first reason is that when our creation is material, it is perishable. It makes no difference if we create a business, an empire; a better paying job, an invention, wealth, higher social status or a new and improved body, everything in the material world has a shelf life. The second reason is that whatever we build becomes the launching pad for someone to build it better. In the material world that which does not fade on its own will be destroyed by the competition. The third and most important reason is that deep within our souls, in that same place where we ultimately find our happiness and sense of fulfillment, lives the knowledge that we were not really in control of the final product. The true credit for the outcome belongs to some power other than us.

Our actions reflect who we are. What we seek reflects what we value. What we hold on to reflects what we treasure. And whatever we cannot live without becomes the master that we serve. One day I decided to run away from home with my friend Beverly, we were about eleven years old. When it came time to go, she changed her mind. She said that it didn’t matter where she went, because, “Wherever I go – I go”.

Changing our neighborhood, changing our social or financial status, changing our marital status are all illusory changes. They may change the view, but not the perspective of the viewer. We tend to need what we have, rather than have what we need. So whatever we have we become dependent on. Material things go from ‘it would be nice to have’ directly to ‘can’t live without’ the moment that we have them. That which we cannot live without possesses us.

An actor needs a role in order to perform. A role needs a play in order to exist. And as each role is essential to the evolving plotline of a play, each role is in some way essential to the evolution of the person as an actor. We are all souls inhabiting roles in the play called life. The role that we play cannot just change or end because the actor has lost interest. However, an actor can change a role from within, changing a villain to a sympathetic character without changing the lines, only by changing the delivery. This subtle, inner change of the character can open up new directions for the character that may alter not only the actor’s experience of the play, but the way in which the other actors play their parts, and finally the experience of the audience. The ending may be the same, but these subtle changes could take the sequel into a whole new direction.

For us to change this we must fully understand the reason that we chose the role that we are living. It is not that we cannot change our lives; however, it is not something we can do without true knowledge of ourselves, and the reasons for our choices. Most of the time, we are not working with the knowledge of, or the Spiritual reasons for, where our lives are at this moment. Without that knowledge, how can we change? We do not change our lives from the outside in, but from the inside out.

For us to change from the inside we must understand what is going on inside. Why were these experiences set up in the first place? The truth is, that when the work is done, the lessons learned and the understanding lived – we need no more for ourselves than food, water, and shelter to be as happy as the laughing Buddha. Once we have completed the work, we no longer want for ourselves. Usually, we tell ourselves that happiness must be there – simply because it is not here. Obviously, if it’s not here – it’s there. But the truth is that here is the only place that happiness and all of those other things can ever be because we only move from one here to another.

So it is incumbent on us to know, first, why we came here now, then what the particular circumstances of this’ here’ and this ‘now’ have within them for us, because there is a strong chance that whatever we are searching for is here now, and if it is not, then the key to opening the box that contains it definitely is. The Universe does not waste. Every drop of rain contains an answer for anyone willing to take the time to look. It is only through the challenges that we have faced and will face ahead of us that we can find the treasure we came to unearth. If we perceive that life just happens to us, and that is all that we get from it, we will never know where we are.

There is no punishment and no reward on earth from above. Life is not about punishment or rewards from the standpoint of the Creator. It is about experience. When things go well, we are not being rewarded for past good actions and when things go wrong we are not being punished for past bad actions. In either case, there is something that we have to learn, something that we have to pick up and include in our treasury of knowledge and growth. If it were that simple—either punishment or reward—then all of those who we consider good, would have good things happen to them and all those we consider bad, would have bad things happen to them, but, as we well know, that is not the case. How many times have we heard people say, “Bad things happen to good people.” Life is neither fair nor unfair, it just is. When we are in school, there are no fair subjects and no unfair subjects; there are no fair tests or unfair tests. The fairness of a test is based on the perception and level of preparedness of the person taking the test. It is the same with life. Things are unfair when we are not prepared to handle them and fair when we are.
To change our lives effectively, we must understand them thoroughly, and be prepared with the knowledge obtained through each experience both good and bad. This requires being conscious and not a victim. It requires a willingness to examine life, not just experience it. If we keep being hit with balls that come from out of nowhere, we must learn to catch them or learn to duck—something must be learned. If we are being taught to catch and we keep ducking, the balls won’t stop coming. If we are being taught to duck and we keep catching, the balls won’t stop coming. If we don’t take time to figure out why the balls keep coming, we cannot stop them. But, if we do figure out why they are coming and either master the lesson or make a conscious soul connected decision to put it off, we can change.

If we are not this, if we are not these bodies and these egos then these bodies and these egos must have some symbolic purpose. That is the way it is with our lives. If we want to have a different set of experiences, then we must discern the original purpose; the original function. If we want to change the play, the story, we must first understand our own role in it. Then we must change our approach to that role so that change will transform the approach of the other souls to their roles and to the character that we play. This change will travel forward until ultimately the play becomes a new one.
When children are born, we are struck early on with the realization that there is a very well defined personality in there. There are reactions based, at the least, upon some innate set of beliefs defining the world. Babies have responses to people and to outside stimuli that are not just like every other baby. Some babies respond to the world in ways that just could not have been observed in the limited environment in which they exist. We bring into each life a core belief. It could be what we died in our past life believing, it could be imprinted from many lives of being stuck in the same pattern, it could be exacerbated or just reinforced by the thoughts and feelings of the mother during pregnancy, or it could be an innate Spiritual knowledge. We could bring in the lessons learned at the end of our last life rather than the reaction to the experiences. Wherever it comes from, it is the preamble to our life’s story. It is the filter through which we interpret the world around us and the experiences that we have. It is the key to understanding our perception of and our responses to the world and our experiences in it. Often it is difficult to uncover because it is imprinted in our psyche in the womb, or at least before words. So it is like a knee jerk response, hit the knee the leg goes up, no thought required, and because no thought is required it cannot be filtered.

My father suffered from Parkinson’s disease from before I was born. It went untreated until my mid-teens when my father finally acknowledged it. However, it had been slowly breaking down his ability to think, he lost large periods of time which we never knew of because he had never been in the habit of coming home every night. When I was fourteen he had very little money left and we moved from a large house with five bedrooms to a small house with two. My sister’s core belief was “who a person is – is based on what a person has. One’s chance of survival is in proportion to one’s image”. So, she carried this in from her past life, and in the womb she knew that she was not wanted by my mother who tried everything that she could to accidentally miscarry. Coming in with this belief, reinforced by her experience in my mother’s womb, added the belief that the world was not safe for her. The fact that my mother fell instantly in love with her the moment that she was born, had no effect on her core belief. She saw every experience through the filter of a threat, and responded as one would to being threatened. She relied on the façade of wealth that she was born into to intimidate or impress. She never worked in school – never sought to be anything because her belief was that on her own merits she would fail. When our family moved from having more than many to having less than most, my sister, at the age of ten years old, was pushed her over the edge. Her life deteriorated and she just went from one bad situation to another. It did not matter where she was or what opportunities were ahead of her, she saw the world as chairs being moved around in the same unsafe room, and reacted accordingly. Perhaps she could have sought help, but you can’t seek help when you believe that it is your image of superiority and nothing more that keeps you safe. To seek help would be to admit imperfection which in turn would invite destruction.

Our core beliefs are not simple; they are as intricate as the myriad of past experiences which created them. Still, there is a theme. One theme may be that the opposite sex can’t be trusted; another theme may be that to be seen as standing out in any area is dangerous. It could be that the soul brought in the belief that survival depended on being in control. Some souls are not as influenced by past lives as they are influenced by their core spiritual selves. Whatever these beliefs are, they are the colors of our lives for better or for worse. Everyone walks the same streets our experiences of those streets are personalized by the colors that we bring to them. My core belief – the one thing that I have come to realize that is written in stone for me is that the Source, All-That-Is, the Presence, the energy that we often refer to as God, is Love itself, it is Goodness beyond measure, and the only and ultimate source of all wisdom. I believe that it is the energy and ultimate creator of every experience that we have for eternity. For me, this has always meant that although my life has had a plethora of disappointments, losses, rejection and apparent failure, I have sailed through each storm unaffected because the water under my boat has been calm. I have faced every challenge as an opportunity to gain something that would outweigh the price. Even when, as now, I wonder why I have been so blessed as to have been given such an overflowing reservoir of growth opportunities, my mind is immediately guided to see how much love has entered my life from unexpected sources.

When my parents lost everything I like my sister, had to confront the loss of face. After the immediate feeling of a knife in my gut at seeing our new home, the thoughts that ran through my mind were of how much stronger I would feel in my skin after this test. The most crucial step in changing our lives is asking ourselves what feelings, or fears motivate us. What do we believe causes us to be accepted and what causes us to be rejected? What does our world look like to us? What does it feel like to us? What possible reasons could one continuously end up in the same bad situation if you remove deserving it, earning it, poor judgment, and bad choices? What do we believe will happen if we do _____________ and why we believe that? Every experience under the sun contains a gift, and usually the difficult experiences contain an opportunity to see our own power, an opportunity to see that we are loved and therefore worth loving, that love is love from wherever it comes, or an opportunity to once and for all free us from past, outdated beliefs that constantly limit us.

When my sister finally lost everything that she hid behind, including her ability to maintain her façade, her only choice was to walk through her fears, for the sake of her children, and to attempt to build a life on her own with only who she is and not who she was with, or what she had. With each step she found that who she was seemed to be much greater than she ever believed. From here, she was free to finally step in the light as herself. Even having fewer things than she once had, she has what she never had before and that is herself. It did not happen because she changed her life, it happened because life changed her view. More often than not, if we do the work, we find that we can only change places and change circumstances so many times before all places and all circumstances feel the same. But if we are willing to change our view – then we automatically change our living, and if we change our living our lives move to new heights.