Category Archives: Contemporary Spiritual Master

Blogs inspired or written by modern gurus of spirituality.

lifeismessy

Life Is Messy

“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.” – Haruki Murakami (1949-)

What’s the difference between happy people and troubled people? It’s the way they process the messiness of their lives. I used to know a grown woman who was very unhappy and walked around feeling jealous of the happy people she met. She complained that life had handed her a miserable existence, and it wasn’t fair that other people didn’t have problems like she did. I was a child at that time, and so I took her assessment to be the truth.

In case you’re one of those folks who thinks those of us who walk around with a grin have an exemption from life’s storms, maybe I can help you join the ranks of the happy. I am a people watcher, an observer of life, and I have an insatiable curiosity about people and how they go about their lives. What I have noticed is that The Creator exempts NO ONE from pitfalls, tragedies and serious problems. It’s the people who, when their lives are a mess, ACCEPT that their lives are a mess who can walk out of the storm, as Haruki Murakami writes above.

I have two good friends, both of whom lost their husbands — one to choices on his part that ended the marriage and one to death. The first friend is struggling to believe that he did what he did and that her marriage is over. She wants the pain to end. She wants the storm to be over. She wants everything to be like it used to be. The second friend came to peace with her husband’s death within a few months. Yes, she had lost, but she immersed herself in her grief and then, she was able to see what she had gained. You can guess which of my friends is now experiencing happiness.

So, what are the steps to turning the messiness of life into happiness?

  1. Acknowledge your losses. Talk or write out them out. Get help from a professional counselor; the good ones help you acknowledge your pain at a rate that won’t devastate you.
  2. Grieve your losses. Some of your dreams will never come true. Some people will not be in your life, or at least, not in the way you’d like them to be in your life.
  3. Make your losses matter. Use them to do something positive for someone else. American TV personality John Walsh turned the abduction and murder of his son into a crusade which contributed to the capture of more than 1000 fugitives. Use your losses to shape your character in a way that softens you and makes you empathetic to others.
  4. Walk through your losses into your new life. Your life will never be the same. It’s not supposed to. You are more empathetic now. You appreciate sunrises more. You don’t take for granted that you will be alive tomorrow. You consider any day without a tragedy a beautiful one, and guess what? That puts a smile on your face!

Namaste,  Sheryl

giving

Giving – Our Natural State

“We may give without loving, but we cannot love without giving.”  — Bernard Meltzer (1916 – 1998)

Quotations about giving and love, like this one above, bewildered me for most of my life. I didn’t understand them. I was raised to believe that I might be worthy of love, if I fulfilled some condition. The process of giving was akin to a currency system. Giving meant I might receive something. Receiving meant I would give up something. In my house, we kept score, and giving for no reason or purpose was unthinkable. My family was the embodiment of the first phrase of Meltzer’s quotation.

I had no idea that this thinking was unhealthy and that I was broken. But the Creator of All,  in His/Her wisdom, created and then recreated troublesome scenarios in my life so I could question, “Why is this happening again?” I found people to help me. Wayne Dyer’s work was a start. Deepak Chopra’s books were life-changing. Brene Brown leaves me speechless. Two counselors and several social  media communities provided the insight I needed. And now, ten years along this journey, I am profoundly different.

Giving with love and without conditions is our natural inclination.  It is one important reason why we are here. Please, pause a moment and ask your soul if this is true.

Raise your hand if asking this question put a smile on your face and brought peace to your heart. (Wow, that’s a lot of hands!) Can you give without expectations or conditions? If yes, then continue to do so as much as you can. Every act of giving, no matter how large or small, brings peace to the world. If no, then practice; it will come naturally after a while. You can start little: slip money into the tip jar when the cashier turns his head or give more credit to someone else than yourself on a group project.

Finally, let’s talk about giving in, which I think is one of the most beautiful ways of giving with love. Giving in is about unconditional acceptance of differences in people, in their ideals, and in their ideas. Loving people so much that you will not argue with them is an expression of respect, and it recognizes their individual importance in our world.

I apologize for rambling on. It has been a while since I blogged, so my writing is a little loose. But hang in there with me; it will get better. With love, I give you my best, and I wish you peace and success on your journey.

Namaste, Sheryl

Do Mistakes Really Exist?

“Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes.”
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

You may have to read this quotation a few times to fully understand it; I sure did.

Let me tell you about my three biggest mistakes: 1) I stayed in an abusive relationship for over four decades; 2) I moved to Hawaii; and 3) I worked too hard to try to keep a mentally-disturbed foster child in my home.

Now, I can’t tell you about my biggest mistakes without telling you about my greatest accomplishments: 1) After discarding my abusive relationship,  I discovered a scared, sweet child inside myself who needed a lot of coaxing from me to come out. I made for myself what many people take for granted: a safe home, surrounded by family and friends who love and respect me in the healthiest sense of those words.  2) My move to Hawaii ended up being my greatest unselfish act, as it allowed my husband and his grown son to reconnect and mend their broken relationship in the months before my husband unexpectedly died. 3) I wanted so badly for my foster daughter to become my adopted daughter that I took her to multiple medical and psychological professionals to figure out why she hadn’t settled into my home. Child Services didn’t want recorded that she had a serious attachment disorder, but because of me, they didn’t have a choice. Because of me, that little girl received the mental health services she needed. She didn’t stay in my home, but because of that mistake, I learned how important it was to provide immediate and gentle care to babies; and I needed that education to become a healthy mom for the babies I would later have.

What got me through all three of those mistakes was the knowledge that a greater power existed. There were times when I cried out in agony to the Creator. There were times when I felt completely abandoned by the Creator. But as I discovered the accomplishments, I could not deny the fingerprints of the Creator on my life.

Thank you, Creator of All, for providing great wisdom in great mistakes.

Namaste, Sheryl

Life Is Hard

“I can handle anything life throws at me.”

Not long ago, I came upon a quotation I can only now paraphrase. It said that this life is full of problems and struggles, and that acknowledging that fact can bring us peace.

How many times are we fed the nonsense that we must always feel good? Life has too many down moments. I have met some truly happy people, and none of them are without significant problems and events. They are happy, because they know that life brings them positive and negative moments, and it’s easier to feel peaceful during a tough situation when you know it’s  temporary and soon to be balanced out by easy times.

Accepting the pain and yes, agony, of tragic situations helps us to grieve our losses. Washing ourselves in authentic anguish brings to the surface our pain and causes us to release emotions which, if trapped inside, would otherwise incapacitate us.

In the welcoming of the agony of life’s losses, we can also welcome the new opportunities and blessings that come with them, too. And in those moments, we find joy in knowing we can handle anything life throws at us.

Namaste, Sheryl

What is it to Be Real?

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams


 

According to Margery Williams, it is difficult to be Real. Those who damage easily or are high maintenance don’t often become Real. It is those who have been subjected to the rough play of life, who can get knocked around a bit without falling apart, who become Real. It’s when life REALLY loves you that you become Real.

What does it look like when life REALLY loves us? Meaningful risks resulting in great rewards…and in great losses, too. Caring for someone so deeply that we will trade everything we have to keep them with us…and having them leave. Giving a cause our last bit of energy because we know it’s deserving…and having it not be enough.

When we invite life to REALLY love us, we become shabby and war-torn. We know the sweetness of victory, as well as the agony of defeat. Maybe the Skin Horse could have admitted that Real people do mind getting hurt, it’s just the risk of missing out on love and adventure is worth the pain and agony that may come along with it. Sure, we may appear ugly to the majority of the fragile, high-maintenance people. To the Real people, we cannot be ugly.

The Creator of All loves and respects each of us equally in our journeys through this life. Rest assured, if you find yourself considered ugly by people because you became Real, your Creator will never see you as ugly.

Who, do you think, is more Real than The Creator of All?

Namaste,  Sheryl

Love of Self

Good day, friends. On Facebook, I am a member of a discussion group for the author Anita Moorjani. One of the other members posted this quotation from Charlie Chaplin, and it struck me so profoundly that I had to share it with you:

As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY.”
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT.”


As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY.”


As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE.”


As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY.”


As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF.”


As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY.”


As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT.”


As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART.”


We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know “THAT IS LIFE!”
— Sir Charles Chaplin (1889-1977)

Namaste,  Sheryl

happiness

Happiness is a Choice

“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”

– Groucho Marx (1895-1997)

My happiest days have been the ones on which I decided I would be happy. This life on Earth that we’ve all chosen is one of miscues, misunderstandings and misbehaviors. No one reaches the age of 35 (in my humble opinion) without some seriously horrible event or circumstance occurring in his/her life. There is no logic to being cheerful after this age, because we all have legitimate excuses to groan and complain.

And yet, choosing sadness brings more sadness which eventually brings depression.  I’m not saying that life doesn’t deal us good reasons to seek professional help for trauma, believe me. What I’m saying is that if an individual complains about her/his life’s injury, it can be selfish. It can also keep that person from healing, because complaining often feels like a solution to a complaint, when it’s really not.

Saying, “I’m great,” to someone who asks, “How are you?” is a powerful, first step in choosing happiness.

Namaste, Sheryl

You Are a Creator

You are a Creator

“I feel the smile of  God as I create.
It’s like we are colleagues, working side by side
to manifest our ideas into objects.
Whether I am home creating vibrant children or
in my office, creating stories or ideas for clients,
God is my co-worker, and I am on his  team.”

— Sheryl Miller

Have  you had this feeling lately? Can’t it be a challenge to see your own contributions sometimes? I left a job once, because I didn’t feel like I was doing enough for the world through that job. I looked for meaning and didn’t find it. In hindsight, the job was loaded with contributions, and my work was important to thousands of people.

Because I’ve gained a larger world view through the experience of living, now it is easier for me to see the effects my life has on other people’s lives. It’s like rain falling on a pond; each water drop creates a ripple that extends in all directions. I cannot live without having such an effect and without others affecting my life, too.

As I offer, with intention, my conversations with The Creator of All and my other creations to the world, it helps me to appreciate the creations of others: my reliable car, the Chagall painting in my bedroom, my favorite TV shows, the kind thoughts of my husband, the spontaneous dancing of my daughter, and the active imagination of my little son.

You are a Creator, but if you are having trouble recognizing it, why not intentionally create something today? It could be as simple as a doodle on a piece of paper or as sophisticated as a rebuilt motorcycle engine.

Bring us your creativity. Please! We need you.

Namaste,  Sheryl

What Would The Creator Do

What Would The Creator Do?

Transcending the religious tenets of the world is a spiritual belief that we carry the divine spark of God within us. Some describe this as being made in God’s image.

I am reminded of WWJD, the question that was popular in the Christian world some years ago: What Would Jesus Do? I’d like to steal idea that and ask “What Would The Creator Do?” When we act as if God would act, we align ourselves with that divine spark.

Would God get anxious or worried? Or would God relax and just work with what’s at hand?

Would God insist that life work a particular way? Or would God be content to accept the natural opportunities life presents?

Would God be loud and insistent on being heard? Or would God be quiet, listening, learning and then humbly taking action?

If you are having a hard time answering these questions, please ask your ego to rest quietly and let your soul — your divine spark — answer them in its unassuming way.

What Would The Creator Do?

Namaste, Sheryl

world peace

World Peace

In a scene from the comedy movie, “Miss Congeniality,” beauty pageant emcee Stan Fields conducts an onstage interview of Gracie Hart, an ill-mannered FBI agent who has unwillingly gone undercover as a pageant contestant.

  • Stan Fields:    “What is the one most important thing our society needs?”
  • Gracie Hart:   “That would be harsher punishment for parole violators, Stan…”
  • [the crowd is silent]
  • Gracie Hart:    “…And world peace!”
  • [the crowd cheers wildly]

I am like Gracie Hart. I will say that I have spent most of my life with the opinion that world peace was utterly unattainable. The best we could do, I figured, was to attain my favorite 80/20 ratio:  80% of people living free and unmolested and 20% oppressed or under fire in some way.

In the past years as I’ve thrown myself into the study of The Creator — you may call this the study of spirituality or of New Age ideas or of spiritual truths — I have realized that world peace is attainable.  I have learned from leaders who insisted on reconciliation in the face of violence: Nelson Mandela, Mohatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King, Jr..

I have learned that the force of a society, a culture, a religion or a government is nowhere near strong enough to bring about world peace. It is the force of a single person, connecting to another single person through an act of kindness or a simple smile who connects to another and another and another.

Imagine a room the size of an indoor basketball arena. It is pitch black and filled with people holding unlit candles. Ask the government to light the candles, and by the time the government employees are finished lighting them, many candles will have burnt out, and soon, the arena will be dark again. But have one person light her candle and pass her flame to as many people as she can who pass their flames to as many people as they can, and within minutes the arena will be flooded with light.

This is how we arrive at world peace. We make a conscious effort every day, regardless of our mood or circumstances, to pass along our Light and our kindness. Just your wonderful you, spreading your Light to a few people every day, is all the world needs to be at peace.

Namaste,  Sheryl