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tests

Tests

“Either we are tested or we are testing in every moment of our lives.”  — Sheryl Miller

Yes, I was looking for just the right quotation about tests, found none and made up my own. Isn’t that the perfect example of a test? When you are looking for something and cannot find it, what do YOU do?

I think about the ubiquity of social media and how it has made each customer’s contact with a business an important test. If the pizza delivery arrives late, the restaurant fails the test, and its score is posted on Yelp within minutes.

Are we tested by the Creator? Yes, constantly! How do we respond to inconveniences? How well do we reach out to others for help? How quickly do we come to someone else’s aid? What do we do on those days when absolutely nothing goes right?

My point is that life is a series of tests. Tests are normal. They teach us about ourselves. They teach others about who we are. We are constantly testing other people and being tested by them. Tests are how we gather information about our world, just as a teacher uses a test to gather information about how well his/her students learned the material.  Tests aren’t positive or negative. They are simply one of the best tools humans have for learning. Pass or fail, it doesn’t matter. The point is we must use our tests to learn, to grow, and to be the best souls-in-human-bodies that we can be.

Namaste, Sheryl

Love is Grief is Love is…

You can’t breathe. You can’t sleep. Thoughts of your dear one consume every moment you’re awake and asleep.

GRIEF comes slowly. It knocks softly on the door, at first. Then, it becomes more insistent as the weeks and months go by, until it hits you in the face: It is Grief, and it is here.

Grief comes quickly. You are walking along, minding your own business. Everything is fine with the world, and then, Bam! There is Grief. It is shocking in its intensity. You try to deny it, but all the signs are there, and it cannot be denied. Sudden Grief can only be accepted, and only by those who are strong enough to handle its bombshell.

Grief affects every single cell in your body. You can’t breathe. You can’t sleep. You can’t eat (or you eat more than you should). Thoughts of Grief and of the one you Lost consume every moment while you’re awake and while you sleep.

Grief makes you think you’re going crazy. Your thoughts become irrational. You think of the past and of the future. Even when you want to concentrate on the moment, the enormity of Grief makes it difficult.

Why Grief, you wonder? Why Grief now? Is this really real? This feels too horrible to be true. The intensity of Grief stops you in your tracks. It wants your undivided attention. No longer can you spend time on the mundane. Grief must be dealt with—must be processed—first.

You who can process Grief can move forward into a new, peaceful coexistence with the one you Lost. You who deny Grief are stuck in its grasp. Even though a tranquil life is ahead, it is around a bend in the road. Processing Grief places you at the bend, and that is where you can see your new life. The one you Lost is there and brings beauty to your life. You can breathe and function again. And yes, there is Love off in the distance when the time is right and not a moment before.

Grief is what it is. Accepting and embracing Grief make it real. When Grief arrives, invite it in. Let it stay as long as it wants to. Don’t speed it up. Don’t slow it down. Let it take you on the journey you need. Grief is not an anomaly. It is not abnormal. It is not an exception to Life’s rules. It is not to be denied. Whether Grief arrives slowly or quickly, it is meant to be embraced and integrated. Grief will forever change you for the better, if only you will let it.

 

LOVE comes slowly. It knocks softly on the door, at first. Then, it becomes more insistent as the weeks and months go by, until it hits you in the face: It is Love, and it is here.

Love comes quickly. You are walking along, minding your own business. Everything is fine with the world, and then, Bam! There is Love. It is shocking in its intensity. You try to deny it, but all the signs are there, and it cannot be denied. Sudden Love can only be accepted, and only by those who are strong enough to handle its bombshell.

Love affects every single cell in your body. You can’t breathe. You can’t sleep. You can’t eat (or you eat more than you should). Thoughts of Love and of the one you Found consume every moment while you’re awake and while you sleep.

Love makes you think you’re going crazy. Your thoughts become irrational. You think of the past and of the future. Even when you want to concentrate on the moment, the enormity of Love makes it difficult.

Why Love, you wonder? Why Love now? Is this really real? This feels too wonderful to be true. The intensity of Love stops you in your tracks. It wants your undivided attention. No longer can you spend time on the mundane. Love must be dealt with—must be processed—first.

You who can process Love can move forward into a new, peaceful coexistence with the one you Found. You who deny Love are stuck in its grasp. Even though a tranquil life is ahead, it is around a bend in the road. Processing Love places you at the bend, and that is where you can see your new life. The one you Found is there and brings beauty to your life. You can breathe and function again. And yes, there is Grief off in the distance when the time is right and not a moment before.

Love is what it is. Accepting and embracing Love make it real. When Love arrives, invite it in. Let it stay as long as it wants to. Don’t speed it up. Don’t slow it down. Let it take you on the journey you need. Love is not an anomaly. It is not abnormal. It is not an exception to Life’s rules. It is not to be denied. Whether Love arrives slowly or quickly, it is meant to be embraced and integrated. Love will forever change you for the better, if only you will let it.

Namaste,  Sheryl

It’s Never Too Late

In the world of the 1% — the world of material things we can touch, see, taste, feel and smell — deadlines abound. There are deadlines for filing taxes, for store coupons, for events, and so on.

In the spiritual world — the other 99% — there are no such deadlines. The dreams for our souls are not really tangible goals, as we would consider a goal for running a marathon. So, when you wish “to see the world,” “to become more compassionate,” or “to overcome an addiction or a lifelong struggle,” it’s never too late to work on those dreams.

When you choose to work on your soul, you start down a path of growth and enlightenment. There is no finish line. Rather, there are many forks in the road, and it’s the journey along the path that molds your character or feeds your soul.

It’s never too late.

Namaste, Sheryl

journal

Journaling

“The practice of writing in a journal is a powerful tool for cultivating what you want from life.

We are artists, creating our lives out of the materials of our experiences, thoughts, and dreams. When we write, we empower ourselves and breathe life into what we want and how we want to live.

You can’t always know exactly how your desires will materialize into reality. This is where faith comes in.

If you show up, listen to and speak from your heart, and then let go of the need to know how, you can let the universe or God or quantum physics or whatever that thing is that helps our dreams become a reality do its magic.”

— Janna Krawczyk, tinybuddha.com

Writing has, as far back as I can remember, been an important release in my life. Whether I wrote to figure out my emotions as a teenager or played with fictional short stories, writing gave my mind a chance to explore and play.

Journaling is now a critical part of my grief therapy as I move forward after the death of my husband. In my lowest emotional states, writing in my journal without censor or abandon helps my mind make sense of the chaotic thoughts that make me think I’m going crazy. Why did he die? Why now? What now? Some of these questions will never have answers, but dumping them out onto paper–or in my case, into my word processing program–helps me to find peace.

I was curious how others might use personal writing and found a tinybuddha.com blog regarding the power of journaling. Ms. Janna Krawczyk presents a personal case of searching for answers, journaling about her situation, gaining clarity over time, and then, having The Creator/Universe/God bring her solutions.

How this makes sense to me! The Creator is here to help our biggest dreams to come true. Writing our dreams down helps us think through them and brings clarity to them. This clarity makes it easier for them to be manifested.

If you don’t have a cute journal or laptop available, just grab a piece of paper and a pen and let your mind send thoughts to your journal without judgment. Let me know what happens!

Namaste, Sheryl

 

New Year New Changes

New Year, New Changes

Happy New (Gregorian) Year! For many of us in western cultures, this is a time for reflection of the past and planning for the future. We decide to exercise more or diet or organize our living spaces.

I am re-posting a conversation I had with The Creator in October regarding major changes that we decide to make. We do not make changes for things that are working for us, only for things that are broken in some way. Surrender is a powerful way to fully appreciate and accept a broken life, so that we may make meaningful change.

I wish you a year free of fear and worry with health, happiness, and prosperity, and I gently recommend you make this wish to every one in your life!

Namaste, Sheryl

———————————————————————————————————

2014 October 26

Sheryl: Hi, God.

God: Hi, Me… Us. You want to talk about surrender?

Sheryl: Yes, and acceptance. Is there a difference? And can we use them to help ourselves and others?

God: Yes, that’s a lot to talk about. I think of acceptance and surrender along the same lines. Surrender is acceptance with much greater intensity. You see, acceptance of the little things that can’t be changed can give you a happy demeanor. It can make your life easier to live.

Sheryl: When I think of acceptance, I think of accepting people as they are. I think of accepting unchangeable environments. For example, when we were in Hawaii, we had to accept that the cost of comfortable housing was above our budget.

God: Yes, acceptance is for all the little things. Surrender is acceptance for EVERYTHING. Surrender is helpful when there are so many little things in your life you cannot embrace and you cannot change that you don’t know what to do.

That brings me to the difference between accepting and embracing. Accepting a person does not mean embracing her. Accepting a situation does not mean embracing it. Your lives are a compound of many millions of “things.” “Things” include people, physical environment like sights and sounds, personal decisions, and so much more. When the number of “things” that you cannot change or embrace becomes too many, you struggle mightily. You can choose to continue to struggle – not a fix. You can choose to break down – not a fix. You can choose to take out your frustrations on innocent victims – abuse, is what I call this.

Or you can choose to surrender. Surrender means you accept EVERYTHING. It does not mean you embrace it. Surrender requires that YOU change. You change your environment. You change your habits. You change people in your life. You change something. And sometimes, you change everything.

Sheryl: Surrender is an act of desperation.

God: Yes, it is. When you surrender, you say, “Hey, I can’t stand the way things are, but they are what they are. I will have to change myself if I want peace.”

Sheryl: You remind me of surrender in war times and of the work of organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous.

God: Surrender occurs when all other tries have failed. There is beauty in it. There is strength in it. There is peace in it. You lay down your defenses against your environment, so you can accept it and move away from it. That is surrender.

Sheryl: Thank you.

 

Mindfulness

Mindfulness in a Can of Blue Paint

“As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love – even the most simple action.” – Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

The past few days have found me painting rooms in our new house: closets, bedrooms and kitchen pantry. I’ve spent a lot of time alone with my work, and I don’t particularly  mind that since my personality supports a fair amount of introversion. The unfortunate thing is that my mind has found it to be a great time to drudge up the old disturbing memories of past negative events. I entertained my mind without any interference the first day or so. But watching the wake of a boat ride gets old pretty soon, and you want to turn around so you can enjoy where you are.

Today and yesterday, I practiced mindfulness with my paint brush. With each mindful brush stroke, I paid attention to where exactly the bristles were, how much paint was being distributed, and how the brush felt as it reached the end of a good quality brush stroke. What did I find? My painting went faster. I did a better job. I stopped having to go back and look for errant drips, because there were none.

But wait, there’s more! I wasn’t having to deal with the ghosts of my past. Nor was I worrying about the future. I found soothing peace in the present moment of my brush’s bristles capturing the blue paint and gently dragging it into crisp line.  No painter’s tape for me! No, sir, it was just me in the present moment.

You don’t think The Creator set that up for me, do you?  🙂

Namaste, Sheryl

 

Dogs and Cats

First, let me begin by saying I am not trying to start a “Which is better, cats or dogs?” argument! I won’t even reveal my preference, though I do have one.

Regardless of YOUR preference, take a little time today to observe your pet. If you don’t have one, no worries, a trip to the pet store or just a little bird-watching out your window will work fine.

Animals show us the beauty of letting go and letting things be. They know who they are. They know their purpose in life. Ever tried to coax a cat into chewing on a bone? It’s just not what they do. On the other hand, a dog will come alert at the slightest motion or sound where a cat can appear to sleep through a house renovation!

Neither dogs nor cats try to keep themselves busy. They don’t worry about tomorrow. They don’t rethink yesterday. They live in the moment:  Do I need to do something? No, then I’ll rest until I do.

Allow your pet to give YOU some training today – you’ll be glad you did!

Namaste, Sheryl

We Can Be Mended

We Can Be Mended

“Happy Choosing Day,” she says. “I’m going to ask you how you really are. And you’re going to give me an honest answer.”

“I’m all right,” I say. “It’s hard. It always will be.”

“Yeah, sometimes life really sucks,” she says. “But you know what I’m holding on for?”

I raise my eyebrows.

She raises hers, too, mimicking me.

“The moments that don’t suck,” she says. “The trick is to notice them when they come around.”

Then she smiles, and I smile back, and we climb the stairs to the train platform side by side.


Since I was young, I have always known this: Life damages us, every one. We can’t escape that damage. But now, I am also learning this: We can be mended. We mend each other.

—  From Allegiant by Veronica Roth

 

My tween daughter is enjoying the post-apocalyptic, sci-fi stories like Hunger Games, The Giver and Divergent.  Allegiant is the third book in the Divergent series and I am reading the books along with her. This quotation comes from the end of the book after the heroes of the story have taken great risk and suffered tremendous loss in order to bring about justice.

What I appreciate about this quotation are the heroes, first, acknowledging their losses and second, taking responsibility for improving their own lives. It’s not necessary for them to hold grudges. Nor do they sugar-coat their pain. They go on with their lives, looking for “the moments that don’t suck” and finding ways to mend themselves and others.

Namaste, Sheryl

What Do You Want to Do Next?

“You know, I’m not a huge fan of the concept of ‘passion’ when it comes to careers. Instead of trying to answer the daunting question of ‘What’s your passion?’ it’s better simply to watch what you do when you’ve got time of your own and nobody’s looking.”

– Daniel H. Pink (1964-)

I have been reading a bit about highly sensitive people (www.hsperson.com), careers and crossroads. Along my path of discovery I found a YouTube video, “How Dan Pink Learned the Six Lessons.” Here is a writer who meandered into a very successful career, simply by doing what he enjoyed and not what he didn’t enjoy. He first finished law school and then discovered that he didn’t want to do what attorneys do!

Always looking for opportunities and never giving up on making a living in an enjoyable way, Daniel Pink found his way into speechwriting and then into research and writing books about business.

Still, as he describes it, it was all so casual. There were unexpected turns on the way to his successes. I would have to say he stayed in the present moment in his desire to enjoy his future moments. He was open to many different opportunities and did not flinch at working outside the parameters of a normal business environment.

Inspiring!

Namaste,  Sheryl

Mistakes

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”

– Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (1926-2004)


“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”

– John Wooden (1910-2010)


“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”

– Buddha (563-483 BCE)


I made a mistake. Well, I think I made a mistake, anyway. Here’s the story… in a last-minute plan that seemed like a great idea at the time, I came to Hawaii in June and spent less than a week looking at the island and finding a home for my family to live. While I found great schools for my children, I ignored the warning signs of finding a suitable place for us to live. On our last day of the exploratory visit, I booked a rental house, only to find out now that the home is in poor repair and the landlord does not care to do what is necessary to fix it. The rental market is very tight, with few three bedroom homes. And it is impossible for us to purchase a comfortable home given the Hawaiian cost of living and our coming from a low cost of living area – Texas.

If I shared my story with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, she would advise me to go inside and to discover what it is I am supposed to learn. I would say that it has been a huge blessing to become closer to my stepson who lives here. His girlfriend has advised me on artwork for my first book and will serve as my editor, too! I would say that I appreciate the abundance of fresh tropical fruits and fish. I would say that I learned that I value a comfortable home that works well over panoramic views and access to beaches.

If I shared my story with John Wooden, he would commend me on being a “doer.” He would tell me about the many people who never take chances. He would say that doing often results in successes, too. Keep doing, he would say.

If I shared my story with The Buddha, he would ask me if I had gone all the way. I started this, to be sure, so no mistake there. But have I gone all the way? Could waiting for the manifestation of money bring us to a comfortable home? Or does going all the way mean I’ve accepted Hawaii for everything it is and exhausted all the possibilities for a pleasurable life here?

I am so glad to have these many mentors to help me. I know that if we return to Texas – our current plan now – I will spend plenty of time getting to know our new town so that our basic needs for comfort can be easily met. I will not make the same mistake again, at least, not on purpose!

Thank you, Creator of All, that you give me mistakes and life lessons, so that I may grow stronger. Thank you that I can be an example to others who may be considering the mistake I made. Thank you that I can model resilience, perseverance and a good attitude for those around  me.

Namaste, Sheryl