I Met God at the Juice Bar.

 

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I never expected to find God when I went to the juice bar.

As I approached the counter, the man behind the abundance of fruit and vegetables looked up at me. “Hi,” he smiled, maintaining a daringly long eye contact. Smiling, I looked away shyly. Eye contact is so rare these days, it almost felt like it burned. “What is your name?” After I told him my name, he apologized. “I know you were in here the other day, and I am so sorry that I didn’t remember your name.” He remembered I was here? He continued looking me in the eye, addressing me by my name before wishing me an amazing day. Somewhere along the way, I slipped my phone into my pocket. His attention, kindness made me want to give back that connection, that respect. I waited for my juice – observing my surroundings, chatting with another woman.

I walked out feeling different. Connected.

What just happened? 

God.

There was a time I did not believe in God. I felt alone, separate. We often sit alone in our pain, thinking we are the only ones. But if we look around, that pain is everywhere. It is all one click away on social media or the news. It seems people are either talking about their pain, or giving the impression that everything is perfect. Then we hear about another suicide and we know the truth. If they could have said the words, “I am so much pain.” Would things have turned out differently?

All those people in pain, unable to give a voice, or better yet, to feel it, in all its raw gut wrenching agony. Instead, hurt people continue to hurt people, or themself. When pain, hatred, intolerance, rears it ugly head, we can wonder where is God in all of this? When bad things happen to good people, we often think God has forgotten about us.

It is too simple an explanation that when darkness and evil rest upon this earth, or knocks on our door, that God has abandoned us. When bad things happen, it does not mean, God is absent. I see God not in the tragedy of someone’s blind rage, the separation of an act of violence, but in others compassion that follows. Just as we hold each other in our darkest hour, or rise up against the oppressed, we can find God, not in the heinous act, but in the aftermath. I see God, not in the dirty dishes that pile up in the sink, but in the grace of the clean running water that helps clean up the mess.

I believe no matter what, God has our back. God is there, directing, guiding, often gently,  sometimes abruptly, prying open our hearts. I see it that we all have a personal plan, a guideline, a route mapped out before we come into our life. As if we are in New Jersey and are meant to go to California before we die. Which road we take, what method of transportation, how long it takes to get there, is in our hands. Do we camp out beneath the stars, or sleep beneath satin sheets within the comfort of a hotel. We make those choices. There are many paths we can take, and they are all out there, as possibilities. We will get there. Some of us will get there quickly, others will take a lifetime. On our trip, we will experience loss, joy, laughter and love.

In writing about God, I received the image of a person who sits in front of a huge network of switches, knobs and dials. It reminds me of the technology used for producing songs in a studio. God is there, turning up the volume on something, switching off something else – based on our choices, relationships, our intentions, interactions, insights and our divine plan. We can co-create our journey, we can make decisions. But God is also at work, directing through coincidences, synchronicities and seemingly meaningless interactions.

We just need to show up. Be present and look for the signs, even if we do not intuitively know what we are to do, or where we are meant to go. Everything is here to move us to a higher awareness, opening. Every challenge is a gift. It’s all in the way we receive it and incorporate it into our life.

We all have a purpose, and there is God in all of us. One person may serve juice, another directing planes for safe landing. One may reside homeless, searching for their next meal, another living within a newly erected castle with Italian inspired designer marble columns.

It is does not matter how we get there, how we find God. It can happen in an instant or across lifetimes. We can be reminded we are not alone at a juice bar or at a football game, In church, or gliding along a lake with the sun shimmering upon its glass like image.

If you have never seen or felt God, look closer. Peer into those hidden nooks and crannies, choose door number three or just become quiet and ask God to send you a sign, and to make it obvious.

God is here. God was here all along. Whether, life turns our world upside down, or we had to order a juice, to be reminded. God is everywhere, and we are never alone.

 

 

 

 

 

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The World is Abundant, and Waiting for You to Reach Out and Grab it.

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I entered a short story creative writing contest for fun, and my piece was selected among many submitted stories to be published in a book. I did it for fun, but also, I learned something from the experience.

I have always known that there is enough to go around, that our world is abundant, but there was a part of me that never quite believed it, especially in the areas where I perceived I was lacking. For example, I have always been blessed to have a wonderful marriage and life partner that is also my best friend. So I never doubted that there is someone out there for everyone. That was never a question in my mind. I believed it with all my heart. I never looked at someone’s relationship and thought, why don’t I have that? What are they doing that I am not? I have always felt abundant when it came to relationships. I only felt happiness for anyone who found a significant other that treated them well, and loved them unconditionally.

It is the areas where we feel we may be coming up short, or at least less than perfect in our own eyes, that can lead to feelings of lack. And when we feel lack, we may then compare our self to others. For me, my career outside the home has been less than traditional. And my desire to be a writer has been lurking inside for many years. It began when my children were little, and 18 years later, I am still writing – yet my best selling whatever, is still out there – so is my ability to make a substantial income off of my writing.

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I used to feel envious when I looked at others with a successful career, those who knew exactly what they were capable of, and went out and got it. And the comparison made me feel less than. And it was not working for me – it was working against me. It pushed me away from my keyboard, and I stopped writing. Like anything, the key to finding success and improving, is doing it. Thus, this feelings of lack, was not bringing me any closer towards my goals.

It is only lately that I am beginning to get traction with my writing, and others are taking notice. Not coincidentally, I have also stopped comparing my self to others. I have just been putting my head down and been writing, writing, and writing.

The writing contest I entered was fun. I did not win first prize, so I did not receive any money. But that is ok. I have faith that if I keep writing, the money will follow. And I have always believed there is a lesson, a gift in everything. Had I only felt less than for not winning first place, I would have missed the gift. It came when I read the short story of the winner of the contest. Her style was so different than mine – it was like comparing apples to oranges. The gift was the reinforcement of the belief in the abundance of the Universe. We are all unique and all have something to contribute, and there is more than enough to go around. We just need to find the right audience – whether it is a reader, significant other or company. Thinking that there is a limited supply of whatever we desire, is simply not true.

When I stopped comparing my self, and started looking to others to learn what they did to make them successful, I saw the abundance. One is based on envy, the other, curiosity. I stopped wishing I was Danielle Steele or John Grisham, and began to write like me. Turns out, I like to tell stories, and it does not matter how the story is formed – an essay, short story, novel or article. What matters is that I understand that I know I am unique, and my style is my own. 

In this contest, more judges liked her piece, but some liked mine enough to accept it for publication. Perhaps next time, my piece will win first prize, or not. There is enough styles, judges, editors, readers out there for my work, that I do not have to compare my self to others and feel lack. I just need to be myself, and follow through on my commitment to write each and every day. And then, I need to share it.

The world is abundant, and waiting for each of us to reach out and grab it. Whether it is writing or a relationship or a job, coming from this perspective and making the effort, will put us well on our way to achieving what we desire.

We need to stop wasting our time comparing our self for others, and grab a hold of the three keys to start receiving what we desire:  

  1. Come from a place of abundance. We need to change our belief in lack, stop comparing and start learning from others.
  2. Make a commitment and do it – every single day.
  3. Put our self out there. If nobody sees our work, or resume or if we do not join any dating sites or meet up groups, then it does not matter how much time or effort we put in.

Rejection is part of the game, and it no longer bothers me. I used to take it personally. Now, I just know it is just someone doing me a favor, saying “next.” Pushing me one step closer to a yes.

Bring forth your uniqueness, talent and faith. Put your head down, and go for it, but do not forget to look up from time to time. And not to compare your self to others, but to pat your self on the back.

You are unique. You matter. The world needs you.

 

 

We Can Change the World, One Gatorade Bottle at a Time.

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It is way too easy to get lost in our world. We live among billions of people, each attending to their own lives, families, jobs and if there is time, having a bit of fun. Somewhere in between work and play, we may find we have a passion that hides, lurking in the bushes like an excited child waiting to pop out at us. A passion for something higher than ourselves, outside of our personal lives.

It may be cleaning up the planet, and we may hop on the bandwagon, finding ourselves writing letters to our congressmen or posting pictures on Facebook about ways to stop using plastic. Or we may become outraged at the poisoning of our food, or the abuse of animals, both domestic and farm.  Some of us have a passion for politics and we stay glued to our televisions, watching and waiting, yelling and complaining about the latest lie or dirty campaign. Or we build homes in Central America or help to gentrify our own neighborhoods.

How wonderful to feel called to a higher purpose, but it also may feel like a burden – the more the passion arises, the more helpless we feel.  The problems of our world seem huge, overwhelming and our small part – well, are we really making a  difference?  And of course, there is that other side of our lives. Work, parenting, baseball games. We carry on doing. Carpooling, enjoying trips to the theatre, hanging out with friends and cooking our dinners – heck this is just as important, and many don’t have time to venture out to help our planet.  And yet, the bigger things, the issues of our world still remain in our peripheral vision, gnawing at us to do something. And what can we do, really?  Can we really make a difference?

I have come to realize that we can make a difference. But we need to start small, really small. Almost every day, I find myself walking in the woods, a path near my house.  The abundance of trees surrounding the trail and brook that provide a home for birds, fish insects and the occasional snake. It is beautiful, serene and often to my liking, I find myself alone, with only the accompany of a dog.

A few times a year, they stock the brook and the few ponds where the water gather with Trout, and fishermen have begun to gather each day.  With the fisherman comes discarded garbage, some of it meant to make the trash can, others left without care.  At first, this angered me, and I walked by, thinking why people toss their trash without just walking a few steps to the garbage can.  And then I begin thinking about all the plastic in the world collecting within the beautiful waters of our oceans and land, and then I think what can I do really?  Ugh! All those grocery bags! But just the other day, I stopped thinking that I can’t make a difference.

Unknown-6I heard a voice deep within my being that said, just pick it up.  I looked around.  How can I pick up all this garbage?  I will spend all my time cleaning up and not enjoying my walk which has come to calm and clear my head, proving peace and serenity in a chaotic world. Then the voice returned, it said,  you do not need to pick up everything.  Just pick up one piece.  So I did.  And then I thought I can carry three or four pieces to the garbage can, and I did.  And I went on with my walk.

The next day, I set out down my favorite path, I found more garbage and picked up a few pieces and put them in the trash. And I began to feel, as small as it was, that I was making a difference. For if we do something small, that is right in front of us, this is the most direct way we can change our world. Even if we feel like we are not making a dent.

For we need both, the masses and the individual. Would Rosa Parks, in 1955 have had the strength to refuse to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus which spurred a city-wide boycott, had the masses not come before her, marching and protesting? She was not the first to resist, as there were many that came before her throughout the 40’s and early 50’s, and after her. It was the momentum, persistence and patience that eventually led to changes in our segregation laws. And there was that one person that said, I can make a difference. Rosa did not act alone, and neither do we when we perform one random act of kindness.

When I turn my attention back to my own life, in the year 2017, and I look at the myriad of protesting, marching, and discord within our government and the chaos and fighting going on in the world as a whole, I think can I really make a difference? I mean, I am no Mother Theresa – not even close.

And yet, as I stepped out of my car to go grocery shopping, and kicked an empty Gatorade bottle, I heard that voice again, saying, pick it up and toss it in the garbage.  So I did. Is this a bit grandiose for me to think about that I, alone, can make a difference in the world, by picking up an empty Gatorade bottle? No. Because I am not alone. There are masses of people looking to clean up our planet, recycling programs, as well as, climate change programs that are doing their best to survive the agenda of our current government. I don’t have to be working in Washington, DC to make a difference.

How Is my picking up the small pieces of garbage making a difference in all the pollution, plastics and garbage wrecking havoc upon our planet? Can you imagine if we all picked up a few pieces of garbage, give a few dollars to someone who is homeless or took a few moments to let someone go in front of us?  Or we just sent our prayers everyday to those who are less fortunate than we are – those who are hungry, unsafe or in harm’s way when walking outside their front door. We think we have to do something huge, but we don’t.

We don’t even have to seek it out – our higher self passions. What if we all woke each more, and took a few seconds, and uttered the phrase, “Today, let me be the answer to someone else’s prayers. or today I will do one random act of kindness.”  And then went about our day, until the opportunity arose for us to help. I bet we would all find our small moment to do something to help our beautiful planet with the amazing billions of people who live on it. If we all said a prayer, in between our play off games and sales appointments, or if we just noticed when something or someone came across our path that needed our attention, we really would not need to leave our living rooms, unless called to do so. And this is as much a reminder for myself, as it is for anyone reading this article. We all get caught up in our personal lives, forgetting how we can make a difference, or help one another.

We all have a little voice inside of our heads that speak to us. We just need to spend a few moments in quiet, so we can hear it. We can all make a difference. There is a Rosa Parks, in all of us. We just need to figure out what bus we are meant to get on, and then climb aboard.

A Whole New World

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What if when you woke up this morning, you found a whole new world?  What if the magic carpet ride with unbelievable sights and indescribable feelings was real, and you could climb aboard anytime.  Would you come along?

What if your dreams are guiding you as to how to see this whole new world?  People you run into unexpectedly, street signs, weird thoughts that pop into your head are all messages on how to reach this brand new world?

What if in this new world, you find magic and miracles.  The flowers blooming in colors so vibrant, you almost need to shield your eyes, and the brilliant skies make you stop and stare in awe.

What if it is only your beliefs and limits you place on yourself that keep you from seeing this world?  We have the power to see this whole new world now, to feel the truth of how we are all capable of loving beyond borders, to understand that everyone we meet, we are to help in some way.

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I can see this whole new world, now.

I can feel the care we take in treating our animals with respect and dignity, the cleanliness and wholeness of our foods, the honor of our natural wonders – the oceans, forests and the sacredness of our land.

I see a place where cooperation and compliments replaces competition; where love replaces fear.  In this space, we love ourselves and each other so deeply, that our addictions have nothing more to teach us.  That we give ourselves everything we never received, instead of looking for it from another.  That the one who was abused, neglected, judged and taken advantage of, is loved so deeply, there is no space left for blame.

A place where all our children are raised equally, fed and clothed.  One is not viewed as being better, for being stronger or smarter.  That we look at all of our children with how we can help them have the best experience they can, for they are the ones who are already living in this brand new world, and are here to help us see it for ourselves.

In this whole new world, we know that each time tragedy and terrorism strike, we look for the helpers.  And we keep our hearts open, so there is no more need for these atrocities as a reminder to love one another with reckless abandon.  We send love to everyone, even those we feel have wronged us.  We open our hearts to the person we see crying beside their car because her mother is dying.  To the child being bullied because of how he is different.  To the person in front of us in line at the post office because we have no idea of the suffering they have endured.

In this new world, the colors are brighter, the laughter is abundant.  We trust ourselves because we know that what we used to see out there – the hatred, lies, bigotry, racism – all the labels we used to place on ourselves and others, but have no place in our brand new world. We celebrate our differences.  We love our bodies, our minds and our hearts no matter what.

Will you take the first step within yourselves, your families and communities? Is it not time to come aboard this magic carpet ride? This is your invitation.

One one heart, one light, one person at a time.

This whole new world is already here.  We just need to open our eyes, and follow our hearts.