Make 2013 the Year of Miracles!


As the world spins to a new year, what intention have you set for yourself? Are you going to be more prosperous? Or improve your physical health? Or make more time for loved ones?  All of these goals are fulfilling and beneficial, but may I suggest another layer to add on top of your personal intentions?

Declare that 2013 will be your year of miracles.

What is a miracle? I am not using this word in the religious sense, so please do not click out of this article if you had a negative reaction. The use of this word is more practical and can be easily implemented in the activities of your everyday life.

A miracle is simply a change in perception.  A different way of looking at things.  A new lens, if you will, that you see through before you make a judgment or decision about something or someone.  Sounds simple, right?

The process of living your life as a miracle is as simple or as complex as you make it.  You are “at cause” for everything that happens in your life.  Not “those people,” not the “boogey man,” just— you.  Once you accept that simple truth as a fact, the next realization is that you can change your life if you are not happy.  But how?

That is where the concept of miracles comes in.  You change your perception of an event so that you feel better, happier, more peaceful.  There is a step by step process to this idea of miracles, which is explained more in my book, Dance with the Divine, available at Amazon http://tinyurl.com/bbtll24.  A short description of the process follows.

If there is a certain type of situation that always makes you angry, step out of your emotions and look objectively at the trigger.  Was it a comment from your parents about money? Was it a late notice for a bill that  you forgot, or couldn’t pay?  Whatever triggered your reaction, once you bring it to light, you can decide to change the only thing that you have control of — your reaction.

It helps to remember that all facts and events are neutral, until you intrepret them and give them meaning.  Once a neutral event takes on meaning, your reactions to that meaning define your life.  Since it was you who gave the original, neutral event meaning – you defined what it meant to you – only you can change it.  And that is how miracles occur, one changed thought at a time.

Let’s raise our hands and pledge that we will change our “meanings” and be happier, healthier individuals.  The ripple effects from one changed person can spread far and wide, in unimaginable ways, to the far corners of the world.  One person’s light, shining brightly and shared freely, without fear or expectation of return, can be the source of inspiration and love for all.

Won’t you be that light? Together, let’s make 2013 the Year of Miracles!

May the dawn of a new year bring you much joy and peace.

Love and See the Face of God


tbn_aa8a805fa18f27e5 Les Miserables“Love someone and see the face of God,” the Monsignor says as he welcomes Jean Val Jean to his final sanctuary. It was a lesson well learned and finally understood by a man who had survived unspeakable horror and tragedy.  A man who made a fatal decision many years before – to forgive.

The complexity of the characters and moral dilemmas created at each turn of the plot is what has made Victor Hugo‘s “Les Miserables” so enduring.  The story of Jean Val Jean is ironic and liberating, deeply moving and touched with grace.  It is the story of one man’s struggle to make sense of injustice, cruelty and hatred. After many trials and tribulations, he must finally face himself and make a choice so fundamental, that it will direct the trajectory of the rest of his life.

Does he believe that God is love? If the answer is no, than revenge, hatred and fear will follow him until his last breath. If the answer is yes, however, then all decisions made after that moment in time will guide him on a different path.  To freedom, to liberty, to joy.  And finally, to love.

It is a fundamental decision you must make, if you are to live your life as it was meant to be lived.  Such a simple question with such profound consequences.

Is God love? Or is love God?

All I have to do is look into a baby’s eyes, so innocent yet so wise, to know that God is love. Or to hear the wind singing through the tops of the trees, causing leaves to shimmer and fall.  Or bite into a juicy peach, sweet with sunshine, to know the answer.  We are surrounded by God’s love, whether we acknowledge it or not.  It is there, connecting us by an invisible thread that spins the patchwork squares of our life into unique quilts.

In calling his masterpiece, “Les Miserables,” Victor Hugo was reminding us that beneath the surface of life, underneath the cruelty and unsympathetic actions, lies a river of love, waiting to be brought to the surface. Misery may exist on the surface, but underneath even the hardest man lies a heart that can be opened — by love.

In the end, what matters is the love we shared.  And if you also see the Face of God, then you truly are blessed.

20 Seconds of Courage


summit of u.p.We just finished watching “We Bought a Zoo,” with Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson.  One of the great lines from the movie is that it only takes “20 seconds of courage” to discover something great.

That line got me thinking about my life. When have I dared 20 seconds to be courageous? What is courage?  How did it look in my life?

As you can probably tell, I am a closet philosopher, waiting to discover nuggets of wisdom or knowledge that distills my world into discernible bites.  Spoon feed me bits of understanding and I will create a new recipe for living.  Try to cram down too much, too soon, and I refuse to accept it and turn the other way.

Perhaps that is why this concept of “20 seconds of courage” is so intriguing to me.  Spending 20 seconds on anything seems very doable, even easy.  Heck – it took me 20 seconds just to type that last sentence! So what could be the big deal?

It depends on your definition of courage.

What comes easy to one person can be terrifying to someone else.  Ask a teacher to speak in front of a group of people, and she will readily accept.  Ask a computer geek to do the same, and terror instantly transforms him from a knowledgeable expert to a puddle of insecurities. It all depends on what events, circumstances or even people make you immediately say, “No, thank you.”

When you are faced with those situations that make your heart pump faster and your lungs pump harder, there is a brief moment in time, suspended between what was and what could be, that waits to be acknowledged. Skip past it and you lose the possibility of change. Pause and consider before you react habitually, and you step off your well-worn path and forge new ground.

With the new year almost upon us, why not take this admonition to heart? Why be good, when you can be great? You are the only person on the face of the planet who can be you. Why not make decisions and choices that create the best you that you can be?  Why ever not?

20 seconds – that is all it takes.

12/12/12 – What Will You Do today?


The Passage of Time

The Passage of Time (Photo credit: ToniVC)

You can never plan the future by the past. —Edmund  Burke

Today is a magnificent day in time. One of synchronicity and symmetry. A day to remember, to tell your children and grandchildren.

12/12/12.

Just seeing the same number for the month, day and year gives me pause.  What will I do today to make it memorable? To celebrate? To commemorate?

I have decided instead of doing something on the outside, my attention will be directed to the inside. Letting each moment unfold, without interjecting my judgment or opinion.  Allowing myself to stay in the present, without the regret of the past or worry for the future intruding.  Basically, just BEING, right here, right now.

Can I really do that – BE that? Just asking the question takes me out of the goal to stay in the present.  I have so much to learn about living life without worry or regret, but the only way I can learn is to try, one moment at a time.

Please share what you will do today – and perhaps by sharing we can give each other a helping hand on this journey of life.

 

The Gift that Keeps on Giving


lets kiss babyThe holidays are here and the perennial question of the “perfect” gift has raised its ugly head. It seems like you just faced this dilemma a short while ago, but it has been almost a year.  Haven’t you figured it out?  The Smith and the Joneses have figured it out, why haven’t you?  What is wrong with you?

If you felt yourself becoming defensive as you read those words…that was exactly my intention.  Before you burn this email in an impulsive act of defiance, please take a deep breath and relax.  As you exhale, release the anger, guilt or whatever negative emotion was just triggered.  Inhale peace and calm and feel your body relax.

Now, isn’t that better?

You just experienced two opposite states of Being in the span of about 15 seconds.  Did you observe how quickly you moved into the anger and how your body reacted?  Your body’s defensive mechanism kicked in and you became agitated and tense. You either wanted to fight or flee (or burn the words that triggered such a reaction).  No matter the degree, your reaction to the judgmental words triggered a physical response that could have propelled you to take action that you later regretted.

Now that you are calm and coherent again, please read the first paragraph again. Ignore the defensive reaction and keep reading.  When you reach the last question, what is your reaction?  Did you believe the words this time, or did you remain detached?  How did your body feel – was it calm and relaxed?

For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume that you did not dive into the anger again but stayed calm.  Why did you have a different reaction?  The words remained the exact same. The meaning conveyed by them was identical.  The only difference was you – the person reading them.  You made a decision to remain detached and observe the words, instead of reacting to them.

And that my friends, is the best gift you can give yourself and others. To learn how to stay calm and peaceful, no matter the circumstances. To know that you are worthy of love and there is no need to act as if you are not worthy. To set aside the childish impulse of reacting first and regretting it later. You have the power to stop over-reacting any moment you choose.  You have the capability to respond differently, peacefully and sincerely. All you have to do is learn how.

Which is exactly the subject of an entire book called Dance with the Divine, A GuiDance Story.”  It is available at Amazon.com in either the Kindle format (which can be read from any computer, tablet or smart phone) or in paperback form.

Give the gift that keeps on giving all year – the perfect gift for yourself and your loved ones. The gift of you, unadulterated and pure, calm and peaceful in every moment.

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Please feel free to share this story with as many people as possible. Tweet a link, or better yet, let your friends know on FaceBook.  You may also repost this article, as long as you include the following information:

Kathryn Eriksen is the perfect example of a person who has “awakened” to her own spiritual nature.  Raised in a traditional home, she chose the traditional path of college and a legal career.  After 23 years of practicing law, it slowly dawned on her that life did not have to be filled with competition, adversity and limitations.  A zealous advocate for her clients, Kathryn now uses those same highly developed communication skills, laser beam focus and high octane energy to be an advocate for a much higher client – God!

A published author, Kathryn is the author of Dance with the Divine, A GuiDance Story , available at Amazon.com   An inspirational novel, DWTD tells the story of Haven Hartt, a troubled teenager who must decide if she will chose fear or love when faced with a family crisis.  As you observe Haven’s choices, you will find yourself applying the lessons to your own life.  No matter what your age, “Dance with the Divine” is an uplifting step-by-step guide to forgiving the past and stepping forward into your heritage as a child of God. You will be transformed by the powerful lessons shared of living life as if it were a dance and the Divine was your dance partner.

A Way to Repay


As a way to repay all of the kind people who have taken the time to read and/or follow this blog, if you will send me your email (or sign up on my website at www.KathrynEriksen.com, I will send you 2 Miracle Tokens.

“What is in the world is a Miracle Token?” you ask suspiciously.

It is a simple way to give someone a boost, or share a thoughtful insight, or even wake them up to their spirituality (I always shoot for the biggest goal).  I will send you these Tokens by email, so you can print them, share them or even post them on FaceBook or Twitter.

I have started leaving a Miracle Token with my tip at a restaurant.  Since they contain a way for the recipient to share their experience, I can’t wait to read about what a ripple they caused.

Won’t you help me spread the news?  Just leave a comment, or find me on FaceBook (KathrynEEriksen) and send me a message.  Or go to my website at www.KathrynEriksen.com and sign up for my emails.  It’s simple, easy and fun!

Whose day will you spark today?

P.S. Miracle Tokens play a huge role in my latest novel, “Dance with the Divine,” which is still available as a free Kindle download.  Just go to http://tinyurl.com/b3jytp5 and start reading on any mobile device or computer!

Step Out of Your Story and Into Your Life


As a child, I loved to hear and read stories. Mythical creatures with magical powers, Kings and Queens and their children (of course I was the Princess!) and the Knights of the Round Table.  How I loved to read about King Arthur and his Camelot.  But for some reason, I always identified with the person who was betrayed, the victim of the story, never the victor.

As an adult, I fell away from fairy tales and into “reality.” School, work, marriage, family and aging parents took all of my attention and energy.  Little did I realize that I still lived in stories, except now they were my very own creation, instead of tales from ages past.

My “stories” were the judgments I passed on the events of my life. Based on past experience and beliefs that had not seen the light of day in quite some time, the decisions I made about the meaning of difficult situations determined my future.  Hurt, anger or resentment soured many a moment.

Little did I realize how much my thoughts about what someone said or did colored my world and my reaction. I played the role of victim well, always ready to leap to a martyr’s death at a moment’s notice. Swooning was also part of my repertoire (just kidding). Dramatic scenes of anger, rage and resentment played consistently on my stage.  And behind the curtain, I always felt that someone else was pulling my strings, the puppeteer always just out of sight.

It was not until I stumbled upon the concept that things happen for you, not to you, that my world began to shift on its axis. When I discovered that I had the power to change my thoughts, which directly impacted my world, I felt like I had been given the keys to a wonderful kingdom.  Out with the dragons! Gone are the lions and tigers and bears! Destroy the goblins of fear, the worry warts and the sad sack of chips on my shoulder that forever stood in the way of my relationships.  I was free!

Until the moment they returned again. And again.

How disheartening to think that a magic wand can make it all go away…and it all came back, stronger than before.  What was wrong with me?  That question plagued me for some time, until I discovered that I had asked the wrong question, which was guaranteed to lead always to the wrong answer (or the right answer to the wrong question, if that makes any sense).

The right question (no judgment intended) is to ask, “What am I supposed to learn from this?” Or put another way, “Who Am I in Relation to That?”  Either question is guaranteed to direct your attention away from the problem and back to you, defining your place in relation to the event or circumstance.

In a very real sense, you step out of your story for a brief moment and decide who you want to be (given those circumstances before you). Then, you step back into your story with that decision firmly in your mind.  While you cannot control the final outcome, you gain a much richer understanding of yourself as you move through that particular set of circumstances.

You will discover, as I did, that in the end, you retain your power to define who you are.  The “puppet on a string” syndrome is gone forever. The victim mentality no longer works for you, because you realize you are never a victim unless you allow it.  In fact, you discover that you are the choreographer, producer and star of your own “Dancing with the Stars.”

And you have a new partner in your dance with life.  The Divine.