January 18, 2008

A New Year's Wish For 2008 Part 2

So here is my second New Year’s wish for you all. I hope you got my first one earlier. Okay, here it is, I want you to be prosperous beyond your wildest dreams! And I mean prosperous in every way- money, career, lifestyle, family life, community life and spiritual life. By the way, how is the accepting you are loved unconditionally by the Universe/God coming along? I hope you have started treating yourself tenderly and generously as you should. Enough of the guilt and self-punishment already!

Remember what I said before about the child who begins to co-create their life when they come of age? Well, we now that we recognize and understand that the Creator/Universe is abundant enough to allow us our own free space in it to experience that love we must embrace the truth that we more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. It’s time to take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. It sounds tedious but it is actually a wonderful, liberating thing that does not feel burdensome at all. To realize, I am NOT as helpless and I for the most part CREATED my own reality all along is very empowering. We attract exactly what we put our energy into, focus on, think about constantly. We don’t even realize we do it, but it is a powerful and absolute universal law.

It’s called the Law of Attraction. Hindus call it karma. Christians describe it as, “What you sow, you reap” but all cultures recognize it. The greatest minds and success stories of our age swear by it. Basically, it says- What you think of, what you speak of, what you focus on is what you will attract to you. This law does not change regardless of your family, culture or geography. The Law of Attraction is just like Freewill, not even Divine Power can interfere with that law. It is scientific, physical, spiritual and universal. I think of Rick Wayne (A former Mr. Olympia from St. Lucia) and his response to people who constantly complain about the government, yet will not get up and change it. He would say, “You get the exactly the kind of government you think you deserve! When you truly believe you deserve better, doing what is necessary to change it for the better will not even seem so hard and inconvenient to you.”

This rings true on an even deeper level. The truth is you get exactly the kind of life you think you deserve as well. It doesn’t matter if you are a dirt poor little girl growing up in segregated Mississippi and was raped several times growing up and never knew your father. If you think of wealth of power, speak of it and focus on it with the belief you deserve this and it is your right to have, you will become wealthy and powerful, like Oprah did. This is why today she and other people who have personal survival and/or success stories that boggle the mind speak of the Law of Attraction so often. It explains not only the series of serendipitous events that led them out of hardship and how their soul managed to survive in tact but also how they seemed to co-create their new reality. Have you ever met someone so beautiful in mind an spirit and so successful that when you see the squalor they came from or the morons who raised them, you cannot believe how that person not only came out on top but seemingly untouched by their past. They obviously exist in a mind space completely outside of it. They quietly stay focused on what they really want and eventually lift themselves out of the mire. Who says we need hardship to do the same?

The Law of Attraction is just like Freewill, not even Divine Power can interfere with that law. It is scientific, physical, spiritual and universal.

People who thrived desipte confounding odds have self-love and self-belief but whether they realize it or not, the Law of Attraction is also in play. It is answering their constant thoughts and actions that self-love and self-belief inspired. The ignorant, disempowered people around them who have no self-love will look on that child and call them hoity toity, “too big for their own shoes!”, “don’t know their place”. But that child not only knows their place, they know their place is not at the mercy of circumstance. People like that, somehow knew all along exactly what they wanted. It didn’t matter what their current reality was. They paid it no mind whatsoever! Somehow kept telling themselves,” This is not really my life. My life is something I have in my head that I am creating as we speak”. They saw and created in their mind and in the fabric of the Universe their chosen reality. It was almost as if, the poverty, abuse, misfortune, disease etc were illusions and the wonderful outcome they envisioned was the reality from the very start.

Oh gosh girl, I seeing your mind going and I know exactly what you are thinking.

“But doesn’t everyone dream and want wealth and success? It doesn’t mean they will automatically get it. If that was the case then everyone would be wealthy! So it cannot be as simple as that!” Well I say (rather boldly) in response to your keen realist observation, if you made it, “Yes! It is that simple!”

I think that the only real poverty is poverty of MIND, IDEAS and VISION. The reason some people remain poor or continue to struggle with debt and hardship is because they exist and operate from a mind-space rooted in a spirit of lack, limitations and fear. So they can express verbally all they like about how much they want to get promoted or win the lottery or become successful or have money and opportunities and yet it never materializes. The Law of Attraction is absolute. It gives you want you put most of your focus and energy on. If your focus is always on, “I don’t have enough!”, “I have money problems”, “I cannot afford this or that”, then that is how it will always be, even though that is a lie. The truth is that the universe is abundant and everything is there for you if you truly put your creative power into it. If someone is motivated by lack and an attitude of poverty, they will never see that and so they will never attract wealth. Let me illustrate how poverty begins with the mind.

Have you ever noticed that if you believe you can afford something, the money somehow comes for it? Think about it. The cost of living has been rising since we were born. How on earth were your parents able to afford your schooling and providing for you? How on earth are you currently able to afford all the things you have now? Ever looked at what you have acquiered and the places you have traveled over the past decades and went,
“Wow! How did I manage to afford all this stuff?”
It’s the Law of Attraction. It’s how you explain “poor people” who maintain thousand-dollar a month hair extensions, nail treatments; alcohol and cigarette habits and party lifestyles despite the rising cost of living. In many cases, they have better clothes and gadgets than most people, yet think they cannot afford private school tuition for their child or extra classes for themselves. How come the money or access to financial resources are always there for certain things but not for others? The Law of Attraction makes it possible.

I think that the only real poverty is poverty of MIND, IDEAS and VISION. The reason some people remain poor or continue to struggle with debt and hardship is because they exist and operate from a mind-space rooted in a spirit of lack, limitations and fear.

Strange but true, when opportunities actually present themselves for many “poor” people to break free of poverty, they actually turn it down! They say "No" to job offers or other avenues, due to fear, lack self worth or just feeling, “I cannot do that” or “I cannot afford that” or “That is not for people like me” or “That too hard!”. In fact, if they look carefully they would realize they CAN afford it and limitations they put on themselves have more to do with their own fears than society or “the man”. They do not even realize that one opportunity no matter how small or humble, always leads to another. Once you get the ball rolling, the Law of Attraction adds more balls and smoothes the way ahead for you. As one of the most enlightened people to ever walk this earth, Jesus knew about the Law of Attraction and that is evident in his parable of the Talents. More is always given to those who make the most of what they have. So to the father of four with no formal education, that janitor job may seem lowly but he never knows what could happen if he accepts it and does a whole-hearted job. He might be promoted to General Custodian or befriend the CEO of the company whose office he cleans and that might open doors too. Do you know how many maids, custodians and workers that people think have menial jobs, enjoy prosperity and peace of mind? They have made such a dignified impression on the CEOs, COOs and employees of companies that they are treated like family. Their health care and their children’s education are personally taken care of by the company as a result. At the agency where I work, we love our office maid Judy to pieces. She is hardworking, dilgent, helpful, polite and full of "old talks". She chats up the CEO of the company just like he was her buddy. She fetes with us at our Christmas staff party and gets her big Christmas hamper and bonus every year. If there is anything she needs, I have no doubt everyone in the office would pitch in to help her. See how abundant the Universe is to those who help themselves? If she were sour, lazy and resentful do you think the the treasure troves of abundance of the Universe would be accessible to her?

The difference between Chris Gardner and the angry rastaman cursing Babylon System for keeping him down, is self-belief, self-love and operating from a spirit og gratitude and abundance. The Universe answers exactly what you put out. You keep believing you are a “suffering child of Jah”; listening to music that reinforces that identity, then WISH GRANTED.

I attended Nick's sister's wedding last year at the Costelloes in St. Augustine. It was the first time Nick's family acknowledged us as a couple by inviting us both. Now apart from seeing first hand the kind of wealth Nick grew up with and gave up in order to be herself, I was one of about only five black people there. Among the guests was the family's long time maid and her daughter who is now a successful businesswoman. Her single mother put her through school and was able to use the help and connections of the affluent and influential family she worked for to her advantage. Do you know how many university graduates and successful people were raised by parents who worked at jobs considered menial? Sadly in our region, that kind of dedication is hard to find today. Our new generation of people are ashamed to be anyone's servant or serve anyone, as you can see with our poor customer service ethic. They do not realize the power a servant has. As the Chinese proverb goes, "The servant is the master". If you do your job well, you can make yourself so indispensible and influential your master now becomes dependent on you, not the other way around. I realized at that wedding that "angry black people" can harp all they like about class, race and stereotypes and be bitter about it. Nick's family loves their maid and considers her one of the family. They pay her medical bills and they will take care of her till she dies and show special consideration to her children and grandchildren, offering assistance, recommendations and opportunities. That one woman's hard work did all that. See how abundant the Universe is to those who help themselves?

Ever notice how some people look at certain activities that would enrich their lives and say, “That is only for rich people or white people.” It is what separates people like Cris Gardner (The inspiration for The Pursuit of Happyness) from the angry rasta man cussing Babylon system and looking at all rich people as “the enemy” and seeing himself as the consummate victim. Cris Gardner could ace an interview with stogy bankers, in an intimidating office building whilst smelling stink and wearing no shirt on yet some people in a brand new suit will look at a board room full of wealthy people and get scared. When the tough questions fly their way in an interview they feel attacked and leave angry and looking for reasons why “the man” want to keep them down. The Universe answers exactly what you put out. You keep believing you are a “suffering child of Jah”; listening to music that reinforces that identity, then WISH GRANTED.

Here’s the other facet to this. The resources available to me, you and everyone else are much wider than you think. Even if it seems you lack what you need, the Creator/Universe has endless ways of dispensing what you need or want to you from other sources. So poverty also stems from a spirit of isolation that makes people think,
“Woe is me! I am all alone in my suffering!”
Not true! We are all connected! Do you remember the child I described earlier who has self-love and is actively creating a new reality for themselves despite amazing odds? Have you ever noticed people like that always inspire others to feats of amazing generousity? Out of nowhere, people always appear to aid them on their way to success. When we were in Naps there was a newspaper article about a young boy going to Presentation College who came from a poor family that had no running water or electricity in his home. His dedication inspired not only the school and church but the community to pay for his schooling. Can you imagine if he or his parents said, “Well, so what if you passed your Common Entrance for a prestige school? We are too poor to send you there. Sorry.” They would have never known just how generous others can be if you let them. Ever saw the true story of Liz Murray who was a homeless teen and got into Harvard University? It’s as if their self-belief and hope calls angels in human form to them. Start believing this today: There is nothing you cannot afford. There is nothing out of your reach! Make your mind rich with possibilities!

When the help comes though, be ready to receive it! Just as it takes self-love to help yourself, you need to feel enough self-love to accept help in a spirit of gratitude. Just like many people who live in a spirit of poverty turn down opportunities, people in a spirit of isolation turn down help. Let other people help you! You cannot do it alone! There is no rule saying that life is supposed to be hard! Gratitude is what makes you take that helping hand and turn it into a vast fortune that uplifts you and others. People who constantly beg and yet never improve themselves do not love themselves and so can never be truly grateful for what is given to them. They are also still captive in a mind space dictated by lack and fear. Don’t worry, you know that are not like that and you will make the most of what is given to you. So feel no shame in accepting aid. You hear of people like Oprah or Djimon Housou still thanking people who lent them a helping hand when they were first starting off. People who are truly grateful also become angels for others who have self-love and hope despite their dire circumstances. They always repay the gift given to them three-fold. Wow look at how abundant the Universe is! See how the wealth just flows from one person to the next?

The Law of Attraction does not care about your race. Like gravity, it is absolute. You not going to get special dispensation just because you are Christian, Muslim or Hindu. It also does not matter if you are a good or bad person. The loveliest person in the world can continue to suffer poverty and run into financial problem after problem. I am sure you know of someone who is so good hearted but so terribly unlucky; your heart breaks for them. Look closer at them and you will realize while they are nice, they constantly operate from a place of lack and worry and so they attract more lack and more worry. Every time you see them, they have some problem yet again. Why? Perhaps they have deep seated negative attitudes towards success. They might also be operating from fear of being broke or avoiding being broke. Every time they have to spend money, it literally pains them. Then I am sure you know of a completely vile, selfish, good for nothing scamp who has the most amazing luck and gets away with everything. They could lose a vast fortune today then regain it just as easily tomorrow. It’s because failure never enters their mind, they operate from a place of total self-confidence and ease with money. The Universe does not discriminate. It gives you exactly what you put your thoughts, focus and energy into. It sounds harsh and unforgiving but most absolute laws are. You cannot get angry at the law of gravity because it made a cute little baby fall and crack open their skull. That is just how it is. Not even a Loving Creator can stop that.

I know that it’s sad when you see vagrants (women and children especially break my heart) and I am sure your heart breaks for those stuck in a spiral of suffering all over the world. But remember what I said about sacrifice. We can do nothing to help those people until we deal with ourselves first. Like Oprah who now builds schools in Africa that transport young girls away from the poverty and allows them envision a completely different reality, we need to reach that stage ourselves before we help others. In addition, any help we provide to people who are not ready to stop operating from a spirit of poverty and self-hate is futile. We know this in our Caribbean environment very well. There are people who just want a hand out but they themselves do not want to take responsibility for co-creating their life. You cannot sacrifice for people like that. You cannot pull their load for them. I saw a very telling documentary on cable where they gave a homeless man $100,000.00 US and let a film crew follow him to see if that would turn his life around. During the four months, he was offered financial advice on investing, how to buy a home, go back to school but he was too overwhelmed and self-loathing to appreciate any of it. He kept feeling like the people who were trying to help him were out to get him. He actually pushed away the good people and attracted users who only wanted his money. He tried to make back up with his family by buying gifts for them, even when they kept telling him, “Save your money! You don’t have to buy me this!” Within six months he was back on the street. All the while, he was operating out of fear of being used and losing the money and that is exactly what ended up happening. I cried at the end because it was just so sad! I was so sad for him but I learned a very valuable lesson I wished I learned much earlier in life.

When I got my first big job at 19, earning around $3500.00 a month as a clerk at Petrotrin (Oh yes, remember back in de day in 1996, when that was BIG BUCKS) I reconnected with my Mum who I had not seen in many years. I was so distressed at the state she was in and I started buying her things. I bought her furniture, appliances, I bought paint for the run down place she was living in and painted it. I bought jewelry for her and Misha (my step sister). I just tried to make up for lost time with things. I tried to alleviate the unnecessary guilt I felt because I had a nice cozy home with my Dad with vacations and company sports clubs, while she was struggling all that time, by buying her stuff. Within two months many of the things I bought her were either lost, stolen or damaged. The apartment I so dilengently painted and furnished thinking it was her place turned out not to be her place after all and in a few months she was living somewhere else. I cannot tell you how much that hurt me. But it speaks to the same thing. It was not my place to provide for or try to save her and it still is not. It took me thousands of dollars and years of dealing with a mother who used to just show up at my work at Lonsdale or at my home unannounced, unkempt and ravingly manic to appreciate that the more I got involved, the less she pulled her own weight. If I did not extricate myself, she would never learn self-sufficiency. I used to feel so guilty about this but the most amazing thing happened November of last year. I called her to talk and before I could even get the words out, she told me she understood why I keep my distance and it is better this way. She has been clear-minded and taking her meds regularly. She is happy. She has everything she needs with a little to spare too. She loves me and wants nothing but my happiness. So by not treating her as if she “lacked”, she pulled herself up.

Any help we provide to people who are not ready to stop operating from a spirit of poverty and self-hate is futile. We know this in our Caribbean environment very well. There are people who just want a hand out but they themselves do not want to take responsibility for co-creating their life. You cannot sacrifice for people like that. You cannot pull their load for them.

Another reason people stay poor can be seen in how they view the wealth or success of others. They want to be wealthy yet they despise wealthy people. That attitude makes no sense to the Universe! It creates a stalemate in the Law of Attraction. If someone is resentful and disgusted by prosperous, successful people then they have just sealed their own fate. A spirit of covetousness and competition stems from feeling and thinking there is not enough for everyone, so therefore by logical extension that means there is not enough for you either. The Universal Law of Attraction is so simple: If that is what you think and believe to be true and put all your energy into, then that is what you shall experience. The attitude of, “I must get mine before someone else can and I have to keep it from other people because there is not enough for everyone” is one we in the Caribbean know intimately. Our heritage was based on feelings of powerlessness and lack. We get angry and critical when we see someone who came from the same background like us succeed. Who de hell they think they is? Sound familiar eh? I caught an interview with Rhianna on the Paul & Judy show in England and Judy remarked, “Well back home in Barbados you must be so loved! I can’t imagine how proud they must be of you! What about when you visit your school or neighbourhood, what kind of reception do you get?”
Rhianna looked a little embarrassed and then gave a kind of smirk and replied, “Well the thing you have to understand about Bajan people, they don’t really like to give compliments or like praising each other. They think doing so takes something away from themselves.”

Well I don’t know if that is true or not but I still find it telling because we know exactly what Rhianna talking about. Our talented people have to find success internationally to even get a smattering of respect locally. I will never forget Margaret Samuel telling me about her experience in Paris with her then husband Peter Samuel who was there with Peter Minshall for Bastille Day. Imagine, two million Parisians (that’s almost twice the population of Trinidad and Tobago) lining the Champs Elysée just to see our Amoco Renegades and Minshall’s Dance Macabre. They were in total awe of us! Enraptured cries of: “Vive La Trinité! C’est magnifique!” filled the air. A man turned to her and said, "Do you know what you people have? Do you realize how beautiful you are?" You will not believe how many thousands of French people still journey to our shores in search of the source of our genius and infectious spirit thanks to that experience. We have people like Vincent Mc Doom, who gets laughed at in St. Lucia because he is gay and a drag queen but is the toast of the haute couture community in Paris. When people make it big, and we go, “So who she feel she is? She not so hot! I remember when she was this and that.” We make our local talented people become insular and bitter, refusing to share and pass on their skills to their ungrateful fellowmen. We are not realizing that when we do this we are sending out to the Universe the signal that we strongly believe, “People like us are NOT supposed to succeed!” Then the Universe, guided by the Law of Attraction gives us exactly what we have expressed and put our energy into. And then we wonder how come Caribbean people are so gifted and we are not making the kind of impact on the world stage as we should?

You know how in our region, many are fond of using obeah or voodoo to harm others they feel spiteful towards. Well, when they curse their fellowman, they curse themselves three times over. Societies that are steeped in that kind of fearful spirituality will always remain poor and underdeveloped; attracting disaster after disaster.

It’s sad how long we have been sabotaging ourselves by our resentfulness of others who are successful and came from the same background as us. What you think and feel about your fellowman only reflects what you feel about yourself and you will attract what you think and feel about. When we wish ill on someone, we wish ill on ourselves. The greatest teachers of our time have told us this time and time again. Most of us know the most recent one which is:
"Do unto other as you would have them do unto you. -- New Testament, Matthew 7:12. What most do not realize is that it is a universal sentiment expressed long before Christ was born.
My favourite for this discussion on wealth is from Tai-shang Kang-ying P'ien, from the Taoist tradition, circa 500 BC which says, "Regard your neighbor's gain as your gain and your neighbor's loss as your loss." You know how in our region, many are fond of using obeah or voodoo to harm others they feel spiteful towards. Well, when they curse their fellowman, they curse themselves three times over. There is an old code even witches live by called the Wiccan Rede that says, “Harm none and do what ye will. For the wiccan rule of three is this: That which you give out will thrice return to you.” Societies that are steeped in that kind of fearful spirituality will always remain poor and underdeveloped; attracting disaster after disaster.

Let’s always remember, the Universe is abundant. God is abundant and there is more than enough love, wealth, success and blessings for everyone on our planet even if the population were to triple. When we compete with others or envy others we perpetuate a lie that says otherwise. Start contradicting this everyday by being generous, grateful and genuinely happy for others when they do well in life. When someone buys a new expensive car, don’t berate them. See it as evidence that the coffers of the Divine are brimming over and that’s good news for you! It means wonderful things can come to you just as easily. Tell them, “I’m so happy for you! I’m glad you got what you wanted.” I promise you that you will start seeing more windfalls in your life. Also remember, if you still feel like there is a limited supply, that not everyone wants the same thing. It’s not like everyone is going after the BMW or being CEO of a bank. Not everyone wants to be Rhianna. There are just as many people volunteering to have a simplier life with less material possessions as there are people trying to have more. People also have drastically different benchmarks of what prosperity and success are despite the efforts of the media and advertising (we work in this field so we know) to dictate to people what success is.

Lately, Nick and I have been doing this thing where anytime we have a sum of cash on our person we pray and say, “Thank you for this evidence of the abundant wealth we have and we intend to spend this with a happy heart knowing it will come back to us a hundred-fold”. Sometimes when we get our account balance slip from the ATM we take a pen and add more zeros to the end of figure and say, “This is how much money we really have coming to us very soon”. Doh laugh! Yes I know it sounds harebrained but remember it is not the action itself. It’s not magic! It is all about how it influences your MIND and your THOUGHTS about money. Remember it is your thoughts, feelings and focus that create your reality. Jim Carey (one of our favourite comedians since Naps) came to Hollywood broke and living out of a van. He went to the top of Hollywood Hills by the sign and wrote himself a check for 1 million dollars and said,
“One day, I will be able to cash this.”
What you believe to be real, is what will become real. So create your own little “wealth rituals” if you must. Do whatever it takes to break you out of the habit of feeling that uncomfortable twinge in your stomach when you have to part with your money or when worry starts to set in. Call it financial placebo if you will.

STOP saying, “I’m broke” or “I don’t want to be broke” and focusing your thoughts and energy on “not being broke”. You will only attract more “brokenness” by indulging that fear constantly. Say instead, “I am rich beyond measure and soon I will experience just how rich I am” and then feel and live like you are rich beyond measure. It may feel silly at first, especially when it is the middle of the month and some unexpected bill comes your way. But it works. When you see something you want and you do not have the cash at present for it, don’t say, “Damn I could never afford that!” Say instead, “I can afford that! Very soon I will own it.” Go window shopping with joyful anticipation. Also, remember a large part of becoming wealthy is feeling grateful for what you already have. Not the obligatory kind of “I-am-not-worthy-gratitude” you were forced to feel at home or in church but REAL gratitude. The kind that makes you glow, smile secretly and well up as you hear yourself think or say, “Wow! I am really blessed! Thank you!” Feeling gratitude for the riches you already have only attracts more of the same.

Being generous is also important. It tells the Universe, “I have so much, I can easily afford to give to others” and so, you are attract even more wealth to give. It’s why the richest people in the world; those who stay rich till they die, are also the most philanthropic and manage to really change the world. When they give, it is not a sacrifice. It is a joy! Joyful giving is the most powerful kind of wealth generator there is. It tends to stick somehow and really change people’s lives. Sacrificial giving is the most debilitating kind. It is not generous at all because it stems from a place of lack. You have to be made to feel guilty first in order to do that kind of giving where you have to pull from your diminished self to give to another diminished self. Nothing really lasting ever comes of it. That is why people like Bono, Oprah and Bill Gates might just do in a few years what decades of previous charities have been struggling to do in places like Africa. They have actually made erasing poverty completely an attainable goal for the world, because they are giving from a spirit of abundance and joy, not pity and religious obligation.

The reason people like Bill Gates, Bono and Oprah might just make some actual inroads into eradicating poverty in Africa is because they give from a place of overflow, optimism and joy with the intention of empowering the recipient of their generousity. It has a far more powerful and permanent impact than giving from sacrifice, obligation or wanting to convert the recipient who is seen as a charity case or victim.

So I look forward to being invited to sail on your yacht very soon (if that is what you really want). I look forward to inviting you to stay at my multi-million dollar eco-friendly beach house in Tobago. We’ll all have a reunion tour of Europe with our hubbies in tow and drink the best wine and eat the best food. We’ll open our own billion dollar businesses or consultancy firms. We’ll write that best selling novel and get movie deals and share the fruits of our enjoyable work. May your children grow up with enough comfort to enrich their life experience but not to spoil them completely. No jealousy. No competition. Just joy for each other’s successes! And we’ll have so much, we’ll retire early and become charity ladies in our old age who really do some lasting good in our island communities; wielding the kind of incorruptible political clout so desperately needed. No one can tempt us with wealth or power to go against our better values because are already wealthy, powerful and truly content. That and abundantly more is my wish for you starting now!

Hugs and kisses,


January 09, 2008

A New Year's Wish For 2008 Part 1

Happy New Year!

This is one seriously long New Year’s wish. So long in fact, I am sending it in four parts to you. So you are getting FOUR New Year’s wishes from me for 2008. Since we don’t see each other as often, sometimes it’s good to just say all the things you’ve been wanting to share all year long.

This year we all have the chance to, no matter how cluttered, soiled and ruined things may have become in 2007 to start all over. We get a free re-do. That of course, makes you think, “Well, what would I do differently?” For me, it’s not about specific habits and situations I want to change. What I really want is to change my whole approach to life so that the only New Year’s resolution I will ever have to make is, “I resolve to just enjoy my blessed life even more this year than I did last year!”

For a long time, like most people, I have been busily going along thinking that I have little to no control over what happens in my life. Either external forces like environment, country culture, family history, genetics, past mistakes or a Divine Parent set things in motion and I was merely a pawn in play. Perhaps you have felt that way too. Last year was especially tumultuous and challenging for most people, especially here in the Caribbean. In addition to the rising cost of living, there was an escalation in crime and many family and friends of mine, including myself had health issues that floored them in 2007.

All the while, I was going through all of this thinking, “Don’t I have any control over this? You mean I have no say whatsoever and all I can do is just make the best of this and try to cope?” Sometimes it was so crushing you actually questioned God’s logic for allowing certain things to happen. Was it like that for you? Did you feel like the more you fought against what you didn’t want, the more likely it was to happen anyway? Did it feel like the more you planned and took precautions against negativity, disappointment, loss, the more they came charging into your life. It was frustrating wasn’t it?

In 2007, I lost friends, money, opportunities and valuable time recovering from appendicitis. I had a lot of time to ponder things and my approach to this thing we call LIFE. Am I really as helpless as all that? Why is it that in certain instances I can be such a powerful creator of my reality and in others I falter and feel like a victim of circumstance? Yet at the same time, why is it that even now when I look back at all my actions, good, bad, honorable and shameful I see the evidence of a certain law and order working in my life? Things seemed to happen as if ordered. People entered my life precisely at the right time and place. Did you notice that too? Think back to those occurrences that brought comprehensive results even though they seemed like random events or accidents. Recall the people who made your life a living hell and in the process, triggered unexpected strengths and growth in you.

So what IS that anyway?

Well I have no doubt in my mind it is in part, the presence of Divine guidance. Whether you believe in God or not, both theists and atheists have one thing in common. Whether they see things in terms of God or The Universe, they agree, (1) life came from both (2) both were always in existence (3) both and are guided by certain laws. So just like God cannot go against the law of Freewill. The Universe cannot go against the laws of thermodynamics. For me, learning to trust Divine guidance is an ongoing process at which I am getting better. The thing is, as I get better at it, something else is coming to the fore. I feel strongly as if the Celestial Parent (or Universal energy if you will) wants me to do much more than trust but take active part in the creation of my own reality.

So here is the big question for 2008. If perfection is the ultimate goal of our beings, at what point do we start learning without getting so much licks?

Think about it, when a child is too young to understand the implications of their actions and does not yet appreciate your authority as a parent, sometimes some “hard learning” is needed. The typical, “Those who don’t hear will feel!” But when that child learns to not only hear but listen and reason on their own; weigh right and wrong and understand they can actually benefit from your age and experience things start to turn around right? They start to appreciate that you do what you do because you love them and then they can start to really enjoy life and not be so angry and in fear of punishment all the time. It is then their relationship with you the parent, blossoms and there is less spanking and grounding and more talking and “working things out” in a painless manner. They gain confidence to take on more responsibility and the rewards that come with it. They start having an adult relationship with you. They start to co-create their own lives.

I feel strongly as if the Celestial Parent (or Universal energy if you will) wants me to do much more than trust but take active part in the creation of my own reality.

Haven’t we reached that kind of relationship with the Creator? I think so. Most of the adults I know, love and respect (yes that includes you) have taken responsibility for their self-development and continue to strive towards being balanced, physically, spiritually and do as much good in the world as best they can. They took the time to explore their spiritual relationship in whatever manner they see fit. So tell me, why do we still need constant spanking or need to live in fear of punishment? Why must life hold so much hardship? Well, it really shouldn’t. We don’t have to “feel in order to hear” anymore. We past that stage where suffering is needed to learn. We can learn from just being open to the communication the Creator/Universe offers us and experience growth from simply having joy and bringing joy to others. In fact, we’d reach enlightenment and soul fulfillment even faster and better that way. So obviously, we are doing something that still inadvertently or even deliberately invites punishment. We are like a child that sits in the “naughty corner” long after our Mommy tells us punishment is over. Have you ever asked yourself why? Why do I make things so hard for myself?

I think that a large part of it is habit. It is reinforced by culture, family, and religion. We feel life must be hard to mean something. If we don’t suffer for what we have then we really didn’t earn it. I am sure you have been constantly told, “Nothing comes easy!” When we see people who seem to have it all and came by it easily we think, “Well obviously they must have done something evil to get it.” If you are a Caribbean woman, well you KNOW we have the self-suffering thing down to a tee! We are taught self-depreciation before we can even talk. We are taught fear of punishment is the motivating factor to everything in life, including our spiritual life. We get where we want to go because of fear of failure, fear of getting pregnant out of wedlock, fear of ending up like (add your personal list of people you were warned about), fear of going to hell, fear of being laughed at. Well, fear is primal and base. It is for the immature and ignorant and sweetie, we are not in that category! We are at the age of personal responsibility. So chile, the only thing that should be motivating us and the only kind of relationship we should be having with the Creator and ourselves is one based on unconditional love. Appreciating the unconditional love from the Creator and then as a result having unconditional love for yourself and yes, eventually you reach the level where you can have unconditional love for others, including people you may not like.

Some of us are still sitting in the "Naughty Corner"

Yes, I know, the much sung about, clichéd “Greatest love of all”, which some call conceited. They will say, you are NOT supposed to love yourself. You are to put others before yourself. You must sacrifice! Well, it’s okay if they believe that. Our society has believed that for centuries. Where has that belief led our society to? Where has that belief led our planet to? Where there is someone sacrificing, someone else is not pulling their share of the weight and both are operating from a place and attitude of lack not love. If you put yourself last, you are in fact giving nothing to the world as well because everything you have to give comes from within the nourishment of your own soul. An anemic person cannot donate blood. Think of an abused woman who feels she is being so saintly and self-sacrificing because she is staying with her violent spouse for the sake of her kids. By treating herself with little regard, she is actually not helping her children at all and doing more harm than good. Worse yet, when we and the community at large treat ourselves with little regard we invite (whether we realize it or not) predators to enter our lives, be they greedy relatives, false friends, delinquent employees, stingy employers, corrupt governments. Worse yet, we feel powerless to stop them. Perpetuating this state of self-degradation for their own selfish gain, is the mission of many organizations, political, commercial and religious.

Thank Goodness for the few luminaries throughout the ages who rose above the masses and somehow had so much self-belief and so little fear that they pushed our human race forward! It’s what makes people like Susan B. Anthony believe she and all women deserve the right of suffrage or Gandhi assert the right to live free of oppression. The truth is ALL of us are worthy of all the blessings the Universe and The Creator have for us. We were MEANT to experience that joy and fulfillment. That is why we were created, to further the love, joy, happiness and peace of the Higher Power. Have you ever noticed that in every single spiritual tradition around the globe, a state of total contentment and bliss is the ultimate realization of Divine enlightenment and fulfillment? Some religions teach you achieve this after death, others state you achieve it here on earth. Whether you call it, heaven, Nirvana, a state of Zen or living in a state of grace. It all stems from fully embracing Divine Love, letting it fill you to overflowing and having so much love for your self; so much inner peace you have more than enough to give the world.

Where there is someone sacrificing, someone else is not pulling their share of the weight and both are operating from a place and attitude of lack not love. If you put yourself last, you are in fact giving nothing to the world as well because everything you have to give comes from within the nourishment of your own soul.

So friends, my first New Year’s wish for you, is that you surrender and accept with total trust that you are loved. You are loved because you are a child of God/Universe and came into existence for It to further all the beautiful aspects of It. You have every reason and right to love up yourself like the exquisite soul you are. Treat yourself with care this year. Stop sacrificing yourself! Start giving from a place of overflow instead of lack. If Martin Luther King hadn’t already loved himself and filled his own soul up till it brimmed over, he would never have been able to move others and help others. The same goes for all who help the world- Oprah, Mother Theresa etc. It is not a sacrifice for them but a joy! You will see and feel the difference almost instantly if you concentrate on you first. Don’t you dare feel guilty about it! Don’t let loved ones and colleagues emotionally blackmail you either. Remember that when you pull the weight for others you are denying them their chance to develop their own strengths. Remember you are doing your loved ones, colleagues, community a HUGE favor by filling yourself up first and then having more than 100% to offer them when they truly need it and from a generous and free heart. Giving will feel like a joy to you in 2008.

Hugs and kisses