Always Use Discernment When Making Your Selection

I had a push to write today, and this is what bubbled up.

220px-BuddhaintuitionPerhaps it has to do with the opportunity to observe more interactions between those who are seeking help from a reader, healer or spiritual teacher and the individuals offering such assistance.

I will start by reminding the reader that this is a touchy area, our spirituality, and that there is only one person who can look out for your well-being: you. If you find yourself in a situation where you are abused or taken advantage of by a healer, psychic, or teacher there is no recourse in most cases. And because you are usually more open in this area of your life, you might also be more vulnerable to such manipulation or unethical behavior by a ‘spiritual authority’ figure.

It’s easy to spot – and stay away from – the psychic that tells you you are cursed and that if you pay them  a couple of thousand dollars, they will remove it for you. But what about the less obvious situations? What about the experiences that leave you in turmoil or upset, maybe even frightened or confused?

Remember that this ‘world’ is not filled with people who only have a desire to serve the highest good, or who seek only to uplift and empower others with their work. This field seems to attract many people who have certain (often unrecognized) dysfunctional patterns which actually interfere with their ability to treat clients and colleagues with respect and as equals, or who are perhaps on a power trip. Though they may form only a small percentage of the whole, the damage even a single encounter with such an individual can cause is often long-lasting and devastating.

jamesraymugshotabcThe most extreme example that comes to mind is the case of self-help guru James Arthur Ray (The Secret) who served 20 months of a two-year sentence for the negligent homicide of three participants at one of his events in Sedona, AZ in 2009. Fifty-six people spent $10,000.- each to attend a five-day ‘retreat’ where some were willing to shave their heads, to endure extreme conditions in the desert, and who followed Ray into a “sweat lodge” (put in quotes because this was definitely not a traditional Native American sweat lodge) where at least 20 of them suffered severe effects that required hospitalization and three of them died. And Ray? Well, he walked out of the sweat lodge where people were suffering and dying and went to his room and took a shower.

After serving 20 months in prison, he is now free, but the families will suffer the loss of their loved ones for the rest of their lives.

What can you do to avoid a bad experience yourself?

Do NOT go “all in” without knowing someone unless your gut clearly tells you so. ALWAYS take the time to do your due diligence. Ask questions. Get referrals from others who have worked with that person. Do not just take at face value their pronouncements about their abilities or training. Get a feel for how the person presents themselves in their work. Pay attention to any physical response you may have to the person, their promotional materials, or their website if they have one.

Your guides and higher guidance will keep you on the right track. You just need to give them room to work with you. When you are reviewing a person’s presentation, if they have ‘issues’, it will broadcast in their materials, their book, website, and in their persona. You have to pay attention to the signals coming at you.

You may not understand it on a conscious level, but your intuition will let you know. You might find yourself feeling that something is a little ‘off’ or that you have a feeling of discomfort or unease. Watch for this. You do not need to have an explanation for your feeling, you only need to pay attention and follow your instincts. Your intuition is alerting you, but your conscious mind has not pinpointed what is ‘wrong’ yet. Trust yourself. You are better off taking a pass, and maybe just watching or waiting or making another choice for yourself that you feel more comfortable with than you would be jumping in with both feet.

Red FlagsTo help you with this selection process, here are a few ‘red flags’ that should cause you to run, not walk, in the other direction:

When you hear: “My techniques are better than the other guy’s. I have access to information/guidance that nobody else does. I have special training only available to a select few.”  No one person has all the answers and no one modality is a one-stop-shop. No person (except perhaps Jesus or the Buddha) can be all things to all people. Everyone has a connection to Source (including you) and anyone can bring through a ‘new method’. The important thing to remember is to discern whether this method, this person, is the right one for you now.

When a person seeks to invalidate your experience or perceptions, telling you the way you see things is not correct. If this happens often with the same person, this is an indication of emotional abuse, and can be used to keep you off-center and dependent on their ‘work’. A spiritual mentor of any sort should be offering support and encouragement, not making you feel insecure or uncertain about your inner guidance.

Look for the use of the words ‘never’ or ‘always’ or ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’. Any reading or reader or teacher/healer who tells you that there is some sort of deadline or definite time frame for something is not coming from a helpful place. It is often more about their (again often unconscious) control issues. Spirit/God/Source never abandons us, is eternally patient and will not deliver ultimatums.

persononapedestalDoes this person allow you to put them on a pedestal? As long as we inhabit a human body, we are not perfected beings for this is the realm of lesson-learning. A person who claims to be perfected or enlightened, especially when this comes with an appearance of being blissed-out (which usually means they are checked out from life) and can indicate a need for adoration or admiration which can interfere with the person’s work, and distort their ability to be clear conduits for Spirit.

We all have faults, experience upset, have weaknesses and shortcomings. Some people are just better at presenting a good front than others. Do not let apparent perfection fool you. Before you submit your energy field to the influence of another, no matter who they are, make certain they have the level of integrity and intention that you are looking for.

Sometimes you can tell what something is by what it isn’t. ~Kenneth Copeland

All original material posted to this site is (c) 2014, Julie Marie. All rights reserved.

Photo credits: abc, Wikipedia, fotosearch.com

Morning Coffee – Spirit’s Answer

 

A display of old televisions, VCRs and radios ...

Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye.

~Bill Hicks

I had been wondering why the pull was so strong to wean myself off of televised companionship, and Spirit’s answer was this quote I “coincidentally” stumbled upon.(the word ‘coincidentally’ is in quotes because my perspective is that there is no such thing as coincidence). I am also being pushed to begin cutting off the electronic ties as well. How I will manage that, I am not sure yet, but will begin the disconnect this Spring.  Goodbye, email. Hello, post office.

All original material posted to this site is (c) 2014, Julie Marie. All rights reserved.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Right Place, Right Time

This is another woman’s story, but it bears repeating because it illustrates the point that if we listen – and sometimes even when we don’t – we end up right where we need to be.

omeletlgg2One morning, everything had gone wrong. The children were late for the school bus, she spilled coffee on her new white shirt, and breakfast was complete chaos. In an effort to make up for some lost minutes, and hoping to at least get to her workplace almost on time despite the harrowing start to her day, the woman chose to take an alternate route to work instead of her regular one hoping to avoid the worst of the traffic.

She almost made it to her job, but as she sat in her car at a stop sign barely two blocks from her destination, she was suddenly rear-ended. That did it. It was the last thing she needed, a fitting conclusion to an absolute nightmare of a morning commute.

When she jumped out of her car and headed back to see if the other driver was ok – and to give the person a piece of her mind, she saw a young mother wildly struggling to reach into the back seat where a small child sat strapped in a car seat.

“She’s choking!’ the young mother cried.

childincarseatThe woman was trained in the Heimlich maneuver because she worked at a preschool, so when she tore open the back door and found a little girl, eyes wide, and no sound coming from her throat, she followed the steps she’d been taught. Seconds later, a chunk of banana popped out of the little girl’s mouth and the child began to cry.

The young mother was weeping too, and thanked the woman for saving her child from choking while apologizing for the dented bumper.

The woman glanced at the child, looked at the young mother, and then at the wrinkled metal of her car.

‘It’s ok,’ she responded, ‘this is exactly where I was supposed to be this morning.’

A day that had started out with absolutely nothing going right turned into someone being exactly where they needed to be with the skill set that was needed at that exact moment.

A crunched bumper plus a stained shirt, some late for the school bus children, and an exasperated woman choosing an alternate route in order to make up some lost time, was the cost of putting this young mother’s ‘angel’ in the right place at the right time.

How can this be random chance? I say it is a beautiful example of the Divine Plan working exactly as it should. The spilled coffee, late children and burned breakfast might not have been necessary if the tardy woman was used to paying attention in the moment and took another route just because she ‘felt’ it was what she needed to do that day.

We become hypnotized by our routines, and it is difficult to break that trance, especially when we don’t know we are in one. When is the last time you allowed yourself to be ‘led’ by Spirit?

Everything…affects everything. ~Jay Asher

All original material posted to this site is (c)2014, Julie Marie. All rights reserved.

Photo Credits: Macomb CountyMI.gov/publichealth and Wikipedia

Another Exercise in Following Spirit

WWIIflagHe was a slight man, bent with age but with bright, determined eyes. I was going into the bank as he was coming out. He wore a baseball cap with the word “Veteran” and then below that: “World War II” embroidered on it. He held the door for me. I thanked him, and went into the bank.

I was in there for at least half an hour. My next stop was the drug store, a quick in-and-out. I headed for the grocery store because I’d forgotten to get the coconut milk for my morning vegetable smoothie on my regular shopping day earlier in the week.

As I roamed up and down the aisles looking for my coconut milk, I spotted that man again. He was coming down the aisle in the opposite direction from me, and we passed each other, both going about our business. He was sort of lighting up for me by now, but not in an extreme way. He definitely had my attention, however.

It took me some time – I had to ask for some help from someone working in the store – but I finally found what I came into the store to pick up. Triumph! There will be veggies tomorrow!

I was going to ring myself out in the do-it-for-yourself lane, but spotted a 20 Item or Less line that looked like it wasn’t busy. I picked up my milk, and moved two lanes over to stand behind a woman who only had a greeting card to purchase. Luck was with me today, I felt.

Then I noticed that the person in front of her that the checker was just finishing up with was familiar to me. It was the man from the bank. The checker asked him if he needed help out, and he declined…not in a rude way, but in a manner that spoke to the resilience and the spirit of one who was used to doing for himself.

Bowed, but unbroken, he started slowly pushing his cart towards the door. Again, he lit up a little, but just a little. The transaction in front of me only took seconds to complete, and my time in the line was not much longer. (The checker had to make change for me.)

I picked up my coconut milk and headed for the parking lot. The WWII veteran had just made it to his car, and he looked like he was resting, gathering himself for the next part: loading his groceries in the trunk. I walked past him and went to my vehicle. As soon as I started to open the door, I had the overwhelming urge to go talk to the man I’d been placed in front of three times this day.

I thought to myself: “Who cares? What would I say to him, anyway? The guy might think I was weird or something…” and I closed the door, preparing to stick the key in the ignition and drive away. Because after all, it was such a small thing I was feeling the call to do. Couldn’t mean that much now, could it?

Twice I opened the door, twice I closed it, caught in a struggle between my rational mind and the pressure from Spirit to get out of my car and go talk to that man. Spirit won, but it was close.

In the time it took me to have the argument with myself, the man had loaded his things in the trunk and was fumbling with the key to open the door so he could now drive himself home. I surrendered. I got out of the car, walked over to the man and, not wanting to startle him, reached out my hand and said “Sir?”

He thought I needed to get past him, because he started to move out of my way.

“No,” I said, still holding out my hand so I could shake his, “I just want to thank you for your service.” Understanding registered in his eyes. He reached out his gnarled, frozen-fingered hand for me to shake. I said it again: “I want to thank you for your service. It was reading stories about the things you soldiers did that helped me make my decision about the military.”

I shared that it was because of people like him who served so long ago that I was inspired to serve my country as well. He asked me where I served, and I told him I did not serve in a time of war, but shared what I did and where I’d been stationed. Then I felt to ask him where he had served.

“In Germany,” he replied. Then, softly, “It wasn’t easy.”

u-s-army-soldier-1945In a flash, I could see a young man, slight of build, maybe 5’6″ or so (he was a good head shorter than myself) scared, wide-eyed, and doing his best to be courageous in the face of some pretty overwhelming circumstances. I had the feeling this man before me spent most of his days alone. Doing for himself, maybe spending his time thinking about his life.

I don’t know why I had to stand myself on his path to say those words, and maybe I could have been more effusive or eloquent. I hope it was what Spirit wanted of me. The sensation went away and I could feel myself relax inside as I walked back over to my car.

I shared this story to prove the point that often, we don’t – or won’t – know why we’re being asked to do something. We just need to do it anyway. Without question. Without hesitation. If he had been able to move more quickly, I would have totally missed the opportunity for that encounter.

The other reason I wanted to share this story is to remind everyone that these – treasures – these pieces of living history, are becoming more precious by the day. I believe they hold the remnants of our national pride, our identity as a nation. We must acknowledge their contributions to our growth as a country. We must, whenever possible, thank them personally for their sacrifice. So they know, first hand, they will not be forgotten. Ever.

The soldier is the Army. No army is better than its soldiers. The Soldier is also a citizen. In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country. ~George S. Patton

All original material posted to this site is (c)2014, Julie Marie. All rights reserved.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

There Will be No Hiding in the Light

200px-Young_DiffractionlightwaveI come here now only to write about the significant lessons I am learning in the hope of bringing understanding to those who read this blog (while it still exists) and with the prayer that – through the sharing of my experience – others may move through similar energies more quickly because there’s now a recognition of a familiar pattern.

One of the most difficult lessons I am learning is the lesson of detachment. As I move through this pattern myself, I find myself asking why I seem to be presented with the same situation (wearing a different suit of ‘clothes’) only this time the energy was turned up another notch. Guess this is one lesson it’s more than time for me to learn. We live in a time where all that is not like Light will be revealed so that it can be healed if we choose.

I had the erroneous perception that 2013 was the most difficult year of clearing and learning I’d have to face. Surprise! That was just the prelude to the serious work. (If anyone else is having this experience, at least now you know you are not alone. How many of us heaved a great sigh of relief when 2013 ended, thinking the hard part was over.)

wikidynamiteimageIn the words of Mark Cuban: BOOM! Goes the dynamite! If you are an earnest seeker, intent on clearing all that is not in service to your Light’s expression, I would not be surprised to hear that you have had an explosion of some sort in some area of your life since the beginning of this year. I would also not be surprised to hear that this upheaval makes anything you experienced in 2013 look like a walk in the park.

I made a difficult decision recently. I felt a lot of nervousness, fear, and even reluctance come up as I considered what was for the highest and best, the greatest good of all concerned. I spent a few days working with the energy and all the ‘issues’ it brought up for me.

I discovered the core of this situation was all about the people-pleaser in me, the part of me that strives to make sure nobody is upset even when sometimes that effort is in direct contradiction to what I am sensing or feeling is the higher guidance from Spirit. I guess I have been living this conflict long enough. The extreme hyperbole of the situation was impossible to ignore. There was no chance I could rationalize this one away.

My choice to follow the guidance I received despite the concern over what might get stirred up in the community I only recently joined was a huge step forward for me. The energy rippled out in perfect way, of that I am certain. I am also fairly certain, based upon the varied responses, that it stirred up “stuff” for others as well. I hope they can see the tremendous gift, the grand opportunity this is for them, and that they take full advantage of it.

What is the take-away for you, the reader? Just know that when you come up against situations that really activate your reactive nature, recognize it as an opportunity to change that pattern. Choose not to repeat yourself yet again. Take a look at what is going on in your physical, emotional, and mental bodies and know that all of that is affecting your Spirit.

What are you feeling, physically? (Nauseous? Clenching? Are you shaking with ‘anger’? Trembling with ‘fear’? Do you feel numb or stunned?) Walk into the sensations you are feeling in your body and begin to ask yourself ‘Why?’.

What are you feeling, emotionally? Are you ‘sad’? Afraid? Angry? Offended? Dismayed? Numb? Disdainful? Call the energy of the emotion up and give it voice. Ask it what it has to tell you about yourself. Listen. Then ask how you can change that. Use your imagination if you have to. And believe what comes to you.

the thinkerWhat are you thinking about? Are your thoughts focused on you and your response? Or are they centered on the ‘source’ of your discomfort, on the person or situation that ’caused’ you to have this reaction? This will show you a lot about what you can do to change your response.

For in Truth, NOTHING is about the other person. It is ALL about YOU. So be brave. Step up and own it. If you don’t like what you are experiencing, take steps to change it.

Once, long ago, I was shown a lesson by my unseen Teachers the core of which was to show me that energy is just energy. What gives the energy character, texture, and effect, is our response to that energy. So. You don’t ‘like’ what you are feeling? Change it. I know this is easy to say and difficult to do, but the effort is worth it.

The truth is messy. It’s raw and uncomfortable. You can’t blame people for preferring lies. ~Holly Black

All original material posted to this site is (c)2014- Julie Marie. All rights reserved.

A Little Story for You Today

Painting for Rudyard Kipling's With the Night ...It’s been awhile since I’ve felt inspired to write here. I have been spending a lot of time in introspection; sorting my life, examining my choices both over the past year or so and those yet to come that will shape my future – and when I get in this space, it is tougher to express in the world when my intention -  and attention – are focused inward.

I have a story I want to share with you today. It’s an ordinary story, about an ordinary day. The only difference is, since I have spent the better part of the past 25 years listening to, and then following, the Still, Small Voice within, I had the privilege of being in exactly the right place today, at precisely the right time for God to deliver a message of hope to someone who needed to hear it.

I spent a quiet Christmas Day with myself and Spirit yesterday. I got a phone call from a friend, but it was brief, and I was in a peaceful place most of the day. I suspect the silence was a contributing factor in what transpired today. I didn’t realize it when it was happening, but I had a series of gentle nudges that I followed without even thinking about it and these ‘signals’ from Spirit placed me where I could to some good today.

When I got up this morning, I knew I had some errands to do, but didn’t have any set schedule for getting them done. I piddled around a bit, and it was after noon before I ‘felt’ I needed to head out to do the errands. I had more than one place to go, and could have done them in a few different ways.

Do I go to the library first, then the bank, then the grocery store, then the post office? Or the post office, the bank, then the grocery store and saving the library for last? Maybe I need to stop at the bank, then the post office, then the grocery store and hit the library last? If my logical mind were in charge, it would have been the latter because it would have been the most efficient, and the food wouldn’t sit in the car very long.

Today was different. I just let my intuition lead, and what I felt I needed to do first was the bank. Now, the library is actually the closest, and it would only have taken a minute to run in and drop off the books, but for some reason, that didn’t feel right. What could it matter if I went there first despite the sense I needed to run by the library last? I don’t remember even having that thought. I went with the flow of the energy and headed for the bank first.

I could have gone to the Post Office and the store first, and that was my intention after the library choice didn’t feel like the right thing to do, but I found myself taking a left turn a half block earlier than I’d intended, which meant the banking was going to get taken care of first. After I was done there, I found myself headed for the grocery store. OK. It’s pretty cold out today, so it really won’t matter if the food sits awhile in the car.

Vegetables in a grocery store, Paris, France.I began the task of filling in the blank spaces in my stocks and after grabbing a pound or so of fresh organic spinach, I headed for the non-dairy section to pick up some yogurt. Now, I haven’t had a hankering for the stuff for weeks, but today I’d added it to the list of things I needed to pick up.

There was a clot of people in that part of the store, and I had to maneuver my cart around some of them in order to be able to get the particular brand I was after. There was a woman in front of the same section looking at another brand of non-dairy yogurt, and when I picked up my favorite – So Delicious Greek Style Vanilla, by the way – she asked me how I liked it.

Next thing I know, we are having a conversation about lactose intolerance and needing to have large amounts of protein in the morning and she started talking about some problems she was having and I began to tell her what Spirit was telling me to say to her. I outed myself half-way through the conversation and told her straight out I was a psychic (I prefer to use the word ‘intuitive’ but then I usually have to explain that. “Psychic” people understand).

I gave her some information about someone she could talk to and recommended a certain website. I also told her I saw her exploring a Paleo Diet. She responded that I was the second person in a short period of time who had mentioned that possibility to her. I said, we actually said it together, must be a sign.

I made sure she wrote down the information I gave her, and as she did, I noticed she was welling up a bit. A couple of tears rolled down her face, and as she brushed them away, I told her to not give up hope just yet.

I encouraged her again to follow up on the leads I’d given her, and I could tell she ‘got’ the significance of the ‘chance’ meeting just as I had. A silent acknowledgement passed between us as we looked in each others’ eyes. I rolled on towards the section where my egg whites were, and then on to the checkout line.

It’s just a story about an ordinary day. I will likely never know what that brief encounter will lead to for that woman. I do know she has some hope where she didn’t have before.

So what, you say? Well, if I hadn’t done my ‘mundane errands’ in just that order, according to the timing of when Spirit was moving me to do them, that ‘chance’ meeting would not have happened. That woman would not have gotten those very important pieces to work with. I would not have had the blessing of being God’s messenger today. You would not be reading this story.

I tell this story not to pat myself on the back for being a good follower, but rather to illustrate the point I constantly make: if we all listened and followed and were where we are guided to be when we are guided to be there, we would all have what we needed when we needed to have it. Because that is how the Universe is designed to work.

How blessed am I?

It is the very design of life to support other life and to grow greater by the support of other living things. ~ Robert Marston Fanney

All original material posted to this site is (c) 2013, Julie Marie. All rights reserved. Please do not publish or republish without prior written permission from the author.

Photo credits: Wikipedia