I Love the Universe!

Copyright 2016 by R.A. Robbins

Todays blog title is what Bob said after we shared our stories of provision with each other.  I started by saying I love when the Universe provides and does it with a sense of humor.  My grocery trip this month was delayed and I was running out of gluten-free flour.  Then yesterday in my email was notification that I had won a drawing for a Better Batter sampler pack.  Better Batter products are of course gluten-free baking mixes and flours.  Need not only met, but met in a way that made me laugh.

As he listened to mine, Bob could hardly wait to share his story.  When he got up in the middle of the night he saw in his Kindle stats that he had given away exactly 12 copies of Revealed Vol. 2.  We had both been discouraged by the lack of interest in the Revealed series.  The number of books being given away the first day being exactly 12 — the number of the Apostles — gave Bob encouragement that even though he does not know the plan, things are going as they should.

After I shared my story Bob asked circumstance or miracle?  When I said it seemed almost sacrilegious to call something so small and rather trivial a miracle of course his response was….  Why?  God/the Universe does provide.  That’s not just a nice saying — its reality.   Provision happens in the small things as well as the big ones.  Sometimes it even makes us laugh.

Getting Real

“We need to do life authentically to help people feel at home within their being.  When we liberate ourselves we liberate each other.” — Rev. Erin McCabe
Rev. Erin McCabe is the pastor of Unity Village Chapel. Although we do not live near Kansas City where her church is located, as an “online congregant” I consider her my pastor.
Recently Erin spoke on authenticity and our need to be real with each other. In this online age we seem to have trouble with that don’t we? Is what your online followers see only you at your very best?  Or maybe what they see is you “touched up” to cover up your “flaws.”
Dr. Melissa West, my online yoga teacher often talks about how the people we see calmly posed in contortionist poses are “yoga models.” She then goes on to explain that due to the way our individual bodies are put together, we may never be able to do some poses and that’s okay. Her focus is on “real yoga for real people” and she gets real in class even about what her own body will and won’t do.
We live in a world where we are pressured to be perfect, because of course everyone else is, right? Wrong. We all live in a world trying to be “better and better” because we do not believe  we are enough. So we strive and strive for that perfect body… job… house… life.. still feeling we are not enough.
I try to be conscious of this online, but I still get an occasional person who will say something like, “All this positive thinking stuff is fine for you, but my life is hard!” I try to let you see the real me struggles and all, but because I choose to not make my life about those struggles, perhaps they get lost along the way.  
So here is me getting real again. If you watch Espirational Live! on Facebook you will see me in all my natural glory just as I appear in real life  — graying hair, wrinkles, no make-up, those few extra pounds I carry, what some people consider a really obnoxious laugh and all. What some may see as our perfect retirement at the lake is like many peoples lives. We bought a nice house we can afford, but it is a manufactured home — a trailer. In the eyes of some that would make us “trailer trash.” The beautiful lake we love so much floods  — three times in the three years we have been here. We don’t always agree with our neighbors. Bob’s retirement many people envy was forced by health issues before we were “ready.” Like most people we are always looking for ways to bring in extra money to help make ends meet. In my young adult life I struggled to come out of a time of great physical and emotional difficulty alive and almost didn’t. But now 30 years later I can look back and thank God for where I am in this moment.
What makes us different is that we choose to focus on the good, the positive, the God in our lives. We know we create our reality with our thoughts so we try to make them good ones.  
We are all fellow travelers on the journey called life. We need to remember to share our stories, of hardship and survival as well as overcoming to encourage each other along the way while we keep moving forward in the light.

Caring for Each Other

I have been blessed to have experience several wonderful examples of community throughout my life so far.  I grew up in a church that was a close, loving “church family.”  We cared for each other, prayed for each other and helped out in tangible ways when needed.  I did not realize at the time how much work it took to build and maintain such community until a new pastor came and it was quickly destroyed.  In college I was a part of small group of students, faculty and students who were the “spiritual core” of our campus community.  That group provided a place for me as a student who didn’t fit in other areas of campus life.

Since I have experienced community I feel lost when it does not exist.  I have tried to find it and have had hopes that I had found it, only to be disappointed.  I’m not sure there are many people left who understand the concept of community or know how to build or live in it.

But one thing I know for sure, is that creating a sense of community where we care for and support each other is something that we desperately need right now.  In fact, I believe it is the only thing that can heal the wounds created by the last election here in the U.S. and that continue to be created.  As the new regime continues to force harmful policies on our country, people are going to be harmed.  People are facing the possibility of losing not only their insurance coverage, but their access to medical care at all.  Right now, people are afraid of being forced from the country they have come to love and call home because of their ethnic or religious heritage, even if they are citizens.  People are being attacked because they are Muslim, or even “look” Muslim.  Jobs are at risk. Families are at risk of being torn apart.

Who is going to help pick up the pieces?  I believe there are good, kind-hearted people out there who will respond to these needs, either out of their spiritual practices or because it is just the right, moral and ethical thing to do.

I have been struggling with what to do in the aftermath of the election.  Until recently the only thing I really felt “called” to do was pray including joining online prayer and meditation gatherings for specific causes.  We attended an Indivisible meeting in our community, but their strategies just don’t feel right for me to implement.  Then while driving into the Walmart parking lot I encountered human need first hand — a family including three young children, not from an Islamic nation, but who could have been mistakenly labeled as such holding a sign saying “lost job, please help.”  In the part of the country where I live this left me a bit shaken to say the least.

I felt fear for this family, but it also left me with a clear focus on what I am to do.  I am to help pick up the pieces of human lives damaged by nationalistic policies as I am able and the need arises.  I am open to what that might mean in terms of action, and I am trusting Spirit to guide me.  In this specific instance after a brief talk with the mother, I went back to Walmart and bought a gift card wishing I could do more.

It’s wake up time folks!  If this country is to survive we have to stop blaming people we see as not the right color, nationality, religion or who have not realized our idea of the American dream in terms of wealth.  It is time to start protecting the vulnerable, caring for the sick, feeding the hungry, and mourning with those who mourn.

In short, it’s time to be more Christ-like.

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the wold.  For I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these you did for me.

Matthew 25:34-40 — New International Version.

Failure or Lesson?

Our life on this earth is a school and everything we experience here is a lesson.  But sometimes we forget that and see things that don’t turn out as planned or hoped for as “failures.”  That is a loaded word for most of us.  When we see something we tried as a “failure” we may begin to see ourselves as a “failure.”

Next time something you do doesn’t turn out the way you want, calm down and go within.  Ask, “What is the lesson in this?”  Be open and listen.  Answers may not come right away but as you go on with daily life they will start to come, sometimes in unexpected ways.  There may be more than one lesson.

Once you are aware of the lessons, what you do with them is up to you.  You may choose to revisit the project or experience that didn’t work out the way you wanted and apply the lessons you have learned.  You may choose to just start over with something new with the new knowledge and experienced you have gained.  Perhaps what you learned from the experience was that you were trying to do something that was outside of your skills.  Here again  you have a choice — to learn new skills or try something else that is more in line with your skills, abilities and knowledge.

Finally you may decide that what you were trying just wasn’t what you thought it would be.  You may have been miserable as you worked, determined to  not “fail” at something your heart really wasn’t in.  Letting this go will free you up to move on to something that makes your heart sing.

Letting go of something that was making me miserable is what led me to follow a calling I had felt for many years, but had felt prevented from acting on.  And that was the beginning of Espirational.  I might never have found my way here if it hadn’t been from two attempts at an online presence that didn’t turn out the way I had hoped and the lessons learned along the way..

Many of us have unrealistic expectations of ourselves and our lives.  Fame and fortune are not required for a life well lived.  Many expect to be perfect the first time they try something new.  When we let go of these expectations we will find that we are free to live the life we were created for, learn lessons we need to learn and perhaps even enjoy the journey.


Seeing with New Eyes

Copyright 2015 by R.A. Robbins

Yesterday morning as I was walking toward the lake I stopped suddenly with a “Whoa… Cool!”  The beauty of the morning mist hovering over the lake stopped me in my tracks.  This is not an everyday occurrence,  but it is also not that rare.  It does leave me in awe every time I see it however.

I continued on and stopped for a minute to take a moment to soak in the beauty of the moment.  When I turned back to the trail I saw someone on their porch and said, “I was just admiring the mist on the lake.”  He looked out and had obviously not noticed it.  Then I said while pointing, “That bank of clouds over there looks like it is actually touching the lake.”  He then paused for a minute, looking, and said. “Yeah, it does… Cool!”

As I continued on my walk, I realized that this is what my life is all about.  Living my life, walking in the truth and sharing it in gentle and subtle ways as I go.  I need to be reminded of that a lot.  When we first moved here people laughed at me… a lot.  I was just that crazy woman who walked all the time.  But now after watching me for three years I am seeing people making changes in their own lives to become more healthy and mindful.  Our best teachings come not from our words, but from the way we live.

As an artist I believe it is my joy, pleasure and responsibility to let people get a glimpse of the world through this artist’s eyes.  In fact all awakened beings share in this, artists or not.  It is only through seeing glimpses of what life not only can be but is if we only open our eyes to it that people will begin to realize the reality that they have created for themselves does not have to be so.

So as you walk through this life be open to your own opportunities to see the world through new eyes.  Live and walk in truth and love and others may have the same opportunity through you.