Category Archives: Spirituality

Fun and Easy Ways to Shine Your Light: Non-Perishable Food Donations**

A word of advice here.  Don’t just give that old can of lima beans no one really likes anyway.  First think of practical needs.  Items always needed at food pantries include:
 *Shelf stable proteins — Canned tuna or salmon, Canned chicken or other meats, Canned beans, Dried beans, Canned soups and stews, Peanut butter, Nuts, Canned chili, Trail mix
* Pantry staples such as Rice (especially whole grain), Oatmeal, Pasta (especially whole grain), Diced tomatoes, Tomato sauce, Canned vegetables, Cooking oils (such as olive oil or canola oil), Flour
*Holiday Ingredients and Side Dishes, Canned pumpkin, canned yams, cranberry sauce, boxed stuffing, dried macaroni, canned vegetables.
Think about healthy foods you like to eat.  Hold off on the snacks and junk foods.  Most food banks get more than enough of these.  What they need is good food to fill people up.  Some food pantries like to have juice boxes for children, but real juice only please.  If you have special dietary needs think about picking up an extra when you buy your special foods.  People in need also have health conditions requiring special diets.  If in doubt call the food pantry and ask what they need.
Finally, remember there are hungry people every day of the year.  Contribute to food pantries throughout the year, especially in the summer.
For more information:

Fun and Easy Ways to Shine Your Light: Think Good Thoughts

We create our reality with our thoughts, so make them good ones.  You have to work at this folks, but it is well worth the effort.  Remember it’s not what happens to us, it’s how we think about and react to it that matters.  We make our world heaven or hell through our thoughts.   Wouldn’t you rather live in heaven?  Wouldn’t you rather be an example to others that they can live in heaven?

Fun and Easy Ways to Shine Your Light: Continue Your Spiritual Practice

It is important that we continue on our regular spiritual path during the holidays.  Do not let your daily practices get lost in the busyness of the season.  Continue to make time each day to meditate, pray, read from sacred texts or devotional materials and any other spiritual practices that are a regular part of your life.

Now that doesn’t mean we can’t get creative with our practices.  We can even focus on light or the particular light holiday we celebrate.  The important thing is to stay centered, grounded and connected to Spirit.

There are materials out there to assist you with this or you might want to create your own.  Here are a few to get you started:

The Love and Light of Christmas

Light up your Advent:  Resources to make the most of the season

Lift Your Light High:  A reading for an Advent candlelight service

Advent Resources

 

 

 

Leaves and Divine Design

Copyright 2014 by R.A. Robbins

With 60 years of living on this earth I am still amazed at the perfection of creation and the way everything is designed to work together for our good… if we only allow it.  But we often think we know better.  How many of our health problems today are created by bad habits and unhealthy choices?  How have we damaged our mother earth by taking charge, tearing down, digging up, relocating and killing?  Is the imbalance we see in our bodies and our earth a result of humans trying to redesign creation to meet our own, often selfish, needs?

So what got me thinking about this?  Falling leaves.  Some of you may know I live in a wooded area.  We have trees — old trees and lots of them.  Things fall from the trees — nuts, leaves, branches, occasionally an entire tree falls.  We also have wildlife.  This is their home too.  But humans are not always good neighbors.

Right now we’re in the middle of the annual uproar over the falling leaves.  There are people who want them out of here and as quickly as possible.  I know this is a common practice, but why do we rake leaves out of our yards?  And why burn them?

Leaves fall from the trees with a purpose.  They cover and protect the ground over winter.  They also decompose, nourishing the ground.  It’s all part of divine design,  But because we want perfectly manicured lawns we rake them up and burn them which causes us to add fertilizer to the grass and makes the air difficult to breathe.

When we mess with creation it pushes back.  When we don’t take care of our bodies, they stop working as intended and we become ill.  When we don’t take care of the earth it begins to become uninhabitable.

It’s time to come back home to who we were created to be.  Only when we stop trying to control nature and learn to co-exist with her will we learn to live in balance and harmony.

No Act of Service Too Small

One important aspect of following a spiritual path is being of service to our world and our fellow travelers through life.  Many times when we think of service we think of large, organized events and much good can be done through some of these events.

But I also want us to look at the opportunities to be of service that are all around us everyday.

  1. Open a door for someone or hold the door for the person behind you.
  2. Help someone who is not tech savvy use a computer.
  3. Reach a jar or box on the top or bottom grocery store shelf for someone with a disability who cannot reach or bend.  Those of us who are just short appreciate this as well.
  4. Listen to someone who just wants or needs to talk.
  5. Walk the dog of a sick friend.
  6. Take a meal to a sick friend.
  7. Send cards for any or no occasion.  Send them to your friends and family or find an organization that sends cards to sick children or military personnel.
  8. Smile and say hello to people.  If you know the person or they are wearing a name tag address them by name.
  9. If you don’t know you neighbors on both sides of you, introduce yourself.  If you have elderly neighbors check in from time to time, especially if you haven’t seen them for awhile.
  10. Help those in need as you become aware of individual needs in a way that you can.  It may not always involve money.  Maybe someone needs a ride, or help finding a job or even just directions when they are driving lost.

Living in an area that is a popular retirement location there are opportunities for service all around.  The list above came from my personal experiences.  These are the little things we often just do without even thinking about it.  There’s no need to have a meeting, form a committee, take a selfie doing the good deed or post it on social media.  Just help.  Help who you can, when you can, in whatever way you can.

Looking for a way to change the world?  Start noticing and acting on those little opportunities to be of service.  Spread the love and light of God around, even in small ways.  We all need it right now.

Anyone have anything to add to the list?

Thought for Today

Copyright 2016 by R.A. Robbins

“I think a spiritual journey is not so much a journey of discovery. It’s a journey of recovery. It’s a journey of uncovering your own inner nature. It’s already there.”

—Billy Corgan

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/spiritual.html

Thought for Today

Copyright 2017 by R.A. Robbins

“We have a very decided part; we are to cease worrying, and being anxious, and thinking and speaking of the past and of the apparent lack and idleness. We are to concentrate all our attention upon the Truth of God, and the truth of our own being, upon the very things we would see taking place in our lives. We cannot do this so long as we have negative thoughts in our hearts.”

Myrtle Fillmore (Source:  In the Words of Myrtle Fillmore)

“They” Did it to Me

There is one thing in this world I know for sure.  We each create our own reality with our thoughts.  Unfortunately much of what we create is not real — it is simply an illusion.

One of the biggest illusions I seem to like to create is that outside forces have power over me.  Anyone else like to create that one?  The great nebulous “they” made me do it, or did it to me.  What really happens in these instances is that I do it to myself.

You see it’s not what others do or how they live that causes me problems, it’s how I react to it.  I always have a choice. Unfortunately I occasionally still chose to live on adrenaline and it doesn’t take much to get that going.  Bob being sick, a friend needing a lot of time and attention, going overboard with physical exercise can be all it takes to set off what I call an adrenaline storm.  As I am getting older and as I have been getting these under control “falling off the wagon” has become harder.  At the least, there is one heck of a “hangover.”  Just as with a storm related to weather whether it be rain, wind, snow, there is often clean-up that has to occur after the storm has passed, there is always clean-up to do and often consequences to live with when we create a reality that is out of balance and does not work.

So what do we do?  Do we give up and just “accept” our flawed reality as just the way life is?  Or do we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, be patient with ourselves, learn something from the experience and recommit to our spiritual practice?  The choice is mine.  The choice is yours.

Leaving Footprints

On my morning walks I walk a short distance on a path of golf cart ruts and closely mowed grass.  This morning at the end of that trail as I turned to walk back I saw my footprints in the dewy grass.  Seeing this made me stop and think about the footprints I am leaving as I walk through this life.

Those who have spent time in state or national parks,  wood, forests or hiking in the “back country” will be familiar with the signs that say, “Take only memories, leave only footprints.”  This is a quote often attributed to Chief Seattle.  In the context of a nature area this means to leave the flowers, rocks and other natural elements where they are, keeping them in your memory or camera and pack out your trash.

Let’s explore the idea of taking only memories and leaving only footprints a bit in the context of the larger picture of life.  First the taking.

  • How much do we take from life and from the earth?  Do we take more that we need?  Do we use more than our share of the resources our planet provides for our survival?
  • Do we live a life of humility and simplicity, or are we always grabbing for more?
  • Do we care that others may not have what they need as long as we have everything we want?
  • Are we taking time to make memories that we will take with us throughout our lives and leave for others when we are gone?  Are we having experiences we will want to remember?  Are we giving these kinds of experiences to our families?

Now let’s think about what we are giving to the world and the footprints we are leaving behind.

  • Are we leaving a lot of trash as we go through life?  This could be actual physical trash or actions, beliefs or thoughts that cause harm.
  • Are we spending our lives collecting up “stuff” that will have little or no meaning in the end?
  • Are we shining our light in the world?
  • Are we teaching by example?
  • Will our footprints show others the way?

We all leave footprints as we walk through this life.  Are yours taking you where you really want to go?  Are they leading you and those who may follow to life or to destruction?

So How Do We Resist?

Copyright 2014 by R.A. Robbins

In the early days of the Trump presidency I found myself beginning to get caught up in the “we have to resist” frenzy.  Living in a rather remote area and travel being difficult for us right now kept us from rushing off to participate in marches, rallies and other forms of “protest.”  So I participated in spirit.  I prayed, meditated and “held the high watch” for those who were out there as well as for our country as a whole.  But I have been uncomfortable with some of large public protests and the way they have been conducted.  I have watched with concern as protestors have been called thugs and accused of everything from inciting violence, to looting, to unprovoked attacks to being rude at town hall meetings.

I have been silent on the tragedy in Charlottesville because I just didn’t know what to say.  I also rarely comment on current events immediately.  I wait for guidance and if it comes then I say something.  Finally guidance came and I am now able to offer these words of hope and encouragement.

So how do we resist evil?

  1.  Choose our actions carefully and wisely.  Getting into a face to face showdown with heavily armed White Nationalists may not be the best thing to do.  Scripture tells us to “abstain from all appearance of evil.” 2Thessalonians 5:22  Most people have likely seen the President’s description of the events in Charlottesville.  That a group of “leftist thugs” attacked a group of “fine, upstanding citizens” who were peacefully protesting (with a permit to do so) the removal of a statue and the renaming of a park.  We do not get involved with anything that can degrade into or even be exaggerated or twisted into being improper, violent or evil.  I am not sure that physical on site protests have accomplished what people are trying to do and in many cases have been used as examples of the “evil intent” of the protestors.
  2. Maybe it time to rethink the word “resist.”  What if resistance isn’t fighting against but living for?  See my blog Fighting Against or Living For?”  
  3. Determine that the world will not change you, that you will not follow the anger and violence of the world but that you will follow Spirit, walk in the light and lead by example.  We can resist by refusing to hate.  We can resist by living in peace.  We can resist by loving.
  4. Create and repeat affirmations.  I am love.  I am peace.  I am creating a world that works for all.  When working with affirmations it is important to put them in positive words, not negative.  I will not, I am not, are not as powerful as I am statements.
  5. Live in the light and walk the path set before you.  People will notice.  Your example may make people think about their actions.  Your example may even change the world.

This is how we do it folks, by living the life of love, peace and light and refusing to be changed by the world around us.