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Weekly Column – Paso Robles Press

With conviction

Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
December 14, 2018

Do you begin your day with conviction?  Are you convinced that you were made in the image and likeness of God, and that it resides at the very center of your being?  The Kingdom of God is within you.  It is your essence, your life. It’s up to you to convince yourself that there is an eternal wellspring of good pouring forth into your life experience, and there’s plenty to go around.

The dictionary defines the word conviction as a firmly held belief or opinion.  To have spiritual conviction is to have a firm belief in the God of your understanding.  I personally believe in a loving, inclusive, beneficent God, permeating everything.

Having a strong spiritual conviction fills my heart with joy and confidence.  Moving through my day, knowing that the Universe is conspiring for my highest and best good reminds me of how I felt on Christmas eve as a child.  I couldn’t wait to open presents the next day and to witness others opening theirs.  I was anticipating my good, wrapped up with a nice big bow, waiting for me patiently, under a mighty and magnificent tree.

What would it be like to move through your day anticipating your good?  The gifts of God don’t always come wrapped in pretty paper with an extraordinary bow on top.  The eternal gifts of love, connection, generosity, joy, forgiveness, prosperity, and more, are always available.  You don’t have to order them in advance to be sure they arrive on time, as they are always right here within you.

Conviction is also defined as the state of being convinced.  If you find yourself being more convinced by thoughts of fear than those of goodness, you’re not alone.  Practice consciously seeking the good news, the good word, the uplifting, heartwarming stories of love and the goodness of humankind and you'll find more of the same.  You always get what you’re looking for; what you’re paying attention to or focusing upon.  I’m convinced this is true, as I have proven it in my own life.

You strengthen your spiritual conviction every time you choose the Kingdom of Heaven.  When you shift your focus from fear to love, choose conviction over doubt, focus on joy over
anger, place your attention on forgiveness instead of resentment, you become stronger in your faith and conviction.

Now you’re moving through the world with spiritual conviction and you’re unstoppable.  You know. And you know that you know.  If you have experienced even a small glimpse of the
Kingdom of Heaven, contemplate that experience and what it was like as often as possible.  This will expand its presence in your life and you’ll begin to see a whole new world open for
you.

You can practice using conviction to manifest something in your life which you would absolutely love. Know that it is so; and know that you know. Be convinced that it will be revealed to you, and it must!

And so it is.

How big is your faith?

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
December 7, 2018

A mustard seed is a teeny, tiny seed, about 2 millimeters in diameter. Those little seeds turn into waist-high mustard plants and cover a lot of land. Even if your faith is as tiny as the little mustard seed, it is more than enough. Look at the great expanse of beauty produced by these tiny little seeds. I’ll never forget the first time I saw a field of these incredibly beautiful mustard flowers. They seemed to go on forever and gave me a sense of the infinite presence of love, which permeates all of life.

Whatever you choose to have faith in is perfect and right for you. Whether you call it Allah, Atman, Brahman, Buddha, Divine, Eternity, the Force, God, Jesus, Mohammed, the Presence, Source Energy, Spirit, or otherwise. I choose to call it God and that works for me.  It is the Invisible Presence, the Thing Itself, common to all, in and through all things, and It’s nature is love.

The dictionary defines faith as complete trust or confidence in something or someone. Ernest Holmes wrote, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I believe faith is a mental attitude embodied to such degree that the mind can no longer deny it. We all have this mental attitude of faith about many things without even realizing it.

You have faith that the invisible law of gravity will work when you get out of bed. You don’t have to pray about it or will it to be. You just get out of bed and stand right up.

You get in the shower and turn on the water, expecting to control the temperature, adjust the flow to your liking, and keep a steady stream going until you’re complete.

When you go out to your vehicle in the morning to drive to work, school, or wherever you’re going, you have faith that your vehicle will start right up and allow you to get to your destination on time. I’ve never walked out to my vehicle and thought, gosh I sure hope my car starts today. It just starts, like it always does. I’m so grateful!

You have faith that the sun will rise and set daily, that your coffee maker and toaster will work as expected. The list goes on and on.

Even if you have the tiniest suspicion that something is working for your highest good, that the Universe just might possibly be conspiring for your magnificence, that is enough to have it
be revealed to you.

As you move through your day, you’re given many opportunities to choose between fear or faith. I invite you to choose faith instead. Have faith that everything is unfolding exactly as it should. Remember, you live, move, and have your being in a Universe that is working for you.

It doesn’t matter how big your faith is, it matters that you have it.

And so it is.

I Raise You and I Praise You in the Name of Love

By Rev. Elizabeth Rowley, Spiritual Director
November 30, 2018

Emma Curtis Hopkins, American spiritual author and leader involved in organizing the New Thought Movement, observed that “The quickest way to get one’s healing power going is to praise everything and everyone in your mind, and as far as your mental convictions will demonstrate promptly, speak these praises aloud.”

When you harbor resentment, anger or other negative feelings toward others, they are not affected by those feelings, but you are.  This negativity blocks you from experiencing your spiritual magnificence; the radiant sunlight of the Spirit within and all around you.

A simple practice that I use is to repeat the following mantra aloud, “I raise you and I praise you in the name of love.”  You might insert the name of a person after the word “you.” I raise you (insert name here), and I praise you (insert name here), in the name of love. In doing so you are mentally lifting those names up to the light, opening your heart, and freeing yourself from the bondage of negativity.

This practice is not condoning the behavior of others or giving them a free pass.  What you are doing is freeing yourself from the bondage of negativity, granting yourself the liberty to experience your life to the fullest.

Speaking these words aloud amplifies them and creates a vibration of love that you are sending out to the Universe.  Love creates healing within you and in the world.  Consider this practice as an opportunity to tune in to the vibration of love.

Guitar players adjust the strings of their guitar to a specific tuning.  They do this such that when they play, it will produce a sound which is pleasing to the ear. They are adjusting the frequency of the vibration speed of the strings to be in harmony with each other.  When the strings aren’t in harmony, the sound is wobbly.  When they are in harmony, the sound is smooth and steady.

Now you can do this for anyone who gets your goat to free yourself from the bondage of such negativity.  Rather than reacting with anger or upset, you now respond by raising and praising in the name of love.  Being tuned into love allows you to experience harmony as the smooth and steady impulse of your soul, leading to the prompt demonstration of what you truly and deeply desire for yourself and your life: the calling of your heart which is gently nudging you internally.

Always remember that everyone is doing the best they can with what they’ve got.  December is a good time of year to uncover and release any old resentments such that you may enter the new year revealing your spiritual magnificence to a greater degree than ever before. You can do this by raising and praising everything and everyone in the name of love.

I raise you and I praise you in the name of love.

And so it is.

What Is Your Intention?

By Rev. Elizabeth Rowley, Spiritual Director
November 23, 2018

Setting your intention is like throwing your hat over the fence, and then going to get the hat. Your word has power and you can use this power to create a life that you are not only satisfied with, but a life that you love.

I’ve heard some say that talk is cheap, however, I invite you to consider that a more accurate statement might be that we cheapen talk.  How do we cheapen talk?  By not keeping our word.  Have you ever said you would do something and then forgotten about it and didn’t do it?  That’s one way that we cheapen talk.  Back in the day contracts or agreements were often made with a handshake and the simple statement, “You have my word.”  It would do us all well to remember the power of our word.

Intention setting is different than wishing in that there is a confident assurance, a powerful definiteness behind it.  When you wish for something, what’s behind the wishing is the awareness that it’s a pie in the sky idea, or an impossible goal; that maybe somehow, if the stars and planets aligned in the perfect way, just maybe it could be.  Maybe.  If you’re lucky.  Do you feel lucky?

Intention setting is not about luck, rather it’s a declaration of the desired outcome.  Once your declaration of this desired outcome has gone out before you, it begins to amplify and cultivate in your life.  Then you’ll begin to take inspired action based on your intention, which you may not have taken before.

If there is something you’d really like to do, be, or have in your life, rather than allowing the circumstances and conditions in your current reality dictate whether or not it will come to fruition, own your power. Set your intention as a declaration, and speak it aloud.  You can set an intention for your day and how you’d like to see it unfold, for a meeting, an event, a date, for the New Year, or any project you’d like to start working on.

This is a great time of year to utilize this practice. The holiday season can be challenging and stressful for some. If you’re driving to see family or friends, you might begin by stating your intention about how the trip will go before you leave. For example, you might say, “I declare this a fun and easy travel journey, filled with joy, connection, singing, and grace.”

If you’re having people over, you might declare yourself a joyful experience filled with great food, great company, easy conversations, and lots of love.  Don’t forget the awesome cleanup crew.

Write your intention down and keep it where you have quick access to it, such that you may pick it up to read if you begin to feel tense.

Harness the power of your word and create the best holiday season ever, by setting your intention before you begin.

And so it is.

Divine Discontent

By Rev. Elizabeth Rowley, Spiritual Director
November 16, 2018

Divine discontent is a restless dissatisfaction with what is.  It occurs when you are not living according to the deepest longing of your soul in some, or multiple areas of your life.  Perhaps you are underemployed, or in a relationship that does not make your heart sing.  In whichever area of life you are not living out your full potential, the result is Divine discontent.  It’s Divine because when you have discontent with what is, it eventually leads to transformation, and the unfoldment of your greater good that is yet to be.

If you do not heed the deeper longing, the discontent may reach a tipping point.  This is when painful situations manifest in those areas of life, and you become pushed by the pain of that discontent. We are pushed by our pain until we are pulled by vision.  When God plants an idea on our hearts and we pursue it, we get pulled by a vision. We are pulled by the Divine into our next greatest expression.

I previously worked for a software company in the Silicon Valley for 10 years. When I started Ministerial School, I began to feel Divine discontent. I was restless and unhappy at my job, but I couldn’t explain why; I was unable to put words to it. The job hadn’t changed, but I had. For the previous 9 years I spent most of my days in solitude behind a computer screen, problem-solving and troubleshooting the various aspects of website technology.  I had a longing for human interaction and connection, a deep desire to be around people.

Shortly after feeling this Divine discontent, I was laid off from that job.  This presented larger problems for me, as I could no longer make the mortgage payment on my condo, nor the high lease payment on my new car, and other pressing bills. I was being pushed by pain.

When pushed by pain, the initial reaction is to try to do what you did before, since that is what you know.  This pain will continue to push until you begin to catch glimpses of what your soul is being called to.  I searched for the same type of job for months on end, without any success.

When I ceased my tireless search for the same type of employment, I began to land information technology contract work. This allowed me to also do the work of ministry which was my true calling.  More contract gigs opened up, and soon I was back on track with all of my bills.

If you feel Divine discontent in your health, finances, work, or relationships, the invitation is to go deeper with it. See if you can reveal the longing that is summoning you from the depth of your soul.  Then take inspired action on that which you’re being called to do, or who you’re being called to be.

Everything will fall into place at the right and perfect time.

And so it is.

Attitude of Gratitude

By Rev. Elizabeth Rowley, Spiritual Director
November 9, 2018

Meister Eckhart, 13th century German theologian, observed that “If the only prayer you ever said was thank you, that would be enough.”

Every November, I love to embrace the opportunity to take my gratitude practice to a deeper level. I do this by beginning with the visible blessings I see all around me in my life. I’m grateful for my health, my body, my relationships, my career, my home, my car, and so forth.  Starting with the visible serves to prime the grateful pump and ease me into the next stage of my gratitude practice: a deeper stage of appreciation where I begin to find what I’m grateful for in the seemingly negative experiences in life.

Finding good from bad can be a challenge. Have you ever looked back on a situation in your life where you thought, I wish this wasn’t happening in my life right now, or, I wish things were different? Then, later on down the road, you realized that the situation or experience happened to help you grow, to reveal a new gift or talent within you that might have laid dormant without that particular experience?

We live in a progressive universe. Earth revolves around the Sun, while the Sun revolves around the center of the Milky Way galaxy, and the Milky Way rotates throughout the cosmos at an estimated pace of 1.34 million miles per hour.  That is fast!

When you can find something to be grateful for in seemingly negative experiences, you are aligning yourself with the progressive universe.  Aligning with the cosmos leads to a quickening for us all.  Now you begin to learn your lessons faster, move through your challenges more quickly, and open yourself up to the infinite possibilities within you.

Once you have seen and given thanks for the blessings all around, and you have found something to be grateful for in the not-so-great experiences, you can move into feeling gratitude for simply existing without attachment.  Now an attitude of gratitude is your starting point, and you are no longer reacting unconsciously to the world around you.

I invite you to look for new things that you can be grateful every day this month. Thank yourself for getting to this point in your life. Write a thank you card to someone you appreciate and send it in the mail—yes, snail mail. The recipient will be surprised and happy that you took the time to do so. Keep a gratitude journal and list five things you are grateful for before you go to bed at night, and first thing in the morning.

Notice the positive shift that begins to happen in your life. Notice how suddenly there are more and more things for which to be grateful. Your heart will become open to greater love, joy, compassion, and freedom.Begin to cultivate an attitude of gratitude by starting where you are with two simple words, “Thank you.” That is enough.

And so it is.