Category Archives: Spiritual Fitness

SPIRITUAL FITNESS: BACK TO BASICS By Cecilia Loving

Every now and then, I have to listen to the song by Ginuwine, when he sings “I’m going back to the basics, yeah.  I’m going back to the basics.”  It’s a definite reminder to take a step back to see the big picture — what we are doing, why we are doing it, what we need to improve upon — to do, and more importantly — to be the people we were called to be in the first place.

Back to basics doesn’t mean returning to the past, it means using the trajectory of what we’ve experienced to catapult into fullness of now.   It means back to school, back to work, back to church, back to work-outs, back to goals that we had so clearly intended to accomplish somewhere along the path — in the beginning of the year, last year, the year before last,  when we were younger, or before we got too old.  Back to basics requires us to dust off our dreams — so that we can move forward with the fullness of all of God’s gifts to accomplish them.

September 11 is a reminder not to take life frivolously.  It is a reminder to honor what we are here to do.  In January, we take the requisite steps toward the completion of our goals.  In the spring, we dive into them wholeheartedly.   But when we have nearly accomplished them — summer arrives like a thief in the night.  Many of us surrender to the holidays and barbeques — until the coolness of the air, the sun-kissed leaves and the back-to-school sales remind us that we need to take care of business.  September reminds us to roll up our sleeves with renewed dedication.  Only when we fail to attend to our goals does winter find us in remorse, scrambling at the last minute.

If we would get back to basics — especially when the first leaves fall, we could tap into the vortex of inexhaustible supply and open our consciousness to the Kingdom of all of God’s good.  We would realize that we can do all things through the power of God, and that these and greater things shall we do.  Oh, if we could just go back to the basics, we would remember to say “I can” rather than “I wish.”  We would know to listen to the breath of God within, that is our counselor, and teacher, and guide.

The breath of God speaks in basic terms, in simple words, in straightforward cadence.  It does not take an advanced degree in theology to hear the Spirit.  We are neither saints nor sinners, we are the “good news” that Jesus preached to every kingdom.  We are, as the African proverb says, the wise aiming at boundaries beyond the appearances.  We are the anointed — blessed with new visions.  We are the faithful — transcending the circle of our beginnings.  We are bigger and wiser and stronger in the Spirit than we could ever imagine in the flesh.  We are not here to await the return of Christ, but as Rev. Dr. Dale Irvin, President of New York Theological Seminary puts it — we are here to “provoke resurrection.”  When we listen, we know that the most important resurrection is within.  Christ rises again and again, when we consistently practice the presence of God in everything we do.

We can lift the heavy weights.  We can use proper form.  We can simplify our tasks.  We can walk — without getting weary.  We can move out of the way of our own victory.  Back to basics is remembering that what is good for us is good for the entire universe.

We can make better choices.  We can choose to eat all of the divine vibrations of earth — its green leaves, its red and blue berries, its sweet orange potatoes, its yellow squash, its brown oats.  Back to basics is simple science: if we eat well, we become what we eat.  We can choose to drink fresh water, get plenty of  sunshine and sufficient sleep — all of which will allow us to do the work that we must do in this lifetime.

We can be patient.  The work that we need to do will not be done in one day or one week or one year.  In fact, it may take forty days, or forty weeks or forty years, or forty lifetimes — or as long as it takes.   So we have to regenerate and rejuvenate our body with cycles of rest and work, rest and work.  We have to slow down long enough to learn from the Kingdom within.  We have to tap in and turn on the messages from the universe through our dreams, awaken fresh to be attentive to Spirit, and listen with our hearts.

Back to basics requires that we remember that we are not made in the image and likeness of man.  We are made in the image and likeness of love.  Love is the Kingdom that lives in us.  We are in love and love is in us.  If we remember each day to awaken with love as our teacher, our counselor and our guide, we won’t make as many mistakes, and if we do — we will be loving enough to accept their guidance and their lessons.   Back to basics reminds us that love isn’t a religion. Religion may confuse people into believing that they can burn other folk’s sacred books; but love is receptive to all.  Religion may wrongly seek to exclude those of different faiths; but love transcends boundaries.  Religion may err by turning to hatred; but love is unconditional goodness.

When we begin our day by centering in love — through prayer, silence, meditation, affirmations, journaling, or visualizing — whatever works for you, we open our hearts to the constant connection that God is simply being our most basic self.

Back to basics simply requires that we breathe.  Just take a moment, when you first awaken in the morning — and just breeeaaaaatttttthhhhhhheeeeeee.  Breath slowly and exhale with your mouth open.  Breathe deeply 5-10 times and remember that you are a child of God.  You are good news.  You are the light that will shine forever.  You are the truth and the way.

When Langston Hughes wrote “I’ve known rivers:  I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers,”  he had gone back to basics.  He was blessing us with the truth that we are as young as fresh seeds but as old as the eternal soil of endless possibilities that we plant them in.

What we have come here to do here is not our own will but is part of Spirit’s divine plan.  The universe will insist that we accomplish each and every one of our desires.  If we don’t follow our heart’s desire when we are young, it will find us when we are older.  Either then or now, we will have to return to the source of Absolute Good — and put our noses to eternal grindstone of life, and press our ears to the pulsation of our beating hearts or our aching guts — pushing us back in the direction that we must move in.

Going back to basics requires us to be honest with ourselves and with others.  Are we being the best that we can be, or are we simply going through the motions?  Have we been obedient to God’s plan, or have we strayed off course?  Do we know what our vision is or has our true dream been concealed by someone else’s opinion?  Do we really believe that God’s channels of good are infinite, and have we taken the time to open them?  Can we be brave enough to start again — wherever we are — and trust that the basics are always enough?

Namaste,

Reverend Cecilia Loving

About SPIRITMUV:  Spiritmuv® is a trans-denominational church, which means that it transcends the confines of religion and teaches unconditional love for one another regardless of race, creed, culture, or religion.   At the heart of its teachings is what Jesus taught — that we love one another, as well as the community that Mahatma Ghandi inspired when he said, “I am a Christian and a Muslim and a Hindu and a Jew.”  Reverend Cecilia Loving is the founder and creator of Spiritmuv, which was formed in 2007.  Services are held for an hour every Sunday, from 2:30 P.M. to 3:30 P.M. at the Unity Center of NYC, located at 213 West 58th Street.

Rev. Loving, author of Prayers for Those Standing in the Edge of Greatness, is the sole owner, creator and administrator of God is a Brown Girl Too®, which holds annual retreats and workshops.  The next God is a Brown Girl Too Retreat will be held April 1-3, 2011, at the Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center.

None of the content herein may be copied or otherwise used except with Reverend Loving’s written permission.

Join the Spiritmuv  Community at www.Spiritmuv.ning.com for special postings by Rev. Loving.

 

GOD IS A BROWN GIRL TOO®
“CREATING  BEYOND THE  BOX  OF CONVENTIONALITY ” RETREAT
will take place in the Spring of 2011
from April 1 at 5:00 P.M. through April 3 at 1:00 P.M.

Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to enjoy the peace, serenity and creative consciousness of a like-minded group of women of color at the
Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center, located at 299 North Highland Avenue, in Ossining, New York.  All rooms are single and surrounded by the loving prayers of the Dominican Sisters who own the facility.  The cost of the entire weekend, including rooms, workshops and three delicious meals per day, is only $450.00.  There is a $100 discount for senior citizens, so seniors pay $350.00. 

Registration has already begun at http://www.godisabrowngirltoo.com/or you can mail payment directly to God is a Brown Girl Too, 376 President Street Unit 2H, Brooklyn, New York 11231.  But act fast because rooms are selling and there are now only 13 rooms left.

WHAT YOU THINK OF ME IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS: Become Spiritually Fit by Trusting Yourself By Cecilia Loving

It may be easier to adhere to clean eating and exercise our body than it is to pray consistently and exercise our faith.  The former allows us to rely on measurable tools of food content and muscle movement — in a manner that is mathematically precise.  If you do it precisely (that is without cheating), you are guaranteed see the tangible results in a prescribed amount of time.  But faith often yields its rewards in unseen channels and manifests its good in dimensions that we are not capable of seeing with human eyes.  One discipline allows us to honor our body temples more directly; the other  catapults us beyond the restrictions of our physical boxes, so that we can tap into a universe without boundaries.  Physical fitness allows us to clean out the toxins; spiritual fitness allows us to expand our consciousness.  Physical fitness allows us to create an awesome temple for worship; spiritual fitness allows us to create a sacred center for the soul.  But both provide the cornerstone of our salvation.  One without the other cannot succeed — for long.

When we take care of the Spirit, we take care of the body.  We are guided to do what’s best for our health, and we listen.   We don’t worry about what other people will think; what role models to use; or what direction to take.  We don’t worry where God is leading us because when we are spiritually fit, we know that we have already arrived.

The Centurion had “arrived” when he told Jesus that one of his servants was paralyzed, and Jesus said that’s okay, I will go to him and heal him.  You see, the Centurion said, no, I prefer that we do this another way.  I know that all you have to do Jesus is speak the word — and your will shall be done (Matthew 8:13).  Jesus was taken aback at the Centurion’s faith.  The Centurion was spiritually fit.  So Jesus said to him: “Go your way, and as you have believed . . . let it be done for you.”  In other words, when you can stand on your faith, believe your thoughts, and trust yourself — you will find that everything comes together for your greatest good.

Learning to trust oneself is an important component to spiritual fitness.  We only develop it when we incorporate a daily routine that allows us to tap into the unlimited power of our own creative potential.  We need to incorporate a daily diet of trust — trusting our choice, trusting our wisdom, trusting our instincts.  We need a daily drink that gives us an invincible fearlessness and a bold conviction.  We need a daily supplement so powerful that we need not worry about other people’s approval, other’s people’s acceptance, other people’s stuff.

If we worry about pleasing other people — being at their beck and call, surrendering to their every whim, dressing the way they want us to dress, partnering with the type of person that they want us to be with, having the kind of life-style that they want us to have — then we completely lose track of what Spirit is calling us to express.

We need to exercise our faith, our fortitude and our focus with the discipline, determination and drive that keeps us aligned with the good that flows from Spirit’s infinite reservoir of gifts and talents.  Only then will we become open and receptive to life’s inexhaustible channels of good.

We have to exercise our understanding that God doesn’t make junk until it becomes part of our physical and spiritual make-up.  God gets it right.  God is a good God — and God expressing uniquely as who we are in the flesh is a great thing.  We have to exercise our ability to stand in the wisdom that God gave us and be lifted in the truth that Spirit constantly teaches us.  We have to exercise giving way to a divine source that loves us completely and unconditionally.  We have to exercise taking charge of our lives.  We have to exercise our ability to make the best decisions that could ever be made.

Spiritual fitness will always open the door to physical fitness by revealing what we need to do and creating the optimum way to get it done.  Spiritual fitness alone gives us the ability be in charge of our lives.  When we feel spiritual boldness and courage — made fit by consistent exercise of our prayer muscle and a deep commitment to our faith, we know that we are here on this planet, at this time, in this particular space — to let our lights shine.  We know with a deep-seated confidence that we definitely “got the right stuff.”  We know that we cannot lose with what we use.  We begin to walk — without trepidation — on the water of life.  But most importantly, we accept who we are in our most, simple, healthy humble form and begin to witness the sanctity of Spirit.  We trust ourselves.

Namaste, Reverend Cecilia Loving (www.spiritmuv.com)

 (All of the materials in SPIRITMUV email messages are copyrighted by and may not be used without the written permission of Cecilia Loving. )

JOIN US FOR PART III OF OUR 7-PART SERIES ON TERRIE COLE-WHITAKER’S BOOK, WHAT YOU THINK OF ME IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS

WHAT YOU THINK OF ME IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS: I Have a Right to Live Good! By Cecilia Loving

I was coming from a doctor’s appointment the other day; and as clear as day, I could hear and feel the Holy Spirit directing me to get back on the curb.  What I didn’t see was a bus careening down the street at about 40 miles an hour.  But as soon as I stepped back on the curb, the wind went whoosh — and the bus passed at my feet.

There was a drunk man, with missing teeth, standing on the street who started saying, “I wish you would have gotten hit. Look at her!  Look at her!  Look at her!”  He couldn’t even mouth the words of resentment and contempt for my easy, graceful stride — despite everything that had happened.

As I crossed the street, I wasn’t nervous or upset, I was calm and peaceful because I felt and I knew that God has my back.   I only turned to look him in the eye and send him love because he didn’t realize that we have to be very careful with the thoughts that we send out.  Our thoughts, you see, are co-creative, in that what we send out always comes back.   I was saying inside to the drunk man, oh you really don’t know who looks out for me.

You can throw me into the water, but I will rise with a fish in my mouth.  You can push me out of the window, but it will only give me the opportunity to fly.  You can slam your door close, but that only creates the combustible energy for millions more to open.

You can try to deny me your good, but you are so far removed from the source of God’s supply that the only thing that your selfish energy can do is block your own good.  Terry Cole-Whitaker’s book What You Think of Me is None of My Business puts what others think of us in its proper perspective:  it’s none of our business. 

It doesn’t matter what a man on the corner — or anyone else thinks: living good is my right.  It’s not a privilege.  It’s not a possibility.  It’s not a miracle.  It’s not extraordinary.  It is par for the course.  When Terry Cole-Whitaker says, what you think of me is none of my business, it resonates in so many different ways that I decided to do a seven-part series on it, the first of which was shared last Sunday.

Come join us this Sunday, as we not only celebrate the joy of our unique individual expressions as children of God but also uplift  PRIDE month.  This is the season for commemorating our love for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community by renewing our commitment to be the loving, supportive children of God that we were meant to be.  At minimum, loving one another requires an end to prejudice and injustice wherever it exists.

Hatred, jealousy and resentment are the most destructive dis-eases known to humanity.   And unfortunately, the people who spread this dis-ease the most are those who attempt to be “Christ-ian” rather than “Christ-like.”  We have to do what Paul told the Philippians, have the same mind in us that was also in Jesus Christ: one that has no fear, no jealousy, no hatred, and no doubt.  We need to know within that we are each here to express our own special genius and support every loving soul that radiates their divine light.  We are each a unique master of beats and rhythms and vibrations and words and melodies and magic; a jazz rhythm on the edge of an endless be-bop, recreating and re-generating and re-vitalizing itself in the infinite realm of life; a dance that moves in the fearlessness of joy — forward and fantastic and sure; a poem that never has a shortage of words and rhymes and endless syncopation and daring prophecies of the universe just waiting to express through every situation — an opportunity, through every experience  — a divine idea, and through every encounter — the realization that all things are working together for our good.

Yeah, look at her!  Look at her!  Look at me!  I know that I am here to be blessed.  I know that I am here to shine my light.  I am here to radiate the goodness and the greatness of life.  Abundance is my right.  Success is my right.  Prosperity is my right.  Joy is my right.  Living good is my right.

Namaste, Reverend Cecilia Loving                                 

Pastor, SPIRITMUV  (www.spiritmuv.com )(All of the materials in SPIRITMUV email messages are copyrighted by and may not be used without the written permission of Cecilia Loving.)

SPIRITUAL FITNESS: Get Your Glow On

DSCN1145Recently, everyone has been telling me that I’m “glowing.”  One of my friends demanded that I tell him which moisturizer I use, and when I responded that I attribute it all to God, he insisted that he was not going to give up until he found out what product I’m using.  But my response was true, one of the main ways to “get your glow on” is with God.

When I am tapped in and turned on to God, I know how to eat, how to drink, how to exercise, how to work, and how to rest.  Through God, the right people and information are always revealed.  For example, people like Sandi, Michele  and Keicia  just show up in my life with Sistas in Fitness — and not only do they say, “this is the way, walk in it” but they help keep me on the path.   Even when we believe that we are stuck as we travel life’s path, God’s illumination will light the way.   This “perfect divine order” will place us at our appointed time, in our right place, doing what we are supposed to do, when we are supposed to be doing it.  But perfect divine order is only part of God’s prescription of perfect health and wholeness.

Not only must we cleanse the toxins from the body, but we must also scrub away the thoughts that clog our channels to the infinite Kingdom of God.  We need to get rid of anything that may be blocking the flow of the inexhaustible supply of God’s good.  We need to focus on the kind of thoughts that we think, words that we use, and how we treat each other.  We can have the most pristine diet and exercise plan, but if we have unclean thoughts, words or deeds, we still lack the type of true illumination that will radiate throughout our entire being.

In Mark 7: 15, Jesus said “Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him.  Rather, it’s what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.'”   He said in 7:18-22  that out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly — and it is only when we get rid of our filthy thoughts that have a clean heart, and thus an enlightened soul.

We begin the process of exfoliating our souls when we have a clean heart — one that no longer wallows in the discord of our own bad vibrations.  We create a clean heart when we stop enjoying self-pity and start enjoying self-love.  We create a clean heart when we stop using our energy to denounce someone else and instead use our energy to uplift them.  We create a clean heart when we stop believing that the only way to attract our good is to interfere with something or someone belonging to someone else.  We create a clean heart when we know that God will bless us just like God blesses everyone else.

We can’t sneak around on the outside and pretend that we’re clean on the inside.  We can’t lie to people and pretend that we have our acts together.  We can’t try to get over on somebody and pretend that we mean them well.  We can’t stop short of giving all of the good that we are.  A deep cleanser of the soul always reveals that we must take the high road.

Taking the high road means that even when others are wrong, we have to forgive.  Forgiveness is fundamental to releasing the inner light.   Forgiveness releases the inner toxins and cleanses the regret, animosity and blame that is essential to the exfoliation process.  Forgiveness requires completion.  Whatever we let go should never be returned to.  You wouldn’t pick up any sloughed off skin cells, so you certainly wouldn’t want to re-cycle any toxic emotions, or relationships, or memories of any sort.  Release them; let go of them; and never look back.  When you keep dipping in the past, you never go forward and thus completely dim the light of the new day shining as you.

soul8A gritty, penetrating soul exfoliation usually requires help from God.  We can’t reach down and dig into the wayward corners of our existence and pull out all of our pain, so we need God to do it for us.  The Psalmist says, in the 51st Psalm, the 10th through the 12th verse,  “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.   Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.  Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. ”  In other words, “God, I can’t do alone.  I need you to scrub off the doubt; scrape off the fear; strip away the  envy; and clean up the deceit because I have tried and tried, but I can’t do it alone.”    When we allow God to do the work for us, we will quickly move into a new consciousness of the power of God in our lives.

God will quickly remove people, places and circumstances from our lives so fast that we will be astounded.  When our lives change, we have to bless the changes — bless the people who are gone, bless the new spaces that we move in, bless the new channels that have opened.  If we try to hold onto to something or someone from the past, we will only stagnate our own growth.  Look at Lot’s wife: she turned into a pillar of salt just by looking back.   The radiance of God’s light shines from the changes that we grow through because they are doors opening to God’s infinite channels of Good.  When we move forward,  God always fills our cleared space with something and somebody even more spectacular.

When we exfoliate our souls, we open up a whole new dimension of love — so that the right people, events and circumstances flow to us with ease.  Our past is released.  Our baggage is discarded.  Our understanding is improved.  Our faith is restored.  And our light not only shines with our love, but the love of God shines through us.

Namaste, 

Reverend Cecilia Loving                                 

Pastor, SPIRITMUV  (www.spiritmuv.com )  (All of the materials in SPIRITMUV email messages are copyrighted by and may not be used without the written permission of Cecilia Loving. )

Spiritual Fitness: Exercise Your “God” Muscle

Recently, I asked someone, who had made astonishing progress in their physical fitness, for their secret.   Was it strict dieting?  Water intake?  Extra cardio?  How was she losing excess body fat at such an incredible speed?  To some, her response may be surprising.  Yes, she followed a clean diet.  (A “clean” diet means that she did not eat any processed food and limited her carbohydrates to low-glycemic foods like oatmeal and sweet potatoes; limited her protein to lean sources like chicken breast, turkey and fish; and limited her vegetables to those high in antioxidants, like spinach, broccoli and asparagus.)   Yes, she weight-lifted regularly to develop muscle mass and did cardio consistently each day.  Yes, she drank plenty of water, with her goal being a gallon a day.  But she didn’t attribute her success to any of those things, she attributed her success to putting God first.

We say that we put God first in our lives, but do we really do that?  Are we really starting our day by recognizing that the Kingdom of God is within us, and by seeking first the inexhaustible supply of the universe that is right in our very midst?  Or do we choose to worship the morning news, our cup of coffee, or the increasing demands of our jobs?  Jesus says “seek first the Kingdom of God”  —  which is not the physical, material world that we live in, but the spiritual power within us.  Putting God first is the foundation of all spiritual fitness, and spiritual fitness results in the attainment of all goals — spiritual and physical — with ease and success.

Spiritual fitness is so simple that we fail to practice it because we assume that it has to be difficult.  Whenever we do pray, which for most of us is only when we want something, we actually ignore God by speaking so loudly into our own clasped hands that we drown out the infinite channels of divine good trying to respond to us.  Why would life be as simple as Jesus said, giving us answers to prayers before we even ask?

We don’t even need a gym membership to get spiritually fit, but once we center in Spirit, we will receive the guidance that we need to attain all of our goals — not just those pertaining to the body temple.  Spiritual fitness does not require us to exercise our body, it requires us to be aware of the presence of God; to ask for God’s help in accomplishing our goals — no matter how mundane; to accept God’s gifts by being our best; and to acknowledge God’s absolute good by giving thanks.

Spiritual Fitness Rule One: Awareness

The first spiritual fitness rule is awareness.  You might say, “hey, I’m aware of the presence of God; I know that God exists.”  But are you really aware that God is in the very air that you breathe and the space that you take up?  God is not some place in the distance waiting to be called or solicited through prayer; God is every aspect of who we are.  When Paul says that we live and move and have our being in God, that means that there is no separation between all that we are and all that God is.  Jesus said keep your whole eye single, which means keep your consciousness stayed on God.

We exercise awareness when we tap into and turn on the presence of God that is always within us and around us.  How do we do that?  There are millions of ways, but here is one that is very simple and takes less than five minutes.  As soon as you wake up, sit up in your bed and immediately breathe in and breathe out, focusing on the breath of life as the infinite power of God.  Seek first the Kingdom within your own consciousness, the awareness that the Kingdom of God is the only power that there is, the only strength that there is, the only supply that there is, the only peace that there is, the only source that there is.  Exercise your spiritual muscle of awareness by centering in the truth that in God, every problem is already solved, every challenge is already won, every appearance of dis-ease is already healed.  God’s good is not something that is postponed until tomorrow, it is blessing you in this instant.

Spiritual Fitness Rule Two: Asking

If you’ve taken the time to center in a conscious awareness of God’s good, then you are exercising one of the strongest spiritual muscles that there is.  But the truth is that we all need help.  We’d like to do it alone, but sometimes we get completely overwhelmed by all of the decisions that we have to make, the priorities that we have to set, and the distractions we sometimes give our energy to.  But Jesus said, if you need help, just ask.  Ask, and it shall be given.  He said, I have come so that you may have life and may have it more abundantly, so just ask for what you need.

When we exercise our spiritual muscles by asking, we are not just receiving, we are simply becoming more receptive to giving our best.  We open our consciousness to  trust the universe and find perfect order and harmony in everything that we do because we have cleared the way for God’s gifts to manifest through a consciousness that receives an unlimited supply of God’s good.

How do we ask?  There are as many ways to do so as there are people.  So here’s one method that helps me ask God each day.  Create an affirmation that you can say daily, at least one to four times each morning — that not only asks but affirms that you have already received what you desire (e.g., I am fit.  I have a new job.  My body is healed.  My book is finished).  It can be as long as you want, asking the universe for the desires that God has given you — and if not those, then something better.

If you’re always on the go like me, tape it on your cell phone or blackberry, or create an MP3 and load it onto your iPod.  I listen to my affirmations as I walk down the street because they help me stay focused on what God calls me to do.  There is no dispute that words are powerful.  Asking helps us focus the energy of our thoughts through words into the realization of our goals.  The spiritual exercise of affirming words empowered with faith help us open our consciousness to order our steps by accomplishing the things that are necessary to do what God calls us to do.

Spiritual Fitness Rule Three: Acceptance

The third spiritual exercise requires us to open our hearts to accept God’s good.  Have you ever been in a situation where you asked for something and it came so quickly that you didn’t even want it — because there was this unconscious part of you that wanted to struggle?  Or perhaps something or someone came to you so quickly that you foolishly felt that their value was diminished by their eagerness?  Or perhaps you received your blessing but you believed deep in your heart that you just weren’t good enough?  I’ve come to believe that the reason that we don’t experience our good is our own sense of doubt and fear.  We want change, and yet we have to grow through a “process” in order to accept change because if it came too fast, it would just blow us away.

How do we exercise our spiritual muscles to move our stuff out of the way so that we can accept the good that God is trying to give us?  Once again, there are many ways, but here is an exercise that works for me.   It’s simple.  Start anew.  Right now, in this instant, start anew.  And each day that you wake up, know that you are at a new beginning.  Paul said, I die daily (1 Corinthians 15:31 NKJV).  Every day, every minute, every second, God gives us a clean slate.  There is no need to carry past mistakes into the new realm of endless opportunity.  There is no need to blame anyone.  There is no need to feel guilt.  We can choose to align our movement in this universe with the divine guidance of pure love and absolute good.  There is no need to suffer.  Wear the world as a lose garment.  Do not give your energy to gossip or confusion or despair.  Take care of God’s business in the now.  There is no question that God will take care of you.

Spiritual Fitness Rule Four: Acknowledge

Spiritual exercise lays the foundation for all of our goals.  When we are centered in God, our fitness will improve quicker than we’ve ever imagined.  The right people will show up to help us.  The perfect trainer will appear.  Work-out buddies will support us.  The right eating plan will be revealed.  And in this consciousness of love, we will find that discipline will come easy.  More importantly, we will have begun the most important fitness program imaginable: one that allows us to accept our place in the Kingdom of God and move forward in all of the blessings that God is giving us.  Therefore, we have to give thanks by acknowledging God’s good.

This exercise is also simple.  Just say thank you and be grateful for what you have, as well as for what you desire.  God knows what we have need of before we even ask, so we can be grateful for it before it even manifests.  We seldom appreciate what we have until it is taken away.  We don’t appreciate our muscles until one is injured.  We don’t appreciate our discipline until we falter.  We don’t appreciate our finances until we experience the appearance of lack.  We complain about everything and everyone.  But we have so much to be thankful for.

Gratitude has an energy that awakens even more good and more  thanks.  The more thanks we give, the more we receive.  So try this exercise everyday: give thanks for everything and everyone that you think about.  If it’s an injury, bless it.  If it’s a friend or even an enemy, bless them.  If it’s a goal, thank God for its stimulus in your life.  Just give thanks for whatever comes up for you.  Even as you ask for something — give thanks that God has already heard and begun the process of answering your prayer.

If you do these spiritual exercises, I can guarantee you that you will get stronger and leaner, but most importantly, you will be spiritually fit.  Even doing one of these exercises will bless you beyond measure.  Our life is a continuous process of unfoldment, and the only way to stay in perfect shape is to honor body, mind  and spirit!

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(All of the materials in SPIRITMUV email messages are copyrighted by and may not be used without the written permission of Cecilia Loving. )

GET UP, PICK UP YOUR MAT AND WALK

This morning, I got up from my mat and walked.  And God revealed a universe so remarkable, it was as though I had climbed through Alice’s looking glass.  Just like Jesus told the man who had been lying by the pool of Bethesda for 38 years, I got up from my mat and experienced the beauty of wholeness that was right in my midst.  It was as though I had put a foot in the healing water and then found myself wading knee-deep as the angels stirred in purpose, potential and endless possibility.  All I had to do was get up from my mat of anticipation, and open my heart to receive the absolute good that is always awaiting us.

I walked the streets uphill to Prospect Park, and the sweetness of the sun anointed my face.  I walked the wooden climb of the Brooklyn Bridge, and the symmetry of holy wings suspended me in a heavenly embrace.  I walked the upward path through the open arms of the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, and in the blink of an eye, I saw spring kissing winter good-bye.  In the Gardens, I went through opened arms to an oasis of beauty, serenity and squirrels on a spirit-filled mission of their own.  I walked uphill and downhill with anticipation of new life awakening with springtime, while summer lounged between moss-filled cracks, sleeping patiently.

I walked right outside of the box containing who I once was — magically opening to who I know I AM — weeding out fear and doubt, pulling beyond conventionality, pushing past the ordinary to the extraordinary energy of God.  I walked, baptized by fresh breezes; transformed by choirs of birds; sanctified by swaying trees.  It was as though I could hear Jesus saying, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”  Get up from your contentment.  Get up from your misery.  Get up from your resentment.  Get up from your jealousy.  Get up from your pain.  Be bold enough to step into the present moment.  Enjoy the now.  Release the past.  Celebrate the awakening of a new season in your life.

Walk away from who you used to be.  Walk away from your old stories, and sow a new one.  Walk away from what you wished, or ought, or should, or would have done — and reap the salvation of what you are doing.  Walk away from laziness and procrastination and seize the day to begin again.  Walk away from the boundaries of your self-imposed limitations, and renew your soul with the unlimited power of Spirit.

Walk and see the seeds of prayers wiggling through shoots of green.  Walk and see daffodils dancing praises of deliverance.  Walk and see God painting the landscape with new expectations of tulips and hyacinths and lavender, narcissus, honeysuckle, azaleas, and lilies — all awaiting their bloom.  Walk and see the spaces where the fragrance of roses will ride the air, bless loving kisses, and witness.

Walk between the gaps of time where the Holy Ghost goes before you and awakens the glory of success.  Walk before the hopes that ignite the wind and spread the ideas that create, and bless, and are never seen again.  Days gone by have no space to hold the breath of infinite promises.  We cannot find the future in the past.  The best that we can possibly do is be liberated by the truth that nothing stays the same.

Freedom is the air.  The Hybrid Oak knows it, and reaches its arms out in  hallelujahs.  The Cypress knows it, and bends its branches in humble prayer.  The Shingle Oak knows it, and stands above the others in high praise.  Again and again and again, they welcome us as though they have come to the altar for the first time.

Walking in springtime is a meditation, an anointing, a shout, and a clap.  Come.  There is deliverance in the healing pool.  The angels of nature will stir the waters of your salvation.  All you have to do is take the time to see — really see God’s glory.

Namaste, 

Reverend Cecilia Loving                                 

Pastor, SPIRITMUV  (www.spiritmuv.com )

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(All of the materials in SPIRITMUV email messages are copyrighted by and may not be used without the written permission of Cecilia Loving. )

I AM READY

I learned an invaluable lesson in the gym the other day when I was bench-pressing.  As usual, I was lifting a lot of weight.  But thanks to my trainer Goss, I realize the benefit of weight-training for women and know that increasing muscle mass is the best way to get in tip-top shape.  To many people’s surprise, I can bench press as much as the average man.  I was blessed to be trained by Goss because he never limited my training simply because I am a woman.  He believes in the infinite possibility of what we can all do — regardless of our sex.  He sees the pure potential of what the universe promises us, even when we cannot see it for ourselves.  He teaches that there is something more powerful in us than what we see in the flesh(see www.Goss_the_Steel.com).    

I was training with Nadine, my training partner, and we were having fun as usual, minding our own business.  Everything was just fine until a man training nearby began to question the amount of weight that we were lifting.

He had just watched me bench-press nearly 200 lbs and had obviously observed more than he could tolerate.  So our beloved on-looker left his own work-out and began lecturing me about why Nadine should not attempt to lift the weight that I had selected for her.  He adamantly told me that she was not prepared to lift the weight yet because she actually needed help lifting the bar.  Fortunately, Nadine spoke up for herself, and refused to lift anything lighter.  She looked at me, and said, “I am ready.”     In hindsight, I realize what a powerful affirmation that is: “I am ready.”  I am ready to move beyond where I am.  I am ready to transcend the here and now and push beyond my comfort zone.  I am ready to lift what I have never lifted before.  I may appear to be small to you or even insignificant.  I may appear to be weak to you — or at least as not strong as you are.  I may appear to be unworthy or less qualified, but God has prepared me for what I need to do.

I am ready, even if I need help because through all things, God is working together for my greatest good.  I know what I’m doing.   I know I’m prepared for this.  I know that the universe has brought me to this point with everything that I need — the bone, the muscle, the stamina, the energy, the strength — but most importantly the faith that I can succeed.

This reminds me of the Israelites who were at the edge of the wilderness, when Moses blessed them for their journey into the promised land.  They were not just standing on the bank of a  river to cross.  They were on the threshold of a new consciousness.  They were not leaving the wilderness because they had traveled a certain distance, or mapped out a particular strategy, or had served a certain amount of time.  They were crossing over because they were ready.

The promised land, you see, is not a physical place.  It is a place in consciousness that gives us spiritual food that feeds our mind, soul and heart the unlimited feast of the Kingdom of God.  It is a place where we are no longer captive to the wilderness of our own negativity and grumbling and strife.  It is a place where the materialism of the Egyptians no longer enslaves us.  It is a place where the disenfranchisement of the Israelites no longer burdens us.  It is a place where the giants of Og no longer scare us.  But we cannot get there unless we are ready.

The number forty in the Bible symbolizes preparation rather than a specific number.  Forty years in the wilderness means as long as it takes to get ready.  We are ready when we realize that Spirit is always working together for our greatest good.  Spirit will always feed us enough manna, spiritual food, to sustain us.  We are ready when we stop worrying about what other people say or think.  As Terrie Cole Whitaker says, What You Think About Me is None of My Business.  We are ready when we are willing to make the sacrifices that need to be made to accomplish what we want.  We are ready when we learn to seek first the Kingdom of God, and realize that the Kingdom is within.

We are ready when we can bless even the appearances of life — whether they are bad or good — because we realize that they are the motivation that we need.   We are ready when we understand that love is the spiritual law that supersedes all others.  Love does not judge but is unconditional.  Love has an all-encompassing heart that fulfills the law with grace.  We can accomplish anything with the power of love.  If you are worried or doubtful or in need, all you have to do is bless the situation with the power of love.  Love allows us to be compassionate about everyone, even when they second-guess us, because we know that they are part of our blessing.  They serve as the catalyst that pushes us beyond our comfort zones.  They make us aim higher than we ever aimed before.

When Nadine and I were training, I really do not believe that she would have done as good a job, but for the man’s doubt.  After he voiced his disapproval, she was fired up.  She was ready to prove him wrong.  She had never bench-pressed two 45 lb plates before, but I have no doubt she’ll be doing it from now on.  She did a spectacular job.  I followed.  Inspired by her, as well as the man’s protest, the weight never felt lighter.

We cross over to the other side when we know that we are blessed with the anointing of God.  We never know how we are going to make it there.  But we can trust that God will put the right people on our path to push against our resistance and pull us across the threshold to something greater.

Yes, I am ready for the promised land.  I have spent enough time in the wilderness.   I am ready to do what God has called me to do.  I am ready to walk in the newness of life, and nothing and no one can stop me.

Namaste, 

Reverend Cecilia Loving                                 

Pastor, SPIRITMUV  (www.spiritmuv.com )  (All of the materials in SPIRITMUV email messages are copyrighted by and may not be used without the written permission of Cecilia Loving. )

BREATHING LOVE by Michelle Bernard

yoga 3Every time I tell someone that I teach yoga, they respond by saying something like, “I can’t even touch my toes,” or “Do you have to stand on your head?” Most people assume that their body must be pretzel-like before they can do yoga.   What they don’t understand is that the practice of yoga is far richer than touching one’s toes and much more than the mere movement of one’s body. Yoga has been marketed with images of quirky, tattooed, thin, new age, free-spirits sitting in a lotus position, or posing with one leg stretched up to the heavens, or standing contemplatively on their heads.  So many people attend yoga classes hoping to tie their legs behind their necks, tone their bodies without becoming “bulky”, or sweat profusely in the hope of melting away excess pounds.

Western culture has placed more emphasis on the physical rather than the spiritual aspect of yoga, despite theYoga 6 profound transformational  potential of this ancient, spiritual practice on body, mind and soul. I found my way to my first yoga class in 1995.  I was in my twenties and living in Hollywood pursuing the life of an entertainer.  Ironically, I was also battling the demon of depression.  The path my life as a singer no longer felt fulfilling.

I was suffering from  the awareness of dishonorable choices that I had made in my personal Yoga 7life and was unable to free myself from them.  I needed desperately to change my life — both in terms of my career and my personal relationships, but I didn’t know how to begin.  I really didn’t know how to re-direct my energy.  Moreover, I had no idea who I really was beyond the person that I had turned into.

I knew that the latter was not me, but I didn’t know who I was beyond the identity that I’d developed so far.  I was afraid.  Fear devastated me.  I was living in darkness.  And in this darkness, I was blind. But something led me to the Hollywood Y, a place where I could teach step aerobics and stretch classes.  So when I took my first yoga class, I did it merely so that I could  learn new Yoga 12stretches to incorporate in my fitness classes.

The yoga class was held on the basketball court upon a sea of thick, blue and gray Velcro-attached gymnastic mats.  The teacher, a brown man draped in a white, cotton loin cloth and a crown of bound “locks” spoke very little, like a guide. All I remember about the physical poses was standing with my arms at my side and breathing (tadasana, the mountain pose), standing on one leg and breathing (vrksasana, tree pose), and lying on my back and breathing (savasana, corpse pose).  What I never forgot was how the brown man spoke.  He was gentle, calm, compassionate, loving.  He wasn’t speaking to the physical me; he was speaking to my soul.  He was moving in oneness with my spirit.

And for the first time, in a long time, I felt an inner peace, that flowed from my own spirit.  I remember how quiet I became inside.  He guided my mind towards my breath, breathing in and breathing out, in and out.  There was peace in the breath.  There was peace in the stillness.   I found comfort.  I could begin again in the darkness.  I could breathe through it; and it wasn’t as foreboding. When I thought about the transformation that I had witnessed through the love of  breath from my own body, I was moved to tears.  I cried on my walk home.  Ninety minutes of standing, rolling, moving, breathing . . . .  had awakened something. I kept attending the Yoga Class at the Y.  I kept standing in mountain pose, engaged in the deep breath, guided by my teacher.

Through the stillness, through the energy, through the breath, I began to see more clearly — despite the darkness within.   I began to look at life differently, and I began to listen.  And there it was.  An illumination.  Great Spirit was with me, speaking to my soul, and showing me more of my Self than I’d ever seen.  I saw the essence of me.  I saw new courage.  I saw that I was capable of releasing the old Self.  Spirit was breathing in me the strength to uproot and recreate in a direction I had never considered.

I aligned with a deeper part of my essence.  Yoga, I realized, was not simply stretching; it was stillness.  It was the stillness that I needed to go within, the stillness that I needed to hear the Great Spirit, the stillness that I needed to move forward in peace. From those yoga classes, my life changed forever. Michelle Bernard is a licensed yoga intructor and personal trainer, as well as the owner and creator of  exquisite and original jewelry — each piece of which is an original work of art. 

See www.aboutpebble.com; www.thewanderingpebble.blogspot.com  Michelle is also facilitating two Retreat Workshops, “Breathing Love” and  “Transforming the Body.”