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I LOVE this book!  After years of spiritual seeking and experiencing what many have called impossible miracles in my life, someone told me about this book and I had to have it.  I had to do the experiments!  What I discovered in the doing of the exercises was profound — not simply because they work, but because what I discovered about myself in the process is that I don’t see the blessings around me in my daily life.

Pam Grout’s writing is easy and funny and she says what I often think:  “I hate to break it to ya, FP (Field of all Possibilities, what I commonly refer to as God), but folks are starting to talk.  They’re starting to wonder, ‘Is this guy for real?’  I mean, really, like it’d be so much skin off your chin to come down here and call off this crazy hide-and-seek thing you’ve been playing.  I’m giving you exactly 48 hours to make your presence known.  I want a thumbs-up, a clear sign, something that cannot be written off as coincidence.”

And, so began my adventure — the adventure to find that consciousness trumps matter, that we create the world with our minds.  Indeed!

I followed the instructions.  I asked for a sign, a gift, within 48 hours – something that could come no other way but from God.  Then, I waited.

As it happened, that weekend, I was at Menla Mountain House to be in a workshop given by Howard Cutler on “The Art of Happiness.”  He’s written a book by the same name with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  I was curious to meet someone who has spent so much time in the Dalai Lama’s presence.  I marveled at how a Doctor of Psychiatry could gain so much access to one of the holiest men on earth.  I wondered what he was like, how he would be.  I was expecting big and charismatic, like Robert Thurman, who runs Menla and Tibet House in NYC, and is also a friend of the Dalai Lama.

What I found is that Howard Cutler, with his gasping breath and soft voice, first occurred for me as surprisingly artless, almost childlike.  As the weekend progressed and I listened to him speak about working with the Dalai Lama, and then doing the exercises and meditations that he taught to us that would cultivate happiness in our lives, I started to see him as truly ingenuous: naïve, almost, with an innocence that reminded me of the Dalai Lama, himself – as well as other highly spiritual people, like Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Satya Sai Baba.

The weekend was glorious, the meditations delicious, and the small group of women, twelve in all, sweetly intimate and loving – I was so happy I had come.  I had forgotten about looking for my gift – I was enjoying the weekend so much.

At the end of the seminar, Howard announced that he had “graduation presents” for us.  We all laughed as he pulled out boxes of gourmet jelly beans for each of us.  Then, he told us that he had a special gift for us: he revealed a small silver box that he opened to offer us a Tibetan Blessing Bead.  He instructed us to be careful how we picked ours out of the box – they are very tiny and easily dropped, and the rug was multi-patterned – if we dropped our blessing bead, we would have a hard time finding it in the folds of that rug.

As he walked the tiny box around the room for us to select our bead, he explained that blessing beads are very rare and valuable in Tibet – a Tibetan farmer might trade, oh, say, twenty yak just for one tiny bead.  He approached me so I could select my little bead and he continued talking to the group: “What makes these even more valuable is that I had them blessed for you by the Dalai Lama.”  We all “ooh-ed” and “ah-hd” and were very impressed.  I held my tiny bead in my hand, debating whether to put it under my tongue now or wait until later.

We said our good-byes… I am always sorry when a program at Menla is over.  It is such a special world there – a holy valley where the world seems so very far away and love reigns supreme.  As I walked out of the conference center, I decided to pop my blessing bead in my mouth and savor these last moments at Menla with the added blessing of this precious gift.

Gift.

Precious gift.

Blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

It hit me like a bolt out of the blue.  This was it – my gift, delivered within the 48 hours and blessed by the Dalai Lama – what could be more of a message that this was a divine sign from God? – the very sign I had asked for.

Yes.

My very next thought?  Why didn’t I get that right away?  Why did it take me the ten minutes it took to gather my things and walk out of the center to really get it what a blessing this was?  What was I expecting?

Ah, yes.  I was expecting something material – a gift from a friend, maybe; an invitation to something I really wanted to go to.  Nothing so simple as a little blessing bead, for which Tibetan farmers would trade twenty yak – probably more if it was blessed by the Dalai Lama.

What an insight into myself.  I’m embarrassed to admit it except that, at least, I got this about myself – and could choose to be different in that moment.  I vowed never to take my blessings for granted ever again.

I went back to my room and quickly opened the book to the lab page that Pam Grout supplies at the end of each chapter – so that I could write down the results of my first experiment.  And, then I saw it.  What I had read as “gift” really said, “blessing.”  The Hypothesis read:  “If there’s a 24/7 energy force equally available to everyone, I can access it at any time simply by paying attention.  Furthermore, if I ask the force for a blessing, giving it a specific time frame and clear instructions, it’ll send me a gift and say, ‘My pleasure’” (italics and bold are mine).

Now, I am eagerly doing the other experiments.  They’re fun, they’re easy, and Pam Grout is so funny about things quantum, things spiritual, that it has renewed my faith in that God does have a sense of humor!

READ THIS BOOK!  It will change your world.  You will change your world!

Deliciously yours in the Gorgeous Gift Wrapping of it All, Linda

http://www.hayhousebooknook.com/PBook/Blogger/SpiritualChocolate

 

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Hi, it’s Linda here again… back from a visit with my son, Josh, and Oh, what a delicious visit it was….!

Everyone who knows me knows how much I love Josh!   He is the Great Blessing of my life…   AND, it hasn’t always been easy between us….

Let me first tell you that the dream of my life was always to have a child…   I can pinpoint the moment I knew…

One night when I was 12, I was babysitting at our neighbors’  across the street. They had a tiny baby.  I had never babysat a “real” baby before.  I thought he would sleep the whole time, but he didn’t. He cried and cried and cried – that little “new-baby-cry” that sounded like he couldn’t catch his breath.

I was afraid to touch him.

I called my mother and begged her to come over.  She did.  She went into the baby’s room, picked him up and put him on the changing table. I stood next to her as she opened his diaper. She never said a word, but she stopped for a minute and so I looked. What I saw was disgusting to my 12 year old sensibilities – the baby was raw from his waist to his knees, the diaper reeked of urine, and brown poop lay slathered over the red skin like warrior markings.

My mother started to do what I knew she knew best – taking care of children who couldn’t take care of themselves. She was ever so gentle as she cleaned that baby up. As she took care of him, he started to calm down. She put Vaseline all over him – thick layers of the stuff to block out the hurt and the pain. He stopped crying. She diapered him and picked him up. She rocked him on her shoulder, patting his back and crooning to him, until he fell asleep. She put him back in his crib.

I was in awe of her.

I decided, right then, that I was going to have a baby and I was going to be a mother just like my mother – and no child of mine was ever going to feel hurt or pain…

Ever…

And, well….  It doesn’t always go like that, does it?

For years, when Josh was little, it seemed that life was easy and happy – I joke that the three of us were like “The Three Musketeers”, always together, full of adventure and fun…

Life didn’t go on like that forever… Fred and I started to lose who we were in our marriage… we did what we did and we knew Josh had a hard time with that…

Separation and divorce are never easy for a child, no matter how old they are…

For Josh, well… he had to go through it twice…

Fred and I first separated when he was six years old. We stayed apart for two years and then we wanted to try again to make our marriage work…

The next six years were progressively painful for all of us. By the time Fred and I separated the second time, Josh was fourteen…

He chose to live with his Dad…

Since then, Josh and I have been riding a roller-coaster of emotion, trying to repair what neither of us dared to even speak of…

A pattern emerged out of the way we were together… if I said “black,” he said “white”… and then I would spend a lot of time defending “black” as if being a good mother were at stake…

Oh, we loved each other, for sure… that was never in doubt… we just weren’t always present to the love…  As a result, we didn’t have an easy, comfortable way with each other… we were both anxious, tentative, and finally…  automatic…

“Hi, Josh, it’s Mom… How’s work?”

“It’s fine. How are you?”

There would be a bit of news on either side… then…

Silence.

“Ok, Honey… I’ll let you go… I love you…!”

“Love you, too, Mom…”

Click.

When we agreed that I’d come to Minneapolis for a visit, I was determined that this time it would be different. I was committed to shift something in this relationship. I wasn’t willing to let it go on like this for one more minute…

I was willing to do anything to create the space for that to happen…

I cleared myself with a few of my committed listeners.   My friends were ruthlessly compassionate with me:   “Linda, you are either going to spend your life defending and explaining or you are going to listen to him and love him no matter what he says.   You can’t have both…”

A little scared… off I went to Minneapolis…

I started on Saturday by saying, “Josh, I know that there is something between us…”

He interrupted me, “Mom, not here at breakfast… Let’s go home and talk about this….”

When we got to his apartment, I tried again, “Josh, you can say anything you want to say to me…   I am here to listen…”

And, listen I did… for hours….

What he said is not for here… and it’s not what is at the heart of the matter, anyway… What IS the essence – the life — is that the way he saw it is the way it happened for him — and I needed to get that…

It was not easy. He spoke of things from when he was 9, when he was 13 – and times before, after, and in-between…

There were moments I wanted to jump in and say, “No, that’s not what happened…” and I remembered my friends’ caution… “Whatever way it is for him is the way it is for him… Just BE with it… That is the only way to honor him…”

Every time I wanted to correct his perception, I watched myself WANT to do that — and what went through my mind was, “this is not about being right about anything… this is about loving him…”

The more I listened, the more he said…

By four in the afternoon, we were both quiet….

What I did finally say was, “Josh, I am committed to having an extraordinary relationship with you….”

And, he said:

“Mom, I am committed to having an extraordinary relationship with you, too….”

We stopped the “heavy stuff” and proceeded to have a great weekend… He cooked for me, we watched a movie on TV and I scratched his head like I always did when he was a little boy….

The next day, he was still impatient with me and I was still trying too hard to be a “good mother”…

Old patterns die hard….

But, something had shifted… something transformed…. the impatience was more playful, the “good mother” was not so righteous… or needy…

He drove me to the airport early Monday morning. As I kissed him “Good-bye” and turned to go… I knew that we had done something huge that weekend…  I was at peace.

If anyone had told me when I was 12 that I could ever hurt my child or cause him pain, I would have said that it was not possible….

What I learned is that there are other ways to hurt a child besides leaving him in a urine-soaked diaper…

We do what we do in any moment because that is our level of consciousness at that time…

It is a gift to be able to grow in awareness… to take responsibility for what we have done and to acknowledge the impact it has on the people around us… and commit to something new, something greater, something full of love and compassion for who they are….

And… for who WE are…

Anything is possible now for me and Josh ….

I have no idea what that looks like…

Now, THAT’S an adventure worth having…

Deliciously yours in the Glory of it All,  Linda

“Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don’t remember growing older,
When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?

Sunrise, sunset…
Sunrise, sunset…
Swiftly flow the years.
One season following another,
Laiden with happiness and tears.”
…from “Fiddler on the Roof”

This is my son, Josh Feuer…  An amazing man, if I do say so — and not just because I’m his mother…..  xoxo

How did I learn to listen like this?  See www.landmarkeducation.com.

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