What Experiences Spark Joy for You?

I have been studying A Course of Love with fervor for the past few months. It has both taken hold of me and frustrated me. I hear the Truth of “Love is” and “Dedicate all thought to union” and I don’t always live it. I hear the call to completely drop judgment and I judge that I can’t do that, even though I want to. Deep breath.

Reading A Course of Love sparks joy for me. Discussing A Course of Love with my Course mates sparks joy for me. Feeling into A Course of Love sparks joy for me. So, I’m allowing my frustration without thinking it has to mitigate my joy.

person sewing

Recently I explored with two of my Course mates the idea of the relationship of needle, thread and fabric as presented in the Course. Somehow, I can feel the service of the needle and the joy of the union of thread and fabric. That’s amazing and glorious to me.

I devote my 2016 to experiencing A Course of Love more and more deeply.

What about you? What sparks joy for you? What is calling you? What devotion is yours in 2016?

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, “Strong from Within: Simple perceptions and practices for returning to the joy of you“)

What Opens Your Heart to Joy?

Recently, one of my coaching clients mentioned it was hard for her to keep her focus on what’s important to her. How often does that happen for all of us?

Especially at this time of year, it can be easy to slip into a whirlwind of activity or focusing on what’s missing.

If you’ve taken a moment to read this, take another moment to check in with yourself, become present to this holy moment and notice what opens your heart to joy. Allow yourself to be present with that in this moment.

Ann Strong Blog Post 122315

As I was writing this, I realized I wanted to run outside and photograph the beauty of this shortest day of the year. The clouds and the mountains and the snow – opening my heart to joy . . .

And this moment.

And this moment. What opens your heart to joy now in this moment?

Hmmmm, perhaps a wonderful way to live a life . . .

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, “Strong from Within: Simple perceptions and practices for returning to the joy of you”)

What Is the Wonderful Value of the Darkness?

This time of year I tend to notice I’m in the minority with my love of snow and cold and darkness. As we approach the winter solstice, I love to reflect on the value of winter and the dark.

Winter calls us inward. The darkness asks us to slow down. The cold invites cuddling. Snow quiets us and requires we pay more attention to our driving.

House in winter

Hibernation season offers this wonderful opportunity to be with ourselves. Contemplating, reflecting, pausing and becoming. Very different from the accomplishing, moving, striving and doing of the “holiday season” and our culture in general.

When you pause for a moment, can you hear the quiet invitation to go inward? To become still? To allow? To be?

And, it’s totally cool if you’d rather do it on a sunny beach!

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, “Strong from Within: Simple perceptions and practices for returning to the joy of you”)

The Happy Reason to Replace Special Relationships

Do I really want coffee to be my God? Or, do I want my lover, my Audi A4, my beloved niece or my precious kitty to be my God?

Or, am I willing to know my Divinity?

Both A Course in Miracles (ACIM) and A Course of Love (ACOL) ask us to choose holy relationship rather than special relationships. From ACIM, I’ve been aware of this concept for probably twenty years, but didn’t take it seriously until recently revisiting it in ACOL.

A special relationship is a relationship with anything or anyone that we believe will make us more worthy, loveable, whole, safe, happy, important, powerful and the list goes on . . .

A holy relationship is with our Self. It calls for joining of our mind and heart in unity. The holy relationship makes our Self one with all and brings the holiness of Self to all.

The Happy Reason to Replace Special Relationships

My ego has wanted a whole bunch of special relationships. And, every day that I read more of ACOL, the less that appeals to me. I am sensing more and more what it’s like to be one with all and to bring the holiness of my Self to all.

And, I am in awe of the freedom I’m noticing in my relationships with my coffee, lover, car, niece and kitty! My judgments, demands, attachments and expectations are vaporizing and my happiness is exponentially increasing.

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, “Strong from Within: Simple perceptions and practices for returning to the joy of you”)

A Couple of Reasons to Drop Your Protection

“You are not a drop in the ocean.
You are the entire ocean in a drop.”
– Rumi

A Couple of Reasons to Drop Your Protection

I used to think of myself as a lone wolf. I rather liked that image of me. Today, I see that I thought I could protect myself by pretending to be separate.

Not only was it not very effective protection, it was also pretty isolating and lonely. Maybe you have your own strategies for protecting yourself?

As I’ve kept more of my attention on my Divine nature, I realize the absurdity of trying to keep myself separate. I’ve always known we are all One. I just hadn’t spend much time imagining what that really meant.

As my knowing of our Oneness has slowly shifted from concept to experience, I recognize that not only can I not keep myself separate, it also doesn’t serve to continue seeing myself as small.

Sometimes I do experience myself as the entire ocean in a drop. Sometimes I do experience Oneness with those around me, the environment, Life itself. And, other times, all of this still feels like a nice concept rather than reality.

I so appreciate you, here, on this journey with me! Regardless of how much I experience or don’t experience my entire Ocean-ness, I no longer want to pretend I’m alone.

You and I may know each other personally. Or, we may never have met. Regardless, the fact that we are both here now means we have created this opportunity to experience our deep connection.

I still have times when I make choices from fear, from protection. I also usually catch myself pretty quickly. Then, I take a deep breath and ask, “How can I choose from Love, from Oneness?” And I usually have the courage to act on the answer . . .

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, “Strong from Within: Simple perceptions and practices for returning to the joy of you”)