Five Ways to Start the New Year Right

MellowClean Well Just Before January 1st

I know several people who give their homes a good scrubbing a few days before New Year’s Day. Makes sense to set the foundation for the next year on a clean note, doesn’t it?

It’s also good to clear as much clutter as possible; clutter stops the flow of good energy. You can change your furniture around, or rearrange your collectibles to change the way energy flows in your home. Bring in fresh flowers or bowls of fruit for your dining table on January 1, signifying abundance in the new year.

Set Your Intentions

New Year’s Day is the best day to set your intentions for the new year with a prayer or affirmation. It’s good to speak in only a positive manner on January 1st, of your hopes, dreams and goals. Leave the past, negativity and sorrows behind for the day.

I found this prayer, I Call Upon the Divine, online a couple years ago. I loved it, modified and used it for myself, without, unfortunately, writing down the author’s name—but I’d like to share it here. (If you know the author of this prayer, please contact me with the web address and I will link it to this post.)

This is only an example of one prayer, in which the word “Divine” covers all divine beings. (You can substitute “Divine” with the word you use for God.) Choose your prayer and stand in the center of your home early New Year’s Day and speak it aloud:

I call upon the Divine!
I ask that you bless this home with Divine Love
and with Divine Wisdom.
I ask that you bless this home with Divine Understanding
and with Divine Compassion.
I ask that you bless this home with Divine Harmony
and with Divine Joy.
I ask that you bless this home with Divine Protection.
I ask you to bless all who enter our home,
especially those who join our family in the coming year.
May the blessings of all Divine beings be with us.
Thank you to the Great Loving Center of the Universe
for your Love and Blessings.

 

Golden Pothos 2House Plants for Good Luck

House plants said to bring blessings to our homes, thus making great gifts, include the Dwarf Banana, Golden Pothos, Goosefoot, Peace Lily, Pepperomia, Jade, Purple African Violets, Rosemary and Bamboo plants (with an uneven number of stalks).

Open Your Windows

On New Year’s Eve or Day, burn incense, such as sage, frankincense, myrrh, lavender, peppermint or sweet grass. Then open all your windows, even if it’s cold, just for a moment, affirming that as the fresh air enters your home, the incense carries out the old, stale air and vibes.

To Keep a Peaceful Home in the New Year

Be willing to look at your thoughts and actions in the new year. Accept responsibility for what you say and do. Recognize your part in the problems of your life.

Wish everyone well, especially your ‘enemies,’ for love is the only way to make them into friends. Bless them wholly and without hesitation. Repeat to yourself, “God bless us, everyone,” until you mean it. You might want to check out the powerful 40-Day Forgiveness Prayer, which can change your life. As Gandhi said, ‘Be the person you want others to be.’

If you have plans to start the new year right, please share them with us in a comment below. Thanks! And a blessed and happy new year to all!

Recovering Addicts on Faith and Sobriety, A Guest Post by Amanda Bartow

man's head highlighted by light, black background

Image courtesy of pixabay

By Amanda Bartow

Many people are left feeling hopeless and devoid of happiness when they’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, but those who go through the recovery process often regain that missing piece of their life. Many even gain a closer relationship with God.

Faith can help a recovering addict stick with their sobriety, but likewise, sobriety can help someone find God and keep Him close at all times.

Eric, who abused drugs (including heroin) for two years, received significant help from A Forever Recovery’s faith-based track.

“I was just sucked in — I just loved it and everything about it,” he said. “The people that run it are awesome. We just have a good time — we sing, we get into the Word. I’m definitely going to continue that… I’m going to enroll in celebratory recovery classes and go to church. We all really come together and support each other. It’s just a great group of people here. You’ve got to do this for the right reasons and put the work in. I’m not going to say it’s easy, because it’s tough work. But what’s six to seven weeks compared to the rest of your life? Every time you load that needle up or do whatever you do, it’s like playing Russian Roulette. It’s the truth.”

Alex was using OxyContin, Opana and painkillers before going to treatment, where he too received help from God.

“Without my faith, I don’t believe I would have made it this far,” he said. “It instilled the values that I hold dear in my heart, and it really just helped me get through tough times. We did baptisms. I didn’t plan on getting baptized the day I did at all, but something spoke to me and told me, ‘Go ahead. Go through with it. Go into the water.’ And it was a really refreshing experience. It was like an old piece of me died and a new heart was beginning. I knew that my addiction and drugs were a problem, but I knew the main problem was with myself and how I dealt with hardships and disappointments. It blew me out of the water learning what I could do with myself.

“They helped me handle those negative emotions and gave me coping skills in so many different ways,” he continued. “They didn’t say, ‘Here’s the way we’re going to do it. Here’s the way you’re always going to do it.’ It’s not like that.

“Definitely get the help you need. I can’t speak enough on how valuable it is that you get help, and you ask for help. You can’t do it alone. I could not have done this alone. I strictly urge you to follow through with your instinct to get help.”

Wesley, another recovering addict, thanks God for the people who are “on the front lines of withdrawal” who “paved the way” and gave him the opportunity to give himself a chance at life.

“My favorite part, although it was hard for me, was to take an opportunity to give my growth some consideration,” he said. “I’ve gained some tools, some insight, some awareness to be able to not misplace hostility on people who have nothing to do with what is going on inside my head. I’m not scared because I’ve been prepared for the inevitable, and that is to take back my life. … Now I’m ready to move on with my life. I’m ready to be a productive member of society and take back a life that I so irresponsibly threw away.”

Addiction recovery facilities like A Forever Recovery and others are making a huge impact on people’s lives. Clearly, God and the faith He gives to people deserves a great deal of the credit as well.

Amanda Bartow believes there is only one greater feeling than being recognized for a job well done — the fulfillment that comes from honoring someone’s achievements! This is what inspired her to join the Recognition Works team. (Recognition Works is an organization that recognizes outstanding people.)

Have Faith in Your Life and Yourself, A Guest Post by Mike Hopkins

Have faith in your life and faith in yourself. There is nothing to fear. A way will be made for you, but first, you must make a clear decision and act upon it. For faith is not enough.

 Faith must be followed by activity. It is not enough to know of events; one must take action to help the internal dreams to be manifested into physical reality.

Within us all lies the seeds to our destruction, but also within each heart, lies the seeds to one’s reconstruction as a human being–from one driven by fear to one driven by love. It is each person’s responsibility to live in a way that nurtures and supports the good within. It takes effort to weed a garden so the plants grow healthy and strong.

 There are no techniques or devices or systems that will lead one to one’s deliverance from human suffering. This has been a misunderstanding for many thousands of years. Only through right action will one evolve into a true human being. Change one’s behavior by living in a way that enriches and supports a healthy body, mind, and spirit.

Be responsible and part of the human community and have no concern for all the false ones who teach fear and lack of concern for their fellow humans. Live by example. Give your love freely. For, in freedom is grown a loving and kind heart.

Do not despair for yourself or others. You will have just what you need, just when you need it. All future events cannot and will not be revealed. It is best just to accept what life has to offer to you and join with the Creator in creating a world that is better suited for kind-hearted, loving human beings. For as long as the dishonest and hate-filled ones rule, life in this world will always be filled with sadness and disappointment.

©  M.N. Hopkins

Posted from: http://mnhopkins.blogspot.se/2016/09/have-faith-in-your-life-faith-in.html

Fear Is a Liar

fear maskFear is my old buddy. We’ve been together a long time. All of this life and from before that, I’m sure. Fear of loss, fear of judgment, fear of my dark side. Fear of wrong living and karma–that’s a big one. How I envy those people who live with gusto and confidence!

How does fear become our boss? It’s sneaky, relentlessly worming itself into our minds, our outlooks. It’s a liar, but it’s such a good liar. All those possible scenarios! And fear is a good boxer. Punch to the eye, “Ow!” The gut, “Ow!” Kick in the ribs when we’re down: “Told you so.”

Fear grabs hold and feeds on itself. Little fears grow into mountains that cast big shadows over life. The only answer I’ve found: Turn on the lights. Not just the lights, but the Light. Call on your Higher Power: “Let me see. Show me the way.” In the movies, the character becomes a hero when he finds his courage. “Steady, now. Look up. Fear exists only in your mind–it’s an emotion. It’s not real. Walk right on through those shadows. Yes, like that. Very good. See? You’re already on the other side.”

Related Post: What is Karma?

From Whining to Heroic

MazeA longing for spiritual growth, for connection with something deeper, begins when we acknowledge that while we live in a physical world, there is a causal world we can’t see with our physical eyes. There are man-made laws to keep order, but there are also universal laws that apply to us, because we are souls of the invisible world who take on bodies in a material world. The universal laws are the laws of our Creator, designed to guide us–the ones who strayed–back Home.

Michael Brine has written here about the universal law of, “As we sow, so shall we reap,” explaining that if too much negativity is put out, by a person, a city, or a country, the scales tip and even innocent children are caught up in the ‘reaping.’ I think he’s right—it’s a good explanation that helped me to understand more about mass tragedies. The children lost to us may be souls who volunteered their young lives before they were born for human evolution.

The only way we can change what happens to us (the reaping) is to change what we think and do (the sowing), making way for growth. I’ve seen several stories about men who were deeply involved in street-gang life, violence, drug sales, keeping girls as prostitutes, and on and on, but who had an inner conversion and when they got out of prison, they began to work on behalf of young people in gangs. “Hear my story,” they say. “Let’s change your story before you become me.”

My story, or yours, may not be as dramatic, but the law still applies. In order to change our lives, we must change our thoughts and actions. Blaming others, feeling self-pity, desiring revenge—all of this has to go for us to be born anew into lives befitting our nature as souls.

One universal law that has been a tough one for me is the law of acceptance. We can’t control everything that happens to us—we can only control how we react to those things. Many years ago I was a partner at a small newspaper where we published an annual issue on people we called the ‘able-disabled.’ Some had been in crippling accidents and had lost the use of their arms or legs or both. One young woman lost all four limbs to gangrene. She was a torso in an electric wheelchair and had been fitted with artificial arms and metals clips for fingers that allowed her to work as a switchboard operator. She was filled with grace and acceptance and trust in God. I’ve made much progress in accepting the loss of an active life (related to illness), but I’m nowhere close to where this beautiful young woman was. I see her light and follow when I can.

We can fight what has happened to us for as long as we like. We can also accept, forgive and move on with what we do have, with what we can do. The gift of life and the opportunity to grow on Earth is priceless. Once we realize this, we begin the process of moving from whiner to the hero of our own story.

Never Wander Far From Your Heart’s Light, A Guest Post from Mike Hopkins

Stay True to Light

Sometimes I think of all the sickness in our world.

If one becomes engaged in this sickness,

over time one will become sick.

So live within the darkness of men and women,

yet hold tight upon the Light.

Never wander far from your Heart’s Light.

Live amongst men and women and

participate in community.

Yet, do not join in the dark intentions of those

who manipulate others for their own purposes.

Stay true to the Light within yourSelf

So as to show a way out of the madness

of men and women.

© 2016    M.N. Hopkins
My thanks to: http://mnhopkins.blogspot.se/2016/07/never-wander-far-from-your-hearts-light.html

Kindness, A Blessing Unfolding

global neighborhoodWe all know the rewards of kindness: a smile, perhaps a genuine hug, a sense of connection with another and, of course, the warm glow we feel inside for having helped someone. There is something magical about kindness, something more that happens that can’t be measured with our physical eyes. Kindness bathes the giver and the receiver in its own light, yet it is not isolated to any single act. It ripples out in circles from the moment of the kind act, touching every living thing forever, for the energy of love can never die. Surely, every act of kindness is a blessing unfolding.

Knock-Knock. Who’s There? It’s Me, Your Soul.

Mandala GRN OR GLD 20 x 20 PI ReducedThere is magic in this world, a spark of love and light that lives in everything on the planet, including us. Those blessed to travel have seen the beauty and splendor of nature and impossibly magnificent monuments constructed, without modern tools and methods, to honor and connect with the Light that created the universe.

But not everyone gets to travel or live in an inspiring environment. I saw a news report about a couple who started a non-profit organization to take inner-city kids to see and play in the ocean. To see the ocean! Imagine living a gray life: gray housing and streets, gray schools and gray weapons. Gray shadows sucking away the will to live and grow, to learn and explore, to find fulfillment and the joy of being.

There is tremendous suffering in the world, so much so that many of us can’t look directly at it. We turn our faces away from the truth of others’ misery because we feel powerless to change it. Bill and Melinda Gates, and others like them, can change it–but not us.

Or, can we? Is there something we can do to make a difference? Every moment of every day, we add our thoughts and emotions  to one force or the other, either the painful grayness of a squashed life or to the Love that created our universe. Let us answer the call of our souls: We are designed for community and connection and we support the healing of ourselves, our relationships and our world by opening our hearts and minds and listening.

Born to Dream, to Live

GardenerWhat does your version of a dream life look like? My personal dreams include having a home again, the best environmentally-sound home I could create, with lots of windows, an office for writing and an art room where we could spill everything and it would be okay. I’d love to live in a quiet setting, with trees and wildflowers all around.

But I’ve always dreamed of a world at peace, and in these later years, I’ve prayed we would find a way of living that includes a good life for everyone, by which I mean, access to affordable and quality housing, health care, and education: K-tech school or college. Without these basics, life is a tough struggle and any joy we might be able to drum up is smothered by fear and anxiety. That’s not the way we are meant to live.

Supportive neighborhoods would be encouraged if homes were built around a ‘town square’ idea with fruit trees everywhere, and community gardens, where neighbors could become friends. I know our problems are complicated, but if we walked in others’ shoes for just a little while and our hearts and minds changed, we’d see that we’re really all the same souls planted here in human bodies to grow beyond our own little worlds.

Will the destructive corruption of America’s corporations and government collapse in on itself? Is the U.S. bankrupt? I don’t know, of course, but what if these old self-centered, greedy ways of being did end? Surely, there would be trauma for all of us, but what if a new way of existing, where every person was an equally honored member of society, grew out of the ashes? It would be the beginning of a new world, and what a world that would be!

Related Post:  The Path of Non-Violence