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Posts Tagged ‘spiritual not religious’

Next week I’ll be sharing share some tips and advice with a group of savvy solopreneurs about creating great client relationships. Here’s a biggie:

When meeting with a client – maybe it’s your introductory meeting or perhaps you’re 3 months into a project together – and she says something in a joking manner or with a shrug, it might feel easier and natural to laugh along with her and then continue on with your meeting agenda.
However, sometimes they are laughing when they say it, or speaking quietly, or under their breath, because there might be some element of shame or guilt, worry or embarrassment.

****DISCLAIMER: I am not a therapist. Just a business professional and observer of client behavior for nearly 20 years****

Especially if they are being self-deprecating in their comment.
Rather than “laugh with them” or brush off their concerns, dive into that.
I recall meeting with a couple who, during the course of our conversation, shared with me, “We’re high-maintenance.”
I could have easily laughed or said something to brush it off or make them feel better such as, “I’m sure you’re not.”
Instead I asked them why they describe themselves like this.
“Our friends give us a hard time because we get massages, buy special alkaline drinking water, try to eat only organic” etc. They were worried this impression of being “high-maintenance” might spill over into their ceremony.

This is an opportunity to provide a REFRAME for your client.

I responded, “That doesn’t sound high maintenance. It sounds like you care about your health and take good care of yourself; your energy and longevity is important to you.”
Weeks later at their wedding rehearsal, as they introduced me to friends and family they also said – more than once – “She says we’re honoring our temples and take good care of ourselves.”
I was thrilled they had embraced this new view of themselves, and could see the ease this created for them.

Over the years, so many clients have dropped these little phrases or comments – under their breath, in passing, in a joking manner:

I don’t want to be a bridezilla” or “I don’t want to be a pain in the ass.”

That is not a good feeling.
I like to find out why they have taken on this negative-feeling label for themselves.

Listen to them with Courage and ask WHY they feel that way. Have the courage to engage your client and really find out about their biggest worry or concern, which often shows up very quietly.
Then look for ways to reframe this perception as it applies to the service you are providing. (I’m not implying you solve their life problems, rather as it specifically relates to your business-client relationship.)

You might not have all the answers, but you can help them navigate the situation and find solutions together, and best of all, they will feel heard.

Gayle Feallock, owner of Just Imagine Love, is a ceremony officiant, speaker, and Reiki Master. Developing positive, successful relationships with hundreds of clients has been at the core of her professional life.


In light of events of the past year around issues and in situations of social and racial justice:
This approach can apply to every aspect of your life, with friends and family as well. For example, if a friend makes a joking comment that has somewhat racist overtones, why are they saying it with a joke or in passing? Again, I think because there might be some shame or embarrassment around it and they “float” these ideas to see how we respond.
Instead of just cringing inside or ignoring the comment, have the courage to ask an open-ended question: “Where did you hear that?” “What makes you say that?” “What does it mean when you say something like that?”
You’ll be amazed at where the answer might lead, and together you might be able to reframe that thought and offer an anti-racist one.

For more resources and information around social & racial justice:
SURJ – Showing Up for Racial Justice
Black Lives Matter
Anti-Racism Daily
Equality Institute
Bryana Clover, Educator & Activist

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Nine years ago, I had the good fortune and privilege to get a hug from Amma.

At a big event in a Los Angeles hotel, people came from across the county – and the world – just to be near her. If you’ve never heard of the Hugging Saint, or never had a chance to be near her, find out more about Amma, here.

If you HAVE received a hug from Amma, well . . . you know.

On this occasion, her helpers and staff “prepped” those of us in line, waiting to go up to receive a hug. I was asked if there was something in particular I wanted Amma to address. I told the attendant I was experiencing a crisis of Faith, and the attendant jotted something down to show Amma.
Then, when it was my turn, I went up on the dais to receive my hug. As she held me close, Amma chanted in my ear a Sanskrit mantra (even as I type this I’m feeling goosebumps, remembering). And what she chanted, her attendant wrote down and translated for me.

I won’t reveal it exactly (it’s just between Amma and me) but essentially, it means, “I trust in and honor my Higher Self.”

Every morning during my 15 minutes of meditation, I focus on that mantra.
For anyone who meditates or has tried, you know the first several minutes are simply about squirming and getting settled!
Once I’m in the groove, any time I catch my monkey brain in action, I return to my mantra. It brings me calm, my breathing evens.
Then, finally, about 30 seconds before the 15-minute alarm goes off, I feel a brief sense of pure peace, during which, just maybe, my Higher Self can get a word in edgewise.
(This tells me that I need to extend my meditation to 20 minutes!)

I trust in my Higher Self – It knows better than I. It is the quiet voice. It is the alignment with resources and perfect timing. It’s like the wise elder who’s been through it all.

For those of us who are spiritual (but not religious) it can be challenging to sort out how Faith actually comes into practice in daily life.
Get in touch for more tools to connect to your Higher Self.

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For people who are spiritual (but not religious) it can be challenging to sort out how spiritual belief actually comes into practice in daily life. Since we’re not necessarily members of a church or temple, nor are we strictly following scripture, there are no specific guidelines on what belief looks or feels like. So how does it show up for us each day? As a motivator, as solace, or as comfort.

One way I like to think of God is “Grace On Demand.” And, BOY do we all need grace these days. Grace to move through stress, anger, sadness, or despair. And not only grace toward others, but toward ourselves.

Only through grace and peace and calm can we be divinely guided with the next best step, or ideal response; to hear that quiet voice.

How do we access grace?
Through meditation, through prayer, or simply through breathing. And you have access to all of these practices. You can do any of these things in the moment, wherever you are:

  • Taking deep breaths, in and out, rather than speaking, is an act of grace.
  • Build your “stillness” muscle by starting your morning with 15 minutes of meditation, an act of grace.
  • A moment of prayer for a resolution, is an act of grace.
  • A small gesture of kindness, is an act of grace.
  • Having a go-to mantra to distract your mind when it is racing, is an act of grace. (A personal favorite is “All Is Well” (*Abraham-Hicks).

These are each simple and extremely effective tools to navigate your day, and the way you practice them can be completely of your own device.
But more importantly, when successfully executed, you can actually FEEL that divine connection to your higher self. You can FEEL the essence of grace. To me, this is how I experience God.

And, ultimately, that’s the whole point – is changing how you feel, or improving how you feel. Recognizing that grace and ease are always available, on demand.

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Planning your wedding ceremony? My “Spiritual not religious” post continues to ring true for most of the couples I create with. Reposting from 7 years ago!

“. . . a quiet YES: the Divine brought you together, but the two of you did all the heavy lifting, and this is to be acknowledged and honored in a sacred way.”

—————-

Spiritual not religious: Navigating the G-word in Your Wedding Ceremony 

“We’re spiritual but not religious.” I’m sitting at my favorite Starbucks with a newly engaged couple. They are getting married next spring and we are meeting for the first time to discuss their wedding ceremony.

We’ve talked about how they met, the proposal, why this is the one person they want to spend the rest of their life with, and some ideas of what they would like to include in their ceremony.
As a wedding minister, I love hearing the story of their relationship and encourage them to weave it into their ceremony so their guests can enjoy it as well.

And then we get to this tricky bit:

When I ask them about their religious background and current spiritual practice, many couples respond, “spiritual but not religious.”

And to my followup question of, “What does ‘spiritual’ mean to you?” the answer gets a little more elusive.

Many couples feel a connection to something greater, yet the traditional religion they grew up with no longer resonates with their sense of values and in living their daily life.
And for their wedding ceremony, the idea of a reading from the Bible or mentioning God makes them feel a little squirmy.

One bride responded: “I think being spiritual is being in touch with the Earth, being good to people, understanding there is something greater that helps you out in hard times.”
Other responses have been, “It is living your life to make a difference, to do your best every day” and “I feel a close spiritual connection when I practice yoga.”

Many couples respond with, “I don’t know.” And that is ok.

If you want a truly secular ceremony, you can find a judge, captain on a boat, or have a friend sign up as deputy for a day to officiate your wedding.

If you are choosing not to include a spiritual element in your ceremony simply because it seems confusing or uncomfortable, maybe it doesn’t have to be.

As a nondenominational minister, I do invoke and invite the Divine, but require no proof or definition of your faith. Whatever spiritual means to you, even if you are grappling with that definition, that is what we create for you in the ceremony.

Perhaps your story of how you met had a serendipitious quality. Does it feel like there was something larger at work, ensuring that you two would meet?

Or, maybe your relationship was hard-won: so many obstacles placed before you that it is a marvel you will finally be walking down the aisle at all. In this instance, maybe it was only your faith in each other, in the face of everything else, that kept you two together.

In both cases, or any variation in between, incorporating that experience through a reading could speak to the nature of the Divine in your story.

Some traditional readings are popular and moving for a reason. For example, Corinthians 1-4: “Love is Patient, Love is Kind,” brings everything back to the simple yet powerful concept of love. “The Art of a Good Marriage” helps you to remember to be your best.

But don’t just toss in a reading because it is familiar or easy. Take some time to find something that really moves you and can deliver your idea of the Divine in a way that articulates what you might not be able to. It could even be a popular song lyric or excerpt from a favorite novel.

At the completion of the wedding ceremony, and before I pronounce a couple married, I always say a blessing. I don’t believe a blessing is a restriction, or an agreement with a certain religious scripture. Rather it is a quiet YES: the Divine brought you together, but the two of you did all the heavy lifting, and this is to be acknowledged and honored in a sacred way.

Just because it may feel ambiguous, inviting the spiritual into your wedding ceremony doesn’t need to be daunting or feel overbearing. It’s ok to not know, because, guess what? Nobody knows for sure. Just go by your true feelings, and Faith, and you can’t go wrong.

No matter how simple or brief, the sacred can still be included in your wedding ceremony in a way that feels right for you.

Gayle Feallock, Ordained Minister and owner of Just Imagine Weddings & Ministry, has officiated wedding ceremonies in Southern California since 2007. With no religious upbringing, she was a spiritual blank slate and eventually discovered her own spirituality thanks to generous teachers, leaders, mentors and schools. She welcomes all faiths and creates a sacred space for two people to celebrate their love and commitment in their wedding ceremony, for dearest friends and family to witness and support. http://www.justimagineweddings.com

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“I’ll be there in Spirit” . . . do you really mean it?

You make plans with girlfriends for a fun night out. Something comes up so you have to cancel, and in your text you also say, “but I’ll be there in Spirit!”

Does that mean, for the duration of the event you’re missing, that you will be in prayer or meditation, thinking about your friends and their fun night out?

Or, do you say it just to soften the blow? I get it, you don’t want to offend or dismay your host, and somehow this phrase indicates you’re REALLY sorry.
But, in my view, it’s a cop-out. What is wrong with simply saying, “I won’t be able to attend. I’m so sorry. Hope you have a great time.”
Period.

Why do I think this is such a big deal?
Because, tossing this phrase around cheapens it for when you really DO mean it.

spiritFor example, I recently gave a reiki healing to a client on the other side of the country. A long-distance reiki session.
This involved instructing the client to lie down at a specific time, eyes closed, focusing on their issue.
This involved setting up my reiki room and getting into a deep meditative state, intending that the reiki energy was becoming activated in my client.
In this case, I really WAS there in spirit. Focusing completely on engaging on a spiritual level at a long distance. It’s quite powerful. I did some work with reiki on her solar plexus. After the session she told me she experienced a lot of sensation around her stomach area. I didn’t tell her that’s what I was working on.

OR, during ceremony, when someone has passed and is there in spirit.
I’ve had this experience particularly at baby blessings: when a grandparent has passed, and we invoke their name during the baby blessing. For example, the parents of the baby have experienced a hummingbird buzzing by at the moment the grandparent is mentioned.

During a memorial service, at a sacred moment, something goes a little screwy with the A/V equipment. The client experiences that as the one who’s passed is sending a little ‘hello’ – especially if that person had generally been a fun trickster in their lifetime, too.

Words are powerful. Remember that the next time you catch yourself saying “I’ll be there in spirit!”
The truth is, you really do have the power within you to be there in spirit, whether you experience that through prayer, meditation, or simply spending time focusing  good wishes on another person or situation – it’s an incredible feeling, and can actually be experienced by the other person or have a positive impact.

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