Instinct comes from the body’s reaction to life, and intuition comes from our souls’ experience. Bring them together, and how can you go wrong.
It’s interesting to note that there is a difference between instinct and intuition; they tend to be interchangeable. I see it, especially when looking at quotes.
“Instinct comes from the word instincts, or “impulse,” meaning it’s a biological tendency. It’s the transient reaction that happens in our bodies, apropos of right now *1.
“Intuition comes from the word intuitio, or, “consideration,” meaning it’s an accumulated belief. It’s the ongoing collection of experiences, apropos of everything up until now. *2”
I thought it was interesting too to find that Darwin’s observations nearly 130 years ago were that “sympathy is our strongest instinct.” We are instinctually programmed to be kind, loving, caring human beings. If this is indeed true, then we are instinctively born with the values we aspire to live by; And that means listening to our instincts is in keeping with the things we value most intuitively.
Reflection: It is inspiring to know that I can trust my instincts from my body’s point of view and my intuition from my soul beliefs. As I work at bringing my body and soul together as one, that’s when I feel the presence of God’s grace.
May the peace and blessings of the Christmas spirit be with you.
My neighbor came by the other day to wish us a Merry Christmas. She had one of her little boys with her, and he was curious to see all the decorations we had and wanted me to turn on the lights so he could see everything lit up. As I turned the manger light on, it looks like the star of David shining into the stable. My little neighbor is very curious about everything and likes to check out all the details, so as he was checking out the manger, he wanted to know what a big clump of dirt was on the floor of the manger, and I explained to him that the manger was like a barn with a dirt floor. You could see his mind spinning to picture what the actual manger must have looked like.
It got me thinking, too, as a mother how difficult it must have been for Mary to give birth to a baby for the first time without much help and in such unsanitary conditions. It’s hard to imagine in our day and age where we wash our hands constantly. But Jesus came into this world like all humans are born, and both mother and child survived.
Jesus lives his life as a human even though he is known to be the son of God. He wanted us all to know that we, too, are the sons and daughters of our Creator. It was important for Jesus’ life to not seem any more important than your or my life because how else could we know that we could follow in his footsteps? Jesus teaches us that we can embrace God the same as he did. That we can live breath and experience life through God that we can be who we are created to be because just like Jesus, we all have an important purpose that God gave us to live out, and Jesus shows us the way, the truth, the life, and the how.
Reflection: On Christmas day Jesus birth reminds us that we too are called to new birth, new beginnings, and new life. May the blessing, peace and love of Christmas touch your life in a very special way.
“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
We talk a lot about how important it is to give to others, and to give without expecting anything in return is even better. The Bible teaches that “It’s better to give than receive.”Acts:20:35. I’m not here to argue with the word of God. I think we all understand the Bible is referring to those who selfishly expect with no intention of giving to others.
I never thought of it until now, but when I give from the heart, I can’t wait to see how the receiver opens that gift. It must be because when someone gives from the heart, I feel special to them. So, of course, I give with the same intention wanting the receiver to know how special they are to me. It’s not about the cost of the gift. It’s about the thought that goes into it.
Something else to consider is that it’s just as important for the receiver to accept our gifts as for the giver to give them. Have you ever been given a gift, and someone told you they didn’t want it? It’s hard to imagine someone doing that. In this respect, you can see how rejection is far more selfish than receiving. It takes just as much goodness to give as it does to receive graciously. I had to learn how to receive kind words from others because I didn’t think I was worthy of them. I had to learn how to accept others’ help when they offered, by remembering how much it meant to me to help them when they needed it. There are all kinds of ways we give and receive from each other.
Reflection: We give and receive; we receive and give. It’s how we keep filling each other’s cups back up, and that, my friends, is how the cycle of giving and receiving goes round and round. I call it goodness in motion.
Every cycle must return to stillness, silence, the dark;
Every out-breath requires an in-breath;
Every outer endeavor turns back inward of its origins, its center, and begins again.
From death comes new life, and from the darkest night, the new dawn is born.
New life, new birth, new beginnings seem to be the subject in December. We have to get through the winters of our life repeatedly, just like nature teaches us. It’s our chance to sit in the stillness, the silence, even the darkness, and contemplate what we had learned from the days when the light shined upon us. What will we take with us into the new dawn of a new beginning? What will we leave behind for now? What will help us bloom, unfold and become the person we want to be?
Reflection: I pray that the dawn of the Winter Solstice chases your darkness away. May all your sorrow vanish and all your dreams come true. And may the promise of God’s light come shinny through for you.
“Every single cell in the human body replaces itself over a period of seven years. That means there’s not even the smallest part of you now that was part of you seven years ago.”
~Steven Hall, The Raw Shark Texts
Did you know that your cells listen to everything you say? Cells can’t think for themselves. They follow the direction of our thoughts. If we constantly tell ourselves we are stupid; we create a body that goes along with that belief. If we don’t positively renew our way of thinking, we will repeatedly renew those negative thoughts. *“Our thoughts can change everything, or they can see that everything remains the same. The goal is to be the consciousness behind those thoughts.”
With each new cell, we can rewire and renew ourselves for the better. Like new birth, it is a sign of new beginnings, and with conscious effort, we can create a new commitment to God, ourselves, and each other to build a better good in the world. The way I see it if my cells are so powerfully affected by my thoughts, then so will the world around me be.
Reflection: If I want to experience the better good that life has to offer me, it must begin with the renewal of my thoughts.
His little heart was so full of merriment that it could not hold it all, and it ran over into theirs.
Merriment making is creating lighthearted gaiety or fun-making. It creates a festive merry feeling with activities that are enjoyable and amusing. But how do that without getting stressed out over all there is to do to make it happen? How do we do that with all that is going on in our world? How do that when we are morning the loss of loved ones?
Some hints I found for keeping the merriment in our holidays are:
First of all, it’s ok to feel stressed out with all you have to do and finalize. You are not alone. Most people experience a certain level of stress this time of year. There is also a lot of anxiety about the Covid pandemic and all the unanswered questions about what is safe and what isn’t as we anticipate getting together. So what can we do to help us through those stressful times? Get plenty of rest. Go for a walk, dance around the Christmas tree; exercise is excellent stress more manageable. Most of all, remember there’s nothing wrong with you. Stress is expected this time of year.
Set realistic expectations for yourself. Everything does not have to be perfect. Do the best you can with what you have to work with, and remember to enjoy the process. Why else are you going to all this trouble if it isn’t because, underneath all the work, you enjoy what you’re trying to accomplish?
Don’t hide from loss to spare other people’s feelings. Let others embrace you at this time. If you need to cry or talk, reach out to those you know you can lean on. Tom and I honor the family members who have gone before us by displaying their pictures. You can even add their photos to your tree. Sharing memories of Christmases’ past honors the lives of our loved ones.
Establish boundaries. There is no place for political discussions or the world’s problems in merriment making. Think about what you are about to bring up and ask yourself how it adds to the better good of your happy celebration together.
Merriment is not just something to be practiced at Christmas time. Bringing joy, laughter, and livelihood into our lives is something we should practice every day. Because practice makes perfect, and the merriment overflows into others.
Reflection: Most importantly, remember the reason for the season. Jesus the child was born, and through his life example, he taught the way, the truth, and light…always pointing toward the joyful life we are called to experience, in, with, and through God, as One in each other.
Willingness opens doors to knowledge, direction, and achievement. Be willing to know, be willing to do, be willing to create a positive result. Be willing, especially to follow your dreams.
Which one comes first choice or willingness? You know the proverb, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” I think you have to be willing to make the choices that come with your willingness to do something. Whatever you do, you have a choice, you can do it willingly and experience the positive effects in your life, or you can push your willingness aside and continue to experience the adverse effects.
There are many times that I don’t feel like doing what my willingness is pushing me toward. I don’t feel like writing lately. I have too many pressing things to do right now, but my willingness to stay committed to what I’m doing is a better choice than what I will feel if I give into my negative willfulness.
Having the willingness to do things does not mean we have to say yes to everything. People who are always willing to help tend to be the first ones asked to do something. So along with making choices, willingness also requires a discerning heart.
Reflection: My willingness is like a seed of intention. Once it’s planted deeply into the soil of my life, I must tend to its growth so it can bloom into the beautiful intention it willed into being.
“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
What’s not to value about miracles? If you’ve ever experienced a miracle, you know that it is a gift beyond the understanding of this world. Miracles happen all the time. Sometimes they’re big, and sometimes they are small. The big ones you can’t miss, but it’s the small ones that often go unnoticed, or we find ourselves questioning, (Did that really happen?)
“*A miracle is an act not fully explained by natural forces but attributed to supernatural forces, mainly God. There are many definitions of miracles. But, Biblically speaking, miracles involve God doing something uncommon and usually awe-inspiring in order to reveal himself to mankind.” I love this thought…God revealing himself to me. Jesus taught us that we, too, could do amazing things the way he did through the power of God.
“Christmas is a time to celebrate one of the most remarkable miracles found in the Bible: the virgin birth of Jesus. God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary, a virgin who was engaged to Joseph. The angel explained to her that she would become pregnant through the Holy Spirit without requiring a human father. Mary was initially upset by this news, but the angel explained to her that God was pleased with her and that she would give birth to a son who would save his people from their sins.*” It’s hard to imagine that this could be possible happen. But, hey, if God could create the world we live in, the sun, and the stairs, the universe itself. Then anything is possible in my mind.
“Reports of miraculous childbirth are not, however, limited to Christianity. For example, Karna, a central character in the Sanskrit epic, Mahābhārata, from ancient India, is said to have been born from his virgin mother Kunti through the sun god Surya. The Buddha is believed to have been born from the right side of Maya’s body while standing. Indeed, it is said that when the Buddha was born he immediately walked seven steps and at each step, a lotus flower appeared. Muhammad is also believed to have been accompanied by a bright light when he was born, while the ancient Chinese philosopher Laozi is said to have been born as a fully grey-bearded mam.* ”
These are all pretty bazaar miracles. But who is to say that one is more authentic than the other. Isn’t that the problem today. We argue that we are right and everyone else is wrong without looking deeper into the meanings behind each other’s beliefs. The most miraculous thing about all of these miracles is their underlying connection to one another. One vital thing they all came to teach was the same as Jesus taught us when he gave us the new comments, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” The Gospel of Luke
Reflection: We are still trying to find the miracle behind these shared words. If we put God first in our lives and let Him reveal himself through us the way he did through Jesus, it just might be the next greatest miracle we see in our lifetime.
What does a little acorn have to do with the things we value most in life? Our values begin with the little seeds of our thoughts. With careful cultivation from our hearts, our most valued seedlings are replanted into the acorn of our soul, where our values grow into wisdom, strength, and endurance.
The proverb of the mighty oak teaches us that great things can come from small beginnings, and yet it reminds us to give ourselves time to grow. It takes years of weathered trials and error along with the changing seasons of life, each year digging our roots deeper into this life on earth, yet always reaching higher toward the heavens. It teaches us never to give up because when we are as grounded on earth as we are in heaven, it is just that…heaven on earth.
Reflection: As we contemplate what to give each other this Christmas, why not keep in mind that it is the little things that we do that count the most. It is the gifts of the heart and soul that put the sparkle of heaven on earth in our eyes.
“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.”
Giving means different things to each of us, and it’s hard to get our egos out of the way. That’s what makes spiritual giving different. It’s a gift that comes from the heart with no expectations or gain of valued cost in return. The value is not in the amount you spend. The value comes from the heart and soul of the giver.
Whether we are giving or receiving, it helps to get the ego out of the way. Letting our true self shine through being guided by our highest values and the spirit of all that is good and right in the world. We don’t give to receive, but when we give from the heart, soul, and spirit within, we are blessed with The Grace of God.
Someone I was talking with recently can’t afford to buy gifts this year, so she’s been going through the things she has at home and has decided to gift them to others. Have you ever given away a possession that meant a lot to you? Boy, do you have to get the ego out of the way for that? Whether you are the gift giver or the receiver, being centered spiritually gives us the Grace we need to release and accept the things that come from the spirit of giving.
Reflection: I wonder how many nice things I have just collecting dust around my house that no longer serve me. Things I don’t need anymore that might give joy or fulfill the needs of others? As Mother Teresa teaches us, “it’s not about how much we give, but how much love we put into the giving.”