February 18, 2012 Edition
__________________________
We BELIEVE ...
that a life without love in it is
like a heap of ashes upon a deserted hearth ...
with the fire dead, the laughter
stilled, and the light extinguished.

the Center of Light & Serenity

Introduction
"Change" ... The Constant In Our Lives

We may change struggling from paycheck to paycheck to being highly successful .... we may change being cruel and irresponsible to being kind and considerate ... we may change being foolish and careless to being careful and wise. It's part of life ... changing ... evolving.

Uunfortunately, it can also work the other way sometimes. We can change from being wise to being quite foolish ... or ... from being wealthy to being poor. Regression is still change. The point is that we are constantly evolving. It can't be any other way ... and we can go one way or the other. Being static ... or standing still ... is simply not an option. It's as simple as that!

If we do not cause the changes to be for our good, then they will work against us. Either we are growing, learning and improving, or we are sinking deeper into despair. It is a constant for all of us.

Know ... as with all things ... that change, as with anything else in our lives, begins with thought. This is why it is important for us to be "mindful" ... conscious of our thoughts and the pattern that forms from them ... for it is our thought patterns that determine how we react to life's situations, and how we choose to react to them determines whether the change will harm or help our evolution.

Welcome the changes. View it that every experience brings a gift. So first look for the positive opportunities in them and then think and react accordingly. If change must happen ... and it will ... move yourself steadily forward instead of backwards by assessing which events offer you the greatest opportunity to move upward. Such a practice is what will direct change to your advantage and what will form a conscious thought pattern.
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We BELIEVE ...
that man is the only creature prepared to kill
or be killed for the mere sake of a idea.

the Center of Light & Serenity

TODAY'S INSPIRATIONAL POEM
Daily Wish
~ Phil Perkins

My daily wish is that we may
See good in all who pass our way;
Find in each a worthy trait
That we shall gladly cultivate.

See in each one passing by
The better things that beautify
A softly spoken word of cheer,
A kindly face, a smile sincere.

I pray each day that we may view
The things that warm one's heart anew;
The kindly deed that can't be bought
That only from good are wrought.

A burden lightened here and there,
A brother lifted from despair,
The aged ones freed from distress;
The lame, the sick, brought happiness.

Grant that before each sun has set
We'll witness deeds we can't forget;
A soothing hand to one in pain,
A sacrifice for love - not gain.

A word to ease the troubled mind
Of one whom fate has dealt unkind.
So, friend, my wish is that we may
See good in all who pass our way.
_________________________

We BELIEVE ...
that every gun that is made,
every warship that is launched,
every rocket that is fired,
signifies in the final sense
a theft from those who hunger and are not fed,
those who are cold and not clothed, ...
that a world in arms is not spending money alone ...
it is spending the sweat of its laborers,
the genius of its scientists,
and the hope of its children.

the Center of Light & Serenity

TODAY'S FEATURE ARTICLE
Showing Gratitude For The Bad Things In Life
by Michael Bonamassa, Sr.

In reading the title of this article, your first reaction might be "Now why would anyone show gratitude for the bad things they've experienced in life?" Let me see if I can bring clarity to such an understanding that it is not only possible, but one of the divine virtues we can embrace in our lives.

We all have issues to work on in our lives. Many of us feel as though we move in and out of shadows and quicksand in the backwaters of life. It seems like it takes the first 30 to 50 years of our lives for most of us before we are aware and hungry enough to seriously break out of being programmed puppets where others seem to be pulling all the strings.

When was the last time that you really looked and identified those things that stop you from fully engaging with life? I am a senior citizen and recently looked back on my life to identify all the ways I limited my experience of a full life. Needless to say, I was appalled. All these years I thought I was free of any chains! Looking back reminded me that as we are aspiring higher and higher, we are also responsible for keeping our feet on the ground. What I mean is that we can get caught up in focusing exclusively on ideals, and miss the fact that every irritant we feel in the moment is an opportunity for spiritual practice. Our best learning can easily come from the mundane and 'yes', even the 'bad' experiences of our lives.

As a matter of fact, one of the most, if not the most important thing that we must realize is that it is the moment by moment awareness of ourselves that is the only way for most of us to grow and raise our consciousness. We raise our consciousness by learning, experiencing and changing our perspectives ... and serving by expressing them and sharing them with others. It is hard to serve if we are blinded by and locked into our own dramas.

We all have shadow sides ... we all have life lessons. And whether they are our own or those of whom we have a relationship in life ... when they present themselves in our experiences, we need to look at them and learn from them. It is only when we resolve and integrate these shadows into the wholeness of who we are that we will no longer need to seek the spiritual ... we are living it.

I have to give thanks to my daughter Kelly for inspiring me to write this article. In glancing over her facebook page recently, I was pleased to find this statement that she placed on her wall ... "Be thankful for the bad things in life, for they open your eyes to the good things you weren't paying attention to before." It is her way of pointing out that she has gotten the message from her 'bad' experiences. I am proud of her because she has had a couple of bad relationships in her young life, and I believe that she has not only truly learned from them, but has also opened her eyes to what she really wants out of life.

For those of you reading this who may have had similar disappointments, I'd like to add that no matter how many relationships you have gone through, marriages you have ended or mistakes you have made, never define yourself as a loser. Instead, learn the lessons given to you by the experience and recognize and be grateful for the awareness you have gained. And above all, be proud of yourself for your bravery in having faced and learned from the "bad things" that have happened in life ... for only then will you move your attention and create and allow the good things to come.

This is one of three divine virtues or attitudes towards life that we can experience. The first being "Faith", that is, in terms of having a 'radical trust in life and in the Source of life' which is the opposite of 'fear'. To be grateful is to entrust ourselves to life, much as we entrust ourselves to water when we swim. When we 'trust' life (faith), we become open to surprise (hope).

Now there's a distinction between 'hope' and 'hopes' that I'd like to make here. 'Hopes' are purely in our imagination. They are desires that spring from our past experience. 'Hope,' on the other hand, allows us to be attentive and see the gift in what life actually provides, even when it is not what we expected. If we can relate to an experience in which the reality of a situation turned out to be much better than what we had anticipated, or when we are able to suspend our expectations and simply see what arose in given circumstances, this is what 'hope' really is. It is this virtue that Kelly has embraced! Can you see how gratefulness ... recognizing the opportunity in a given situation ... comes into play?

When we become open to surprise (hope), we can say 'Yes!' to 'belonging' (love) to which there are several forms of belonging ... romantic love, closeness to children and pets, devotion to something or someone in our lives, and suggestions that the possibilities are limitless. What's also important to recognize is that latter embraces an attitude and recognition that you are not the person you were 20 years ago, or even 20 days ago ... and that the big picture is unfolding perfectly even if you do not see it in a given moment.

Learn from these mistakes as our Kelly has, rather than getting stuck floundering in the backwaters of life. And as you build your skills of awareness, you can step out gradually into the mainstream. Soon you will learn to swim upstream ... you will then be doing life ... instead of life doing you.
______________________

We BELIEVE ...
that the achievement of our goals are assured
the moment we commit ourselves to them.

the Center of Light & Serenity
with the Center of Light & Serenity

Trust

Today, in a world that seems vacant of the peace, love and joy we all seek, there is much, very much, that is there for us to take in every moment of every day. The problem is that we must get beyond the thought that no peace, no love, no joy can come to us, because unless our hearts rest in the truth that it is all ours now ... in this very moment ... the true reality of what is will continue to remain an illusion. No, we must come to understand that none of it lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant of time.

There is always light beyond the darkness, and the gloom of our world is but a shadow, if we could only look beyond the covering to see it. If we could but remove the covering, there is a living splendor and abundance of peace, love and joy. Beyond everything we call a trial or tribulation, a sorrow or a sadness, lies a gift. As long as we judge what's before us through the negativity of our consciousness, that is all that we will see and grasp. Instead, 'TRUST' in our life as being full of meaning and purpose that goes beyond the sight of our physical eyes. Only then will you open your spiritual eyes to see the beauty beneath its covering. Give 'thanks' through this 'trust' and it is then that you will experience and see through the cloaks that are covering the heaven you seek. This is all that is needed to claim it.

The key is to avoid becoming stuck ruminating over everything you’re unhappy with and to start taking action to make things better. Our minds are amazing and powerful things and the way we think about our circumstances directly affects how we feel and how we act. If we allow our minds to get stuck on the negative, our mood and behavior will surely go downhill as well. From there, it is a downward spiral and things will only seem to get worse. Instead, use 'trust' and 'gratefulness' as your weapon against such negative thoughts.

As Fra Giovanni Giocondo said in his time-honored 16th-century message to a friend ... "Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel's hand that brings it to you."
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We BELIEVE ...
that it is not only a matter of knowing who we are,
it is also a matter of being true to ourselves,
that in doing so, we are being true to all.

the Center of Light & Serenity

SPIRITUAL INSIGHT
Like Drops In An Ocean Of Love

You are a mere drop in an ocean of love to spread the truth of who you really are through the ripples caused by these words. It is our hope to bring you to a level of consciousness which in the next months to come will resemble a blossoming which is too difficult for you to imagine.

Like a rose does not imagine its' beauty of full blossom when it first begins to bud ... never suspecting the expansion the beauty it is capable of creating, so are you beings of light and love incapable of truly understanding your gift of divine creativity ... and the process of becoming what you set out to become.

Although the bulk of you will achieve what you set out to realize as souls here on Earth, you can easily fall into the low energies of 'fear' in sight of the mass consciousness that is so strong and negativity so heavy at this time. For that reason, you must fall back into TRUST and have patience in knowing that which you are doing in these coming months is aligning with the great plan of ascension and building the superstructure to higher vibration and consciousness.

It is therefore necessary that you remain diligent in your process of building this superstructure so that it is significant in size ... as well as in meaning ... to bring about the end of fear and hatred and move you into the compassion and love for one another so as to end the tragedies of war forever as you move and unite into oneness.

Yes, the process of ascension is an amazing phenomena to behold and you have more support and evaluators galore who are helping and tracking your progress. There are also many on this side of the veil who are watching this process unfold in anticipation of the great celebration that will follow.
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A Special Blessing to You and Yours ...
Until next issue ...
These things, we warmly wish for you-
May the roads rise to meet you.
May the wind be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
The rain fall soft upon your fields
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Love and Light, Mike & Sandy
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