APRIL 17: Listen to the Voice of Your Heart

Cultivate the art of listening to your intuition, your inner voice. This is the guidance of your heart. It’s a voice that speaks differently from the one in your head. The heart whispers softly; the head prattles loudly.

The head has an agenda for our lives. It chatters away boldly, but its vision is limited. It leaves no room for the mysterious workings of the universe, nor does it take into account the side trips we need to get where we’re going, where our souls need to go. It’s the voice that says, This is the way it’s going to be.

The heart, the inner voice, speaks differently. Sometimes it whispers. Sometimes it pulls. Sometimes it pushes. It’s spontaneous, in the present moment, and often a surprise. The heart takes into account what has to be done and the best way to do that. The heart takes emotions into account—the way things feel, the way you feel, the wisdom of your soul. The heart leads us into and through the lessons we’re here to learn.

Cultivate your inner voice. Practice listening to the whispers of your heart. Practice trusting your intuition, what you really feel, what you really know. Practice until that voice is the one that you hear.

Be patient. Be gentle. Let yourself
learn to hear the gentle and trustworthy
words of your heart.

April 16: Say what’s next best

Okay, so you can’t have what you want most in life.

What’s next on your list? If you can’t have what you really want, put that aside. It’s a no. It doesn’t mean you can’t have other things. Don’t let it contaminate the rest of your life. So you can’t have that particular relationship. What do you want, a good healthy love relationship? Put it on your want list. So you can’t live in that house. What did you like about that house? What would you like in the place you want to live?

Dig deeply. Look inside. I bet there’s all kinds of dreams buried in you. Go ahead. Take a risk. Let them come out. Look—you’re already thinking about something you denied yourself a long time ago.

Most of us have things in life we wanted more than anything or anyone else. Many of us have had to learn to let these things or people go. Put all the things you can’t have on a different list. Or maybe add it to your list of questions to God, your “why’s.” “God, why couldn’t I have that when it’s what I wanted most?” Then let it go.

Now, make another list. Call it, “If I can’t have what I wanted most, what would I want next best, after that.”

God, help me come up with a next-best list. Show me what to put on it and help my dreams come true.

Activity: Make a wishes and dreams list. This is a very important list. We talked about doing it at the first of the year. If you made your list then and are satisfied with it, maybe this activity isn’t for you. But if you think you may have held back, or you didn’t make the list at all, the time is right for you to start pursuing your dreams. If you could have anything in life, what would it be? What places would you visit? What people would you meet? What kind of work would you do? Where would you live? What kind of spiritual growth would you experience? How would you treat others, and yourself? What ideals would guide your actions? What would your ethics be in life? Spice this list up. Don’t hold back.

Communication: April 15

Part of owning our power is learning to communicate clearly, directly, and assertively. We don’t have to beat around the bush in our conversations to control the reactions of others. Guilt-producing comments only produce guilt. We don’t have to fix or take care of people with our words; we can’t expect others to take care of us with words either. We can settle for being heard and accepted. And we can respectfully listen to what others have to say.

Hinting at what we need doesn’t work. Others can’t read our mind, and they’re likely to resent our indirectness. The best way to take responsibility for what we want is to ask for it directly. And, we can insist on directness from others. If we need to say no to a particular request, we can. If someone is trying to control us through a conversation, we can refuse to participate.

Acknowledging feelings such as disappointment or anger directly, instead of making others guess at our feelings or having our feelings come out in other ways, is part of responsible communication. If we don’t know what we want to say, we can say that too.

We can ask for information and use words to forge a closer connection, but we don’t have to take people around the block with our conversations. We don’t have to listen to, or participate in, nonsense. We can say what we want and stop when we’re done.

Today, I will communicate clearly and directly in my conversations with others. I will strive to avoid manipulative, indirect, or guilt-producing statements. I can be tactful and gentle whenever possible. And I can be assertive if necessary.

April 14

Have you ever gone outside at night and looked closely at the new moon? Or looked through a telescope at the moon when it was crescent shaped? Although what we see is a bright slice, we know there’s more. Even when the moon is full and lights the night sky, there’s a dark side to the moon.

There’s a dark side to us too. We all experience jealousy, envy, bitterness, resentment. How about neediness? Ugh. Who wants to shine a light on that?

What about all those fears? Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of intimacy, fear of going broke, fear of staying broke, fear of abandonment, fear that we’re essentially unlovable, fear of the unknown, fear of growing old, fear of being alone, fear of being with someone, fear of losing control.

Then there are other parts of us that we would prefer to keep darkened and out of sight, parts such as greed, dishonesty, intolerance, disgust, hatred. Although some people have no problem showing anger, others of us prefer to keep that out of sight too. And what about our manipulative part? Who wants anyone to see that?

Some of us may even consider the dark side of ourselves forbidden. We may refuse to acknowledge it exists because we believe it’s wrong. Not acknowledging our dark side doesn’t wish it out of existence, any more than not seeing the dark side of the moon makes it disappear.

Most sane people agree that they don’t want to be controlled by their dark side. We don’t want parts of ourselves—jealousy, neediness, greed—to control our behaviors. But when we don’t acknowledge these emotions and traits, they can gain control. The more we try to repress something, the more it fights for its life.

Stand back. Don’t be afraid. Shine a light on that dark part. At least look at it briefly. Acknowledge it’s there. Take some of the pressure off. Let yourself be well rounded, instead of one dimensional.

Take it a step further. Share those darker parts with others, so they can shine a light on those parts of themselves. Experience how much easier it is not to act needy, not to speak bitterly, and not to look disgusted when you acknowledge those feelings.

Value: We don’t just have a light side, a bright side. Nobody is always loving, always kind, always generous, always thoughtful. Honestly acknowledging our character defects is the value this week.

APRIL 13: Give Freely of What You’ve Been Given

Learning not to overcare, overgive, and overdo are the lessons of the past. We have learned them, learned them well. There was a time when we needed to monitor our giving because we were giving compulsively, almost addictively, with no thought to what felt right in our heart, with no understanding of loving ourselves. But that was yesterday.

This is now. We can trust ourselves to know when it’s time to stop or when our giving has become destructive. We can trust ourselves to know when it’s not our job to give, because now we are connected to ourselves, listening to ourselves, on track.

Give freely of your time, your heart, your joy, your wisdom. Share your experiences, your strength, your hope. Share your weaknesses as well as your strengths. Share your money, your gifts, your laughter. Share your hope. Share yourself.

Give freely of what you’ve been
given, and the universe will
provide you with exactly what
you need. Give freely and the
universe will give freely to you.

April 12: Is it what you really want?

“Are you still in that relationship?” I asked a friend one day.

“If I were really sick, I could be,” my friend said. “But I’ve decided not to do that to myself anymore.”

Sometimes, a door is open. We can walk through it and into that room. We can stay there as long as we want and as long as we can stand being in that room. Many of us have learned to take care of ourselves so well that we can be in extremely uncomfortable situations and still comfortably take care of ourselves.

The question then becomes not, “Can I?” but, “Do I want to?”

There are many situations in life where we can insist on having our will and way, sometimes for an extended period of time. Stubbornness and persistence can be good qualities. We can stay with a thing until we learn it well. But we can also take that too far and stick with a thing—a project or relationship—when other weaker and wiser souls might have given up.

Instead of asking yourself if you can, ask yourself something different. If you’ve been hanging in there, trying harder, and diligently taking care of yourself, back off. Stop asking yourself if you’re good enough to handle the situation. Ask yourself if the situation is good for you.

God, help me take the time to ask myself, “Is this what I really want?”

Financial Goals: April 11

Taking responsibility for our financial affairs will improve our self-esteem and lessen anxiety.

Each of us, today, has a present set of financial circumstances. We have a certain amount of money in hand, and money due to us. We have a pile of bills that we owe. We have taxes to pay. Those are our present financial circumstances. No matter what the details are, acceptance, gratitude, and self-responsibility will lessen the stress.

Each of us, today, has a financial future. There are few future aspects of our life we can control, but one part we can play to assist our future is setting goals.

We don’t have to obsess about our goals. We don’t have to constantly watch and mark our progress toward them. But it is beneficial to think about our goals and write them down. What do we want to happen in our financial future? What financial problems would we like to solve? What bills would we like to be rid of? What would we like to be earning at the end of this year? The end of next year? Five years from now?

Are we willing to work for our goals and trust our Higher Power to guide us?

Pay bills on time. Contact creditors. Make arrangements. Do your best, today, to take responsibility for your finances. Set goals for the future. Then, let go of money and concentrate on living. Taking responsibility for our financial affairs does not mean making money our focus. Taking responsibility for our finances enables us to take our focus off money. It frees us to do our work and live the life we want.

We deserve to have the self-esteem and peace that accompanies financial responsibility.

Today, I will take the time necessary to be responsible for myself financially. If it is time to pay bills or talk to creditors, I will do that. If it is time to set goals, I will do that. Once I have done my part, I will let the rest go.