Category Archives: What’s Worked For Me

Practical Tips, Key Lessons & Growth Experiences that have assisted my growth towards God

The Fruits of Friendship

Each day this week I’m reflecting on friendship.
In my journey to understand true friendship, I realised something truly humbling. That is, that many times over the years I have completely overlooked people who extended true friendship to me.
I’ve done this for many reasons.
Sometimes it was because I’d never stopped to consider the qualities of true friendship. I was constantly seeking addictive relationships in order to make me feel safe, or validated, or liked.
Sometimes I recognised the character and goodness in the person but I felt so vulnerable and insecure about myself that I withdrew from them thinking they wouldn’t like me.
Sometimes I was just completely self-involved in my own life and issues that I didn’t even notice that the gift of love and acceptance was right there beside me. I didn’t see a gift without strings attached when it was offered to me.
How sad I feel to have rejected such gifts.
I recently asked myself the question: “If I can’t see the love extended towards me from those around me, how can I know it and receive it from God?”
Last Wednesday at the book group and karaoke night, the gift of friendship was extended to all of us present.
There were quiet helpers who gave us their time without demand for payment or recognition.
They set-up the sound system, they set out your chairs, they recorded it all, they charged batteries, set-up microphones, played music, cut-out feedback, and then packed it all up and stacked it in the van. They give you the gift of their time, their service, and their expertise almost every time we meet.
Did you see them? Did you notice the fruits of friendship all around you?
Often friendship is a quiet gift, by its very nature it does not demandour attention. Instead it ripens and bears fruit. It is enacted not just felt.
I am reminded that many who have now passed still serve me and offer me friendship. Fred and Robert James Lees extend their friendship across a century assisting me to grow and learn.
Also that each of us is surrounded daily by invisible brothers and sisters who wish to guide us to greater love and safety.

   *******************************************************************

Huge gratitude to these people who helped out on Wednesday.

Lena, Igor & AJ
 

To Lena – who has learnt how to edit video files so that we can bring you the book group on youtube every  week. She edits the video for upload each week and also operates a video camera and helps with set-up and pack-up.

To Igor & Vlad – who operate a camera and handle sound during presentations. Igor is our usual video editor and Vlad is learning the ropes. Igor uploads all files to youtube.

Joy & Cavil

 To Joy – who was the first to arrive and last to leave. I believe this made her stay at the Wondai Hall more than 10 hours!

Cavil

My AJ – who has individually purchased every piece of sound and video equipment we use, he maintains all of it, and understands how each item works. He has trained all of us in how to use these things and is involved in and oversees every set-up and pack-up we do. He packs the van and unloads. He backs-up every piece of data we collect. He edits all of the audio files that appear on our website.

Diana, Jane, Joy & Laurleen
Vlad & Igor

Jane & Anto

 To Diana, Cavil, Anto & Jane– who handled hall logistics, and mucked in with technical support or whatever was needed at the minute.

You guys are awesome

Some great guy who would probably rather be playing guitar!

My special thanks to these wonderful people and many others who often show up and quietly add their hands to the task. (I think Joy calls you her ‘silent ninjas’!) Every one of them is led by their own passion in these areas and their desire to serve others.

A Friend Indeed

On Wednesday at the book group we discussed the question “What is true friendship?”
This is a question that I have given weight to over the past year. In December 2010 Fi and I talked about friendship. I tearfully told her that I would like to be her friend, a real friend. I’d just lost faith that I had any idea about how that would look in practice.
You see I’d realised that I had often used friendships to avoid rather than express myself. I’d noticed that I’d used ‘friendships’ with women to avoid my loneliness and soulmate grief.
I’d begun to feel how hurt I’d been in my relationship with my mother and how that had effected every relationship with women since.
Too often I’d tried to gain approval rather than been willing to give or receive the gifts of true friendship.
Our conversation really started me on a quiet journey of self-reflection and it’s been a road on which I’ve paused at times to grieve what I thought I knew but didn’t, what I thought I’d lost but had never really had.
Here is what I have felt and learnt about friendship in the past year:
       a friend will tell you the truth of who they are and how they feel
       a friend won’t withdraw when they are challenged by the way we feel or live
       a friend lovesand gives without expectation, demand or desire for anything in return
Since I began to pray and desire to understand true friendship I have come to see that some of the people I thought were true friends were not, and some people I didn’t consider much had more integrity than I anticipated and offered me the qualities of friendship as a natural part of themselves.
Friendships, by nature of their honesty, their love, their gifts and their steadfastness in the face of change, can not only nourish us but also challenge us, and help us grow. 
At times in the past I’ve used ‘friendships’ as ways to have commiseration for my woes and agreement for my self-righteousness and anger. 
I now believe it is a true friend that will honour love and truth above accord in their relationships. And this not only makes them trustworthy, it makes them a friend in deed, in word and in spirit. It grounds them as an ally as I seek to honour for these things myself.
In the example in “Through the Mists” Helen and Frederick met only briefly while on earth, yet in that time they displayed to each the qualities of true friendship and thus formed a bond that reached beyond their earthly lives and into the heavens. Fred was so humble, so without demand or expectation, that he hardly understood that he should be rewarded for his gift of friendship nor did he see the measure of the gift he had given Helen i.e. peaceful resolution of her loving desire to have her charges cared for after her passing.
 

Have you experienced a friendship that has not only nourished you but also challenged you to be a better person?

A Book List

So I read a lot these days. I always used to as a child and teenager, then I went to university and it all but killed my joy in reading and writing. I used to write a lot as well – poems and stories – in notebooks and on scraps of paper. I’d be out walking and inspiration would hit me. Weeks or months later on I might find a poem scrawled in the borders of a National Parks walking map or a scrunched up serviette. I used to copy down the words of others as well, quotes and phrases, and paste them up all around the house, especially in the loo! My Mum and Dad used to laugh good naturedly at all my ‘inspirations and sayings’ hanging about our home.

Lately I rediscovered my passion for reading and writing (and for God and Love). I think the first two are a by product of the last two! Reaching for God and for Love again has brought me closer to the more pure me (don’t you love how that works?)

Anyway down to the point of my post today – I wanted to share with you some books and blog posts that I have read and that I find inspiring. I want to clarify that just because I’ve included a book or a blog doesn’t mean that it necessarily upholds the teachings of the Divine Love Path. Each title is on the list because it moved me, and nurtured my growth in some way. I found when I began to pray for guidance and truth more sincerely I was led to certain books at times when they were most beneficial to me. Can I suggest that if you plan to read any of the books below that you let yourself be guided to particular ones? I feel they will resonate or move each of us in different ways at different times.

So while I don’t necessarily endorse the views on God or emotions that are expressed in all of these books, I do want to honour every single author, their courage, their vulnerability and their gifts. Oh how I wish I could express myself in the perfect simplicity of some of these authors! (By the way, I’ve been cruising some blogs lately and I gather that, for the main part, the way to be a chic, informative, and appealing blogger is to keep it succinct. I apologise to you all – I do not possess this knack. Maybe it’ll come back to me as I get closer to God. I am, as yet, so verbose!)

Also I’ve added hyperlinks for most titles in case you want more information on the book i.e. publisher, ISBN etc.

Relationship With God

The Padgett Messages (available at www.divinetruth.com or here)

There is just so much wisdom and truth in these pages. Each time I return to them I find more and more to ponder and feel about. Truly food for my soul.

My feelings about the Padgett Messages haven’t always been like this. To be honest when I first went to read them I found it difficult.It all seemed very repetitious and my concentration often drifted. Recently I have returned to them with a passion and find every message rich with meaning and emotion. It’s like I’m reading a different text. The truth is I’m reading with a different heart! If you are struggling with the messages can I suggest something that got me restarted in reading them with gusto? I picked up the Little Book of Truths and just read a few short excerpts at a time. I prayed both before and after each message and sat with my journal and asked God to help me understand the true depth of meaning in the message. It really worked for me.

What’s So Amazing About Grace by Phillip Yancey

Its. Just. Awesome!

The Shack by W.M. Paul Young

I read this book quite a while ago and it really helped me to open my heart to an emotional connection with God.

Brokenness: The Heart God Revives by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Through the Mists by Robert J. Lees

Emotions

Healing Through The Dark Emotions by Miriam Greenspan

I have to confess that I am only half way through the first chapter of this book! The fact that I have already put the title on this list should attest to how enthusiastic I feel about it. Similar to when I discovered Alice Miller its refreshing to feel that someone else out there is telling some truth. Its truth that AJ & I talk about all the time but in my stuck times I find that just the reading of such books is supportive and encouraging.

The Heart of the Soul by Gary Zukav & Linda Francis

I found the chapters ‘Boredom’ & ‘Pleasing’ especially relevant to my life.

Feel the Fear… and do it anyway by Susan Jeffers

The strategies Susan outlines for dealing with fear are very much Natural Love techniques and I have not applied any of them – however what Susan states about the nature of fear and how it controls our life really helped me.

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

Brokenness: The Heart God Revives by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

I’m really in love with this book at the moment. I’m not entirely in love with the concept within it that love = self sacrifice but I do feel there is a lot to be gained in taking a look at our pride and demanding attitudes that are not qualities of love. The concept of brokenness before God and others is something I pray about daily.

Loss of a Loved One

I Will Carry You by Angie Smith
I cried on nearly every page of this book. The themes trigger very personal things for myself but apart from that Angie is a gifted and vulnerable writer. 
 

After You – Letters of Love, and Loss, to a Husband and Father by Natascha McElhone

Soulmate Relationship & Sexuality

Are You The One For Me? by Barbara De Angelis
For me the really valuable thing about this book was the insight it gave me into the addictions I have had with men in previous relationships and how willing I have been to overlook simple issues of love.

Female Chauvinist Pigs – Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy

Female Ejaculation and the G-Spot: Not Your Mother’s Orgasm Book! by Deborah Sundahl

Eh hemm.. so I want to clearly state that I DO NOT ENDORSE EVERYTHING IN THIS BOOK! Specifically I do not agree with the practices of seeing ‘sex therapists’. I do however agree that our vaginas (for those of us who have them!) store much emotion and connecting to these emotions brings about healing and increased sexual function. Some of what Deborah shares I found to be very relevant to my ongoing sexual healing.

The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

Family Relationships & Childhood Emotions  

The Drama of Being a Child (previously publishes as The Drama of the Gifted Child) by Alice Miller

Other Alice Miller Titles:    The Body Never Lies
                                          The Truth Will Set You Free
                                          Thou Shall Not Be Aware
I think many of you have heard me speak, write or recommend Alice Miller enthusiastically – enough said – she’s brilliant.

Toxic Parents by Susan Forward

Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karyl McBride

Well worth the read with some excellent emotion focused activities in the back of the book that can help anyone explore their relationship with their mother.

Homecoming – Reclaiming and Championing your Inner Child by John Bradshaw

Spirit Life

Thirty Years Among The Dead by Carl Wickland – Unpublished – Free Download @ www.divinetruth.com

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Practicing Love

Radical Hospitality by Father Daniel Homan & Lonni Collins

I love this book! Its not about nice meals and fancy linen – its about hospitality that extends to all strangers and originates in the heart.

Helping Kids with Emotions &/or Relationship with God

‘When I’m Feeling…’  Book Series written and illustrated by Trace Moroney

 

If you are interested in books you may like to bookmark this page as I will update this post on an ongoing basis.

Happy Monday everyone,

Love

Mary