Saturday, May 31, 2008

Life's Challenges

June 1, 2008

Dear Friends,

Have you heard the story about the gambler who dies and finds himself in a very peculiar afterlife? He discovers that—at least for him—the afterlife consists of an eternal game of poker that he will be playing with several other deceased gamblers.

He is elated by this prospect, and is delighted when he easily wins the first hand. He is even more excited when he wins the second hand. And when he wins the third hand, he is absolutely ecstatic. However, when he also wins the fourth hand, he is more surprised than happy. And when he wins the fifth hand, he is downright puzzled. Finally, after winning the sixth hand, seventh hand, and eighth hand, the gambler exclaims: “Hey, this isn’t any fun! I don’t think I’m going to like it here in Heaven.” To which, one of the other gamblers replies: “What made you think this was Heaven?”

I chose to tell this story because I think it makes a good follow-up to last week’s message. Last week, if you recall, I wrote about all the pleasures that life has to offer you, if you will just pause long enough—and be present long enough—to notice and appreciate them.

But life is not always one pleasure after another, is it? As we row our boats down the stream toward the fulfillment of our dreams, we also encounter rocks and reeds, sandbars and whirlpools, unexpected turns and dead-end tributaries—often as a direct result of our own freewill choices. Can you appreciate those experiences also? Can you appreciate life’s challenges as well as life’s pleasures?

The wonderful thing about life is that it is the turbulent parts of the stream that enable you to truly appreciate the more peaceful parts. You cannot fully appreciate experiences like comfort, freedom, and ease, unless you also know their opposites. As I have said before, the true joy of living comes from learning how to appreciate life as a whole—including any rapids or waterfalls you might encounter along the way.

Like the gambler realized in the afterlife, you can’t enjoy winning unless you also experience losing. Here’s to enjoying the game of life, and remembering that it’s the bad hands, as well as the good hands, that keep the game interesting . . . and ultimately, fulfilling.


© 2008 by Steven Lane Taylor
Author of Row, Row, Row Your Boat:
A Guide for Living Life in the Divine Flow

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Pleasures of Life

May 25, 2008

Dear Friends,

For the past week, I have been in Dallas, Texas for the birth of my oldest daughter’s first child, a beautiful baby boy named Cole. When Cole opens his eyes and looks around, the expression on his face makes it look as if he is thinking, “Where in the world am I?” As Cole begins to explore this world he now finds himself in, his parents are in for a great treat. It is so much fun to watch a child discovering and enjoying the pleasures of life.

Not too long ago, I remember watching a toddler eating in a restaurant. It was a joy to observe this little girl eating her dinner with such relish. She was absolutely thrilled by each and every bite, and she kept trying to steal more food off her mother’s plate.

And then there was the time I watched another little girl—this one about four years old—dancing to some music being played by a street musician. What was particularly interesting about this child was the way she “observed herself” as she danced. She would look at her arms as she waved them in the air. She would look at her feet as she shuffled them across the ground. And she would look at her waist as she swiveled her hips around and around.

I felt like I was witnessing that little girl’s soul—her divine, eternal spirit—being fully aware of its presence in this material world, and consciously enjoying the pleasures that this world has to offer. “Look, I have a body!” “Look, I can move it all around!”

So, you may ask, what does all that have to do with living life in the divine flow? Simply this: Always remember that your enjoyment of life has little to do with reaching the destinations you are “rowing” toward.

Sure, fulfilling a desire or realizing a dream feels great! But that is just the icing on the cake. The real, deep-down enjoyment of life comes from allowing yourself to appreciate the entire journey, and all the wonderful things that journey presents to you along the way.

As you pursue your goals in life, be sure to pause for a moment to appreciate the simple beauty of a tiny flower, and the majesty of a mighty tree. Notice the refreshing feel of a cool, spring breeze . . . the pure, clean scent of approaching rain . . . and the sound of a bird as it sings its splendid song.

Remember that living life in the divine flow is not just about getting where you want to go. It’s also about how you live as you row. Remember to take the time to laugh, sing, dance, and read . . . to eat your favorite foods . . . and to listen to your favorite music.

Make sure that you take the time to allow your spirit to do what it really came here to do in the first place—just to enjoy the experience of being alive and in the world!

Steven (Also known as Cole’s Grandaddy!)

© 2008 by Steven Lane Taylor
Author of Row, Row, Row Your Boat:
A Guide for Living Life in the Divine Flow

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Transforming Negativity

May 18, 2008

Dear Friends,

As I often mention, one of the primary keys for living life in the divine flow is maintaining a positive frame of mind. For many of us (perhaps most of us) that can be quite a challenge, because we have been conditioned for much of our lives to automatically doubt and distrust. Unfortunately, that negative mind-set makes us less open to divine direction, and so we often miss or dismiss the divine opportunities that the flow is attempting to present to us.

I wish there was a simple switch that I could flip that would instantly transform negativity into positivity—darkness into light. But I haven’t found that “light switch” yet. For me, transforming a thought based on fear into a thought based on faith is a process. And as I examine that process, I can see that there are several identifiable steps that I usually take.

Today, I offer you my personal process for regaining a positive attitude. If you are plagued by chronic worry and negativity, perhaps it is because you not taking one or more of the following steps:

1. I accept the fact that I am having a negative thought, and I don’t judge myself harshly for that. Judging myself just keeps me in that part of my mind—the ego—that thrives on fear and worry. Like I mentioned earlier, considering the way that many of us have been conditioned, a less-than-positive outlook on life is understandable.

2. I move into a more objective frame of mind by literally saying to myself, “Oh, I’m having a thought that (fill in the blank).” In other words, I don’t resist the thought, which just causes it to persist. Instead, I simply observe the thought without becoming attached to it.

3. In that more objective frame of mind, I am usually able to see the extreme, false, or unfounded nature of my thought, and easily discard it.

4. If the thought continues to remain with me because it still seems reasonable or likely, then I judge its reality based on my past experience. When I do that, I usually realize I have had a thought like this before, and what I feared did not actually happen . . . or it did not happen to the degree that I imagined. Often, in fact, my most fearful moments have set the stage for something really good to occur, instead.

5. Based on my experience, I then replace my negative thought with a more positive one. But more importantly, I affirm for myself what I know to be true in both my experience and in my heart: That I live in a beneficent Universe that is continually supporting me, protecting me, and guiding me to my highest good. I remind myself that I am constantly being offered celestial assistance, and I remember that my job is mainly to be open and receptive to divine direction.

6. Finally, I recognize that it is impossible for me to control every single aspect of life. So I simply return my attention to whatever is right in front of me at the moment—like driving the car or working in the yard—and I give thanks that while I am taking care of what is in my control, the Universe is handling everything else on my behalf.

All steps aside, there is only one thing you ever really need to remember, and that is this: “Everything can be a stepping stone to your highest good, if you are willing to look at it that way.” But if that is simply not enough to instantly “turn on the light” for you, then I hope the steps I have outlined above—like turning up a dimmer switch—will at least help you shed more and more light on any negative or worrisome thought you are currently struggling with.



© 2008 by Steven Lane Taylor
Author of Row, Row, Row Your Boat:
A Guide for Living Life in the Divine Flow

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Day, Mother!

May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day, Friends!

Sunday, May 11th is the day we celebrate the women in our lives who conceived us, gave birth to us, and nurtured us as we began to establish our own individual identities in the world.

As I contemplate the beauty of motherhood on this special day, I can't help but notice the similarity between motherhood and manifesting.

What similarity, exactly?

Well, as I have mentioned many times before, you are an innately creative being. No matter how happy and fulfilled you are, you will always be conceiving of things you want to have, do, or be in your life. Through your words and your actions you will constantly be giving birth to your ideas—to your desires, goals, and dreams. And by giving them your love and attention, you will continually be in the process of nurturing your creations—of helping them to grow into full expression.

In other words, whether you are male or female, whether you have brought a child into this world or not, in many respects you are—at the core of your being—a mother . . . someone who is divinely designed to bring something new and beautiful into this world.

As you pay tribute to your mother (or mothers), and to all the mothers living in the world around you, I invite you to take a moment to also honor the mother living in the world within you.

Take a moment to celebrate that motherly part of you that is an open chamber for receiving divine ideas, and an open channel for bringing those beautiful ideas into the world, and giving them life.

Here's to the joy of motherhood!

And here's to the peace that comes from knowing that the whole universe is willing to help you with that wonderful and immensely fulfilling work.

Happy Day, Mother!


© 2008 by Steven Lane Taylor
Author of, Row, Row, Row Your Boat:
A Guide for Living Life in the Divine Flow

Saturday, May 3, 2008

G.U.I.L.T.Y. or Guilty?

May 4, 2008

Dear Friends,

In the mid-nineties, I read and studied a book called A Course in Miracles. One of the points that this book makes repeatedly (as I understand it) is that whenever we are coming from ego—that is, whenever we are coming from a sense of self that is separated and isolated from the Divine—we feel guilt.

Guilt? At that time in my life, I definitely felt a certain sense of separation and isolation, but I couldn’t really relate to the deep and chronic feeling of guilt that the Course seemed to be referring to.

And then one day, something occurred to me. As I have said many times, the true you is not your body, your mind, or even your personality. The true you is spirit—an individual expression of the Divine that exists at the core of your being. And that spirit—that Higher Self—is evident whenever you express certain qualities . . . qualities such as love, trust, and understanding. Don’t you think that you feel guilty whenever you are not expressing those qualities, and may be expressing the exact opposite? Don’t you think you feel guilty when you are disconnected from your own divinity, and are not being true to your Self?

We may not have identified it, but I suspect that there is, indeed, a sense of guilt that is always present whenever we are not fully expressing our divine nature. It’s a subtle sense of guilt that we feel so consistently, we have probably become accustomed to it.

Today I would like to put a positive spin on this rather unpleasant topic of guilt, by transforming that very word itself into a beautiful reminder of the inherent goodness of your spirit. I have created an acronym for guilt that describes some of the wonderful qualities of your divine essence, and I present that acronym to you now in the form of a question:

Are you G.U.I.L.T.Y?

G is for Giving. And your spirit is here to give. Are you giving? Do you freely share your God-given gifts with others without demanding something in return?

U is for Understanding. And your spirit is always understanding. Are you understanding? Can you see that everyone is doing the best they can with the limited knowledge, skills, and history that they have?

I is for Inspired. Are you inspired? Are you willing to open your mind and open your heart to the divine insights and intuitive directions that come directly from your spirit . . . even if that divine guidance doesn’t seem to be “logical?”

L is for Loving. And your spirit loves unconditionally. Are you loving? Are you willing to look beyond appearances and beyond behavior to behold the inner perfection and inner beauty that reside within everyone?

T is for Trusting. Are you trusting? Are you willing to let go of control long enough to let the universe show you what it can do on your behalf? Are you willing to let your spirit guide you down a path that is different from what you planned on or expected?

Y is for Young at heart. Your spirit always approaches life with the innocence, enthusiasm, and wonder of a child. Are you young at heart? Can you enjoy this world as if it’s your own personal playground?

I ask you again, my friends: Are you G.U.I.L.T.Y?

I certainly hope so! Because the more Giving, Understanding, Inspired, Loving, Trusting, and Young at heart you are, the more you will be coming from spirit, instead of ego . . . and the more your life will be in the flow.


© 2008 by Steven Lane Taylor
Author of Row, Row, Row Your Boat:
A Guide for Living Life in the Divine Flow