Categories
Blog

What are Spiritual Partnerships?

What are Spiritual Partnerships?

share on social media

Spiritual partnerships are the most fulfilling, substantive, and deep relationships possible. They are relationships between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth. Growing spiritually means creating a life of more joy and less pain, more meaning and less emptiness, and more love and less fear. As we become aware of ourselves as more than we once thought that we were—and this is happening to millions of people—we long for relationships that are the most meaningful and rewarding possible, that support us in becoming healthy, vibrant, creative, and loving. These are spiritual partnerships.

You can create spiritual partnerships within your family, with your friends, your coworkers, your neighbors, and with another individual as a couple. No matter who the spiritual partner or spiritual partners are, the spiritual partnership operates the same way. It is a vehicle that supports the partners in it to become more aware of their emotions, to become more aware of their intentions, and in making the most healthy choices that they can, choices that will create consequences for which they are willing to assume responsibility.

My spiritual partner Linda Francis and I have been together for 17 years. We are married, yet we see our relationship as a spiritual partnership, and we see ourselves as spiritual partners. I am committed to my spiritual growth, and Linda is committed to hers. I am responsible for my spiritual growth, and Linda is responsible for hers. Yet I support her in growing spiritually and she supports me. We began creating spiritual partnerships with our granddaughters when they were 6 and 8.

Who are the spiritual partners in your life?

Love.
Linda & Gary
Categories
Blog

The Way You Sing It

share on social media

A friend took a trip to New Orleans after Katrina. He is a jazz musician and singer. He has been most of his life, and he feels that jazz is the greatest thing that has happened in America. Playing in a club with local musicians, he was invited to join the second line of a funeral the next day, a gig that paid him $150, some food, and another chance to play the jazz he loves.

The first line in a New Orleans funeral is the mourners. They grieve, cry, and remind everyone of what is happening. The second line is the musicians. They begin the procession with a dirge, stopping at clubs and bars along the way where they are fed and given drink. As the procession continues, the dirge slowly morphs into an unabashed celebration. “It’s the same song!” he exclaimed.

My friend knows grief and mourning. I met him at a memorial jam for his son, also a musician, who died young with cancer. Musicians who had played with him over the years, and also with his son, gathered with their horns, guitars, keyboards, and drums. “Jazz is pure America,” he said. “A community of equals that keeps creating something entirely new together.” They played through the evening. Then they showed us the second line, beginning with a mournful song that ever so slowly, and then with enthusiasm, transformed into an uplifting joy that swept us all into it. How could the same sad song become a song so joyful?

Some say that life is a sad song. Others say it is joyful. I say its not the song, it’s the way you sing it.

Love.
Linda & Gary
Categories
Blog

OCCUPY YOUR HEART

share on social media

The Occupy movement continues to spread around the world despite beatings, arrests, evictions, and the loss of so much personal property, frequently by people who have little personal property. The energy in general, as far as I can see, is not defiant in a superior way or angry in a personal way. As Martin Luther King, Jr., said in his famous I’ve-Been-to-the-Mountain-Top speech the night before he died, There are some kinds of fire that water can’t put out. He was on fire and so was the civil rights movement in the United States with courage, clarity, and commitment unto death. Now another fire is burning. Its intent is not to consume Wall Street, but to occupy it, to make it our own, to become one with it in order to change it for the better. There is no other way to change something or someone for the better except to occupy it first. The only person you can occupy is yourself. That is why the only person who can change you for the better is you. Without your decision to change and your commitment to change, you will not change.

Religions cannot change you. If you are angry, you will become an angry Muslim or Hindu. If you are righteous, you will become a righteous Christian or Jew. No dynamic other than your own ability to distinguish within yourself between love and fear and choose love can change you, moment by moment, decision by decision. In other words, the only things standing between you and the compassionate, wise, and creative person you want to be are matters of choice. Your choice. No one can occupy your generosity except you. Who can occupy your patience when impatience roars through you? Who except you can choose not to act with judgment when all of your thoughts are judgmental? Your life is yours to live, no matter how you choose to live it. When you do not think about how you intend to live it, it lives you. When you occupy it, step into it consciously, you live it.

At its best the Occupy movement expresses this, draws from it, and creates with it. It is a movement of self-responsibility uniting countless self-responsible participants an impossibility for the mind to grasp but not for the heart. Commitment and creativity cannot be captured and handcuffed. Inspiration cannot be jailed. The heart cannot be contained. Who can occupy your heart except you? What will happen when you do?

Love.
Linda & Gary
Categories
Blog

LOOKING BACK ON VALENTINE’S DAY

LOOKING BACK ON VALENTINE’S DAY

share on social media

Valentine’s Day – the day of roses, heart-shaped boxes, and cupids with arrows – is past, which is symbolic because the age of equating love with roses, heart-shaped boxes, and cupids is passing. In this age that is passing, we often mistook need for love. How could this be? Doesn’t love require signs of affection, shows of constancy, and gifts to seal the bargain? It never has. When someone fears losing your affection, he or she will strive to keep it. Perhaps you have strived to keep someone’s affection, too. Fear of loss is not love. When your intention is to avoid losing love, your gifts are manipulations. When it is to appreciate someone with no strings attached, they are expressions of love.

We are leaving the age in which appearances were all that mattered because they were all that we could see and entering a new age in which essence is becoming visible. The essence of a person is not the clothing she wears or the things he does. People who love do not stop loving when others change their clothing or act differently. Your essence is not even your history, culture, race, or what you think and do. It is your soul.

A few decades ago “soul” was a theological or poetic word. That is changing. You experience your soul each time you sense yourself as more than a mind and body, your life as meaningful, or you feel that you have gifts to give and you long to give them. You experience your soul when meaning, purpose, gratitude, patience, and appreciation fill you, no matter how briefly. Cultivating those experiences aligns your personality with your soul. That is creating authentic power.

Soul-to-soul connection (not appearance-to-appearance connection) is love. (That is why we call this newsletter Soul Connections.) Think of love as the sun. It shines on everyone. The sun is not afraid of losing your love, and it doesn’t even require you to smile back at it. The more we love like the sun shines, the more we become able to look back on Valentine’s Day and see it very differently.

Love.
Linda & Gary