“There are no differences but differences of degree between different degrees of difference and no difference.” William James

Growing Up Spiritually

If you are familiar with my writing or follow this blog, you are aware of my penchant for spiritual things. I like to think of myself as a Contemporary Mystic. Unfortunately, mystic is a word that has been misused and maligned in the modern era. If someone says “she is a Mystic”, usually they are thinking in terms of occultism, delusion or psychotic episodes! This is an unfortunate fact. This causes many who are growing spiritually to be uncertain about sharing their experiences and growth for fear of being judged or misunderstood.

Mystic as defined by Oxford Dictionaries is; a person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect.
‘the poetry of the 16th-century Spanish mystic, St John of the Cross’

As a Christ believer, I have had more than a few heated conversations or rolled eyes when sharing my growth. It is what it is. The ancient writers like St. John of the Cross, who fervently sought after The Lord through meditation and contemplation experienced the same incredulity or worse, among family and peers. Many of these seekers were priests, rabbis, learned men and women of theology, yet their descriptions seemed out there or other worldly to some. They desired intimacy, to know God for themselves. To know that they knew what they knew. Or something like that!

For example, you meet someone and you are attracted to them. You decide that you would like to get to know them better and you seek to spend time with them, to develop a relationship. It’s all surface knowledge initially but the more time that you spend together, the more you learn about them. However, during this “get to know you” period, that individual’s true personality-who they are- is somewhat of a mystery. Even though, you have looked up there info on the internet and paid for the background check (lol), this is still surface information. The only way to truly know them is through personal experience.

Growing up spiritually is similar. We read the Holy Scriptures, attend church, temple or other designated place of worship to hear and learn so that we may experience God for ourselves. Much of what we observe is a mystery, at first. It is our seeking, though prayer, meditation and taking the personal time to ”get to know “that we begin to develop a relationship that leads to intimacy.

26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Colossians 1

The question is; How far down the rabbit hole do you wish to go?

Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity. Hippocrates

Beauty and wellness is the main objective at So Beautiful Ministries International. Spiritual practice such as prayer, meditation, mindfulness, all these are components to living a happier and healthier life.

Healing is a component of spiritual practice or as I call it “Beauty from the inside out”! Last year, I incorporated Aromatherapy into my beauty practice and I am impressed with the positive impact of essential oils on my clients emotional and physical health. Emotional health has a direct influence on beauty. When you are anxious,stressed or depressed-it shows on your face! Anxiety and depression also affect your health, such as high blood pressure, headaches and a host of other maladies. Prayer and meditation enhances mental function and supports physical health.

This year, I decided to go deeper into Beauty from the Inside Out and it has been awesome! I have completed training in Reiki and by combining it with Aromatherapy, it has increased the healing benefits from stress reduction to increased happiness!

What is Reiki?
Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It can be administered by palm healing or non-touch methods. It is described as “life force energy” that flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. My personal practice has helped me to understand this energy as the same flow of the Holy Spirit that I experience through personal meditation and prayer.
The word Reiki is a combination of two Japanese words – Rei which means-God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power and Ki which is life force energy. This is the energy that flows through all living things. Reiki is defined as “spiritually guided life force energy.” A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that relieves stress and helps the body return to homeostasis thus promoting physical healing.

When you feel good, you can’t help but look good!

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” Buddha

rulesforhealthyliving
Rules for Living and Spirituality

What other similarities can we attribute to the longer life expectancy of French and Japanese women?

In Japan, there is Shinto and Buddhism, which are a part of the nation’s fabric. Most of the religious ritual in Japanese culture is national ceremony. It is ingrained and not seen as separate religion. Spirituality is living normally. A way of life.

The case of spirituality for the French or shall I say the lack of it, is difficult to describe in the breadth of this post.
However, French longevity may also be due in part to their way of life. “Joie de vivre” is an integral part of the French social structure. This theme, to enjoy life and savor it exuberantly, can be seen as French spirituality. For example, a French pastime is sitting hours on end at a café, sipping and people watching. In the U.S., typically we do coffee via drive thru but if we do sit down it is still rushed as we are thinking or worrying about what is next on the agenda!

CafeMetropole-outside-side-view

Another tidbit that may play a role, French and Japanese dine with their families. They commune with each other regularly which is community, rather than sitting at the same table but watching television or on the cellphone.
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Japanese and French women work, have children, husbands, etc., typical responsibilities like the rest of us.
It is the “style” in which they do it that provides a center.
Not God specifically but ritual that allows for mindfulness which leads to a balanced life.

Choose Wisely!

Heart
14 “Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua 24:14-15 ESV

When on a path of spiritual growth, we will encounter obstacles. At the start, we may be very enthusiastic to enjoy the abundant life and we have every intention to follow the voice of the Holy Spirit in us

However, we live in the world. We watch television, we’re on the internet, we listen to music, read books, etc., etc. Imperceptible, at the onset, we may not recognize the compromise going on.
Society, cultural and peer pressures influence us. We do not wish to appear odd or fanatical, so we bend a little around our friends and colleagues. We begin to compromise, just a little a bit. Until finally, if we are not careful, we find ourselves repeating those acts and having those thoughts that are contrary to living in the Light.

The admonition of Joshua is something to bear in mind as we seek to grow in the spirit. What am I suggesting?

Practice the presence of God daily! Listen to your heart. Think thoughts of gratitude throughout the day, thankful for what The Lord has done. Whle you are listening to a lecture in class or consulting with a client, think of God’s presence with you at that very moment.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

“The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.” C. JoyBell C.

Plus-Size-Model-Ashley-Graham-Shows-Off-Curves-In-The-Sports-Illustrated-Swimsuit-Issue-Ad1-542x800
Ashley Graham’s cover on Sports Illustrated is a huge success for the plus size and body positive community. Her voluptuous presentation for the venerated swimsuit edition may have sexist overtones but it is a healthier view for all to see.

As a distributor with It Works Global, I have seen firsthand how a negative self-image can ruin personal development and fitness goals. When women see images in the media that portray them as sex objects or props its bad enough. What is worse is having these images become so ingrained that it is sometimes an uphill battle for women to make positive changes because they feel they will never look like the Maxim babes!

However, once women see their beauty improving from the inside- out through science and nutrition, they begin to appreciate the beauty that God has already blessed them with! They are eager to make the most of their endowments. A desire for change is all it takes!

After 15 years in the beauty industry as a makeup artist, it is so rewarding to help women restore their self -esteem in a lasting way. I hope you will consider checking it out!
http://www.prettybodysfl.com

When you are able to see yourself in the mirror first thing in the morning and feel good about what you see…..It is life changing!

When I was around 18, I looked in the mirror and said, ‘You’re either going to love yourself or hate yourself.’ And I decided to love myself. That changed a lot of things.
Queen Latifah

“Faith is about doing. You are how you act, not just how you believe” Mitch Albom

In celebration of the Christmas season, Woman Crush Wednesday honors a well-known woman.  Often venerated, sometimes denigrated, yet she has an enduring presence in the hearts and minds of many.  A woman who is an example of faith, in that she believed though she did not see and she saw her faith become a reality!

Thank God for Jesus (or Yeshuah if you prefer)!  I am sure you have figured out who this special woman is by now!

virgin-mary-mother-of-god-virgo-maria

Mary is a beautiful example of grace under pressure.  She exemplifies walking in faith.  She had a word from The Lord and had to walk it out,by faith.  I love her response to that Word from the angel.  I especially like the Message Bible version of that conversation:

“And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.”

And Mary said,

Yes, I see it all now:
I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me
just as you say.

Then the angel left her.

Luke 1:36-38

Basically, she said “Let’s do it!

Yet many times we hear an inspired word for our future or we have that “feeling” we should make a move, or not;  but we ignore the voice of the Spirit inside us.  The voice that says “I got you, go ahead and be or do whatever you see in your heart”.

We know that voice and we still talk ourselves out of it!

Luke 1:38 is an awesome  reminder of what it means to hear and receive, but also to stand in faith.

An awesome example from a woman’s perspective.