Category Archives: Spiritual Fitness

STRETCH – Part 1

Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I not only stretched between sets as I lifted weights, but I also stretched at the end of my workout.  I had stretched beyond self-imposed limits by hitting the gym at 5:30 AM for the last few weeks.  I work out most days, but I seldom had sufficient time to do my best in the gym.
I finally regained re-commitment to the steady course of showing up for me, and I love it!
By stretching at the end of my workout for 15-20 minutes, I also felt the restoration from the tightness of convention, fear and judgment
that had kept me in a box of weakness.
I felt my strength returning.
I felt so good that I realized I have to do even more stretching.  I have to stretch during and after my workout, and do even more stretching for life in general.  Stretching is reaching beyond our boxes.
 Stretching is stepping into the realm of the unknown.  Stretching is the pure possibility of growing into our divine potential.
When I think of stretching, I can’t help but think of Mrs. Ernestine Shepherd (featured in these photos), an 80-year old body builder: the oldest female body builder.  Her courage, her dedication, her diligence, her determination, her discipline, her consistency, her strength, her beauty, her positive energy, her grace, and her love are an example for all to aspire to.
I want to share her creed, an affirmation that I also plan to repeat everyday, as I stretch into the glory of the woman God has chosen me to be.
ERNESTINE SHEPHERD’S CREED:
“I promise myself to be so strong
that nothing can disturb my peace of mind,
to talk health, happiness and prosperity
to every person I meet –
to make all my friends feel that
there is something worthwhile in them,
to look at the sunny side of everything and make my optimism
come true, to think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best,
to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others,
as I am about my own,
to forget the mistakes of the past,
and press on to the greater achievements
of the future,
to wear a cheerful expression at all times,
and give so much time to improving myself
that I do not have time to criticize others,
to be too large to worry,
too noble to anger,
too strong to fear,
too happy to permit the presence of trouble,
to think well of myself
and to proclaim this fact to the world –
not in loud words,
but in great deeds,
to live in the faith,
that the whole world
is on my side
so long as I am true
to the best that is in me.”

How awesome it is to receive this incredible blessing from Ms. Ernestine, a role model for us all – who stretched beyond pain,stretched beyond age, stretched beyond high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and frustration to get up from her mat and walk, demonstrating to everyone that we are always better than even our best.

 

Advertisements

CREATE IN ME A PURE HEART

The Psalmist says “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.   Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:10-12)  He begs God to help him keep his consciousness clean, unadulterated and full of the Holy Spirit because he realizes that without it, he has issues.  He wants to stay connected to the presence of the Holy Spirit because he without it, he is weak instead of strong; he is dumb instead of wise; he is mis-directed instead of guided; he stutters instead of speaks; he fails instead of triumphs.

The Holy Spirit is our life-line to God.  If God is Inexhaustible Source and Infinite Supply, the Holy Spirit is that divine channel that connects us to all that God is.  But if we are not centered in the Holy Spirit, if we are not aligned with its presence, if we are not listening to its guidance – we fail to receive the endless blessings that are always here.

The Psalmist knows this.  The Psalmist realizes the power of loving the Holy Spirit – of not doing, saying or thinking anything that jeopardizes his connection – and so he begs “Create in me a pure heart God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.   Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”  Show me how I can remain centered in you – in your integrity – in your discipline – in your truth – in your light – in your Spirit.
I get up every morning and I’m so busy getting ready for work and trying to get to the gym. I need to return phone calls, and answer email.  I need to text message.  I want to check the internet.  I want to order those shoes; I’m hoping that I can fit those pants.  I need to record that show.  I got to charge my iPad.  I’m multi-tasking in the world – and if I am not centered, I fail connect with all of this worldly things because I fail to connect with Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is where I need to get re-charged.  The Holy Spirit is where I need to tap in and turn on.  God is everywhere power, always available, endless supply, inexhaustible source – but we allow our batteries to falter and run low because we stop connecting with the absolute good that is here.

“Create in me a clean heart.  Renew a steadfast spirit within me.   Help me remember that the Holy Spirit is always my teacher and my guide.”  You see, I distracted by the world.  I forget my calling.  I start worshiping the material and the flesh instead of demonstrating your power in me.  I allow myself to be thrown off course by the energy of others.  I start wallowing in fear.  I get confused.  I start second-guessing the kingdom of God within unless I am anchored – connected – imbued – glued – one with the Holy Spirit.
Spirit gives us a wealth of wisdom.  Spirit gives us a power of prophecy.  Spirit gives us a strength of speech.  Spirit gives us a restoration of revelation.  Spirit gives us a vision of victory over any adversary.  What did Jesus say?  The Holy Spirit  teaches us all things (John 14:25-27).

Ask Joseph.  Remember him?  He was thrown into slavery by his own brothers, but he overcame every obstacle because he had the superior, supernatural wisdom of Spirit.   And here’s the thing – not once did Joseph put anything before Spirit, and he was always blessed.  They put him in chains, and the chains fell off.  They falsely accused him, and the truth came to light.  They sold him into slavery, and he became a ruler over all the land.

The Holy Spirit does not operate in the convention of man.  Spirit is not limited to time constraints and educational degrees and economic shifts and physical barriers – and yet, it is a power so real that it anoints us with the gift of prophecy.  We can plan accordingly. Through the Holy Spirit, we are given the gift to see beyond the earthly realm and know what will happen even before it does.  Our ability to co-create with the Universe is strengthened because we are connected with the unlimited flow of God.

1 Samuel says that when the Spirit came upon Saul, he began to prophecy.   It says that the Spirit of God came on Saul’s men, and they began to prophecy.  Saul sent for more men, and they began to prophecy too.   Saul then sent a third wave of men, and they also began to prophecy. (1 Samuel 19:19-21)  Why?  Because there is no limit to what Spirit can do.

We do our part by putting Spirit first.  And when we do, we Spirit blesses us with the strength of speech.  The words that we need to say – just come out, and even if they don’t the receiver of the word, the listener hears the right thing.

Spirit will speak for us at our interviews.  Spirit will stand for us during those difficult confrontations.  Spirit will give eloquence when we feel tongue-tied.  In Luke 12, Jesus said don’t worry about how to defend yourself, don’t worry about what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will put the words into your mouth.

Spirit will speak, but it requires us to listen.

If we don’t listen, we don’t hear the word.  We get static.  If we are not tapped in and turned on to God, we don’t get the right reception.  The picture stops coming through because we aren’t on the right channel.  The only channel, you see, is the Holy Spirit.

In 1 Corinthians 2 Paul says “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” are the things God has revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.  With Spirit the battle is over because we have won before the fight begins.  We need to wait on the outcome.  The deck is already stacked in our favor.  The right job, the best mate, the more money flowing than we have ever seen in a long, long time is the benefit of loving the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit told me that it is light emanating in endless directions – from a central place in the divine ethers of energy around you but connecting at the center of everything that we are – not merely shining above us but also below us – to our left, to our right, radiating in our gut, in our heart, in our mind.
Allow this light of God to remove any impediments, any concerns, any fears, any doubts, any thoughts, any people who stand in the way of Spirit, the Holy Spirit as Absolute Good.

Don’t fight them, just bathe them in the loving presence of Spirit.  Feel them being loved and removed by Spirit.

Feel the love cleaning your own heart.

Feel is light and its energy lift you into a new awareness of your connection to God everywhere present.

DANCE WITH A NEW FREEDOM

 DANCE 13she wishes she could tell you the beginning so that you would realize the end
is the glory of a song
and a dance
with heart and meaning,

the poetry of creation
always leading back to itself.

DANCE 10

DANCE 3

Eric Butterworth was one of the great mystics of your time.  He taught many Brown Girls and left many books and tapes as a lasting legacy.  Before he made his transition, he was in a wheelchair.  His voice had become so weak that those around him hung on to his every word.  One of the last things that he said at a retreat in upstate New York was “I have no theology, I dance.”

“I have no theology, I dance”  means that you DANCE 5move with the Holy Spirit,  move with the wisdom that there is no separation between all that you are and all that I am.  You flow, you live, you laugh, you sing, you dance with a new understanding that you are unlimited in the Spirit, regardless of the appearances of the flesh.  You are Spirit in movement.

DANCE 2You are not a religion, you are divine truth. You are constantly re-defining yourself because there is no limit to Spirit.  In John 14:12, Jesus said, he who believes in me will do the works that I do also; and greater works than these will he do.  When you dance in the Spirit, you realize that if things are not going the way that you want them to go; if you are not satisfied with the direction your life has taken; if you don’t like the experiences that manifest in your life – you have the power to change them.

DANCE 7When you dance in the Spirit, you know that if patterns of negativity keep showing up in your life – such as disharmony, loneliness, pain, physical discomfort, financial insecurity, lack, worry, doubt – you can change them. You can wake up from your self-limiting thought and you can experience the ceaseless flow of good – and turn your life around.  You can dance.

DANCE 8When you dance in the Spirit, you shake the dust off your feet.  You bless the people who are not in accord with your greatest good, who do not support you and do Spirit calls you to do.  You dance in the joy of infinite possibility.  You dance in the hope that you can create, grow, plant, deliver, empower, ignite, vote, rap, sing, write, dig, teach, sell, envision, tap, rescue, develop, uncover, realize something in your life that will heal the world of hatred, of doubt, of lack, of limitation.

DANCE 11The Psalmist says in the 8th Psalm, the 6th Verse, you have given him power over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet. You dance.  No matter how unimportant, how trivial, how average, how unattractive, how old, how overweight, how unnecessary, how disabled you may seem to you, the dance that you do could not be done in quite the same way – without you doing it.  You dance in the realization that you are my unique melody sung once – only once as you – one melody of Spirit singing itself into the continuum; and the music of the spheres would not be complete without your voice.

DANCE 12 You dance in the truth that Spirit moves through you. You have something wonderful to offer life, which can only be created as you.  When King David brought the Ark of the Covenant to the City of David, which to the Israelites was the ark where God was kept, David danced before the Lord with all his might.  This mighty king made up his mind right then that he would tap dance, break dance, cabbage patch – clap his hands and stomp his feet – that he would gladly be a dancing fool – not just for a wooden Ark but for the Spirit that dwelt within him.

DANCE 6Throw away your crutches – whatever shape they may take.  Get up from beside your pools of Bethesda.  Touch the hem of my beloved Jesus’ garment.  Rise up like Lazarus.  Run the race and don’t get weary.  Renew your course with a new strength, a new power and a new victory.  There really is nothing, absolutely nothing that can hold you back.  So press forward not just to win the prize but to dance – all the way to the finished line.

 

This is an excerpt from the book God is a Brown Girl Too, which can be purchased on amazon.com.  It is a book where God speaks to us from the kingdom within, which is and always will be uniquely us.  Read and imagine God speaking to you, in the image and likeness of all that you are.

JOIN THE SPIRITMUV MEDITATION CHALLENGE

JOIN THE SPIRITMUV 40-DAY MEDITATION CHALLENGE.

Click above to join the meditation challenge.

fall 15

Since 2012’s 40-day Challenge, we have continued and have now challenged ourselves to over 700 days of meditation.

Why?  Because it changes our lives and centers us so that we listen to the divine within.

THE BEST BEAUTY SECRET EVER By Cecilia B. Loving

Some of us spend a lot of time at the hairdresser, making sure our locks are locked, braided, straightened, weaved, curled, or extended – not to mention colored, streaked, highlighted, or otherwise anointed by the magical goddess we pay even if we can’t pay for anything else.

We also pay the nail goddess to soak, scrape, cut, carve, shave, wax, paint, glue, gloss, gel, clip our finger nails, feet, chins, brows, upper lips, legs, and extraneous places just in order to polish our appearance.

We also worship the gym god – lifting weights, running like hamsters on a treadmill, crowding the Zumba classes, gazing up during simulated rope climbs, jumping off steps, spinning soulfully, walking, dancing and sweating in 105 degrees of Bikram yoga to carve ourselves into more magnificent beings.

We watch our diets – foregoing cookies, cupcakes, candy, cokes, and chips – and for those of us who are really religious – we eat only lean protein, green vegetables, oatmeal, brown rice and sweet potatoes.  We patrol our portions, pieces and pounds – measuring on digitized food scales, planting apps on iPads and iPhones and other electronic wizardry to ensure that everything adds up – from the oz. of water carefully counted, the step diligently taken – to the minute of sleep that we spend each night on beauty.  But the best beauty treatment has nothing to do with these things.

The best beauty treatment is intangible and invisible to the flesh but it heals our imperfections, smoothes our wrinkles, brightens our eyes, thickens our hair, reddens our cheeks, clears our complexions, washes away our cellulite, flushes our toxins, and releases extra weight.  The best beauty treatment ever is simple: it is the love that we fill our minds with, bless our souls with, and surround our hearts with.  The best beauty secret ever is a love that transcends flesh and form, igniting every aspect of our being with the light of Spirit.

Do you remember in whose image and likeness you are made?  Do you know who loves you with an everlasting love?  John said that “God is love” and “[w]hoever  does not love does not know God” (1 John 4:8)(NIV).   The biblical witness teaches us that “[w]hoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” (1 John 4:16).  But we never really try to put these words into practice.  We never really see these scriptures as more than poetic frippery for the pious self-righteousness.  But realizing that God lives in us and we live in God is our connection to the love inside of us so that what’s on the inside (our consciousness) can cover what’s on the outside.

We cannot love anyone unless we first love ourselves, and when we love ourselves the light of that love fills the room and others can see it and feel it and be uplifted in it whether they realize it or not.  We bask in the glow of the beauty of our love, and it fills all of our ornery cracks with smooth surfaces and our rough edges with real honesty, real compassion, and real beauty.

Most of the time we spend at the hairdresser, at the manicurist, at the gym and many of the other places where we worship the beauty god, we are not tapping and turning on the true beauty secret of love.

Instead, we are hardening ourselves, aging ourselves, plaguing ourselves with hate.  We are judging how long and thick someone else’s hair is, whether it’s a weave or real.  We are comparing someone else’s girth to our own – their speed, their flexibility, their stamina – and even their strength.  We want so badly for men to accept us as the queens that we are – that we condemn others, knock them, belittle them, and begrudge them their true self-worth because we don’t know our own.

Our beauty treatment starts with a love so strong on the inside that it washes away insecurity, washes away hopelessness, washes away fear and gives an instant makeover of dynamic new energy, amazing creativity and divine strength that is magnetizing and miraculous – defying age and attracting the right loving supportive people onto our path.  This is a beauty treatment that cannot be bought over the counter, scraped by a dermatologist,  blasted by an aesthetician, or revitalized with a makeup potion.  All we have to do is love ourselves deeply and profoundly — without worrying about what anyone else thinks.

We need to stop wherever we are and whatever we are doing — here and now and love ourselves completely and unconditionally, really close our eyes and see the flow of our love filling every cell and atom and muscle and bone of our body — from top to bottom.  We need to love our flat feet, our big hips, our wide behinds, our freckled noses, our small hands, our full bellies, our squinty eyes – the things that make us different and the things that make us alike.

We’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places.  Whether we are with someone or not – real love, true love, undivided, spectacular, awesome, wholesome love starts with us loving ourselves unconditionally.  When we love ourselves deep down on the inside – the fears, the shadows, the doubts subside and the pure potential of our true purpose glows on the outside.  We have to spend as much time as we spend at the beauty salon and the manicurist and the mall looking inside ourselves and saying “I love you.  I am here for you.  I support you.  There is nothing that you cannot accomplish with the love I have for you.  My love is everlasting, and it will not change.  My love will never falter or subside.  I love you from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head.  I love with a soul that only knows eternity and with a spirit that goes before you to smooth the way for your passage.”

We want to make love with the man or woman of our dreams and be worshipped as beautiful and sexy and smart.  We want our spouses, our lovers, our partners to love us more than we spend time loving ourselves.  But someone else’s love will never be as good as the love that we have for ourselves.

We’ve done the do – allowed our better judgment to be seduced by what looks and sounds and smells good.  We’ve entered the flesh – been entered, dared and swung around a few poles of foolishness just to please or be pleased.  But have we ever really taken the time to visit the real love, the true love, the one and only love – the Kingdom of God in us?  Have we ever taken the time to say “God, I know you are in there and I love you.  I love how you shaped and formed my body so that I could move and create and exist and taste and smell the beautiful universe of this right time and extraordinary place that you have blessed me with.  Oh Kingdom of God in me, I am glad that you allowed me to be – that you created me and recognized me and gave me every power that you have.  Oh Kingdom within me, I see you penetrating every cell and bone of my body with your love and I know that love of me.  Your loves heals me, protects me, satisfies me, uplifts me, delivers me, provides nothing but good for me.  Oh Kingdom within me, you are beautiful and glorious and awesome, and I am grateful that you shine as me.”

When we take the time to love ourselves, the power within us soars and the beauty within us glows even more magnificently.  When we really love ourselves, people comment on how beautiful we look, are drawn to our unique energy, ask us if we are going out, wonder what’s going on in our lives, want to follow our aura, feel the impenetrable power of God’s love radiating as us.  This is the best beauty secret ever.  It will charm any woman or man.  But more importantly, it will guide us and shape us and mold us into the incredible beings that we are – so much more in the Spirit than we could ever imagine in the flesh.

Cecilia B. Loving is Pastor of SPIRITMUV, which holds its services each Sunday, at 2:30 PM,  at the Unity Center of NYC, 213 West 58th Street.

TIME FOR RE-RESOLUTION By Cecilia Loving

On my way into the New York Sports Club this morning, I was moved by their current promotion.  A big sign out front reads “Re-Resolution Sale.” It is a great reminder to get back on track.  Even if we have not done the things that we resolved to do, we can still get back on target.

weight lifting oneRe-resolution provides a second chance to get it right. Re-resolution allows us to re-trace our steps and re-dedicate ourselves to the mission we were committed to when we first began. Even if we swore to abide by our resolutions and then failed, re-resolution re-opens our desire to ask again and receive; to seek again and find; to knock again and allow the door to be opened.

mountain oneRe-resolution re-ignites our faith to start all over again. As a colleague was telling me last night: when we make it to the top of our mountain, we only find ourselves at the bottom of another one – realizing a resilient determination to face new heights.

moutain threeRe-resolution is the opportunity to re-create ourselves with a new determination, a new chutzpah, a new energy, a new strength, a new resolve. Re-resolution fills us with a new appetite, a new hunger, a new thirst for renewal.

I start my day by working out each morning – except for Sundays. That means I get up at 5:00 A.M. and go to the gym.  It’s like brushing my teeth; I have to do it – or I just won’t feel right. But I didn’t develop that discipline over night. It took about ten years of resolving and then re-resolving until one day — with the foundation of trial and error under my feet, I did it. That day turned into months. Those months turned into years.

mountain fourThe good news is that re-resolving – that is starting and then messing up and then starting all over again – is all part of the process. We only know what we need to do to stay on track when we’ve had the experience of falling off.

Re-resolution was what Lazarus did, when he rose from the dead.  Jesus deserves some credit, but he teaches that it is by our faith that we are made whole.  It was Lazarus who got up.  Jesus says “these and greater things shall you do.”  In other words, you shall rise from your mat by the pool of BethesdaYou have been wanting to see without success, but now you’re going to see beyond the appearances into the power of Creating Outside the Box Onerenewed possibility — because of your faith. You are going shake the dust off your feet and re-claim the resurrection of the extraordinary in the ordinary course of your day.  You are going to walk the water of your success.

GBGIIFor the last few years, I have been using the God is a Brown Girl Too retreat to re-solve, re-invigorate and re-create. This year’s theme of “Tell a New Story” introduces the pure potential of the Holy Ghost power that is constantly expressing and re-creating as us. All we have to do is re-claim it. All we have to do is re-member it. All we have to do is re-resolve that this is a special time of re-establishing who we are in this journey called life. This is the time to re-resolve that we can cross the finish line with the wind at our backs and victory on our breath.  This is the time to go within and pray as though we really will get everything that we ask for, and then some – and then some more.  Join us.

SPIRITMUV Photo FourNamaste,

Cecilia Loving

Join us every Sunday, at 2:30 P.M. at the Unity Center of NYC, located at 213 West 58th Street, between 7th Avenue and Broadway.

PUT GOD IN YOUR DIET

Put God in YOur Diet OneThis is the time of year when we reap what we sow during the festive holiday season, and we rely on New Year’s Resolutions – with a firm resolve – to get back on track. For many of us, getting back on track means shedding unwanted pounds.  But this is one year that I’m not worried about weight because months ago, I put God in my diet.

Prayer TwoIf you want something delicious, calorie-free and certain to reduce unwanted inches, try God. God is guaranteed to get results, guard against any excessive indulgence and give you favor for the process. The right people will show up to help you reach your fitness goals; the right opportunities will manifest for your magnificence; the yoga 3right methodology to keep you motivated will reveal itself; and the right decisions that you need to make to stay spiritually fit will guide you to success.

God only requires a one-day-at-a-time plan. All you have to do is put one foot before the other with prayerful purpose, and the sheer gravity of Spirit will pull you in the right direction.  When you awaken, acknowledge with Put God in Your Diet Threeyour heart that God is in every breath that you take. Stretch with the magnificence of God in your limbs. Rise with the boldness and conviction of God in your thoughts.  Move with the passion of God in your purpose to be your best in your new day.

Have you ever observed animals and birds when they awaken? They stretch. They flex and bend their bodies because they have a constant diet of God in their lives. They know what to do. Birds, running twoeven the pigeons – who are jaded New York streetwalkers – take to the air in unison for their morning flight relays. I love to see them circling the air as I make my way to the gym.

Maybe like my husband Marlon, you prefer to ride your bike.  Maybe like my brother Chris, you prefer to walk. Maybe like me, you prefer to lift weights. Maybe like my friend Vaughn, you prefer to run. Maybe like my friend Kelly, you prefer to practice yoga. Maybe like my friend Mary, you prefer the elliptical machine.  It all counts. NYSC

If you don’t have a gym or a fitness class and you’re in the New York area, contact my friend Priscilla Upshaw-Wimbly at the New York Sports Club (718-643-4400).   She will sign you up with a good fitness deal and expedite the Universe’s conspiracy to help you obtain your goals. (Tell her that I sent you.)

Put God in Your Diet FivePutting God in your diet is about as simple as drinking water. Jesus said I will give you living water. Water is the most essential life-sustaining beauty treatment there is.  If your urine is dark or you feel faint, you are not listening when Spirit tells you to drink enough water!

Put God in Your DietPutting God in your diet demands that you bless your food and be mindful in eating. You’d be surprised how small your stomach is: about two palms full. Mindful eating conditions us to listen to our bellies telling us that they are full or near full. As you bless your food, envision the body that you desire, see that ripped six-pack, see those healthy knees running and jumping like never before, see those flexible limbs.

Put God in YOur Diet SixPutting God in your diet is not about wearing yourself ragged, it’s about rest, rejuvenation and revelation. Rest will give us the rejuvenation that supplies the energy to achieve our fitness goals. Rejuvenation will give us the revelations that will show us how to form and shape our workout plans, eating habits, and fitness goals.  Revelations will keep us focused on the upward prize – of which physical fitness is just one aspect.

MARIANDALE 4Putting God in your diet requires that you listen to what God is telling you.  Listening to Spirit is your most important meal of the day. God is always speaking, but we seldom take the time to be still and know what God is saying.  We have to listen throughout the day: during our morning meditation, while we are journaling, in our prayers, through our study of truth, by our good Prayer Threedeeds done with compassion for others. (For more on how to do this, see my book Prayers for Those Standing on the Edge of Greatness on Amazon.)

Putting God in your diet demands that you maximize your potential beyond the mere festive mood of celebrating the new year.  You see, the real party – the one that you don’t want to miss – is the one with Jesus Christ, who is here in our consciousness; with the Holy Spirit, who is here as our guide; and with God, who is here in every single morsel of life that we partake.

Join us on New Year’s Day as we put God in our diets through our series on “Christ Consciousness:  Seven Lessons for Living According to the Christ Within.”  This Sunday, we will celebrate “Being Our Best.”

Namaste,

Cecilia Loving

SPIRITUAL FITNESS: Move Out of Your Way By Cecilia Loving

When we first awaken, when our mind is free and clear of distractions, when we remember that we are one with the universal source of all there is, the first thing that we should do is pray.  We should give honor to the air that we breathe and the space that we take up.  We should remember the “AUM” and the “I AM” and the “Amen”.  We should remember that we are greater than the appearances, that we can move forward with the divine guidance that the Holy Spirit gives us, that we can allow — really allow God to bless us.  But what do we do?  We sit on the toilet — in la la la land.  We get a cup of coffee and watch the news.  We run to the gym and work out like a maniac.  We pick up the cell phone and text.  We rush off to work late because we decided to stay in bed for a little while longer.  But all we need to do is enter that secret place, and remember that God is in charge.

When we are spiritually fit — all the rest of our good follows.  Excess fat begins to disappear.  Circulation improves.  Complexions clear up.  Blood sugar returns to a healthy level.  Bloating stops completely.  Strangely enough, we stop tending to everybody else’s business.  We don’t have time to talk about how they don’t have their acts together.  We stop focusing on their shortcomings so that we can ignore our own.  We stop second-guessing ourselves.

When we second-guess ourselves, it’s because we don’t really want to believe that God is an on-time, everywhere present God.  It’s easier to believe that we can’t rather than we can.  It’s easier to hold onto to who we used to be — rather than surrendering our olds ways so that we can allow a new self to emerge.

Spiritual fitness is a blessing that requires us to live by new standards.  We have to let go of the thoughts, hesitations and fears that prevent us from seizing new opportunities.  We cannot keep telling the same stories.  We cannot keep repeating the same mistakes.  We cannot keep hiding behind bad habits.  We cannot keep believing that we are poor, that we are sick, that we are sad, that we are depressed, that we are anything less than the image and likeness of God that we were made in.

Matthew 19:26 says “with God, all things are possible.”  But for some reason, we prefer to make our lives difficult.  We could just let go and let God — but instead, we try to be in control.

God — the will of Spirit that is everywhere present, the will of universal intelligence that goes before us, the will of inexhaustible supply that opens endless channels of blessings for us, the will of divine ideas shaping and molding and forming the ethers into the creative manifestation of our desires, the will that is willing to be our counselor and our teacher and our guide — knows more than we do.  God knows that there is a balm in Gilead.  God knows there is a river that never stops flowing.  God knows that manna rains, in fact it pours down from heaven.  God knows that when we leap the net will appear.  But we first have to surrender.  We have to stop fighting in the flesh what God has commanded us to do in the Spirit.

When we first try to walk the water of infinite possibilities, we may feel like we are drowning.  We may think that we are losing control — but only because we’ve never been in control in the first place.  In the physical, we see nothing but chaos, confusion and strife, but ultimately we will find ourselves safe — protected — secure — and right where we should be.  All we have to do is be willing.

The Psalmist says “Create in me a pure heart, O’ God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”  (Psalms 51:10-12)  He is saying, I am tired of wandering in my own misery.  I am tired of not being willing to let go and let God.  I am tired of being tossed — to and fro in the waters.  So give me a willing spirit.  Help me stop blocking my good.  When I’m willful, when I’m resentful, when I’m selfish, when I’m jealous, when I’m controlling — I create the toxic energy that closes all of the channels of my blessings.  So move me out of my way!

We have heard about what Jesus called “good news.”  He says right in the scripture — that our good doesn’t end with his story, his prophecy, or his miracles.  He taught us that we don’t have to get it right in the flesh because He has sent us a helper — the Holy Spirit — to teach us all things.  It’s not a Spirit that we need to seek because in John 14, Jesus teaches that this is a Spirit that lives in us.  It’s not a Spirit that needs our guidance because  John 16 teaches that the Spirit of Truth will guide us in all things.  All we have to do is move out of its way.

Jesus said tear this temple down, and in three days, he would raise it up.  He wasn’t talking about the church, he was talking about his body.  He said let not my will — but your will be done.  He gave his life to demonstrate that greatness doesn’t stop with Him, because Spirit gives us the opportunity to do even greater things than Jesus — when we surrender to its will and not our own.

Spiritual fitness is when we can trust the universe because we know that God can do no more for us than God can do through us.  We have to be willing to accept that it’s not what we ask God for that really matters.  What is most important is realizing that we are One with God’s source.  We are One with the will that never stops teaching us to be Absolute Good.  We are One with the vortex that never stops opening channels of divine ideas.   We are One with every miracle, every poem, every possibility, every rhythm, every divine vibration ever imagined.

Spiritual fitness is when we are simply centered in saying “yes,”  knowing that God will take care of the rest.

Namaste,

Reverend Cecilia Loving

About SPIRITMUV:  Spiritmuv® is a trans-denominational church, which means that it transcends the confines of religion and teaches unconditional love for one another regardless of race, creed, culture, or religion.   At the heart of its teachings is what Jesus taught — that we love one another, as well as the community that Mahatma Ghandi inspired when he said, “I am a Christian and a Muslim and a Hindu and a Jew.”  Reverend Cecilia Loving is the founder and creator of Spiritmuv, which was formed in 2007.  Services are held for an hour every Sunday, from 2:30 P.M. to 3:30 P.M. at the Unity Center of NYC, located at 213 West 58th Street.

Rev. Loving, author of Prayers for Those Standing in the Edge of Greatness, is the sole owner, creator and administrator of God is a Brown Girl Too®, which holds annual retreats and workshops.  The next God is a Brown Girl Too Retreat will be held April 1-3, 2011, at the Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center.

None of the content herein may be copied or otherwise used except with Reverend Loving’s written permission.

 

Join the Spiritmuv  Community at www.Spiritmuv.ning.com for special postings by Rev. Loving.

GOD IS A BROWN GIRL TOO® 

“CREATING  BEYOND THE  BOX  OF CONVENTIONALITY ” RETREAT
will take place in the Spring of 2011
from April 1 at 5:00 P.M. through April 3 at 1:00 P.M. 

Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to enjoy the peace, serenity and creative consciousness of a like-minded group of women of color at the Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center, located at 299 North Highland Avenue, in Ossining, New York.   All rooms are single and surrounded by the loving prayers of the Dominican Sisters who own the facility. 

 The cost of the entire weekend, including rooms, workshops and three delicious meals per day, is only $450.00.  There is a $100 discount for senior citizens, so seniors pay $350.00. 

 Registration has already begun at http://www.godisabrowngirltoo.com/or you can mail payment directly to God is a Brown Girl Too, 376 President Street Unit 2H, Brooklyn, New York 11231.  But act fast because rooms are sellling and there are now only 13 rooms left.

SPIRITUAL FITNESS: BACK TO BASICS By Cecilia Loving

Every now and then, I have to listen to the song by Ginuwine, when he sings “I’m going back to the basics, yeah.  I’m going back to the basics.”  It’s a definite reminder to take a step back to see the big picture — what we are doing, why we are doing it, what we need to improve upon — to do, and more importantly — to be the people we were called to be in the first place.

Back to basics doesn’t mean returning to the past, it means using the trajectory of what we’ve experienced to catapult into fullness of now.   It means back to school, back to work, back to church, back to work-outs, back to goals that we had so clearly intended to accomplish somewhere along the path — in the beginning of the year, last year, the year before last,  when we were younger, or before we got too old.  Back to basics requires us to dust off our dreams — so that we can move forward with the fullness of all of God’s gifts to accomplish them.

September 11 is a reminder not to take life frivolously.  It is a reminder to honor what we are here to do.  In January, we take the requisite steps toward the completion of our goals.  In the spring, we dive into them wholeheartedly.   But when we have nearly accomplished them — summer arrives like a thief in the night.  Many of us surrender to the holidays and barbeques — until the coolness of the air, the sun-kissed leaves and the back-to-school sales remind us that we need to take care of business.  September reminds us to roll up our sleeves with renewed dedication.  Only when we fail to attend to our goals does winter find us in remorse, scrambling at the last minute.

If we would get back to basics — especially when the first leaves fall, we could tap into the vortex of inexhaustible supply and open our consciousness to the Kingdom of all of God’s good.  We would realize that we can do all things through the power of God, and that these and greater things shall we do.  Oh, if we could just go back to the basics, we would remember to say “I can” rather than “I wish.”  We would know to listen to the breath of God within, that is our counselor, and teacher, and guide.

The breath of God speaks in basic terms, in simple words, in straightforward cadence.  It does not take an advanced degree in theology to hear the Spirit.  We are neither saints nor sinners, we are the “good news” that Jesus preached to every kingdom.  We are, as the African proverb says, the wise aiming at boundaries beyond the appearances.  We are the anointed — blessed with new visions.  We are the faithful — transcending the circle of our beginnings.  We are bigger and wiser and stronger in the Spirit than we could ever imagine in the flesh.  We are not here to await the return of Christ, but as Rev. Dr. Dale Irvin, President of New York Theological Seminary puts it — we are here to “provoke resurrection.”  When we listen, we know that the most important resurrection is within.  Christ rises again and again, when we consistently practice the presence of God in everything we do.

We can lift the heavy weights.  We can use proper form.  We can simplify our tasks.  We can walk — without getting weary.  We can move out of the way of our own victory.  Back to basics is remembering that what is good for us is good for the entire universe.

We can make better choices.  We can choose to eat all of the divine vibrations of earth — its green leaves, its red and blue berries, its sweet orange potatoes, its yellow squash, its brown oats.  Back to basics is simple science: if we eat well, we become what we eat.  We can choose to drink fresh water, get plenty of  sunshine and sufficient sleep — all of which will allow us to do the work that we must do in this lifetime.

We can be patient.  The work that we need to do will not be done in one day or one week or one year.  In fact, it may take forty days, or forty weeks or forty years, or forty lifetimes — or as long as it takes.   So we have to regenerate and rejuvenate our body with cycles of rest and work, rest and work.  We have to slow down long enough to learn from the Kingdom within.  We have to tap in and turn on the messages from the universe through our dreams, awaken fresh to be attentive to Spirit, and listen with our hearts.

Back to basics requires that we remember that we are not made in the image and likeness of man.  We are made in the image and likeness of love.  Love is the Kingdom that lives in us.  We are in love and love is in us.  If we remember each day to awaken with love as our teacher, our counselor and our guide, we won’t make as many mistakes, and if we do — we will be loving enough to accept their guidance and their lessons.   Back to basics reminds us that love isn’t a religion. Religion may confuse people into believing that they can burn other folk’s sacred books; but love is receptive to all.  Religion may wrongly seek to exclude those of different faiths; but love transcends boundaries.  Religion may err by turning to hatred; but love is unconditional goodness.

When we begin our day by centering in love — through prayer, silence, meditation, affirmations, journaling, or visualizing — whatever works for you, we open our hearts to the constant connection that God is simply being our most basic self.

Back to basics simply requires that we breathe.  Just take a moment, when you first awaken in the morning — and just breeeaaaaatttttthhhhhhheeeeeee.  Breath slowly and exhale with your mouth open.  Breathe deeply 5-10 times and remember that you are a child of God.  You are good news.  You are the light that will shine forever.  You are the truth and the way.

When Langston Hughes wrote “I’ve known rivers:  I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers,”  he had gone back to basics.  He was blessing us with the truth that we are as young as fresh seeds but as old as the eternal soil of endless possibilities that we plant them in.

What we have come here to do here is not our own will but is part of Spirit’s divine plan.  The universe will insist that we accomplish each and every one of our desires.  If we don’t follow our heart’s desire when we are young, it will find us when we are older.  Either then or now, we will have to return to the source of Absolute Good — and put our noses to eternal grindstone of life, and press our ears to the pulsation of our beating hearts or our aching guts — pushing us back in the direction that we must move in.

Going back to basics requires us to be honest with ourselves and with others.  Are we being the best that we can be, or are we simply going through the motions?  Have we been obedient to God’s plan, or have we strayed off course?  Do we know what our vision is or has our true dream been concealed by someone else’s opinion?  Do we really believe that God’s channels of good are infinite, and have we taken the time to open them?  Can we be brave enough to start again — wherever we are — and trust that the basics are always enough?

Namaste,

Reverend Cecilia Loving

About SPIRITMUV:  Spiritmuv® is a trans-denominational church, which means that it transcends the confines of religion and teaches unconditional love for one another regardless of race, creed, culture, or religion.   At the heart of its teachings is what Jesus taught — that we love one another, as well as the community that Mahatma Ghandi inspired when he said, “I am a Christian and a Muslim and a Hindu and a Jew.”  Reverend Cecilia Loving is the founder and creator of Spiritmuv, which was formed in 2007.  Services are held for an hour every Sunday, from 2:30 P.M. to 3:30 P.M. at the Unity Center of NYC, located at 213 West 58th Street.

Rev. Loving, author of Prayers for Those Standing in the Edge of Greatness, is the sole owner, creator and administrator of God is a Brown Girl Too®, which holds annual retreats and workshops.  The next God is a Brown Girl Too Retreat will be held April 1-3, 2011, at the Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center.

None of the content herein may be copied or otherwise used except with Reverend Loving’s written permission.

Join the Spiritmuv  Community at www.Spiritmuv.ning.com for special postings by Rev. Loving.

 

GOD IS A BROWN GIRL TOO®
“CREATING  BEYOND THE  BOX  OF CONVENTIONALITY ” RETREAT
will take place in the Spring of 2011
from April 1 at 5:00 P.M. through April 3 at 1:00 P.M.

Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to enjoy the peace, serenity and creative consciousness of a like-minded group of women of color at the
Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center, located at 299 North Highland Avenue, in Ossining, New York.  All rooms are single and surrounded by the loving prayers of the Dominican Sisters who own the facility.  The cost of the entire weekend, including rooms, workshops and three delicious meals per day, is only $450.00.  There is a $100 discount for senior citizens, so seniors pay $350.00. 

Registration has already begun at http://www.godisabrowngirltoo.com/or you can mail payment directly to God is a Brown Girl Too, 376 President Street Unit 2H, Brooklyn, New York 11231.  But act fast because rooms are selling and there are now only 13 rooms left.