It Started with a Quote – “People who keep journals have life twice”.

“People who keep journals have life twice”. Jessamyn West (American Writer)

I began journaling in about 1985 after reading the book, The Artists Way, “A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity”, by Julia Cameron. I continue journaling to this day (with a few interruptions over the years). In her book she writes about the benefits of journaling and instructions on how to do it to get maximum benefit. She calls her method “Morning Pages”. In her instructions she writes,  “There is no wrong way to do morning pages.” What a relief to the perfectionist in me! Here is my understanding of how to do Morning Pages:

  • They are non-negotiable. They must be done every day.
  • Once I begin to write there is no stopping, no lifting the pen to think or hesitate.
  • I write until I have completed at least 3 pages.
  • I do not censor or give any thought to spelling or punctuation.
  • I begin with whatever is “on top” no matter how mundane, negative or petty.
  • I do not judge what I have written because I do not revisit it.

There isn’t space here to cover all of the benefits I have received and I will be forever grateful to Julia Cameron for introducing me to this form of journaling. Here are a few of the major benefits I have received:

  • Rids me of the “negative thinking loop”so I can get on with more creative endeavors
  • Helps me to think more clearly – my mind is not clouded or at least less clouded
  • I feel like I am honoring myself – not waiting for others to do it for me
  • For me, it is a form of prayer and meditation
  • I gain prospective on problems-solutions surface
  • Rich gratitude surfaces
  • Wisdom pours out of my pen that I did not know existed within me

Because of the rich benefits I have received from journaling, I offer journals to others free of charge as a part of my ministry. I keep a basket of journals in my office (all shapes, sizes and colors) and invite people to choose one and use it. I invite them to come back as many times as they wish when their current one is used up. Certain people seem to get great delight in perusing through to see the new ones. When I am out shopping in certain department stores I derived much pleasure from selecting new journals to offer. I sometimes wonder who will be writing in particular ones. From time to time I imagine that these journals I buy will contain words that are as life-transforming to the writer as my journals have been to me.

A deep, heartfelt, “Thank you”, Julia Cameron!

Rich Blessings,
Janie Kelley




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It Started with a Quote – “You Will See It When You Believe It”

“You will see it when you believe it”, said Wayne Dyer. This may be the direct opposite of what you are used to hearing. You are probably familiar with the popular phrase, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” However, what we first believe is what we see! It is widely accepted in the field of psychology that we first make up our mind about something and then we set about to prove that we are right. By doing this we are naturally sensitive to anything that will back up our already set-in-stone belief. Because our mind is made up we don’t even notice any evidence that may be contrary.

Case in point: Have you ever bought a car or been interested in buying a car of a certain make, model and color then began to notice how many there were already on the road? Prior to your interest, maybe that particular car was not in your awareness. I have had that very experience including my current car. I started out looking at cars not knowing exactly what I wanted to buy. Once I found the one I wanted, bought it and began to drive it around town I noticed that there were many others exactly like mine. After shopping one day, I even walked up to one in a parking lot and couldn’t understand why my key wouldn’t open the door! I was convinced it was my car!

You will see it when you believe it. There is a passage in the New Testament that reads, “As a person thinks, so is that person.” What we see and notice in life begins with a thought and a belief. Doesn’t it make sense to be selective about what we believe? Doesn’t it make sense to examine our thoughts and beliefs periodically? The Bible says “Test everything and hold on to what is good.” Just because someone we love and respect taught it or passed it on to us does not make it absolute truth. Test everything. You will see it when you believe it.

Rich Blessings to You!


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It Started With A Quote – “You can never become poor by giving.” Anne Frank

In this holiday season many of us have giving on our minds. Whatever tradition we choose to follow, giving of some kind is prevalent on the minds of many of us. Whatever we choose to give, be it tangible or intangible, in many cases the giving of the gift has more of an impact than the gift itself. Research shows that an act of kindness releases a flood of “feel-good” hormones in the body of the giver, the recipient and in the body of anyone witnessing or hearing about the act of kindness. These hormones cause us to feel relaxed, cared-for and safe. They also help to regulate blood pressure, glucose and promote a general sense of well-being. These are only a few of the known benefits. I was recently moved to tears while watching a young man who is visually impaired and challenged with severe autism win the highest score possible on “America’s Got Talent”. He had just amazed the judges and audience with his beautiful voice, piano and expert delivery of his song.  The audience and judges were on their feet in a standing ovation long before he finished! I do not know him and quite possibly will never meet him and yet I felt so happy for him!

We may choose to give a tangible gift that is expensive in terms of money. Or, we may choose to give a gift that has a lower price tag. Yes, it is a lot of fun to get (and to give) that tangible gift that has been longed for and there is a place for that type of giving. We may give the gift of our presence either in person, through a phone call, using Skype or some other form of communication. Our undivided, uninterrupted attention is one of the most honoring gifts we can give to another person. When we give with a spirit and energy of love, the impact is far greater to the person receiving than they sometimes realize.

We get back what we give out; we reap what we sow. “As you give so do you receive”. That being said, we will never be poor through our genuine, heartfelt giving. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “You cannot out-give God.”

I agree with Anne Frank, “You never become poor by giving”.


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It Started With a Quote – “Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.” Edna Buchanan

I was in a 12 Step meeting he first time I heard the term, “family of choice”.  I’m sure I got a perplexed look on my face because I thought, “WHAT? Everybody knows you don’t get a choice when it comes to family; you get what you get.” But I was wrong! Who says your family has to be Luck-of-the-Draw? Yes, we have those people with whom we grew up – either blood or adoptive relatives but then we get to choose!others We get to add as many as we want and we get to pick them out!

From the time I first heard that term until now I have chosen family members by the hundreds! I have often thought how much fun it would be to have a family reunion of the people I have embraced as my family of choice. They are all shapes and sizes, all shades and hues of skin, many speak with interesting accents (some multi-lingual), some with amazing abilities and some who have made the best of what the world might classify as disabilities, some quite skillful, some amazingly talented, some loud; some quiet, some highly intellectual, some natural comedians, some are salt-of-the-earth and nurturing, some incredibly financially wealthy and some not so much. Because my interests are so wide and varied so are the people who make up my family of choice. The thing they all have in common is this: THEY ALL LOVE ME! And they know I love them.

Our Creator is so good to put people in our lives that enhance our lives in so many ways. It is our job to be awake and aware enough to recognize when we are in the presence of a potential “family member”. We must be conscious enough to see the traits in them that would enhance our lives and we will have opportunities to enhance theirs. They will have flaws, just like we have flaws. We will love each other, forgive each other and make amends when we need to and continue to enhance each other’s lives.

Some of the people I have chosen to be in my family of choice may not know it but that is immaterial. Some I may see very seldom if at all. Absence and distance does not keep me from loving them. I have placed them in my heart as my aunt, uncle, cousin, sister, brother, mother or father and that is what matters to me.

None of this takes away from the love I have for the family that I have because of birth or by marriage. Love is not in short supply. The more you give away the more you have. As the song goes, “Love is something if you give it away; you end up having more.”

Have you selected your family of choice? I highly recommend it!

Rich Blessings to You!


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It Started With a Quote

“Oneness is very simple, everything is included and allowed to live according to its true nature” Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee

We hear a lot about being authentic and vulnerable. We read a lot about being true to ourselves. We send off for reports that tell us about our ancestry. We do these things because, as humans, we have an innate need to make sense of our world. The more science reveals to us the more we know that we are connected with each other and all of nature. What do we do with this information? How does it change the way we live our lives from day to day? What changes take place within us as we assimilate this information?

Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee, PhD is a Sufi Mystic. He was born in London and now lives in California where he founded The Golden Sufi Center.  Over about a 5 year span he wrote a blog for the Huffington Post, has written more than 20 books and he has been interviewed by Oprah on Super Soul Sunday. Many of his books are focused on spiritual teachings about oneness.

The concept of “the oneness of all things” may be a challenge to grasp given we are taught from birth about separation. We are given a name that identifies us from others and we are taught “this is mine and that is yours”. As we become aware that we are not only global in our community (connected) but also that the globe (earth) itself is a part of us as well. We are aware (thanks to quantum physicists) that there really are no well defined edges to anything or anyone. We are all a part of the “cosmic soup”. We know now that merely looking at an object causes changes in that object. Since we have the power to change objects simply by giving it our attention; how could we be separate?


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It Started with a Quote- “Shoot for the Moon! Even if you miss you will land among the stars.”

“Shoot for the moon! Even if you miss you will land among the stars.” Les Brown (Motivational Speaker)

What a wonderful way of looking at life! Go for the BIG ONE! Go for what you REALLY want. Not what is expected of you – not what someone wants for you. Always go for the biggest dream you have! If you know all of the steps that it will take to get to your dream; if the way is clearly defined – then your dream isn’t nearly big enough!

It doesn’t cost any more to dream big than it does to dream small. Dreaming small is when we have let life steal away the bigger dream and replace it with a “safer” one. A so called safe plan can fail just like a big dream and maybe the odds are even greater because your whole heart is not in a “safe plan”. So, go for the biggest dream you can imagine! As long as you are not doing harm don’t let anything stop you. Some of my favorite “failures” are these:

  • Walt Disney went bankrupt 5 times before creating one of the world’s most famous brands in entertainment.
  • Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hanson were turned down by 144 publishers before finding a publishing house that would produce their book, “Chicken Soup for the Soul”.
  • Henry Ford went bankrupt 3 times before producing the automobile.
  • Fred Astair was turned down for a major role early in his career because the casting agent said, “He can’t act, he’s bald – but he can dance a little”.
  • Louis Lamour was turned down by more than 300 publishers and agents before his first paperback western novel came into print. He went on to write more than 200 books, many of which were bestsellers.

Yes, it is hard to push through those setbacks and downright rejections. But, much of the time, success is just on the other side. And, “… Even if you miss you will land among the stars”. When moving forward and pushing through those dark times of temporary defeat we become better human beings if we grow as we go. The growth will not just hit you over the head. You must stay awake and aware of the good that is happening as a result of pursuing your dream. Even in the midst of seeming defeat, look around; you are among the stars.


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It Started with a Quote

“The more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”
Vincent van Gogh

Loving people is an art form. While we have a tendency to love others by the same form and method that we like to receive love; that may not be the best way for the object of our affection.

In Gary Chapman’s Bestselling book, “The Five Love Languages” he explains that we do not all wish to receive love by the same demonstration. The five he lists are:

  1. “Words of Affirmation”
  2. “Quality Time
  3. “Receiving Gifts”
  4. Acts of Service”
  5. Physical Touch”

It is, indeed, an art form to learn how to demonstrate the “love language” that another person prefers and understands. We might think of it in terms of buying a gift. When shopping for a gift we have the other person in mind. We think, ” What would he really enjoy?” Not, “What would I really like to have?” Years ago I knew a couple who had been married 28 years and were about to celebrate their anniversary. Things seemed to be really “settled-in” with their relationship; maybe a little too settled-in.  As a way to celebrate their years together the husband bought the wife a chain saw! Granted, he was paying attention when one day she remarked that she wished she had an easier way to trim branches from their trees. But, maybe a different gift would have been more appropriate as they celebrated their years of marriage together.

Has there ever been a person in your life who just seemed to intuitively know how to make people feel loved and appreciated? They just seemed to have a 6th sense about showing love to those around them? Some of us don’t seem to have that 6th sense so we are learning as we go.

Loving another person and showing that love in a way they best understand is an art form. When done to its highest potential it involves tapping into our imagination; the source of our creativity. Fortunately, we are all creative just because we are human. Loving is a way to utilize our creativity. Loving is an art form.


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Benchmarks of Enlightenment #3

Less time is spent in obligatory activities and more time spent on one’s life purpose.

Moving in the direction of enlightenment usually means letting go of the need to please other people by fitting into their plans. This does not mean complete disregard for the thoughts and feelings of those we love. It means passing up activities which do not serve the purpose of our life and doing it with love and compassion.

Love, healthy love, for ourselves along with the inner knowing of our life’s purpose gives us the quiet calmness needed to move in the direction of our dreams. Our dreams, our heart’s desires are placed there by God. Along with our heart’s desires God gives us everything we will ever need to fulfill those desires. It is up to each of us to seize opportunities provided by God. Many times this means giving up good for best. So, we let go of those obligatory activities that do not help us fulfill our heart’s desires.


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9 Benchmarks of Enlightenment – #2

Oneness with God and oneness with each other becomes more than a belief; it is a “knowing”.

This benchmark is subtle and we must be awake and aware to recognize it.

Many of our beliefs come from the teachings of others. These may be people we love and respect so we readily accept the beliefs they pass down to us. They are probably giving us the best they have to offer. A “knowing” cannot be passed down or taught. It is a shift that occurs within us. We can be taught that we are one with God; we can be taught that we are one with all of humanity. It is only when we take it in so that it is a part of us on a cellular level that it is  “knowing”.

A way that we can know that this belief has become a knowing is that our lives will show it. It outpictures in our behavior. There is a shift in the way we see others when we know they are a part of us, as well. There is a difference in the way we treat others on a personal level and a global level. This shift cannot be explained fully in words because it is deep in our consciousness. We can put words to it in an attempt to explain it but only we know if the shift in consciousness has actually happened. It is wholly an inside job.

When we can look back on our lives and see a marked, positive difference in the way we relate to God and how we hold our fellow humans gently  in our hearts, a “knowing” is probably taking place.


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9 Benchmarks of Enlightenment

We are called to live our lives spiritually aware and alert. Sometimes we call this “enlightenment”. What is meant by the term enlightenment? It helps us along the way to know that we are making progress. It is encouraging when we can look at our lives and see marked improvement. Enlightenment is more of a journey rather than a destination. I have come up with 9 benchmarks that can help along the way.

  1. A falling away of the need to defend one’s point of view or belief system.

    There is a knowing within you that your point of view or belief system is right for you at this time. You have no need to convince others. You peacefully allow others to have their opinions and beliefs.
    It is not a situation where you have to bite your tongue to keep from saying something. It is that you have no need offer a defense. There is a lot of freedom in being where you are in life and allowing others to be where they are.

    (2 through 9 to follow)



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