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The Trip to Bethlehem – Part 1 Nov. 30, 2014 Unity of Rehoboth Beach

Advent begins today! We start a four-week journey into Christmas. Today we will light our first Advent candle. Each Sunday we will light one more candle than the week before as we prepare ourselves for the birth of the Christ child within us. Our Advent wreath is round, without beginning or end, to represent the completeness that we have in Christ, in us

We can all recall, when a younger brother or sister enters a family, the older sibling has some adjustments to make. Here’s a story of a 3 year old and her frustration with her little brother who was at that age of getting into everything.

She asked, “Mommy, can we put him back, now?”

Deciding to take this opportunity as a teaching moment in how siblings should treat each other, the Mother explained to her daughter that, no, we could not put him back that her brother was a gift from God.

The little girl looked up at her Mother with her big blue eyes and responded, “I understand, Mommy. God didn’t want him either.”

THE TRIP TO BETHLEHEM –
A Metaphysical Journey
Part 1: “Preparation”

Under a cultural-exchange program, a Christian family was host to a rabbi from Russia at Christmastime. The family wanted to introduce him to a culinary treat that probably was not available in his homeland, so they took him to their favorite Chinese restaurant.
Throughout the meal, the rabbi spoke about the wonders of the United States, especially as compared to the bleak conditions in his country. When the meal was over, the waiter brought the check and gave each one of the diners a small brass Christmas-tree ornament as a seasonal gift

Everyone laughed when they discovered that the ornaments were stamped “Made in India.” But the laughter subsided when the family members noticed that the rabbi was quietly crying.

They asked the rabbi if he had been offended because he had been given a gift for a Christian holiday.

He smiled, shook his head, and said, “Nyet. I was shedding tears of joy to be in a wonderful country in which a Buddhist gives a Jew a Christmas gift made by a Hindu!”

Interesting story. I think it typifies the spirit of Christmas and Unity’s philosophies. This is the first of four talks we will share as we begin our metaphysical journey to Christmas – our journey to Bethlehem.

The next four weeks will be a metaphysical “Adventure” as we look at the Christmas story from a different perspective than the one you might be used to. As we travel on this journey, we’re going to explore the origins of the traditional Christmas story – and we’re going to look much deeper. We’re going to consider what the story means to us – how it plays out in our lives today, some 2,000 years after it happened.

Some things we meet on our trip to Bethlehem may shake us up a little. We’ll look at some of the myths and archetypes that surround the story. We’ll try to sort out the facts versus the Truth of the story. We’ll talk about metaphysics and mysticism. And we’ll try to understand what the story means to each of us, both physically and metaphysically.

Today’s talk is called “The Preparation,” because if we’re going to take this four-week journey, we need to decide what to take with us. What are we going to need on this trip?

Let’s consider what we’ll put in our backpack, or suitcase; whichever we choose to use.

The first thing we’ll want is a good understanding of the traditional story. For this entire trip, we’ll be looking at a book by the late Hypatia Hasbrouck, a Unity minister. The book is called The Trip to Bethlehem.

The basic assumption of the book – and of our trip – is that the traditional Christmas story is based on the fact that Jesus actually lived. In Unity, we believe there was such a person; that he did, indeed, walk this earth. There are some folks who question this, and that’s fine. Maybe someday we will look at that!

We also believe that the story of this remarkable man also foretells metaphysically another fact – we can do as Jesus did and express our Higher Self as we travel our life-long journey on earth.

Was Jesus born of a virgin in a manger?

Did a star pause over the manger to illuminate the birth?

Did angels appear to shepherds in the nearby hills to herald the birth?

Did three wise men come from the East to give gifts to the newborn babe?

Here’s the real question about all this…. How many of those details matter to you?

We’ll look at some of these questions as this journey unfolds over the four weeks, so keep these questions, and any others you may have in mind.

The second item we’ll need to carry with us is a good understanding of metaphysics and mysticism.

More on that later…

Third, we’ll want to take with us an understanding of the difference between facts and Truth, and the knowledge of myths and archetypes. We’ll get to those a little later in this series.

Finally, we’ll need to pack Faith and Prayer, because those two spiritual qualities will be absolutely necessary for us to fully understand all the twists and turns of the journey.

OK, let’s set out. . .

The real Christmas story is the story that lives within each one of us. It combines elements of the accounts in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke with details added in the first couple of centuries of the Christian era – and with personal tradition that plays out through music, food, family gatherings, Christmas trees and lights, visits to Santa, gifts on Christmas morning, and all the other little quirks that make Christmas what it is to you and to me.

In my family, I remember Christmas Eve meant going to my grandparents’ house – my mother’s parents. There was plenty of Italian food and all my aunts, uncles and cousins were there. Now there were 9 children in my Mother’s family so, the small house was packed, but it was usually fun, and the food was amazing.

And then came Christmas morning and seeing the presents. I’m sure every family has its Christmas morning ritual. We opened gifts and had breakfast, then we went to visit my Father’s side of the family…yes it was large too. The big decision of the day was what one gift were you taking along on the visit?

I would guess that each one of you here this morning has a favorite Christmas memory. And it’s a wonderful thing to enjoy the good memories we hold dear.

The point is, we all have imbedded in us a Christmas story. Hypatia Hasbrouck writes, “Each year, the traditional Christmas story. . .stirs all of us because the Christ Child represents the higher Self, the true Self, of everyone. . .
“We know that at some time we are destined to take the mystical trip to our own inner Bethlehem, the birthplace of our own higher Self.”

The traditional Christmas story has at least two meanings: the literal and the metaphysical. The literal meaning is journalistic – the who, what, where, when, why and how.

The metaphysical meaning, which is what we’re going to concentrate on during this journey, has to do with our consciousness, on a psychological and spiritual level. Everything in the story symbolizes something that exists or can exist within the consciousness of each of us.

Here’s an example of the difference: on the literal level, the Christmas story recounts a bunch of miraculous events that lead to the birth of Jesus – the person who was fully human at birth and later remembered his full divinity.

On the metaphysical level, the story invites us on a mystical journey within where we can find both our full humanity and full divinity. At the end of this journey, we fully discover the human part of us – and also the spiritual part of us that is undergoing this human experience. Like Jesus we, too, are both human and divine.

Unlike him, though, many of us don’t understand the divine part – or even acknowledge it as part of us. That’s because God gave us humans a great gift – the gift of free will. We can choose to express our spiritual nature – or we can ignore it. If we choose the spiritual journey, we will find the place in consciousness where the Christ comes alive in us. If we do not, then we simply “sleepwalk” through our lifetime on this planet.

To sum up, the deeper meaning of the Christmas story has many elements – the accounts in the Bible, the reports added later, the traditions we each grew up with, our willingness to explore the spiritual path.

The word “mystical” was used in the quotation I read a moment ago, and I think it’s appropriate for our journey that we examine that word a little more closely.

“Mystical” does not mean the same thing as “mysterious,” even though the dictionary does list “mysterious” as a synonym. But in Unity, we understand mysticism as a direct, one-on-one connection with Spirit, or the practice of the Presence of God.

Once you have had that experience, there is nothing mysterious about it. It becomes a way of life for those of us who meditate or contemplate, for example. So when we refer to mysticism, we mean those experiences that we have when we are in direct touch with Spirit through whatever spiritual practice we use.

All religions have a mystical aspect, though most Western religions stress ritual, doctrine and dogma. Those of us in Unity, however, rely much more on mysticism and intuition.

Let’s take a moment or two now to look at the literal story of the birth of Jesus. After all, it’s the first thing we must take with us.
The birth story appears in only two of the four Gospels – Luke and Matthew. The writer of Mark, the earliest of the four Gospels, did not include a birth story. That Gospel begins with the ministry of John the Baptist.

The writer of John also does not cover the birth of Jesus, although certainly John knew about the story, because his Gospel was written later than the other three.

The Gospel of Luke contains the earliest version of the birth story. Scholars believe it was written between 80 and 85 CE (Common Era) – more than 50 years after the crucifixion of Jesus.

Matthew’s version, scholars believe, was written about 90 CE. The two differ significantly. Experts think the two stories were written to explain how such a person as Jesus could have existed. It’s also likely that an ordinary birth story would just not do for someone with the reputation of Jesus. In other words, a “miracle birth” was required, similar to that of Moses and other Old Testament heroes.

So isn’t it possible that the followers of Jesus reached back into antiquity and pulled out some of the myths about gods and goddesses to apply to his birth? We touched on this when we discussed the Pagan origins of Halloween earlier this year.

And think about the star that moved across the night sky and then stopped over the place where Jesus was born. That event has echoes of the “pillar of fire” that helped lead Moses and the Hebrews through the desert to the Promised Land.

What time of year was Jesus born? Matthew doesn’t say, but Luke’s version of the shepherds in the fields with their flocks indicates almost any time except winter. So how did we get Dec. 25?

Again, we reach back into antiquity for a possible answer. First, the winter solstice, which takes place in late December, celebrates the time when days begin to grow longer, rather than shorter. Think of the triumph of light over darkness, if you want a convenient symbol.
Also, Dec. 25 was the birthday of Mithra, a Persian savior who was worshipped as the incarnation of eternal light. Oddly enough, the wise men, or Magi, came from the East, according to Matthew. Persia is to the East of Bethlehem. (By the way, the Bible does not say there were three wise men – we infer that because there were three gifts.)

So how much of the story is fact? More importantly, how much is Truth, with a capital “T?” Each of the Gospel accounts almost certainly is incomplete. But blended together, along with the additions and traditions that have been incorporated since then, the two form a story that points to the Truth.

This Truth becomes a guide for transformation, a spiritual map for our trip to Bethlehem. We must take this map with us on our journey, or we risk losing our way.

The map, however, is not the territory. We cannot ascertain the historical accuracy of this story – but we can discover the spiritual Truth for ourselves. This sacred story invites us to be transformed by participating in the spiritual process of rebirth – a process that can happen for us every year at this time.

Medieval monk Angelius Silesius, who lived from 1624-1677, reminded us of this opportunity when he wrote, “Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born, if he is not born in thee, thy soul is still forlorn.”

That’s the bottom line: if the Christ consciousness is not reborn in us at this time of year, we miss the entire meaning of Christmas. So I invite you to continue on our journey to Bethlehem throughout this season of Advent.

Our Adventure next week addresses this question: “Where Are We Going?” We’ll continue the journey inward as we consider the metaphysical meaning of the theme, the time, the place, the people – and yes, even the animals in this story. See you there!

Gratitude – Unity of Rehoboth Beach – Nov. 23, 2014

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird’s mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to “clean up” the bird’s vocabulary.
Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hands, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.
Fearing that he’d hurt the parrot, John quickly open the door to the freezer, the parrot calmly stepped out onto John’s outstretched arms and said, “I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I’m sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior.”
John was stunned at the change in the bird’s attitude.

As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, “May I ask what the turkey did?”

Thursday is Thanksgiving; so, generally the subject for lessons today is being thankful. All too often, when our turn comes to list the things we are thankful for, we merely rattle off lists we have memorized by heart and that we repeat every year without even thinking about it. Examples of items on such a list are family, friends, having a home, pets, and food. We all have people and things we are grateful for being in our lives. Isn’t that what we do?

Simply being grateful for the bigger things is not enough–it also means being grateful for those moments where you want to lift up your hands and praise Spirit for giving you something. That ‘something’ doesn’t have to be a material possession, and most often is not –it can be the love of a friend, a beautiful sunset, the sound of rain upon a window, or the feeling you get when you accomplish a major goal. It could even be when you become aware of a Truth.

Feelings…why aren’t we grateful for the feelings we experience every day? Think about it- “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds each day, have you used one to say thank you and feel it when you do?

Scott Stabile said, “Gratitude is a key component in every happy life and is within your power each second of every day.”
Gratitude is a key that opens the door to the flow of unconditional love through your heart. The heartfelt expression of gratitude, either in words or in thought, focuses on the plenty that you have rather than anything that you think may be missing in your life.

The traditional American holiday of Thanksgiving dates back to the early pilgrims in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts in 1621. As pilgrims, they were inclined to fast and pray for all the things that they desperately needed.

When Founding Father Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) wrote of those times, he understood the great value of gratitude. He said: “There is a tradition that in the planting of New England, the first settlers met with many difficulties and hardships, as is generally the case when a civilized people attempt to establish themselves in a wilderness country. Being so piously disposed, they sought relief from heaven by laying their wants and distresses before the Lord in frequent set days of fasting and prayer.” All that praying and fasting, he said, made them “gloomy and discontented.”

Happily, he went on, a farmer “of plain sense” suggested to the Pilgrim Assembly that instead of continuing to bother the Lord with their complaints and requests, they for once thank Him for the blessings they had been given. For although times were still hard, things were getting better. Instead of a fast, the farmer suggested, it would be more fitting to proclaim a day of thanksgiving. His advice was heeded, and the rest as they say, is history!

In the case of the pilgrims, gratitude opened them up to receiving ever more of the blessings of nature. Prior to that, their want had been closing down the natural flow of abundance and making their circumstances seem even harder than they were.
Giving thanks is the expression of gratitude, and gratitude is one of the most beautiful secrets in spiritual life.

Gratitude is a form of love, and love is something which flows from the Creator of the Universe through all forms of life and manifestation. Without love, life in the universe cannot exist. Love is the universal force of preservation which holds creation in manifestation.

Having and feeling thoughts of gratitude can make us happier and healthier. There are both physical and emotional benefits to practicing gratitude, including:
• Feeling optimistic and more joyful
• Being more focused
• Having more energy
• Feeling compassion for others
• Feeling empowered
• Sleeping better
Even more important, in my opinion, is how it changes our perspective…which changes everything!
It’s the feeling energy behind the thought that makes these changes occur in our body and in our attitude. Putting emotion behind our thought is” putting feet to our prayers.” Without ‘feelings’ we cannot manifest our thoughts into action.

Why should we invest our energy in feeling thankful? Here are some reasons:
One: Being in Gratitude Only Has Positive Side Effects.

Positive emotions make you feel good and offer a sense of comfort. When we take a few moments to express our appreciation inwardly or to another, immediately we begin to feel happier, more relaxed, more optimistic.

Two: Feelings of Gratitude Provide Short-Cuts to Miracles.

Negative thoughts and feelings create an interruption in the natural flow of life. When you are feeling positive and grateful you accelerate what it is that you desire. Consciously appreciating what you already have is the short-cut to manifestation and the secret to personal fulfillment. Myrtle Fillmore, our co-founder, suggested being thankful even in
the midst of hardship. If you are experiencing difficulty, she advised, “Be grateful in advance for the good you know will come of this.” Just as Jesus did before working His miracles.

Three: Thoughts of Gratitude Flood Your Body with Immune-Boosting Endorphins.

Studies also provide evidence that a positive, appreciative attitude enhances the body’s healing system and general health. When you hold feelings of thankfulness for at least 15 to 20 seconds, beneficial physiological changes take place in your body. Levels of the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine decrease, producing a cascade of beneficial metabolic changes. Coronary arteries relax, thus increasing the blood supply to your heart. And your breathing becomes deeper, raising the oxygen level of your tissues.

Four: Feeling Grateful Puts you Back into the Flow of Life at the Speed of Thought.

Thoughts create things. If you are feeling and thinking positive thoughts, you create positive situations. You draw positive people to you. Like attracts like.

Five: Gratitude Unlocks the Fullness of Life.

Feelings of gratitude turn what you have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast or a house into a home. Gratitude makes sense of your past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Six: Feelings of Gratitude Give You a Natural High.

Grateful people tend to be more optimistic, a characteristic that researchers say boosts the immune system. Studies indicate that daily gratitude exercises result in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy. Grateful people experience less depression and stress, are more likely to help others, exercise regularly and tend to make more progress toward personal goals. People who feel grateful are also more likely to feel loved. It’s the old adage, What goes around comes around…service to others makes you feel good and want to do more good….

Seven: Gratitude Provides an Immediate Sense of Well-Being.

Gratitude, it turns out, can help us better manage stress, as we’ve mentoned. Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress.

Eight: Feeling Grateful is the Main Cause of Sustained Joy.

Focusing on the gifts one has been given is an antidote to envy, resentment, regret and other negative states that undermine long-term happiness.
According to Arabic legend, a young man was roaming the desert and came across a spring of crystal clear water. The water was so delicious that he filled his leather canteen to the brim so he could bring some back to a tribal elder who had been his teacher. After a four-day journey, he offered the water to the elder who took a deep
drink, smiled amiably, and thanked his former student for the excellent water. The young man returned to his home with a happy heart.
Later, the elder let another student taste the water. He spit it out, saying it was terrible. Apparently, over the four days in the old leather container, it had become stale. The student challenged his teacher: “Master, the water was awful. Why did you pretend to like it?” The teacher replied: “You only tasted the water, whereas I tasted the gift. The water was simply the container for an act of loving-kindness.”

Nine: The More You Give – The More You Receive.

You always get more of whatever you appreciate. When you express love, gratitude and sincere appreciation, you naturally expand. Consciously appreciating what you already have is the short-cut to manifestation and the secret to personal fulfillment. The more you assist others, the more you will assist yourself. What we do for ourselves we do for the ALL. SO remember, every step you take forward is a step for us all.

Ten: When You Are Genuinely Thankful, Anger and Fear Disappear.
One of the incredible truths about gratitude is that it is impossible to feel both the positive emotion of thankfulness and a negative emotion such as anger or fear at the same time.
I tell my Mother all the time when she says something about worrying about me, she can’t love me and worry at the same time, so just send love.

How can you activate the Law of Gratitude?
Be lavish in your gratefulness.
Make gratitude a daily ritual. I end my day by giving thanks for all the good in my life, especially things that happened that day.
Be thankful for whatever forces you to deal with your own strong emotions.
Set aside some time everyday to do nothing much except be grateful.

Focus on what is working in your life and what IS right in the world. It doesn’t matter how small or seemingly insignificant it may be. Before long you will notice that more things will fall into place with little or no effort on your part. Gratitude is a wonderful tool to use to feel good fast.
As we go into meditation, take a moment to place each individual and thing you are grateful for with the feeling you associate with it and devote sometime in the silence to each with that feeling.

The Blessings of our Animals, Unity of Rehoboth Beach, Nov. 2, 2014

A little girl asked her mother, How did the human race appear?
The mother answered, God made Adam and Eve and they had children and so was all humankind made.
Two days later the girl asked her father the same question.
The father answered, Many years ago there were monkeys from which the human race evolved.
The confused girl returned to her mother and said, Mom, how is it possible that you told me the human race was created by God, and Dad said they developed from monkeys?
The mother answered, Well, dear, it is very simple. I told you about my side of the family and your father told you about his.

The Blessing of Dogs

I may have told some of you about the sale of my house back in PA falling through due to mortgage problems with the potential buyers. One of the things that made me look to the Rehoboth Beach area again was that sale falling through.

After I heard the news from my realtor, I was a bit distressed, to say the least. I wanted to reach for a snickers bar, but didn’t have one in the house. Probably a good thing.

What I did have is April and Shyla, my little bichons. Unless you have pets, you probably have no idea what I am referring to. My girls came over to me, one on either side, and we shared our sad little moment together. April made me feel loved with her kisses and Shyla allowed me to rub her belly. For Shyla, that was a big thing at that time.

Ben William said, “There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.” And I agree.
The love from my girls brought me around pretty quickly and I went on to do what needed to be done with the change in moving plans—notifying the would be landlord, changing the requests for utilities, letting my helpers know that everything was on hold. And then, start unpacking.

Of course, that non-sale turned out to be a good thing, because I re-evaluated my plans and ended up here, where I was supposed to be.

Pets can do wonderful things. They can sense what our emotions are and they react to them. Feel down, they know how to bring you around…a little extra loving or maybe play time or a walk. In a good mood and they are ready for anything fun. Sick? They know how to lie quietly as you get better. That’s exactly what April & Shyla did after the accident last spring. They made my limited movement a little easier to put up with.

Simply put, they are great companions.

But our animal friends do many other things too. Have you seen what therapy dogs can do for autistic children? Sometimes through therapy animals, autistic children can express feelings that are impossible to express in other ways.

Or how a visit to an elderly home by a therapy dog or cat cheers up the residents? Many times is gives them a reason to continue going on. Many of these homes now have “resident” pets.

Do you know the benefit horse therapy does for special need children? The joy they express while riding is amazing to experience.

It is a proven fact that our good hormones rise when we are around animals, and it doesn’t take long at all. Our pets enrich our lives.

And how about all the ‘working’ animals and what they do for us? They open doors and drawers for the disabled. They notify the deaf when a phone rings or someone is at the door. They help guide the blind and pull wheelchairs.
Reading to Dogs is a program to encourage kids to read, often kids who have problems reading will gladly read to a ‘listening’ dog.

There is another program that helps to rehabilitate prisoners by teaching them to train shelter dogs. The dogs are then ready for adoption and the prisoners are changed for life.

We all have heard of the stories how a dog or other pet saves a family by alerting them about a fire or other hazard. There are many other types of incidents where an animal has saved their humans by their alertness. Sometimes at the expense of their own life….

And there have been other incidents where animals in the armed service have assisted in hostile situations. There are several programs to bring these “animal soldiers” home as many are still in hostile areas. Police dogs are used for many things, drug and chemical weapon identification. Search and rescue is another very important gift that they give us. Some animals have been trained to detect illnesses like cancer or alert for potential seizures.
Dogs are amazing. I’m sure cats, and all other sorts of animals are too, but I know dogs.

There are many books & movies about animals and all they give to us. True unconditional love. Dozens of books abound about the stories behind service dogs, shelter dogs, military dogs, police dogs and ‘house’ dogs and the lives they save. One great book is “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein. It’s told from the dogs’ point of view and the spiritual insights you will find very interesting.

Here is a reading from the Science of Mind magazine with more about this relationship we have with dogs: If you have rescued an animal, you may be able to relate:

My name is Murphy, and I have asked Rev Bob to let me talk to you. Rev Bob thinks I am a rescue dog and that he saved my life. He thinks I am a twelve-pound Lhasa Apso. He needed to think he saved me because he could not save himself. He suffered from the condition of ‘separation.’ The truth is that he felt closer to me than God. I think I was able to help him because he saw the spark of God in me. Bob had fallen asleep, and I was on the path to his awakening. Often, people in his state of mind come to rescue shelters. They think they are there to rescue an animal and don’t realize that they are there to be rescued. They look through the cage doors at discarded lives and don’t see that they have discarded their own. They don’t see the invisible prison in which they live.
Bob had slipped from a ‘being’ into a ‘doing’. Living in a state of doing had robbed him of a great deal of his life. When we lose sense of beingness, the heart beats with less vitality. Eventually, life’s warmth seeps out and is replaced with apathy. Fortunately, Rev Bob had a God awakening. I love the Dog in him, and he loves the God in me. I just wanted you to know what the unconditional love of a dog can do.

Wise words from Murphy.

Many time I have seen a statement along the lines of ‘there’s a reason d o g is GOD spelled backwards. Think about it.

I have my own rescue story. Many of you are aware that I use an animal communicator to chat with my girls. Kelly McGinley does a wonderful job getting messages back and forth between Shyla, April and myself. It’s a way for me to feel as if I have an understanding between the three of us.

I’ve used a communicator for many years now and with many of my dogs. It is a wonderful way to make sure you understand what is going on with them in every way. So, it was with a communicator that I found out that my one Bichon, Graycie, had brain cancer back in 2007. I was already familiar with cancer as I had completed my first 5 years of breast cancer remission.

Speaking to Graycie through the communicator, we figured out the extent of her cancer and what Graycie wanted as far as her treatment was concerned, which was; no treatment. Just keep her comfortable, because the cancer was extensive.

She told me what to look for when she was ready to go and that’s what we did. And when it was her time, she and I spent some close time together before helping her over the Rainbow Bridge.

But another thing we learned while communicating was that Graycie took that cancer for me. Instead of me developing cancer again, she took it. She said it was important for me to complete my mission, to continue on with my Spiritual Journey.

So, I’m here today because of Graycie. Do I believe this, yes. I personally know people who have gone years without cancer only to have it return and in some cases, lose that battle.

I love that dog and miss her very much. She, more than any of the other dogs I have had or fostered, taught me unconditional love. And how to give that unconditional love to others.

Sometimes I wonder if how we are with our pets is our Truth and what would be different if we showed that US to everyone? I certainly try to be unconditional to everyone, but know I’m nowhere near what our pets are when it comes to that.

Erica Jong said, “Pets come into our lives to teach us about love, they depart to teach us about loss. A new pet never replaces an old pet; it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many pets, your heart is very big.”
SO what’s the message here? There are at least two very important ones that I see: The Power of unconditional love is one, and the reminder for us to recognize and honor the gifts that are given to us, no matter where they come from and no matter what form.

Here are some more suggestions from our canine friends:
Live in the moment, Overcome fear with love, Don’t hold grudges, Play every day,
Jump for joy when you’re happy, Accept yourself, Enjoy the journey, Drink lots of water
Be loyal and dependable,

Give your pets an extra hug today when you go home.