Spiritual Climate Newsletter MARCH 2006 CLOSING NOTES







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Spiritual Climate Newsletter DECEMBER 2005 INTRODUCTION

The Institute of Spiritual Climate

Is proud to present

the newsletter



Friday, December 23, 2005


“To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

To know the pain of too much tenderness.

To be wounded by your own understanding of love;

And to bleed willingly and joyfully.”

Kahlil Gibran, The PROPHET



Dear Readers, Students and Friends,


I would like to welcome you to our Christmas Edition of Spiritual Climate Newsletter.


Wendy confides in us about the trash can in her article entitled: “THE ULTIMATE AND PERFECT GIFT:  LOVE”.


Adam claims new mining rights as he labors for true gold with his article “HIDDEN TREASURES”.  A picture of his daughter Emily is in his place!


Dr. Strickler furthers the dialogue and discussion regarding the nature and understanding the nature of “ABANDONMENT” in spiritual awakening, with a rather interesting resolution!


Lastly, in my article “DAMN HIM—HE IS RIGHT—AGAIN!” I share with you some findings of my own.  The title shouldn’t be too surprising to those of you who know the infamous ability of Dr. Strickler’s gift of prophecy and legendary Zen style teaching even though he says there is so much that he doesn’t know.


Let me take a moment to extend our love, light and wishes of safety for you, your friends and families this holiday season.


Also, the links below can be used by any of you wishing to make a single one time donation to Spiritual Climate Newsletter.  Gratitude goes out to those who have donated—Thank-You. 



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And so, without further adieu, we welcome you to the December 2005 Edition of the Spiritual Climate Newsletter.  Pull up your favorite beverage and welcome to some fresh air!  Hmm, I smell Pine Trees. . .  


Christine Ford

Editor, Spiritual Climate Newsletter




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Spiritual Climate Newsletter DECEMBER 2005 Part 2 HIDDEN TREASURES By Adam Crosthwaite


By Adam Crosthwaite


Christmas Eve 1997 was the most beautiful night I can recall from my life in Denver Colorado.  It was a Christmas Eve without all the fancy fringe luxuries of an upscale holiday party.  I had just turned eighteen at the time and I could venture out past curfew without fear of authority, so I hopped on a bus and went downtown for an evening.  It was my first night out in the city alone.  As I stepped off the bus in front of the court house I looked up and saw an electric castle.  It sat there proud and glorious, an island of lights in a dreary sea of darkness.  I shook my head as I thought about all the families with small children who had to forego a Christmas tree and lights so they could afford to heat their homes that winter.  I was already in pretty negative mood that night.  It was two weeks after I was thrown out of my parent’s house and I was living with my sister.  The next day we were going to my mom’s for Christmas, I was not looking forward to the event.  But I knew they all loved me regardless of my reckless attitude at the time.  Silently I slipped down a side street and headed for the popular hangouts where I used to meet with friends.  I don’t recall the time, however the streets were empty.  What a feeling, not a person in sight.  There was the contrast of emptiness in the streets that I remember as crowded with all sorts of people. 


The only people out that night, other than the occasional police patrol which was about three hours overdue, were the homeless.  They were huddled in the usual spot behind the court house on the southwest corner of the block.   As I turned the corner I was greeted by the soft hum of a gentlemanly conversation.  I came upon a small group of men standing watch over the rest of the people as they lay sleeping across the exhaust vents behind the court house boiler room.  They were a rough looking trio with the rasp of street life in their tone, yet they spoke with such sincere respect for one another you would never know they were living on the streets by the tone of conversation.  As I approached the vents on the corner I was invited into the group; me, the passing stranger from a seemingly far away land, was included in this fellowship of strangers.  No one asked me my name or even how I found them, I was merely welcome and from that point on I was feeling better.  It is almost as if they could sense I needed something, something I was not going to find on my own.  There in the darkness I found a place I never knew could exist in this world.


We sat for hours watching over rows of sleeping men and women huddled close in perfect alignment across the ventilation shafts blowing warmth from the courthouse basement.  Young and old lay side by side peaceful and safe as the trio stood with their new companion gently conversing by moon light.  I could not begin to describe the feelings that flooded my young mind at that moment.  We watched the moon play hide and seek with the clouds between skyscrapers as we waited for nothing special.  There was much conversation although I fail to recall anything said that night.  For the first time my young mind was allowing a moment to unfold without intrusion.  I can not recall any words that were spoken.  All I remember is the genuine and sincere people I was honored by with this simple gesture.  These people were not judgmental, nor demanding of one another.  They simply meant what they said and enjoyed the company they were in.  I was aware that this was a rare moment to be a part of and I longed for the night to last just a few hours more.  Few moments in my life, with the exception of my experiences in Qabalistic Ministry, have been as genuine as the night I was a stranger in this exotic underworld.


As I reflect back at this moment, especially around this time of the year, I wonder why people don’t see life the same way as my companions did.   Reverend Strickler discussed the difference between value and regard during a Tuesday night gathering for meditation.  He handed me a dictionary, you know the kind you would use to kill a New York cockroach with, and had me look up both words.  The first one I read out loud was value. 


As I read, I noticed that there was no reference to regard.  Value is nothing more than a term used for measurement of inanimate objects or services.  After a further research, conducted via internet, I learned that the term value was quote “supposedly borrowed from the language of painting” as a meaning of social principle around the year 1918.  Personally I see a red flag here and I assure you I will be looking further into this overuse of poetic license which confused society.  Value has nothing to do with measuring the worth of a person.  That is unless you are a member of the big business regime and people are a commodity. 


The next word was regard.  I couldn’t help but notice how value was not mentioned.  Regard referenced to holding something in esteem, respect not value.  So why is it that an important word as regard is being replaced by a consumerist term such as value? 


Ironic isn’t it, how those who hold no value in the eyes of society hold life in such high regard?  These were people without the luxury of a bed, let alone a roof over their head and still saw more in life than a mere pay off or opportunity for personal gain.  They didn’t measure life by values or any other known form you may learn about in any school or business.  They had no use for measurements utilized by the everyday businessman or woman.  When they looked at life they saw no measurable value. They saw life and they regarded life as precious.  It was the moment that mattered because that was all they had.  It is also the very thing that separated them from the rest of the world.  I never heard a homeless man or woman use the word regard in a sentence.  But I watched them express its meaning in their world as they interacted with one another.


Like a true artist, Reverend Strickler had shown me a new perspective and a clearer perception to adjust to after learning about the misuse of the term value.  To me value is a term, regard is a word.  I still value things, many things.  I have to use measurements every day.  But I hold in regard the use of words and the power that is held in the proper use as well as the misuse of words.


For a group of people who had little material possessions, these men sure did know what they were doing.  I would later learn that many of them chose to live on the streets and lived quite well considering they had no house to live in.  They would work just enough to eat and to maintain themselves for a while.  They never regarded work as a way of life.  These people seemed more real to me than the corporate executives I would meet at my parent’s work places. 


As I reflect now back to that moment I see more than just a trio of carefree men enjoying a winter night.  I see a world where someone in this life has the courage to live the meaning of regard.  This season we are facing a new form of homelessness.  There are people out there in the cold with children who lost their homes in one natural disaster or another.  As these people are seen to, remember those who share their blankets with them, the ones who keep watch through the night so they may sleep safely.  Although you may not feel comfortable doing so, stop and say hello to one or two of them.  They won’t value anything you give them.  They will hold you and your actions in regard.  Besides, you never know it but someday you may see them watching your back making sure you are okay.


I carry with me a gift in my mind from that night, a gift I now refer to as my own personal hidden treasure. Sometimes when I feel like there is no where to find peace to temporarily calm the raging ocean in my mind I remember that sight and for a moment I find my mind slows down and allows the moment to unfold as it should.  To this day I have the images in my mind of that night; someday I may have to draw these moments.  Perhaps the picture that engaged an unused portion of my mind or rather heart could do some good for others as well.


I have one wish to share this Christmas.  I wish we could all regard each other, even if only long enough to make that magickal connection by stopping to say, “Hello, Merry Christmas”.



Adam Crosthwaite




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Spiritual Climate Newsletter DECEMBER 2005 Part 3 The Ultimate and Perfect Gift: Love By Wendy Ford

The Ultimate and Perfect Gift: Love

By Wendy Ford


Having grown up in a middle class Protestant family, Christmas has always been a very special time of year for me.  Many happy memories have their sources around the holiday times.  Our family had its traditions and now that we are grown it is not hard to tap back into those memories at a moment’s notice.


A package arrived on my doorstep the other day.  Immediately recognizing the return address I eagerly set about working my way through the layers of tape and paper.  My sister had promised to send us some Stadium Mustard and Hellman’s mayonnaise since we cannot find those brands here in Arizona.  As I reached into the box my hand folded around something ceramic that was not the expected bottle.  What in the world?  As I carefully unwrapped the plastic there in my hand was a Santa mug.  It was bright cherry red, the head of Santa with his snowy white curly beard, wearing a big grin and winking one eye.  A flood of memories was instantly triggered.


The day after Thanksgiving Mom would pull down the five Santa mugs and serve hot chocolate in them for breakfast.  From that Friday morning until the night of New Years Day those mugs would hold any beverage served from orange juice to cocoa to tea to milk to eggnog.  No family member would have even entertained the notion of drinking from anything else.  If behavior warranted the reward would be to stir hot chocolate with a candy cane.  Of course each of us tried to stir every thing with candy canes but quickly learned orange juice and candy cane don’t mix too well.  Coupled with the age old admonition to be good or Santa wouldn’t leave any toys Mom and Dad were treated and oft times amused to be sure with our efforts to demonstrate the best of all behaviors for the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.


Many other memories surround the holidays for me:  good times with relatives and friends, the humorous mishaps that inevitably go with family gatherings, several family tragedies that occurred around the holidays.  I remember the infamous Year of The Trash Can.  It had been financially tight one year and my Mom was more than a little miffed that my Dad presented her a brand new never been scratched Rubbermaid trash can complete with the new style of latching lid.  That is until he asked her if she had looked under the lid.  Taped to the underside of the lid was a one hundred dollar bill with the instructions that she was only to use it for something for herself. 


Chuckles can still be elicited by the memory of the year Mom and the next-door neighbor struggled to get the Barker lounger from the neighbor’s garage up our porch steps and into the living room without my dad getting wise.  Of course it kept opening up on them generating much giggling.  To this day I think Dad knew but was getting as much of a kick out of hearing them as they had accomplishing the task. 


High on the list of memory is the year we went out to cut our own tree as a surprise to Mom and ended up with store bought when no matter what my father-the-engineer did it was just too big and crooked to stand in our living room.  “Well it didn’t look that big out in the forest.”  After gracefully falling over on my sister as she was pouring water into the stand my dad gave up.  Mom came home from shopping to see a tree in the middle of the front yard, thousands of pine needles strewn everywhere indoors and out, pieces of tree trunk scattered near the front steps and a note tacked to the front door “Have gone to buy a tree.” 


Then there was the year my aunt had taken seriously ill and her three-month-old daughter and three year old son came to stay with us.  It was a trying time for many reasons and my mom and dad were pretty stressed.  We’d all gather around the crib and sing to get the baby to sleep, night after night after night.  At that time none of us had ever heard of a newborn baby being addicted to drugs.  My heart still swells as I remember the time spent and patience and Love Mom poured into those two little children and still aches when remembering the look on my mom’s face as their mother took them back on Christmas Eve.  None of us batted an eye when Christmas dinner that year consisted of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches and Mom fell asleep under the flashing Christmas tree lights.  Each of us became acutely aware of how fortunate we were as a family and how much we meant to each other.  That was the Christmas I became aware of the power of unconditional Love.


Memories can be brought up in a heart beat by a sight or sound or smell: the jangling jingle of the Salvation Army kettle bell, the scent of fresh pine, the pepperminty smell of candy canes, the bright lights of neighborhood homes gaily flashing.  But you know what I have little to no recollection of?  Gifts I received from Santa, et al.  It is not the material things that can be recalled.  Memories are strong about the excitement and anticipation of key things my sister and brother and parents received but it is odd that little is recalled of things I received from others.  The emotions attached to the spirit of giving are strong but very vague from the receiving side.


Riding the Rapid into Downtown Cleveland to see Santa at Halle’s Department Store was always the highlight of the season.  The whole family would get all dressed up in our best clothes, paten leather Mary Janes included, and bundle up with our hand muffs and scarves.  We’d get off under the Terminal Tower and ride the clattery wooden escalator up to the seventh floor to see Mr. Jing-A-Ling who was Santa’s main elf and the keeper of the keys to allow entry into Santa’s land.  Anyone growing up in Cleveland in the late 1950’s to late 1960’s knew every word to the song about him.  Only after I was in high school did I learn that Mr. Jing-A-Ling was actually played by the father of one of my fellow classmates and was in real life an executive at the television station.  I had also known him most of my life as the family went to our church.  Those times spent with the family are warm memories.


Shopping with my mom for the Christmas season was always a great treat and adventure.  Being the oldest I was the keeper of the secrets of the toys for my sister and brother and was even recruited to help my mom wrap everyone’s gifts.  As I got older inevitably Dad would enlist my assistance wrapping things he had bought or in going shopping with him.  Helping my younger brother and sister pick out cherished gifts to give Mom and Dad was always fun and the endless taunts of “I know what so and so got you” was, of course, the sisterly thing to do.  But it is not the memories of any of the items that have stuck.  It is the time spent with my mom and dad and brother and sister and the plotting and planning and the giggling that have found permanent places in my inner records.


My husband and I hold our own tradition of no gift exchange between us on Christmas.  The gift we give is our time to each other on that day.  Since we met over thirty years ago we’ve managed never to be apart on Christmas Day.  His time is the most precious of gifts.


Evidently for me, memories have been stored that reflect a sharing of Love, not things from Christmases past.  What a great blessing the ultimate of gifts.  Memories based on my reactions to the flow of Love.   


In today’s busy world with consumerism taking a front and prominent seat in the holiday season I wonder just what it is that anyone will retain long lasting memories of?  Being caught up in the wild Day After Thanksgiving Sales?  The receiving of the credit card bills that stream in during January?  Will memories of a lifetime be generated by the electronic gadgetry that is promoting more and more isolation?  Is anyone “making” emotional warm memories anymore? 


Why is it that this is the time of year we feel compelled to buy something for everyone we know?  Why do people feel the need to be around other people every minute and gather in large, loud parties?  After being under the tutelage of Dr. Strickler all these years I have come to understand it is because this is the time of year when the unconditional Love of The One flows most strongly flooding this plane.  It tugs literally at our hearts and we are filled with it.  Yet, paradoxically, our hearts are simultaneously responding to the emptiness of the presence of the No Thing, The One.  For the untrained, the feeling of emptiness or more correctly abandonment as alluded to in Dr. Strickler’s November article, is misinterpreted as loneliness.


At this time of year the nights are still getting longer so there is more darkness and quiet.  There is opportunity for time to think and be quiet.  But instead of using that time to contemplate and think and feel and experience and open ourselves to that unconditional Love many try to fill the darkness, emptiness and quiet with bright lights and glitter, noise and activity and crowds.


Our senses are misinterpreting the meanings of our feelings and with the aid of shrewd businesses and advertisers who are keenly aware of the psychological responses to certain stimuli we are led to believe that these feelings can only be responded to with the buying of things and giving of things and filling our time with parties and activities and noise.  


The joy of the season is being in the wash of unconditional Love as it floods this plane from the Source.  Jesus manifested on the earth plane to anchor the Christ energy, the energy of unconditional Love.  It is not necessary to drive yourself crazy shopping and running to parties in order to express and share and experience that Love.  The giving of one’s time, the sharing of a smile, the lending of a hand, a gentle touch or kind word will suffice.  No doubt giving to those less fortunate is critical.  But I don’t consider “those less fortunate” to include the almost mandatory gratuities, expected gifts to supervisors and bosses or mandatory gifts to everyone you know.  No, genuine giving from the heart is how Love is expressed.  The genuine sharing of Love from heart to heart is the one true gift.


“The path of Love is the right royal road that leads to the abode of immortality and eternal bliss—Parama Dharma, where time cannot exercise its destructive power, where Maya cannot show her face.  It is the clear and open way to God.


There is no virtue higher than Love; there is no treasure higher than Love; there is no knowledge higher than Love; there is no Dharma higher than Love; there is no religion higher than Love.  Because Love is truth.  Love is God.  This world has come out of Love, this world exists in Love and this world ultimately dissolves in Love.  God is an embodiment of Love.  In every inch of His creation you can verily understand his Love.


Live in Love.  Breathe Love.  Sing in Love.  Eat in Love.  Drink in Love.  Talk in Love.  Pray in Love.  Meditate in Love.  Think in Love.  Move in Love.  Die in Love.  Purify your thoughts, speech and action in the fire of Love.  Bathe and plunge in the sacred ocean of Love.  Imbibe the honey of Love and become an embodiment of Love.”


May these words of my Guru, Swami Sivanda,

Be a source of joy and inspiration to you.

Swami Satchidananda.


As this Holy Season proceeds may you open yourself to the flow of unconditional Love of the One.  May you allow your heart to be filled and your Being to shine the Light into this world we stumble around in.  Blessings.


Wendy Ford



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Spiritual Climate Newsletter DECEMBER 2005 Part 4 Damn Him, He Is Right-Again!  By Christine Ford

Damn Him, He Is Right—Again!

By Christine Ford


It’s that time of year once again!  Seems the older I get, the faster time whizzes by, especially at this season of year.  Remember being a child and waiting for Christmas?  It seemed like an eternity, especially those four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Once Thanksgiving was over, it was as if a Giant reached down from on high and held back the hands of the Eternal Clock of Time, squeezing with all his might and turning hours into days, days into weeks.  Now, as adults, don’t you find that it is exactly the opposite?  It is as if the Energizer Bunny grabs hold of the same hands of that Eternal Clock of Time and faster than the Road Runner can say “Beep, Beep!”, those hands take on a whole new speed of light pace as you find yourself shaking your head and saying, “How did this happen?  Where is the time going?”


We barely get the Thanksgiving leftovers put in the fridge only to find we have Santa, the eight reindeer, the elves and CONSUMERISM breathing down the back of our necks, chanting the ever growing mantra of purchase-mad propaganda, telling you just what material items need to be exchanged to make this the most perfect Holiday Season ever.  Christmas Carols being blasted 24-7, all the while delivering the UNHOLY Holy-day (Holiday) message of buy, buy, buy, more, more, more, faster, faster, faster!  WHEW!  I often wonder if Santa’s appearance at the end of that beautifully traditional MACY’S Thanksgiving Day Parade was a foreshadowing of the dawn of our current consumer driven society condensing that shopping frenzy into the seemingly shortened time that now exists between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Were we as an entire generation brainwashed by the seemingly innocent arrival of Santa at the end of that parade, viewed even before the Thanksgiving dinner was served, followed by the rash of old and new made for TV specials of the Christmas Season?  Something to think about, anyway!


What really intrigues me about the whole “time speed up thing” though is that increasingly it is not just adults who feel that way!  My handicapped kids at school have been saying, “Gee, we just had Thanksgiving.  How can it be time for Christmas already?”  My five year old granddaughter who has been talking to me about my coming visit during the holidays just commented with a note of disbelief in her voice, “Gaga AZ!  It’s almost time for you to come and see me.  It seemed like it would be a long time, but all of a sudden it is time for you to come.”  From the mouths of babes!  So you see, the hurried rush to purchase of “gifts” of the Season and frantic push to attend parties, celebrations and spread Yuletide Cheer in a disgusting, offensive debauchery of the reverence for the Light and Love which graces the world sadly and increasingly unnoticed this Holy Season isn’t just for adults anymore.  The innocence of even the children has been compromised as well by the blatant commercialization of an event and a time of year so Holy that it defies description. 


My past pattern has been to LOVE every second of the holidays, to relish every greeting and memory, to search for treasures to share with those I love while humming along with the piped in Christmas Carols, to bake cookies, go to parties, and to enter wholeheartedly into the festivities of the so-called Christmas Spirit.  This year I seem to have hit a dead-end in that area of response, a hundred foot high brick wall that I find myself unable to climb over, go around, or dig under.  There appears to be no door to pass through to the other side, so I find myself sitting there, unable to move or function, permeated with an almost tangible numbness, a disassociation from all the busy-ness going on around me, as if a bubble of isolation, a cloak of invisibility, has surrounded me and pulled me into its quiet, dark, silent womb. 


Instead of excitedly preparing and planning, I find myself being overwhelmed by a questioning, a yearning, a silence and an exquisite, profound emptiness; a desire to just be alone and allow myself the time and space to hear the resounding voices of those celestial hosts of Angels that the Christmas Carols and legends speak of.  Attempting to think in terms of what has been my "traditional" celebration of the season, I am paralyzed, saddened beyond words that the sacred and joyous time of year in which the world awakens and is reborn anew to the Light and Love of the Infinite has become a sham, as well as a shame.


I must admit that I believe Dr. Strickler had a hand in pre-empting this response that I am having with a simple statement he made before Thanksgiving that the holidays this year would take on a whole different flavor for all of us within his classes.  Being the somewhat eternal optimist that I have been striving to corral and contain for the past thirteen years, I immediately began projecting images of beauty and splendor surpassing the “wonderful”, at least in my limited perception, Christmas experiences of years past.  I have always regarded it as a “magical” and sacred time, and in my imaginings, it could only get more radiant and glorious, so I was ready and waiting for the grand epiphany which I had built up in my mind from Dr. Strickler‘s simple statement of fact!  Hhhhmmmm. . .


The wanderings of an unrestrained imagination can lead to delusion and set one up for disappointment, as was the beginning of my response when immediately upon finishing Thanksgiving dinner, I was assaulted by the pounding, hammering question of “IS THAT ALL THERE IS?  WHAT JUST HAPPENED?”  That all pervasive feeling of doubt and questioning has not for a moment diminished, and has lead me to ponder just what it is that I have celebrated and joyously regaled for all my years of this lifetime, out of a learned and repeated response to patterns instilled in me and upon me by family, society, friends, and , most importantly, my own stupidity, ignorance, herd instincts and blindness. 


In the past I have experienced similar feelings of doubt and “What‘s it all about” type questioning, though never with the depth and power of this time.  In the years of my inward exploration, as these feelings of emptiness and isolation engulfed me, I have reacted by being terrified and have fought with all my might like a person drowning, the impinging waves of seeming separation from all that I know and am within the physical definition of “myself“, in a state of near panic as I viewed the experience as one of irrational behavior.  This time, however, I find I am welcoming the solitude, embracing the detachment, and allowing what I have now come to recognize without fear as the contact with the greater portion of what I truly am, Spirit and Soul coming into manifestation, if for only a brief moment within the confines of emptiness. 


This is the true gift of Christmas, the discovery and acceptance of that Holy Light and Love which each one of us is a spark of, spiraling into this physical plane of dense manifestation.  The intensity of allowing contact with that spark, gently fanning it, tenderly caressing it, nurturing it, holding your breath while the soft glow becomes an ember, talking with it, silently awaiting a whispered, sometimes shouted, answer, being alone on that starry night of Christmas Eve at midnight and gazing up and out into the infinite velvet blackness that surrounds and sustains us as we simultaneously dive deeply within to the corresponding infinite innermost sanctum of Who and What we truly are, Soul and Spirit in manifestation.  THIS is what the meaning of Christmas has become for me, and this is a humble  expression of that which I hold in regard and strive to share with not only each reader of the Spiritual Climate Newsletter, but each and every person with whom I have contact.


As I find happens more and more frequently, as I struggled to put into words my Christmas thoughts, my daughter, who has become my cherished friend as well, Jessica, called me to read a writing she had found while doing some inner exploring. There was no author listed, so there is no one to credit the simplicity and clarity of the words she sent me, but it echoes on a more exoteric level the experience of “Becoming”, which I have alluded to.  I quote:


After a while, we can learn the subtle differences between holding a hand and chaining a soul.  And we can learn that love doesn’t mean leaving, and company doesn’t mean security.  And we begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts, and presents aren’t promises.  And we begin to accept our defeats with our head up and our eyes open with the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child.  And we learn to build our roads on today, because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans. After a while, we learn that even sunshine burns if we get too much. 


So . . . plant your own Soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.  And we learn that we really can endure. . . That we are strong, and we really do have worth.”


May you, this Blessed Holiday Season, capture a glimpse of the one true image formed from the likeness of the Creator itself, the Light which created a spark which in turn gave birth to that star called You, born in the heavens. This is the True You, and the experience of the revelation of your Soul your Spirit.


Christine Ford




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