Category Archives: Spiritual

Who Am I? The Answer is in Silence–3 Quotes to Contemplate


Last week we talked about Crafting a Soul Prospering Life: what it means, some of the hallmarks, what it feels like, and 5 elements common to those who are living a soul-prospering life. For the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a closer look at each of those elements.

The very first thing, though, is to start with silence. It’s in going within and connecting with your True Self that you will know the Still Small Voice as well as the whisperings of your heart and the urgings of your soul.

Take time today for silence. You don’t need special clothing or equipment, you don’t need to sit/stand/lie in a special position, you don’t have to travel to any special place. You can be silent exactly where you are right at this moment.

Having said that, though, you’ll have a better session of silence if you can be in a place where you’re comfortable, that offers some quiet, and where you can be undisturbed for 15 to 20 minutes.

This week’s theme is “Who Am I?” In your silence, contemplate this. Let the question roll gently in your mind. Let the thoughts drift by WITHOUT judgment. You can note facts about yourself such as your height, gender, nationality, and the like. You can note characteristics about yourself, for example that you’re cheerful, generous and kind. You can also note things you are good at, and things about yourself that you’re proud of.

Here are a few quotes to aid you in your contemplation:

You are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. ~as quoted from Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.  ~Our Greatest Fear by Marianne Williamson

God tries to first create a joyous yes inside of you, far more than any kind of no . . . Just saying no is resentful dieting, whereas finding your deeper yes, and eating from that table, is always a spiritual banquet. ― Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self


Please keep handy this week the thoughts and insights about yourself that you had during your silence today. Refer to them often during the week; remember to make a note of new insights about yourself and your life that come to you this week.


Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Inner Guidance: How to Strengthen Your Connection With It

Copyright 2014 Artisans Workshop Designs


It’s great to sit in silence with your Inner Guidance, and even have a conversation with it.  It’s also a good thing to take it out into the “real world” and strengthen your “real world” connection with it.

The “real world” can be a very noisy frenetic place with lots of people, traffic, shoulds, and constantly being told “you ought to”.  If the chatter in our own minds doesn’t drown out the voice/feeling of our Inner Guidance, all the hubbub and guilt of the world will surely do it.

When you’re in the middle of a contentious meeting at work and everyone is pointing their finger at everyone else…when you’re in the middle of the grocery store and your kids are crying because you wouldn’t buy them the sugary smacky-pops cereal they saw on TV…when you hope for a quiet weekend to relax and recharge but your in-laws decide to surprise you with a visit, bringing along with their non-housebroken puppy with the delicate stomach….  It’s a little difficult–not to mention impractical–to find a quiet corner and sit in silence.

It’s important to learn how to hear your Inner Guidance in the midst of the frenzy of everyday life.

Here are a few suggestions:


~When you’re out and about and having a good time, pause and tune in.  What’s your Inner Guidance saying?  Where do you feel it in your body?  Do you “see”/feel/hear a person or character associated with it?

~When you’re at work and everything is going reasonably well–at least there aren’t any disasters that have people running around in a panic–tune in.  What do you hear/see/feel?  Where in your body do you have a corresponding sensation?

~When you’re at the grocery store, instead of being a robot and methodically going down your list of items, pause a moment and tune in.  Stand in the produce section, for instance, and feel/hear/see which fresh fruits and vegetables your Inner Guidance is leading you to (of course stand in a place that doesn’t obstruct other shoppers!).


As you do this in the various moments of your day, you’ll gradually become more in tune with your Inner Guidance.  It’ll become second nature to listen in–in fact, you’ll know it so well that you’ll automatically follow its lead!

Give it a try and let me know how it’s working out for you.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Inner Guidance: Unrelenting


Another way to discern our Inner Guidance from the other chatter in our brains is that our true Inner Guidance won’t quit; we’ll keep getting the same prod.  The “voice” of our Inner Guidance might be quiet, barely a whisper, but it’ll be gently relentless.

The other thing about our Inner Guidance is that the way it’s showing us is full of possibility and gives us feelings of hope.  We also feel a little surge of energy and rightness.

The chatter, on the other hand, bounces around among thoughts, exhausting and confusing us.  To top it off, the chatter doesn’t make us feel very good about ourselves or about our prospects.

During your quiet time when you’re tuning in and listening, know that this is the truth about your Inner Guidance.

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Inner Guidance: Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You!


The other day, we talked about naming the chatter in your head—all that stuff that interferes with you hearing and paying attention to your Inner Guidance.

Here are two practices that when done in combination, can help you tell the difference between your Inner Guidance and the chatter.


First Method:

Take the time today to name and personify your Inner Guidance.  Perhaps use a character in a beloved book or movie that embodies your Inner Guidance.  Or it might be an actual person.

For instance, Mr. Rogers is kind, inclusive, and has a deep loving wisdom.  Perhaps holding an image of him in your mind can help you get to know your Inner Guidance.

Perhaps Mother Teresa can represent your Inner Guidance.  While she was filled with love for all and was gentle and caring to those who were desperate for her loving kindness, she also didn’t suffer fools lightly.  She could be a fierce advocate for the oppressed and marginalized.

It’s okay if you find that the image of your Inner Guidance changes.  You’re changing and you may find that the image or personality of your Inner Guidance changes.  Also, it’s fine to have different images for your Inner Guidance for your different moods.


Second Method:

Tune into your Inner Guidance and be mindful of your body.  When you do this, where in your body to you “hear” or feel your Inner Guidance?  Some people have a feeling in their gut, their stomach or solar plexus region.  Others feel/hear their Inner Guidance in their chest area.  Some feel it in their throats, and still others feel/hear their Inner Guidance in their head.

It’s fine to hear/feel your Inner Guidance in different areas of your body.  Your Inner Guidance will nudge you wherever it thinks it has the greatest chance of getting you to listen and follow through!  Usually I hear/feel my Inner Guidance in my chest area but there have been times when I’ve felt it in my upper arm near my shoulder as if my Inner Guidance is asking me to look that way, turn that way.  !!!


Combining these two methods will definitely help you get to know your Inner Guidance.  Do these today and every day!

Feel free to share who personifies your Inner Guidance and where you feel/hear it in your body.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Inner Guidance: Can it be Trusted or is it Mumbo Jumbo? & Artisan Workshop Designs


The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine about Inner Guidance. He asked, “Can it be trusted or is it all mumbo-jumbo and woo-woo?”

I gave him the technique I shared with you yesterday of naming and personifying the different thought groups that are the chatter in his mind.   I explained that this technique will help him discern the voice of his Inner Guidance from all the other “stuff” going on in his brain.

Then I asked him if he’d ever said the following phrases:

~Against my better judgment…

~I knew in my bones…

~My gut was telling me…

~I knew I should/shouldn’t have…


I told him that this was his Inner Guidance speaking to him.

He said: “But at the time I had no proof that it was right.”

“EXACTLY!” I said, “Which is why it can be scary and difficult to pay attention to it.”

Oftentimes, our Inner Guidance seems to be off-base and that if we listen to it we’ll go in a totally wacky direction. I’ve found in my own life, and have observed in others’ lives, that even though it may not make sense,

if we keep getting the same poke or prod to do a certain thing, then we should listen and follow through on it.

Steven Jobs in his now famous commencement speech at Stanford University, he talks about this very thing. He followed his Inner Guidance and even though he did things that didn’t seem to have rhyme or reason (taking a calligraphy class), they turned out to be a significant building block in a future endeavor (the calligraphy class showed him the importance of font styles and, thus, all the choices we now have with our computers).

Again I urge you to follow through on the pact you made with yourself at the beginning of the week that you’ll take at least 5 minutes each day for quiet solitude. In this gift to yourself, just be and listen. That’s it, just be and listen.

Oh, and follow through on the prods!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Inner Guidance: A Technique to Separate Your Inner Guidance from the Noise


As we talked about yesterday, giving yourself the daily gift of quiet solitude is one of the most effective ways to hear and connect with our Inner Guidance. Maybe you’re like me, though, and find that when I’m sitting in silence, it’s amazing how noisy it is! All the chatter, all the angsting…. Oy!

I came across a technique that is simple yet packs a powerful punch: naming and personifying the chatter in your head.

For instance, when you take a moment for silence and turning within, you notice your thoughts are those of worry: worry about the project at work, worry about paying the bills, worry about your kids, worry about the challenges your spouse is dealing with….

Or perhaps you find a very judgmental voice: she’s not nearly as smart as I am; his kids are far less talented than mine; she thinks she’s ‘all that’; he struts around like he’s so cool….

Maybe your thoughts are bullying. For instance: you should have known better, who do you think you are, you aren’t very talented, you’re getting way too big for your britches….

Your thoughts might be infused with sadness, such as: nothing ever works out for me, no one knows I even exist; I don’t matter….

Give names to the different groups of thoughts you have.

For instance, your thoughts of worry can be called Warren the Worrier, your judgmental thoughts can be Judy the Judge, Billy the Bully can be the thoughts that beat up on you, and Sadness Agnes can the thoughts that bring you down and make you feel hopeless and helpless.

Give personalities to them.

Perhaps Warren the Worrier is constantly wringing his hands and speaks in whiny voice. Judge Judy can be huffy and uptight, where as Billy the Bully might have mean little eyes and a grimace on his face. Sadness Agnes might have lank hair, be dressed in dull browns, and mope about all day.

When you have named and personified the chatter in your mind, it’s easier for you to choose whether to listen to the chatter or to move it to the side. When you move it all to the side, then it’s MUCH easier to hear your Inner Guidance.

Remember to name and personify your Inner Guidance as well. Then, you’ll be able to quickly and easily tune into it.

What are a few of the names and personalities you’ve given to your inner chatter? Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way, named her inner critic Nigel. She pictured him as a fussy, up-tight man who speaks with a British accent!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Inner Guidance: Six Inspiring Quotes


The unshakable foundation of a soul-prospering life is built by being deeply connected with your inner self, your true self. Through this connection, you clearly hear the Still Small Voice.

Here are a few quotes to ponder:

Build your inner environment. Practice silence. I remember the wonderful discipline of the great ones. When we used to talk and chatter, they would say: ‘Go back into you inner castle.’ It was very hard to comprehend then, but now I understand the way of peace. ~Paramahansa Yogananda


The quieter you become the more you are able to hear.   ~Rumi


 Trust your instinct to the end, though you can render no reason. – Ralph Waldo Emerson


Listen to your heart for guidance and be guided by its message of comfort or discomfort. Your heart is the junction point between your mind and your body. If the choice feels comfortable in your body, move into it with confidence. If the choice feels uncomfortable, pause and see the consequences of your action with your inner vision. Honoring the guidance that is provided by your body’s intelligence will help you make the most evolutionary choices for yourself and those in your life. — Deepak Chopra


Solitude is not an absence of energy or action, as some believe, but is rather a boon of wild provisions transmitted to us from the soul. In ancient times, purposeful solitude was both palliative and preventative. It was used to heal fatigue and to prevent weariness. It was also used as an oracle, as a way of listening to the inner self to solicit advice and guidance otherwise impossible to hear in the din of daily life. — Clarissa Pinkola Estes


At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. – Lao Tzu


Take time today for stillness and quiet. Just be.   Listen.

Make a pact with yourself that you will take time–5 minutes is a great baby step–every day to listen, to just be with yourself in quiet solitude.

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Pilgrimage: From the Comfort of Your Cozy Armchair


Perhaps you find yourself in circumstances that don’t allow you to go anywhere for a pilgrimage.

No worries! You can enjoy one from the comfort of your cozy armchair!

Your library or favorite bookstore is loaded with memoirs with the theme of “A Year of…” These are a few that I’ve enjoyed:

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock,
365 Thank Yous by John Kralik
Thrive by Arianna Huffington
Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower by Tom Krattenmaker
Holy Rover by Lori Erickson

The Internet is filled with images of Holy Sites, Shrines, as well as photos and videos of the wonders of the natural world. Here are a few websites to check out:

American Religious Sites

Huffington Post’s suggestions 

BBC’s suggestions

National Park Foundation

National Parks in the USA 


Also, you can refresh yourself with an afternoon of surfing sites related to activities and hobbies you enjoy. Here is one I’ve enjoyed surfing:

Let me know the interesting pilgrimages you’ve taken from the comfort of your favorite cozy armchair! Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Pilgrimage: How to Do This in Every Day Life


All week we’ve been talking about pilgrimages.  What if you aren’t able to make any kind of pilgrimage?  Perhaps finances are a concern, or maybe your family responsibilities or work obligations prevent you from traveling anywhere.

No worries!  You can always incorporate a pilgrimage into your everyday life!

It sounds weird to go to the grocery store or the cleaners or picking up a few items at the hardware store as a pilgrimage, but it can be done.

It might be better, though, to visit a place in town that’s special to you in some way.  For instance, you might hang out at the library or go to a park in town that you don’t normally visit.  You might find it very interesting to visit different places of worship not only during services (check first to make sure it’s okay for visitors to attend), but also when there are no services going on (check to make sure there are hours when the house of worship is unlocked and open to visitors).

Going to a store that specializes in supplies for a hobby that you enjoy could be a special treat.  For instance, I have a good friend who loves knitting and it’s great fun for her when she visits yarn stores—she treats them as pilgrimages.

Once you’ve decided the pilgrimage you’re going to make in town, here are a few things you can do:

Create a Clear Intent – ask yourself:
~Why is this important to you?
~What do you hope to gain, to learn–how do you hope this changes you?
~What do you want to let go of, release?

Attention and listening:
~What are you noticing through your senses—the colors, textures, scents, sounds, etc.

~What’s the same as you’ve experienced in your everyday life; what’s different?

Allow meandering:

~How will this help you?
~How will this move you into a soul-prospering life?

~Even if it seems like you haven’t experienced anything new, be grateful for the experience anyway.  You’ll probably find that in the coming days and weeks, something will connect with your pilgrimage experience.

Leave an offering:

~Is there something you can offer/give as a thank you for the pilgrimage?


Give this a try and please share your experiences in the comments below.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Pilgrimage: Secular Pilgrimages, Are They Possible?



The answer to the question posed in today’s post’s title: YES!

When we think of secular pilgrimages we think of people who are fanatics about a particular thing such as intrepid Elvis fans who visit Graceland with awe and deep reverence.

But there’s more than trips like these for those who want to make a pilgrimage but don’t want to “get involved” with anything religious or spiritual. If this describes you, you’ll be glad to know that you aren’t alone. The travel industry studies report that there is a significant increase in secular travelers making pilgrimages to holy sites across the globe.

In fact, I have a co-worker who loves to visit holy places because of the stained glass windows and other works of art at these sites. Even she, a firm non-believer, appreciates that these shrines  seem to be infused with a  sacredness that keeps the racket of the world at bay.

Still sound kind of iffy? Consider this: going on a pilgrimage may not give you a religious enlightening or any type of epiphany, visiting new places always “broadens your horizons” as my parents were so fond of saying to my siblings and me. For a time, you experience life through the filters of different customs and routines, different foods, different sights, sounds, and smells. Visiting new places has the potential to give you a different perspective that you couldn’t have gotten by staying in your old familiar place and routine.

The important  point about a pilgrimage is it’s to connect with that piece within you that is profound; that is more than, and bigger than, all the rush and hubbub and frenetic activity of the world. It’s a way to reach inside yourself and have a deeper more meaningful experience here on Earth.

Stay tuned for my upcoming post of resources that might help you choose a place to visit.


Your Friend and Pep Pal,