Fearlessness?!

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Do we dare join the ski patrol when we do not ski? When we were living in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in the late 1960s, Don entered the house we had purchased and made an announcement! While teaching at New Mexico State University that day, a student had told him about a meeting for people wanting to be on the ski patrol. It was to be held in Ruidoso, New Mexico, the following Saturday at the ski area. Thoughts ran through my head. “Is he crazy? We have neither one ever skied. Our children are 2 and 3, too little to enjoy this!” When I shared my concerns, he talked me into getting a babysitter for a day and going to the meeting the following Saturday. Explanations consisted of “there is no snow right now. They will not be testing us to see how we ski this weekend. We can see how much a cabin might cost us to make it easier for traveling back and forth on the weekends that we have to be there.” He was determined and also said, “If you do not want to do this, then I will do it alone. There will be lots of cute bunnies on the slopes.” That was mean! Saturday arrived. We went to the meeting and learned that we would all have to go through EMT training that would be offered free for everyone planning to patrol. That sounded like training that might be helpful to have at any time in our lives. I was in! We met families that owned cabins in Ruidoso that day. One invited us over following the meeting to look at a paper they had at home listing rentals.

I liked their entire family, and we accepted their invitation and thought about the possibilities of a cabin. Arriving at their cabin, I perused the newspaper and showed Don what I had found. On the first call, I was horrified by the cost of renting a cabin for the winter. On the second call, I asked, “How much are you renting your cabin for this winter?” She hesitantly responded, “Well, we do not have a cabin for rent, but will you hold on?” Me: “Definitely.” When she returned to the phone, she invited us to come to meet with them about renting the cabin.” We went and loved it. It was a two-bedroom small log cabin, kitchen with cheerful red and white tablecloth on the table, living room with a fireplace, rustic! The woman told me a story while we were in the kitchen about her and her husband coming home to find a bear in the cabin. She shooed it out with that tablecloth. After her story, I asked the scary question, “How much will you want for rent? We will only be here on weekends and are sharing the cabin with another couple.” Both she and her husband responded, “$60.00 a month.” We could definitely do $30 a month each! Surprised, we quickly agreed and told them how much we would take care of their place. The next morning, the telephone rang, and I answered. It was the owner of the cabin. She said, “Hello, Susie, I need to talk to you about something.” I thought, “Oh no, she wants a larger amount. Then, to my surprise, she continued with, “We would like to lower your rent to $45.00. You see, we have a light that we leave on outside. It comes on and off automatically. The charge for that runs about $15 a month. Would this be okay?” Me: “That is not necessary. We can pay you the $60 and pay for the cost of the bill for the light.” She would not have it. She said they had never rented and really liked us.

Now about skiing! There was a small ski area, Cloudcroft, close by. We went to that small ski area, took a lesson, and began our life of skiing. Cloudcroft opened before Sierra Blanca in Ruidoso opened. Perfect timing. When Sierra Blanca opened, we began our life on the ski patrol. We loved that ski area, the employees of the ski area that were mostly Native Americans from a local reservation, and our friends on the ski patrol! We all learned to ski. Helping many that came through the Ski Patrol Station that had gotten hurt was also rewarding. By both Don and I working one hour a day, our whole family skied free. Our two children, Dawn and Johnny, loved going to the cabin and spending time with other children whose parents were on the ski patrol with us. They began skiing at ages two and three. They initially began skiing with them between my legs. Next, they left me, went up the beginner’s lift, and could come down the baby slope. The is when we put them in ski school. Ahhh, my first day to practice my skiing by myself. I took the lift up the mountain and began down a slope I felt like I could handle. That is when I heard someone crying. It sounded like Johnny. I almost panicked but followed the cry and found him. He had left the class and found me!!!! Well, that was the end of ski school for him. He always skied with me until Dawn joined us. Then we three skied. And we all got better and better. We were on the ski patrol for two winters and then took a break while Don got his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. Returning to New Mexico in l970, we went back on the ski patrol and rented another cabin. As I got a job and life became more hectic, we eventually stopped renting the cabin, and then we let go of our beloved ski patrol. Don had decided to run for U.S. Congress.

I walked into the new arts center wanting to learn about macrame and walked out teaching macrame! Can I do it? With Don out of school and with no money to get started, I needed money. I learned there was a new building downtown that had recently opened where they sold art supplies. I did not have a job yet, and our children were now five and six, so I decided to see the art gallery one morning while they were in school. After looking around to find something for children to do at home, I asked the lady behind the desk, “Do you have any macrame books?” She said, “Yes, we do. It is becoming so popular.” I walked over and picked out some books about doing macrame and then retrieved jute to practice with. When I got to the desk, she said, “Would you consider teaching macrame here?” I hesitantly replied, “Certainly I would. What are you thinking?” She said, “We need a beginners’ class. Perhaps you could teach one in the evenings once a week. If it really goes over, we could have two a week.” I took on the persona of someone that knew what they were doing and replied with, “That would work perfectly for me. Let’s begin with one for beginners and meet once a week. We just recently moved here, and I do not know many people.” She said, “Oh, do not worry about that. We will do all of the advertising and have them sign up to attend here. Give us a call in a few days and tell us what supplies you want them to have to begin the class.” As I walked out of the art gallery, I was ecstatic! This was going to be perfect. Don could watch Dawn and Johnny while I taught a class. I had not ever done macrame in my life, but I did not lie. One book I purchased was about how to begin doing macrame. That was the first item I had the participants purchase plus some jute… just like me… and we met in a beautiful room designed for classes to be held at this beautiful venue for art supplies. I made about $260 a month during that first class of eight sessions. I made more the following class offering another beginners’ class and an intermediate class. Practicing at home, I got better and did bigger projects, winning a blue ribbon at the county fair and the state fair.

Do I dare attempt a job for which I am not qualified? When we arrived in Portales, where Don was going to teach after completing his Ph.D., I took my resume to the Dean of Student Affairs and said I knew there were problems I could help him with. Eventually, he called me about a position. I turned down three jobs the Dean of the Student Affairs called and told me about. My last boss in Iowa City at American College Testing told me to stop taking the kind of jobs I normally took; he said not to take anything below an executive position. The Dean telephoned the fourth time and said that I would be very interested in this position. He asked that I come for an interview. I laughingly said that I would not do it because he did not know my value. He ignored me and continued talking until I became curious. After arriving for my meeting with him, I watched as he pulled my resume from his drawer. I also watched his expressions change as he discovered that I only had an AA degree in Business from OU. He wanted someone with a Master’s Degree in Sociology or Psychology! I suggested he let me volunteer for whatever the job was that he called me about to help him. I also asked why he called me to meet with him if he had not looked at my resume? He said that he noticed that I could get along with people in high positions and the hippies of the day young people. Disappointed that I had no degree, he turned my suggestion of volunteering down. I left, and he called again in a few days, asking me to meet with the lady over volunteers. I went to that interview about volunteering. It turned out the position was to work for a drug prevention program connected to the university. It had problems, and they wanted me to close it down in six weeks. I told the nice woman that interviewed me that I could try to do what they wanted. You see, I thought volunteering to shut down this program where they had been looking for a Master’s Degree person to run the program would help me practice being an executive.

The lady I met with explained that they were going to be losing their funds in six weeks. I suddenly got the bright idea to say, “If I can keep the funds, can I keep the position of Director?” The response was, “Yes, but you won’t be able to keep the funds.” I learned the funding was $21,000 a year. I asked where they acquired their funding and if I could talk to them. She said, “It’s in Santa Fe, but they will not give it to you.” Me: “Will you give me a chance and let me go talk to them?” Hesitantly, she said that I could do that. Two counselors had been working there, plus a secretary, but one counselor and the secretary had already quit. Thus, it would be the one counselor and me. She felt that I could close the records and the books. I accepted the position of Director for the University’s Prevention Center. Now here was my surprise. I thought I would be volunteering. Frances, who was interviewing me, then said, “How much do you want to be paid?” I was stunned. I thought I would do this for free and had been setting all sorts of requirements for my taking the job and working for nothing. I muttered out a low amount and left to see what I could do. The other employee quit the next day. He was mad that he did not get the job! The counselor who quit had a caseload of 20. I told each of them that I liked people but had no training. They all kept coming. It was just me. I did go to Santa Fe and meet with the Director of the Funding Agency. They doubled the money we received from the state for the next year rather than take the money away in six weeks. With no other mental health program in town, people from our community came to our center. The Dean and I hired a real counselor to work with me with the new funding, and it all began. He made me keep my 20, and he took the new ones.

Eventually, with more money coming in, we grew so big that the Dean asked me to leave along with my program. I called and got papers to apply for a non-profit corporation. We developed our own Board of Directors for what would be known as Mental Health Resources, Inc. We did, in fact, completely separate from the university. Not knowing how to do anything helped me. Can you believe that? I did not hire a lawyer to get our non-profit status. I did not know to do that. I did it and thought everyone did it this way. I had no idea that most groups hired a lawyer to acquire non-profit status until a man came to our center and asked who we hired to get our non-profit status. Another thing that I had never done was write a grant. Again, I wrote my first one by reading instructions and simply answering the questions. I was also counseling and developing programs for first offenders and their parents, plus other programs to help people. This required more staff. Serving on many state committees, I thought about who needed help, such as prisoners returning home. What programs would I have wanted to attend if I needed that help? Looking for additional funding sources, I went to the Law Enforcement Assistance Agency to programs designed to help prisoners. I added to my own education plus training while working with new ideas for our center. And I began being asked to do programs in schools, speak, and work with the state mental health/drug abuse/mental retardation association to develop and get a law passed at the state level to help mental health situations in all areas. I loved my position, my job, and the many lives we were touching. When I learned there were funds for an abandoned building in the middle of downtown to be refurbished, I wrote a federal grant to acquire the only funds available. New Mexico only had enough money for one building to be refurbished and made into a mental health facility. We got it. When I left ten years later, we offered seven counties a comprehensive mental health center, had 168 employees, and a $1.8 million budget per year. I left to enter the marriage that created even more pain than Don’s death. For ten years, I loved my position, my work, and all we accomplished.

Decided to start my own nutrition business and help people health wise. I have already written about this, and it also was a success even through a bad marriage. Then I changed and it was again time to let go.

LESSON: Sometimes, when we step off a cliff and try something we have never tried before, we might land standing tall. If we do not, we can usually remove ourselves from the situation and take a different path. Practice replacing fear with love – love and faith for both its negative, which we learn from and the positive experiences that bring passion forth.

GIFTS: My creativity soared in the above four situations.

I learned to ski so well that I could have been on the Ski Patrol that serves the mountain rather than taking care of people in the patrol’s first aid station where the ski patrol brought problems. I suddenly realized the ego wanted me to pass the test to pick up and take large people in the sled down the most difficult slopes. Putting my ego in check and my masculine side in check. Knowing I could succeed, I declined the final part of the test and was happy with what I had been doing. I loved snow skiing, as did our whole family. I did smile when I could ski right past all of the ones still standing at the top of a ridge looking down the slopes was able to whiz by and head down the steep slope and its moguls.

Teaching macrame meant that I had to stay ahead of my students. It kept me on my toes. I created wall hangings and even a hanging lamp that actually won the New Mexico state fair.

My creativity and not knowing I was not qualified to be doing something brought about increases in the numbers of clients and innovative programs to help people of communities I lived in and others.

Having no signs of preparing me for any of these activities above, they just appeared, and I stepped forward. I thanked God many times for what came forth. However, I began having signs to guide me when I began wanting more spiritual answers about life. That is when I committed to Self and God to pay attention to what I was being shown. Perhaps I have always been presented with signs, but I did see them or take the time to notice or was not awake enough to notice. Paying attention made life even more of an adventure!

Sharing My Dining Expertise

Soon after I married John, Ragna, John’s Mom, telephoned and invited us to come over for lunch. We went. Soon after we began eating, she pushed a brochure about Austria over to me and said she was inviting me to take a trip. I politely looked at the brochure and then replied, “Thank you so much for thinking of me, but I cannot go. I truly appreciate the offer, but now is not the time.” She said, “Are you certain that you cannot go?” I again replied, “Yes.” We finished eating and left. As soon as I slid into the car, John said, “Susanne, why didn’t you say that you wanted to go?” I explained that I did not have money for a trip like that. He said, “My mom was paying for it.” I told him that I had not ever been given a free trip, even by Shaklee, that did not cost me money. He said, “Do you know that you are now married and that I might be able to help out?” I knew we both were beginning again, but John convinced me that we could do this. I could go. I called Ragna back and explained why I had said no. She was so pleased and explained that she was taking Beverly, her daughter, and Sandie, her other daughter-in-law. She felt that by doing this, I would quickly bond with the women in the family. Now I had been coming to family gatherings for five years before marriage and did not think of this being a bonding event. It was!

After purchasing a proper all-weather coat and a smaller suitcase than anything I owned, I was ready. When the time came, I was excited. We flew overnight. Ragna was in her 80’s, and I was in my 50’s. We sat together on the airplane, an overnight flight. She literally talked to me and shared all night! We did not sleep, arrived in Germany, and took a bus to St. Wolfgang, Austria. When we arrived, her three daughters thought it was time for a nap. Ragna looked at us and said, “No, we cannot take a nap. We need to see the downtown area and stay up. There is a reception this evening that we are attending, and then we will go to sleep. That will help us adjust to their time zone.” Ragna was a great traveler. She had been to so many foreign countries that none of us argued with her.

This was a beautiful town just a little East of Salzburg, Austria. The town was St. Wolfgang. We could go to Salzburg by ferry. We could see the Alps. Our scenery and the trip were fantastic. Not only did Ragna pay for our trip, but she also gave each of us $200 to spend on the trip. We each purchased our own lunch every day because that did not come with the trip. It, in itself, was so expensive that some days we actually skipped lunch. Now I have two stories to tell about this trip.

First story: This new mother-in-law of mine had so much energy! Where did she get it? I had less energy than she did. We took a steam-engine train originally built in 1893. It was the steepest steam cog-railway up the Schafberg Mountain. We had to climb a long hill to get to the place where we would board the train. Of course, Ragna was way ahead of us, walking up, up, up! And we were doing our best to keep up! Another sign of her energy took place following an episode I had in the middle of the night one night! Sandie and I were in a king-size bed in our room when I could not believe that I had an accident…diarrhea hit! We had to get up, strip the bed and remake it. I luckily had no more accidents in bed that night. I told Sandie that I did not think I should go on the adventure Ragna set up for us the next day. We both felt that was the best thing for me to do. I could stay in the hotel, look at the beautiful Alps in the distance, and be ready for the evening and our adventure tomorrow. Well, Ragna and Beverly knocked on the door, and they were ready to go to breakfast. I explained my situation and what had happened. Ragna said, “Just a minute.” She left and returned. That is when she threw me a diaper as she said, “Now get out of the bed. It would be best if you had something to eat before we go today. You are going.” I could easily see there would be “no rest” on this trip, not even if someone felt bad. Apparently, she had learned to push through everything that tended to hold her back in her past. I loved her attitude. I adopted it, got up, was careful what I ate and drank, and we were off for the day.

Second story: We had made a reservation for a five-star restaurant for dinner. We ate a good breakfast at the hotel and skipped lunch because we wanted to be really hungry when we went to that five-star restaurant. When we finished going to our destinations we planned for the day, we headed back to the hotel and dressed for the amazing dinner we thought we were going to have. When we arrived at the restaurant, they seated us. The room we were sitting in was not large. There were white tablecloths on all of the tables. Place settings were wonderful, and we had a small centerpiece of fresh flowers. A gentleman brought us menus to peruse. Following us placing our orders, we were each brought a small plate with a fancy 1 1/2″ x 3″ light yellow with what look like herbs sprinkled on top. Now here comes me, Miss Wisdom, in response to comments my mother-in-law and two new sister-in-laws made. They were saying, “What is this?” I replied, “It is an appetizer. When John and I ate with Dawn in her five-star restaurant where she worked, we received an appetizer to enjoy while waiting on the rest of our food. This must be our appetizer.” (Didn’t I sound smart?) We were so hungry from skipping lunch that we devoured this what I told them was their appetizer.” We each ate our food and the bread that came. I asked our waiter if we could have more butter. He looked at me and said, “No, we brought you butter already. You ladies ate all of your butter.” And he brought no more butter. Now we all got tickled. I thought I was such an expert! They believed me. Ragna was laughing so hard that it was all worth it. We decided we had better pay and leave. We were laughing so hard that tears were running down our cheeks. Ragna was laughing so much that we had to help her walk. She said, “They are going to think I have been drinking too much.” It was a great night, a beautiful night, and lots of fun! We could not believe that we each ate so much butter to begin the dinner. It was delicious!

LESSON: When you are invited on a paid vacation and want to go, say “yes”! That adventure taught me so much in so many ways.

GIFTS: We went into Germany and saw the parents of friends that I knew from a doctor that sweat with us. came to pick us up and drove hours to their home for a family meal. Then they returned us to our hotel.

Every day was great, and we did get to know each other so much better.

I have made a conscious effort to not act “so smart” again…ever! Every time butter is served, I remember our experience, how I attempted to sound like I knew what I was talking about, and what happening in my life. I continue to share my experiences in my seminars and the way I understand what is happening in many of our lives, but I know that we each have our own experiences and our own truths about things and sometimes we can be wrong. That butter was not our appetizer.

The Superconscious Mind

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With several people asking for more information about affirmations and then every article or devotional that I picked up also mentioning affirmations, I finally decided it was time to say more about what will hopefully help. Affirmations became a part of my life when I was attempting to grow my business. To grow my business and help my organization, I found a man speaking on his success to other groups in my field and made an appointment with him. Arriving fifteen minutes early, a lady ushered me into his office to wait. I sat down and observed a large whiteboard with a list of what appeared to be goals. I noticed the words “superconscious mind” on the board. Just then, he entered the room, and I asked, “What does the superconscious mind mean?” He replied, “I do not have time to explain. We will talk about that later.” We never did.

When I later began going through my most difficult time and began reading inspirational books about ways to remove limitations by changing what was within, I began to understand the subconscious within me. I thought some of the material I was reading sounded both simple and yet crazy. That is when I began to see what would happen with affirmations. I also tried some exercises to improve my own intuition. I wrote and used affirmations to help me change. As I began opening to new ideas and possibilities, I checked my beliefs versus the beliefs of others. I also began to step over self-limiting boundaries. This helped me see that some past beliefs were no longer mine. I began drawing to me different books, different people, and unusual answers. I not only read, but also listened, always checking myself to see if what I was drawing was better than what I drew in the past or if a past relief was no longer necessary. I learned that for me, it took prayer, trust, listening, intuition, and affirmations to reach my superconscious mind that we all have! I initially fasted once a day for four weeks for answers to begin, began meditating, and found a support group through Al-Anon. Most of you already know how all of this came about. I watched as my intuition became more accurate.

Intuition is your divine guidance. It is when you might get a message as simple as “stay in this lane rather than changing lanes” or “do not turn until you get to the next corner.” It is what we call a hunch. It is, however, God within, the eye watching over us. Someone that always follows the reasoning mind finds it difficult to listen with clarity and follow intuition. It is also difficult for someone that does the same thing every day and allows deviations to upset them. Every moment we can link with intuition gives us a definite lead to our signs. So many times, we attempt to think our way out rather than intuit our way out! Intuition is a spiritual faculty we each have.

Affirmations will help you develop and open unexpected new doors. However, your own action must come first. Write affirmations that will help you release fears in your life by writing words about what you want to come to you. Affirmations can release a feeling of being weak or a victim of circumstances that is causing defeat. They help overcome doubts and negative vibrations about Self. Remember this! One person with perfect peace and filled with love and goodwill can dissolve all negative vibrations. Jesus even said that “All power is given to bring Heaven to Earth.” And this God-given power is also within each of us in our “superconscious mind.” To work with God’s power, you must give it the right of way and still the reasoning mind. That means our part is to activate our faith. Act as though “I am.” Therefore, affirmations in the present tense help. For instance, I said an affirmation like this, always including my name, and I made certain it was in the present tense…as if it were already happening. Exciting words helped me remember the affirmation and brought smiles to my face as I said them. So always write a few words into your affirmation that bring excitement to your life. You might add a few sentences to affirmations to support what you said.

“I, Susanne, am opening daily to God’s guidance in my life. I am listening for answers and am excited about receiving them.” Then I took some simple actions to show God and Spirit that I was serious. I not only began saying affirmations every day, but I also did something else that was fun. Every night when I got into bed, I began working on a Temple. It would be my Temple within that I could go to when necessary. I visualized walking down a path until I came to a place to build it, then I began. I gave it a strong foundation because I wanted a stronger foundation for my life. I had fun designing the inside. Much of it was glass so that I could see the beautiful land outside. I also made a door on the right side of my Temple. I created a waterfall on the left side and placed a stage in the center. When I completed the entire building, I went to the door on the right and opened the door to invite anyone that had a message for me to enter. This was a great way to go to sleep and forget the day. This relaxed me and prepared me for answers to come.

I also listened feelings and my intuition to messages within when I did simple things, like go to a restaurant. I might walk over and sit down at a table. Before eating, I felt what I could. If I felt uneasy, I took note. I would get up and move. If I felt comfortable in my seat, I happily remained. Carolyn, a friend of mine, and I met for lunch one time. We were at a cafeteria, and the food looked delicious. Carolyn, a minister friend of mine, was also working on intuition and “listening within.” We picked a table, and we both felt it was not right. We moved to another table, and the energy felt much better than at the first table. Perhaps people were negative before our sitting down. By the way, this normally did not happen. Because of that feeling, however, and because it was unusual for me to feel that way, I paid attention. Active faith impresses the subconscious.

I do know that before I was listening, I would receive signs and ignore them. Many unhappy situations entered my life because I had impatient desires or wanted to avoid a conflict. That happened in my own lifetime. I wrote another affirmation. Knowing we each have an inheritance from God, I began doing this affirmation. “I, Susanne,, with God’s help, am drawing to me that which is mine by Divine right! I am receiving my inheritance as I speak, and I thank you for it.” That affirmation helped me become a true student of God/Spirit/Jesus and gave me the idea to place God at the top of my list each day, even in my planner. Then I listened. Answers sometimes came through intuitive thought, words others said, a line I read in a book that caused me to think, dreams, even a movie. It was as if my eyes were open and my hearing was magnified in all parts of my life! I began to see my personal inheritance being formed. All life is vibration, and affirmations improve your vibrations in life. With higher vibrations, watch what you draw to yourself and how your life improves. My life appeared to fall apart, but then it came back together in a much better way for me.

You combine with what you notice or vibrate toward! If you are vibrating to injustice and resentment, you will meet it on your path. To change your mood, you must change your vibrations. Turn on a different current in your thought, and you will feel the difference within immediately. Then you will see it without when you are stepping forward. Saying affirmations helps you “be a master of words.” It is difficult to control your thoughts, but you can control your words. Your tools are your words. Be certain you are building constructively. Remember that we are each Spirit in a Physical body. It is good for us to understand this spiritual law. “Whatever we send out comes back to us, and what you do to others will be done to you.” I have watched with my own eyes when this has happened to my Self in my past and others. I have cringed as I listen to words being said that I know will come back to a friend or see actions a person takes that I know will eventually be returned. I do believe karma sometimes happens right here on earth.

What happens when evil appears? See-through the evil, knowing out of it will come good. How can a person obtain peace when his/her whole life is in turmoil? By saying an affirmation. I am saying this again, always know that even if you cannot control your thought, you can control your words, and eventually, word wins out. Most people attract inharmonious conditions because they have been fighting battles and carrying their own burdens. We have to get out of God’s way so he/she/I can harmonize or adjust to the situation. Put situations that need help in a God Box and get out of the way. If you do not understand a God Box, go back to my God Box blog and read. That will help you. Next, write an affirmation to help you! Say it every morning and every night before going to bed, or put them on the sun visor in your car to say when you are by yourself driving somewhere. If you are waiting, do something to show your faith. Put your focus on something like “cleaning out a closet and talk to your divine source” while doing it. By the time you finish, your faith carries you through. You may have even received an answer while cleaning out. Intuition is an excellent guide. Follow it in little things and then trust it in big things. We can learn how to transmute all failure into plenty and all discord into peace. Every morning I make a short prayer of gratefulness to God, and then I add, “Thank you, God, for turning anything that appears negative today into a positive. Amen.

Very few bring into life what is rightfully theirs. Instead, they live as outsiders of their heart’s desires. What is rightfully theirs seems too good to be true. When you are spiritually awake, nothing is too good to be true! Keep walking toward being wide awake to bring your good into manifestation. Talk to God and Spirit like they are friends. Give thanks for a new day. Talk about constructive things. Do not look back and hash over hard times or discord with someone. Give thanks for a new day. Be immune to all adverse appearances. Be wide awake to bring good into manifestation. Know there is a way out of despair and limitation, especially when discouraged, angry, or resentful. Ask for “Reveal to me the way.” Make an affirmation to turn everything around. Prepare for your blessings and intuitive needs. Do not run away from a disputation of which you’re afraid.

LESSON:

The only person I can change is me. When my life became unmanageable, I surrendered. Affirmations can help me and you in all parts of life situations. They can help us go to the center of Self to find joy and peace within. Affirmations greatly helped me change my subconscious about many parts of my life. Change through affirmations does help a person reach the superconscious mind.

GIFTS:

Following the death of my husband in my 30’s, I thought there was no other single person in the world. Following a divorce in my early 40’s, I also felt this way. I had done affirmations about achieving in my work, but I had not used them in my personal life. Working on me helped me see that I had low self-esteem on the inside while I was a high achiever to others. I began creating affirmations that helped me like myself more. I created an affirmation about drawing interesting, intelligent, and kind women to be friends.

I realized that I did begin drawing men to me, but they were all married or separated. That led me to a realization that I did not know how to be single in my subconscious. Subconsciously, I was used to being married. I had been married for 17 years, single two, married for five. So I felt that was why I kept drawing those men. I wrote a new affirmation about liking myself as single and how much happier I was getting each day. And I focused on being perfectly happy and comfortable with myself as a single.

On a beautiful Fall day, with no date for three years and really happy with myself and my apartment rather than my house, I wrote that I would like to draw a kind, compatible person to have fun with that was a male. Nothing seemed to be happening, Spring came, and then I drew fourteen single men that “asked me out” in about a six-week period. I realized that the affirmation I created said something like “I, Susanne, do not know what I want for a compatible mate and, with God’s help, it might be fun to be like Cinderella at the Ball. In early Spring, men seemed to be everywhere. They were standing in line at the grocery store, at a talk I was giving, at a restaurant when I was with four other women. (That one walked over and gave me his card saying that he had been watching me and would like to get to know me. He liked my smile.) I went on one or two dates with every one of those men but told each of them that I could not go out anymore for a while. I also shared with God that I was too tired for this. I decided to rewrite my affirmation and begin again. Six weeks later, I walked up on the porch of this house, knocked, and John answered the door.

I wrote an affirmation about having affluence, having enough for me to live on, and giving to others. I wrote one about stepping over self-limiting boundaries and “knowing” my own beliefs. I wrote an affirmation about bringing Heaven to Earth. I, in fact, wrote affirmations about love in my family, about becoming love within and without. I wrote about anything that I felt to be a stumbling block to improving physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

I wrote affirmations about my healing as well as the healing of my children. After that affirmation, Dawn moved back in first. Next, Johnny returned home from the Navy and also moved in with us. Both of them lived with me for about a year, and we all three loved it! We got to know each other in a new way and had the opportunity to heal Don’s death plus my bad marriage that hurt us so badly in our past.

As I said these affirmations, I watched my life evolve and change! Yes, it took time. Once a year, I also hid out for a weekend. During that weekend, I made vision boards and wrote affirmations, knowing I could add new ideas to my vision boards and could add affirmations.

A Life of Its Own

I know that we have a life of our own and each living creature has a life of its own, but I never expected a book to have a life. I wrote steadily on my book, and then I struggled with sitting down to finish “When Spirit Speaks.” Trying to realize why I realized what I was stating in the affirmation I was doing each morning. I was saying, “I, Susanne, love having a published book.” Those words struck me. There was much to do before this book would be finished and published. To finish the book, I had to sit down in front of my computer and type the rest of the book. Next, I had to decide about publishing the book. Do I send it to publishers, or do I self-publish? Remember, words manifest. I immediately wrote a new affirmation and began repeating it every morning. “I, Susanne, with God’s help, love sitting down in front of my computer and writing the completion of my book. God is continuing to help. Spirit is also helping me. Words come.” I shortly noticed that I wanted to sit down more often to work on my book, even turning down invitations so that I could spend more time writing. I did not think about the money it was going to cost or anything. I typed and worked way into the night on many times.

I found the printer to make what I wrote into a real book; a person I trusted could do the project. I then began to have some thoughts of fear! Every time I had a fear thought, I pushed back the negative thoughts that kept me awake at night. “What if people do not like this book?”, “What if my family disapproves?”, “What if the Lakota Indians I honored do not like it?” I then would change my thinking by following every negative thought with four positive thoughts. “What if everyone or most like my book. My life experience might actually help someone take their limits off also?”

After completing the book, I received the telephone call that the 1,000 books were ready to be picked up. The printer said the cover done by my friend Kevin looked good, and he was proud that he took this project. Well, it was still somewhat scary to think about releasing the book. Even with all of that work on changing my thinking, I wondered if I should just put them in a closet and wait a while? I did not. I began sharing my book with a few friends. My first book signing and introduction to my book came about from friends in Pauls Valley putting together a book signing to be held at our depot! People actually came. I signed my first books and was in our local newspaper. During the first year, I sold most books through talks at clubs, seminars for individuals, and book signings. I carried books in the trunk of my car and sold books that way. This led to signing books in a few independent bookstores. Most were sold at book signings in peoples’ homes with a short talk for a group or at a seminar I was doing. In that first year, I had sold over 950 books from my trunk.

Understanding that I could not do much with larger bookstores until I could find a distributor, I began my search for one that would handle my single book. Eventually, I applied and was accepted by Ingram, a distributor for Barnes and Noble and Borders. With almost all of my first books gone, I ordered 5,000 copies and got a new cover. I began contacting bookstores with a distributor and new copies, sending packets to them, and scheduled signings. Then I began driving all over the state and into other states for presentations. John did not go with me. My book seemed to be guiding me, and I would travel with my book. It took me by invitation to be a guest speaker at a whole life exposition in San Francisco, CA, and then in Austin, Texas, and another in Dallas, Texas. One time I was scheduled opposite Wayne Dyer. What amazed me is that I had over one hundred in my room for my presentation. What were they doing here when they could be listening to Wayne Dyer? This is a fun story in itself!

Other presenters had been presenting during the day. I was scheduled for 7:00 pm and was a little worried when I saw that I was opposite an author I liked. I felt like an unknown. I might check out some of the other presenters during the day. When I went to their rooms, there were only about seven people, maybe as much as fourteen. I thought, “Did I drive this far, so far that I had to get a hotel room for six or seven? I thought and then went outside and chose a tree that I could place my hand on and make a prayer. I visualized a “tree of life” and this tree sending the message to God and out to people. I asked that the right words come to me to touch everyone in my room in some way that would be helpful for their lives. Shortly before 7 o’clock, I went upstairs to the room where I would be presenting.

To my surprise, the room’s door was closed, and a few people were ahead of me in line. Apparently, they did not open the door until each talk, so I stood in line with attendees and waited to enter the room. While waiting, I listened to two or three women visiting about how boring the presentations were that they attended earlier and how they would leave if they found out this speaker was just as boring. I smiled but did not let on that I was the speaker. More people seemed to be lining up behind me. Interesting! Finally, a person opened the door, and we went in to be seated. I followed those women I had been eavesdropping on to the seats they chose and sat down by them. The room kept filling up while we waited for 7 o’clock to arrive. I went to the back of the room and told the person to introduce me that I was there and returned to my seat in the middle of a row by the three ladies.

At exactly 7 o’clock, the woman went to the front of the room and said a few words about me. As she did so, I stood up and also walked from my seat to the front of the room to present. The women sitting beside me were more than a little surprised because we had been casually visiting while waiting. Beginning my talk, I explained that I had three women in the room that planned to leave if I was boring. Smiling and having fun, I said, “They are going to be my barometer to show me if I hit the “boring” line.” I looked at them, and they were grinning from ear to ear. Continuing, I told the audience how surprised that I was that so many people were listening to me when they had an opportunity to listen to Wayne Dyer at this time. Then I said to several, “Why are you in this room tonight?” “What brought you here?” I received a few answers that did not tell me much, and then one said, “I liked the title of your talk.” I responded, “What did you see my title was?” She said, “Hearing Your Ancestors.” Oh, no wonder! These people thought I was going to channel ancestors! So now I understood.

I responded, “Oh, now I know why all of you chose this room. You thought I was going to give you perhaps answers from your ancestors! There has been a mistake. After I tell you the mistake, I hope you stay; however, if you leave, I understand. Apparently, there was an error in typing that resulted in a misprint. I sent the topic of my talk to be advertised. It was Hear your Answers. But if you want to know how to make contact with your ancestors, I can include that.” I looked around the room, and no one was leaving. With not a seat left, there was standing room only. People were standing all the way around the room. Amazing! All stayed, including my three ladies that were not bored. I did a totally different talk than planned, and, by the end, many had laughed, and a few had shed real tears. About fifteen minutes after I began, one lady did raise her hand after I began speaking. I looked at her and said, “Yes, do you need to leave?” She responded, “Please know I am not bored, but my daughter cannot find this room, and she has been looking for it. She just texted me. I am to meet her downstairs and bring her here. She came to hear you speak. I promise that I will be right back with her. Save my seat, please.” I loved that!

I spoke at another Whole Life Expo in Dallas. Because of my book, a lady that had already read “When Spirit Speaks” approached me when I finished speaking and asked if I could be a chapter in her book. She said that she already had permission from Oprah to be a chapter, and then she named others. I agreed and, after several interviews, I became a chapter. It is entitled “Dream It, Do It.” EJ Phillips, a woman I met in Sulphur, purchased my book and read it. She then telephoned, asking me if she could interview me for her book about several Oklahoma women. She drove to Pauls Valley to interview me for her book, Woman: What She Has Done, Where She Has Been.

Another adventure took place when someone sent my book to the women’s prison in McCloud, Oklahoma. An inmate who read it and shared it with others talked to the woman over their prison section. They asked Mabel, a woman responsible for some women, to help them with a request. Mabel telephoned me, saying several women had approached her about calling me. She then explained that she was surprised with their request because many of them had given up faith in God. They wanted her to ask me to come to pray with them in the Native American way. Mabel went on to say that I would have to get permission to do this from the Warden of the Prison. I told her that I would contact him. She gave me his name. I met with the Warden, shared my background, and explained what I had been asked to do. I said that I could do a seminar for the women and then pray with them afterward. He wanted me to do it. I charged them nothing.

After a few months of praying together, they wanted more. They asked if I could help them have a sweat lodge and a medicine wheel to use when I was not there. Mabel and the warden watched these women change. It was an honor for me to listen to their stories, watch them confess their regrets, and see a difference in them. They released their anger toward God. They discussed possibilities for them. I shared that many go to church when they have troubles and pray. Prayer builds the energy, and one feels that energy when they enter a place that people pray. We talked about anywhere people go to pray in a good way is good. They paid attention. Some actually began going to church services offered to them at the Prison. I had no idea how long I would be coming to this prison, so I wanted them to have other resources besides me. About fifteen women prisoners were always in the sweat following my presentation. The energy was strong in each purification ceremony (sweat). I told them that if they ever wanted forgiveness from someone on the other side, they could make prayer about it and tell the person they were sorry. I did that before we began the third round, the prayer round. Listening to those prayers in that round was both sad and amazing. One by one, they were sharing their truths, making a prayer, apologizing for what they did. That much energy must have affected me because when I finished the fourth round of the sweat, I stepped into the open air and immediately threw up. It happened again when I returned and did another sweat for people wanting to participate.

On my last sweat that I had the opportunity to lead at the prison, the door opened at the last minute, and another person swooped into the lodge. To my surprise, it was the warden. He asked to join us because he could not believe what was happening to his most difficult prisoners. He shared that he was so proud of them, he could see they were changing, and he wanted to get some of what they were getting, whatever it was. It only took a few days for the word to get out about the warden coming to our sweat. He got into trouble with those above him. He was asked to take the sweat lodge down, and a few weeks later, the warden was fired due to his action. Mabel was also released, and the new warden did not think I should keep coming to the prison or holding the self-help seminars. A prisoner telephoned me when she was released and shared that the women kept making prayers. They wanted her to thank me. Many went back to church because they regained belief that God was love and forgives. Some prisoners gave me gifts they made. This experience offered surprises from beginning to end. I loved it and felt humbled for the feasts they prepared each time I came and for all they shared with me.

The book was born on April 7th, 1997. Letters began to come from people I never met sharing with me what they received from this book. I decided when I was in fear that if it helped one person, it was worth five rewrites and publishing it. Those letters I initially received made it all worth it. “When Spirit Speaks” is still out there, touching lives. That amazes me. This is 2021. I still unexpectedly receive a letter or a phone call thanking me for this book. I have not ever met most of the people.

This book traveled further out than my presentations in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas. For instance, a person from Oklahoma went to New York and was surprised to find my book on her sister and brother-in-law’s coffee table. How did she get it? Her sister was surprised that her sister from Oklahoma knew me. A preacher from Detroit had me come to a women’s retreat. How did that preacher have the book? Another woman from New York telephoned me when I lived in Norman and wanted to come to Oklahoma to do a vision quest. After discussing it for a while, I agreed to do it. She did come to Oklahoma to do this. To my surprise, she learned how to make prayer ties from the book. Where did she get my book?

This book also brought forth stories, lots of stories. People that attended one of my talks would approach me about something they felt happened after a relative died or following a friend’s death. When I spoke on the book to some progressive clubs and some not-so-progressive clubs, people attending the talk would hold back and then share with me after others left. Generally, they shared their truths. They said they had never told about something that took place in their lives that caused them to believe some relative on the other side wanted to give them a sign. They had not told their story before because they felt no one would believe them. They wanted my opinion on it. Because I opened up through this book, they had no fear talking to me. They knew I would not think they were crazy.

Yes, my book had a life. I initially worked to help it get into someone’s hands, and it then led me on a journey. After several years of speaking about “When Spirit Speaks” and doing seminars away from home, I decided that I wanted to remain home on the weekends with John or do more activities that we could do together. After all, we had only been married a few years now. I wanted this to be a good marriage. After being in a marriage where my husband did not spend time with me, I cherished my time with John. Looking back, I may have passed up my “tipping point” with the book. If I had continued traveling and speaking, no telling what could have happened. Why do I think I may have reached a tipping point? I was invited to Arkansas to do a book signing at Barnes and Noble, where I was presented with a very nice present from the woman who invited me to sign in Little Rock. Then I went to Dallas and was met with multiple presents from people that came for a talk and book signing. Next, I went to speak at Barnes and Noble in Norman. With a great article in the newspaper on the morning of my talk and a picture of the book on the front page due to a mistake in the run (a God/Spirit moment), over 52 people attended my talk and signing of books. They ran out of my books. Luckily, I had some in my trunk. About that same time, though, I kept receiving signs. Ingram kept messing up on my bill and my orders. With multiple phone calls, I always corrected everything. However, it just kept happening. Listening to my signs, I did step back. I presented seminars in my own home. And I still serve those that ask for a talk of any kind, for a seminar, and an order for a book here and there.

LESSON: The more one shares about Self, is honest about difficulties and doubts, and then shares new understandings received, the more others begin to feel free to do the same. Courage is gained, and the truth is learned—signs guide when one watches for them. A smile, a simple conversation, an article, a talk, or a book one writes can touch a life! Let go of fear and watch what happens in life. A final lesson is this: Writing heals not only you, but years later, it may heal others as well.

GIFTS: Healing for me! Stepping Beyond Self-Limiting Boundaries and I continue to do this!

This book created invitations and new adventures such as being invited to do five-day retreats for people in Arizona, weekend retreats, speaking at whole life expos where I knew no one before my arrival, speaking at women’s retreats, Cyndy’s Spirit Fair, and helping people I never met before that learned about the vision quests here in Oklahoma and wanted me to help with theirs when they committed.

This book brought forth my truth, and I released fear on speaking about my experience in life and boundary lines I released from my life. In a Sunday School class John and I attended one Sunday, the teacher asked if anyone in the class had ever experienced the Holy Spirit. No one said a word. Not one. I was sitting quietly. John reached over and squeezed my leg under the table as he mouthed, “tell them.” I ignored his first try. After his second try, I finally said, “Yes, I have. Being asked, “When?” I replied, “Every day, I see how the Holy Spirit works. On some days, it is more amazing than other days, but I have had so many opportunities to see and understand Spirit, the Holy Spirit. That is another story in itself. My understanding began in New Mexico. My gift was to heal and be able to share some unusual and amazing experiences with others!

As A Door Closes, A New Door Opens

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

After John and I closed my apartment that I had kept for one year following our marriage and I slowed down meetings and appointments for my nutrition business, John asked, “How do you feel about shutting down your business completely so that you can finish your book?” I sat quiet, and he continued, “I do not think you will ever finish your book until you let go of your nutrition business completely.” I was quiet because I was thinking about how this might work. I looked at him, and as I contemplated how I could do this, I said, “I agree.” I made a telephone call to Jeanie, who worked part-time for me, and said, “Do you remember we talked about your taking over my business if I ever wanted to let it go?” She hesitated and said, “Yes.” Me: “Well, I am ready.” I had the courage to close that door. I could continue to create money to help with our finances by speaking on other topics to help people wanting change and, at times, for corporations. By eliminating phone calls for orders and making orders for stock, I could schedule the time to work on my book steadily and finish it.

I wrote I wrote a whole book but did not like it. I was rewriting my book, “When Spirit Speaks,” for years and was on the fifth rewrite when we married. With every rewrite, I learned more about myself and healed more within me. I wanted everyone to write their life story to see what happened to them as a result. When I finally decided to self-publish, I had to take steps other than writing, such as finding a printer to work with me when I was ready, getting my book edited by John, filling out any forms required for copyrighting my book and acquiring an ISBN. I first found a printer willing to do his first book. He and his wife had helped with handouts that I did not have time to make. Next, I talked to John about editing. He agreed to do it.

I have to tell a story here. When I finally found a stopping point for the book, I gave it to John. I hoped he would get right on it and have it edited in a short while. Feeling like he needed to see what I was saying about him was also important to me. By editing my book, he could see exactly what I said about our relationship within the book. Well, he kept putting off the editing. A friend of ours who did all of the Native American ceremonies with us and loved being around came to stay with us while he painted our victorian house. We gave him room and board in exchange for his repairing wood that needed replacing and painting. He broke his shoulder while working, so we helped him through that surgery while living with us. In my past, I had purchased a book on soups that John laughingly teased me about.

With John not spending time on my book, I grew antsy but still stayed nice. I would casually ask about his editing and how it was going when I knew he was not doing it. John kept saying, “I am going to get to it.” Some activities always got in the way. My frustration finally increased until I said something that caused him to say, “I tell you what, you know that book on soups you purchased? I bet I can have your book edited by the time you cook every soup in that book. Now he knew that I would not cook much of the time, so he never dreamed what I would do. I smiled, “I accept that bet.” To our friend living with us until he found a place of his own and finished working on our house, I said, “You are our witness.”

Guess what I did. As soon as John left for work the following morning, I sat down with that book and wrote down every ingredient I would need to cook every soup in the book. Next came buying. I had appointments in Oklahoma City, so my next trip to the city included various groceries I could not acquire in Pauls Valley. With everything gathered, I began cooking. Every time John and our friend sat down at the table to eat, I presented nothing but soup. It did not matter if the soup was three meals a day or not. They got nothing but soup. Guess how fast John got my book edited. John and I rarely get mad at each other. However, we do love to have fun. I gave leftover soup to a family that enjoyed soup “with their mean.” We had no meal with soup, just soup. I certainly did not want to keep the leftovers because I had to go through the book. With the book edited and corrected, I was able to take the book in the proper format plus copyright and ISBN to the printer for the first printing of 1,000 books. Amazing.

While the printer prepared the first run of my book, John and I were attending ceremonies, both doing vision quests for others, visiting with children! That was weekend life. And, of course, Sun Dance. I completed my fourth Sun Dance. John completed his fourth Sun Dance the year before I did. He supported me during my fourth dance, just as I had supported him during his first dance. During the week, we were both working. He was lawyering. I was putting together seminars and creating workbooks for seminars. I took time to think about “how I allowed the door on my business to close, making certain people could still get their products, and then how Spirit had worked to guide me as I began doing what was necessary to places to present seminars. It was like I would have the right person in my life “just show up” when I needed to know what to put together for a packet to send to bookstores. I needed funds for 1,000 books. I also needed a way to advertise to sell my book when it was time for my book to go forth. I had to be frugal because all of this cost money. New doors opened as I kept moving forward, and it all worked out. It was amazing to me, and I took note of each blessing.

LESSON: Everyone’s life is interesting. Consider writing your story for grandkids or great-grandchildren to go back and read. Once you commit internally, keep moving forward. Ask God and Spirit for help. Spirit will help you keep taking steps forward, even if the step you take must be a small one initially. For instance, I sometimes had to do a few more seminars before I could do the next step and have the money that would be necessary. Know that sometimes one must close one door so to allow space for change. Another door will open. When you are forced to close a door, know what appears to be negative becomes a positive. If you write a book, do not give it to several friends for feedback. Please give it to only one person you trust, someone who will share ideas or give suggestions in a good way.

GIFTS: I closed the door to my nutrition business of fifteen years and opened the door to become a “published author.” I published. Positive surprises took place, and a few negative letters were mailed to me from people I did not know. They were concerned about my soul. I received so much healing doing this that I knew my soul was fine with what I did.

Another gift received was that I did not have to worry about what John might think when he read my book! As my editor, he saw it before it came out!

I watched as God and Spirit kept placing the right people in front of me with the information I needed. I also watched as people learned what I was doing and supported me with drawings they made for the book, gifts of encouragement, and technical help. When the book was ready, I had the money to cover it, to my surprise. Five years of work was really going to manifest into a book.

If you read this and have not read my book, but would like to, go to my web page, susanneblake.com, and download the ebook for free. Boston Blake, our son, set that up this ability for you to download an ebook. If you want a signed, softcover copy of my book, let me know by calling me. Leave a message, and I will return your call. I am listed in Pauls Valley’s telephone directory.

Expectations

Many times we get what we expect. I have lived and prayed for what may appear negative to turn into the positive. Have you ever noticed that what you expect is what you get? I discovered when I went out to eat with a friend that always sent their food back and they did this often with me, they expected their food would not be prepared to their liking. They received exactly what they expected. After gently mentioning to a friend that I noticed this happening every time I was with her, we had a good discussion with no blame. She decided to change her expectations and it all changed. Life became better for her.

We all come to earth to learn. Thus, I believe that we each bring “our own lessons to earth with us.” We are in school! Life school! Some of my lessons were most difficult. How about your lessons? Looking at my past, I now see my mistakes and understand how I made those mistakes. Some of my mistakes were simple for others to see but not for me to see.

When I entered this earth, I entered a family, attended schools, and went to churches that brought forth my patterns. Some were good, but some had to be discarded later. For instance, my family always struggled with money issues due to my mother’s health care needs. She learned that she had diabetes during her pregnancy with me. I followed that pattern and struggled with money until I could “see” my patterns. Becoming a good codependent was another problem. I knew my mother might go into a reaction or a coma at any moment of her life, so I had to stay aware of my mother’s situation, what she was doing, and how she acted. I worried about her much of the time. My role in my family became a peacemaker, a caretaker, and sometimes, a controller. At six years, I got a little sister. She was born early and also had physical problems. I strived even harder to keep everyone happier and calmer so that there would be less tension in the home.

A great thing is our family always had love and positive attitudes through difficult times. Both parents taught me to believe that I could accomplish much in this lifetime, and they also said to expect something good right around the corner. I attempted to stay positive even in the worst of times. For a period of my life, we had no car. We got one shortly after I began school. I loved school, possibly because it was a diversion from my fears of losing my mother in our home life. I excelled, graduating from high school with honors and with lots of friends. Working was a big part of my life. I began working for my Dad at 10 and then always worked part-time or full-time. During my first two years of college, loans and working part-time paid most of my way. With an AA in business, I quit school to go to work and pay off the remaining debt incurred with the hope of returning to college later. I went back sixteen years later and did my best to keep our active family going while also working. I finally gained the courage to return to school, taking two classes each semester. At this rate, it took many years to acquire my Bachelors’s degree. I continued in school and even acquired my MBA.

I had a pattern in the relationship area of my life. After quitting OU and going to work at OU’s Speech and Hearing Center, I met Don. We dated for six weeks, got engaged, and married six weeks later. He was about to graduate with his Masters. We had a plan. I intended to put him through school and have no children until his Ph.D. was complete. However, I misread a label on birth control, and we quickly had one precious child and, seventeen months later, another one came along. We had very little money. Looking back, I realized so many lessons were coming forth, but I did not see them. I just seemed to happily, and sometimes unhappily, function through every difficulty. I hoped to stay home until our children were in school, but I went back to work when “he accepted a job for me” without first asking or telling me. Not good, but I ended up liking the job. He then wanted to move and go back to school to complete his education. In Iowa City, I worked. With his Ph.D., he became the Director of the Speech and Hearing Clinic and taught at a university, ran for Congress twice and lost twice, was appointed to national committees, and participated in community theatre during off-years campaigning, always playing the lead role. With all of that, he was gone much of the time. I was a great codependent without knowing it.

I held a job I dearly loved in New Mexico as an administrator of a mental health center. I did not intend to get this job. It literally came to me and was a God deal. They reached out to me and then realized I only had two years of college. They were looking for someone with a Masters’s Degree in Psychology. Unexpectedly, they called me back to discuss the job they told me I was not qualified for. They planned for me to shut down the program, but I got money to keep it open. They let me keep the job. Everyone assumed that I had a degree. Nope, not yet, but I was working on it. I did go back! The mental health center grew from one to 168 employees. I sat on many committees, local, state, and even one national. I was elected as the first female President of a large state mental health organization. Then my world fell apart for the first time when my husband acquired cancer and died at age 39.

Many asked what I did to make it through difficult times in my life. A most difficult time was when a doctor at Mayo Clinic told us that my first husband of seventeen years had cancer and that he would die within six months. Another bad day came when another doctor shared at M.D. Anderson shared with us there was no more treatment to help Don and that he would not live six more weeks for Christmas. Less than five minutes later, we learned by telephone that Dawn and Johnny were alright, but our house burned.

Two years later, I remarried. What felt like a disaster may have been my saving grace. My lessons became so strong that I could not avoid them. My life was no longer manageable by the end of five years with an emotionally abusing husband. The night that I married that second husband, I knew I made a mistake, but I was not ready to admit it to myself. I felt certain that I could make it work. I thought it was fine when a friend chose to divorce, but not fine for me. My belief within and what I heard from parents, friends, and church all of my life was not helping me personally! I had to begin figuring out my life, my pattens, why I always had money problems, why I chose a person in each marriage that had the same issues, and why I ignored signs? This relationship literally brought me to my knees.

Now through all of this, I was a high achiever. I was selling nutritional products and doing seminars about life for my group. I stood on the stage for the fastest growing business in America one year. No one would have known what was going on with me or inside me. I was a wreck. I knew it, and my children saw it! However, it took both my husband’s death and the divorce to get me to slow down enough to grieve Don’s death. On my knees with tears flowing, I said a major prayer and switched my life.

Every challenge brought a great lesson!. Every loss brought gain. I slowed my life down to work on myself and change my patterns. The losses and the programs I attended brought more empathy. Of course, I could not see that until later. On my knees in a major prayer, I had asked God for help. Now I had to do my part! I put God at the beginning of every list I made in my planner for each day. I took steps to acquire counseling. That was humbling after running a mental health center, doing presentations in schools, and counseling difficult children. Next I asked a friend I respected to be a prayer partner. Beginning with these two things, I kept faith and hope and expectation in my mind and in my heart of a good life being possible. I also balanced in the morning by reading inspirational books for at least fifteen minutes. This helped me have a better attitude throughout the day. I began with books like “Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” “Illusions,” “Diamonds In Your Own Back Yard,” “Women Who Love Too Much, “Tough Love,” and “The Road Less Traveled.” Later I read “Course of Miracles.”

In counseling, my counselor gently suggested Al-Anon or Codependency groups. Being offended, I decided to try fasting for a different answer one day a week for four weeks. Then one weekend, shortly after I quit fasting, we went snow skiing. While riding on a chair lift to the top of the mountain, the man sitting on the chair lift that I did not know told me that he saw the pain in my eyes as I walked toward the chair lift. He said it was like the pain others used to see in his own eyes. He continued, saying that he received answers through a program called Al-Anon. I sat there stunned as he shared that AA teaches a person how to stop drinking, but Al-Anon teaches a person about life and how to live it. I knew that was from God. On my return home, I found a meeting. Believe me, before long, I knew where to go to find answers. I quickly got a sponsor to help me through the steps, and boy…what an amazing program. I learned about a God Box and gained the courage to let go and let God take over completely with both my marriage and my entire life. I felt we could continue in this marriage and still be like this when we died, or I could face the fact that he would not change while with me. I had to change a belief about divorce, and I did that through affirmations and working with God. I absolutely do not believe God wants us to live in this kind of pain. A part of “letting go” was filing for divorce. I planned to continue to work on myself, and it would be up to him to make his life better. He was a grown man. I did not need to take care of him any longer. So when my life fell apart, I took those initial simple steps I mentioned earlier, and then counseling led me plus the answer from God to the program Al-Anon.

Al-Anon and my sponsor helped me see my life patterns. As I looked at my patterns, I realized both marriages had the same issues, but the second was ten times more difficult than the first. I could see how I became a controller deluxe. I began a serious study of my past that created me in the present, married to an emotional abuser dating my best friend. I filed for divorce and then learned he had also been dating “many” the whole time we were married. He had run five of my credit cards to their limit that I did not know he had. The divorce judge did not give him my business he wanted, but the Judge did say that he had to give me all the bills because he never worked while in our marriage. My $1,200 house payment became difficult with the payments on all of the credit cards. I sold my home for $100 above what I still owed on it and then moved into an apartment! I wrote out new goals. My new goals allowed me to work on “me” and spend more time discovering answers directly from God.

I worked on my intuition. How? One way was by going to bookstores and standing in front of self-help or inspirational books, reading titles to see what I intuitively was drawn to. I had read the Bible my whole life, attended Sunday Schools, home Bible studies, etc. For ten years before Don died, we went three times a week. Now I had received some answers from the inspirational books I read and wanted to see if my God, through intuition, would take me to books that were bringing additional answers. You see, I told God that I wanted a personal relationship, and every time I heard the name of a book three times, I would buy it. I did my part and read. Every book had at least one answer in it.

I read about affirmations and wrote out good ones to change the subconscious. I wanted to see what I would draw to me that was mine to do physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We each have an inheritance from God, and I wanted to see what mine would be if I developed my partnership with God and did my part. I wanted to create a life of joy and peace. I understood that I might have to change some of my beliefs and allow myself to step outside the box to receive and follow my guidance even if it looked strange to others…and believe me, I was doing some very different things that were not normal for my friends. I pushed myself to see what beliefs of mine might be wrong and what was right for me. I listened, paid attention to my dreams, and took steps forward. My expectation for good to come was about my partnership with God. I knew that I had to ask for healing if I wanted one and then listen. I had to pay attention to my dreams. I had to listen to every word people said to me. I explained things to God. I did not know how to hear. That is why I said: “If I hear the name of a book three times, I will get it.” Then I listened.

If a person reading this is going through a bad time, do your part to listen and take action. Do ask your divine source for help!!! Keep your expectation in front of you that good is coming. I became delighted when I was alone because affirmations led me to an amazing life. I was happy in life alone due to these affirmations, and then John appeared. He was doing the very same things I was doing. He was working on himself, searching for answers, had been a good codependent, and we understood each other completely. Today our house is full of peace and laughter even though the coronavirus had kept us inside. Years ago, our son Johnny lived with us for months when he was going through a difficult time and returned to school in his 30’s. He saw what a good marriage could be. Boston, our other son, lived with us for six months of this coronavirus. He saw how John and I are in our relationship. No matter where you are in life, know it is great to be alive and “to know yourself.” This can happen. You are a beautiful person with lots of ability to touch lives on a normal day. However, it may take time to nurture yourself and to learn “who you are.” I know that positive change can happen at any age!!!!! I have seen it!

It is fine to have great expectations. Expectations will keep you in a state of gratitude for all the good coming to you that you cannot yet see. Take steps forward and dream big. Set Goals and do vision boards with a friend. Afterward, explain what you want to see happen when you discuss your vision board with your friend..\ If you are still stumped and have no idea, flip through magazines and see what comes to you. Do affirmations. Do not fret over how or when your good is going to arrive. Claim the peace and joy you want at the center of yourself. Be confident it is on its way to you and your life. Maintain a joyful expectation and see what you draw to you!

LESSON; PRAY and expect good. Write down your prayer and put it in a God Box. Then let go! Knowing that sometimes we move through the negative to the positive. Ask to have joy and peace and prosperity as you move through both and have expectations that it is truly coming. Next, do your part here on earth to nurture yourself and take care of yourself so that you may touch the lives of others in a good way. Take steps forward.

GIFTS: For years, I told people that if I needed to heal, I would go to the mountains of New Mexico or the red brick streets of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. I was creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that would come about. I live with John on a red brick street in a home in Pauls Valley, exactly like one of my grandmother’s homes used to be.

I grew up happy, having great expectations for my future life. I had to open my eyes and see, really see, and I believe the difficulties caused me to look within for answers finally. What I put in this blog today brought me to open eyes and gave me the ability to hear God and Spirit provide guidance through others or directly through my thoughts, sometimes when I least expected it.

Preparing For Our Marriage

By turning my ring John had made representing the eclipses into the engagement ring, we did not have to worry about finding another ring. We told each child one t a time, listening to or seeing their reactions when we were able to do this in person. Savannah had the biggest reaction, for she burst into tears. I said, “Savannah, are you okay? Do you not want us to get married now? You have wanted this for years, but have you changed your mind?” Between tears, she said, “No, I am so happy.” I think she did not believe we would ever get married. All four of our children were delighted. But I do believe they were each shocked that we were finally going to marry! It had been five and one-half years of dating with a six-month “stepping back” thrown into this courtship.

John asked me how I felt about us living in his house? Would it bother me? Did I want to live in his house when we married? Of course, I did. There was no doubt in my mind since it was a carbon copy of my grandparents’ home. That house was taken apart and removed from its land years before John and I met. We discussed our feelings surrounding this house and even decided to have a family wedding here. We also discussed how we might freshen up what would be our home. Deciding we would like to redo five of the downstairs rooms before the wedding. By doing all of the work ourselves, we could save money on that. Some of the expensive changes we hoped to do could be done later. At that time, we were both having to watch the money situation. We both worked at our careers during the week, but weekends consisted of us working on the house and continuing our spiritual walk when there were activities. By March 18, we achieved our home goal. It felt happy, cozy, and welcoming for our guests.

This wedding was a family event. Before the wedding, Savannah sat John down and had a talk with him in the downstairs room while I was dressing upstairs. She asked him if he was sure that he really wanted to get married to me and explained that he did not need to do this if he was doing it for her. John made certain she knew that he loved me and wanted to get married. Joe Shumate, my cousin, was the District Judge of Garvin County in the past. Alma Wilson, my mother’s best friend in high school, was now the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Alma made the arrangements for Joe to come out of retirement for a day so that he could marry us. She was sad because it was a family wedding and she was not attending, but happy she could help.

By the way, it was a hot day. Our air conditioner went out. It got sweltering in the living room and the foyer where we were getting married and where everyone gathered. I have a personal friend, Gloria Star, who shared the best time to marry during that day. Gloria has written more than twenty books on astrology. We became good friends when we both lived in Norman. John and I both think lots of her and asked her the best time. And, I am writing this twenty-six years later! My son walked me down the long hall towards John, who was waiting for me. Chris Blake, a nephew, played the piano in the foyer. Boston sang. Dawn read a poem. Savannah said a few words. Joe guided us through the ceremony. Every person there was related to us. I wore a beautiful borrowed pink dress that belonged to my cousin, Judy. John had on his best suit. Afterward, we all went to Ragna’s house for a celebration dinner. There were tables set up all over the house with white tablecloths on every table. My new sister-in-law, Sandie Blake, had made a beautiful floral table arrangement for each table. This truly was an amazing family ceremony.

When relatives completed making all of the toasts, the food was gone, and the visiting was over; no one was leaving. John and I decided to leave first, and our children could follow. All four came back to our house. Johnny had to go back to Norman, but the other three spent the night with us. We sat up and talked late into the night. It was so much fun. The next morning we rose. After breakfast, we quickly dressed, for all of us were going together in our van to a funeral. The funeral was for one of John’s relatives, and not one of us knew him… but John. However, we all thought this was part of a family event, a part of our honeymoon. Now that was funny. Then we all went to Tio’s for lunch and had a great time. It was a fun honeymoon and the best either of us had experienced. There was so much love!

The following week, I moved the few things I intended to bring to Pauls Valley. I had been given a dream to bring my computer, my telephone (that was before cell phones), and clothes. That was it, and that was what I brought. I left everything else. I planned to keep my apartment for a while to see how we lived together around the clock. I continued to go back and forth during the days to sell nutritional products or to make presentations.

One month later, on April 19th, we had a blessing ceremony at the land where we had all of our ceremonies. Abe Conklin, an Osage Native American, did the blessing, and everyone attending shared in it. There was drumming and singing. Abe asked that everyone make a circle for the blessing and gave a small cup to each person. He then poured a small amount of water he brought with him into each cup while sharing that he saved this water for a long time for a special occasion. This sacred water we all held came from Fools Crow’s well and was given to Abe by Fools Crow himself. Today was the day to share it for this blessing. Many friends we made on our spiritual path were present, as well as some family members. There was a purification ceremony, a feast, and camping that night. We all stayed up late and sat around the fire talking. Then Nancy told John and me that it was time to go to bed because the children wanted us to get into our tipi and get ready for bed so they could chivalry us. They did so.

On our one-year anniversary, John said, “Susanne, you have only stayed in your apartment one night since we married and we have not stayed there at all. Don’t you think you can cut that monthly expense now?” I knew it would cut my sales when I moved, but I also knew it was time that I did this. So John and I headed to Norman and proceeded to give away everything in my apartment. I had some great furniture, an excellent tv, etc. It was fun doing this “give away.” “Give aways” have been a part of our life ever since we married.

LESSON: We do not have to spend a fortune on a wedding. We can have a grand time with a smaller wedding, although it is challenging not to invite many you want to have with you on that special day. We spent almost nothing and had a great wedding, one that was especially good for our marriage with children. The blessing ceremony solved the problem of not inviting and sharing our wedding day with others. They were invited to this blessing ceremony. I felt so much better on the wonderful days of our wedding and then our blessing ceremony. This feeling was not the same feeling I had when my parents’ spent money they did not have on my first wedding, a big wedding. All weddings are sacred and every marriage takes place for a reason.

GIFTS: We included our children and that made it so good!

To this day, we are a family with many different opinions. Families have different faiths and are diverse politically, and have different thoughts about each of us’s paths, but we do have “love” for each other!

Healings for us and for our children have taken place, and we have watched miracles occur for all of us!

Eclipses of the Moon and the Sun

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There is our timing when we want something to happen, and then we have the divine timing. Understanding is difficult. We later receive the answer as to why something happened, and it surprises us when the answer comes.

I began looking at boundaries I needed to set in my life. I even became frustrated with John and our relationship. I was tired of simply “riding together” even though we were literally together almost every weekend, and I was invited to all family events. Dreams began to enter my nights, indicating that I needed to step back from this relationship. I finally decided to do so and drove to Pauls Valley to tell John what was going on with me. I took my pipe with me and went to his office. I knew we both understood that if the pipe was in the room between us… we could say nothing but the truth. He would take me seriously.

I arrived at his office a little before five. John was by himself and a little surprised to see me, especially with my pipe. I shared with him my frustrations. I also shared that I knew that I had been out of a relationship much longer than him when we began seeing each other. Perhaps he needed to have time to see what he wanted in a relationship. He then shared with me his commitment to me. I said that I had loved our time together and all we were learning, but I knew what I wanted, and it was more. If he ever got to the point that he was ready to make a life commitment with me and our relationship, let me know. He knew I was rarely attracted to anyone. I told him that I did not plan on going anywhere. I thought we could perhaps be “just friends after a length of time of not seeing each other, but that would take a while. I also told him that I planned to write Boston and Savannah a letter explaining my decision. I had been with them for about four years, and it had been fun. I wanted them to know the truth about why I had to stop seeing their Dad. It was simple, and it had nothing to do with them.

Now when John and I ended our conversation in his office that day, it was almost six. He asked if I was hungry, and I said yes. Then he asked if I wanted to go somewhere to eat as friends. I said yes. We did so and kept the conversation light. He asked if I would be going to Santa Fe with our friends the next day to help another friend in Abiquiu, NM, build a lodge? I said, “yes, but I will not be “with you.” You will be a friend. I did go, and I rode at the van’s back seat while he rode in the front. We saw each other at some sweats. We were kind to each other and spoke. Sun Dance came. I rode with a different friend. He said, “Are you really not going with me?” My response was, “No, I am going with Roanne.”

I received a telephone call, saying that John was seeing someone else. I was frustrated at first but then was alright. I knew that I had created this. Six months went by. Thanksgiving came, and I had lunch with my Aunt and Uncle and dinner with my son. It was one of those beautiful Fall days. However, multiple dreams came the next few nights with John in them. For some reason, I was warming up with thoughts of him. Sunday morning, I decided to call him. He answered, and I told him that I was had been dreaming about him the last three nights and decided that I needed to talk to him. I also shared that I was coming to a gathering of relatives that afternoon. His response surprised me. He said, “Good. Can you come early, before the gathering, because I also have some things to share with you?” We went to the park, sat at a table in the park, and visited a short while before I had to leave. John asked if I would like to watch the Lunar eclipse with him. He said that he would come to Norman, and perhaps with the earth between the sun and the moon, we can hear each other. He also shared that he had been seeing someone. I surprised him when I said, “I know.” He asked if I had been seeing anyone. I smiled and said, “No, I had been interested in no one.

John arrived at my apartment at 8:30, and we went to Denny’s. I took with me a pad to make notes on during our discussion. I thought this might keep me from interrupting him as I jot down a reminder about what I might want to address when it was my turn. Funny! He also brought a pad. We kept the conversation light until the eclipse began. Then we began our discussion. John had a breakthrough at one point when I was talking. He stopped me and said, “Oh my gosh, I was too rigid. I have not ever seen myself that way.” I saw situations when I reacted to what happened in my past relationships when he was talking. When he took me home, I was slipping out of the car when he said, “Susanne, I want to try this again.” Me: “I know Libra’s. Let’s see if you feel the same way three days from now.” He telephoned and said that he did want to do this and would like to take me to dinner. I gave him a present, two doves out of a sand dollar. He said that he brought me a gift also. He took a key out of his pocket and scooted it over to me. He said, “When you pick up that key, you have the key to my heart as well as the key to my house. I want to set all fears aside and love you, love you openly.” I wanted to do this also, but I looked at that key awhile. Was I really ready to go all the way with this? Did I want to pick up that key, or did I only want the choice of going all the way in life with John? I picked it up and said, “I want to try this again also.”

Okay, the Lunar Eclipse was in November. Time passed, Christmas came and went, as did Valentine’s Day. John had said nothing about our future together. However, we were having a grand time together. One day at my apartment, I said to him, “John, maybe we are just supposed to be friends.” He smiled and said, “There is going to be a Solar Eclipse in April. Can’t you wait until then to decide? I responded, “Yes.” Everyone was thrilled we were together again, and I felt like I was dating a very different man. He surprised me at every turn. He asked me to watch the eclipse with him. He was taking off work and coming to Norman for us to have lunch. We were going to eat outside. Not suspecting anything, Dawn was here from San Francisco, and I invited her to join us. She did so. During the eclipse, he scooted a box across the table. It looked like a ring box. I opened it. It was a black star sapphire with a gold design surrounding the sapphire. It was unlike any ring I had ever seen. I said, “What is this?” He replied, “Not what you think.” It represents “a practice ring” for us. I had it designed for you because you represent the star, the moon, and the sun for me. I loved it. I had a romantic sitting there with me that I had loved for a long time.

About two months later, he asked if I would need another ring if we got engaged. I said, “No, I loved my moon, star, and sun ring.” So we set a date to marry in March of 1995 and, during covid, just recently celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary.

LESSON: Practice the four virtues of the Lakota Sioux nation. They are Bravery, Wisdom, Fortitude, and Generosity. Listen to your divine source and know it is fine to trust and trust again when your answer within you looks not only at the physical and emotional within Self, but also the Mental and Spiritual part of Self. If the answer in all four parts of self is clear, move forward with it.

GIFTS: We are blessed. We have a peaceful marriage. I had no idea there was such a thing waiting for me in my life. We supported each other in our careers. Our motto is “To love is to love all.” “All” means literally everyone, those like us and those that are difficult to love.”

Why This Path Came To Me

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This path came because I was hungry for answers from God. My path is not anyone else’s, and another person’s path is not mine. Each of us finds our own path back to God, and all paths lead to God through prayer. Everything always goes back to prayer. No matter what religion or the spiritual way we take, we are all headed towards the same God. As long as each attempt to walk in a direction towards God, there will be growth, and this is good. Sometimes we may fall, but we can stand back up and continue to walk. Each life is created and orchestrated as perfectly as the leaves on a tree, as perfectly as each bird’s feathers. Look around. With our assets and our flaws, we are still perfect. We are learning what we need to learn at this time.

Through a physical birth, I received my opportunity to receive lessons to understand and learn on this earth. I could go round and round, having these lessons over and over again for the rest of my life, or I could take responsibility for my healing. All I had to do was be open and willing to ask for help finding my answers and then open to how the answers might present themselves. So I received guidance from Al-Anon to prepare me for this path to move me closer to God. This journey opened for me, just as it will for anyone who asks. It is an individualized path, one of surrendering and allowing the Great Spirit God to take over my life.

When I was at my lowest, I made a prayer. I read books looking for my answer, and I listened for my answer. The first answer came from a stranger at a ski resort. I was first guided to Al-Anon. That program allowed me to become less attached to what I no longer needed. My eyes opened to my life, so I could be better able to see. Today I have a better acceptance of myself and others. Growth continued to take place on this path as I moved forward, participating in sweat lodges and ceremonies. I gained a much greater understanding of God and Spirit as I developed a more personal relationship and received answers. A security and inner peace beyond all understanding is the result.

Many ask if Jesus is involved in this path. I have seen the representation of Jesus Christ in all parts of this path. When someone who loves Jesus chooses this pathway, they cannot keep from thinking about Him inside the lodge and as they walk to their spot to quest for a vision. As you walk up the hill with people following you in silence to your spot for prayer and fasting, you feel the suffering of Jesus and the compassion for Him as He carried His cross. You realize you will return to those supporting you in this way when you do a vision quest as a new person. It is a tiny bit of understanding the resurrection.

Jesus found answers by spending time alone in nature, fasting, and praying. Moses and others have done the same. They returned to people with truths. Many, in this way, find their answers through this time alone, fasting, and making prayers. During a quest, dreams and visions come, bringing understanding and answers for your life.

Representations of Christ and how he gave himself so we might live are easily seen at the Sun Dance. The tree gives its life so others might live. The Dancers in the center raise their hands and their hearts to the tree, allowing the healing energy to enter. Followers of Christ also raised their hands and hearts to Christ. As those praying from sunrise to sunset, the sixteen choke cherry branches placed across the tree have an uncanny similarity to the Cross. The handmade sage ornaments around the head, wrists, and ankles are reminders of Christ’s restrictions as he hung on the cross.

Every time I attend a purification sweat, I see reminders and symbols of the Holy Trinity. The lodge represents God’s creation of the Universe. The altar represents Christ, and the fire symbolizes the eternal flame of the Holy Spirit. When a vision quest or Sun Dance occurs, the fire is lit before the ceremony and is maintained day and night by keepers of the fire during a vision quest or a Sun Dance.

I now consider myself a Christian who carries a pipe for the people, “all” people. For many walking this way, the four colors of black, red, yellow, and white… have come to represent the people of four colors and any mixture thereof. I have seen pipe carriers of all colors learning from this path. Some on the reservation feel the pipe only belongs to the Native Americans. Yet, others are changing. They are opening, sharing, and understanding that we often stereotype according to what we have been taught. Perhaps we have been wrong. This willingness to look at Self and to practice acceptance will bring health and help to the world.

Before a Lakota medicine man mysteriously entered my life, the world of the Native Americans was foreign to me. I had my own myths about life and my stereotypes presented to me. The more I learn, the less I know. I have only my experiences and my perceptions. We all deal with myths, and we continue to believe what we have been taught, especially if something happens that tends to confirm what we have been taught. Of course, what we expect usually happens. Right? It seldom occurs to us that our own energy tends to cause exactly what we expected. With time, perhaps we can release these old stereotypes, join hands, and accept and be accepted as we are, where we are. This is a time for healing and loving each other to move to a different future.

My greatest transformation has been a progression stemming out of my vision quests. My first one brought answers about my life and how I am related to everyone and everything else that God creates. It confirmed hopes and beliefs that we have much more help than we ever could imagine. There is so much more that God has to show us. God and Spirit showed me there was more than I ever dreamed to be possible. And when sought, a path appears when a person is hungry for more information. My second quest was completely different. I was gifted with an inheritance. I was shown how I was going more inward to find my truths. The third quest brought some grief for closings and answers as I realized that I had to face my fear of aloneness that I had not been able to face before. The fourth one brought a new birth. I understood how everything had to turn to ashes before new life could grow. I now could stand and face into the storm with joy.

Sun Dances are for the entire world and for all that walk on this earth. This ceremony is for the earth, for all people upon the earth, for all that grows upon the earth, and for the many healings to occur during the dance and the year. I danced my first two Sun Dances at the dances Gary’s family held. After my second year, John’s third year, they decided to go back to a closed Sun Dance, a smaller Sun Dance for the family. John and I skipped a year but were then invited to participate in Albert White Hat’s Sun Dance on the Rose Bud Reservation. When we arrived there, it was big! There were people from all over the world attending this dance, and there with many different religions represented. We felt welcomed, as did our entire Oklahoma camp.

By watching all that takes place at every Sun Dance, everything became more sacred to me. An Eagle feather was never allowed to touch the ground. A pipe was not ever to touch the ground, except when placed on an altar. When a pipe was presented after each round of the Sun Dance, it was an honor to receive it. When someone passes a pipe to another person in the lodge or at Sun Dance, it seems like a baby is being shared with someone for the first time. When someone holds a pipe the entire vision quest or during the Sun Dance, it is to never touch the ground. These actions changed me. I handle items at home differently. No spiritual books, especially my Bible, touch the ground unless it is accidental. Every ceremony reminded me of how important water is to us and how we must take care of it. Then there were the healings through the power of prayer and the energy of intent through the ceremonies! I watched multiple miracles and healings take place.

I enjoyed seeing the positive changes in people’s lives that joined us for purification ceremonies, sweats. Ministers showed up; professors brought students, parents brought disgruntled and difficult teenagers. All seemed amazed. When they came several times or more, one could see growth and change. I wanted to invite all young people to our lodge because it seemed to help those that came so much.

I pay attention to my words and my thoughts. What I think and what I say goes into the earth and comes back to me. I have seen it repeatedly. Now, perhaps if we begin to understand each other and other cultures and take from each other what is good, we can then have the opportunity to heal the earth. I can no longer crawl into a sweat lodge or dance a Sun Dance due to getting older. However, I can continue to walk my path with all that I learned in our twelve years on this path that allowed so much love to flow into me. I hope the love I feel for all as I write this flows right through and into you.

LESSON: Ask, be open, and be willing to receive.

GIFT: If you want my entire book about teachings and understandings of the first five or six years on this path, go to “susanneblake.com.” You can download my whole ebook onto your Kindle or Nook, or iPhone from my simple web page. It is free. If you want a softcover book form, call me at 405-238-6260. I will not answer with so much spam but will return your call if I know what it is about.

I have received new letters this year from people that I do not know about blessings and appreciation for this book. I am humbled and cannot believe it has been twenty-five years since I published it.

Thank you for reading this blog and others! Blessings!

Answers Coming On This Path

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Gary, Elizabeth, and Kathy finally returned from Sun Dance. When they arrived at Kathy’s home, they telephoned. I just knew they would bring many great stories with them since they spent a month in South Dakota before we arrived. I had been looking forward to seeing them. I knew it was going to be fun to play “catch-up!” We had not been visiting long when Gary asked me, “Susanne, what did you learn at Sun Dance?” I responded with, “So much.” I learned that I am ready to do another vision quest. He jumped at my words, saying, “I can do it this weekend.” And I quickly said, “Well, I’m ready, but not that ready! I do not even have a blanket!” At that moment, Kathy left the room and quickly returned with a brand new Pendleton blanket and set it in my lap. I went home to think. The next day I returned to Kathy’s and presented my pipe to Gary to do a vision quest in August if that would work for him. A discussion ensued about commitment and all that takes place to keep us from changing. The ego does not like change and tries to hold us back, keeping us the same.

Suddenly, Gary jumped up. He walked to the door, opened it, went out, and closed it behind him. I heard, “Susanne, where am I?” Me: “On the other side of the door.” He then opened the door a crack and looked into only a small portion of the room. “Now what can I see?” Me: “A portion of the room, actually only a small portion. The rest of it remains hidden to you.” Gary: “Right. Now watch.” He stepped through the doorway and into the room. After looking around, he walked to the chair and sat down again.. “What did you just learn?” Me: “Answers about all that was happening in the room were completely revealed when you committed to moving through the doorway to find out what was on the other side.”

Then something clicked in me. I smiled at this demonstration and understood that we have limited vision when we only partially commit to something. To receive answers in life, it is important to make a complete commitment.” I knew now that we were talking about my commitment. Was he telling me that the next vision quest was to help me through a doorway, or was he telling me I would learn more about commitment? I knew I was stepping through a doorway on this path with my second vision quest and by committing to Sun Dance for four years. I also knew that I was walking towards my purpose in life. Through complete commitment, I would be given the answers that I so much desired.

Gary then asked, “What did you learn from the tree at Sun Dance?” I talked about understanding the importance of completing each commitment, even a commitment to support at Sun Dance. I talked about the thoughts the tree brought up about gratitude for the support I had received throughout my life. I saw the importance of support at Sun Dance, vision quests, and even the vision quests plus the answers and perhaps a healing that supporters received while helping others at these events. A person that supports sometimes receives healing and answers as well as the people they are supporting. I also became much more aware of the supporters I have had throughout my life!

This discussion presented me with the opportunity to thank him for giving so many of us cross-cultural experiences! I shared with him about the drummers and singers not liking us initially, and then I told him about a Native American dancer that told his son not to speak to me ever again. He would not allow his son even to say, “Hello” when I passed by them. Neither would smile or speak, but his son looked sad. This Dad did not know how much his little boy and I enjoyed the short visits we had before noticing him talking to me during purification. Gary asked, “How did you handle that?” I explained that I just continued being myself. If I passed them at any point, I just said something like “Good Morning” and smiled. It was okay. I was sorry he felt that way about me since it only had to do with my skin color. However, his action reminded me of how others must feel now and in the past when a person is treated differently due to his or her skin tone.

That made me sad. I believe we all have things passed to us in our genes and by all of those in our environment. This can be healed in us, one at a time, so that a positive change can come. We all have red blood, and all have been a thought from God manifested here on earth through our parents.

Our discussion continued about having the fortitude to stay on a path we choose to take. Some think this path is a difficult path, even though many answers do come to every person involved. Answers come to the one doing a vision quest as well as to supporters of the vision quest. Answers also come to Sun Dancers and supporters of the Sun Dance. Answers must also come to us as we support and encourage each other through our lives every day. Perhaps we do not notice those answers because we are not observing or listening. Life seems to move too fast for us to stay in the present. It is important that we listen to our own words as we speak and the words of others as well as our own dreams. Answers are coming! For me, the answers that I longed for about life were coming more strongly through the past year as I walked this path. I knew this might not be a forever path, but I also knew I wanted to complete every commitment I made hereafter, and I wanted to learn from it.

LESSON: When one fully commits, we can see everything! We learn, we know, and we can make decisions. We learn, “What is my truth?” My truth may be different from someone else’s truth about the same person or situation.

GIFTS: I learned that sometimes we do not want to see the truth because it could bring change. We may have listened to parents and others in our environment who passed on their beliefs about a person or about others that are not the same color as we are. Perhaps a situation happened in our lives that confirmed what our parents said was true. However, we meet someone else, and it is not the same as our parents said. If we discover that our truths about life are different than theirs, we may worry about what else we learned that might not be true. “Find my truths” is what I kept saying to myself. Pay attention to truth and learn to listen. Become a truth seeker. Remember to ask, and you will receive. God’s answers will help you decipher what is right and what is wrong for you. God brings your truth. My truth may not be your truth, and your truth may not be my truth. We can love each other and not have the same truths. The commitment of going through the door will open your world to new ways of thinking and being.

I listened to heart, mind, body, and soul. I knew this path was good for myself in four ways. I also knew that this path was not for everybody. It was presented to me, and I was receiving answers to so much!

I had peace within and felt blessed by all I saw and discovered as I stepped forward on this path that God led me to. I learned and listened while doing my vision quests and while supporting the vision quests for others. I did the same at the purification ceremonies (sweat lodges) and finally at Sun Dance. By being open to receiving, I trusted and followed the signs I was given. Answers came and continued to come.