Listening Presence

It has been said, “prayer is the fullness of attention.” When we’re completely paying attention, when we’re completely present in a moment, completely listening at all levels, we’re praying. 
—Cynthia Bourgeault

I have been in the midst of a life-changing transition. I think most of us are going through something similar. All of the familiar old ways are disappearing. The new that is coming in is not yet clearly defined. I’m beginning to see the outlines of new possibilities, starting with the potential my Internet presence presents. A new infrastructure is in the process of being built, showing a form that might bring all of my gifts and talents together to bless others and support me. But there are more questions than answers right now. It’s been like a long winter of the soul. Yet signs of spring are beginning to emerge. 

There are times in life when there is little that we can do and the only option is to trust in an unseen grace. But even in this darkest night, there is the light and energy of grace—God’s love carrying us and sustaining us in the midst of turmoil and trouble. It is in the time that we feel most helpless that we realize there is an unseen power that runs like a river of grace through our lives, carrying us on a current of love. 

Grace unfolds incrementally. Lasting change is generated by small, simple daily choices. A small transforming choice, multiplied by daily practice, and nurtured by continued affirmative thought and prayer can change the trajectory of a life, just as a small adjustment in course will eventually take an ocean liner on another path altogether.

I propose to you that there is a spiritual reality that holds a larger story than the one you have been living by. It holds out a hope more wonderful than you can yet realize. You can discover clues to its existence, learn to find ways to access it and make it real in your own life. 

Here are suggestions for accessing inner wisdom and grace in your life. 

• Be present. 
There is no time in God’s highest purposes. All is connected, all one. Your connection to the fullness of God is found in the here and now. Be present in this moment. Take a deep breath. Come into stillness. Take your time instead of trying to make things happen. There is a natural rhythm to life. Being present in the moment makes you more available to that natural rhythm of grace. Choose to trust a deeper wisdom. Surrender to what is so you can open to what can be. Put your hand over your heart and feel its mighty steady beat. That is the heartbeat of grace carrying you through your day. 

• Be passionate.
Do not mistake urgency for passion. Urgency feels like an emergency. Passion flows with effortless energy. Let what you love rise from the depths of your being. Listen to its insistent song. This is your intuitive guidance system leading you out of the wilderness of frantic fear and crazed attempts to control the uncontrollable. Imagine yourself surrounded by God’s love and light, experiencing and doing everything with a sense of being present to the moment. Live in God’s highest truth, knowing that facts change, but truth is constant.

• Release the pain to embrace your inner power.
Pain body memories and old stories are life draining. They make you afraid to hope and entangle you in negative beliefs and expectations. Are you re-enacting old stories and scenarios in your mind? Or are you coming from the center of who you really are? Listen. Then choose simple actions that come from a place of power and presence, trusting that God is gently guiding you. Do your best, leave the rest up to God. Trust your heart’s quiet wisdom instead of your chattering ego-based mind. 

• Cultivate a practice of prayer. 
Develop your intimacy with the Divine through prayer. Connect to the world within to transform the world without. Pray affirmatively for yourself and others. Create a prayer list that you update regularly. Visualize light and love surrounding those you pray for, and around the concerns and problems of your life. Pray for peace and prosperity, knowing the highest truth for all. What you pray for others you are also praying for yourself, for everything is one in the Divine nature. 

Embracing a new way of approaching your life is both death and rebirth. It is a death to our old definitions of self and the defenses we used to protect our old beliefs. It is a birth into a new self that is open, receptive, and believes that anything is possible, for our potential arises from the vastness within. We are able to hear something new, think more expansively, and become a place where greater consciousness develops.

Every profound innovation is based on an inward-bound journey, on going to a deeper place where knowing comes to the surface. 
—W. Brian Arthur


• When I listen to my heart I am guided into peace, prosperity, and plenitude. 
• I discover new ways to serve life with love and joy.
• I lovingly give my best gifts to the world.
• This is more than just a job, it’s a love affair.
• I listen to my heart and it leads me where I want to go. 
• There is that within me that knows what to do and how to do it.
• I am open to new ideas, new people, and new possibilities.
• Any day I create more order, harmony, and beauty is a good day.
• God is my Source so anything is possible. 
• I always choose love over fear. Always. 

We know that each one of us is a center of this Divine Life, in this Perfect Peace, this Complete Happiness, and this Absolute Wholeness; and we know that this Perfection—which is the center of our very being—is projected into every atom of our being. 
—Ernest Holmes

Introducing an inspiring friend: 

My friend Linda has been on a creative adventure. She’s now the proud author of a delightful book. For the Love of Lauren: Diary of a Young Girl is told in the first person. Childlike wisdom permeates this book, because the story not only tells of Lauren and her adventures in a small Southern town, it speaks to the heart of anyone who has felt lonely or become frustrated by being told “you’ll understand when you are older.” You’ll be immersed in magic when you open the pages of this classic-in-the-making. Whether you’re young or young at heart, you’ll love Lauren, too. 

The author draws on her girlhood memories and a mystical imagination. She says, “When I first started to write the Lauren stories I was patterning them after a gift someone had given to me when I was ten years old. It was a bedtime storybook, and I was so insulted at such a childish gift, at first. Then, when I actually took the time to read the stories, well... they touched my heart so much that I just fell in love with them, and the feelings of those gentle stories are still with me today. I decided to call Lauren's first book her diary, and give the stories a chance to be read by anyone ages six to ninety-six. After all, that little child who deserves to be known is still within us all, just waiting to share their great treasures of youth...As Lauren's Nona always said, ‘Words are magical!’”

Learn more about For the Love of Lauren at:


  1. May 1, 2009 8:15 AM CDT

    Thank you Candy for these inspiring words...

    - Lauren


Creative Responses in Chaotic Times

You must become a chaos before giving birth to a shining star.
Friedrich Nietzsche

If you are like me, you may be seeing old life patterns fall apart and fall away. Sometimes the loss feels overwhelming. But lately I’ve begun to see that the chaos is actually a birthing process. These birth pangs are painful and can feel frightening. I choose to believe they are part of a new life I’ve been gestating for a long time. 

There is a divine wisdom and timing at work in all of our lives. Today’s crisis can be an opportunity for great healing and rebuilding in our lives. It is a chance to take another look at our limited thinking and toxic choices. It is also a season for preparing the space for something new and better to enter our lives. It is up to us to decide if we will choose to view our troubles and losses from a higher perspective. 

Human troubles cannot trump spiritual realities. We all carry within us inner greatness and potential. It is our birthright as human beings in God’s complex creation. We are called to be co-creators with God. There is a deep wisdom and flow of energy working in, through, and for us as grace unfolding. Times of stress and crisis can be great catalysts for growth, forcing us to make needed changes. 

The older I get the more I realize that all things must change and there is no holding back the tides of change. I can either resist change or allow the change to transform my life in positive ways. It is my choice. When I resist change I lose the fight every time. Change comes whether I want it to or not. It is easier for God to move me into healing and hope when I am flexible and open. I can move with the flow of change and see where it leads. 

These times of crisis and turmoil can feel overwhelming. But a choice to see this from a higher perspective opens the door to new and better ways of approaching our lives. Sometimes it takes a shake-up to wake us up. We can be willing to release that which no longer serves us and open our minds to new ideas. We can learn to see our troubles less as problems to be solved and more as challenges calling us to grow and evolve. 

It is amazing how a even a tragedy or “fall from grace” can be the door to something wonderful that could never have been if our hearts had not been opened by loss. It is the nature of the Universe to be for us, not against us. Sometimes this is difficult to see in troubled times. One of the strange paradoxes Jesus talked about was that you would have to “lose your life to save it.” We’ve all been losing our lives lately, but the demolition and chaos are the beginnings of the birth of stars, “saving” us in ways that have the potential to create greater joy and healing and abundance for the whole earth.

Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.
Pablo Picasso

The world is not to be put in order, the world is order incarnate. It is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order.
Henry Miller

Like water, the sage should wait for the moment to ripen and be right; water, you know, never fights. It flows around.
Tao Te Ching

Affirmation: As I open to change I see all the pieces of my life move into new and happier and more prosperous patterns of grace. I trust that these crises I am experiencing are actually the birth pangs of the new life, creating abundance and joy in unexpected and wonderful ways.

I was thrilled to hear from Diana Wimber, a friend who has walked through deep waters in the past year. She and her husband are celebrating a special anniversary. She says, "Today is Paul’s one-year anniversary since his surgery. In all the CT scans and endoscopies since his surgery they’ve not found any evidence of disease. We are so thankful to God, because though Paul had great doctors, we know WHO is preserving his life." May they celebrate many more years of health, happiness, and prosperity together!


  1. March 23, 2009 10:58 PM CDT Edit

    I am so grateful to Candy that the wisdom she has gained is shared with others. While going through a personal "crisis" aka opportunity to embrace change I happened upon The Art of Encouragement. I was inspired to buy it. For the following 30 days it became a life-line. Candy gave me a most-needed hug although she is a thousand miles away. I recently lent The Art of Encouragement to a friend who was in need of it. When I handed to her I knew I would purchase another copy. That is what I was doing tonight--looking where I could buy it. And I found this blog--it is manna from heaven. I am ready and excited to utilize the affirmation recommended here. May the healing continue. Thanks for blessing me (and now my friend) Candy.

    - FeelingResurrected

  2. March 28, 2009 11:46 AM CDT

    Candy, this is beautiful. Thank you. I am blessed by your words. Reading them I feel as if I'm in your presence and I feel such Grace. Namaste

    - www.LeisaHammett.Com