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Upgrade Me!

I have not upgraded my version of iPhone yet, but when the time comes, I’ll spend a day or two investigating the new possibilities, learning the new programs and tricks, enjoying and celebrating new technology that makes life easier.

Who doesn’t love new upgrades? We have come a long way in the communication world from those old rotary phones with no voicemail!

Better than gadget improvements though, are those upgrades we receive in our relationships, circumstances, and in our mindsets. Better than homemade buttercream icing on killer chocolate cake!

An upgrade is when you get something that is better than what you had originally, to replace what you have with something better, newer, or more valuable.

I’ve recently moved into a season of upgrade in many areas of my life. I’ve found that sometimes you don’t realize you’ve been upgraded until you go back to something that was once familiar, only to realize that what once tempted you and satisfied you no longer works. It’s not even on your radar anymore.

For instance, if you lived in fear of bad news and you turn into being unafraid and trusting in positive outcomes—you move from the Land of Dread into a Playground of Many Delights.

Or when you live in bitterness, but with work and much processing, one day you realize that the bitterness is gone and full out gratitude has taken its place.

Or when you have lived with rejection, but your new environment and tribe fully embrace you with acceptance, favor, and astounding honor. They change your mind about who you are, they remind you of your true identity. 

You move from lack into abundance in your surroundings and in your thinking, too. 

The bar gets raised. You begin to anticipate beautiful surprises. Hope creeps in and starts to roost.  

Once you have tasted such an upgrade, you can't go back!

But to receive an upgrade, you have to let go of your old OS—your old operating systems. Often, that is not as easy as it sounds. We have to trust that there is something better, and that gives us the motivation to release the old and embrace the new.

What do you need to unleash from your life to make room for your upgrade?

I want to always be brave enough to cut loose what isn’t working well in life--and to be diligent in pursuing new upgrades, especially in the spiritual arena. I’m always hungry for more. It sure helps to live in a supportive tribe—with Truth-tellers who believe the best about me and frequently tell me so.

Call me Merry Bruton, forever grateful!

 

Don't Die Without a Few Scars

I cannot get his precious face—and his story--out of my mind. It was one of those priceless moments for me where I knew I was in just the right place at just the right time, many hundreds of miles away from my home, on Holy Ground, just to intersect with Justin.

It was a hot and dusty afternoon at Burning Man, a desert arts festival in Black Rock City, Nevada. I was sitting in my ‘reading room’, a small, tented area that was part of our Encounters Camp (more about that in another blog), and Justin and his girlfriend walked in, sat down, and asked for a dream interpretation, which was one of the offerings on that week’s menu (see photo).

As I listened to his very long dream, I couldn’t help but notice the scars. A tangled mess of them. All over his arms, chest, and torso. His body revealed a lot of pain that took the form of cutting himself.  Across his chest was a tattoo that read, “Don’t die without a few scars”—an obviously important mantra in his life, boldly displaying explanation to a startling sight.

HIs dream was a disturbing one, with complicated levels, lots of details to sort through. But basically, it depicted the same cycle repeated: a wound, a struggle, then destruction. It happened over and over again, and the dream ended with his violent death.

As he told his dream story, I saw his increasingly distraught heart that was ready to give up on life. He seriously was wondering if he was near the end, if the only way out of his intolerable, unending pain was to cease existing. And he thought that maybe his dream was confirming the inevitable.

But Truth met him in this desert.

I told him that his dream meant that he had experienced cycles of wounding and destruction and pain for years, probably for generations in his family, that had never been healed or resolved. That painful cycle was dying a violent death that day. 

Not his breath, not his life, but THE DESTRUCTION...ENDS...TODAY. 

He broke. It wasn’t my words, but it was the powerful, truthful punch of a dream interpretation that brought life-changing hope into his world suddenly and powerfully.

The mother warrior in me rose up into action. I began hearing in my spirit promises and encouragement from Creator and I spoke them out. The waves of loving affirmations went deep. I watched transformation take place in his heart, and it registered on his face. Goodness became his reality that day.

He dared to believe it. He wept and let go of his old identity that was a trail of destruction and a mass of scars, and he reached out that day to embrace a new reality and perspective of himself that would change the course of his life forever.

Such a bold young man. So brave. I pray he will take those old scars and live his destiny to the fullest, making up for lost time and paving the way for others to find freedom behind him. I will never forget him. His sweetness changed me forever.

This is why I do dream interpretation and go into places that most people consider weird or risky—it is more than a passing fancy or a hobby. I was born to do this!

I get to meet people like Justin, who highlight to me the highest importance of reaching out to affirm priceless SIGNIFICANCE in each other.

Dreams are given to change lives.  Justin's dream was just another example of so many that I witness--given to pull people out of their despair and point them into their Destiny!

 

Stick to Your Work

In this day and age with millions of distractions at our fingertips, we all experience an increasing need to focus on the most important details of life--or we watch our time slip away as we miss or fritter away precious opportunities. Living in regret, angers, fears, or lack of determination slows us on our Destiny Journey.

I stumbled across an anonymous quote and amended it for today:

Stick with your work. Do not flinch because the lion roars, do not stop to stone the devil's dogs, or to chase darting rabbits down their trails. Do Your Stuff! Let liars lie, let sectarians quarrel, let critics malign, let enemies accuse, let the devil do his worst--but see to it that nothing hinders you from fulfilling with joy the purpose for which you were created.

God has not asked you to be admired or esteemed. He has not requested you to defend your character, nor to contradict falsehoods about yourself that people tend to peddle, or to track down every rumor that threatens your reputation.

If you do these things, you will do nothing else; you will end up working for yourself and not for the greater Good. Keep at your life work. Focus! Let your aim be as steady as a star.

You may be assaulted, wronged, insulted, slandered, wounded, rejected, misunderstood, or assigned impure motives. You may be abused by foes, forsaken by friends, and despised by those that love you most. But see to it with steadfast determination, with unfaltering zeal, that you pursue the great mission of your life and the object of your being until at last you can say "I have completed my calling, accomplished my quest."
 

Breathe

Have you ever experienced a sucker punch so hard your breath was knocked completely out of your lungs?

When a massive blow hits, shock and pain convince us that we just might actually die right there on the spot. Our life flashes before our eyes. We may experience blackout, confusion, terror, and desperation. It takes what seems like several lifetimes to push through the panic, searching for ability to gasp, and then finally the moment hits where we find the ability to suck in air again, just in the nick of time.

Sweet breath. Essential for life.  Breathing in, breathing out. It is a repeated action that we spend most of our life automatically doing without even being aware of it.

Till it suddenly gets taken away.

A negative life-threatening medical diagnosis, tornado destruction, overwhelming bills, the pain of divorce, the betrayal of a friend, the tragic loss of a precious life, backstabbing words that shred our hearts—we’ve all experienced these and other disasters that often cause so much despair we want life to end so we don't have to feel the pain anymore.

There are those seasons where every breath is an effort. Every motion and every decision, every delay, every disappointment stirs up confusion as our current default ‘operating system’ gets thrown into a blender and shredded, and life will never be the same again.

We have a choice when this happens. We can get bitter about the loss and change, or we can take advantage of our circumstances to rise above the turmoil and become better people. We can choose to trust someone and lean on them to get through. 

While we endure wave upon wave of shock, grief, anger, questioning, we can keep choosing….just to breathe.

  • Breathe out the pain and breathe in peace
  • Breathe out darkness and breathe in Light
  • Breath out toxic thoughts and emotions and breathe in gratitude for what is right in the world, even if we have to search to find something
  • Breathe out our old self and breathe in a new, improved self
  • Breathe out brokenness, breathe in wholeness
  • Breathe out fear, breathe in confidence that everything is going to eventually be ok

Just keep breathing. Sometimes that is all we can do, one minute at a time. One hour at a time. One day at a time.

One day, we will realize we don’t have to think about breathing anymore. It comes naturally again.

With every breath, we gain strength and health. We find our resilience, make a rebound, and learn to live life with our scars and limps that are unique to us, most of them in hidden places where people cannot even begin to comprehend what has happened to us. Change and healing has taken place and we didn’t even realize it.

In those areas of private victory, we gain a public voice and authority to step out and help others who are experiencing similar hurts.

That is what life is all about, helping each other not just to survive, but to thrive through life’s difficulties. This is all part of our life’s story that is still being written.

Every day, with every breath, we are still becoming breathtaking, brilliant beings —the good, the bad, the broken, the Amazing!

So dear one, just keep breathing.  Everything will be ok.  You are not alone.  

Butterfly Process

I sat in a quiet place about a month ago and received this download from Spirit. As I shared it with others, it seems that I am not the only one in a heavy season of transition. Are you? For those of you who are, I thought I would share—it powerfully ministers to the tender places within me. Maybe it will encourage you too:

"I know you are uncomfortable today. There are so many things up in the air and your head is spinning….wondering how you can make plans, how can you move forward, what are you supposed to be doing? How long will you be in transition? What is the big picture, and what is your next step?

You have many concerns but you are doing a great job not stewing too much but trusting beyond your own capabilities. The more you let go and believe, the more you will be blessed in this part of your journey. You are building a trust journey with me.

Your next destination is not what this part is all about. Your focus needs to be on listening to me and walking with me…and the rest are just details.

Focus on me day by day, hour by hour, and let the rest of the stuff get worked out. Timing will seem off to you. The way things settle will seem off to you. You are entering extreme disorientation so that all you can do is hold my hand in the dark and follow me through obstacles and situations…so that this becomes second nature, rather than relying on setting up comforts or routines. There will be few comforts or routines for you in the next season. That doesn’t mean you can’t take delight in things and look forward to a settling, but those are not the goals.

You will see many things that trouble you but you will be hesitant to say anything or make any judgments because you are questioning everything and are unsure of your own self. Don’t be hard on yourself but go with the flow….bring it all to me and let’s talk about it.

As you follow me through the unclear routes of these next few months, this will become your default and your comforts and hopes and dreams will change. Anything is up for grabs and the sky is the limit. Bring your concerns to me and yet be willing to sit in your discomforts, knowing that there is a plan and it is not to settle you down, but to redo and refine. Your thoughts may seem jumbled. Your body will feel tired. Your spirit may feel restless. Your soul will cry out for something ‘stable’.

This is only for a season…but it is a supernatural season, and it will make all things beautiful in the end. Transformation is in progress and you are learning to rely on me and come to me when you feel stuck. I know you feel stuck and powerless. There is nowhere to go for help other than to me. Your heart knows this and both loves as well as despises this fact. In the despising and frustration, you will learn to see beyond the details into the grand perspective and that will be your comfort. The details of life are not going to matter as much to you when we are through. Because your heart will be more attuned to me.

Try to find joy every day even in the pain. Make the resolve to float and relax when you want to press through and make something happen. The more you fight, the harder this will be, and the longer the process may last. Choose to trust me and that I have amazing gifts planted all along your path. The confusion will seem to last forever, but only as long as it takes to get your heart and mind recalibrated.

This is your destiny and it is freeing, joyful, and powerful. The cocoon begins today--the mushing and breaking down is next, and then after some waiting, healing, and reconstruction, you will take flight as a totally different creature and you will fly places that before were unimaginable to you.”

Please feel free to comment on your own process :-)

Wonderful, Wacky YOU!

Inside each of us is a wonderful, wild, and wacky part of our personality that releases color and fun. It inspires us to think outside the box, to live our own upside-down, inside-out fairy tales that are filled with action, fascinating characters, and thrilling, twisting plots that catapult us into delightful zones of imagination.

We often put a cap on this part of us, keeping it hidden as we default into ‘boring’ routine, or we cave into pressure from others to ’keep things normal’…so we don’t make waves or do anything to stand out from the crowd.

When we boldly step out and release some of our uniqueness, there are always critics ready to spit on that little spark of creativity. Have you ever noticed that it makes people uncomfortable when you dare to be uniquely you as you dance to a fancy music beat that only you can hear and appreciate?

It’s a life-long struggle for most of us—we long to sing our destiny song out loud and walk in our unique purpose, but we also fear being seen. We limit ourselves when we avoid the painful decries of the critics who make a fuss when we dare to shine brightly.

It takes effort and courage to put our real selves out there in the world to shimmer and shine.

Do we dare allow the critics to cut out the best scenes in our story? Will we allow our passions to be stifled or our sparkle dulled?

There is no other person exactly like you, with your skills, dreams, and abilities. The world needs YOU and all that you have to give.

This is the year, and now is the time to live in the moment, to rekindle your dreams, multiply your talents, embrace your inner wackiness, and redefine your world.

It is time to stand up for something worth fighting for, to challenge the demons and dragons of the world, especially if they scare you.

Make a difference in someone’s life and in the process, you will change your own. Don’t wait for a better time—there is none. This is your life and your story that you get to write and live out loud, in full color. You’ll inspire others to break out of routine and do the same.

This is the year for the world to get to appreciate and marvel at…the real YOU! 

You are the Master of Your Destiny

Life is full of dreams and opportunities. We get to choose which ones to ignore, which ones to set on the back burner for a time, and which ones to pursue.

We get busy with the details of life, seasons of necessity for study, family, relationships, work--all the things that responsible people do. Hopefully, we discover meaning in all the activity, much of which seems rote at times. We learn to operate efficiently to some degree in all that we juggle. Or not.

Occasionally, routine takes over and life is not how we once optimistically imagined.

What happens when your mundane is interrupted by a thought…a longing…a dream that got buried along the way…something you once hoped for but no longer seems to be possible? 

Some dreams will not let you go--they are part of your DNA, your destiny. No matter how often they are brushed aside, they keep popping up on your radar, because you are are destined to follow their call.

Every day is a fresh chance to embrace them.

You ultimately realize that your life will carry more depth and joy if you seize those grand dreams and release to the world the gift of yourself at its best. You are uniquely created. No one else can offer the world exactly what you have within you to share.

How do you step out to grasp those illusive hopes that are not yet plans? In order to make room, probably something else needs to get the boot. Spend time examining your life and decide what to focus on.

What can be laid aside to open up your time and resources in order to build something new?

If we are not master over our time, then time will master us.

Settling on who we are and what we are destined to do keeps us focused so that we can eradicate the time-suckers that prevent us from doing the important stuff.

  • Don't cave in to what is comfortable and easy
  • Don't allow the urgent to crowd out what is important
  • Don't let jealous people sway your resolve
  • Do identify your priorities! Write them down. Create a purpose statement of who you are and what your mission in life is, and start living from this launching place
  • Do things every day that encourage dreaming big and creativity in your heart and mind
  • Do accomplish one thing today in the direction of your Dream--your ultimate Destiny

Know that YOU are amazing! 

Rise Above!

Ever had one of those days, weeks, or even seasons where nothing seems to go your way? In fact, opposition from every angle threatens to strangle the life out of everything you try to accomplish.

Extended periods of troubles seems to provoke not just weariness, but a hopelessness if we do not quickly see welcome light at the end of a tunnel of despair.

Financial lack, relationship squabbles, persistent health battles--all take their toll on our peace. Add to that all the persistent pesky problems that plague us, like sitting in standstill traffic, technology bugs, feeling the pressure of too many tasks to accomplish. Not to mention the long-term fears that often wake us up in a middle-of-the-night-panic about our future.

You are not alone!

We all experience difficulties that seem like obstacles to our happiness, but the truth is, without these trials, we do not tend to grow in strength or character. We NEED challenges to grow, but rarely would we ever choose the process because of the pain involved in the stretching.

A leader of mine says that worry is meditation on the wrong things. Truth!

When we find ourselves in a discouragement funk, we really need to be able to rise above the problems, to try to glimpse the bigger picture of what is happening and where we are headed.

Sometimes those flying dreams we experience accomplish this if we realize what is happening. When we see from a higher viewpoint--the Divine Perspective--then we find the peace to proceed with confidence, trusting for a productive outcome.

Survival tips:

  • Welcome the trials. In doing so, you are saying you are ready for expansion! You set the course for overcoming with a winning attitude.
  • Don't panic, freeze, avoid, ignore, or resist. Buckle down and engage--tackle the problems head-on, as quickly as possible, thus avoiding unnecessarily extended discomfort.
  • Take it as a compliment that you are chosen at this time for this struggle. It means you are able to handle it. If you were not making a difference in the world, you probably would not be facing the opposition that is coming against you.
  • Accept that there is purpose in what you are experiencing.  As you walk in victory, you step further into your destiny. In those areas where you overcome, you have greater ability to help others succeed as well. You gain authority and become the 'expert' that can help others navigate similar struggles.
  • Don't try to escape. The only way out of a situation is usually through it. If you try to skirt around it, you may find yourself in a similar position in the near future because you need to learn a lesson that is invaluable for your success. Put a spring in your step and lock horns with the opposition until you win!
  • Stop whining. The more you complain, the more you hear yourself spread negativity and make the situation even worse. A humorous outlook and a grateful heart keep the gloomies in check.

We live in a bad news world. Many folks live on the very edge of miserable. Everyone has struggles, and isn't it refreshing to experience smiles and quiet trust from someone in the midst of a storm?

Everyone needs encouragement. We can rise above and help others along the way even when we lack clarity for our own situation. Be the light in those dark places, even when you feel temporarily dimmed.

For me, knowing who I am and what my purpose in life is, gives me the hope I need to persist and not give up. I know I am going somewhere, that I have great things yet to accomplish, and that I need to learn skills and strategies along the way to get to where I am going.

What more could we ask than for challenges to propel us into our destiny?  If we cooperate, joy manifests in our Dream Journey and we are made whole in the process. 

OK, world, BRING IT ON!!

No Business as Usual

Holiday time is wrapping up, a season which usually demands a shift from 'normal' to accelerated activity, both in schedule and bank account. I don't know about you, but I have had way too many items on my task list, many of which never got done, either because of limited time, energy, money, or sincere motivation on my part.

Or maybe all that stuff wasn't necessary in the first place.

I have felt like I was behind on everything! Christmas is barely past, 2013 not quite here yet, and I spotted Valentine and Easter displays in the stores already. Am I really behind, or is something in our culture a little amiss?

Holidays dawn upon us, along with their delights and demands. But hopefully a chance to fully engage at the most positive and joyful level possible.

Families grow, circumstances change, finances tighten, and we find ourselves having to examine priorities and forcing adjustments to our traditions and attitudes.

Sometimes painful, this shift can also become blissfully liberating. We get to ask, "WHY are we doing this, and is it serving us well?" If not, we can let it go and make room for something much better.

I think many of us fear not meeting perceived expectations and disappointing those around us. Can we possibly bake enough, keep a sparkling, twinkling home, and shine brilliantly for all those parties? What will people think and say, if we don't keep up?

Some of our friends expect us to perform and give, and we hate to disappoint. How much pressure, though, comes from within, from not meeting our OWN expectations, that are based on, WHAT?

Let's agree to a healthy change this coming year.  Take a breath, and instead of running on autopilot, let's evaluate our current priorities, make wise choices, and kick the guilt to the curb.

A reboot of perspective rattles the routine but produces restful, refreshing resolve in the process.

It is time to get grounded. We need to seize the realization of Who we are and What we are created to do--so that we can focus, prioritize, and use our time and resources to launch squarely into our destiny, not looking to the left or the right, not letting culture or anyone else dictate to us who we are 'supposed' to be.

We must say 'no' to the non-essentials and non-helpfuls that keep us off-center.

2013 is the year to step fully into our destiny as world-changers and light-bringers. May you live your dreams this year and courageously shine out loud in a world that pressures us to conform to…'normal'.

Communication Fail By Insider Lingo

I recently spent many hours navigating through a hosting change for my website. It was something that could probably have been quickly accomplished, but language got in the way. Repeated tickets and indistinguishable responses punctuated my peace throughout the day.

For every response I received from customer service, I had to ask for a translation. No, it wasn't because the 'experts' work in another country and don't speak English. It was because they spoke highly polished technical jargon that might as well have been modern Greek, from my perspective.

All day I felt confused and ignorant because I did not understand phrases like, "cpanel login details of cloud server 293.333.9476.998…" or "update your domain name with name servers to point them to (X) server at your domain registrars end"...to name but a couple of the instructions I received.

Many of you IT friends might understand these words, because you have studied and work with the concepts and are familiar with them.

I'm not a total ignoramus! But as the day wore on, I struggled with sinking frustration that comes with searching, deciphering, and repeatedly asking for help. I felt belittled. A couple of times I responded, "Please treat me like I am a first-grader and keep your instructions clear and simple so I can understand what you are asking."

Task accomplished! But not without some pain. I now know a few more words that sound more like codes.

My customer service conversation exasperation is not uncommon to most of us.  But how often are we the 'perpetrators' of treating people thusly?

Every one of us may be guilty of not assessing our 'audience' or conversation partners' ability to understand before we launch into words and concepts well outside of their comprehension level.

It does not communicate love, compassion, or desire to help when to make others strain and work to understand what we say.

Effective communication better occurs when we make the effort to get out of our own little world and consider others' history, worldview, abilities, and language--and speak to them accordingly.

Often, this means dropping our specialized Insider-lingo. Outsiders don't understand it. And we make them feel more like an Outsider when we use it.

Adjusting our approach is the considerate thing to do, whether our 'business' is web, banking, sales, ministry, teaching, dream interpretation, parenting, or anything else.
If we make that effort (which requires listening to them a little bit, paying attention to THEM), the other person won't end up feeling stupid because we may have acted arrogant and condescending toward them.

It is a dream of mine to be an excellent communicator, surpassing mere verbiage and addressing peoples' hearts as well as their task needs. I consider it a rewarding challenge, to study people, build a relationship bridge, and successfully connect so that everyone feels honored.

I'm curious--

In what settings do you often find yourself feeling like an Outsider because you do not understand the lingo being spoken?

In what settings might you be guilty of using Insider lingo in a way that is confusing to others? What steps can you do to make a change toward more effective communication?

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