Soul News
SOULutions Unlimited
Home
Blog
Soul Coach
Speaker
About Teri Jo
Testimonials
Contact

Soul News

Dear Self

by Teri Jo Wheeler on 06/15/15

Dear Self: I love you! All of you – exactly as you have been, are now, and are becoming. I’m sorry it has taken me so long to get to this re-membering, but I finally get it. Everything stems from the foundational Truth (or unfortunate forgetting) that we are pure love in motion. My feelings about you shape how I treat myself and others; they color the lens through which I see and experience the world. On many occasions, I left you in search of something ‘else’ outside. The lessons in this leaving have been painful and purposeful. The suffering cut deep and taught me well. I am grateful. And, I am glad to be home.

Dear Self: It is natural to love. Our true nature is to give and receive love to and through all life forms. It is painful to suppress, withhold, hide or hoard love and creative expression. Everything is alive here. Everything has vibration. If we pay close attention, everything speaks to us, calling our hearts forward into the loving. Listen to the rocks and sand, flowers and trees, rivers and seas - they have stories to tell you. They won’t twist things into clever tales that make one seem better than another. All of creation lives to serve and expand in loving.

Dear Self: The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. Your emotions, intuition, instincts and body are also powerful guidance systems. Pay attention. Heed their warnings and follow their inherent wisdom. Life is much simpler than the conditioned mind likes to believe.

Dear Self: It takes tremendous discipline to be a free Spirit. Contrary to current trendy 'spiritual' jargon, the path of the peaceful warrior is simple, but not easy. Have high aims. Keep your word. Be accountable in your actions. And, stay true to what is pure and right. 

Dear Self: While you are infinite in intelligence, creativity and loving, you are finite in your physical energy field. Choose how and where you spend your time and energy wisely. Use everything for your learning, upliftment and advancement.

Dear Self: Much of what you have been taught you will have to unlearn. That is okay. In fact, it makes the journey interesting and gives you more depth and ability to understand what your brothers and sisters are growing through too. Participate fully. Ask questions. Challenge ‘authority’ if something does not sit right inside of you. Observe and Listen attentively. Act consciously. It is not just about you and your output, but very much about input too. Everything is alive and connected, including You. Re-member.

Dear Self: Mass media creates mass hysteria. Capitalism is often driven by shadows of the insecure, fearful and faithless. Avoid drama and distractions that keep you numb, busy or buying. Turn off the external noise and calm internal static. Sit still and be quiet. Presence always reveals what is needed.

Dear Self: Every choice has consequences and/or benefits here. This includes not choosing. Choose wisely with the greater good in mind.

Dear Self: Some people will not remember these truths (yet). That doesn’t mean what you see, feel and understand is not real or relevant. Have compassion for all. Stay aligned in body, mind, heart and soul. Stick with pure sources of natural intelligence and wonder. To thine own self be True.

Dear Self: No one is coming to save you. You have everything you need inside and Grace is available in any moment you call upon it. There is infinite intelligence, support, and abundance backing you every step of the way. Knock. Seek. Ask. And, it shall be given unto you. You are not alone, but you alone are the choice-maker here. Choose wisely with the greater good in mind.  

Dear Self: You are pure Love. Live this Truth. 

Dear Self: You are Alive! To be alive is a rare and precious gift. Stay Awake & Aware. And, in the words of Jalaluddin Rumi, remember 

“The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
Don't go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth 
across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open
Don't go back to sleep!”

Note: I did a form of this writing for years and now have conversations out loud daily in what I call Trinity Trios (my higher Self, present 'adult' self and child self). This particular “Dear Self” format was inspired by this gorgeous Letter to My Younger Self from the book The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible (Sacred Activism) by Charles Eisenstein


The Trouble With Kids Today

by Teri Jo Wheeler on 05/04/15

I am saddened by the disregard we still have for children in our world. They are essence, the pure beginning of life itself, and sometimes we still do not see, value or understand them or their (our) nature clearly.

I am not talking about parents specifically. I know parents love and understand their kids. I am referring to the collective belief that children are somehow "less than"as in insignificant, a burden, uncivilized, dumb, naughty, selfish, greedy and ungrateful. This was set in motion long ago by churches, schools, popular psychology and the like, because of limited understanding. And, it was a way to control children that 'worked' in those times. As evolution will have it, children are more aware and are calling forward better treatment from us today. Hopefully, we are evolving with them.

While children are not perfect, I can say with certainty that our true inherent nature is loving. I witnessed confirmation of this year after year in the classroom, and also see it with kids in my family coaching work.

Can kids be little stinkers? Yes! Do they need boundaries and rules? Absolutely! Can they be demanding entitled little brats? Sometimes. Do they think of themselves more than others? Well, this depends on the age and the child. But, I have to say that I've seen far more adults be little stinkers, need rules and boundaries, act demanding and entitled, and think of themselves more than others.

Which leads me to the understanding that often it is us adults who actually project our own unresolved wounds (aka shadows) onto kids. And in doing this, kids become who we affirm them to be - lazy, selfish, disconnected, irresponsible, mean, ungrateful. Or fun, smart, intuitive, creative, helpful, kind... you get it.

Kids want and need our guidance. We have to often reel them in, set clear boundaries and give consequences for unhealthy actions. I am not saying be a pushover and let them run the show. That is dangerous.

So many who believe in the "spare the rod, spoil the child" mentality only see these two extremes, but there are infinite ways to raise a child. In my experience, the best ways involve presence, awareness, respect and loving, while still holding intentionally and firmly to boundaries, expectations and consequences. They are counting on this.

I believe the trouble with kids today most directly relates to how we are being (or not being) with them and what we are modeling. Admitting this does not have to be an act of self-criticism and self-blame. Each moment is a chance to start fresh. Life is a series of fresh starts and learning opportunities - so let's grow for it! While it can be difficult (and exhausting at first) to keep bringing the responsibility back to ourselves and how we show up, it ultimately yields closer relationships, better results, and expands our own understanding and growth. When we are willing to be accountable, admit our faults (humanness), listen, offer mutual respect, and live in ways we want our children to emulate, they will often feel our sincerity and follow suit. Not always overnight, but in due time.

I think we are all worth it :)

In closing, I want to share these insightful words about teens today written by Elizabeth Gilbert (Author of Eat, Pray, Love). This was a facebook post in January 2015 and I couldn't agree more!

IN DEFENSE OF TEENAGERS

Dear Ones -

I was recently speaking at a public event, when a lovely 17-year-old girl stood up in the audience to ask me a question.

She said, "What advice do you have for my generation? And where do you think we are going wrong?"

I looked at her sternly and said, "You know what's wrong with your generation?"

She braced herself bravely and said, "Tell me."

I replied, "Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I love your generation. You guys are wonderful. And don't listen to anybody who says otherwise."

The relief on her face was instant and immeasurable. It was clear she had never yet heard a good thing said about her generation.

But I meant it.

Today's American teenagers are the most sensitive, least violent, least bullying, least racist, least homophobic,  most globally-minded, most compassionate, most environmentally-conscious, least dogmatic, and overall kindest group of young people this country has ever known.

They were raised to be nice to each other. They have always been encouraged to be tolerant with each other.  They weren't allowed to hit each other in the sandbox while adults looked the other way and let them "work it out on their own". They don't smoke as much as my generation did, they don't drink (or drink and drive) as much as my generation did, they don't beat each other up as much as my generation did, and they aren't as mean to each other as my generation was. They don't even have as much sex as my generation did.

Are they a little bit coddled, a little bit "soft"?

You bet. And I love them for that. This world could use more a bit more softness, and a lot less toughness.

They're gentler than we were at their age, truly.

So let's be gentle with them, in return.

Let's give them a break, and stop complaining about them.

Are they perfect? Of course not — they're teenagers. Do they live on their cellphones, and say "like" too much? Do they have short attention spans? Sure, but was there ever a teenager who had a long attention span? Do they listen to music that offends and even scares you? Whatever. (In fact: whatevs. When I was a teenager, adults were terrified that Satanic music was going to destroy the souls of our entire generation, and that Madonna's midriff would make us all grow up to be strippers —and is anybody worried now about the threat of Satanic music or Madonna's midriff ? Trust me, Miley's sexual provocations will someday seem just as quaint and harmless, in retrospect.)

Are some kids today jerks? Sure, but show me a generation without jerks. I submit, in fact, that this is the least jerky generation yet.

Do today's teenagers seem somewhat less motivated and ambitious than generations in the past? Could that possibly be because they have watched their elders drive themselves into a frenzy of debt and depression through constant consumer striving? Could it be that maybe they are questioning the whole rat race?

And are there perhaps better virtues to cultivate than mere ambition?

I think so.

Like consider this, for instance: I know a 17 year-old straight boy who recently took his gay 17 year-old neighbor (his childhood best friend) to the prom. The straight boy wanted his gay friend to enjoy the experience of prom, and the gay boy didn't have a date,  so the straight boy gallantly invited him. They rented tuxedos, a limo, took photos, danced, and had a ball. Nobody in their school batted an eye. And the real miracle is — the straight kid couldn't even understand why i thought this was such a big deal. To his mind, it was simple: He loved his buddy, and saw no reason why they couldn't go to the prom together as friends. Nothing about the situation made him  feel threatened in the least. Nor did their classmates see it as strange.

Such a scenario would have been unthinkable in my high school back in 1987, where kids who even seemed gay were routinely bullied — not only by their fellow students, but sometimes even by their teachers. And I went to school in the liberal Northeast. We considered ourselves PROGRESSIVE!

Do we still have farther to go? Of course, but my hopes are that this generation will keep showing us the way to greater kindness.

If you have a teenager in your life, then, do try to appreciate him or her. I know they can be maddening, but they are also something quite special. (And as my 102 year-old grandmother once said to a room full of her  descendants, who were complaining about KIDS THESE DAYS, "Hey! I knew ALL of you when you were 14, and you were all difficult. But you all turned out pretty good. These kids will turn out good, too.")

In fact, I think they will turn out great.

And if you ARE a teenager (which I know is unlikely, because this is Facebook, not Instagram, or Snapchat) just know that I think you're terrific. I admire your generation immensely. Don't let anyone try to tell you that we were better than you were, back when we were your age. Trust me: we were not better. I was there. I remember.

I can't wait to see what this generation is going to make of the world, with such decency and such compassion bred into their bones.

It's an exciting time in history, and a good time. Believe me.

Orphaned

by Teri Jo Wheeler on 04/02/15

I felt it as a child…

Alone. Different.

Dropped in the wrong family.

On the wrong planet at the wrong time.

 

You know what’s funny… how common this story is among us.

 

If only we knew, how alone and different many of us feel underneath all the running around, looking busy, and trying to fit in.

 

I have a friend who has been actively involved in AA for many years. She called me after a weekend conference complaining about the mechanicalness of it all, saying “TJ, I wanted to stand up in the middle of that conference and scream out ‘YOU'RE ALL FULL OF SHIT!’”

 

And I replied, "Oh next time, do it... PLEASE!"

 

But, I suspect she won’t.

 

Why?

 

Because we want to belong… somewhere… anywhere.

 

The problem is we often pay a high price for this need to belong

 

Getting into half-hearted relationships

Staying in unfulfilling, “safe and secure” jobs

Sticking fanatically to belief systems, teachings and practices

Identifying with churches, political parties, clubs and special interest groups

Clinging to relationships and situations that don’t nourish or expand us beyond comfort zones.


In settling for comfortable, safe and familiar, we often betray our own souls.

 

Why?

 

Because we want to belong… somewhere… anywhere.

 

In the past few years I have walked through 5 different spiritual communities.

 

Each time there was a moment of clarity when I knew I had to leave – or betray myself to stay.

Each time I chose to honor myself, and as painful as this was to walk through, it was the right thing to do.

 

One might easily conclude that it is ME who is the problem here.

Believe me – the “what’s wrong with me” song has played in my head many times. Being “difficult" and “expecting too much” has definitely been part of my orphan story.


I went to a spiritual counselor in an attempt to understand why this kept happening.

 

I knew when she greeted me that she would not be able to help.

 

Why?

 

Because she wanted to belong… somewhere… anywhere.

 

And in this, in her own identification, she was not able to be fully present with me.

 

Because of her need to belong, she wore a mask that covered her own vulnerability, which in turn affected her ability to connect with me and hang in the place of not knowing. She was playing a role – the role she thought she should play, the role she thought I thought she should play. Her prayers felt scripted. Her probing and advice was predictable. She was not able to meet me where I was because it was too uncomfortable.


I suspect my questioning, my longing to break free from all confining structures and systems was a space she just could not relate to. In this discomfort, she had to find something to blame, and try to fix it.

 

And in this, she also suggested that I was the common denominator in all my disappointments - implying that changing my mindset (stop judging TJ!) would change my experience.

 

By this point, I knew this was about something beyond that. This was beyond the hamster wheel duality of fault-finding - in "them" or in me.

 

I am being called to remove all layers of conditioning and attachment now.

And to do this, I must let everything go – including my need to find comfort and security in a person, belief system, or community. I am growing up. Spiritually maturing beyond the confines of mom & dad, and needing others to tell me what to do and how to live a happy and fulfilling life.

 

She was not wrong for her ways.

I am sure she is a wonderful counselor who helps many.

She just could not help me with this particular situation.

 

Role-playing is still necessary and useful at times.

We like safe, predictable, automatic and certain.

And this has it's rightful place in the world. 


We are also being called beyond this now.

And, our fears of being exposed can get in the way.

 

Because we want to belong… somewhere… anywhere.

 

I am finding that Authentic living has no certainty in it at all.


Thankfully, many are now braving this new terrain of wild vulnerability.

 

Still, I often find myself with one foot in Presence, one in role-playing.

One foot in moment-to-moment flowing, one in strategic planning.

One foot in letting go, one in the clinging to familiar ways.

 

And, at some point… I have to be willing to let go completely.

 

As I left this well-intentioned counselors office, the little orphan girl inside felt terribly sad. She was again left alone in her longing for home, that safe and predictable place to belong.

 

And, I simply let her grieve.

 

I took her in close and whispered what she needed to hear.

There there precious little one, it’s okay. You’re okay. You are safe. You are loved. I am here. You are not alone. You are never alone. 

 

Longing to belong is a natural part of the human condition.


I am not trying to belittle this or make it seem weak, wrong or bad. I am simply pointing out the pitfalls of becoming identified and/or attached in our seeking outside for love and belonging. What we identify with/attach to ends up owning and dividing us. 

 

And, what we really long for at our core is unification and liberation.

 

I am still learning how to love without attachment.

The amazing surprise is how FULL this kind of loving really is.

 

Our true belonging lies in the vastness of loving, which is infinite and eternal. Perhaps this is not as comfy or familiar as the finite and temporary promises to be. But, I am finding it certainly is more spacious and expansive.


In closing, I offer these words from OSHO to ponder:

 

The Capacity to Be Alone is the Capacity to Love

It may look paradoxical to you, but it is not.

It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of the other person – without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other.

They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other.

 

Losing My Religion

by Teri Jo Wheeler on 03/05/15

I am cautious using words like God, Faith, Church and Jesus because of the polarity they stir. People have shunned, shamed, unfriended and killed over rigid beliefs and religious dogma.

 

Growing up in the Lutheran church was mellow, but I still witnessed a perplexing amount of hypocrisy - people putting on their Sunday best and sharing friendly how-do-you-do’s one day, then turning into miserly meanies the next. The most preachy people were often the worst.

 

As a little girl, I loved Jesus very much. Stories and songs about Him warmed my heart and gave me hope. I believed in a safe, wise, helpful and loving God.

 

As I grew older, I heard about a fearful, jealous, vengeful God and I just couldn’t wrap my heart around this. Why should I fear one who loved me so much? And why was this Omnipotent Almighty God unable to get it together and handle his emotions? It was again, confusing.

 

As a teen, our cool youth pastor was asked to leave the church. I don’t know what happened, but this, combined with other unsettling incongruencies, was enough to lead me away from the church.

 

In college, I took a Religions of the World course and was shocked that I hadn't been exposed to other religions before this. Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism all fascinated me. I felt a sense of betrayal being taught that my religion – the one I happened to be born into – was superior than the rest.


How can one trust their own Faith, if they are not encouraged to openly explore what else is out there?

 

These other religions made sense to me too. Like Christianity, they were each centered around principals of kindness, compassion and love. All of them had some form of the “Golden Rule.” They were unique and interesting paths, just as each of us is a unique and interesting expression.

 

Questioning all I had been taught was a huge and important step in my spiritual journey. Eventually, I chose to expand beyond the form of any one religion, calling myself trans-denominational. This actually increased my Faith and Spiritual Connection. My God became bigger and more inclusive.

 

This also felt much more aligned with my intuitive understanding as a child – that God is Love. And, Love is everywhere. You don’t need to believe in Love for it to exist. It is also more honoring of brother Jesus’ path, as he was a Uniter, not a divider; a Lover, not a fighter.

 

Simply put, my religion is LOVE. I can walk into any church, temple or place of worship and feel welcomed because I am embodying Love.


There have been a few Masters who have walked this planet in the Awakened Consciousness of Light. Jesus, the Christ is still my favorite Avatar, but that’s probably because I understand him the most.

 

Worshiping a Master Teacher is not enough. It is the message of Love they embody and demonstrate that matters. They are pointers, showing us the way to higher states of Consciousness and Loving Kindness in Action.

 

In the comfort of simply worshiping a prophet, teacher or guru we can miss the call to become our own highest and best. We can avoid our own spiritual power and responsibility to shine the Light.

 

Many have been waiting for the “Second Coming” of the Christ to come and save them.

 

I believe the time of Awakening - to the Christ Consciousness, Buddha Nature, Divine Love (call it what you will) - is here now.

 

Religion has been used for years to control, manipulate, punish and entrap people (including ourselves) in fear and compliance. We have been taught to follow books, preachers and theories over our own intuitive hearts. We have individually and collectively bought into layers of illusion (aka the devil) and neglected the development of our own precious Souls. We have been taught erroneous concepts like God is external, we are unworthy, Enlightenment is unattainable except to the chosen ones, etc. We have projected our own messy dualistic nature onto God.

 

In feelings of confusion, despair and defeat, we have turned away from the Light and found ourselves seduced by and entrapped in cynicism, clinging, drama and the material world.

 

Luckily, many are Questioning, Awakening and Remembering now.

 

You are the Light of the world. Rise up and shine! For as you rise, you remind others and give them permission to do the same.

 

You do not need to believe in what I am saying, nor in what anyone else says.

 You do not need to repent, or be proper, moral, or behave right.


 You only need to tune into your own innocence and let it lead the way.


Go back to the beginning, before you bought into the conditioning and found reason to rigidly follow dogma or vehemently rebel against it – for on both sides, we are shackled by fear. 

 

The free man walks the middle road, choosing love... living on his knees in a state of perpetual WOW and WONDER – which, ironically, can border on a sense of unworthiness – but in the best of ways!

 

I am bewildered by the sheer beauty and utter perfection of this existence. I am blessed to experience this immense LOVING each day - in, through, and as me.

 

Yours Truly,
Teri Jo

 

Be the LOVE You Wish to See in the World!

by Teri Jo Wheeler on 02/10/15

Gandhi’s insightful message is posted everywhere these days, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It's exciting.   I also believe the idea that if you have a criticism or complaint, perhaps you are the one who came to find and implement the SOULution.


Like it or not, we are the creators of our reality here. Our thoughts/beliefs/words, emotions/energy, and actions all work together to create what we experience in our daily life. No matter what our life circumstances have been or currently are, we can choose to use our powers for good (creation), or for not so good (destruction). Not choosing is also a choice (stagnancy or when conscious, incubation/waiting).

 

I have seen and experienced a lot of pain in my life - loneliness, heartache, disappointment, dishonesty, discord, despair... the usual suspects. I have created and participated in some of it. I have complained about a lot of it. I have cried and raged, written emotional letters, marched with signs about it and participated in many healing sessions and rituals around it. All of that served a purpose.


And, now I am here... really ready to BE the LOVE I wish to see in the world.


I have finally realized that no one is coming to save me from this wretched planet - not the knight in shining armor, not my mommy or daddy, not even Jesus.


I am the one who came with the Grace of LOVE Awakening inside my own tender heart. Each of us is the Savior, here to minister to ourselves and each other as the PURE LOVING LIGHT we are within.


I am changing Gandhi’s statement to “Be the LOVE you wish to see in the world” because I feel the change we need to see most is in the Awakening and Living of our own True Nature. As we continue opening our hearts, we will find INFINITE LOVE flowing through us, and endless opportunities to BE the LOVE we wish to see and experience. 

 

Certainly, with an open heart... you will never be bored again ;)


Ten Tips for How to BE the LOVE you wish to see in the world:

 

1)     Start your day off by LOVING YOU with some Self-care at

       the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels of your being.

       It's much easier and more integral to give from a full cup!

2)    Turn off your electronics when you are with others, please

3)    Make Eye Contact and Smile at others… even strangers, often

4)    Respond to people, calls, texts and/or emails in a timely manner

5)    Find someone or somewhere to Serve - daily, weekly or monthly

6)    Do work that you love OR find love for the work you do

7)     Study LOVE… not in books, but in people and places

8)     Hang out with pure LOVE vessels - children, animals and nature

        9)   Be bold and start a LOVE Movement – Practice Spontaneous Act of 
            LOVING, Random Acts of Kindness, and Senseless Acts of Beauty!

    10)   
Stop waiting for someone 'out there' to come and give you something 

      and BE the LOVE you wish to see, find and experience in the world!


This SOUL NEWS Blog began in September 2012 because I was gonna burst from all the glorious news pouring through if I didn't express it somewhere, somehow. It is intended to uplift and inspire you to connect more with your own sacred SOUL and REMEMBER the incredible gift you are. You are the LIGHT of the world. SHINE!