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What in Heaven’s Name is it to Pray Attention?

In The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran writes, “You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance. For what is prayer but the expansion of yourself into the living ether?”

The way I see it, you and I are living prayers. We are feelings being felt, thoughts being shared, ideas being manifest, walls being built, and the compassion that levels us all. We are luminosity brightening darkness, a word spoken, a touch that hurts and heals. We are brave and bold and broken open so that we’ll shine.

Yet, how can you and I shine when it feels dark, and life seems uncertain?

I looked in the Bible for guidance and found the apostle Paul speaking to the ‘Thessalonians,’ which metaphysically means, tossed by the waves. The people he was speaking to were stressed out, wanting to know what to do, just like us! And in Thessalonians 5:17, Paul says to them (us), Pray without ceasing.

Whaaat? You may by thinking, are you kidding? I’m busy here. I’m freaking out; and besides that, I can’t get in full lotus position or sit on top of some sacred mountain, all the time!

Clearly there’s a disconnect here. What, I wondered, did Paul mean by, ‘pray’? For help, I looked at the scriptures just before and after, and something started to holy shift in me… Thessalonians 5:16 says, Rejoice evermore, and 5:18 says, In everything give thanks. Ah-ha!

I think Paul was giving us timeless wisdom for living a more conscious life; by saying, to us all, pray close attention to whatever is taking place, right where you are; and live in gratitude, constantly.

“You are here.”

In Mary Manin Morrisey’s book New Thought, I wrote: You’ve all had the experience of coming into a shopping center and trying to locate yourself. You find one of those maps that has an arrow and a little sign that says, “You are here.” I like those, because you’ve got to know where you are in order to orient yourself to your world. “You are here.” Have you accepted that? You may as well face it. This is it – as good as it gets. It is not a rehearsal. This is life. And so the question becomes, “How am I going to show up? What am I going to do now?”

So, I started a ministry with a goofy, play-on-words name to encourage us to follow Paul’s advice; and then I created this course to help you remember how to shine from within, no matter how rough it gets out there.


A Mother’s Love

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

— Maya Angelou

A few years back, I was offered a position teaching GED to adult incarcerated men. It was one of the most transformative experiences of my life. I loved many aspects of my job, but one of my favorites was graduation day. 
Joey was a kid; barely 20. He was indoctrinated into the gang life by his older, and now deceased brother, at eight years old. I met him when he was 19, fairly new to the prison system, for a gang-related crime that got him a 19-year sentence. He looks young, much younger than he was. And he looks innocent; like really sweet, and innocent. He has deep brown eyes, long eye lashes, and a little kid smile. He is, in my middle-aged mind, an “adorable kiddo”.  I got to know him pretty well when he was in my class. I found out that he didn’t want to be in the gang; he joined because his brother made him, and now he is stuck for life.
When Joey earned his GED, he invited his mother to come to his graduation. He had told her about me and how much he appreciated me listening, encouraging, and celebrating him, each step of the way. She wanted to meet me. On the day of the graduation, Joey came in, looking nervous, but happy.  He joined the others at the cap and gown table, getting his picture taken, and then sitting close to the visitor door, awaiting the arrival of his mother.  
Sometime later, a small woman walked in and Joey quickly jumped up and hugged her hard. She began to sob in his arms, and he stroked her hair, choking back his own tears, trying to comfort her. Eventually, they sat down, and we started the ceremony. When I looked up, I saw them sitting, arms entwined, his head on her shoulder and her cheek on his head. In that moment, he looked like exactly what I always saw; a sweet little boy whose mother loved him deeply.  
After the ceremony, people started to leave. My eyes fixed on Joey and his mom. I could see that she was ignoring the departures. I could see the devastation through her strength, as she gathered herself up and started to walk to the door.  She kept looking back at her son, who kept watching her, too. She sobbed but kept her head up and eventually she lost eye contact with him.  As she walked away, my heart broke over and over again, for her. All I could think was, that if I were her, I would be sobbing and screaming, “He’s just a baby! He’s my baby!  Just let me take him home with me. I promise he won’t do it again! He needs me! My baby needs me!”  
Trust me, I get that he did bad things to get locked up.  I may have a soft heart, but I do understand the need for public safety, more so because I have worked where I have encountered some pretty scary people. Still, as a woman, I can feel her pain. This is her baby boy, her only surviving son and she had no choice but to leave him behind.

That is a question that I ask myself often. What can I do?  


Every person inside is the son or daughter of someone. Many have people who love them very much. They are human beings, though many have done very inhuman things. And through it all, it is our responsibility to love them, to support them, to be their keeper. That is how we honor God; by honoring all of God’s children, not just the ones we agree with.


I Am Not My Thoughts

‘There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind—you are the one who hears it.’

— Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul

After reading “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer my life improved because I stopped attaching emotions to my thoughts. I realized that overanalyzing the future is futile since the mind knows nothing about the future. I was once again reminded how the voice of the mind never stops.

Recently it was my daughter’s birthday and as I do every year with all my daughters (I have 3) I called and sang the “Happy Birthday “song, leaving it as a message. The following morning I woke up in worry and beginning to spiral downwards as she did not call me back or respond to my birthday message. Thus began my mind and body having some powerful feelings (thoughts). First was worry, is everything all right? Second, sadness, my daughter did not even think enough about me to thank me for the call. Third, guilt, I guess I deserve this because I was not that great of a Father to them when they were growing up. These thoughts just came pouring into my consciousness and I began to feel tension and a lack of peace.

I became very aware of this upset and was focusing my attention on these feelings. I was losing my sense of Self and was becoming attached to the negative energies created by my thinking.

Then I stopped as I reminded myself:

I am not my thoughts; I am the one who is aware of my thoughts.

What I share with you is a common reaction within all of us and creates a life ruled by negative energy because we are constantly bombarded with outside events that demand our attention. We become absorbed in this way of life. Here is what you can do the next time you feel you are spiraling into downward negative emotions. Remind yourself of the following:

Constantly and daily applying this awareness in my life allows me to remain peaceful and separate from the negative demands for my attention. I notice them, release them, and remain present to who I really am.

I’ll end with another great quote from Michael Singer for you to ponder. ‘If you’re willing to be objective and watch all your thoughts, you’ll see that the vast majority of them have no relevance. They have no effect on anything or anybody, except you. They are simply making you feel better or worse about what is going on now, what has gone on in the past, or what might go on in the future.’


Year of the Influencer – Ester Nicholson

The Roadmap Home: To the Authentic Self with Ester Nicholson, author of Soul Recovery – 12 Keys to Healing Dependence. She turned her incredible journey from addiction to freedom into a practical program that heals the root causes of unworthiness, shame and trauma. Her unique approach reveals the spiritual depth and healing power of the 12 steps and removes the stigma of addiction.

Ester’s story of addiction and recovery is featured in a 30-minute presentation on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Her appearance on Super Soul Sunday’s “In Deep Shift” clearly touched a nerve. She survived the ravages of addiction and discovered something miraculous …. SOUL RECOVERY – The Roadmap Home.

Follow Ester online:


What is Your List?

“Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.”

— Oprah Winfrey

The mind and intellectual abilities are very powerful. The more we understand how consciousness and thoughts work, the greater our ability to make it through whatever situation emerges as a result of our thinking.

After watching the news, you begin to realize how influenced you become by the emotions of one person’s name, which I will not mention here, but I bet you are thinking of the person even without me mentioning it…Yes you are!

It becomes clearer than ever how important it is to think and speak about the people who model our innate values. Those who speak a universal truth and those who inspire us to become better human beings. I ponder on the people who have given the soul sorrow, or who have been deceitful, angry, manipulative and negative and the impact it would have on our soul compared to the ones who offered hope and joy.

The reality was two different truths. The one who inspires us to become better makes the soul stronger, clearer and closer to God.

The one who makes our spirit dark takes us down a tunnel with no way out. Now, I do know, we give folks permission to access our soul field which then triggers what we believe in and become. So, at the end of the journey it will be about us and the choices that we make. However, it all begins with our thoughts. What we think we become.

Look around at the friends you keep. The space in which you live. The way you carry yourself. All of this is the result of your thoughts. So, I found myself thinking about all the folks who I have loved and have been inspired by. Each one carries a value, a virtue, something graceful, divinity, nobility and a vision greater than themselves. I then realized the more I thought and spoke of folks who inspired me to soar, the more it was worth adding them on my list below as the folks who have impacted me in a good way. I am keeping my eyes and heart opened to those who are about to enter my fields of consciousness and evolution. What is your list?

As Oprah once said, “Breathe. Let go and remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” You are in control of your thoughts. What do you want to think about today?

I have to say I think of all the people who went out of their way to make life better for me and everyone else. When I have thought of them, I was inspired to keep living a life of greater truth, values and dignity. To be myself and to trust my pure thoughts from above to guide me and those around me towards a life of compassion, generosity, sacrifice, courage and joy. What is your list?