Susan Trout's Blog

The Strong Must Be Made Stronger

The convergence of our inner journey
with our outer one leads to the discovery of
our soul’s unique destiny. Gradually, we develop
inner strength and move from being self-centered
to being centered on humanity.

~ Susan S. Trout, Born to Serve ~


With inner strength, we can choose to participate in and to be blessed by the evolution of a soul-inspired life in the Aquarian Era.

Years ago, I had a dream during which these words were chanted: “the strong must be made stronger.” At the time, I viewed the chant as a statement of the Institute’s mission to support those seeking personal growth and spiritual development. Recently, I discovered that the chant has an even higher purpose – to address our grief and fear concerning today’s unpredictable and tumultuous world and to seek inner strength by connecting to the Sacred Within.

Many of us view ourselves as strong, yet are aware of the presence of niggling concerns that lie just beneath our level of awareness. We fear we may lack the inner strength necessary to weather the multiple looming uncertainties currently brewing on Planet Earth. These include global warming, wars between nations, financial uncertainty, misused technology, and terrorism, among others. Our grief is overwhelming as we learn about the disregard of the wellbeing and safety of sentient beings and the brutal treatment and killing of so many. We wonder if we will be strong enough during the unpredictable transition from the 3rd and 4th dimensions of the Piscean Era into the 5th dimension of the Aquarian Era. We question whether we will be the ones who can help others during this transition or if we will find ourselves among those needing help.

Regardless of how we experience our inner strength, we are wise to take an honest, non- judgmental look at what we think, feel, and do that weakens our inner strength, and what we think, feel, and do that strengthens it. For example, do we strive to live a life of ease, looking for instant gratification, making excuses, escaping into endless distractions, or engaging in complaining, blaming, and condemning? Or do we strive to practice self-responsibility for our thoughts and reactions, engage in spiritual growth, and tend to our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health?  Are we committed to becoming stronger and, if so, what supports this happening?

flower from asphalt   canstockphoto43603727

Nurturing Inner Strength = Being Made Stronger

The Ten Universal Tributes and their Tenets are inspired teachings that serve as a guide for ensuring that the strong will be made stronger – if they are taken to heart and practiced regularly. An inherent aspect of the Institute’s foundational teachings found in The Soul and Service Trilogy, the Tributes address the source of our inner strength, the quality of our inner state, and the quality of our relationships with others.

Three of the Tribute’s major premises and practices – self-responsibility, soul alignment, and service – can, during this transformational time in human history, transform us if we wish to become stronger and serve others.


When we are self-responsible, we shift our thoughts, actions, and words to look within rather than without for wholeness.

  • With honesty and kindness, I take responsibility for my own choices and allow others to do the same. (Tribute 5)
  • The presence of patience, gentleness, and unconditional acceptance lessens resistance to change and growth. (Tribute 9, Tenet 7)


We have an obligation not only to love each other,
but also in our love to make ourselves as lovable
as possible so that it is easy for our sisters
and brothers to love us.

~ William of St. Thierry ~

Soul Alignment

When we align with our Soul, we are guided, taught, and protected throughout our lives so that we fulfill our life purpose.

  • I have been given a unique assignment by the Divine and, having accepted this function, I live my life with integrity, commitment, and gratitude. (Tribute Two, Tenet 2)
  • To be inspired is to put the Divine first in my life, thereby aligning my will with Divine Will and fulfilling my assigned life purpose and mission. (Tribute Two, Tenet 4)


Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.

~ Maya Angelou ~


When we are of service, we offer the right thing in the right way at the right time for the right reason and in the right amount.

  • I am unconsciously giving and receiving all the time; the more conscious I am of the level on which I give and receive, the more helpful my giving and receiving is to the wellbeing of myself and others.  (Tribute 7, Tenet 6)
  • Divine Will works through me as me when I have no attachment to the form of the task and no expectations of outcome. (Tribute 3)


Be mindful when you have an opportunity
to show another way.

~ Source Unknown ~

A Clarion Call to Making Ourselves Stronger

At this time on Planet Earth, we can choose whether or not to hear the clarion call to be made stronger and help others do the same. We are called to make a choice between the old and the new, between what was and what will be. We are called to practice cooperation and to live as one global family. We are called to slow down in order to recognize and benefit from synchronistic events. Synchronicity, or the flow of unexpected events, guides us, awakens us, alerts us, and shows us how to develop and sustain inner strength. We can call on the wisdom of the Universe to help us deepen our collective understanding of what is destined to emerge in the world.

With inner strength, we can choose to participate in and to be blessed by the evolution of a soul-inspired life in the Aquarian Era. Indeed, when we choose to live a soul-inspired life – when we choose to live life completely and well – we are gradually made stronger and move from being centered on ourselves to being centered on humanity.


As a daily practice, find a specific example in your life
of how a particular Tribute or Tenet supported you making yourself stronger.


Reference: Susan S. Trout, PhD, Born to Serve: The Evolution of the Soul Through Service. Alexandria, VA: Three Roses Press, ©1997. The Clarion Call: Leadership and Group Life in the Aquarian Era. Alexandria, VA: Three Roses Press, ©2009.

Photo attribution: © Can Stock Photo / ipopba (flower); kavita (woman)

Get a printable copy of this teaching HERE.



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Welcoming 2017 ~ Reflections of a Wisdom Gatherer

What does it mean to serve "through God's eyes"?

Wisdom Gatherers inspire and challenge us by shedding light on the limitations and possibilities of our perspective and guiding us to think, feel, and live in a freer, less constrained way. With humility, Wisdom Gatherers learn from their experiences and from observing the experiences of others. They cherish the privilege of learning from the teachings of their mistakes and their physical and emotional pain. Wisdom Gatherers share what they learn in service with inhabitants of our beloved spiritual classroom known as Planet Earth. With humility, I accept the rigorous and sacred work of wisdom gathering and treasure the opportunity to share some of the wisdom I have gained thus far. I extend blessings to all as we welcome the year 2017.

Our lives on Planet Earth are not rehearsed before we are born. Rather, we find ourselves performing acts and acting scenes that are unwritten until we step into them. It is up to us to write the play of our life, and to act it out with creativity, integrity, thoughtfulness, and commitment.

For most of us, our way in life is not immediately apparent. Instead, we are invited to ascend the steep mountain of life that we are destined to climb, one small step at a time.

When I was in the midst of a life crisis that spanned many years, a trusted friend said to me, “Susan, someday you will look back on this crisis and remember it as the golden gift it was intended to be. You will view your experience from a totally different point of view – not from pain and despair, but from the depth of wisdom you gained and from the doors that subsequently opened for you, doors that allowed you to serve others in a genuine way.” In time, I came to see that my friend was absolutely right.

I would not be who I am today had I not had many "kicks" in the you-know-where, kicks that shifted my perception of what happened TO me to what happened FOR me. Regardless of the traumas, disappointments, and confusions we face in our lives, we can eventually choose to reframe them as a powerful impetus to serve our soul’s evolution.

The only time my physical and emotional pain has ever subsided is when I have been engaged in meaningful service. I somehow move to a different vibration – a vibration that exists beyond the pain. Meaningful service emanates from the heart and can be as simple as smiling at a grumpy clerk or as complex as heading a large company.

My Dad was a constant corrector. When I was an adult, he told me that when I was five years old, I asked him to “stop correcting me because I have to learn from my mistakes.” He said I was so emphatic and adult when I said this that I scared him. Obviously, he had deep feelings about this.  I have had to re-remember the truth of self-responsibility many times throughout my life.

We are not only products of our parents and home life. Our development is molded as much by deprivation as by nurturance. When our soul is determined to evolve, it will find a way to take what we are given, no matter how devastating, and see it is a gift that has been offered to us to use for healing and growth. Delineating the ups and downs of our life enables us to see how we can transform the obstacles into gifts. As we reflect on the events of our life and how they affected us at the time, we discover the meaning behind both positive and negative memories. No experience in life is wasted. Unexpected obstacles in our lives teach us about the human psyche and its need for healing – and thus how to turn rocks to fertile soil.

We believe in others because others believed in us. My family heritage and focus on the practical has given me the stamina and organizational skills to bring into reality the application of universal psychological and spiritual concepts. By pushing against the traditional, I broke out of conventionality and discovered that by nature I am multidisciplinary, metaphysical, most at home in Eastern spiritual traditions, and more a resident of the world than of one specific place. I know I can do more if I have a vibration of love in the world rather than one of separation or polarization.

Patience provides the wisdom to do the right thing at the right time, in the right way, and for the right reason. Impatience impedes wisdom gathering SIGNIFICANTLY.

What does it mean to serve “through God’s eyes”?  Perhaps it is not what we do that matters but the love and gratitude with which we do it.

The highest service that any one of us can give to another is to discover and learn to live a life that SHOWS ANOTHER WAY and that encourages others to show another way.

Each of us is blessed with the presence of an Angelic Being, a Being given to us by God.  This Angelic Being goes by various names, including Solar Angel, Guardian Angel, Higher Self, and God’s Representative. I refer to this Being as my Solar Angel.  Located about eight inches above the head, the Solar Angel’s energy extends down through the crown of our head into our heart.

Our Solar Angel protects, guides, teaches, and inspires us so that we evolve into the person we are intended to be: spiritual being having a physical experience – a human being with a potential for having a precious life, a life defined by purpose, integrity, love, peace, creativity, and appreciation. Our Solar Angel communicates to us through thought impressions, dreams, words, and unexpected, or synchronistic, events. Our Solar Angel is never judgmental or critical and does not impose its will on us. We may refer to our Solar Angel as a she or he.

Our Solar Angel knows us better than we know ourselves. She knows what we have and have not yet learned about living a purposeful life. She knows what would enable us to live our life completely and well through service to humanity, animals, and nature. When we make a mistake, she reframes our mistake by saying, “now that you went that way, let’s see what you have learned and if your choices and actions can still bring you good fruit.”

Synchronistic events give us experiences that guide us, awaken us, and alert us to how we can live a fulfilling and meaningful life. We know destiny is calling us when we learn to listen, to wait, to be patient, to watch, to be present, to have an open heart, to listen to life, and to find the real story of our life – a life unlike the kind we see on TV, the news, the movies, or the internet. Synchronicity supports the emergence of our destiny through events that occur in the right way and for the right reason. SLOWING DOWN is essential if we wish to recognize and benefit from synchronistic events.

The breadth and depth of our soul is not always readily visible to us. Yet we stand strong, like a tree, nurtured by genial sunshine and fed by amiable rain. We thrive even when buffeted by roaring winds and hair-raising storms. Our strong and deep roots support us and our soul coaxes us to reach heavenward to the Light in times of calm as well as moments of adversity.

Although we may stand supported and encouraged in the company of others, our destiny, like our birth and death, is a solo journey. Of course, we always have our Solar Angel standing with us, gently supporting us and cheering us on. Our soul’s vision is to share the fruits of our personal growth with joy and enthusiasm on behalf of humanity’s potential.



Start a journal to nurture the gift of reflecting on wisdom you have gathered in your life. 

Explore the "golden gifts" you've been given for healing and growth, and how you have turned these rocks into fertile soil – or how you still may today.


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Photo attribution: © Can Stock Photo / aikidoki

Lincoln Answers Our Nation’s Call for Help

In today's poem, the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, the great wayshower, responds to our collective pain.

In the May 2014 poem published on this blog, I expressed the intense pain I felt for our country using a creative medium known as “medicine poetry.”  I titled the poem, “She Died in Front of the Lincoln Memorial,” addressing our nation’s divided nature and its focus on fulfilling personal desires at the expense of the greater good of humanity and the planet.  I voiced my feelings and concerns to the sacred image of Abraham Lincoln, perhaps the most beloved and vibrantly alive monument in our nation’s capital.  At the poem’s conclusion, I released my pain and felt at peace. [Read this poem HERE.]

Writing medicine poetry requires that we abandon all thoughts and merge with feelings, not knowing in advance what the poem will say or how it will evolve.  The intent of the poem is to allow the heart to express its authentic feelings, whether of pain or of glory.  Once the poem is written, the poet breathes in the medicine of calm and peace. Truth has been spoken; truth has been heard.  Truth heard without judgement releases pain.  Medicine poetry heals us, whether we write it ourselves or read medicine poetry written by another.  Strong medicine is speaking the right words at the right time and in the right way.

In today's poem, the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, the great wayshower, responds to our collective pain, which, although already significant, has nevertheless increased dramatically in the past two years.   He identifies the core dilemma our country now faces and conveys the SAME message of how our country can heal that he first proposed during The Civil War nearly 130 years ago. It is a challenging yet healing choice that we, as citizens of this conflicted country, must make if we are to move through and beyond our current state of chaos and strife.



Abraham Lincoln's Clarion Call


I sit in my marble chair
Living inward – gazing outward
To all who come to visit me:
I see your magnificent souls
I hear your appreciation
I know your pain


Remembering my time in history
I remain with you in spirit
Witnessing history repeat itself
The greater truth
The Civil War never ended
The cause unhealed
Unity unattained
The true cause
Now crises
Of epidemic proportions
Blanket our country
Few imagined
The manifold events
That now shatter
Our reality


Even so
Consciously forewarned
And prepared or not
No one is exempt from
Life-altering truths
Our country now faces


Entered into the darkness
Of bewildering inner
And outer chaos
Of psyches
How the world functions
Ways we operate within it
We have dimmed
Into a barren blend
Of mist and smoke


Much of what once was
Cannot be reconstructed
Cannot be revised
Yet tucked among
The ashes of the past
Are durable remnants
And cherished seeds
Still vibrating with life


I promise you:
A door of sacred fortune
WILL open before you
We WILL cross a threshold


What our ears once silenced
We will soon hear
The irrepressible
Clarion call of life
A call sounded
At the beginning of time
When we forgot
Who we were
Why we had come
Hearing the clarion blast
We awaken
To our injured world


We disconnected
From the Sacred Source
From one another
Now we know
Our connection
Always remained
That it was
Our awareness of connection
That called to be returned


I invite you
To move into inner silence
Write medicine poetry
Acknowledge your personal pain
Focus on what really matters
Smooth the eagle's feathers
Celebrate the learned lessons
Of equality
Of greater good
Of unity within diversity
God doesn’t care
If we make mistakes
God only cares
If we learn from them


I, Abraham Lincoln,
Remind you
Of an unwavering Truth
I upheld
For our country’s wholeness
Proposed during The Civil War:

We may ACT separated
And divided
But we ARE not
We remain
Destined to answer
A clarion call
Of life and action


Called by our Sacred Source
To attain our True Destiny
Live with unconditional
Love and compassion
A global family
In a world
Of One



Place your awareness in your heart.  Write a medicine poem that expresses your truth about healing our country.  Remember, writing medicine poetry requires that we allow the words to flow, abandoning all thoughts and merging with feelings, not knowing in advance what the poem will say or how it will evolve. Allow your heart to express its authentic feelings. When thoughts distract you or words cease, return to the silence of your heart’s awareness.  Once the poem is written, breathe in the medicine of calm and peace.

'"[F]ew successful statesmen have escaped the tendency of power to harden or at least to narrow their human sympathies; but [Lincoln's] natural wealth of tender compassion became richer and more tender, while in the stress of deadly conflict he developed an astounding strength.'" 

~ Peter Wehner, quoting Lord Charnwood writing in 1916,
"Can We Find Our Way Back to Lincoln?",

New York Times, July 17, 2016 ~



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Stephen Levine. Becoming Kuan Yin: the Evolution of Compassion. San Francisco: Weiser Books, 2013.

Living the Destiny of Your Group or Organization (Part II)

A group's spiritual destiny emerges when the group begins the journey of the evolution
of its soul.

Throughout my personal and professional life, I have studied, experienced, and written about destiny, whether it was personal destiny or that of groups, organizations, the country, or the world.  In the Part I of this blog article, I wrote about one's personal destiny.  In this article, Part II on destiny, I share some of what I have discovered about the destinies of groups and organizations.  Part III will address the destiny of the United States and the planet.

Listen to an interview with Susan Trout:
"Exploring How to Discover the Destiny 
of Your Group or Organization"
Listen HERE

In Part I, I defined destiny as an unrealized potential within us that persists in its yearning to be fulfilled. I also noted that we have two destinies, personal and spiritual.  The same is true for groups and organizations.  (Note: "Groups" includes organizations in this article.)

Groups, like individuals, use their free will – a gift from the Divine – to determine their purpose, attitudes, structures, and activities, and to choose whether or not to manifest the group's personal destiny. Using their collective free will – the joined wills of group members – they engage in constructive or destructive actions within their own group and/or towards other groups.

The group's spiritual destiny emerges when the group begins the journey of the evolution of its soul.  When the group's personal destiny joins its spiritual destiny, the heart of each group member is aligned with the Group Soul.  When this alignment occurs, the group has one destiny, not two.  Every group or organization has a destiny to discover, whether the group is conscious of it or not. Individuals are drawn to a certain group because they have similar destinies and are in a similar stage of soul development.

There is one overarching destiny of all groups: to discover what it means to be a group and to remember that the world is sacred. A group is truly blessed if it can eventually and authentically say, "We are living and fulfilling our highest potential.  We have said yes to our destiny."

A group need not be famous or successful in worldly terms to claim a destiny. Destiny is not about competing or comparing ourselves to others.  A group's destiny may be to be a family, a small business, a department in a large corporation, an academic department of a university, a civic office (such as a fire or police station), and so forth. Alternatively, a group's destiny may be an example of courage, patience, unconditional love, inner strength, or wisdom that emerged during a time of failure, misconduct, loss, or illegal behavior.

Group destiny emerges through synchronicity.  Synchronicity, or the flow of unexpected events, is a signal that a group's destiny is unfolding.  Synchronistic events guide the leader and group, alerting them to the next step needed in their destiny journey. Synchronicity events occur at the right time, in the right way, and for the right reason.  Many groups feel overwhelmed by problems and demands coming at them at lightening speed. If they wish to notice and benefit from the flow of synchronistic events, groups must slow down. The more the group slows down and awaits synchronistic events to show the way, the easier it will be for the group to notice when steps of its destiny emerge.

Groups typically experience challenges in attracting the right environment to live out their destiny. A group may have an outline of the story of its destiny, but there are different ways this destiny can be lived out.  For example, because a group is not isolated, its destiny story can be shaped by the choices of others, such as group members' families, the group's larger community, as well as local, national, and international events, including the results of elections and the choices of civic and world leaders, governments, countries, and so on. In addition, individual group members, using their free will, make choices that can enhance, shift, or impede a group's destiny journey.

I have observed that leaders and groups tend to expect their destiny to be quickly and easily revealed and even fulfilled.  They therefore do not take time to educate themselves about how to work together towards fulfilling their destiny.  Destiny does not happen instantly.  It emerges step by step over time.  Therefore, a wise motto for a group to remember is:  It takes time to save time – it takes time for a group to be born well and to stay well. When we take time to be born well and stay well, we save time because less time and effort are needed to solve problems and conflicts.  Unresolved problems become embedded and resistant to change.  Said in another way, we save time if we listen to the whispers before the problems become screams.

I have selected what I consider to be four essential processes that support the emergence of a group's destiny: shared vision, holographic systems thinking, shared decision making, and soul lessons of leaders and groups. When groups decide to engage wholeheartedly in these processes, they are welcoming the emergence of their group destiny. These processes, among others, are described in depth in my book, The Clarion Call: Leadership and Group Life in the Aquarian Era.

1. SHARED VISION. Individuals have a personal vision; groups have a shared vision. Many group leaders and members do not understand how a shared vision evolves and reveals itself over time. The initial shared vision of a group is simply where the group starts. A group needs to know where it is in its relationship to attaining its shared vision and where the group has yet to go. Usually, as a group comes close to attaining its current shared vision, there is lag of energy or a loss of focus, an absence of enthusiasm, and increased interpersonal conflicts, indicating that it is time for the leader and group to review and reset the shared vision. When a group has a shared vision, a group member's question, "What is mine to do?" matches the group's question, "What is ours to do?"

2HOLOGRAPHIC SYSTEMS THINKING. In a holographic model, the shared vision, mission, and philosophy of the organization is expressed in all parts of the organization, from phone calls and emails, to the work of the cleaning staff, individual departments and programs, administrative staff – all the way to the executive director, president, or CEO. In this way, the growth and wellbeing of group members, as well as of the group as a whole, are supported. KEY in a holographic model is for each group member engaged in any activity of the group to ALWAYS ask the question: "Who else in the group or organization needs to know this in order to carry out his or her responsibilities?" The failure to ask this question, as many know, results in the development of significant conflict among members of the group. [To learn more holographic organizations, see my article on The Clarion Way website HERE.]

3. SHARED DECISION MAKING. When a group focuses on what really matters, a shared decision will emerge. This approach invites every perspective of an issue to be heard. Assuring that the decision reflects the group's shared vision, mission, and philosophy is a critical part of shared decision making. Shared decision making is not the same as consensus. When a group uses consensus, some members may not totally agree, but they can live with the opinion that others espouse.  With shared decision making, a synthesis of group member's individual perspectives organically emerges and all groups members eventually agree to the same decision, one that conveys what really matters and reflects saying and doing the right thing in the right way for the right reason at the right time.

4. SOUL LESSONS OF LEADERS AND GROUPS. Leaders and group members recognize and manifest their group's destiny journey by practicing five soul lessons. I describe the soul lessons of both leaders and groups in depth in two of The Soul of Service Trilogy books:  The Awakened Leader and The Clarion Call. The soul lessons of leaders are vision, right relations, analysis, synthesis, and to stand alone.  The soul lessons of groups are shared vision, greater good, right relations, service, and standing strong in group consciousness. [To learn more about the soul lessons of leaders and the soul lessons of groups, see my articles on The Clarion Way website HERE and HERE.]

We are all citizens of the Earth and thus are blessed with precious lives.  I can think of no topic that is as important in today's world as that of joining together to fulfill the destiny of our group or organization.  Such a destiny is a clarion call from the heart: it must be heeded if we are to truly live life – as individuals and groups – completely and well.



As you may recall from reading Part I of this article, practicing group communication guidelines is essential if you wish to create emotional safety in your groups.  

If you would like a copy of the Institute's Communication Guidelines to assist you in determining relevant guidelines in your own group, email me HERE with an explanation of how you feel guidelines might be helpful specifically to your group.


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Destiny ~ Our Life's Masterpiece (Part I)

Destiny emerges, one amazing step at a time,
as precious seeds
planted in the present
for future sprouting.

Note:  This blog entry is the first of three in a series about destiny.  The first blog defines personal and spiritual destiny, the second explores the destiny of leaders and groups/organizations, and the third addresses the destiny of the United States and our planet.  I invite my blog readers to embrace destiny as essential to the wellbeing of themselves, humanity, Planet Earth, and the Universe.


Listen to an interview with Susan Trout:
"Do You Know Your Group's Destiny?
Exploring How to Discover the Destiny 
of Your Group or Organization"
Listen HERE

I am on a train traveling from London to Wales, where I am scheduled to give a workshop on inner healing.  Gazing out of the window, I am comforted by the beauty of the plush green- and brown-speckled rolling hills. A thought arises when I recall the healing workshops I have just led in Paris and London: I ponder the depth of emotional pain I witnessed in the group members that resulted from the trauma of emotional and physical neglect and abuse.  I muse that the psyche can take considerable abuse, but that there comes a point when it shatters.  At that moment, because we can no longer withstand the pain, we spiral into despair.  As I reflect upon this, I become aware of how fortunate I am to have healed, ultimately, from my own mental anguish. I see that the despair I experienced gradually transformed into inner strength and taught me how to help those in similar circumstances.

As the train sped towards Wales, I knew a vital aspect of my destiny had emerged – namely, that I was destined to honor the mind-body-spirit's need for wholeness and to help others reintegrate their fractured psyches, one gentle step at a time.  My entire life has focused on discovering how the psyche functions, how it can be wounded, and how it can be "mended." My clinical training in communication disorders and neuropsychology prepared me well, but my major understanding of the human psyche came from observing my own psyche and the psyches of others.

Over time, other steps emerged that supported my destiny's unfoldment.  I noticed I always had a persistent, in-the-bones desire for inner peace and for living life completely and well.  My heart sang whenever I had the opportunity to learn, practice, and teach about service, which I deemed to be global in scope and metaphysical in nature.  I began to view service as an evolution of the soul and the means to happiness for individuals, leaders, groups, and organizations.  Synchronistic opportunities, both major and minor, supported this destiny. Three were particularly significant: First, I was offered the opportunity to cofound and chair a holistic-clinical university training program in brain disorders.  Second, I was invited to cofound and lead a community service organization that trained adults and teens to serve those seeking emotional and spiritual support.  In both the university and nonprofit settings, I designed trainings that required helpers to care for their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health by engaging in inner work and spiritual development, and to willingly extend the gifts of their healing in service to others. Third, I was inspired and financially supported to share these teachings by writing The Soul and Service Trilogy.

I have lived my true "pie in the sky" destiny.  However, it emerged in a way contrary to what this idiom implies: it has required hard work, perseverance, humility, determination, discernment, and the recognition that certain free-will decisions could take me off purpose.  I discovered that destiny journeys typically include both smooth sailing in calm waters and battering winds that drift us off course.


As I reflect upon the journey of my destiny as well as that of others, I have observed certain attributes that define or are characteristic of the destinies of all of us. Those who wish to move toward their destiny and recognize its emerging steps may be guided and supported by these attributes.

1) Destiny exists as an unrealized potential within us that persists in its yearning to be fulfilled.  As a strong passion to which we cannot say no, destiny arises from within, driving us forward.  It is as though our soul taps us on the shoulder and calls us to action by providing experiences that enable our destiny to be fulfilled.

2) We have a personal destiny and a spiritual destiny.  Our personal destiny uses the unique qualities and inclinations of our personality and its free will to make choices in the world, searching outside ourselves for our right "to be."  Our personal destiny often reveals itself in our attitudes and preferences and in the outward activities we choose in our daily life, such as work, hobbies, interests, or recreation.   Spiritual destiny occurs when we turn inward and begin the journey of the spiritual evolution of our soul.  Our personal destiny joins with our spiritual destiny when we align our heart with the Divine through our Soul, or Higher Self.  When this alignment occurs, we have one destiny, not two.  That is, we begin to develop a Soul-infused personality.  [For further information on the Soul-infused personality, and the distinction between the human soul and the Soul, or Higher Self, see the Soul Alignment practice in my blog entry entitled "Waking Up: Healing from Kabooms by Aligning with Our Soul (Part II)."]

My personal story at the beginning of this blog entry is an example of such an alignment.  We intuitively know what is right for us to be and do on our journey.  When we follow our intuition by listening within, we generate the inspiration and energy needed to fulfill our soul's destiny, which is our individual spiritual assignment.  If we ignore our intuition and only use our free will, we risk going off course and missing opportunities. We can always choose whether or not to unite our personal and spiritual destinies.

3) Free will is the freedom to say absolutely yes, absolutely no, partly yes, or a conditional yes, if our destiny is on our own terms. Choice, an activity of the will, is the vehicle we use to manifest or not manifest our destiny in the world. We use our free will to decide if we have the desire, courage, and commitment to say "yes, I choose to follow my destiny."  Free will is a gift from the Divine.  It is an aspect of our personality and can be used with or without our Soul's participation. In this way, our free will can be used for good or for harm. Collective free will without alignment with the Group Soul can lead to destructive and violent group actions towards humanity, animals, our planet, and cyberspace.  Groups can impose their free will onto another group and disrupt its destiny.  For example, because of extreme danger, a group of citizens may need to leave their country.  In such instances, the displaced group will need to redefine its destiny after moving to its new home in a new country.

4) We may experience challenges in attracting the right environment to live out our soul's destiny. We have an outline of the story of our soul's destiny within us, but there are different ways our destiny can be lived out.  Because we do not live isolated lives, our destiny's story is shaped by the choices of family, friends, colleagues, communities, citizen groups, leaders, governments, countries, and so forth – as well as the decisions, from local elections to world events – that result from these choices.  Persons using their free will may influence our destiny by enhancing, shifting, or impeding its journey.  Should this occur, we can make choices we had not previously considered that will enable us to fulfill our destiny.

5) The seeds of our destiny begin in childhood.  Our destiny can be seen in how we played as children, our personality traits, what books we chose to read, what values our parents espoused, what activities we liked or disliked, and what we announced we wanted to be when we grew up.  Regardless of our preferences, as either children or young adults, we recognized on some level the presence of an irresistible power within us that would determine the course of events in our lives and make our life meaningful and uniquely ours.

6) There are as many different destinies as there are people on earth.  All of us have a destiny, whether we are conscious of it or not. We can become aware of our destiny at an early age, in later life, or not at all.  We do not have to force our destiny to manifest, but we do have to take action.  Biographies provide examples of the various ways personal destinies can emerge. Leaders, families, groups, organizations, countries, animals, and our planet also have a destiny.

7) We need not be famous or successful in worldly terms to claim a destiny. Our fulfillment may be as a medic, farmer, firefighter, parent, banker, actor, teacher, caretaker of animals, scientist, activist, hermit, or truck driver.  Regardless of the form of our destiny and how others perceive us, recognizing and fulfilling our destiny is essential to our happiness and wellbeing.

8) Following our destiny does not mean we know every twist and turn in the road or that we avoid barriers blocking our progress at certain junctures in our journey. The process of using our experiences to learn, grow, and serve supports the emergence of our destiny despite painful setbacks, losses, mistakes in judgment, failure to be self-responsible, neglect of self-care, and resistance to honoring and celebrating our progress. Using our free will, we may engage in the above list of setbacks and even travel down many false paths before we find the one path we yearn to follow.

9) Destiny emerges through synchronicity.  Synchronicity, or the flow of unexpected events, is a signal of one's destiny unfolding.  Synchronistic events lead us forward by giving us experiences that guide us, awaken us, and alert us to how we can live a fulfilling and meaningful life.  We know destiny is calling us when we learn to listen, to wait, to be patient, to watch, to be present, to have an open heart, to listen to life, and to find the real story of our life, not the story we see on TV, in the news, or on the internet.  Synchronicity supports the emergence of our destiny through events that occur in the right way and for the right reason.  Slowing down is essential if we wish to recognize and benefit from synchronistic events.

10) When we say yes to our destiny, we sense an inner certainty that we can and will complete the task assigned to us, knowing it matches our abilities and talents. We are meant to put in hours of time and shoulder burdens as part of our destiny. We attend meetings, write letters, empty trash, and deal with personal challenges.  We stretch our limits and encourage others to do the same.  We patiently combine our talent, love, and willingness during times of setbacks and errors in discernment.

In summary, every soul has a destiny to discover.  The overarching destiny of our soul's existence, which is the overarching destiny of all humans, is to remember that the world is sacred and to discover what it means to be a human being.  At the time of our death, we are blessed if we can authentically say, "I have lived.  I have loved.  I have said yes to my destiny."

I don't know what your destiny will be,
but one thing I know:
the only ones among you who will be really happy
are those who have sought and found how to serve.

~ Albert Schweitzer


Reaching for a Star


Imagine a trusted family member, friend, or colleague describing your destiny in a eulogy. 

How might they describe your destiny and its fulfillment? 

What would you especially want them to acknowledge about your destiny?

Share with me what you experienced as you work with the Reflection exercise, or just say hello and let me know if you are finding my blog of value.
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Photo Attribution: JWSchmidt at en.wikiversity GFDL ( via Wikimedia Commons.

Waking up: Healing from Kabooms by Aligning with Our Soul (Part II)

One action we can take to feel safe in an unsafe world is to “sing the song of Divine Light” by aligning
with our Soul.

In my last blog entry, I wrote about the presence of kabooms in our lives.  I described two major kinds of kabooms, namely those emotionally explosive events that shatter our current reality or those incidents that move us so deeply that they dramatically shift our inner reality to a more loving and expansive one.

In this blog entry, I would like to share an essential spiritual practice that sustains the connection to our Soul whenever we experience a shattering kaboom during the present transition from the third and fourth dimensions into that of the fifth.  (See my blog entry "Ride the Waves of Destiny into the Fifth Dimension: A Clarion Call" for a description of these dimensions and of the Piscean-Aquarian transition.)  Kabooms that trigger our fears during this transition can relate to personal traumas, climate change, warring nations, economic collapse, random murders, or species extinctions.

Soul Alignment

One action we can take to feel safe in an unsafe world is to “sing the song of Divine Light” by aligning with our Soul.  When we align with our Soul, we simultaneously invoke and thus sing the song of Divine Light.  This song is a silent inner experience of Divine Light. Our Soul’s purpose is to protect, guide, teach, and inspire.  Aligning with our Soul can be done whenever we feel a need for protection, support, and guidance.

:  The human soul (lower case “s”) is located in the heart.  Therefore, in the alignment exercise, the words “heart” and “human soul” are used interchangeably.  A person's Soul (capital “S”) is located about eight inches above the head.  The sutratma is the thread of Divine Light from the Soul to the soul.  Our personality consists of our etheric-physical, emotional, and mental bodies.  The Light of our Soul extends through the sutratma and into these bodies, enabling us to have a Soul-infused personality.

Directions:  Sit in a comfortable position when doing the alignment exercise and in a quiet place where you will not be interrupted.  Pause at least 10 seconds between each step.

  1. Take a deep breath to calm your physical body. (pause)
  2. Take a deep breath to calm your emotional body. (pause)
  3. Take a deep breath to calm your mental body. (pause)
  4. Focus your awareness in your heart.
  5. Visualize a line of Light extending from your heart down to the heart of the Mother of the Earth.
  6. Visualize a line of Light from your heart to your Soul located above your head.
  7. Visualize the Light extending from your Soul to Divine Source.
  8. Sit in silence as you hold this alignment from the heart of the Mother of the Earth to Divine Source.  See the Light of Source moving down the alignment to the heart of the Mother of the Earth and then back again to Source, creating a circuit of energy carrying Divine Will to all levels of manifestation.  (You may either sit in silence for a few moments or meditate for 15-20 minutes at this stage of the Soul Alignment.)
  9. Recognize this knowing within yourself: The Peace of God is shining in me now.
  10. Chant 3 OMs.

"The Peace of God is shining in me now" is a favorite quote of mine from A Course in Miracles workbook lesson.  I close this blog entry with further words from this Course lesson, which conveys the spiritual essence of Soul Alignment:

Light is not of the world…The light came with you from your native home, and stayed with you because it is your own. It is the only thing you bring with you from Him Who is your Source. It shines in you because it lights your home, and leads you back to where it came from and you are at home." (W-p1.188.1:1-8)


What insights have I gained by practicing
the Soul Alignment? 

In what way have these insights shifted my awareness that “the peace of God is shining in me now?”

Share with me what you experienced as you work with the Reflection exercise, or just say hello and let me know if you are finding my blog of value.
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Adapted from  © Susan S. TroutThe Clarion Call: Leadership and Group Life in the Aquarian Era. Alexandria, VA: Three Roses Press, 2009.  Pp. 86-89.  Drawing by Ginger Graziano.

Photo Attribution: By Alias 0591 from the Netherlands (Ray of light  Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons..

Waking up: The Transformative Power of Momentous Life Events (Part I)

Waking up is healing because it brings new understandings and purpose to our life. It focuses our attention on what really matters.

KABOOM! You have had an emotionally explosive event that shattered your current reality or you have experienced an incident that moved you so deeply it dramatically shifted your inner reality to a more loving and expansive one. Either way, you make a choice. Either you choose not to make changes in your outer or inner life and thus remain the same, or you choose to wake up and modify your life so that it is different from what it was. If you choose to wake up, you will not be the same person.

Having a “WOW” effect, a kaboom immediately gets our attention because it has a distinctive voice, sound, feeling, quality, or visual image. It can either be loud and dramatic, or quiet and subtle. A kaboom can motivate us to change how we live our lives, to challenge what we believe to be true or not true, and to examine how we relate to humanity and the planet. Events that can trigger a kaboom are endless. For example, we can experience a kaboom as an upheaval or trauma, perhaps a cancer scare, emergency surgery, the death of a child or partner, an accident, a painful illness, or an unkind comment from a family member. A kaboom can also come from an inspiring book, an insight, a healing experience, helpful words from another, or an experience of unconditional love from a pet.

Kabooms are unexpected, coming out of left field. Our reactions to kabooms are typically strong and irrational. Intense emotions often overwhelm us. We rant and rave, sob with abandonment, cry tears of joy, or feel a peaceful glow in our heart. Regardless of what form a kaboom takes, it can potentially strip away a negative belief, a haphazard way of life, or a relationship that no longer serves our physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual wellbeing.

Having a “WOW” effect, a kaboom immediately gets our attention because it has a distinctive voice, sound, feeling, quality, or visual image.

For many, waking up after a kaboom is followed by a major shift in their physical, psychological and/or spiritual development. Parts of ourselves have been in denial or asleep. We might have been unaware of what forces were inhibiting, restricting, and distorting our motivations. Are we replaying a past, negative event? Do we have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde within us? What within us needs to be awakened so we can chose a life of joy, unconditional acceptance, honesty, and integrity? Are we ready to forgive by learning from our hurtful experiences? What philosophy of life wants to emerge? What is the hidden masterpiece within us that wants to be revealed?

My most notable wake-up kaboom occurred when I decided I needed to leave my marriage. My reality was shattered and I was emotionally and spiritually devastated. What I thought was true was not. What I had forced to make true I discovered could never be true. Without a doubt, I knew I needed to wake up and focus on healing my lifelong emotional wounds. I eventually gained a deep appreciation of emotional pain from this experience and was able to transform my understanding into serving others by being able to provide them with insight and comfort.

I experienced a different kind of kaboom when I was getting my doctorate degree at Northwestern University. Because of intense anxiety about my ability to succeed, I was seriously considering leaving the program. Quite unexpectedly, a person I had worked with in Alaska contacted me, saying she was immediately flying to Chicago to meet with me about something very important. When we met, she asked if I was thinking about dropping out of the doctoral program. Her question surprised me as I had told no one of my possible decision. When I said “Yes,” she said, “You are not to do that. You need to complete your degree in order to accomplish what you came on earth to do.” With her message delivered, she immediately flew back to Alaska. Her unexpected message woke me up. I recognized the truth of her comment and continued my studies.

Waking up clears our mind and opens our heart because it clarifies our motivations, our decisions, our wishes, and helps us define how we want to be, what we want to do, and what actions we want to take to bring the change about. Waking up is healing because it brings new understandings and purpose to our life. It focuses our attention on what really matters. Most of us have many kabooms in our life. Our challenge is to welcome the potential transformation that can come with each one. Our life becomes a series of kabooms that again and again transform our reality from what was so to what now is.

Most of us have many kabooms in our life. Our challenge is to welcome the potential transformation that can come with each one.

In my last blog entry, I wrote about the current transition from Piscean to Aquarian values. We are on the brink of a major evolutionary challenge on our planet. Old organizational structures and belief systems are collapsing around us. Global warming is threating our planet’s survival. All on the planet – humans, animals, nature, even Mother Earth herself – are experiencing intense stress and fear about the unknown future.

The good news is that masses of people are experiencing kabooms that are serving to wake them up to Aquarian values. A few of the transformations now occurring on our planet because people are waking up to Aquarian values are shifts:

  • from competition to cooperation
  • from territorial priorities to global priorities
  • from being head-focused to being heart-oriented
  • from individual needs to group needs
  • from superiority of masculine energy to partnership of masculine and feminine energy
  • from separation to unity

What supports our waking up? Keep it simple. Take one day at a time, one experience at a time. Make a choice to change one thing every day. Persevere. Don’t give up. Don’t waste time worrying or giving power to fear rather than trust. Use each life experience as an opportunity to choose another way. Serve others by showing them another way, which you can do because you have been learning how to do that for yourself.

We must remember that there is one purpose for recognizing and learning from the kabooms in our lives. That purpose is to discover and remember to “sing the song of Divine Light” – the topic of Part II, my next blog entry.


Identify kabooms in your life that you particularly treasure. Describe how they have served you personally and how they have served others.

Share with me what you experienced as you work with the Reflection exercise, or just say hello and let me know if you are finding my blog of value.
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Photo Attribution: "Blue Fireworks (the Finnish Fireworks Championship 2007 in Helsinki)" by Neurovelho (31 August 2007), via Wikimedia Commons.

Ride the Waves of Destiny into the Fifth Dimension: A Clarion Call

An ancient clarion call — will be the trumpet we hear as we leave the third dimensional Piscean world and enter the fifth dimension of the Aquarian Era.

I selected the topic of this blog article in response to a request from readers to describe what it means that our planet is transitioning from the third dimensional Piscean Era to the fifth dimension of the Aquarian Era.  My blog entries typically offer teachings using a personal writing style.  However, because the serious nature of this entry's subject matter requires a more scholarly explanation, I am using a more formal style and tone for this teaching.

A more in-depth exploration of the information in this blog entry can be found in my book, The Clarion Call: Leadership and Group Life in the Aquarian Era, which describes the energetic nature of this transition and addresses anticipated gifts, challenges, and needs of the midpoint years of the five-hundred-year transition of the Piscean to the Aquarian Eras (2008-2025).

Subtle fifth dimensional Aquarian energies first appeared on planet Earth around the year 1760. Predictions suggest that by the year 2260, Piscean energies will have yielded to Aquarian energies. The Aquarian Era, like all other astrological eras, will span 2,120 years.  Although we know the basic nature of Aquarian energy and its possibilities of manifestation, much is unknown as to exactly what will emerge during the transition and throughout the Aquarian Era.


During this global paradigm shift, humanity as a whole will transition from the third to the fourth dimensions of the Piscean Era and take a quantum leap into the edges of the fifth dimension of the Aquarian Era. What is the basic reality of the third, fourth, and fifth dimensions?

Third dimensional reality is perceived through our physical senses.  Our senses tell us that we are separate from everything, be it from people or matter.  Because third dimensional thinking is dualistic, we perceive things as good or bad, right, or wrong, black or white and react accordingly.  Conflicts are viewed as being just the way life is and it’s only going to get worse.  It is a reality of illusions, of limits and fears.  The material world is viewed as the only reality.

Fourth dimensional reality is more focused on caring for self, other people, and the planet.  New possibilities begin to emerge, such as personal growth and spirituality.  However, in this dimension we get caught up in being special and having strong views and judgments about those who don’t act the way we do.  In the later phases of the fourth dimension, we live more with an awareness of love, care, compassion, forgiveness, and inner peace.  However, we remain caught in duality thinking of right-wrong.

In fifth dimensional reality, we choose between faith and knowing and between religiosity and spirituality. We are called to practice cooperation and to live as one global family. We are called to manifest the Aquarian values of partnership and consciousness. We are guided by intuition and nondualistic thinking.  Our actions are energy-efficient and we perceive all as light, energy, and frequencies.  We know it is our responsibility to manage these energies and our actions in an effective way.

Key to fifth dimensional reality is its promise that our world will be imbued with an energy that unites masculine mind (clarity, order, practicality, knowledge, and words) with feminine heart (cooperation, beauty, synthesis, connectedness, poetry, art, and tenderness). In this way, we not only deepen and unify our inner lives, we harvest the good from where we have been and call on the wisdom of the universe to help us with the practical application of that knowledge. We deepen our understanding of what wants to emerge in the world, moving out of the personal into the collective and out of duality into wholeness.

Only the power of the heart can usher us out of the third and fourth dimensions and into fifth dimensional understanding.  That is, our heart accelerates our evolution into the fifth dimension.  Our conflicts and stress increase when we use only our head. When we use the intelligence of our heart, we manage our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing and develop intuition and knowingness.

Many know their unique assignment during the early years of the Aquarian Era and have already positioned themselves to play critical roles.  I refer to these people and groups as brilliants. The world, which is also a brilliant, maximizes the emanation and returns the Light.  In common speech, the term "brilliant" refers both to a gem and to a specific cut shape for gems – the preferred one for diamonds.  The brilliant can serve as an Aquarian metaphor, representing the Soul through which Light pours from Divine Source, maximizing the emanation and returning the Light.

May our hearts hear the clarion call to join in the Light of the brilliant.  This Light invites us to take the necessary quantum leap across the edge into the fifth dimension, where we are destined to live as one global family.

In what ways do you see yourself continuing to reside in the third and fourth dimensions?  How do you see aspects of fifth dimensional reality beginning to appear in your life and on our planet?


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WAKE UP! Leading with an Open Heart

In the broadest sense, we are all leaders.

When I was asked recently to be interviewed about awakened leadership, my entire life passed before my eyes, beginning with my childhood when I spent most of my time organizing the play of my playmates.  I designated myself as the leader of our pretend play, taking on the roles of doctor, dentist, minister, teacher, restaurant owner, and funeral director.  To my chagrin, funerals I had been conducting for dead wild animals ended abruptly one day when the mother of one of my playmates stormed down our street and into our house, yelling to my mother, “Do you know Susan is having funerals?  I want you to stop her from doing that, right now!”

Beginning in junior high and extending throughout my life, I was often asked to organize and lead a wide variety of activities.  Because I had no training other than observing and reading about leaders, I learned about leadership by being “in the trenches.”   Later, in my professional life, I became overwhelmed with the complexities of leadership, the multiple skills it required, the level of inner strength and understanding it demanded, and the wisdom needed when handling what seemed like constant problems, challenges, and relationship issues in the workplace.

Listen to an interview with Susan Trout on
"The Awakened Leader:
Leadership as a Classroom of the Soul"

Two Modern Mystics' blog talk radio

(original broadcast April 8, 2015, 7:30 pm EST)

One morning, I awoke particularly weary and on edge.  For months the solution of a challenging work situation had eluded me.  I did not know what to say or do to move the problem toward resolution.  I thought there must be a how-to-lead book I had not yet read that contained the magic key to flawless leadership.  I assumed that when I found it, I would no longer experience discouragement and self-doubt.

At some point during the same day, a curious thought calmed my agitated state and I had a glimpse of the meaning of awakened leadership.  Leadership is what it is: a form of service, a role that can be inspiring and creative, challenging and even dangerous.  I realized that, if I assumed my leadership was the perfect stage for my soul’s learning, then I could discover what qualities and competencies each challenge was offering to me.  Leadership, I decided, required going to school – not at a university but in the classroom of my life as a leader.

I was finally ready by 1997 to share what I had learned about service by writing Born to Serve, which became the first book of The Soul and Service TrilogyBorn to Serve is a guide to deepen the relationship between our motives for serving and the quality of our service.  The second book, The Awakened Leader, envisions a new era of conscious leaders, those whose leadership is a classroom for their soul.  The third book, The Clarion Call, emerged when I saw that we have an unprecedented opportunity to manifest a new model of leadership and group life as humanity experiences a cosmic shift into a new way of being.   “The clarion call” is a call to life and a call to action.  We are called to make a choice at the midpoint between the Piscean and Aquarian eras, to choose between the old and new, between what was and what will be.  Basically, we are called to practice cooperation and to live as one global family.

In the broadest sense, we are all leaders.  We lead our own lives, deciding what we believe, where we live, what work we do, how we allocate our time, and so on.  We also have opportunities for leadership that involve others when we engage in activities like preparing the family for a vacation, arranging for the care of an elderly parent, organizing a community event, seeing a problem and taking action to solve it, mentoring a student, heading a project – in fact, anytime we see a problem and take action to solve it.  Leadership, regardless of its context, provides unique opportunities for personal growth and development and for serving others with our gifts of knowledge, experience, values, loving presence, and wisdom.

Leaders in today’s world are rushed, stressed, and unhappy.  I offer my interview to support leaders who feel they are in a vicious cycle of being overburdened by long work hours, being constantly connected via smartphone, ipad, laptop, and emails, and being so bogged down by management issues or with the problems of those they lead that they don’t have time to identify and devote energy to “what really matters.”  In a nutshell, what really matters is that we, as leaders, welcome the wisdom, peace, and inner strength that emerges when we experience leadership as a classroom of our soul. In this way, we serve the highest good by giving the right thing, in the right amount, for the right reason, and at the right time.

Identify three significant learnings you have gleaned from your soul's leadership classroom. 

What has been the "ripple effect" of these learnings in your relationships with group members?


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What Really Matters in 2015

A woman lay in a daisy field watching the clouds and contemplating her life.  She remembered with deep regret all the times she had harmed herself, others, and Planet Earth.  With all her heart, she looked to the heavens and asked for forgiveness.

2015 - a year to make the whole world your friend

Suddenly one of the clouds descended.  Standing on it was an angel child who beckoned the woman to board the cloud.  She did as bidden.  The two rode the cloud to a great building in which there were many men, women, and children of all races, colors, creeds, and religions.  The building was surrounded by pristine beauty and abundant animals and plant life.

The angel child led the woman inside where she was presented with a white book beautifully decorated with a gold rose.  Then he led her back to the cloud and guided it back to the daisy field.

The woman had barely been able to contain her excitement over the gift.  Alone in the field, she examined the book.  When she opened it, she saw there was only one page.  And on that page was written:

There is nothing to forgive.
Use what you have learned from your life
to help others and Planet Earth.



As you reflect on your life as well as that of our Earth, what is your response to the question,

"What really matters in 2015?"

Share with me what you experienced doing the Reflection exercise, or just say hello and let me know if you are finding my blog of value. 
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Source: Adapted from Susan S. Trout.  Born to Serve: The Evolution of the Soul Through Service. Three Roses Press: Alexandria, VA, 1997.

Photo Attribution:
By NASA/GSFC [Public domain], taken from the satellite Suomi NPP, 20 June 2012, via Wikimedia Commons