A Crash Course on Contrast

A Crash Course

There are times along our path to awaken, when Spirit gets our attention in the most inventive ways. The ego may be clever but the Spirit does its crafting with Grace.

Having invited Grace to Guide my life (formally, with a written prayer even) at a time that seems like ages ago, when I was brought to my knees and I knew for sure, that the only way out was surrender. Since then, I’ve had my share of experiences (as I’m sure have you) big and small, mundane and profound, where the hand of the Divine was apparent. Grace was in the details and the broad strokes. I couldn’t help but notice.

The two most recent examples of this Divine intervention in my life came in the form of my car breaking down at a diner and me breaking down at home. Either way, the last few weeks have been a crash course in contrast. Each incident gave me an experience of the difference between my choice for suffering or peace, and showed me – beyond a shadow of a doubt – how quickly I can go from one to the other.

One day my car battery died after I stopped for breakfast at my favorite diner, one bitter cold morning after leaving a girlfriend’s house. I sat waiting in my car for what seemed like an hour, until at least one of the cars parked on either side of me moved, so someone with jumper cables (if I found anyone) could jump start my battery.

This was my predicament as I sat freezing, banging my hands in frustration on the steering wheel, and beating myself up for stopping for breakfast when I knew my battery was iffy and  I clearly had the thought to go straight home, but didn’t listen. But then I paused, took a breathe and remembered I had a choice. I could resist what was happening and continue to be upset at myself and the situation, or I could relax and trust it would all work out.

The moment I stopped resisting what was happening, the car parked next to me moved, someone on the diner’s kitchen staff showed up with jumper cables – though my car didn’t start after many almosts –  but I was given a ride up the street to a service station that replaced my battery (at a great price in record time) while I was entertained by a friend with an exchange of flirty text messages.

Turns out, if I had driven home, not only would it have been likely that the car wouldn’t have started up again (thereby needing to call a tow truck) but I would have almost certainly done damage to my car as well…showing me quite clearly how I had judged the experience of my battery dying at the diner (ha ha, sounds like a murder episode) as bad, inconvenient, and irresponsible, when in fact, it was a graceful, well orchestrated detour.  In the process, I was shown that Spirit truly has my back and I cannot judge anything because….

I don’t know what anything is for.

But the fireworks came one night a few weeks later when I was relaxing at home reading, when almost out of nowhere, a thought of fear seeped into my consciousness, expanded and gained a hold of me, sending me into a tailspin. It wasn’t until I was in the thick of things, lost in ego thought, mild panic running through my body, forcing me to lie down…that I remembered I was getting exactly what I asked for. That thought…”oh wow, I’m getting exactly what I asked for.” was enough to stop the panic in an instant. 

In that moment I knew I wasn’t alone. I remembered that earlier that day, I specifically asked Jesus (but it can be whoever your guide is) to show me everything that stood in the way of my being in peace and happiness and fully available to Him. I wanted these barriers out of the way! I wanted me out of the way. 

I wanted all the ways I judge things – myself especially; all the ways I doubt myself but don’t trust Him; all the things I feel guilty about; all the concepts, ideas, beliefs I hold as true without question – all of that out. I was simply tired of having this garbage in my mind.

It wasn’t the first time I looked inside the trash heap, as I’m sure it’s not your first time. I’ve looked at my misguided mistakes for years and I was frankly tired of playing in the place they led me to; I was tired of being lured back to this idol infested territory with false promises of happiness down a dead end road. I wanted off that road, out of the self made, dressed up prison we all get trapped in without even knowing it.

When the anxiety subsided, I rested a while, comforted by the thought that I wasn’t having a nervous breakdown, but getting what I asked for. But before I could get comfortable, another wave of ego attacks began. Thoughts of unworthiness, disappointments, failures, lost opportunities and on and on were making their way through my consciousness which I could then see, in my mind’s eye, as a steady winding stream of grey matter coming out of my body and out the wide glass doors to the side of my bed, headed towards the brightest full moon high in the night sky. Wow!

You just can’t make this stuff up! Back and forth I went for what seemed like hours, from excruciating pain to periods of rest and relief- like giving birth. As some point I felt myself lean back, seemingly weightless, into an embrace like no other and there I rested. Exhausted I finally fell asleep.

The contrasts continued over the next few weeks, though not quite so dramatically. It seems  there’s always more clutter than we think – which, incidentally is why de-cluttering is such a good thing for anything! But of course that’s a judgement right there. But it works for me when inspired to do so…and then there’s nothing like a bit of housekeeping therapy to set things right again. It can be that simple when Spirit has the soapy sponge.

I felt unspeakable gratitude as I realized that not only was I being put through the wash cycle as I had asked, and being prepared for a purity I already was but didn’t quite believe…but I was being shown – quite literally – experiences of how the Spirit has my back and what it felt like to rest perfectly safe in it’s fold that’s always just a moment away, accessible, anytime,  anywhere by anyone.  It’s always there – ready and waiting whenever we want to lean back and rest.

Love, Silvia

And now…I’d love to hear from you. Does this resonate?

Where have you felt the hand of the Divine at work in your life?





The Land of I Don’t Know What I Don’t Know

The land of I don't know

In the mid 90’s I did a mind training workshop called The Forum (an outgrowth of EST).  At first I was unimpressed. I went into it with an I know mind. I kept judging what was being said and questioning my judgement for being there. However at some point that first morning, I changed my mind. At that point I became willing to at least entertain the possibility that I could learn something helpful. I had a little willingness and that’s when everything shifted.

What struck me is when they said that our mind was divided into 3 unequal parts. They drew a circle with 2 small slices (don’t remember their exact size but let’s say each was about 5%). One slice represented what we know we know (how to walk, talk, breathe, tie our shoe, cook chicken…whatever) and the other, what we know  we don’t know (perform brain surgery, fly a plane, cook chicken…).  The other 90% or so consisted of: what we don’t know that we don’t know. That’s where the teachings of the Forum where.

This got my attention. If I didn’t know what I didn’t know, then how could I know if it was helpful or not? How did I know if something was true or not if I didn’t know what I didn’t know? I was willing to stick it out and find out what it was I didn’t know, so I made a commitment to stay.

One of the things I learned that weekend is that our word is our commitment. If we say we’re going to do something, then do it. If we change our mind and can’t or don’t want to do it, that’s okay…just make a new commitment, make a new agreement. This advice has stayed with me now for 20 years and it has served me well.

I no longer beat myself up for changing my mind. I don’t feel I have to stay with something because I said yes to it 10 years or 10 minutes ago. I have the power – and the right – to change my mind anytime I want and make another choice. I make a new commitment. I forgive myself if I disappoint someone. I forgive myself if I see things differently now but didn’t then. When I know better I do better. This is my commitment.

The whole point of the teachings of the Spirit is to get us to change our mind; to see things differently; to move from seeing from the view point of our ego self and switch to seeing things as our Divine Self, our Higher Self; to tap into the area of what we know we don’t know; the vast unknown that’s really merely forgotten. This is the area we once knew and loved; the place we used to call Home; where we’ve been trying to find our way back to since the beginning of time…even if we don’t know that we know our way back.

When we come across teachings that bring us into the unknown, such as what we find in A Course in Miracles, our normal response is to resist them. These teachings go against all the ways we’re used to thinking about our lives, our bodies and the world we see. The thinking of the world is upside down and backwards from the thinking of Spirit’s World, so naturally it’s not natural to our way of thinking. Actually it is natural to our Spirit Self, but we, as our ego self, have been practicing the backward thinking of the ego’s deluded thought system for billions of years. It’s only when we begin to question our thoughts and beliefs that a space opens up where we can peer into this vast land that we didn’t know existed.

We don’t want to step foot in this land because it’s dark and unfamiliar. We think it’s scary and too easy to get lost there and we’re right. We can’t find our way around in this I don’t know land by ourselves – we need a guide and we need a commitment because we’re going to want to run and we will, over and over.

We may question why we even want to venture into this land, but deep inside we know that in this place we’ll find the answers, the peace, the purpose, the happiness we’re looking for. And if we make a sincere commitment, our guide will show up to lead us. On the journey our Guide, who is really our Divine Self (Higher Self, Holy Self,  Holy Spirit, Jesus, Buddha..the name matters not) will move us along at a pace we can keep up with; straighten out our thinking in a gentle way; meet us where we are when we get lost; stop and rest with us when we need to. Nothing is ever forced on us against our will. But Spirit will only enter with us at our invitation. Our willingness is the invitation. Our commitment keeps us on course.

A teaching such as A Course in Miracles, comes into our lives when we ask for a better way, but it is not the only way. Many paths lead to Heaven’s door. Only the fact that we’ll all eventually arrive at our destination is set in stone. When we choose to start our journey and how long we decide to stay on the path is entirely up to us.

A Course in Miracles takes a shorter, more scenic route. It’s just one of many non-dualistic teachings that teach the same thing…that we are all one; that oneness is found in this forgotten land of what we don’t know we know. In oneness, there can never be separation, therefore there can never be conflict of any kind. Even an upset that someone didn’t keep their word; didn’t keep their commitment isn’t there.

With 7 billion body minds/ego minds there’s a never ending stream of conflict, as we all know too well from our our own lives and the violent history of mankind. There never will be peace between 7 billion separate minds or 7 or 2. A quick look at how we are with those we say we love the most is all we need to see to know this is true.

If we have a little willingness to believe this foreign land where one Mind lives in peace exists; where only love reigns; we begin a magical mystery tour of epic proportions to the place where what we don’t know we don’t know becomes known…and we can’t possibly know this from where we stand right now. But if you’re like me…I want to know.

If you are drawn to venturing down this unfamiliar path like I am, it’s because something in you recognizes that truth can be found there, even when you don’t understand or even like it. You’re ready, even if you don’t think you are. The voice of Spirit that guides you on this journey doesn’t ask for your understanding…just your willingness. I have found that whenever I enter foreign ground that I know will be good for me to cover, my willingness, trust and commitment is needed in order to continue to show up. Otherwise, it’s too easy to quit when the going gets tough. We know this.

This journey is an inward one. This is where you’ll find your Guide; the one that knows the way. Take what’s helpful in these words and check within. My purpose in writing this is to offer another opportunity to get off the road we’e been on; to take a new road with eyes fixed on what lies directly in front of us; to read the signposts the ego stalls and diverts us with and view them with discerning eyes, even if they arrive baring with gifts, knowing they are worthless on the new road we now travel.

I write this because I have been on the ego’s lonely, painful, winding road too long, as have you, and I know there’s a better way. I’ve been on that road too. One road is littered with tears, the other with joy. I don’t want to get lost on that lonely road anymore.

As a chef and a longtime seeker of Truth, I see clearly how the body that starts off on this journey is not the same body that travels the whole distance. I see how the body is a barometer for our well being; the messenger of truth or the spokesperson for illusion.

I see the pain people feel in their bodies, about their bodies and how their bodies navigate the world they live in. I see clearly how we’ve taken eating and the foods that come as gifts from the earth and infiltrated them with the fear we hold in our minds and manifests in our bellies. I see the dis-ease this has caused in ourselves and our earthly home; the suffering it stuffs us with and I know there’s a better way. We’ve all tasted the flavor of this better way before. It’s smooth; it’s light and fills you with joy. There’s no bitterness on this road; only a sweet scent that lingers and guides us on the way to love’s door.

With Love,


PS. This post is an excerpt (a draft still really) of a book I’m working on…not the book I thought I’d ever be working on but one that came to me and wouldn’t let me go until I started writing. It’s called, “Food Doesn’t Make You Fat”. I figure that if we can see the food we eat as EFFECT and not CAUSE, then the effects it has on our body image and health will be transformed and fall away like all illusion does. And this will be so helpful to so many with food issues as well as those whose issues lie elsewhere.

Would LOVE to know what you all think. Leave a comment below…or simply hit reply to this email if that’s more comfortable for you. Thank you!

Waking Up Watching Movies


Recently I watched the movie “The Yes Man” with Jim Carrey.  His character, a guy whose default was to say NO to most things, choosing to spend his life at the same job or at home numbed out watching a movie until he went to a YES seminar where he promised to say yes to everything! Though far-fetched and over the top (which JC does brilliantly) it triggered me to look at where I default to NO in my life. I said Yes to being in a friendly chef competition…something I never would have done before.

To make it even more powerful, I watched this movie with the brilliantly insightful commentary of John Mark Shroud, downloaded from his website.  He pauses at various times to point out how Spirit sees what is happening on the screen and of course, this gives the story a whole new meaning. This has been a remarkable tool in John Mark’s awakening and he stresses how it can be that for us too.

On this journey of awakening, everything is used by Spirit to teach us the Truth, to help us see things differently. “They are our modern day parables.” says David Hoffmeister who has also been using movies as a pathway to enlightenment at his retreats for many years. He has a book, website and library of movies listed by the issues they address.

In my own life, I’ve been watching movies with Spirit even before I realized that I was doing so. Watching a movie I could clearly see where the character needed to forgive, trust, love; where her feelings of unworthiness were holding her back from truly living; where his attachment to being a success in the world was keeping him from being present with his family; thousands of scenes in which the characters choose fear over love.

With the teachings of John Mark and David, this practice went deeper. I was taught to watch where I judged the rage of a violent man as evil or the promiscuity of a woman as wrong; where I wanted to look away or blame the bad guys; where I reacted emotionally to the story.

Viewed with Spirit, movies are a way to be in and have experiences that we may never (thank God) have in the bigger movie of our lives. Movies allow us to experience the emotions triggered by screen and release the rage, violence, judgement, blame and beliefs that lay unconscious within all of us.

Heck I’ll take Hollywood over Hell any day!

How about you?

What are your favorite movies where you’ve received guidance from Spirit?

Leave a comment below….