Saturday, December 15, 2018



by Mary Elizabeth (Leach) Raines
©M. E. Raines, 2018

Judging another, regardless of the reasons or circumstances, is toxic both to us and to those we judge.

We judge out of annoyance, out of fear, out of anger, or sometimes—and this one
is the most sneaky and thus dangerous forms of judgment—out of our presumably loving “concern” for another person. When we judge someone or some aspect of their life, we are gathering up an immense mass of negativity, with all its lack of understanding and lack of compassion, and casting it upon someone else. Energetically, judgment is a hard shell that compresses another.

Why do we do it? It feels good! Our judgment temporarily seems to lighten our own load. What it does is to steal a bit of power away from the person we're judging, and hand it to us. This gives us a temporary fix, a brief elation, but it is a false one, for when we rob another of their power in order to boost ourselves, we will wind up paying the price, and often it is with our emotions, experiences, or even our own cell tissue.

Worse, the moment we judge, we become blind to truth. Because it gives us a false little lift, we talk ourselves into believing that our judgment is wise when, in fact, judgment narrows our viewpoint and severely restricts any opportunities we might otherwise have been given to understand the other person or their situation.

The hardness of heart that arises when we judge someone else strangles compassion. Mercy dissolves.

Judgment, no matter how justified we think it may be, does not take into account what another may be on Earth to learn or to do. While we may believe that we know what their lessons are, we are never privy to all the specifics of someone else's life journey, even those who are closest to us.

Movement and flow are necessary for our growth and well-being. Judgment creates the reverse of this. It is stagnant, inflexible, and immobile.

The meanness of judgment refuses to honor or accept the struggles and the growth that the other may be undergoing. Those we condemn could indeed be upon a wonderful path of which we are unaware, but our judgment, which is always uninformed and imperfect, sadly makes it much more difficult, rather than easy, for them to continue on that path.

When we thrust judgment upon another, it can have an actual effect on them, but it is never a positive one. They pick up the restrictive energy of our judgment on some level, often an unconscious one. It feels likeand is!an attack, and they instinctively turn their life force to defensiveness, clenching against the assault. The condemned person can become mired in negative energy. Because they are trapped in self-defense, they cease moving forward, and the opportunities for enlightenment and expansion that they are meant to flow into become less available, not more.

The harsh judgment we extend to our political leaders, for example, has the opposite effect from that which we may desire. Our hardness of heart simply creates more of the same in the other;
the defensiveness that gets stirred in them by the energy of our condemnation can prevent them from becoming the leaders we would wish them to be.

Even with our own friends and family, it is never our job to decide how another should behave, what experiences they ought to invite into their lives, or who they should be, no matter how much we purport to care for them.

What is our job, then? The answer is simple, but it is one of the most difficult things for us to offer: the answer is to hold the other in unconditional love. This does not mean we are supporting unacceptable behavior. Rather, we look beyond behavior without judging it, and extend love to the light within them.

By radiating pure love, with no conditions or exceptions, to our friends, our family, our entertainers, our politicians, and the many others whose paths cross ours, energetically we are allowing them to receive the highest nourishment possible. It is like taking a dark drape off a plant and allow it light to reach it. Unconditional love holds people in a space where they can heal, if healing is needed, find answers—their answers, not ours,—and flourish.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


by Mary Elizabeth (Leach) Raines
©M. E. Raines, 2018

Promiscuity, casual sex, and even adultery are mainstream fare in our society. It is time, however, to take a second look at it.

It is possible that some of the early religions on our planet understood this when they put prohibitions on sex outside of sanctioned unions. Unfortunately, these once-wise recommendations evolved into pursed-lips restrictions against which many still rebel.

Here's the scoop: When you have sex with someone, your spirits enter into a sacred contract, whether you are consciously aware of this or not. You take not just part of their physical essence into your body; you also take their energy, their emotions, and their patterns into your very soul, for we are wide open and vulnerable during this act. Intimate emotional and spiritual blending take place. There is a merger of souls into one being.

Because we take on the essence of those with whom we have intercourse (or other such acts), casual sexual union without love can wreak havoc and create much misery. The imprints it leaves are long-lasting, perhaps even life-long. One spiritual teacher puts it this way: “Do not have sex with anyone you wouldn’t want to be.”

In partnership, this contract extends even further. You share the spiritual destiny of the other. Another broad term for this is karma. If one partner has karma that necessitates being robbed, both will experience the robbery. If, on the other hand, one of the couple receives honor and recognition, the other partner will also benefit from this. Our souls, in the intimacy and passion of sex, do not differentiate between incidental or promiscuous sexual behavior, and that which is accompanied by deep love and commitment. It doesn’t sort out our sexual acts and put one group into isolation, while allowing the other group to be open to the larger implications of intimacy.

Another law, then, might be: “Do not have sex with anyone whose karma you do not want to share.”

Saturday, September 30, 2017


by Mary Elizabeth Raines, (c) 2014

We are all cities.

We have downtowns with amazing and unique architecture. 
Our friends are invited to ride down classy, tree-lined streets lined with the gorgeous homes of the rich.
The gardens in our cities are lush and well tended, impressive places of shade and rest and loveliness.
There are cops to keep us safe, and huge banks to protect our wealth.
We have art galleries spilling with color, stalwart stone museums that organize and record our fragile history, and fascinating restaurants brimming with heady scents and tastes to nurture us. 
Sometimes we string festive lights on our trees and streets and throw parties.
These are the parts of us that we tend to show to others. Especially prospective lovers.
Visitors are very impressed.

There are other places in our cities, thoughhidden, crumbling, and even shameful spots. Nobody is immune. Nobody’s city is entirely beautiful and entirely safe. 
All of us have pockets of crime. 
Rats in the subway. 
Roofs caving in.
There are corners where drug dealers and psychopaths lurk, and unsafe neighborhoods, and here and there, leaking sewage spewing disease. 
Somewhere in everyone is a derelict pushing a rusty shopping cart who curses at all the passers-by.

Yup, that’s part of who we are as well.

Not one soul on earth has a perfect city. 
Not one person exists without a street they would prefer to hide. 

Nor is anyone’s city entirely evil.
Does not the most hardened criminal soften like a little boy when he eats an ice cream cone, or weep at his grandmother’s funeral? May not the drunken prostitute pause and look in rapture and longing at the full moon?

Do not love only the pretty parts of the city that that is another, or is you. See it all and embrace the totality — the complex miracle of all that we are. For we are all cities.

Friday, November 11, 2016


by Mary Elizabeth (Leach) Raines
A powerful eyes-open meditation for broadcasting Light is included at the end of this post.

As this particular chapter is being written—shortly after the USA's 2016 presidential election—the air is thick and almost palpable with darkness, hopelessness, hatred, fear, helplessness, viciousness, and other not-so-nice energies. It is imperative that all of us walk through this life with our eyes wide open, that we perceive the truth of what is happening, and that we fully feel what we feel. Burying our heads in the sand, creating diversions, rationalizing, or masking these feelings with a Pollyanna smile is neither healthy nor helpful.

Does this mean we are to endure the stress? What, on a spiritual level, can we do about today’s turmoil?

First, whether the emotions that well up are grief, anger, self-righteousness, or fear, they must be clearly acknowledged and expressed, and then allowed to pass through us. The analogy? Eating. All of us in human form take in food. All of us, to survive, must chew our food and then allow it to pass through our systems and be released out the other end. Note that it is not released in a beautiful form! It is what it is. Similarly, we must acknowledge our negative feelings, chew on them a bit (express them), and then allow them passageway through us, even though aspects of this passage may be unpleasant.

There’s a catch to that. It is very easy and tempting for emotions, particularly those that are negative and nasty, to become lodged inside us. They get gummed up when our thoughts go round and round in circles. (Few people have tape loops running through their heads of positive, loving events!) Take heart. This happens to all of us, and, like it or not, it is human nature to fixate on the negative. But when our emotions get stuck instead of moving through us, they lower our vibrations and can even cause physical, emotional, or mental disease. Our feelings must be acknowledged and allowed passage.

Next, recognize that the emotions running through us are primarily reactions to negative broadcasts. We are currently being bombarded with such broadcasts. Some of these are direct communications of which we are aware, such as news articles, TV shows, blogs, and Facebook posts. Other broadcasts are more subtle, but just as, if not more, powerful. The combined emotions and thoughts of many people are churning around and through us, much like Wifi, cell-phone, or other satellite transmissions. The more negative the broadcast, the lower the frequency. Lower frequencies are easier for us to pick up and absorb, like the way, at a distance, the thudding bass of loud music overpowers the melody.

Most of these broadcasts send our physical and emotional beings into turmoil. The more sensitive we are, the more we unconsciously pick up such negative transmissions, but it isn't necessary to possess great sensitivity to feel their effects; nearly everyone is absorbing and reacting to these broadcasts. The result of such massive amounts of negativity is stress. Many people these days are finding themselves irritable, anxious, sad, defensive, or angry for no discernible reason.

On a spiritual plane, the most vital task before us today is to switch roles. Instead of being the receivers of what others are broadcasting, our highest calling is to become broadcasters ourselves. This is not with the intent of arguing, defeating, fighting, “praying for,” or overpowering any other ideology or energy. It is simply our job to broadcast Light...and it can be done by any of us, regardless of our beliefs. We do not have to fit someone's definition of a Lightworker to do this sacred work!

The Light that you choose to broadcast can be any positive, uplifting energy, from profound love to gentle laughter, that is easy for you to express. Are you good at getting people to smile by telling a joke? Are you a person who radiates peace? Do you do well at problem-solving, or sharing inspirational stories? Or do you shine best when you are loving and respecting nature? All of us have something positive at our core that we can choose to expand and radiate outward.

It is probable that in the beginning, our individual broadcasts will be like teensy little radio stations that get overpowered with static from the big, noisier, more negative broadcast stations. That doesn’t matter. Just as the broadcast frequencies of every TV show that has ever been aired are still somewhere in space, once our energy has been transmitted, it remains in the ethers. We have no knowledge of where or when our broadcasts may be received by someone in need.

How do we broadcast? It’s easy. We still our hearts (after having cleared them!), center ourselves, and go into meditation or prayer. We then focus on sending out whatever energies we prefer. A brief meditation will follow for doing this.

Here are the simple steps:
1. Truthfully acknowledge and accept any emotions that well up within you, whatever they may be.
2. Allow those feelings to have brief expression, and then to pass through, rather than finding a home within your being.

3. Recognize that the feelings you are having are reactions to someone else’s broadcast.
4. When you feel clear, begin to broadcast whatever positive energies feel right and comfortable for you.


Sit or lie down in a comfortable position, and take several deep, cleansing breaths. Breathe into the bottom of your rib cage, and exhale with the intent of releasing anything that is negative or limiting.

With your eyes focused gently on these written words, let your shoulders drop. Your arms can feel pleasantly, comfortably warmer and pleasantly, comfortably heavier. Let your chewing muscles go, and loosen all the muscles under the skin of your face and around your eyes.

magine a beam of light entering through the top of your head, spilling through your body, and filling you. You might visualize it happening, feel it like a glow, hear it like a note of music, or simply go along without seeing, feeling, or hearing anything. However you perceive it is fine.

Focus your intent now on the energy you choose to broadcast. It could be peace, respect for the earth and her creatures, love, or a feeling of honor. It could be joy, truth, or laughter. It could be strength, healing, serenity, or anything you wish. Whatever positive energy you choose, allow it to rise through your body, blending with your heart and your mind.

If you have a belief in or sense of the energy centers that some call chakras, (places near important glands or organs where we tend to store emotion, such as in our solar plexus), you might take a moment now and breathe the positive energy you desire to broadcast into each of your chakras, one at a time, starting at the base and moving upward.

Otherwise, you might see or sense this energy, like a light or the glow of a candle flame or a note of music, filling your feet and toes, and beginning to swell upward through your body until it reaches the top of your head.

When you are filled with this positive energy, imagine that with each inhalation, it grows stronger and brighter, and with each exhalation that it is expanding further outward. Perceive it now beginning to radiate out through your skin. Take all the time you want. Let it fill your aura—the inches surrounding your body—and then visualize, sense, hear, or simply know that you are extending and stretching this glorious energy even further, broadcasting it like starlight or sunlight. The further out your energy reaches, the more powerful and light-filled it becomes.

ther beings may be broadcasting an energy similar to the one you have chosen. As you continue to shine your light, you may discover that you find and connect to other similar lights, combining your broadcast with theirs.

Whether you have an actual, palpable sense of this occurring or whether you are simply following along makes no difference. Do your best to keep your focus, continue to radiate the energy you choose to broadcast, and do so for as short or as long of a time as you want.

Realize that you may return to the state of broadcasting whatever positive energy you choose at any time, in any situation…while you are driving, standing in a line somewhere, working, moving, or being still. You may broadcast almost continuously throughout the day, or in little droplets. Whatever you offer, big or small, is much greater than you could possibly realize.

Thank you.

© 2016, M. E. Raines

Mary Elizabeth (Leach) Raines has books and articles available on Amazon, including The Laughing Cherub Guide to Past-Life Regression and her newest collection of short stories, The Man in the GPS and other Stories.
She lives in Sedona, Arizona, where she trains people to become past-life regression counselors and is founder of the Academy for Professional Hypnosis Training.

Copying or reproducing this material in whole or in part in any form is not permitted. You are asked to uphold copyright law and contact the author for permission if you wish to do so. Please, however, feel free to link to this article.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


by Mary Elizabeth Raines

Many years ago I knew a woman who was recovering from breast cancer. She said something to me that I have never forgotten: Be careful who you ask to pray for you. 

I asked why she said that. She replied that most people feel that they are doing the right thing by worrying about someone who is sick or otherwise having problems. They believe that worry and hand-wringing shows how compassionate and caring they are.
Worry, however, is far from helpful. This wise woman shared with me that all of our thoughts about others enter the continuum and create energetic patterns. If a person prays for healing for a friend for a few minutes, and then spends the rest of the day imagining that their friend is going to suffer pain or die prematurely, think about the kind of energy they are projecting!

Experiments have shown that when a group of people think disparaging and critical thoughts about another, the object of their negativity literally loses physical strength, and winds up feeling depressed and sad. Similarly, when people bombard another with loving, healing, positive thoughts, that individual responds with surprisingly greater strength, health, and happiness. 

Quakers believe that every single thought that passes through our minds is a prayer...including our thoughts about others. And prayer (which some may prefer to define as strong intent) is always answered. 

When we stress and worry about or criticize someone, think of this as a form of prayer. If we become mentally agitated about bad things that may happen, we are literally projecting negative energy towards that individual and helping to manifest troubling circumstances.

The very best you can do for your loved ones, when they are sick or in trouble, is to hold them in the most positive, loving light possible. If you choose to be extremely bold, you might even considering doing this for those with whom you are in strong opposition, such as those who have hurt you in some way, or even politicians with whom you disagree.

Thus, when someone is ill or troubled, worry is not only unnecessary; it is the equivalent of a curse. Instead, choose to imagine them healthy, healed, and happy! And if you find yourself in sickness or difficult circumstances, be selective about those you ask to pray for you.

© 2016, M. E. Raines

Monday, November 10, 2014


by Mary Elizabeth Raines

Want to change from feeling like a victim to feeling empowered? Want to stop a treacherous habit like smoking or drinking? Want to get over the poison of jealousy? Want to forgive someone who has cruelly wronged you? Want to evolve? 

Then get ready to "do your pain." And a word of warning: the hardest task in the world is doing your pain! 

The opportunities to change our patterns and knee-jerk responses never seem to arrive when we are feeling strong and enlightened. Instead, they pop up at the most difficult and unfair moments--times when we are exhausted and beaten down by life.

Take jealousy as an example. Here's the way it goes: we find ourselves full of jealousy and have the sudden realization that we no longer want to be jealous. We want to make a better, more tolerant choice, one that serves both us and the Universe. 

Wow, does it ever take effort to choose not to be jealous! It is incredibly unappealing. In fact, it can be frightening. Wallowing in the old misery is so much more familiar and strangely comforting. And news alert: learning a new way of responding to the situation that caused jealousy will be painful. This is where "doing your pain" comes in.

If you think about it, most of the damage that we do to one another and to ourselves stems from our aversion to doing our pain. We squirm and wiggle and rationalize and try every escape possible so as not to have to be in pain. 

A drug addict would rather rob an old man than do the pain involved in becoming clean and sober. People die prematurely every day who could not do the pain of stopping smoking or overeating. Others spend their days in monotony and live without color because they will not "do the pain" of stepping through their fear and entering a new, more vibrant way of being--for any change we choose to make has some pain attached to the decision. And back to jealousy: murders have been committed by people who would rather end someone's life than do the pain that accompanies getting over jealousy.

Not only does doing your pain hurt; there's even more bad news! Once we have decided to making a positive change, even after we have taken the huge step of willingness and done our very best to reverse old patterns, chances are that for a while, it won't even feel as though it has worked! As we turn our hearts toward the positive and away from the old negativity, whatever that may be, it will initially seem as though we are receiving no reward whatsoever. Instead, we seemingly get more misery. Here's why we are not going to feel all the positive effects of our new choices for a while. 

It takes time for this new way of responding to situations to register emotionally. It also takes time for our spirits and bodies to adjust to it. Part of this period of adjustment may be so that our souls can make sure that this is what we really want. During that time, it often feels as though we are still in the vibration of the old. Thus, the drug addict and the chain smoker will feel withdrawal and cravings. The jealous person will still have tinges of jealousy and rejection. 

Changing is like practicing the piano. You don’t learn to play a Bach fugue in the first lesson. No, instead you learn “Jingle Bells,” it will take immense effort, and you will probably play it badly!

For those are ready to make a big change in their patterns and responses to life, here's how to go about it: persist, ask for spiritual help, and hold yourself in willingness. Imagine, feel, envision and hear that old pattern being handed over to the Divine, who is  raising it to the highest possible vibration.

Trust that with your willingness, the new will eventually replace the old, and it may happen sooner than you think if you are faithful to your new way of being. It may be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life, but provided you are willing to do your pain, you will eventually come out the other side and finally become the person you have always been meant to be!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


by Mary Elizabeth Raines

Throughout time, clashes over spiritual beliefs have been responsible for more cruelty, suffering and murder than anything else. It is baffling that people are willing to hurt and butcher one another simply to prove that their concept of God is the right one!

I had always thought that I was different, and considered myself to be a tolerant and fair person who was above such nonsense...until a time some years ago when I found myself swept up into a disagreement with a friend about some differences in our spiritual beliefs and practices. We argued via email. It was a sad and stupid disagreement that probably destroyed a beautiful friendship.
Curiously, my friend and I actually hold spiritual beliefs that are nearly identical. It turns out that this isn't unusual.
The folks we love to hate in the name of God are often those who have beliefs that are close to our own. For the most part, we don't waste our time rampaging against people with religious views that are alien and weird compared to ours. No suicide bomber is going to try to prove his point by blowing himself up in the marketplace of an obscure New Guinea tribe who worships tree gods.
No, we turn to our neighbors when we want to wage religious wars. The most horrific acts of violence are inflicted upon people who almost believe the same things we do. That's when we really get upset. Look at the conflicts between the Shiites and Sunnis in the Middle East, or the bloodshed throughout European history between Protestants and Catholics.

Christians, Jews and Muslims, who have battled one another for centuries, share many core beliefs and even honor some of the same spiritual figures, like Abraham and Moses.
Back to my friend: I was furious that something as sacred as my connection to that which I choose to call God had been judged and found lacking. Even after our e-conversation ended, my mental chatter continued. Loudly. A tape-loop in my mind replayed the specifics of our differences over and over again. I defended myself mentally against what I perceived as his attack and, in my imagination, let him know, point by point, precisely how wrong he was. How dare he criticize my relationship to the divine??!!??
I was the one who was RIGHT, doggone it! My thoughts churned faster and faster with all the reasons I was right. My spinning mind kept me awake that night, and continued pestering me the following day, driving me to distraction.

And then I remembered a little saying I heard once:

The mental hospitals are full of people who were RIGHT!
Oh. Oops. Wait a minute.

There seems to be something inbred that demands that we win at all costs, especially when it concerns our spiritual beliefs; perhaps it's a survival technique dating back to our hominid days on the savannahs, or a way of determining who is the alpha of the pack. Hoping, however, to be vindicated and proven right is definitely not a path that leads to security or peace of mind 
in today's world.

One of my friends, who has since crossed over, had a motto. She used to be a long-distance truck driver, and she learned this on the highway. She was an amazing, loving person who lives by her motto. It is a great motto. Think of the suffering, both on an international and a personal level, that could be escaped by adopting it:

"I would rather be kind than be right."

     (c) 2011, Mary Elizabeth Raines

See Mary Elizabeth Raines' newest novel, UNA, available in paperback or Kindle.

Saturday, August 31, 2013


Headlines blaring bad news? Too much information too fast? Pressured and tense, or just sad?

Good news! It is possible for you to have a mini-vacation now, even in the few seconds it takes to read this.

Turn inward, think about your breathing, and slow it down. Breathe peace into your core. You can do this right now no matter what is happening in your life and no matter how you are feeling. You don’t even have to close your eyes to do it.

Exhale any busy-ness, any tension, or any feeling that is less than relaxed. Allow a sensation of peace to flood through you right now with each inhalation.  Stretch out your inhalations. 
This doesn’t need to be a perfect sensation…just something a little gentler, a little quieter, a little calmer, a little lighter. 

Maybe you enjoy imagining this peace as a soothing color, or tasting it like a healing fruit, or feeling it as a tender caress, or hearing it like a sweet chime of music, or even breathing it in as a smell, like the smell of being by the sea or in a deep still forest. 

However you like to perceive it, flow this peace to key areas in your body: 
your belly, 
your shoulders, 
your heart, 
your knees, 
the soles of your feet. 
What would your jaw feel like if you sent it a bit of peace just now? Send a wave of relief to your busy brain. Breathe this peace right into your spine and feel your back soften and widen, as if you had wings and they were unfolding and delighting in these relaxing sensations.

Have fun with it! Peace doesn’t have to be so serious. 
Flow peace into your rear end...and smile! If that smile were to fill with peace, would it change? 
Now let peace fill your fancy…wherever you fancy your fancy to be!

That feels much better, doesn’t it? 

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Note: In this blog, there are references to God. My concept of God is not that of an old man in the sky, but rather the all-encompassing world of spirit with a larger intelligence and plan than that of which we, in our limited human forms, are consciously aware. 

Growing up in a traditional Christian household, because of various oppressions linked with the name “God,” I used to find the very word distasteful. I would speak of the Universe, or Source, or the Higher Self. 

Then I heard a friend with rather unorthodox beliefs use the word God. I asked her why she used that term. Her reply was, “Because that’s the word we have for it.” This made beautiful, simple sense to me. So in my writing, God it is. Please interpret the word God in any way that works for you.

by Mary Elizabeth Raines

Noticing a garden gate had been left open, with other plans for my morning today, I went outdoors to close the gate. I wound up spending a half an hour harvesting dried beans. In the process, my pants and shirt got covered with a great many very sharp burrs called goatheads. It took five minutes and a number of ouches just to pull the goatheads off my clothing. Soon I will sit at my kitchen table and shell the beans, a painstaking process that will take another half an hour.

The end result? An hour's work for about 70 cents worth of beans.

I had more satisfaction and pleasure with those beans than I've had in some sessions I conduct where, in the same amount of time, I've earned a couple of hundred dollars.

Many people in contemporary society mistakenly attach price tags or popularity to success. This includes not only business people, but artists, musicians, and writers. It is especially prevalent, weirdly, in those following spiritual pursuits or the so-called New Age, where some of those who are healers or helpers, such as massage therapists or hypnotists, believe that a certain income must be attached to the good work they do. If a reasonable amount of money is not forthcoming, these people believe that they have failed. If they cannot make a living doing what they love, they are crushed.

Newsflash: God does not care whether or not you make money! There are plans for you to use your gifts and they have absolutely nothing to do with income.

Think of God as this large omnipotent guy in the sky (which I do not believe, but bear with me here). I can see him scratching his head at the despair and pleading prayers streaming up from those of us on earth. This God would say, “Why are they so miserable? Why can’t they just use their gifts and do what I ask them to do? What does money have to do with anything?” 

Many give up when they can't make a living by following their dream. They not not realize that money is a man-made commodity. It has nothing whatsoever to do with success or failure. Money is inconsequential in the eyes of the Universe. In fact, some people might even wind up having to pay out of their own pockets to pursue their dreams. That has zero bearing on whether or not they should follow their dream. Success or failure, likewise, is not measured by the number of people we reach when we use our gifts.

Suppose a man has a startling vision where he is guided to become a Reiki practitioner. After going through the various levels of training and dedicating himself whole-heartedly to this work, at most he ends up seeing just one client a week. He feels defeated and beaten. This is because he mistakenly supposed that his vision meant he was going to earn his living doing Reiki, when it really just meant that he was supposed to learn and practice Reiki because there would be people who would need what he had to offer.

An artist lives in despair because she has only sold one painting. Since childhood, she had always believed that she was supposed to paint. The money she has invested in oils and canvas alone, however, has turned out to be far more than she may ever get back. That one painting she sold? It is hanging in a house where a little girl stares at it in rapture for hours on end, and who will, as a result, wind up leading an inspired life. Another little girl somewhere else is still waiting for the painting to be created that will likewise inspire her. What a shame it would be if the artist decides to stop painting because she cannot make a full-time living in art, or because only a few people buy her work!

A man who sets up a little shop has a stimulating time learning about buying and selling. He enjoys every aspect of the business, until it fails financially. He winds up crushed with depression, feeling like a loser, instead of looking back happily on the many pleasant experiences he had in the process. He does not even recognize that rather than being depressed, he could have chosen to view his shop as a wonderful success.

A poet publishes his book of poems on Kindle, with high hopes for prosperity. He is crestfallen by the low sales of his book, and he gives up writing, taking his book off the market--not realizing that among those who bought his poetry was an old man who had been suffering, and who had received a few magnificent hours of respite and peace by reading his poems.

A woman prays about what to do with her life and has the dream of becoming a healer. She is disheartened and loses faith when she is unable to earn a living as a healer. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to her, her life's purpose was to work in a community where those requiring healing did not have the financial resources to pay. 

Yes, the Reiki practitioner, the artist, the shop keeper, the poet, and the healer will all have to receive their income in other ways. That doesn’t mean that they should give up, stop using their gifts, and deny themselves the pleasure of the process. 

Whether or not we earn money doing what we are meant to do in life is not even remotely related to success. God doesn’t care!

What matters is that our gifts be used fully and that we live every aspect of our lives, whether it is harvesting 70 cents' worth of beans or painting a picture from our heart that is intended for just one little girl to see. That is the success!

Article and artwork © Laughing Cherub, 2015
Reproducing or copying in any form prohibited.
Please feel free, however, to link to this article!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Human beings have certain universal core values, like truth and peace and wisdom and courage. These values are very pure strands of energy. Some liken them to rays of beautiful, clear light.

People have instinctively honored these core values since the beginning of recorded history. The early gods and goddesses in ancient cultures were often representations of these energy strands; putting them into form as humans or animals made them easier to understand and to access.

Unfortunately, these values became trapped in statues and temples. Myths and belief systems sprang up around them. Those myths were appealing, and grew to such an extent that they often overshadowed the value itself. The original meaning of the energy strand was corrupted. Because of this, some of the core universal values once available to us now seem distasteful, because they have been polluted for so long, and are in danger of being forgotten.

FAITH is one of those pure energy strands that has lost its original meaning. People now associate faith with various religions and spiritual figures, not all of them pleasant, and tend to shrug off the word, rather than seeing the pure essence of what it really means and how huge and rich it could be to embrace faith in our lives.

A NECESSARY ASIDE: People have an enormous need to know. We require reasons and answers. One of the greatest areas of mental discomfort for human beings is the state of not knowing.

Think about it like this: you find yourself driving on a road. You have to have a reason for driving, even if the reason is, “I’m driving for no particular reason.” If you can’t find any reason for why you are out on the road driving, you might easily go insane. We latch onto reasons, often with desperation. Our minds just have to know.

Here’s something curious. Whether we arrive at reasons that are true or not doesn’t matter! All that matters is to get out of the place of unknowingness as fast as possible. Brain scientists recognize that we are hard-wired to find reasons, regardless of how rational they are, and to latch onto them, believing them wholeheartedly. All of us do it. (To observe this hard-wiring in action, just think about people with political beliefs that are opposite your own!)

Parents of children who were abducted frequently say that the worst part of the ordeal for them was not knowing. Many have reported feeling a sense of relief when they finally found out what actually happened to their child, even though what they heard may have been very sad. It was not their choice to feel that way. It is part of being a human.

Faith can, for some, mean relying on that which we call God. That isn’t the pure meaning of faith, however.

Faith, in its purest definition, simply means permitting ourselves to be comfortable in unknowingness.

Article and illustrations (c) 2012, Mary Elizabeth Raines and Laughing Cherub Unlimited
All rights reserved.
Please do not copy or reproduce in whole or in part; links to this post, however, are welcome!

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy reading Mary Elizabeth Raines' whimsical look at the New Age and the coming transformations, TRANSITIONS, TREES AND COTTAGE CHEESE, now available for Kindle or for download on

Saturday, September 15, 2012


The next time you find yourself lying awake in bed unable to sleep, you might enjoy doing this:

Use that time to bring to mind every single person, from close friends to politicians, to whom you want to send love. It may be only one person, or it may be a long, long list! Anything goes.

Imagine that you are opening your heart. Some people say it is easy to see or feel a glow in the center of their chest in the area near the actual heart. Enhance that glow with every breath in and every breath out. Some people prefer to experience this region like a bell or note of music. Others just have the intention without seeing or feeling or hearing anything, and that is okay, too.

Now, one at a time bring to mind those to whom you wish to send love, and hold them in sacred tenderness or prayer. If you are visual, you might imagine your heart center projecting a glowing light that completely envelops them. Think positive thoughts about them and their best qualities. See them softening and smiling.

Their souls will recognize on some level that love is being sent to them, although they might not know what that pleasant feeling is. Remember, too, that this is nonjudgmental love. We do not send love to a person with the intent of changing them, but simply to make their journey a little bit easier and a little bit brighter.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Some believe that the only thing our souls carry after we leave the body is the love we have given while we were in human form.

They are not referring to romantic love, or to syrupy gushy sentiment, but instead to agape: the love that, according to some, is the very essence of the divine. The Quakers believe that there is Light (or some of God) within every person, and it is that Light that is honored when we extend love towards another.

Here is an interesting challenge:

Take a quiet moment to reflect on your lifetime only in terms of the love you have generated so far. 

Then, if you feel especially brave, take a look at the love you could have generated, but chose to resist.

Once I had the pleasure of knowing a woman with a very pure soul. Her work took her to foreign countries where she interfaced with people in high places.

She told me about attending a political event in an unnamed country where she was among the dignitaries who sat on a podium. They were forced to listen to the speech of a powerful, important leader. Everyone pretended to applaud him; to have done otherwise would have serious consequences in that particular country. The speechmaker, was a cruel man who was guilty of heinous, abominable tortures and terrible crimes of the worst sort.

As she listened to him speak, rather than hold him in judgment, she decided to open her heart and extend agape love to this unlovable man. What she realized surprised her. When she softened her heart, she saw clearly that he was a man of immense gifts. The extent of his gifts amazed her. She also recognized that in his lifetime he had seriously misused these gifts.

Rather than hold him in judgment for his behavior, however, she felt a rush of God-love for this man, and sent him blessings.

While she will never know what effect, if any, her love may have had on the man, we do know that when we send thoughts of opposition to others, it makes them even more defensive. Attack and angry words create mean, stubborn resistance, while love opens doors to transformation.

Miraculous results can occur if even a few people send unconditional love to an individual rather than condemnation.

The catch is that the love we generate can't be about who is right and who is wrong. We don't send love to someone in the hopes that they will see things our way! Agape love puts us all on an equal playing field.

Think about the politicians you dislike. In today’s world, nearly all of us have politicians with whom we disagree. Sadly, our disagreements are becoming increasingly vehement, and are frequently accompanied by name-calling and character assassination.

What if we were to open our hearts and hold those politicians with whom we disagree in the energy of love rather than condemnation? What gifts would we see in them? (Please note that this does not mean becoming deluded or accepting unacceptable behavior, nor does it mean becoming a rabid fan. It means looking beyond someone’s acts to the light within that we all possess.)

If, after looking at your life and assessing the amount of love you have generated, you find that you have fallen a little short, don’t worry. Fresh chances abound!

Opportunities to enter into love are with us every moment, regardless of how poorly or smoothly our lives are going.

Every single person who comes into our conscious thoughts, and even every living organism we encounter, can offer us a new start: the chance to enter into the consciousness of love.  

(c) M. E. Raines, 2012
While copying this article is prohibited, please feel free to link to it.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy the whimsical short story Transitions, Trees, and Cottage Cheese by Mary Elizabeth Raines, now available on Amazon for Kindle or for downloading.

About Me

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Mary Elizabeth (Leach) Raines is the author of a collection of short stories ("The Man in the GPS and Other Stories") and two novels, as well as several other books, short stories and plays. Many of these can be found on Some are written under the name Mary Elizabeth Leach. She has won several awards for her writing. In addition to writing, Mary Elizabeth is a hypnosis instructor, the director of the Academy for Professional Hypnosis Training. She is a columnist for an international hypnosis magazine, and she teaches qualified individuals in past-life regression and guided imagery. Mary Elizabeth attended New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where she was a piano performance major. Later she pursued independent film studies at UW-Oshkosh. She has won awards for a short film she directed and wrote, a screenplay, and a stage play. She is the creator of the popular Laughing Cherub hypnosis MP3s, available on CD Baby and other venues. In her free time, Mary Elizabeth creates fractal art, cooks, paints, dabbles with computers, gardens organically, and keeps bees.