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Raising Spirits with St. Theresa of Avila

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Paula Vaughan

In the fall I stayed at a monastery in Snowmass, CO. I was assigned The St. Theresa Hermitage. In reading about her I learned she was a 15th century nun and mystic. She was described as a “Spiritual Director’. This was interesting to me, as I have been pondering getting certification as a spiritual director. On a women’s retreat in January, our minister used this St. Theresa prayer with us and later used it on the cover of our monthly newsletter. This is her prayer:

Let nothing disturb you

Let nothing frighten you

All things pass away

God never leaves you

Patience obtains all things

Those who have God lack nothing

God is enough

I decided this was my spiritual direction for this year. So I decided to take a line a month and empower myself with it. During the month of January, I used the first line as my breathing prayer. Repeating it many times a day. It was useful to come back to when I was loosing my sense of peace and calm. It was amazing to me how many troubles just seemed to melt away. Once my focus went back to this lime, “Let nothing disturb you”. It is so simple and yet so profound. We make our own misery in how we decide to react to a circumstance. Saying this phrase kept reminding me I had the power to let things disturb me or not. What a shift in energy for me. When Bob, my partner, said or did something that might irritate me I just repeated this phrase over and over in my mind. Then whatever had bothered me didn’t seem so big after all.

In February I started using the “ Let nothing frighten you” part of the prayer. Wow was this very powerful as I began a close inspection of my financial picture. I learned about things I had avoided. I called and asked questions about where I had invested my retirement funds. I made the decision to move my account to another broker that felt better for me. I got advice from my son and decided to invest a limited amount of money with his guidance.

I have always had the feeling that we are to be good stewards of our money. Unfortunately I have l lost a lot of money sticking my head in the sand and letting men take care of this for me. Many women feel that their financial matters are best handled by men instead of doing it themselves. We women can run a house and manage a business quite well alone, but I have seen many women including me, give over the responsibility of handling their money to men very quickly. For my age group, it may be an old cultural pattern. I am hopeful this younger generation of women will learn to take care of themselves in all situations - including their financial affairs. It takes time and determination to understand the financial language of retirement , annuity, 401K etc. something I had been afraid to look at clearly. I am beginning to understand terms I just shrugged off before. Nothing frightens me. I can learn this and make good decisions. The man managing my retirement has the same values as me-no money invested in alcohol, cigarettes or gambling. Why did I wait so long to get some help? Why did I let money slip away? Because I was afraid to ask questions, to admit I did not understand the monthly statements. I thought I could not possibly learn this language. I wanted someone else to do it for me. I have learned the hard way that I am the best steward of my money and it will only grow if I am taking good care of it. I can ask questions again and again until I understand. There is no mystery about money, just a new language to learn.

My grandmother taught me to tithe. It is a practice I still do. Even when money is tight, I still give to my church or to some agency that I want to support. Suze Orman, a financial adviser, tells us that we have to spend money giving it away in order to keep the financial flow going in our lives. I have always found this true. Even when my money supply is low, if I can spend some money or time helping someone else, I will see it return to me many times over. Every time I work in the soup kitchen, I am reminded how much I have to be grateful for in my life. I am always lifted up spiritually by being there. Bet some of you have noticed this law of money too.

Recently I made a trip to NC for my dad’s 90th birthday. Several issues came up and I could feel the old buttons being pushed-only this time I did not react. I kept repeating my phrases-let nothing frighten you or let nothing disturb you and I sailed through the visit with no upset on my part. I did watch other family members getting sucked into that old energy. It felt great to walk away without any energy loss.

Children are sometimes a bone of contention between Bob and me. I could feel his energy in a situation involving my son. I let it go. I didn’t want to participate in the discussion. I am delighted to have the month of March arrive and begin using the next line of the prayer “All things pass away”. Actually I used it some the last of February. Things do pass away and what is big today is nothing by tomorrow. So this month I get to affirm all things will pass away. I remember hearing people tell me-nothing comes to stay-it all comes to pass. So why waste a lot of energy on it today. Why not stay in a peaceful place until it does come to pass??

Right now I am gathering information on a money issue that needs correction. Hopefully I will be in a position to take some action in a week. I have had a week’s preparation saying, “ Let nothing frighten you”. Now I am getting into “All things pass away”. So I will deal with it and let it go. Taking appropriate action helps move the energy so quickly. It will pass away and not be an issue. I am finding so many things we can just let go without putting a lot of energy into it. One thing I learned from my 90-year-old father is that he is not going to change. I have the choice of hitting my head on a brick wall with him, or letting nothing disturb me about him. I refuse to let any of his actions frighten me. Eventually all these things will pass away. I don’t have to get involved on the daily disturbances unless I choose to. I don’t get involved in his life choices even though I may disagree with him. He doesn’t ask for or want my advice anyway. It brings us both a sense of peace. There is such empowerment in watching a big hole or trap I have fallen into many times, appear and decide consciously to go around it. With St. Theresa’s help I am enjoying watching things pass away. Feels like I have a found a credo to live my life by-interesting to note it has been around since the 15th century, but just came to me in the last few months-when I really needed it and was open to using it.

Enjoy your spring and let no one or thing disturb you. Let not one thing or person frighten you. For all things and situations pass away eventually. We get to choose how much energy to give it. It will pass away a lot faster if we let it float on by.

Have a great spring choosing to spend your energy and money wisely.

Paula Vaughan is a spiritual counselor, business and medical intuitive, and medium. She lives in Boulder, CO and can be contacted at 303-447-0250 or email at You can visit her website at