Sunday, January 25, 2009

We Can Be Great

For the next few weeks we are going to be working out of this book - The “Science of Being Great”. Wallace Wattles, the author, is presenting some ideas that he worked with in the last half of the 1800s and they are remarkable in that they are still true today - because they are grounded in what we call Truth - with a capital T. They are ageless principles that anyone, anywhere can work with and transform their lives.

The Science of Being Great - When we hear the words GREAT it may be hard to imagine ourselves as a GREAT person.

What is greatness? We all have people we admire – people who made or are making a difference in the world. We all know of many famous lives that have inspired us. GREAT people have an impact on us. They inspire us or encourage us - even if we have never met them.

There was a life I would like to tell you briefly about. Born 1991, writing poetry at aged three, wondering why there was so much discord on the planet at aged 5, wrote letters to the leaders of Bosnia, the United States, Britain to offer ways for peaceful solutions. Continued to write 1000s of poems and essays on peace, life, love. Appeared on Oprah, spoke at universities, was interviewed by Nobel Peace Prize winners. He wanted to known as a Poet, Peacemaker and Philosopher. He did all this before he died at the age of 13 years. He also did this with a ventilator breathing for him, a heart monitor to start his heart when it would stop, his life in an electric wheelchair. His name was Mattie Stepanek. His life inspires me.

He didn’t stop to think - I wonder what a little kid like me can do. Who am I to try to champion world peace? He knew what he felt and he did what he could.

We sang a song back in November and the chorus went like this: do all you can, with all you have, in the time you have, in the place you are. What a great example of this. do all you can, with what you have, in the time you have, in the place you are.

And what we can each do is different and unique. Each one of us is here right now because there is something that we have to offer the world that no one else can. Think about it.

Right where you are - right now. Not waiting until….we are older or smarter or have a degree or our children grow up or…………….so many reason why we put off what we can do. In our lives we will go through many cycles and phases of what we are contributing to the world. If we have young children - then doing the best we can with the resources we have at this moment - is our priority. In 10 years it will be something different. In 50 years it will be something else.

Look at Rev Don - our minister emeritus. How old is he? I know he doesn’t mind telling us…………93 years old. You may have read the articles he writes for our website and newsletter. An enquiring mind - sharing his thoughts - and making a difference in the world. Thank you for being great - right now.

Wattles says in his book: ‘there are no common people”.
We all have the potential to be GREAT. In some way - large or small.

A young child is walking along a long sandy beach. She sees hundreds of starfish have been cast up on the shore, drying out and dying. As she walks along she picks up each one and tosses it back into the sea. An adult walking the other way sees what she is doing and sees the hundreds of stranded starfish and says to the little girl – there are hundreds of starfish – its not going to make any difference. The little girl picks up a starfish – tosses it into the sea and says: it makes a difference to that one!

That is being great - doing what you can at the moment. However seemingly small or insignificant.

Get Clear
One of the steps in living a great life is getting clear on what we want in the moment. To be open to the opportunities in the moment.

Acknowledge our Power Connection
So we remember that we are great, we get clear on what is ours to do - right now - which is the only time we have….. and the third thing is to acknowledge our Power Source.

One day I thought I would do something really smart. Before I left for church, I put all the ingredients for a delicious soup in my crock-pot. I knew it would be ready to eat when I got home – I was really looking forward to this easy solution for lunch. Well, I got home and went to the pot – first of all – I didn’t smell anything cooking when I entered the house – which is one of the great things about cooking ahead….that should have tipped me off right there. Anyway I went to the pot and it was cold – not cooked. I had not plugged it in.

And this is us. We have the power – we are hard-wired with this power. It is part of spiritual blueprint - of our spiritual inheritance. – and we forget to tap into it and use it. It’s infinite and limitless - and we forget. We forget that we are connected to the Source of Infinite Wisdom and Power and Love.

So don’t wait to be great.

Do all you can with what you have, in the time you have, in the place you are.

to thine own self be true

When I was first had a place where I could have houseplants - I was very excited and bought a lot of them. All different kinds - and I placed them all over the apartment. And it took a while to learn how to take care of them - how much water they needed, when how much light etc. A lot of them died. Oftentimes I would notice - oh my gosh this plant is looking droopy - I bet it is dry and I would water it. Or I would see the leaves were brown and burned from being too close to a hot window. So I would move it. Only when there was a noticeable problem would I remember to do something for them. I brought them back from the brink of death over and over again.

At some point I started being more attuned to them - and noticed the subtle signs of needing a drink, or food or light. I would take steps to strengthen them and help them grow strong -instead of waiting until they were on death’s door.

I wonder sometimes if we do the same thing to ourselves. How many of us only notice our physical needs when we are hurting? When we are in pain or discomfort. Then we think - oh I should do something about this. And as soon as we feel ok again we totally ignore our physical needs. What about our emotional needs? Do we only notice when we are in emotional stress to look at and reflect what we might do.

We may take our bodies, minds and souls for granted - never giving them a thought until there is a problem. Until something draws our attention to what is missing.

What if we were to shift our perspective and instead of reacting to the pain and discomfort - to do something pro-active - to become attuned and sensitive - to our needs. We could nurture and feed ourselves - instead of rescuing and taking extremes measure to bring us back to health or wholeness.

This life - this precious human life - is what we have right now. Do we really know and understand the value of it? If we did, could we treat it as we do?

Self care is linked to self worth. We don’t care for things we do not value - including ourselves.

We take care of what we really value. Perhaps we have some special belonging - a teacup from a special friend, a painting of a special place, a gift that we have kept for many years because of the joy it brings us. We take care of them - when we move, we pack them carefully to protect them.

And what do we do for ourselves - to protect ourselves. To nurture and care for ourselves?

What happened to the self worth we were born with?

Watching young children helps us remember.

The other night I was visiting a family with 2 children under the age of two. It was so delightful to watch them play and watch what was going on - I wonder at all the things they were learning and observing. We were playing with a bracelet - a 12 power bracelet actually - and the littlest one would take it put it on and take it off - over and over again. Then she would look up and smile. I would smile - she would play some more and look up and smile - and I would smile. Everything about her was good in her world. She expected only love and smiles. And that is what she gave. She had no doubt about her goodness.

I remember watching a little boy finger paint and I said wow - you’re doing a great job - and he looked at me and said - “I know!” with a big smile. Totally unself conscious - not bragging - just reveling in his own goodness.

There was a time in our lives when we did know that we were great. And somewhere along the way that self concept of our greatness - of our worthiness, started to erode.

We probably picked up messages from our upbringing, our culture, our churches. To not think of ourselves - but to think of others first. To not be selfish. Anybody heard any of these messages? We start looking at ourselves in a different light - that our needs are not important - that to look after ourselves is selfish.

Over time we too may start telling ourselves the same thing. We notice our shortcomings instead of our successes.

And that sense of self worth dips even more.

We start to mix up what we do with who we are.

We forget that there are things we did or said and then there is who we are - and these are 2 different things.

We have experiences - and we are not our experiences. The same way we have hands and feet - they are ours - but they are not who we are.

Our experiences are important - this is not to diminish that. Those experiences that we see as mistakes or failures might be the very stuff that gives us strength or compassion that we will use in the future. There is no shame in failure.

In that confusion about what we have done and who we are - we may lose touch with our sense of self worth. We may think we are what we have done and said. We may lose that deep knowing that as a divine creation we are worthy of care and love and attention.

There is a story in Luke 15 that speaks beautifully to remind us of our true nature.

The story of two sons and a father. IF we look at this story metaphysically we will see that these three represent.

The younger son ……………when he came to himself - He remembered who he was - he returned home. He began his journey back home - to wholeness.

The Father sees him coming from a distance and there is a huge celebration. The Father represents God - who is always waiting and watching for us to to return home.

It doesn’t matter what we have done, where we have been, what we have said.

Perhaps you can relate to the younger son - who takes what is his and squanders it - makes mistakes

But there is also another son - maybe some of you cn relate to him….When there is a big celebration - the older sons says…..

The Father - who represents God is saying: You are always with me (we cannot be separate) and all that is mine is yours.

This helps the older son remember who he is - one with God, a beloved creation.

This is a powerful story of remembrance - who we are, our one-ness with God, our divine inheritance of all good.

All that I have is yours - this is God’s promise to us. Let’s care for what we have been given - this precious life and all its promise.