Friday, October 23, 2009

Celebrate the Harvest

This is the last of our series – tilling the spiritual soil. We talked about clearing our minds and hearts of the rocks and weeds that can get in our way of living a totally fulfilling life. And to prepare the soil – gently and lovingly – as we start to make changes in our lives. Then we talked about what to do during the waiting time – when it looks like there is nothing happening – the time between when we plant the seed – and when we see the first bit of green appearing. That time was spent – resting in the knowing that Spirit is at work in our lives and the universe all the time – and that the perfect outworking is taking place. Maybe not our idea of the right time – but trusting in divine timing.

And then we do start to see the results of our work.

Here’s an example: Perhaps we were feeling too busy – pulled in many directions and wanted to ‘grow’ time. We cleared our mind of the thoughts and feelings that were standing in the way. Things like: there’s too much to do. There are not enough hours in the day. I never have time for myself. Those are the weeds and rocks. So we released these thoughts whenever they popped up - gently and lovingly. We planted truth ideas – in our actions, in our words and in our thoughts. There is always enough time for what I need to do. I am aligned with divine timing and all is well. I release those things that are not mine to do. These allows our minds to turn to what and how we want to live. Not on what we don’t want to experience.

And what is so great is that we start to notice when our minds start wandering into the ‘old territory’ of lack and limitation. We notice it more quickly and we bring it back to our new way of being – gently, like leading a child.

I remember when my son was quite young, he would wander away and get lost – just like that! We would be in the grocery store, he would be right next to me and the next moment I would hear an announcement: Would the mother of David xxx please come to the Customer Service desk? Our minds can be like that – one minute we know what are thoughts are doing and the next minute they are lost down some path we really do not want to be on.

When we know and are conscious of what we are wanting – we see what is not – faster. We notice when our words are replaying old tapes and we stop. We are aware of where our thoughts tend to drift – into the old way of thinking – and we gently bring ourselves back to what it is we are wanting to experience.

So we work with these ideas – take care of them – nurture them – surround them with faith and love and then we start seeing the results.

We have a harvest!

Now what? What do we do with all this?
Two things come to mind: the first is celebration. This is something I feel there is way too little of. I am learning to celebrate more and more - for the truth is we are so incredibly blessed and there is always cause for celebration.

We often forget to celebrate even the simplest things. Finishing a project, preparing a family dinner, buying a piece of furniture – or emptying out a closet and taking things to a thrift shop. Every one of these is cause for a moment of appreciation and acknowledgment. I think often we are too busy rushing into the next project, the next appointment, fixing the next problem – that we forget to pause and give thanks for what we already have.

There is someone who I admire and love, partly because his life is a profound reminder to celebrate and give thanks. His name is Mattie Stepanak. He wanted to be remembered: as "Poet, Peacemaker, and Philosopher Who Played". He wrote poems and essays about his dream for world peace, about how free and large his spirit was, about how better we can treat each other, about the pain of loss. He shared his thoughts, his dreams, his hopes and his fears. He published five books containing hundreds of poems, essays and drawings. He lived only13 years.

Mattie knew for as long as he could remember, that he would not live long. His brothers and sister before him had already died from this same terrible disease - a rare form of muscular dystrophy.

He says I have a tube that goes through my neck, a ventilator that breaths for me, lots of extra oxygen, a tube that goes into the top of my heart for medicines and IV fluids, I have weekly blood transfusions, IV at night to stabilize my blood pressure, and a power wheelchair.

But this is not how he sees himself. I actually had to look long and hard to find some description of his situation. This information is hard to find because it was not important to him. This is not what he wanted to talk about. What was important for him was to use his very brief time on this planet to write his poetry and to be a spokesperson for peace.

Here is one of my favorites, he wrote when he was 11 years old.

Grasp of Truth
If you have enough breath
To complain about anything,
You have more than enough reason
To give thanks about something.

He celebrated every breath – every morning when he woke up he was in awe that he had survived another night.

What we are experiencing now is the harvest of what we planted in the past. Celebrate the harvest in all its forms!

And so when we are surrounded by our harvest – by the abundant results of our work – we celebrate and, secondly – we share. We take from the abundance we are enjoying and we share it – give it away.

This is so very important. We live in an abundant world. It is circulating – flowing – all around us.

There is a divine flow in life – that is always moving. We want to cooperate with it, not block it. it is not healthy to stop the flow of abundance – to take in and not give out.

Like our breath. Take a breath – breath deeper, deeper, deeper. What happens when you do not breathe out? It doesn’t feel good – we need both – breathing in and breathing out.

We should always be asking ourselves – what can I give? How can I share?

We have some great examples around us – and that is young children. They are wonderful examples of generosity – instantaneously, giving with no thought of receiving.

When my daughter was about six or seven she had saved up a handful of coins and it was our day to go spend it. She had a little purse and there were maybe 15 – 20 coins inside and every once in a while she would shake her purse and hear the sound of those coins. We went to our little market place – this was on Quadra Island – and went to the grocery store first. At the checkout stand there was a small poster with pictures of children – and she asked me to tell her what it was. I explained that the poster said that it was about helping children who had problems with their eyes and that for 12 cents, a child could get an eye exam or that for $1. they would receive a pair of glasses. You have probably seen these displays with a little box to drop in some coins. My daughter asked if she could put money in the box – and I said – sure, that would be great. How much do you want to give? And she looked at me, a little perplexed, and said “all of it”.

She knew how to give – no rules, no shoulds about how much and to what – she gave happily and generously – with no thought of herself.

We want to share with the same generosity and joy. What we know is that the thoughts we are holding now are already growing into what we will experience in the weeks and years to come. It is impossible to stop that natural impulse for growth that surrounds us. As we continue to turn our thoughts toward the Light – toward what is whole – holy – we have already set the wheels in motion to bring in that harvest in the future.

So give what you have now. We always have something we can give. If what you have to share is time – give your time – give it away – then you are living in the divine flow of gratitude and abundance.

If you have skills that can be helpful to someone – share them. Volunteer somewhere. Volunteer here!

If we have money that we can give – give it away. Support organizations that support you and your ideals.

We are moving through ALL the stages of creation all the time. In some areas of our lives we are planting, in some nurturing and protecting and in some - we are harvesting.

So let’s make sure we don’t forget to celebrate the harvest and share it with those around us.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Divine Wait

The last few times I talked we were looking at the idea of Tilling the Spiritual Soil. We talked about how lasting change happens from the inside out – not by changing our outer circumstances – but by making a shift in here.

We talked about preparing the soil – our minds – for change and growth. Gently removing rocks and weeds – those unwanted beliefs in our minds and hearts that are getting in the way of our growth and fulfillment.

We talked about going within – to God – for connection with the divine as we move ahead in our lives. Choosing the seeds that we want to grow. Remember Myrtle Fillmore’s quote – “When you talk “hard times”, you are sowing “hard times” seed. By the natural law of growth and yield, what kind of harvest will you reap?”

So we plant the seeds. The new thoughts related to what we want to change in our life experience. Perhaps seeds of prosperity, hope, harmony, peace, good health.

And then we wait, we wait for something to happen, something to change. We wait – expectantly…and sometimes we end up in that place where - NOTHING IS HAPPENING!

Anybody been there? Decide to make a change – do the work and then – how come nothing is happening? What happenstehn ? We may begin to doubt ourselves. We start to question. Do we wait – do we push ahead? How long does it take to see some result of my prayers? Is there something else I need to do? Did I do it wrong? Did I forget something?

Just like planting a seed…… we plant the seed and then there comes a time of ______________? Waiting. Can’t see if anything is happening. Don’t know if it is growing or not. May even be tempted to dig up a little around the seed and see if it is starting to ‘do something’.

It’s one thing to wait when we know when something is going to happen and what it will be. As a child, or perhaps even as adults, we might be looking forward to Christmas or a birthday. Well, we can look at the calendar and know how long it is going to be before that day arrives. We can tick off each day – or in the case of Christmas, open the little doors on the Advent calendar and then – the day arrives. No more waiting.

But what about when we are waiting for something that we don’t know when it will show up and often we do not even know in what form it will show up.

There are a couple of things that we can consider while we are in this ‘waiting period.’ of the creative process. Because that is what we are doing – creating something. A new way of being, a new way of living, a new way of looking at life, a new perspective.

One of the things that this time calls for us is to be more human beings, and less human doings.

For those of us who tend to get active when we want something to happen, this can be quite a challenge. We wait and watch, we watch, we wait.

If it was really a seed, we would be in that time of waiting for that first little bit of green to break through the surface. Some evidence, some outward sign that something is going on. I suspect some of us are better at this than others.

There are ways we can approach this time that are helpful and empowering – and there are ways that are not so enjoyable. Since we have probably experienced the not so great ones: impatience, frustration, doubt, worry – let’s talk about the alternatives.

In Unity we talk about our Twelve Powers and there are two that really come to my mind when I think about this ‘waiting’ period. The first is the power of Faith.

We all have faith. Faith is one of the 12 Powers we were born with. You cannot have more faith than you have right now. The question is: how are you using your power of faith? Do we see the news about the environment, the conflict, the crime and put our faith in those things? Do we think about them, add our emotion power to them, roll them over and over in our minds?……………then that is where we are putting our power of faith.

So as we spend time in the ‘waiting’ be aware how you are using your divine power of Faith. Pay attention to what thoughts you are surrounding your new idea with. Thoughts of expectancy, of joy… or thoughts of doubt and worry. Remember WE direct our faith.

Faith is multi=directional – like a flashlight. It will shine wherever we point it. And what we point it to will become more real and stronger in our life experience. Be mindful about where you are pointing your faith. It is unlimited. Invest it wisely.

And the other power that I think really comes into play during these time of waiting is Divine Order.

Divine Order, another one of our 12 Powers, means the perfect outworking of any situation. It does not mean Vicki’s idea of the perfect outworking of the situation. It is the perfect outworking of Spirit, of God, of the highest good for EVERYONE involved.

The activity of the divine, of God, is so powerful. It works for our highest good even without our being able to observe it. It is working away in the seed underground and it is working in us in ways we can observe and in ways we cannot. Divine Order is always at work in our lives.

Divine Order is putting me in the right and perfect place. Trusting that Divine Order is at work in us and in our world ALL the time. Even when we think it should be different.

Sometimes we think “God, could you work a little faster please?” We can see exactly what we want – why isn’t it coming now?

Picture this: in the middle of a deep cold winter day you see a moth at the window, desperately trying to get outside. It is very clear to the moth that outside is where it wants to be! But what do we know—as we stand aside and watch the scene. We know that if the moth were to have its desire and get outside— it would perish immediately.

I suspect Divine Order is working in our lives in the same way. Protecting us until the time is right—even as we beat our wings against an inexplicable invisible barrier.

Every few years I plant avocado pits. In the past I have had huge trees that cover a whole corner of the dining room. One year I put the toothpicks in and put it in a glass of water and left it, knowing it would take e its time to send up a sprout and some roots. Several months later I noticed something. I had placed the pit in upside down and in a most determined way, the root that had come out of the top was making its way down to the water and the poor shoot that had sprouted under water was making its way up to the light.

Within the avocado is an inner intelligence that directs the roots and the shoots and they know which way to go - even when everything around them would tell them otherwise.

There is a divine intelligence working within us that is more wise and powerful than we can even imagine.

So in this waiting period – we can direct our power of faith to divine order and its perfect outworking in our lives. We don’t need to see it – we KNOW it!

And there is one last thing we can do while we ‘wait’.

Give thanks… in advance. Give thanks that everything is unfolding as it should - for the highest good of all.

When a gardener plants seeds they know what to expect and when. And I am quite sure they use that time of waiting – not in doubt and turmoil, but in the anticipation of the new crop. Of the sweet apples, the flowers, the lettuce. They picture it, feel it, taste it and see it.

I realize that when we are planting a new seed – a new idea – it is not so straight forward. Things, people and ideas need time to grow. However I do know that if we can spend this time with the same feelings of anticipation, expectancy, seeing the good, feeling it, tasting it – the results will be influenced by this powerful way of being.

This simple prayer says it well:

Dear God
I am not going to wait until I see results or receive rewards,
I am thanking you right now.

I am not going to wait until I feel better or things look better,
I am thanking you right now.

I am not going to wait until people say they are sorry,
I am thanking you right now.

I am not going to wait until the pain in my body disappears,
I am thanking you right now.

I am not going to wait until my financial situation improves,
I am thanking you right now.

I am not going to wait until the children are asleep and the house is quiet,
I am thanking you right now.

I am not going to wait until I get promoted at work or until I get the job,
I am thanking you right now.

I am not going to wait until I understand every experience in my life,
I am thanking you right now.

I am not going to wait until the journey gets easier,
I am thanking you right now.

REMEMBER: direct your Faith wisely, know that Divine Order is at work in our life even when we can’t see it and always give thanks in advance!