Imagine No Possessions

 

Imagine 091017My most favorite song line, (in the whole world,) was written by John Lennon.  It’s the line smack dab in the middle of imagining a world with no borders, no religion, no greed or hunger.  It’s the line that makes me cry every time: “You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”  I have intuitively known this to be true my whole life, I’m not the only one!   Although, it can feel pretty lonely imagining good when surrounded with things that don’t look or feel very good.  (And others wanting you to jump on the awful wagon with them.)

Life can take an unexpected turn in a moment.  Last week much of Houston was underwater and this week more storms are moving through the Atlantic.  Even the deeply spiritual individual can find his or her faith challenged in difficult times.

Spiritually speaking, doubt itself can be healthy.  Soul searching grows us and reasoning on spiritual matters is fodder for deeper understanding and awareness.  From this minister’s perspective, any storm has potential to push us to be spiritually and religiously creative and alive.  The trials we live through can be highly productive for gaining wisdom and re-evaluating the things that really matter.

Our willingness to question what we believe can lead us to greater clarity.  And giving ourselves permission to wonder and even doubt our beliefs is that fodder which carries us to deeper conversations… if we are brave enough to discuss such personal matters.  Life advances us through change, and personal change can’t happen if we don’t examine and question our behaviors and beliefs from time to time.

Dr. Holmes wrote that nature doesn’t let us stay in one place for too long.  “She will let us stay just long enough to gather the experience necessary to the unfolding and advancement of the soul… Nature demands change in order that we might advance.”  So the wise ones dare to re-examine everything, especially when storms move though our lives. imagine 2

Storms come seemingly uninvited.  Change that comes instantly through tragedy is more difficult to process, especially when great loss is experienced.  I heard the song Imagine in my head this morning.  And I heard that innocent line in the middle that asks us to imagine having no possessions.  And Lennon was right, it wasn’t hard to do.  One of our minister’s has a sister in north Houston who has lost all her possessions, so even though we live in the desert, a thousand miles away, Hurricane Harvey hit close to home.

As we have followed our “sister’s” story, we have become personally involved.  I was struck by how different the impact of the hurricane felt to me, once I learned a family member had been evacuated.  And as the days passed we were able to rejoice with her too, as she shared the stories of people helping people, total strangers united without judgment or bias.

As we watch our planet move through geo-physical events, as we witness chaotic conditions in which we imagine we have lost control, we are rich with opportunity to see that what we can control is our self.  Our thoughts and actions are primed to respond in a larger way than ever before.  But we cannot advance if we hang-on to our old ideas and behaviors.

Something new is emerging on the planet.  It is not because of changing weather patterns or economic instability or politics and governance.  What we witness unfolding on this planet is the effect of change, change that results from previous causes or choices.  But we and this planet are created to be adaptable.

What we are witnessing is the adaptation of Life itself, and our current response determines our future, individually as well as shared.  Life is changing because it has to change.  The old ways are no longer effective and something greater is moving into expression.  It’s the way life works.  Life changes in order for us to continue.  This planet constantly adapts because there is an unstoppable insistence of Life for life.  THIS IS NOT A BAD THING.

That is not to say we can turn our backs on the fear and sadness that we collectively experience when devastating things unfold in the world.  In fact, the current state of the world has awakened millions of souls.  We’re having conversations we’ve needed to have for a long, long time.

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And many have been called to live a more compassionate and caring, even a more giving life.  And yet, it looks pretty chaotic on all levels.  But when I want to remodel my home, things look pretty messy for awhile.  As Pearl S. Buck once said, “All birth is messy.”

At the time of this writing a string of storms is on the move in the Atlantic.  So what are the practical things we can do to manage the fear and confusion, even spiritual restlessness that such things stir up?  If you’re directly impacted by something as devastating as a flood, there’s immediate work to be done.  But those of us on the sidelines are shaken too.  Here are a few suggestions to begin our own healing.

First:  Acknowledge your own sadness around the events we have all witnessed from afar.  Feel the heart ache because our willingness to feel is what creates compassion.  And compassion is good for everyone.

Second:  Look for positive stories in the news.  Watch the videos of people helping people.  Be acutely aware of thousands of ways strangers are helping strangers right now.  This is humanity unified in action, a demonstration of the inter-connectedness of life.  Expect to see good!  Positive anticipation raises the state of one’s own well-being.

Third:  If you can, DO SOMETHING!  Give, help, pray, affirm the safety of all living beings affected.   Join a prayer circle or meditation group or attend a service.  A group consciousness is calming, uplifting, and productive for all.

Meanwhile, please be gentle with each other.  In the July 2017 issue of Science of Mind magazine, Mitch Horowitz addressed our need to be sensitive in times of tragedy.  He wrote, “Our theological responses must be based in compassion and a steely eyed realism about how the universe responds to these needs.”

We can respond with a listening ear and an open, tender heart.   If someone in your life is worried about their loved ones in Texas, support them with your love – resist the temptation to cheer them up or try and fix them.  Be kind, be present so they can be vulnerable enough to begin their own healing.

And if you are wrestling with your own questions, that’s o.k.  Seek to remember there is a Power, an Intelligence that is greater than we are.  We can call on that universal Truth.  No single religion owns Truth.  Something all-knowing and infinite created this life.  Watch how quickly the gulf recovers.  Pay attention to the way nature responds because as we witness the laws of nature, we can know the spiritual laws of the Universe are equally as powerful and active.

I share the sentiments of the great Christian mystic, Emma Curtis Hopkins when she said, “Lord, quicken me with heavenly fervor… Show me the words to make the world glad and sane.”

Together we can bless this planet and believe we’re not alone in imagining.  I rejoice in knowing I am not the only one!

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The 80/20 Rule

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Blame it on the perky peas.  Because of the peas a whole new theory was born.  Vilfredo Pareto was a scholarly Italiano, Philosopher in the 1800’s.  He was also known as an Economist, an Engineer and a Sociologist.  The legend says he was working in his own garden and he observed that only 20% of the pea pods produced 80% of the healthy peas.

He didn’t find fame in the garden, but his observation drew his attention to the Italian economy.  He developed a theory of uneven distribution in terms of the wealth and land ownership by noticing that 20% of the people had 80% of the wealth.  He then studied industry and found that 80% of production came from 20% of the workers.

Pareto’s interest in what is known as the law of the vital few, continued to grow.  His theory assumed that most of the results in any situation are determined by a small number of causes.  The principle of factor sparsity eventually became known as Pareto’s Principle.

Pareto’s generalization theory is commonly observed today as a useful way of determining productivity, profits and even sales.  Most of us have heard it said, 20% of the volunteers do 80% of the work, or 20% of the congregants contribute 80% of the donations.  But it gets even more interesting as we begin to look at our personal habits.Pareto principle

The 80/20 Rule also reflects in the way we live.  Think about it…  We wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time.  We live in 20% of our home 80% of the time.  I use 20% of the books in my home library for 80% of my research.  The more we consider this theory, the more valuable it becomes in our understanding of life.

Dr. Kennedy Schultz, the author of You Are the Power, addressed Pareto’s Principle when he wrote, “Roughly 20% of the population of this world approach life to make something out of it and to bring something to it.  The other 80% approach life needing to get something out of it because they believe they have little to give.”

Dr. Kennedy’s speculation suggests that most people don’t understand that life has already given them everything needed to be successful and happy.  Everyone has opportunity to participate in co-creating a satisfying life, but only about 20% of us seem to be aware of it.  And as a generalization, one might recognize 80% of the population does not seem to be as happy, prosperous nor as healthy as they could be.

So before you jump for joy as you identify yourself in the 20%, let’s consider one more possibility.  What if it’s true that about 20% of the population recognizes that personal power of which Dr. Kennedy spoke?  And further, in that same group, what if we also contend there is a higher awareness and therefore a greater sense of conscious, spiritual accountability?  Let’s advance the Pareto Principle yet another step.  What if these, who we will now refer to as those who demonstrate spiritual maturity, what if these are only awake and aware about 20% of their waking day?  Furthermore, what if we considered that miraculous rather than lacking?

I believe the 80/20 Rule tells me that if I don’t choose, if I don’t consciously participate in the circumstances of my life, I will be like 80% of the population.  And if I don’t choose and I let life bounce me around, if I simply conform to the norm, fit in with the majority of the people and the trends and the attitudes, I won’t be fully using the gifts that God gave me.  We are created to be unique individuals, finger prints and all!

If this is even remotely possible, then I want to be aware of and use my God given talents!  It is a call to be intentional with our joy and effusive with our love and determined to not be a victim to circumstance.

Ernest Holmes, the founder of the Science of Mind teaching, had a 51% rule.  He reminded us that as we choose each day, make conscious choices as to how we show up in the world, we direct our thoughts and our actions intentionally.  And when we do that, we rise above the common, the collective whole, and see life from a higher perspective.  At 51% I’m moving through life at a higher vibration and perspective than more than half the population.

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This is great incentive for developing an ongoing spiritual practice.  Choosing one’s attitude moment by moment will carry us far.  Yet I also think that our overall awareness of goodness, of health, prosperity, joy, our determination to recognize the presence of something greater than we are, carries a higher energetic vibration than we have realized.  Being grateful for such things keeps us fresh in our resolve.

Being conscious and aware and grateful 20% of the time buoys us higher than 51% because we rise above 80% of the common thought.  Generally speaking, Pareto was a genius.  But you don’t have to be a scholar to interpret the logic of the mathematical laws behind his principle.

Get Your Motor Running

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It’s not the first time an inauguration has stirred things up.  Yet it feels like a significant stir!  Now that I’ve found my way to settle down and get square with life again, I can look at the world through willing eyes, that is to say, eyes that are willing to see more than the surface of things.  Of course that requires a mind that is willing to surrender a few personal opinions and all that certainty.  Regaining curiosity and a spirit of inquiry broadens what one sees, softens the harshness and opens the possibilities.

From my renewed perspective, I’m not sure what I find more interesting, the daily news or the stunning reactions from otherwise intelligent and caring individuals.  (This varies of course, according to one’s own opinion.)  To appease my own sense of hope, I thought I would share a couple of simple ideas we can use to move us through ongoing conversations voicing disheartenment or deep concern for the state of affairs in our current world.

The automobile.  Yes, it created quite a stir at the turn of the 20th century.  They called it the great manure crisis of 1894.  Some declared it was the end of the world.  And the world was saved because a solution came from a completely surprising direction.  Everyone was focused on the… well, let’s just say equine byproduct – what to do with all that stuff.  You can Google the full story, but my point is, they were looking in the wrong direction hoping to find the shinola.  It’s all about cause and effect.  They were shoveling things around in the realm of effect instead of going back to cause and seeing freshly fertilized possibilities.

Maybe we can use that analogy to help us seek a higher solution now.  So many angry words, name calling and doomsday pontificators are moving a lot of stuff around now.  And maybe that’s o.k. because somehow the mess (especially because it is being acknowledged) will call forward a greater solution we haven’t seen yet.  It’s a brand new era and lots of loud voices are calling, demanding that something new should emerge.

Using the example of the car and looking at the process of driving might be a good approach to demonstrate my point.  Before we can drive we have to learn the basics of controlling the vehicle on the road.  We also have to learn the laws that keep traffic flowing safely.  In a similar manner, success in living depends upon our savvy in moving about the planet in this vehicle that serves as our human body.traffic-lights-514932_960_720

Spiritual practices help us hone our skills in human life.  Relationships must be maneuvered.  Our bodies and minds must be fed physically and mentally.  We learn how to work with the natural laws such as gravity, but we also learn the spiritual laws of circulation, reciprocity and mental equivalents.

We want to understand what it means to reap what you sow, that there are consequences connected to actions (cause and effect) so that we can experience greater good in our lives and grow through our mistakes.  If I want to drive, I have to have auto insurance and obey the laws or I can lose the privilege and freedom connected to driving.

In like manner, knowledge of spiritual principle gives me greater discernment in my life choices.  A commitment to understanding the law earns the privilege of living a more comfortable life, a life in the natural flow of things, not against.  When our choices align to natural laws, we can sense that life is for us, supporting not opposing our highest good.  But success depends on willingness to learn and practice those laws.

So, back to the car, what happens when I want to drive myself to the grocery store?  If I know I want to get to the market, I go out to the car, sit behind the wheel, take the key and turn on the ignition.  I know the engine has started because I can hear it running and I can feel the vibration of the motor.  I am aware that there’s a whole lot of power in that engine, and I’m about to use it to get me around.key-791390__340

Prayer is like turning the key that ignites the natural power.  When I want to get my mental attitude somewhere other than a focus of chaos or the fear I’m seeing in the world or my life, I consciously turn within to tap into that Indwelling Power.  The words of the prayer help to convince me that right where I am is all the power of the universe.  It shifts my attention away from the problem.  This changes my vibration… something greater than I am now has my attention.  For prayer to be effective, we have to feel it, really feel it deep within.  It’s like starting that mighty engine inside, feeling the power and knowing you got your motor running.

Now I’m ready to direct my course.  To be specific, if I want to get groceries I have to get myself to the grocery store.  I get in the car, start the engine, buckle up, put the car in reverse and back out of the driveway.  In my neighborhood that means I must quickly decide if I’m going east or west.  If I’m not paying attention, I might head west before I remember I actually wanted to go east, which means I either have to go all the way around the block or come back into my driveway to turn around.  Either way, I get a do-over as soon as I notice my error.  Groceries east.  Redirect course!photo-1453211213953-4e0e80986071

Here’s where it gets good…  In terms of prayer, the power is always running.  We use the words of prayer to get in the groove of it, to feel the inner power.  There’s a dynamic energy in the Universe that governs all things.  I know it to be God and I know through prayer that it is a power that is supporting and guiding me at all times.  It withholds nothing from me, but I must first accept it.

So I turn the key and I idle in that vibration for awhile.  Ernest Holmes, the founder of Religious Science, emphasized the value of feeling the power.  He said, “The mind is most completely in tune with the Infinite when the emotions are most constructively aroused.”  So this is the point where we remember what we believe about God, about that powerful indwelling presence.  I want to constructively arouse my emotions.  Doing so is the way we prepare the soil for planting the seeds of our desires.  We are setting a trajectory that will move us into the next experience.

There’s this annual car race where a bunch of cars drive in a big circle for a day or so.  Hubby was watching some of it on T.V. when I had this thought:  It’s a call to prayer.  What if the next challenge that crops up in your life, or the next time you find yourself triggered by a political opinion (or someone who doesn’t know shinola), what if we tried this…  Imagine the problem or the trigger as a great parting in the skies, and a booming voice announces, “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES!”  Maybe it could be that simple – all the things that disturb us are just calls to prayer, like a divine reminder to get your motor running.  Turn the key, feel the engine, direct the power. 

  • An angry post on Facebook: “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES!”  (Turn the key, feel the engine, direct the power).
  • Unkind words overheard in public: START THE ENGINE, feel it, direct the power.
  • An unexpected financial predicament: START THE ENGINE, feel it, direct the power.

The bottom line is this:  All change occurs from the level of consciousness, from mental attitude first.  Recognize God.  Know who your Source is, where the power is and how to use it.  Contemplate God and spiritual matters, and pray.  Each of us has the power to direct our course.  If we use it, especially if we use it aligned to spiritual principle, we really will change the world.  Get your motor running!!

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Farewell Old Year! (Or, What a Rock Star!)

 

2017-new-yearMy, my, my.  What a fascinating close to a stunning twelve months.  It’s been an interesting time to stand in a position of spiritual leadership.  Ministers are privy to the concerns of people, often beyond casual conversations.  And what a blessing it has been to be invited to turn to prayer with such frequency, to open oneself to an aroused sense of compassion as a result.  My tender heart is so grateful for this teaching and our use of affirmative prayer.

As we move into the pure new pages of an unmarked calendar, a surprising number of people are still struggling with finding promise and hope in the days ahead.  It’s almost as if the blank squares in the datebook are filled with question marks and uncertainty instead of possibility.  But I am firm in my belief that peace of mind is an ongoing choice.  Experiences of the world invite us to a new level of creativity which never limits but rather broadens what’s possible.

And so even as a minister might feel bounced around by world events or family conflict or a looming health concern, we can lead by example in the practice and use of thlincolne spiritual tools we teach.

Abraham Lincoln wrote a message to congress in December of 1862.  Great challenges lay ahead for this man who recognized the great divide in a country moving through change.  He said, “The dogmas of the past are inadequate to the stormy present.  The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion.  As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.  We must disenthrall ourselves.”

These words are applicable today… the old ways will not be adequate for this stormy present we live in so we must rise.  We must think and act anew.  Yet most intriguing are the next words:  We must disenthrall ourselves.

To be enthralled is to be spellbound or enslaved.  I would have to say it does appear that many of us are still spellbound by the politics and world events that have surprised us and changed the course of life as we have known it.  It is also true that we can be enslaved by a medical diagnosis or a health issue of a loved one or a disappointing turn in a relationship.  Yet there is a greater Truth that never changes.  There is something greater than all of the worldly effects we experience in our living.

The first step in a healthy spiritual practice is in remembering what we believe.  Do you believe in a power and a Presence greater than you are?  Do you believe in a Universe that is for you and not against you?  Do you believe in a benevolent creator that created all of life?  Peace, power, love, joy, goodness, beauty, light and wisdom, these are the qualities of God that we profess in the teaching of Science of Mind.

If you are questioning your own beliefs, then I say, GOOD FOR YOU!  There is never anything more enlightening than questioning our old beliefs.  There is no other way to grow.  We are always invited, especially at the end of the year, to release any old beliefs that are no longer serving us for a higher and greater experience of life.calendar

So as we begin a brand new year and say farewell to the old, here is the formula that absolutely burst forth for this minister in the aftermath of our November quaking.  It’s a series of three questions.

  1. Ask yourself, (no matter what’s going on that has shaken you) Where is God here?  And then just notice where your attention is drawn.  This question opens us to see the Intelligence of the Universe right where we are.  This is why a walk in nature is good for the soul.  It helps us validate that right where we are, God is.
  2. How can I forgive my limited vision here? (Because if things look scary or hopeless, I have limited my perspective by judging appearances – usually because things aren’t going the way I planned.)  I go direct and ask God to show me a higher vision or another way of seeing whatever it is.
  3. How can the Science of Mind tools help me now? And 3 quick responses show up:  SOM keeps me conscious – awake to spiritual truth; It reminds me I am not a victim but I remain in choice at all times; It gives me a bold call to stay active in spiritual practice.

And what does spiritual practice look like?

  1. I am nudged to feed myself spiritual food by way of reading, studying, taking classes, and attending spiritual services with like minded others.
  2. I sense the urgency of being still for awhile everyday, meditating, contemplating and listening for the Voice of God.
  3. Prayer – direct and positive affirmation of truth on a regular basis.

I call this my 3/3/3 Plan.  Three questions, three answers and three practices.  Sometimes we fall down.  And then we get up.  And here’s the formula to help.

I attended a Tina Turner concert in the 1980s.  The coolest thing happened, more than once.  She was dancing like crazy in those sexy high heels and would get caught up in the music and fall down.  But you almost didn’t see it because she had these body guards on stage that would whip over and lift her back up and she never missed a dance step.heels

Tina said once, “The real power behind whatever success I have now, was something I found within myself- something that’s in all of us… a little piece of God just waiting to be discovered.”

Her story began with great difficulty.  She wasn’t always happy or successful.  But she persevered and pursued her dreams and became a great success, because she always knew how to get up again.  It’s ok to fall down.  It’s not the end just because we move through difficult, seemingly impossible times.  That’s why Tina is one of my favorite rock stars!

Try out this formula and see if it doesn’t make 2017 a little easier to move through.  Or better yet, make your own formula.  Together we can find a way, as Lincoln said, to look at our inadequate past, to acknowledge the stormy present and to still think and act anew!  It starts by being disenthralled with the story.

And finally, look more closely at your calendar…  See if you can notice that each empty square is a symbol of tremendous possibility.  We get to fill in every space, and better yet, we choose to use either pencil or ink.  It’s a beautiful metaphor for life – the choice rests in the hand that holds the writing tool.  After all, aren’t we always writing, and then re-writing the story of our life?  It’s a privilege unique to humankind.  Let us therefore, do no harm to others as we pen the tale, for we cinch the deal as we believe!

Conscious One-ing

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Growing up in Southern California as a third generation native has a certain privilege to it.  It’s the privilege of intimacy with the sea.  All my best early memories are related to the smell of salty sea air, sand between my toes and bonfires on the beach.  I learned to swim in the Colorado Lagoon in Long Beach.

Some days my parents fished from the pier all day long while my cousins and I played down on the beach.  At night we kids would join our parents on the pier.  We would curl up in sleeping bags to get warm and doze off to sleep hearing the shore break nearby, and the laughter and love of the old folk enjoying each other’s company.  The smell of fish still triggers memories of family and joy.

I learned many lessons from those countless days at the ocean.  One that I ponder often is the movement of the waves toward the shore.  Some unseen power creates motion that will form a wave.  That wave, at a certain point, will begin to roll and then has no choice but to crash on the shore.  The salty sea crawls through the sand and then is drawn back out again, in perfect rhythm… like the steady breath of life.

You might say that the shoreline is that experience of oneness where the wave meets the sand, water and earth, one-ing and then unone-ing.  I’m intrigued by the constancy, but I’m also intrigued by the way the ocean always remains true to itself, knows to return to where it comes from.  And the sand also knows how to meet the sea and then separate itself too.  The nature of the shore is to maintain this relationship.  One-ing and unone-ing.  Some Intelligence in the Universe insists upon it!

What a great lesson for the human experience.  We are individualized expressions of Spirit Itself.  In these finite bodies we are an expression of Infinite Life.  We are forever expressing that eternality.  Eternal Life is not something we get later as a reward for a life well lived.  It already exists as us now.  We already are Infinite by the very nature of our aliveness.  And some great motion in the Universe created us from Itself. photo-1454650878111-b736c9a5e9c2

We can have an experience of being separate from our Creator, but we can never really exist apart from that One.  We are on the shore, standing on land in physical form.  We are the mingling of liquid and solid… a relationship that cannot exist aside from Wholeness.  The very idea that we can one, and then un-one is simply a limited view of a greater Truth.

Conscious One-ing is the way we discover that greater Truth.  Recognizing our Oneness with God, realizing we are one OF God, is the quickest path to Truth.  Conscious One-ing is about being intentional in the practice of remembering that right where I am, God is.  And when I am One with All that Is, I am in that great divine flow without resistance.  Things naturally go better and my life is surely sweeter.  And should I find that I have un-oned myself, I may find the appearance of two or many.  But even here, the urge to return is strong like the tide.  Conscious One-ing is listening for the call to Wholeness.

Being a partkarens-i-phone-562 of humanity is that privilege which comes only in the mingling of liquid and solid.  The spiritual path is about Wholeness and life is about movement and change and the roll of each wave, the divine movement of life.

Sometimes waves crash on the shore, and sometimes they crash on the rocks, and sometimes, they even crash into each other.  But always, the sea shows us the greater wisdom of being pulled naturally back to center.  So many great lessons from growing up near the sea.

 

Raising Hell

There’s a big bowl of suckers and chocolate candies still on the table by the front door.  It’s the lingering evidence of Halloween in the rear view mirror and a diminishing number of costumed tricksters come a-knocking.  There was very little hell raising in our neighborhood this year.

Halloween is one of the few excuses children have to play in the dark and get rewarded for it.  Sometimes I think we adults could learn a thing or two from being more authentic about playing out the shadow side of our lives.  In fact, it seems to me that raihalloweensing hell could be the way we raise what’s hidden in the dark and bring it to the light.

Spiritually speaking, shadow work is where we find the rich fodder for personal growth and spiritual deepening.  And dealing with our fear may be the greatest gift toward global transformation.

Ernest Holmes once wrote, “To overcome fear is the greatest adventure of the human mind.”  He emphasized a way of life that embraces Divine Fearlessness, holding a singleness of purpose so firm in mind that we are determined to align our thoughts to the thoughts of God.  To do this is a great adventure.

An adventure is a voyage, a journey, an exploration.  It’s about living our lives awake and inquisitively, studying and learning and looking deeply into matters of the soul.  We are very much the explorers of Truth, uncovering our own understanding of things unseen yet felt.  We somehow seem to sense that which is greater and beckons us forward even while we can’t always find our way there.

Recently I had a scary dream and woke with my heart racing and my head pounding, only to realize it was just a dream.  But there’s that time it takes to become fully awake before we can calm ourselves down.  I think that’s where we are now, less than a week before the most interesting presidential election in history.  (I use the word interesting to imply curious or peculiar rather than a pleasurable interest.)

It feels like we’re in the middle of bad dream and we can’t quite shake it off.  There’s a reason for that.  Social psychologists are pulling great research from social media, especially Twitter and Facebook.  Those who sell the news already know that fear spreads wider and faster than other types of information.  But a computer scientist from USC, Emilio now-is-the-time-103016Ferrara, has gathered some fascinating data.

Ferraro wrote a program that can mine conversations on social media and can analyze emotional sentiment.  In 2014 researchers involved with the project had an impressive opportunity to follow the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.  On September 30, they noticed an unprecedented surge of data flowing into the system, and determined that CNN had broken the news through a Twitter feed that the first case of Ebola had reached the U.S.  Within days, hysteria set in.  Within one month a Gallup poll showed that Americans believed Ebola was the third biggest health concern in the country.  One in six Americans believed Ebola was the nation’s greatest health problem, even though the CDC had only confirmed 4 cases in the entire country.

The spread of fear was pandemic and pervasive.  Scientists call it emotional contagion and they explain how these misperceptions propagate:  When we read fear-rich tweets or posts or news articles, or when we view videos of the same, our bodies respond to the fear as a threat.  This triggers a physical response in the body as if it were real and our conscious, thinking mind doesn’t have a chance to reason it through.  Because we feel threatened we’re more likely to believe that we are threatened.  And then, before we evaluate the level of truth in the post or video, we’re quick to share it or pass it along.  Re-tweets and Facebook shares which are fear-rich are posted twice as fast as neutral information and, sadly, twice as fast as positive information too.

We know now that what you give power to, has power over you!  But hear these encouraging words of Marie Curie:  “Nothing in life is to be feared.  It is only to be understood.  Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”  How strongly I feel this to be true.  NOW IS THE TIME TO UNDERSTAND MORE, so that we may fear lessit-takes-both-103016

This year has been fear-rich in terms of the 2016 Presidential election, and we are witnessing, even experiencing, stress contagion.  It’s time for us to wake up and shake off the dream and return to love.  Perfect Love casts off fear.

Let us join together to raise hell and pull the demons into the light so that we might individually see that everything looks different in the Light.  Things are clearer and less scary when they’re not left in the dark.  Let us bring our own minds out of the hellish dream and back to a greater Truth.  Right where we are is a greater wisdom, immense possibility and divine Grace.  Where will you put your faith?

I do believe, as has been said before, that it’s time for us to see it takes both a right wing and a left wing to fly above the hellish games we play.

Let us soar together and return to love. 

And by the way, my prediction is that on Wednesday after the polls have closed and the scandalous accusations continue, it will be a lot like Y2K… we can drain the water out of the bath tub and get on with life!

Change Your Mind

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“Choose once again.”  ~A Course in Miracles

The Universe has gifted you with one of the most incredible gifts imaginable.  It is one of those gifts that remains somehow underappreciated, but it’s with you at every moment.  It is the power to change your mind.

Life is full of delicious encounters and situations, colorful personalities and quirky moments.  There are days when decision making is awkward.  And some days feel bumpy or downright dark.  But God offers us one power at every turn:  The Power of Choice.  We may not consciously choose all the experiences we walk through, but we are always in choice as to how we respond to things.  The only question is, will you respond in Love?

Ernest Holmes was firm in pointing toward our relationship to Choice.  He taught scientifically the method in which we set the mold for our experience through every thought we think.  Our freedom and power come in recognizing that we can choose those thoughts.

When life feels difficult, we can release the situation to Spirit and allow God to show us a different way of seeing things.  One of my favorite passages from A Course in Miracles is the one that states:  “God, I don’t know what any of this means, but I’m willing to see it in a new way.”  This phrase has carried me through many complicated days.  When I’m willing to let go of the way I think things are going, it readies me to choose again and see the situation in a new way.  And it never fails, God would have me see things in a more loving way.

Holmes wrote, “Let us choose to be identified with power, with love and beauty, with peace and happiness.”  If you’re not experiencing life in a way that works for you, choose once again.  Choose to feel God’s Love and fill yourself up with it.  Even today, no matter what is going on in world events, nature is opening all her beauty and moving into fullness around you.  Notice this glorious truth.  Begin to sense that beauty and feel the Love of God, for no matter what else is going on in your life, Love is there too.

It’s time for each of us to take our place in God’s plan dear friend.  The healing of the world begins within you.  Choose to see more Love in the world and with great certainty, your world will become a more loving place.