Well, here we are, week 6 in our Love in Action series, in which we are exploring how to live with a full sense of the possibilities and abundance that life has to offer. We're exploring what it is to know … not think but KNOW … that whatever we desire to do, whatever we are meant to be – life will support us in doing it. I’ve struggled a bit with whether to continue this series during this time when every single aspect of our lives is disrupted. I wondered whether it even makes sense to deliver a message on the Creative Power of Gratitude when so many are suffering. And so I sat with those questions in the silence, simply asking to receive guidance.
And that guidance came in short order. There is no better time to focus on gratitude. Do I believe it can change conditions in the world overnight? Well, not really … I mean it could, if people everywhere were conscious enough to focus on gratitude in the face of apparent lack. But, given that this is probably not going to happen today, let’s do what we are always instructed to do. Let’s start with ourselves. So, I’d like to begin by asking each of you to check in with yourselves. How am I doing? What are my most vexing challenges at this moment? And how are they affecting me? Physically … Emotionally … Spiritually? (Pause)
I’m assuming you’ve been following some of the good advice that’s coming in on media …
staying home … checking on friends and loved ones … finding productive things to do … meditating … reading … spending quality time with family … and creating vacuums by clearing clutter in your home and finances.
Last week we talked about another kind of clearing … forgiveness. We defined forgiveness as letting go of the past. There is nothing better we can do for our own wellbeing … and nothing better we can do for our loved ones … than release the burdens of the past so that we can be fully present in the moment. Our mission is to forgive everyone for everything, including … perhaps especially … ourselves.
We talked about the value of self-reflection and journaling to help us get in touch with lingering energies of resentment, blame, guilt, and regret. The process of forgiveness involves getting really honest with ourselves about the negative states we’re holding on to, feeling those feelings fully and then making the decision to let them go once and for all. Imagine what this return to innocence would feel like. Imagine weights and burdens lifting from your shoulders. Imagine the comfort of deep breaths unencumbered by stress.
Mind you, we’re not trying to get this work done all at once. Our attitude is one of trusting our inner wisdom to bring us the memories we need to work with. Willingness is the golden key. Willingness allows the Holy Spirit to do the work in and through us, by bringing us new insights at the time and in the way that is best for us. So just Breathe.
As we let go of the past, we create that magnetic vacuum we’ve been talking about. The question now becomes … what will fill that space. Remember, nature abhors a vacuum, so unless we are intentional about what we really want to attract, unwholesome, uninvited energies may enter. And this brings us to this week and a focus on Gratitude. We're going to start filling the open vessel we’ve created with the most positive, powerful and creative energy there is: Gratitude.
By now, you know that this whole Love in Action series is really about learning to become a conscious co-creator with God. A conscious co-creator is someone who lives in the awareness that they are in partnership with God … creating their experience of life and being the Way of God in the world. It starts with understanding on a very deep level that life does not happen TO us; it happens THROUGH us. The incredibly good news is that the moment we step into the intention to co-create with God, we step into our destiny. This is who we came here to be. This is what it means to claim the power to BE abundance, not only for ourselves, but for our world. Personally, I want to be a wide-open, ever-flowing, inexhaustible prosperity pipeline. Don’t you?
This is a tremendously important moment in the evolution of our souls. It is the turning point. This is the moment we start living the Truth of who we are and accept our true calling as God's expression on earth. This idea is so huge … it's probably not something we can grasp all at once. Living from a center of gratitude is a giant leap of the soul. It changes everything.
It takes a real commitment and intention to make this leap because up to now most of us have been living as reactors … believing that life is about coping with whatever happens. We were taught this … it's how most of the world lives. And it's 180 degrees from the Truth. But now we KNOW we are AT CAUSE … which means we are co-creating our life experience moment by moment. When we know how to generate gratitude from within, we can use it to create a new and greater experience of life … even when circumstances are challenging … even as challenging as the ones we’re dealing with now.
Those of us who have been working with the material in this series, might as well go ahead and plan to go deeper … because there's no turning back now. We can't un-know what we now know. We may be tempted some days. There will undoubtedly be times when we’d rather not take responsibility for how we’re showing up and what we’re creating … there will probably be times when we’ll slip back into victim thinking. But we won't be able to hang out there … not for long. Because now there is a little voice of Truth inside that won't let us get away with it.
No matter how whiney or blaming we get on any given day … no matter how much we dislike what is happening at any given moment – we now know that the quality of that experience is not in the situation … it's in us. We choose how we are going to frame the situation … how we're going to feel about it … and how we're going to handle it. And, of course, the HOW makes all the difference.
And here's something else. This new awareness – that we are One with Infinite Intelligence … participating moment-by-moment in the creation of our life experience – grows and deepens in us over time. And as it does, our power to transform ourselves and our lives grows and deepens with it. Are you getting a sense of the possibilities?! We're standing on the threshold of living with:
A greater sense of freedom which means that outside forces have less and less control over us.
A clear sense of purpose and the personal power to live into that purpose.
An increase of abundance and prosperity in every area of our lives.
And … best of all … we're going to begin living each day KNOWING that Divine Power is constantly flowing to us and through us out into the world. This sense of connection with Source Energy will anchor us in times of apprehension or challenge. It will become the wind beneath our wings … the courage to step into new opportunities. Though our awareness may dim when our thoughts stray from Truth, this connection will never leave us. It will become the bedrock we can always come back to … no matter how many times our minds wander.
These promises are assured for those who are willing to study the spiritual principles they’ve learned these past few weeks and do the spiritual work they require. Abundance is our birthright. We were not plopped down on this planet and left to struggle through one trial after another wondering what the whole thing is about. We were created out of God Itself. Our highest purpose is to discover who we really are.
The field of infinite possibility lies open to everyone who understands the enormous power of living in partnership with God. We are in the process of discovering for ourselves what the great mystics, masters and spiritual teachers have always known … that we live in a participatory Universe. Our lives are responding to our command. Just as Jesus taught over and over again … Be it done unto you according to your word.
Let’s pause again for a moment. Be it done unto you according to your word. What an amazing reality! And doesn’t it bring up a profound sense of gratitude? Which is perfect … because Gratitude is the energy that is going to take us where we were created to go.
Now I’m not just talking about the cuddly, warm emotion we get in REACTION to something good that happens. No … I’m talking about intentional gratitude. Gratitude that is generated from within. Gratitude that CAUSES good to come into our lives. You know the principle … what we focus on grows. Well, focusing with GRATITUDE is the Law of Attraction on steroids! Nothing attracts more good than a grateful heart. It sees abundance everywhere. It generates an ever-present internal sense of amazement, appreciation and praise. A grateful heart is God-Energy coming through us as our blessing on everything we give and everything we receive.
Just as intentional gratitude commands the Universe to bring more to appreciate, complaining commands the Universe to bring more of what we’re complaining about. Remember, the Universe does not understand "don't want". It does not speak English … it speaks vibration. And its vibration is the echo of our vibration.
We’ve often heard it said that Life is created from the inside out. Now we need to understand this, not just intellectually, but with our hearts and souls. We have the power to create the vibration we want. Circumstances do not call the shots … we do. It's not a matter of waiting until things show up the way we want them to. It's a matter of choosing the vibration we want to send out to the Universe no matter what the circumstance.
I know it’s not easy to focus on what we’re grateful for when times are difficult and painful. And it’s not about denying the difficulty and pain. It’s about feeling our feelings and being willing to let them go. As we learned earlier in the series, the best way to let go of a negative thought cycle is to bring in a greater truth. At CCU we are fond of saying: Life is for me, not against me. And, what if nothing’s wrong? And, show me the blessing. These simple statements always seem to help me return to an attitude of gratitude. This week, I suggest you decide on a couple of simple affirmations that re-center you. It really helps to have them ready when the committee in the mind starts chattering away. I once visited Michael Beckwith’s Agape Church in L.A.. Over every doorway was the statement. NO LACK. How powerful is that!
Once again, the dynamic secret of prosperity is maintaining the vibration of gratitude. So how do we cultivate a dynamic, creative, pro-active, WOW sort of Gratitude? Here are a few easy steps that will help:
First, become conscious of the good in your life. The truth is most of your life is fabulous. So, focus on that part rather than the parts that feel difficult or painful. I have a perfect opportunity right now. My neck is out and the pain that causes can get ALL my attention. When it does, I’m miserable, even though 95% of my body is feeling fine. When I pause and center in gratitude for my overall good health, I begin to notice other things … like how supportive Sepp is and how much his love means to me … how fortunate I am to have Todd as a great new partner in ministry … how much fun it is connect with you all on line … last night’s happy hour was a hoot!
And then I remember something else … that my neck as always been a barometer measuring my stress level. Ahhh … I wasn’t even aware of being stressed. Time for more mindful self-care … more meditation, music, uplifting movies … laughter … naps. How interesting … now I’m even grateful for the pain that came to remind me to re-center in Truth and focus on the abundance of health, love, time, money, community and spiritual connection that is my everyday life.
So, the first step is to remain conscious of all the good we already have. How about starting a gratitude journal? Divine a notebook into 5 sections labeled: Health, Relationships, Finances, Career, and Spiritual Growth. Then start making a list of all the prosperity you already have in each of these areas … and add to the list every day. You’ll be amazed.
Here’s something else for your journal. Do you ever get self-critical about falling back into old habits? Yeh, me too. Do you ever think, “how can I still be doing this? Or not doing that? The remedy is to STOP IT. Instead, focus on how far you've come. Think of yourself 5 or 10 years ago … then say to yourself: WOW girl, you're doing great! Try it … I think you’ll like it.
Now it’s not enough just to make the list … we need to read it over and over again and reflect on our blessings until we feel the gratitude well up from inside. I’m talking about reading and reflecting until we actually start PRAISING GOD for all the good in our lives. FEEL, SAVOR AND PRAISE! What a combination! Yahoo!
The second step is to BLESS your money as it comes in and goes out. PRAISE all the good you receive. BE AWARE of how your money keeps flowing. It goes out as an exchange for the good stuff coming IN. So, don't forget to remind yourself of the abundance that is flowing into your life through your money! When you make your car payment, feel the abundance of reliable, safe transportation. When you pay your electric bill, feel the abundance of a warm or cool comfortable place to live. See what I mean? That's step 2, bless your money and focus on the good it brings into your life.
Third, share your good with others. This is pretty natural. Suppose someone were to give you a big 5-lb box of chocolates. Would your natural instinct be to hide it under the couch and say, I'm going to dig into that box as soon as no one is around. No, well, anyway I hope not. No, you open it up and pass it around and take great pleasure in sharing it. You say, "please … help yourself". We celebrate our good when we share it.
We've talked a lot about the law of circulation … now we take it a step further. Never pass up an opportunity to give or an opportunity to serve. Don't ever pass up an opportunity to prosper someone else. Now, I'm not saying to work yourself into the ground or give until you’re broke. There are so many ways to give – I'm just saying look for them and rejoice in them.
And how about this. Since Sharing Gratitude is so important for creating abundance, how about we start some Gratitude Circles. We’re going to hold the Zoom Gratitude Room open twice a week: Tuesdays from 5:00 – 6:00 and Thursdays from 7:00 – 8:00. Watch your e-mail for the log-in information.
I’ve never forgotten something one of my business mentors told me a long time ago. He said, Catherine, if you help other people get what they want, you'll get what you want. All of you successful business people out there … you know this is true. All really great businesses are focused on customer service. So are all great churches.
The fourth idea is one we’ve already talked about but it’s worth mentioning again. Look for the good even in the midst of a challenge … even in the midst of the global challenge we’re all going through. Here's another axiom of the Law of Circulation … The bigger the challenge, the bigger the gift it contains.
Could COVID-19 be the catalyst that will finally make it clear that we live in a global community … that we’re all inter-connected? Do we now really GET it that we have to heal and prosper together? Is COVID-19 the thing that lets us know … finally … that money is not God? Is it the thing that makes it clear how much damage over-the-top greed, competition and fear can do? Is it time to come together around climate-change issues? I love what Yvonne shared the other day … Could Mother Earth be saying: Enough of this nonsense. I’ve been telling you kids every way I know how that you have to take better care of me and you haven’t been listening. So, GO TO YOUR ROOM … ALL OF YOU.
Here’s a radical idea. Suppose we thank COVID-19 for showing us what we’ve been needing to see? Perhaps if we demonstrate that we’ve gotten the message, it can subside? Every time we bless something by calling it good … we call forth greater abundance. This is very a very powerful thing to do.
So, let’s practice. Now this exercise is much more effective when done with hands on hips. So, go on … no one can see you. Stand up … plant your feet … put your hands on your hips … that's what really gets the power going. Now … think of something in your life right now that isn't going your way. An ache or pain … a financial challenge … a health problem … a career setback. Okay? Got it? Now stomp your foot and repeat after me … not in a wimpy way either:
THIS TOO IS GOOD …THIS TOO IS GOD …THIS TOO IS FOR ME … AND I DEMAND TO SEE THE BLESSING IN IT!
Great! How do you feel now? See … this is pro-active, creative, dynamic gratitude. It's not just about being grateful. It's about doing gratitude. Now that's what I'm talking about. Yeah God!
GRATITUDE MEDITATION 3-29-20
I invite you to allow yourself the gift of relaxation --- there is nothing you need to do or think about for the next few moments. Take a deep, cleansing breath. And another. Relax. And open your heart to the words of poet Anne Sexton ---
There is joy in all:
In the hair I brush each morning
In the bath towel, newly washed, that I rub my body with each morning
In the sound of the coffee pot
In the spoon and the chair and the kitchen table
That say, “hello there” each morning.
All of this is God –
Right in my own little house.
And I mean, though often forget, to give thanks
To sit down at the kitchen table and offer a prayer of rejoicing
As the holy birds outside the window peck at their breakfast of seeds.
So, while we’re thinking of it,
Let us paint a golden thank-you on the screen of our minds
for this God … this laughter of every morning …
lest it go unspoken.
for the Joy that isn’t shared, I’ve heard, dies young.
As we enter into a time of silence, may we sit in the pure joy of gratitude – for the gift of each new day and each new moment. Praise God – I am grateful.
In the Silence
Rejoice … Rejoice. We have been given a new day – to begin again – to see things in a fresh new way. Moment by moment our lives unfold in a rhythm and harmony we often don’t understand, but are called to trust. So we relax and say “yes” to life. We leave this service renewed and refreshed … And deeply grateful.
And so it is. AMEN