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A New Year: Facing Challenges and Remembering

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IMG_4854I was talking to a friend yesterday who is facing big challenges in his life right now.  Without prompting he commented on how fascinatingly full his life is in the midst of the challenges. The conversation helped me to remember that when my attention is on what is missing I can all to frequently miss the outrageous supply of amazingness that is all around me. 

Ernest Holmes said that our teaching is not a get rich quick scheme and that it isn't to be thought of as a something-for-nothing practice, but rather everything in life is paid for in spiritual coin.  I have usually taken that to mean that when I practice charity, meditation, generosity, awareness of the sacred, appreciation, and so on, I'm paying in the spiritual coin that purchases for me a deeper appreciation of what is already present.

Several years ago Alan Cohen sent out an email message about how to relate to the economy.  The list called me to be aware of my thinking during a time of tremendous fear.

IMG_4855Reminder Number One
The economy is an expression of the consciousness of those who create it ― all of us. We vitalize the economy with expansive thinking and action, and we deaden it with fear and contraction.

I'm remembering what happens when I believe my thinking without checking into the thoughts.  When times are tough, that is the time I want to watch most closely so that my inner world doesn't go unnoticed. 

It's tempting to stop practicing when times are good.  It's easy to take responsibility for the people and events in my life when everything is behaving well. I'm trying to practice during difficult times as well as good times.  Right now in our community many people have been hit genuinely hard with job loss, investment loss and worry and I am humbled by their

courage and resolute willingness to look inward so that they can bring about balance in their lives.  Some of the methods they are applying include taking time in nature, getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly and having a daily appointment with sitting in silence.

IMG_4857Reminder Number Two   
The economy is not a fixed entity, but is quite liquid, constantly changing in accord with the thoughts and emotions of those who create it.

In other words the economy you I see today is a result of the actions and attitudes that sourced it in the past and the economy I will experience in the future is a result of the attitudes and actions in us today. I'm remembering my Grandfather who would make spaghetti for the family with a can of anchovies and fried garlic.  We didn't know it meant that we were poor because of the way he prepared and presented both the meal and the event of making it.  To this day the smell of anchovies and garlic makes me happy.  He turned this meager meal into something that would have effect on me for years to come. 

I'm grateful for that and I'm looking at my attitude about areas of my life that are lacking.

IMG_4858Remind Number Three
You have the ability to create a personal economy independent of the one experienced by the masses. A visionary thrives under all conditions.

I am learning about American history and discovering that it is rich with examples of thriving during bad economic times.  The jewels of our two coasts, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Empire State Building were birthed, as I understand it, in the height of the depression.  I'm thinking of ways to to apply the idea of creating a personal economy. What comes to mind is the possibility of investing in simply happiness and love. I'm thinking of spending time with people I appreciate and how beneficial that is. 

I'm thinking of the power of giving my attention to those who enjoy being in my company and I'm exploring ways to give that don't cost anything.

IMG_4859Reminder Number Four    
Engaging in conversations of lack adds to the pool of thought that creates lack conditions.

I am remembering that I don't have to avoid addressing difficult situations to apply this idea.  I can be mindful about crossing the line and saturating myself in one-sided inner conversations where there is no balance. The danger in that is that I start to believe my inner conversation.  In our degree program at the Holmes Institute we train ministerial students to address difficult current events and to prepare news releases representing a metaphysical response to world tragedies and difficulties.  Some of those papers are posted on this blog. I appreciate reading the writings of spiritual, affirmative thinking people, writing about tragedy and suffering and how their insights give me courage and strength to hope.

I am remembering also that Harrison Ford was told he would never make it in the movie business; John Grisham’s first book was rejected by 12 publishers and 16 agents; The Beatles were turned down for by a recording company for being too way out; Charles Darwin was told by his father he would amount to nothing; Beethoven’s music teacher said he was hopeless; Walt Disney was fired for lack of imagination and no original ideas; A producer once told Marilyn Monroe she was unattractive; Sidney Poitier was told by the casting director “Why don’t you stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something”.

IMG_4860Reminder Number Five
You are wealthy by nature, rich in an infinite number of ways that have nothing to do with money. Money is one thin slice of the greater pie of prosperity. Remember how rich you are regardless of money.

I'm remembering how blessed I am even in the midst of challenges. My prescription for practicing this is to make a gratitude list before bedtime. It is one of the most simple exercises I use and I'm consistently amazed at the power of writing down what I appreciate in my life.

Something else I recommend is to take advantage of the free events that are available in our city and at the Center - and to go to them so that you can be among people.  Doing so is medicine for my soul.

Reminder Number Six
In the Chinese written language, the symbol for "crisis" is a combination of the symbols for "danger" plus "opportunity." What opportunity lies before you as an individual and us as a nation?

I'm remembering a friend who went through a particularly difficult break up.  I shared with him something a teacher said to me.  When you look back at this time in your life, what kind of person do you want to remember being?  In other words, looking back at this event in your life, how did you show up for it?

IMG_4851Reminder Number Seven
This is a fertile time to check and reset your priorities. If you end up being truer to values that fulfill you, this "crisis" will have served you well.

I'm remembering my own ministerial training when one of my fellow students' house burned down.  We were devastated on her behalf, yet she seemed rather placid when relaying the details.  She said something like "It's all ok, it's better than ok, I discovered how much I really love you."  She came to a point of quiet dignity in which she realized that everything can, and sometimes is, lost and that what always remains is worth cherishing.

I’ve let loss make me bitter and contracted, I've let my obsession with controlling the future make me careless with people.  I've let fear displace my value of kindness and I'm remember to be done with that.

Reminder Number Eight
8. Circulate your wealth. The antidote to financial contraction is to move energy. When you spend money, you become part of the solution. If you don't have money to spend, be generous in other ways. Give of your time, skill, and love. Even giving compliments is a way to stimulate the economy.

I'm remembering that one antidote to stagnation is to introduce movement or flow.  Sometimes I get stuck in stagnation waiting for someone else to introduce the flow.  This happens in relationship difficulties and forgiveness work with the attitude "I'll shift when you do it first."  I'm remembering that flow and circulation can start anywhere, and that it might as well be me.  I'm trying to see how I can apply that to my awareness of wealth and I'm looking diligently for ways to share what I have.

IMG_4852Reminder Number Nine
Remember that the tide always comes back in. The entire manifest universe functions in cycles. Every wave has a trough and a crest. No wave has ever ended with the trough. There is always a next crest.

I'm remember a particularly difficult disappointment I had.  When I was in the middle of dealing with the situation it seemed like things would never get better.  Looking back now I am reminded that the terrain eventually flattens out as I move further away from it and new horizons appear and new mounts have to be climbed.  I'm remembering the power of the Solstice and the ceremonial lighting of candles to remind me that the light eventually does return, but never in the same way. Just like no spring is ever the same and no flower repeats itself.

Reminder Number Ten
Don't wait for the economy to get back on its feet before you can be happy. Find happiness right where you stand, and you will be the richest person in the world.

I am remembering.


1 comment:

  1. Can really relate to Number Six. It IS more important how YOU showed up, are you proud of you in a challenging scenario? Rather than stress about sorrow or loss or betrayals, do a pulse check on your karma and keep that honorable. Good words!


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