National Forgiveness Day

October 30 is National Forgiveness Day. I didn’t even know we had a “National Forgiveness Day” until yesterday, but I’m glad we do.

In truth, every day should be a forgiveness day. Holding onto grudges, hurts and pain is not healthy physically, mentally or spirituality. Letting go of the past, however, is not always an easy thing to do.

Take being a victim of child abuse. I once heard about a woman in her 40s whose life was a mess. She was unable to maintain an intimate relationship, couldn’t hold a job and seemed constantly angry at the world. She blamed all her problems on her child abuse. When questioned further about it, however, it came to light that she had not endured years of sexual or physical torment from adults. What she referred to as the reason for her life of misery amounted to being touched inappropriately on her thigh by an uncle while fully clothed…once…when she was four years old.

While admittedly a traumatic event, she had built a life of failure and disappointment on this one incident. When it was suggested she forgive her uncle, now long dead, she refused saying she could never forgive that horrible act and it would be the reason her life was miserable. As we know, the Universe only says “yes” to our words and beliefs. Given that she was unwilling to change her thinking there was little to do.

The woman refused forgiveness because she didn’t believe her uncle deserved it. That’s not the point. The point is that she deserved the forgiveness. Holding onto hate and disappointment with others only creates a psychic link between them and us. It doesn’t punish the other person one bit. The only person suffering is usually us.

Learn to “forgive as you go”, just as it is the habit of many of us to “pray as we go”. No matter how bad the situation looks, consider the possibility that everyone involved in the situation in question did the very best s/he could at the time. Could things have been different? Probably. Instead of fretting about the past, think about changing the future by altering our response or participation in what happened so that it doesn’t happen again. Then, let it go. If you feel you can’t, then write that person’s name on a piece of paper and place it on hold (in your freezer), or in a “God box” (somewhere you consider sacred that you can give it to God to handle). If we give it away, it’s no longer ours.

Make it a goal to forgive at least one person today. You don’t have to tell them, unless it’s appropriate. We are One, so on some level there will be a change in your relationship with them anyway. Can’t think of anyone? No problem. Starting with ourselves is a great place to begin!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry

Big Girl Panties

Our challenges are unique and very personal. What may be appear to be a huge obstacle in my mind, may be mere trifle to you. However, having said that, I am brought to the reason for the title of this blog, Big Girl Panties, as in “Put on your big girl panties and deal with it!”

Challenges can be opportunities for growth or they can be just the reason we are looking for to stop us from moving forward. Most people are far more afraid of succeeding than they are of failing. Most of us know really well how to fail at something. How will we deal with success? What will change? Will we lose our friends? Staying stuck can actually be comfortable.

At times like this – and understand that you are the only one that can determine if the time is right – we have to grow out of Pampers® and put on our big girl or boy panties. How will you know? My answer to that is that if you have to ask you’re probably not ready. Just stay where you are for now – when you’re ready you’ll know it, so don’t force the issue.

For me, I know when I have to suck it up. It is when I start to lament to people about my latest challenge and halfway through the story I start getting bored! There’s that still, small voice inside my head going, “Really? Seriously?”

Take a moment today to ask yourself what “little” irritation has been going on long enough in your life. Determine that it has outlived its usefulness and make the necessary changes to move forward. Reach out for help if needed, but decide today to blast through one problem child this week. Let me know how that turns out for you!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry

Equal or Special?

This article is bound to piss off someone, so you can be sure to love it or hate it! Read on…

There is a familiar theme with any minority group that feels they are experiencing discrimination. It can be lesbians, transgender, blacks, gays, seniors – it can be any group. It does not matter.

What we all say we want is to be equal. Fine, as far as I am concerned. There is no reason why anyone should be put down for the color of his skin, her cultural or ethnic background, with whom one sleeps, or how old one is. The problem occurs when the group or individual who cries foul that s/he is not being treated equally turns around and wants special accommodation. If they are equal then why do they need something special? Does that not negate their desired equality?

I recently saw an article written to accommodate transgender people by replacing “he” and “her” with “ze” and “hir”, more gender-neutral terms. Some would say that if a person who is transgender is finally living her life as a woman then “she” should be proud of that. But the transgender person might still need to let people know that “she” has made a choice to live “her” life in a way very different from the past. It not only allows her to transition, but also lets her come out of the trunk (sorry….”t” for transgender and looked for something more than a closet – there are enough of us coming out of there already…).

My point is that we do not get to tell others how they need to express themselves. Conversely, those who feel they must use alternate terms to define their lives cannot expect everyone to understand those needs without informing others. If you are African American and I refer to you as black, and later you tell me “black” does not work for you or offends you, then I will, from then on, refer to you as African American. When I used “black” at the beginning of this blog it is because there is little if any agreement within the black/African American community about what should be used when and with whom. I use both “black” and “African American” interchangeably – half my friends of color prefer one, the rest prefer the other – so if they cannot agree with each other what is a fifty-five year old Caucasian male who was raised a poor white boy in a trailer park to do?!?. Society also went from American Indians to Native Americans to First Nations Peoples, but many of the communities who were here before white Christians invaded their land are not even familiar with the currently political correct term. So what is the answer?

There is a passage in A Course in Miracles that says something to the effect that all of us are special and yet none of us are special. Does that sound like metaphysical psychobabble? It is not. In truth we are all one. You can base that statement on the scientific fact of quantum physics, the metaphysical law of universality or Jesus’ teaching of unity with the Father. We are all one. And yet, we are special. We are special because we get to individually express Spirit in a unique way that no one else can. We each have a gift to give to the world. If we are “hiding our light under a bushel basket” we are robbing people of the light we could be shining.

Do you really want to be equal, or do you want equality only when it suits you? Do you want to be special, but afraid that you will be called upon to do more than you are willing to do? Tough – that is life. But it is your life and you get to decide how to live it. The Universe will reflect back to us what we truly believe about ourselves. I would proffer to you that if you are currently experiencing doubt about the future or resistance from others around you to change then you are having reflected back to you your gravest fears and deepest reservations. No one is better than you, but what looks like inequality can often be the fact that someone else took an opportunity you missed. Claim your equality by taking the opportunities that are yours to enjoy. You are special – shine your light brightly, powerfully, loving and consistently, and let God show off through you!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry

Open-Minded or Wishful Thinking?

“There is a difference between having an open mind and believing something because we want it to be true.” I heard that a few weeks ago on an NPR program. I had to pull over to write it down.

It is imperative that we keep an open mind when we live a life that is based on thinking positively. Circumstances may not always turn out the way I expect them to, but in the long run it is always for the best…even if it takes a while for me to figure that out. When I pray or treat for change I usually end it with “this or something better.” I have come to realize that Divine Mind is NOT stupid and often has a much better idea of what I need than I do. My friend and teacher, the late Rev. Helen Street, used to say, “For heaven’s sake! You’re dealing with Universal Intelligence, not Big Dummy in the Sky!”

But that open mind we have can lead to an endless pit of being used as a doormat if we allow it to happen. We must realize at some point in certain instances that change is not going to occur the way we want it to occur. Trust me – those Nigerian and Kenyan emails will never pay off and be the windfall for which you might be hoping. The same is true of our relationships. If he’s been cheating on you for the past five (or three or ten or how ever many) years, begging your forgiveness each time, promising it will not happen again and you believe him, then you deserve all the heartache you have set yourself up to receive. If you believe that the next time there is a vacancy in your company that the boss will finally appoint a woman to the position senior vice president, even though he has been committed to do so for the last eight vacancies, then you might want to take a reality check. What color is the sky in your world, precious?

Being open-minded and positive does not mean we have to be naïve or live in la-la-land (apologies to my LA friends!). Jesus the Great Teacher told us to be “cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves” (Matt. 10:16). We must have the faith that our prayers are answered, but not expect money, people or situations to be delivered to our front door while we sit idly by. We must forgive those who have wronged us in the past, but we also acknowledge our part and make sure not to place ourselves in that situation again. Forgiveness does not mean automatic trust…”cautious as serpents.”

It is a fine line between open-mindedness and wishful thinking, believing in something that will never happen. The latter will not be our experience if we build our hopes and dreams on a firm foundation of faith instead of the shifting sands of popular thinking. Who decides which is which? We must all make that decision ourselves and at the same time, seek to avoid judging those who appear to be locked into making what we consider to be the same mistakes over and over and over again. We would be wise not to think we know what is right for others. How very arrogant to think that we, rather than Universal Intelligence, could possibility know what is best for someone else.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry

Science of Mind: How to Use It

One of the greatest difficulties in New Thought is that we are far too likely to indulge largely in theory and too little in practice. We only know as much as we can prove to ourselves. Theory always goes beyond application; otherwise there can be no progress in science. Since all of the Science of Mind (SOM) principles are intangible, it therefore requires practical application in our field. Why? Because every demonstration adds to our belief that mental or spiritual thought has a supremacy over any apparent material resistance.

SOM teaches the perfection of each of us, but requires that we acknowledge the reality of where we are. This means to recognize what is currently going on with us, our lives or our bodies. This is different from some other groups who also practice mental healing through the use of the denial of disease or any condition. Here is what Dr. Holmes had to say about this: “It is easy enough to rush about shouting that there are no sick people, but this will never heal those who appear to be sick.” We must prove the Law by our actions and demonstrations, not merely announce a principle like some town crier.

Trained thought is more powerful than untrained thought – not that there is more power for one person than another, but that the one making more use of a force available to everyone is going to have better results. As we train our conscious thought, as it becomes stronger, we must also guard our subconscious thoughts, as they too have more power. Why? Because this Power is working for us by working through us. We use the universal power to guide and improve our life by making conscious choices in line with our desires, as opposed to letting events happen to us.

Our standard is one of perfection. Scripture records Jesus the Christ as having said, “You must accordingly be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” That grates on most people because in our culture people equate being perfect without making any mistakes, which is ridiculous because we make mistakes all the time. The English word “perfect” comes from two Latin words, “per” and “facare” – literally, to be thoroughly done. A tuxedo is perfect for the opera, not for shoveling snow. Just because we do not use it for shoveling snow does not mean it is not perfect for some other activity. We strive to be able to look at a wrong condition – meaning one we want to change – with the knowledge that it can change. How can we believe this? The realization that we have this ability must be gained by the application of our knowledge, and sometimes we do that through our mistakes.

How do we do this? Remember, “Practice makes perfect”? Just do it! Practice. Let us say you are currently experiencing what we call lack, not a stretch for many people if we believe the news about the global economic situation. You know this condition is not in accord with God, or at least that is what I believe and teach. Spirit imposes no limitation, and the Universe is abundant. There is no real law to support poverty, other than the fact that the Law is responding in accord with our belief in poverty or lack. So we do a spiritual mind treatment, or affirmative prayer, and this is how it is done: You begin with Recognition about God/Spirit/Higher Power in Its vastness, Its unlimited potential. Then, relax into the Unification with that Power. Now you are in agreement that God is expressing as you. The third step, that of the Realization of your desire, is to speak the Word of God for what you want. See it not as coming to you, as if it is far off, but embody it in the now, stating that it is already an accomplished idea in the Mind of God. When you experience a feeling of peace, give Thanks, and Release it for demonstration. Then get up and go about your business. Do not get up and start worrying. If you would like an example of a spiritual mind treatment about something which is concerning you, call me at 717.645.8885, or email me at: terry@newthoughtpa.org and I will be happy to demonstrate this process for you personally!

Our environment may do anything but encourage us to change, to better ourselves. The newscasts are usually pretty grim. Be willing to frame your experiences differently. “So cold outside” vs. “So crisp, so alive!” “So dark during the winter” vs. “I have so much more time to read now and stay in to enjoy my home and cats.” “So gray and bleak” vs. “Snow is so white and sparkly!” (Okay, not so much when I’m shoveling it!) If you do this you run the risk of being labeled a “Pollyanna.” That is not really so bad. Would you rather be known as someone up and happy, or gloomy and down, like Eeyore, the gloomy donkey from Winnie the Pooh stories who keeps losing his tail? The Eeyore consciousness: Walking around the world with your tail falling off. “Change your thinking, change your life” – Dr. Holmes.

Treatment always works. Prayers are always answered. The Truth is instantaneous in Its demonstration, taking only as much time in Its unfoldment as is inherent in the Law for a logical and sequential evolution of events. The healing, or demonstration, takes place as our minds become attuned to the truth of Being. “There is no process of healing, but there is generally a process in healing,” says Dr. Holmes. The process is the time it takes and is in exact proportion to our realization of Truth.

If you wish to practice this Science, then take time daily to mediate and mentally treat your thinking about the condition, no matter what the apparent contradictions may be. Work silently and privately with the Law, and the Law will find an inlet by means of your faith. By doing so you are aligning yourself with the harmony of the Universe. Meditation and treatment are to be entered into with ease and grace – not forcing things or outlining exactly how the Universe is to produce the desired result. The Universe already knows how to do whatever it is we are asking it to accomplish. “We do not put the power into this Word, but we do let the power of the Law flow through it,” says Dr. Holmes, “and the one who most completely believes in this power will produce the best results. This is the Law of Cause and Effect.”

The 21st century will see the end of many old religions, deadly prejudices and paralyzing fears. What we will see in their place is a new science, a new religion and a new philosophy. I believe strongly in the Science of Mind and the mission of the organizations who practice this philosophy. I believe it to be a science, a religion and a philosophy for the 21st century. It is not THE way for I do not teach that there is only one path to enlightenment. But it is a way, it is my way and it is the teaching you will hear about in my blogs and hopefully in upcoming classes here in Harrisburg at the New Thought Center of Center PA. It is my joy to share a more positive outlook of life with people. If you felt a connection to what you have read in this four-part series, let me know and keep in touch!

Dr. Terry