Empowered Forgiveness

Forgive me for no blog or message last week, but with the Unity of Harrisburg 30th Anniversary it was one of several things that just didn’t get done. Then this week catch up was more than I expected. Knowing, however, that everything before “but” is B.S., let me just leave it at “I’m sorry” with no further explanation!
Last week, Daily Om(http://dailyom.com) published the thoughts of Madisyn Taylor. Taylor brings up a very interesting angle on accepting an apology from someone:  More often than not we say, “It’s alright,” or “It’s okay,” and by saying this we are allowing, accepting, and giving permission for the behavior to happen again. When we say “thank you” or “I accept your apology,” we are forced to sit in our feelings rather than ignore them.
Many of us, females particularly, have been told to put up and shut up throughout our lives. If our sexual orientation, skin color or cultural background is different than the norm in which we live just surviving can be a struggle. We can become less interested in being fully-expressed and more satisfied with not having conflict.
This ingrained belief system then shows up when someone says, “I’m sorry.” We can feel like we didn’t have the right to be hurt or upset. Yes, I know all the metaphysical psychobabble about how we partnered with the other person to create the situation and blaah, blaah, blaah. We have the right to expect integrity from others and the right to make decisions so that unpleasant situations do not repeat. Being kind does not require us to become a spiritual doormat.
Accepting an apology with grace puts “an end to this karmic chain,” according to Taylor. It allows us to acknowledge to the other person that we truly forgive them and at the same time recognizing the emotions we may have covered up because of what happened.
The next time someone apologies to you, be aware of how you respond. As Taylor says, “…often a simple ‘thank you’ is enough.
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

We Are One

One of the foundation principles I teach is the oneness of all creation. Political commentary, particularly during a presidential election year, seems to be the opposite of that concept. In the midst of close political races some religions are crossing the line between church and state. This action perpetuates rifts between spiritual communities.
I recently read the following poem in an email from Rev. Dr. Peggy Price, which I feel puts the current situation into perspective:
The moment you stand up and claim your divinity,
Christ is reborn within your heart,
Buddha rejoices,
Mohammed dances upon the mountaintop,
Lao Tzu winks approvingly
And the Promise of the Tree of Life is Fulfilled.
The “our way is THE way” cry will continue to divide the human race, making planetary unification impossible. Acceptance of the ways and rights of others does not need to be approval. Acceptance does, however, mean living among one another with respect, honor and love. Those principles are central to all major religions and spiritual paths, yet we are seeing less and less evidence of such in the news media.
When we recognize our own Divinity and refuse to blame anyone for our circumstances we move closer to seeing the Divinity in others. In a society that demands accountability perhaps we might each take more personal responsibility in our own lives and happiness, and release the need to worry about what entitlements are being protested about from others.
I am proud to be a member of two major spiritual communities, both of which teach a philosophy of life applicable to people of all faiths and religions. I am equally proud that we do not require adherence to our beliefs to benefit from the teachings in which we believe. Our way is our way, it is a way, but it is not the way.
Be kind this week to everyone with whom you come in contact. Perhaps the person’s belief that is most diametrically opposed to ours is the one from which we can reap the most lasting benefit, if only we are willing to open our minds to the possibility of acceptance and unity.
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Fall

According to the Gregorian calendar we’ve only been experiencing fall here in the northern hemisphere for less than two weeks – since the autumnal equinox on September 22. Did the cooler weather and changing leaves sneak up on you again?
Perhaps that’s because Mother Earth has had this all in preparation since about August 1. There’s a Celtic celebration at that time (one of the names is Lammas) that is the start of the autumn season. So rather than abruptly downshifting from summer to fall on September 22, Mother has been gearing up for the changes for about six weeks.
We can easily be caught off guard by ignoring the signs all around us. The days didn’t suddenly turn cooler on September 22; there’s been a slight trending in that direction. All the leaves didn’t just begin to lose their leaves; some started over a month ago.
We’ve been noticing the small outdoor residents (rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks) on our farmette stashing away goodies for the winter or for when they come out of hibernation in the spring. Logistically I haven’t a clue where the spring flowers will show up since the squirrels are re-decorating the gardens. Instinctually, however, they are planning ahead.
That’s not always something we humans are so stellar about doing. We notice a pound or two, but still go for the extra scoop of ice cream. We stay silent when someone with whom we work discriminates against another or tells an off-color joke, yet decry the atrocities of Darfur as being so terrible. We wish so-and-so would do such-and-such, but while we’re judging others find we are oblivious to our own character defects.
So it seems the gist of this week’s blog is about awareness and taking action to better our lives. If we are living mindful lives we will take time to be consciously aware of our surroundings – not seeing what we want to see, but what truly is. Then we can take the next step to changing what we feel we want to change.
Enjoy the cooler weather of fall if you are in our neck of the woods. Remembering that since the Celtic season of autumn began August 1 that puts the beginning of winter (or Yule) on November 1. Your holiday shopping is done, right?
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry