What’s in Your Consciousmess?

            No, that’s not a typo in the title. It was a typo when I was writing an email to my prayer partner this morning and then it hit me:  The situation about which I was writing was a “consciousmess!”
            In both Unity and Science of Mind we teach that the Universe is abundant. But even those of us who have studied these New Thought philosophies for years can fall back into a fear and overall attitude of lack if we allow ourselves to do so. Ernest Holmes wrote that “fear is faith misplaced.” In other words, we have a strong belief that something will go amiss.
The result of such thinking I was I call a “conscious-mess,” as we have created yet another mess in our lives. How did this happen? Because this kind of thinking causes us to succumb to the notion that God will not provide. But is that possible?
            The answer is obvious:  It isn’t possible because Spirit always provides. It’s our job to open to that abundance. Either we believe in the unlimited power of God or we don’t. It doesn’t mean we don’t have doubts from time-to-time. We know the principles in which we believe are simple, but not always easy. But that doesn’t mean we get to spread our doubts and fears all over everyone around us, attempting to infect others with diseased thinking.
            This consciousmess of which I was made aware has been created by others, but if it’s in my face then it must be there for a reason! It has the potential to involve and affect me should I choose to participate. I’ve decided it’s not my mess. The situation allows me to act in love, instead of reacting in fear. It’s hard to see others suffer, but when others are not willing to change then often the best we can do is stay positive and pray for their peace and harmony.
We get to choose our experience. I choose to live in a world of abundance, peace and harmony. How about you?
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Why Doesn’t Someone DO Something?

            It’s easy to look around, see what really needs doing (sorry for any of you not local – that’s a pretty basic central PA idiomatic expression), and then start complaining because “someone” isn’t doing anything. It can be our partner/spouse, our kids, our parents, the school district or the government. It doesn’t matter who. “Someone” should DO something.
            We have a decent-sized house that takes constant upkeep with three adults, three cats and nearly two acres of land. There is never a lack of chores and we knew that before we bought the place. We knew that the place would take far more upkeep and elbow grease than either of our small homes or a condo.
            What I find, however, is that it’s far easier to see what my partners aren’t doing than what I should be doing. It reminds me of that scripture about taking the rafter out of our own eye before trying to remove the splinter from someone else. So this past weekend I finally got my office red up (central PA term again = straightened up, “ready up”, get ready) and was so busy I didn’t have time to get in anyone else’s face about their shortcomings. My office is looking better and everyone is speaking to each other – always a good thing!
            We do the same things with agencies and authority figures. The person who screams the loudest about how government ought to stay out of his life is often the first person to complain about how slow government aid is in a disaster. We really can’t have it both ways, yet Americans seem to have a knack of doing just that. We pride ourselves on our independence, but then want someone else to do something when it all breaks down.
            Ultimately we are the ones who need to guide our lives and make the choice to be in charge of our experience. Eleanor Roosevelt admonished us that no one can make us feel inferior without our consent. Likewise, no one is going to be responsible for our happiness, our good health or our finances except us. We can grow old waiting for that knight in shining armor (or wait for our knight to get up off the couch!), or we can take charge ourselves.
            In the meantime, I think I’ll build a fire to greet the guys when they get home from chorus practice. A little kindness goes a long way when you have to drive home 30 minutes in snow.
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry

Anticipatory Conflict

            As a licensed social worker in clinical practice I’m familiar with the term “anticipatory grief.” As a son who was his father’s caregiver over the past three years, including two years of hospice care, I can appreciate this on a very personal level. Week after week of wondering when my father was going to make his transition took its toll on me physically and emotionally.
            Yet none of my worry, concern and anticipation of his passing helped me one bit in dealing with the call that confirmed his death. Just because worry is considered to be socially acceptable or even expected in some circles doesn’t mean it has to be so. Worry doesn’t do anyone much good; it only exacerbates the problem. From a metaphysical standpoint this makes perfect sense:  What we focus on increases. Fretting produces more reasons about which to worry. We start “what if-ing” and then doubt, sleepless nights and anxiety descend upon us with all the subtlety of an avalanche.
            I recently encountered someone who is planning for trouble for which the person has no basis to expect, other than their own fear. Reports, charts and explanations are all in place not if,but when, “someone” asks them for an accounting. In realizing the similarity of this to anticipatory grief I am calling it “anticipatory conflict.” I’ve no idea whether I’ve coined a new term or not, but I believe the situation bears exploration.
            Being prepared for every eventuality can make us appear efficient, professional and wise stewards of our charge. Conversely it could also indicate the presence of doubt in our own abilities, mistrust that God is ever-available, or doubt in the abundance of the universe which is ours to accept. It might also indicate our own underlying suspicion or prejudice of a person whom we feel responsible to supervise.
            How better it would be if, instead of planning for disaster, we could be so assured of ourselves and others that we are at peace with our decisions. Then, if the situation does at some point comes up that we must explain our actions or the activities of others to this “expected inquisitor” we can rest in assurance that we do not have to immediately respond. Anyone in authority knows that we have the option with any query to take time to examine the facts. Ask yourself this week, For what anticipated conflict am I preparing…and why?
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Honesty

It’s been said that the very young and the very old are brutally honest. Young children haven’t yet come to understand the concept of politeness in society. The very elderly, quite frankly, just don’t care sometimes. They believe they’ve earned the right to speak their minds without necessarily caring how it is received. The nearer I get to 60 the more that seems perfectly logical to me.
I decided a long time ago not to wait until I was in my 90s to start speaking my mind. I still fail miserably (by my personal standards) in speaking up the way I could, but I continue to work on myself in this regard. We can learn from the two groups of people I mentioned:  Those who are beginning their trek on this planet and those who are readying themselves for their next experience. We don’t need to blurt out whatever is on our minds at the expense of others, but we do learn to speak the truth even if there is some collateral damage.
I have found one of the easiest ways to answer a question is by telling the truth as succinctly and plainly as possible. It eliminates the need to remember what I said the last time someone asked me the same question because I know I didn’t make up some lie that was “white” or convenient. It often tends to shut people up who are just complaining. They become righteously indignant that you actually told them they look ridiculous in the outfit they are wearing or that you don’t agree that they should go back to their abusive partner for the twentieth time.
Why don’t we always tell the truth and tell it quickly? Sometimes we don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings. There are ways to tell the truth without offending people, but it still must be the truth. The major reason we don’t always tell truth is that we’ve done something we don’t want other people to know about or we are ashamed of our actions. There was a simple rule of thumb my mother gave us growing up:  When is doubt, don’t. It is also perfectly wise advice and eloquently simplistic.
Another reason is that if we tell our partner that our relationship is over because you can’t take one more lie we might just have to deal with the outcome of that statement. It’s been my experience that when one person in a relationship is ready to move on the other person is a well, whether or not s/he wants to admit it. Telling the truth may mean packing some boxes and moving out, but it beats packing down our feelings until we are moved to emotional collapse and spiritual ruin.
Consider taking a day, or even a week, to be aware of what is coming out of your mouth, and judging (for yourself) whether or not it’s really the truth. If is not, what would you be willing to do to rephrase your statement?
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Yesterday Ended Last Night

Ministers are unapologetic about borrowing ideas from one another in an effort to serve their congregations. The title of my blog this week is blatantly copied from my dear friend and mentor, Dr. Arleen Bump. It was also the title of her talk last Sunday at her center in Fort Lauderdale.
Dr. Arleen’s talk was about letting go. To move forward in life we must live in the present while focusing on the future. I remember on Wednesday evening many years ago in Glendale, California, we watched Dr. Arleen demonstrate “backing into our future.” She visually made her point as she focused on the back of the sanctuary while walking backwards into one of the potted plants on stage. I think of how often I’ve tried that in my own life, wondering why I’m running into obstacles only to discover that I was focused on where I’d been instead of where I was going.
It’s easy to move on to our next experience in life when we are complete, settled and at peace with past events. When we allow past or recent events to plague us we can’t expect contentment. But how do we move through those events when we are stuck in “Why?” or even, “Why, God?”
Someone once suggested to me that there are no right answers to “Why?” questions. I know in my own life I have often discovered the “why” in time, perhaps years later, but often not in the present moment of the pain of wondering how an event could have occurred in the first place. Perhaps you have just released the past year, but find you are still holding onto a little bit of this or that.
The only way to let go of the past is to be willing to do so. Something else I learned from Dr. Arleen was that we “hold onto things until the pain of holding on is greater than the pain of letting go.” Determine today that the past is totally over and done with and it’s time to move forward into a brand new life. This means not just the life we begin every New Year, but the life that is consciously co-created with God every day and every second.
Yesterday ended last night. Celebrate the present and look forward to a future of wonderment and joy!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry